Friday, November 17, 2017

International recognition

Moody's India upgrade is good. It is also a good news that the international rating agency like Moody's has not only praised economic measures taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also upgraded India's sovereign rating to BAA2 with a stable outlook from Baa3 earlier. This is the first time that Moody's upgraded India's rating since 2004. Moody’s upgrade of India’s economic rating can be interpreted as recognition of the raft of structural reforms taken by the current government over the last 3-4 years. This is the first time in 13 years that the international rating agency has raised India’s assessment – to Baa2 from Baa3 – indicating that the economy has moved from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’, and is on a high growth trajectory. Among the principal policy changes that have contributed to improving India’s rating are the implementation of a comprehensive reforms programme, including the introduction of the GST, the Aadhaar system of biometric accounts, direct benefit transfer schemes and measures to address bad loans. The upgrade essentially means that the cost of international borrowing will now become cheaper for the Indian government and Indian corporates, and also lead to a surge in equity markets. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took two important economic decisions. One is of demonetization and other is of GST. The entire nation affirmed faith in PM's speech that after 50 days of demonetization, all economic ails will be removed from the country. Black money, corruption, counterfeiting of notes, stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, Naxalism and terrorism would be finished. PM with his declaration of demonetization in a televised addressed to the nation at 8 PM on Nov. 8, 2016, that all high currency notes of 500 and 1000 will no longer be legal tenders. He called up all citizens to exchange their demonetized high currency notes from banks. He appealed to the countrymen to bear with the problems in standing in a queue outside the bank for 50 days in the interest of the nation. The demonetized high currency notes of Rs. 500 and 1000 constituted 86 percent of total currency notes. If RBI report is anything to go by, about 99 percent of the currency came into the banking system. The expenditure on the printing of the news notes exceeded their value. This is one part of the result of demonetization. Its second part is its impact on small and medium business and employment in the country. If CMEI report is anything to go by, 15 lakh people were rendered jobless in the first three months of 2017 due to demonetization. As all economic activities came to a halt, there prevailed gloom in the market. With the introduction of GST, which is PM Modi’s pet economic move, the small and medium businessmen were harmed beyond expectation. Its official paraphernalia of taxation is so lengthy and computerized that it is beyond their understanding. The Moody’s may have upgraded India’s rating, but the ground economic reality tells a different story. The poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The gulf between the poor and the rich has also widened. So, it would be better if Modi Govt. had not patted its back merely at Moody’s upgrade India rating. Prices of all edibles and essential commodities are also going up and up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bonhomie in Indo-US relations

After the meeting of a quadrilateral coalition of four nations- India, the US, Japan and Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held bilateral meeting with the US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of ASEAN summit at Manila in the Philippines. The meeting between the two was held in a very cordial atmosphere and both appreciated each other's performances. PM Modi thanked President Trump for praising him whenever he got the opportunity. PM Modi also praised Trump's style of functioning. It clearly appears that the chemistry between the two leaders is very fine. Both showed warmth and affection for each other and they also gave clear hints that they would take the relations between the two countries to new heights. They not only talked about bilateral issues but also beyond that. Quadrilateral talks among the four nations were held to keep Indo-Pacific region free, open and inclusive. Though China sees it as grouping against it in Asia, it is its misplaced belief. It is only meant for establishing peace, prosperity, and amity among Asian nations. This type of grouping was formed earlier also but that it did not work and ultimately it was dissolved. President Donald Trump appears to be a very big fan of PM Modi. He has always spoken very high of him. With the US coming closer to India for the last few years especially after sealing the N-deal between the two countries, the strategic relations also got strengthened.US is the oldest democracy while India is the largest one in the world. So, the US and India can be natural partners. They are expected to be on the same page in dealing with international problems. But for that, both will have to rise above personal interests. It is the statesmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he impressed all the world leaders whom he has met so far. It is our PM's personal traits that all the leaders become impressed with him very easily. Both India and the US should work beyond bilateral issues. They should work for peace and development in the Indo-Pacific region. The US being the sole superpower of the world, it has greater responsibility in the development of Indo-Pacific region. It also must be ensured that no Asian country could try to establish its hegemony in the region. With XI Jing being in power for 5 more years in China and his military preparations, it is necessary for the US President Trump to act decisively so that no confrontation or collection of armed personnel could take place in the Indo-Pacific region. Since the US started coming closer to India and distancing itself from Pakistan, an open field for China was left to set its feet firmly in the Asian region. Pakistan and China came close to each other. Apart from CPEC already in place, Pak even allowed Chinese troops to set their feet on its territory for war and other exercises. It is a dangerous development that Pakistan has now completely surrendered to China. China's free entry in Pakistan is not good for India. The US is required to be watchful of the development China in India's neigbourhood. President Donald Trump has often praised Prime Minister Modi the most recent instance was on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Vietnam where he gave credit for India's rising growth trajectory to Prime Minister Modi. Earlier at the G20 Summit in Germany too, the chemistry between both the leaders made heads turn. The bonhomie in relations was first seen this year in June during Prime Minister Modi's America visit when President Trump and First Lady Melania hosted him at the White House for bilateral talks.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Delhiites gasping for breath

Delhi air quality has gone down an all-time low. It shoots up to 451 on the scale where the maximum level is 500. The inhaling of Delhi air in the morning is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes. It is detrimental to healthy individuals and those who suffer from breathing, heart and throat problem. As per the IMA, this is a public health emergency as the city has practically turned into a gas chamber. When Delhiites woke up in the morning today, it seemed as if the city were shrouded in a thick blanket of smog with the visibility level very low and pollution level crossing all danger limits. Air quality in the capital is getting worse and worse and pollution level in the city reached to 451. All India Medical Association has rightly declared a public health emergency in Delhi. The situation is very grave and disturbing. Supreme Court mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) has recommended the four-time increase in Parking fee and rationalizing the Metro Fare. It is time for the Central, Delhi, environment activists and the common Delhiites to make aware the people of the impending danger of pollution. The immediate need of the hour for the govt. in Delhi is to take emergency measures to meet the emergency situation. The rising level of pollution is posing a great threat to the health of the school going children in the morning. The pollution in the morning is inhaled by them profusely and that causes lungs and other throat related diseases. The worsening condition of pollution may cause health problems for healthy people. Those people who suffer from Cardiovascular and heart diseases have to be away from this type of polluted environment. This is not the first time that the Delhiites have experienced this thick cover of smog. It is a regular phenomenon for them. The Delhi Govt. must deal stringently with the people who violate norms meant for keeping pollution in check by using diesel generators all the time at their shops, offices and residences. The petrol run vehicles must be regulated in the city and the burning of stubble by the farmer in NCR and neighbouring states to clear the field be stopped. To deal with the problem of rising pollution effectively, the Govt. must introduce and well-managed and comfortable public transports on the road the number of the round of Metro every minute should also be increased. Delhiites would continue to experience worsening condition. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, high moisture level in the air has trapped emission from local sources and hanging low over the city in the absence of wind. A 'severe' Air Quality Index comes with the warning that air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. The CPCB also recorded 'severe' air quality in the neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad. Due to smog-like condition, the visibility early in the morning remained low, causing problems in rail and flight movement. The Supreme Court mandated green body Environment Pollution ( Prevention and Control) Authority- EPCA has recommended a four-times hike in parking fee and reduction of metro fares during off-peak hours to tackle the severe air quality in Delhi- NCR. The Committee met in New Delhi in the backdrop of worsening air quality in the region and announced a series of measures under the Graded Response Action Plan. The measures also include complete closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers across the region till further notice.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lacking in action against corruption

Paradise after Panama papers have revealed the names of high and mighty, who have tax haven dealings, but despite the prompt order of probe, no action would be initiated on the report of the investigation. Though Centre has rightly ordered a probe by the reconstituted Multi Agency Group into the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' Paradise Papers, the most important thing is action on the report of investigation. It is welcome that the Govt. has taken prompt action by ordering the probe immediately after Paradise papers’ names came to light, which reflects how big and mighty people from all around the world commit irregularities and have tax haven dealings. They have unaccounted money so they deal with tax haven by conniving with the law of the land. Paradise and Panama papers are of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which have leaked the information about how political leaders, Bollywood actors, businessmen, doctors etc. have stashed their unaccounted money into tax haven countries. With the revelation of Panama papers, several governments all around the world, including our neighbour Pakistan toppled, but no action was taken by our Govt. against those powerful personalities whose names figured in them. So, mere giving order to probe into Paradise papers and taking no action on the report of the investigation would never serve any purpose. And ultimately, it sends out the message that the Govt. at the Centre is not interested in acting against those people whose names figured in either Panama or Paradise. India's rank is 19th in Paradise papers as far as the name of the people in them is concerned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi always stresses the need for rooting out corruption from the country. But the time of issuing statements have gone. Now, action against corruption irrespective of connection is urgently required. Otherwise, the impression would go that Narendra Modi govt. is as lax as the previous one was in regards to fighting against corruption. ICIJ and 95 media partners explored 13.4 million leaked files from some of the world's most secretive countries. Prominent names from the US, UK, several other countries even India are shown to have tax haven dealings. From India to Washington, to London from Canada to Pakistan the new set of papers reveal how world’s rich and mighty has been indulging in alleged financial irregularities. Indian govt. has already taken cognizance and investigation units of the Income Tax Department have been alerted to take note of revelations for immediate appropriate action. It has been reported that many cases of offshore entities are already under investigation on fast track. The Government has directed that investigations in cases of Paradise Papers will be monitored through a reconstituted Multi Agency Group, headed by the Chairman, CBDT, having representatives from CBDT, ED, RBI & FIU. The most appropriate way to deal with corruption and black money is to take prompt action against all those, who are involved amassing ill-gotten money, irrespective of their connection. The time has come for action, and not merely issuing statement after statement about this and that achievement.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Corruption charges follow everywhere

By changing sides, the stigma of corruption charges against the political party leaders is not washed away. It is no logic that by joining the ruling BJP, the tainted leaders of Congress and other opposition parties are absolved of all charges. The two tainted leaders one of Himachal Pradesh and the other of West Bengal have left their parties and joined the BJP. The charges of corruption against them were leveled against them by none other than the BJP leaders. But now they have become clean only because they joined the BJP. It means the BJP is like the holy Ganges in which whichever tainted political leaders take a dip is washed off their sin of corruption. Pandit Sukhram was the Telecom Minister in Congress government of Narasimha Rao in 1996 when the investigating agency (CBI) during their investigation at his residences both at Mandi and New Delhi reportedly found bundles of notes of different denominations worth several crores in cash under his bed. Parliament was adjourned for more than two weeks over the bribery charges against Sukharam. The main leaders in Parliament who raised voice vociferously in Parliament were from the BJP. They stopped the Parliament to run for weeks over Sukhram issue. But when first Sukhram and then his son Anil Sharma in Himachal Pradesh left Congress and Joined BJP, they were considered, to be honest. What a standard parameter! It means it is clear that votes matter above everything for all political parties. There is no importance of moral, ethics, sanctity and character before votes for them. It is now clearly reflected that vote gathering capacity is the only factor in deciding the personality of political leaders. No doubt, Sukhram is still the most popular leader and has a strong grip on the voters in Mandi. Senior TMC leader Mukul Roy resigned from the party and joined BJP. He was close lieutenant of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He is accused of involvement in the famous scandals of Narada and Sharda. Again, it is none other than the BJP which had sought at the top of its voice for action against all those TMC leaders who were allegedly involved in Sharada and Narada Ponzi scandals. But now when Mukul Roy joined BJP, all the charges of corruption against him were of bygone days. BJP’s philosophy is that the past is past. Now see ahead and leave the baggage behind. BJP President Amit Shah laid the trap to enmesh Mukul Roy to strengthen his resurging party in Bengal. With the Left on the verge of total collapse and the Congress disorganized and disjointed in Bengal, BJP is emerging as the main opposition party in West Bengal. As Mukul Roy was considered to be very close to CM Mamata Banerjee since Nandigram Singur agitations against the Left, he has failed to connect with the people on the ground in West Bengal. He is not a mass leader like Mamata Banerjee. So, by taking Mukul Roy on board, BJP is not in a position to challenge her. She is still the way ahead of all other leaders of the state so far as the popularity graph is considered. Mamata Banerjee is the tigress of Bengal. She is connected with the people on the ground. Undoubtedly, BJP's vote share has gone up sharply in the last one or two elections but it does not mean that it poses any threat to Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Changing sides to wash off corruption taint is nothing but the political degeneration setting deeply in leaders and parties.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Shadow boxing between BJP and Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena is the oldest ally of BJP. It is in govt. with BJP in Maharashtra and at the Centre. There is more or less ideological similarity between the two parties. BJP is the bigger partner both in Maharashtra and at the Centre. Shiv Sena's political influence is confined to Maharashtra only while BJP is not only the national party but also emerged as the largest one of the nation. Just after a year and half of Narendra Modi govt. at the Centre, Shiv Sena started expressing reservation against the BJP openly. Though BJP has restrained so far in giving tit for tat to BJP to some extent, it now appears that breaking point between the two is about to be reached. Shiv Sena's Mouthpiece Samana's editorial stridently criticized the Demonetization and GST moves of the Narendra Modi Govt. In addition to that Sena Spokesperson Sanjay's Raut statement that now there is no longer Modi wave and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi is capable of leading the nation will certainly sour relations between the two oldest allies. Shiv Sena's founder Bal Thackery also did not enjoy a very good relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is no cordiality of the past between the two parties - Shiv Sena and BJP- being represented by Bal Thackery and Vajpayee- Advani duo respectively left anymore. And if this situation continued to prevail, it would not be a surprise that both the allies would choose their own way. The root cause of strain in a relation between Shiv Sena and BJP is that the former is not getting as much weight in Fadnavis-led BJP govt. in the state of Maharashtra. At the Centre also, BJP in Modi regime attaches any importance to Shiv Sena. It is also the fear of Shiv Sena that the rising popularity of BJP and its tilt towards Sharad Pawar - led NCP in Maharashtra may cause a split in it. Praising Rahul Gandhi and demeaning Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Shiv Sena's spokesperson must have political importance. BJP may not react to Sanjay Raut in the same tone and tenor, but the knot has already set in relation with Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena has officially criticized Demonetization and GST and observing the ire of small and middle-class business persons at these two economic decisions, it has predicted that BJP might loose Gujarat this time. The thinking of Shiv Sena has always been low, narrow, parochial and regional. It may not openly espouse the cause of regionalism, but its breakaway group Maharashtra Navnirman Samiti (MNS) led by Bal Thackeray's nephew Raj Thackeray openly resorts to goondaism against the autorickshaw drivers, Rickshaw pullers, small business persons, hawkers and others in Mumbai from north India, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the state police and administration remain a mute spectator. BJP is the ruling party. BJP being largest national party, it should have immediately snapped its ties with this narrow and parochial party like Shiv Sena. Though Maharashtra Govt. is helpless in acting against the goons of MNS, who beat hawkers and auto rickshaw drivers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, hawkers have given them befitting reply. We are not supporting violence in any way by any side. But when no way is left and the govt. becomes silent over the alleged crime of Raj Thackeray's goons, the situation demands tit for tat. Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city. It is not only Indians but the people from all over the world visit. So, its cosmopolitan character must be kept intact. It will be better for BJP to snap the tie with Shiv Sena as early as possible. Otherwise, its own image is tarnished in the company of Shiv Sena. When Shiv Sena says that Modi wave has faded away, it means it has now no hope with BJP.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pak is deaf to US warning This is not the first time that the US has given a strong message to Pakistan to act against terrorists living in safe havens there. This type of message has been given to it a number of times in recent years. And all the US messages to Pak went unheeded. Pakistan never acted against terror on the US suggestion, advice, instruction, and dictation. The stark example of this is about the US most wanted terrorist Al-Qaeda boss Osama-bin-Laden, who was in safe havens in Abbottabad near Karachi in Pakistan, before being killed in the raid of his residence by the SEAL (US national navy). Pakistan had always been in denial mode about the whereabouts of Osama-bib-Laden while he was living there in safe havens. The duplicity of Pakistan is no longer a secret. It is known worldwide. The US is required to take direct action against Pakistan to show the world, especially, India that it wants at heart to fight against terrorism to finish. Though Pakistan has denied about the US wish list of about 100 terrorists whom the US wants to be handed over, the name of India’s most wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar are not on it. The US list does not contain the name of Hafiz Saed, the Mumbai terror attack mastermind who carries a bounty of 10 million dollars on his head, but has been under house arrest since January.Mostly the terrorists belonging to Haqqani network figured on the list. To fight against terrorism and act against the nation which aids, abets and support terrorism, it is necessary to take hard steps on the ground. Merely giving verbal warning time and again cannot serve the purpose. Rather, it emboldens the nation which sponsors terrorism. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had a frank exchange with Pakistan leadership on US expectations in a fight against terror. Tillerson himself had made the US position clear, at a press briefing on the last leg of his 8-day visit in Geneva.During his recent visit to Pakistan, he said he had a frank exchange of views with the Pakistani leadership and made it clear that nothing could be achieved by lecturing, but the US was very clear about expectations and what it was asking. The US too should have clear intent while dealing with the issue of terrorism. If it continued to keep its interest uppermost as far as terrorism is concerned, its fight cannot be taken to the logical end. The time has come for the US to act against Pakistan. It is always in denial mode on the issue of providing safe havens to terrorism. So, it deserves to be given a hard blow to open its mind. Otherwise, the warning after warning will go in vain.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tighten law and order machineries in UP

Since the BJP government of Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath came to power in Uttar Pradesh, no sign of improvement on law and order front in the state has been seen. Rather, it has deteriorated sharply. It appears that law and order is an insurmountable problem in the state. The people of Uttar Pradesh had been yearning for good governance and law and order in the state for the last 15 years. Mulayam- Mayawati- Akhilesh Yadav government in the last 15 years before this assembly election in the state was known for all sorts of misgovernance. People were very much vexed and troubled because of deteriorating law and order in the state. So, they wanted to change in government. To get rid of anti-social and criminal elements, people voted BJP to power with a massive mandate. The five-time MP and Hindutva face of the BJP Yogi Adityanath was elected the leader of the ruling legislature party leader and was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. As Yogiji appears to be a hard taskmaster, people expected that he would tighten the law and order machinery immediately. The criminal elements will be driven away from the state as Yogi's administration was not expected to tolerate any nonsensical act. But the reality on the ground even in the BJP regime of CM Yogi Adityanath tells a different story. Murder, rape extortion, theft, loot, kidnapping etc. continue to take place in the state as it used to happen in the previous regimes. They have become the order of the day. Political executive in the democracy is the boss of bureaucrats. Bureaucrats cannot move a step without taking orders from their political bosses. Yogi Aiditya Nath is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. It is not a general state but the largest among states. It is a politically most important state in the country. Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, he started cleanliness campaign by taking the lead from the front to sweep the dirty corners in the city. PM or CM has much more tasks to work out than mere cleaning the Verandah, road, and courtyard. If the political executives are so much concerned about the cleanliness in the surrounding, they can easily take a personal interest in entrusting the task to the person concerned from the civic body. The time of PM and CM is very precious. It must not be squandered. If the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had spent time with police officials of the state in regard to tightening the law and order situation, India would not have been defamed outside in the foreign country for the assault on a Swiss couple at Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra. So, Mr. Chief Minister it would be better if you had visited some police stations to ask them why the incident of crime is not controlled. Whatever happened with the Swiss couple must be condemned by one and all. UP police must bring the culprit back to justice. Five persons have reportedly been arrested in connection with the assault on a Swiss couple at Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra. The attack on foreigners is so serious that even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has also sought a report on it from the state government. It is the total failure of the Yogi govt. As law and order is a state subject, the state govt. must be held responsible for its failure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

At last, Govt. to initiate dialogue in J&K

Centre has rightly decided to start a sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir. Former Director of Intelligence Bureau Dineshwar Sharma will be the Govt. representative in the dialogue. Since the Narendra Modi-led NDA govt. came to power, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir went from bad to worse. Infiltration, militant violence, ceasefire violations and killing of civilians and military personnel increased without any check. All the promises of improving the situation in Jammu and Kashmir made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 proved to be hollow ones. The situation in Jammu and Kashmir got worse and worse. It appeared that the Narendra Modi-led NDA govt. had no Kashmir policy. The BJP which was ideologically dead against the People's Democratic Party of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti lost no time in sewing coalition with it to form govt. PDP-BJP coalition govt. is in place in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP is ruling at the Centre in Delhi. In the given situation, the deteriorating condition in the trouble-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir is the result of prevailing confusion in the Govt. at the Centre. Earlier, Centre was against any talks with separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference. The faction-ridden Hurriyat Conference is playing in Jammu and Kashmir to the tune of Pakistan. Hurriyat leaders are openly financed and supported by Pak Govt. to create trouble in the Valley. With the revelation of money being received by Hurriyat leaders from Pakistan, the common innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir now can easily be impressed that the separatist leaders are only using them for their personal gains. This is possible only in talks with all the shareholders in Jammu and Kashmir. The Govt.'s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir may even try to talk with the youth of the state who have been misled by the separatist leaders. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are required to be dealt with delicately so that they could feel that they are also part and parcel of India. They are as much Indian as anyone else belonging to any corner of the country. At last, Prime MInister Narendra Modi has taken very good decision to start dialogue process in Jammu and Kashmir. Any difference, grievance and complaints can be resolved through sustained dialogue. The govt.'s special representative Dineshwar Sharma is an expert hand to deal with the separatists. He is already involved with the dialogue process with different separatist leaders of different northeastern states. Dialogue process is the only option to resolve Kashmir problems. No problem can be resolved at gunpoint. The majority of the youth in Jammu and Kashmir has been misled. They must be brought to the national mainstream. The major announcement was made by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh while addressing a press conference in New Delhi. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that former director of Intelligence Bureau, Dineshwar Sharma will be the Government's representative in the dialogue. The Home Minister said that the Govt. is serious about the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. It would be better if the Govt. had shown seriousness about Jammu and Kashmir a little earlier. Though the start is already late, still there is much time left with the Govt. to initiate the sustained dialogue process with all the stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir within the ambit of the Constitution of India.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Poll bugle in Gujarat

Poll bugle in Gujarat, but the schedule of the assembly elections is yet to be announced by the Election Commission. Despite criticism by the opposition parties, which push the EC in the dock over the delay, no seriousness is visible. Opposition parties allege that EC has come under the influence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by not announcing the Gujarat assembly election date along with Himachal Pradesh. It has been done to favour the ruling party there as the Oppn parties allege. Election Commission should now announce the date of elections immediately. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the single star election campaigner of BJP and Rahul Gandhi is the whole and sole of the opposition Congress party. Both have been addressing one rally after another to woo voters in the state. The Gujarat assembly elections are equally important for both BJP and Congress. This election is a test for BJP whether its popularity is intact or not and what is in store for it in 2019 while Congress has the opportunity to revive and get back its pre-imminent position in the state. BJP has been ruling Gujarat for the last 22 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi already served the state as its Chief Minister for 12 years before being elected as the Prime Minister of India. PM Modi also happens to be belonging to Gujarat. Gujarat is also PM's home state. With the rule in the state for 22 years without any interruption, BJP's base is on a sound foundation. But the reports pouring in from Gujarat clearly indicates that this time it is not going to be as easy as it used to be in the previous elections. Congress has been the main opposition party in the state. It has been out of power for the last 22 years. The wind this time is not favourably blowing in favour of the BJP. The small and middle-class business community is up in arms against BJP Govt. at the Centre over GST and demonetization. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani is himself helplessness to pacify them. But PM Modi is still the BJP's star attraction in the Gujarat assembly elections. He is not only PM but also the face of BJP in the Gujarat assembly elections. It also appears from the gathering at his election meeting that the people are no longer as much enthusiastic in support of BJP as they used to be in previous elections. Congress is the main opposition party in the Gujarat assembly. It is trying its best to get back its pre-imminent position in the state. It is hobnobbing with the young Patidar leader Hardik Patel, OBC star campaigner Alpesh Thakor and the lawyer and SC/ ST voice in Gujarat Jignesh Mewani. OBC leader Alpesh Thakor has reportedly joined the Congress at the rally being addressed by Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi. Congress has reportedly sent feelers to Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani to join Congress. If all the three young faces of Gujarat- Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mewani and Alpesh Thakor- came together to support Congress in the assembly elections, the severe headache will certainly develop among BJP leaders. But the BJP's greatest mascot is none other than the PM. PM Modi has the charisma to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Before the announcement of the election date, both Congress and BJP are fighting each other to score a brownie point. The war of words between Congress and BJP is going on to the tune of war drums. Apart from Congress, AAP may contest in Gujarat elections, though it is going to be a non-entity. If the Modi magic failed to click in Gujarat, the assembly elections' results may give clear signal what is to come for the party in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BJP has upper hand in Himachal

As Himachal assembly is going to poll on Nov. 9, 2017, the state is in an election mode. The electoral process is set to gain momentum. The two major political parties – Congress and BJP- are busy with the selection of their candidates. If History repeats, BJP is certain to win as the state has always been alternate between the two major parties in the state. Infighting plagues the Congress party very seriously. Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and the state Congress President Sukhbir Singh Sukhu are fighting each other in the party to establish supremacy. Virbhadra Singh is a veteran Congress leader and he is also one of the tallest political personalities of Himachal Pradesh. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has already announced his name as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the party in the assembly elections. He had made HP Congress President Sukhbir Singh Sukhu as the Chief of the Election Campaign Committee and Virbhadra Singh as its member. But making CM Virbhadra Singh as the Chairman of the Election Campaign Committee on Monday as announced by Janardan Dwivedi is not only puzzling for the party workers but also the general people as to what is going on in Congress Party in the state. Virbhadra Singh may be one of the most prestigious leaders of Himachal Pradesh, but the Disproportionate assets case against him undoubtedly dented his political image. Congress is also facing anti-incumbency factor in the state. The party has to do lot of explaining to the people about its performance in the last four years. Internally, the BJP in Himachal is also not united. Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who comes of Himachal, also sees CM's chair and may be inclined to the post, but former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has also set his eye on CM's post again. So, it is also very difficult for the BJP to announce chief ministerial candidate of the party in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the tallest leader of the BJP and his charisma has also seen the nation. He has the political ability to snatch victory from the jaw of defeat. So, it is no problem for the BJP even if it doesn’t announce the name of its chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections. It is not new for the party. It has done in several state elections in the past.PM with excellent oratorical power has the ability to draw crowds in the large number. Congress has no match for him. History is also on the side of BJP. If that is so, the BJP will certainly win this assembly election. If Congress has to be in the reckoning to get power back, it has to put up a united face in the elections. The Congress party President Sonia Gandhi must take personal interest to keep everything in the party in order. Congress is required to be united at all costs. Whenever the Congress party tastes defeat, it is because of infighting in the party. The Congress has named Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as head of the party's campaign committee for the November 9 Assembly polls, replacing state Congress chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu. Only three days back, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had named Sukhu as chairman of the campaign committee and made Singh its member. Gandhi has "approved" the name of Virbhadra Singh as the chairman of the campaign committee for the assembly elections in the state. Singh and Sukhu have been at loggerheads, with the chief minister demanding an immediate replacement as the PCC chief ahead of the elections. In the prevailing situation, the Congress leadership has to take the case of Himachal seriously and ask both the factions to patch up their differences as early as possible. Otherwise, Congress defeat in Himachal is a foregone conclusion.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Signal of Cong resurgence and wake-up call for BJP

The by-election result of the Gurdaspur Parliamentary elections is a wake-up call for the ruling BJP at the Centre and the clear indication of Congress resurgence to some extent. It was the bastion of BJP. Its MP film actor late Vinod Khanna represented Gurdaspur constituency thrice in the Lok Sabha. It was because of his death that by-election was necessitated there. There is Congress govt. in Punjab. So, Congress being strong there politically may be natural but the margin by which the BJP candidate was defeated must be a matter of serious concern for the party. It now clearly appears that the demonetization move of Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not yield any result as was expected. In addition to demonetization, the hastily implemented and ill-conceived GST also did not go down well with the small, middle and big businessmen. The proof of the adverse impact of these two economic measures can be seen in the fall of GDP growth by two percents. One thing also is evident all around that an atmosphere of economic gloom spreads all over. The market shows no enthusiasm despite the time of Deepawali. The employment is not generated in proportion to the growing number of unemployed. There is no bright spot anywhere. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP must introspect that where they are going wrong that the people in only three years are appearing to be against the govt. They had given overwhelming support to Prime Minister Modi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. So, the govt. must initiate economic measures to provide succour to the people. All economic activities have come to a standstill due to the implementation of GST without giving any proper training to the businessmen community. They are absolutely not satisfied with the Modi govt. It has also been experienced that in the NDA regime the gulf between the poor and the rich is widening. The rich are becoming richer and while the poor are becoming poorer. Modi govt. is required to think seriously about the falling economic condition of the people. Modi Govt. must realize one thing that the longstanding and idealistic speech cannot fill the stomach of the poor. The poor and the unemployed youth need employment to earn their livelihood. The common people of the country have nothing to do with this or that political party. They want the govt. that works for them. The Gurdaspur by-election result is the reflection of people's discontent with the ruling BJP at the Centre. If the BJP holds Congress corrupt, by which parameter it holds Akali Dal in Punjab honest to be made alliance partner. As long as the BJP will remain with Akali Dal, it would not resurge in Punjab. Now, only a year and 10 months have left to go to Lok Sabha elections in 2019. So, the ruling NDA must do something to revive the economy fast. Otherwise, it will also have to face people's wrath in the Lok Sabha elections. It has been in govt. so it will have to answer the questions put by the people to BJP leaders. The Congress has registered a massive victory in the Gurdaspur, as party candidate Sunil Jakhar won by a margin of 1,93,219 votes. The six-month-old govt. of Congress passed a litmus test by winning the election by such a huge margin. The Congress had fielded veteran leader Sunil Jakhar to contest the by-elections against the BJP-SAD alliance candidate, businessman Swaran Salaria and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, Retired Major General Suresh Khajuria.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could not save its security deposit. Gurdaspur result clearly shows that the people are not satisfied with the work of the BJP govt. at the Centre. Though by-election result generally goes in favour of the ruling party in the state, it is definitely taken seriously by the BJP.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Keen contest in Himachal Pradesh assembly elections

The date of Himachal Pradesh assembly elections has been announced by the Election Commission. The difference between the date of commencement of election and declaration of its result is 38 days. It itself appears ocular. It has also surprised the nation that why the date of Gujarat assembly elections was not announced along with the Himachal. It appears that Election Commission which has so far been independent has come under the pressure of NDA govt. at the Centre. Election Commission is a constitutional body. It comprises three Election Commissioners and one among them is the Chief Election Commissioner. CEC AK Jyoti was the Chief Secretary of the Gujarat Govt. before being made CEC. Jyoti being the CEC and Gujarat election date being not announced along with Himachal create an impression among the people that he favours the ruling party at the Centre by giving them two to four days to announce some schemes, policy, and programmes to tempt the Gujaratis towards BJP as PM is to visit the state in the next week. With the announcement of the election, the model code of conduct is automatically enforced and after that Govt. can make no announcement about its promises and policies for the people to influence them. Though it has been the history of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh that it alternates between Congress and BJP after every five years, this time outcome may be different. There is an anti-incumbency factor against the Congress govt. of Virbhdra Singh in the state. In addition to anti-incumbency, there is also the Disproportionate assets case against CM Virbhadra Singh. ED is already pursuing its investigation against him. In addition to this, CM and the Himachal Pradesh Congress president don't see eye to eye. Congress party is faced with the issue of infighting. Though Virbhadra is still the tallest leader of Himachal and his name has already been announced as Chief Ministerial candidate in the assembly elections by the Congress, his boat doesn’t appear to be sailing through. On the other side, the BJP is poised for victory in the assembly elections. But the irony with the party is also that no one leader emerges as the consensus candidate for the post of Chief Minister. Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is already in the race. Himachal BJP leader and the Union Health Minister JP Nadda is also eyeing the post of Chief Minister of the state. It is also difficult for the BJP to evolve consensus over the issue of leadership for the post of Chief Minister in the state. BJP may not announce its CM candidate as it has been doing in North Indian states normally. It had not announced the name of Chief Minister in Delhi and UP elections. It lost Delhi but it won Uttar Pradesh. So, it appears pretty certain that the election in Himachal Pradesh will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus CM Virbhadra Singh. There is still an attraction for Virbhadra in Himachal Pradesh. It appears clear that due to not reaching consensus on the issue of leadership in the state in the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the face of the party in the state. There are several leaders in the BJP in Himachal who are of Chief Ministerial material. Prem Kumar Dhumal and JP Nadda are prominent among them. So, it appears that the BJP leadership has shelved the issue and like UP if it won the election, it would elect its legislative party leader very easily. The chances for BJP in the state look bright if the electoral history of the state is anything to go by. But as Virbhadra is himself old war-scarred Congress leader, it would not be easy for BJP to thrash him. The election in Himachal is going to be keenly contested. It is not easy either for BJP or Congress to win. Let us see what happens. But the upper hand in the election is of BJP in Himachal Pradesh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Political violence must stop

Whichever political party indulges in violence to settle scores with its opponent is against the essence of democracy. There is no place for violence in the democracy. Every political party has right to criticize against its rival in politics. But resorting to violence to settle the score with the rival party cadre is a crime. So, it must be dealt as such. BJP charges Kerala Govt. and the Left parties with murdering its political workers. Political violence is not new to Kerala. It has been happening since long. CPI (M) is ruling there and the BJP is trying its best to establish its feet in the state. BJP has launched Janraksha Yatra against the ongoing political violence in the state of Kerala. Violence by any political party to settle scores with opponents is not permissible in the regime of democratically elected govt. in the state. The rule of law is meant for all and it must be enforced to maintain peace and amity in the state. Whether it is BJP, Congress, Left parties or others, the violence committed by anyone is unjustified and outlawed. CPI(M) govt. in Kerala must not allow the anti-social or criminal elements to take law into their own hands. No matter which party the assailants or attackers belong to, the police must act against them under due process of law. It is the responsibility of Pinarayi Vijayan govt. to maintain law and order in the state at all costs. BJP charges the CPI(M) with state atrocities against its cadres. In the recent past, several BJP or RSS cadres have allegedly been killed by the CPI(M) cadres. Meanwhile, political violence continued unabated in the state. Another BJP worker and auto-rickshaw driver Suresh Sudheesh was attacked in Thalassery in Kannur on Tuesday. He has been admitted to a private hospital. The incident took place near Ponniam bridge in Thalassery. BJP has accused CPM workers of the attack. Police are probing the incident. Political violence in Kerala dates back to decades. Since 2001, at least 120 BJP workers had been killed in the state. Of these 84 were killed in Kannur only. 14 of the killings have been conducted in Pinarai, the hometown of Kerala Chief Minister P Vijayan.To attract the media and national attention, the top leaders of BJP have taken upon themselves to push CPI(M) govt. into the corner by launching Janraksha Campaign in Kerala against ongoing political violence Democracy does not allow violence. There must be opposition in the democracy. The ruling political party in the state or at Centre must not promote violence with the help of state machinery. CPI(M) is ruling in the state of Kerala and BJP is at the Centre. Both are ruling political parties. Their cadres have clashed against one another frequently with the police as mute spectators. Whether it is BJP or CPI(M) cadre, the killing of anyone is a criminal act. So, violence must not be allowed. No cadre of any political party should be encouraged to resort to violence to settle the issue. BJP has taken the murder of its cadres in Kerala seriously. So, most of its central leaders have joined Janraksha campaign in the state. BJP's Janraksha Yatra, the campaign against the ongoing violence in the left ruled Kerala has entered its second week. Even Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also joined the Janraksha Yatra.Union Minister of State for external affairs, General (Retd.) V. K. Singh has also attended the Janraksha Yatra. He has alleged that nearly 250 people have been killed in Kerala owing to political violence in the state. Union Minister of State for health and family welfare, Ashwini Choubey also led a Janraksha Yatra from Delhi's Arambagh to the CPM office in Gole Market. BJP is taking out marches in various parts of the country protesting the killings of BJP and RSS workers and has accused the communist cadre of the violence. Whoever is responsible for the ongoing political violence in the state of Kerala must be exposed before the nation. At present, it is the duty of the state govt. to provide security to all political activists irrespective of their political affiliations.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Abnormal rise in Delhi Metro fare

At last, Metro fare was raised unbearably by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which is straight under the control of Central Govt. The Metro fare hike will directly affect the livelihood of Delhiites as it is connected with it. AAP Govt. and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had strongly opposed the proposal for Metro fare hike, but no heed was paid by the Central govt. Central Govt. is of the view that without adequate expense on the Metro, it cannot provide world-class service. It is right that good service demands good cost. But as Delhi Metro is the lifeline of Delhiites and all of them are not in a position to afford the increased fare, it appears the backbreaking move against the metro riders. They would have to stop availing Metro service and choose some other sources of conveyance cheaper than the Metro. All are not equally well off in Delhi that they would have no problem with the increased fare. More than 80 percent of office goers go to their offices by Metro to reach in time. Metro is preferred because it provides satisfactory, fast and punctual service to the commuters. To go to the office in time daily, Metro is the first and last priority of all Delhiites. As there is no disruption normally in the movement of Metro from this corner to that corner in Delhi, Delhiites had the privilege of doing the job anywhere in the city and distance no longer remained any hurdle for them. In about one and half hours, one can make a round of Delhi. This is the miracle of Delhi Metro. So, a steep rise in Delhi Metro fare will create many problems for, especially, the petty job holders and daily wages earner. They live in one corner because of cheap accommodation in the area and work in another corner only due to the Metro service. It could only be possible because of the running of Metro train. Only in May this year, the Metro fare was raised from Rs.8 to 10 as its first slab. Its impact was felt by Metro in the decreasing trends in its passengers. Now as the steep rise in fare was introduced, the number of commuters will definitely go down. Despite the letter written by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Hardeep Singh Puri, the Minister of State for Tourism, to handover DMRC to Delhi Govt. to manage without raising fare of the Metro, no attention was paid. Instead, Suri said that Metro would meet the same fate as DTC it its fare was not hiked. It is a matter of common knowledge that without adequate expense, one cannot avail good service. But matter here is that the commuters who would avail the high class if they had the capacity to afford the increased fare. So, while increasing the fare in the name of providing better service, the DMRC must have kept in view the affordability of the Metro commuters in Delhi. If the Metro needs immediate financial support to keep it running in the same condition, the Govt. should have taken responsibility of providing adequate funds. Burdening the poor Delhiites more and more is not a good idea of the Narendra Modi govt. Delhiites are not in a position to afford the increased Metro fare. Metro riding is becoming costlier and costlier year by year. Delhi Metro is the lifeline of Delhiites. But it gets costlier from today.As part of the two-phase revision of Metro fares recommended by the Committee, the fare would remain Rs. 10 for the first 2 km, but will subsequently increase by Rs. 10 in each slab, going up to a maximum of Rs. 60.The Metro fares were last revised in May when the minimum tariff was raised from Rs. 8 to Rs. 10.The revised fare structure will be: up to 2 km - Rs. 10, 2-5 km - Rs. 20, 5-12 km - Rs. 30, 12-21 km - Rs. 40, 21-32 km - Rs. 50 and for journeys beyond 32 km - Rs. 60.

Friday, October 6, 2017

A warning to Pakistan

Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa has rightly warned Pakistan that if it dared to do mischief with its tactical nuclear weapons, Indian air force has the capability and ability to locate, fix and strike across the border. Our air force has already shown its valour in 1971 war against Pakistan. But as far as the surgical strike against the terror outfits based across the border is concerned, the decision has to be taken by the govt. It is also the chief characteristics of Indian army that all its three wings- Navy, Army and Air Force- operate in a well-coordinated manner whenever the need arose in the past. Our IAF is well prepared to face any eventuality. Pakistan must know that by dangling nuclear weapons in the air, it cannot strike fear among Indian military personnel. Though Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa's reply to the question of the reporter may appear to be reflecting belligerence, Pak needs to understand that it must not be in any delusion that by dangling nuclear weapon in the air, the Indian army will hesitate to undertake any more surgical strike across the border if terror activities continued to go on. The prowess and the valour of IAF are of highest order. It is so fully equipped with weapons and fighter jets that it can strike across the border with the blink of eyes. Our Air Force is one of the best professional forces in the world. The Govt. of India must see that if Air Force is well-equipped with all the required modern weapons of the time or not. India has to keep its three wings of Army well- prepared to meet any eventuality. As far as India is concerned, it is the first target of terrorists sent by Pakistan. Pakistan is its hostile neighbour and its promotion of terror activities against India must be thwarted at all costs. Air Force has shown its concerns about the safety and security of the country. Pakistan is not only promoting terror against India its army and notorious ISI have greater say in the govt. there also. Pak army always likes to wage war against India despite being badly defeated thrice in the past. Air Chief Marshal has shown his forces' bravery that they will no longer be behind in carrying out surgical strike against Pakistan. Pakistan being the promoter of terror, it cannot face the truth. It is mischievous and wicked. Our brave air force personnel must show their bravery once to Pakistan that even the entire world would come to know that India is no longer prepared to accept any kind of humiliation. The Indian Army in September 2016 had destroyed five terror camps across the LoC. In counter-terror operations, members of the Special Forces from the army were also para-dropped at the spots. Also, as per reports, eight Indian Army soldiers were killed in ceasefire violations in 2016. This loss has risen to 14 soldiers till now in 2017. Incidents of ceasefire violation and infiltration attempts made by Pakistan more than doubled till September end of this year. The ceasefire violations in the year 2016 were 228 and this year, it has reached to 503 attempts till date. Security analysts associate the ceasefire violations with the infiltration bids which are to ingress across the LoC.

PM defends the state of economy

The state of the economy is certainly not in a good shape. There is gloomy atmosphere all around the country in every sector of economic activities. Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying his best to improve the economic situation in the country but it will take time. He has taken several decisions to halt the falling economic growth. He has pursued structural reforms to close all doors of corruption. The encouragement of cashless mode will certainly leave no scope of corruption. The criticism of his economic moves is not only by the opposition leaders but also his own party leaders, which has upset him. That is why while addressing the Golden Jubilee Company Secretaries of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lashed out at the critics of his economic management. Two veteran leaders of his own party BJP and both are former Ministers- Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie- have already expressed their dismay on the fall of GDP by 2 percents in the last quarters. They criticized stingingly and said that PM Modi mismanaged the economy very badly. They also criticized PM's move of demonetization and introduction of GST. Former Finance Minister and veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that GST was an ill-conceived idea and it was hastily implemented. He also criticized the handling of economic affairs by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Shourie said that demonetization was as bold as a suicidal step. Brushing aside all criticism of his economic management, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly defended his economic policy and compared it to the previous UPA govt. and said that in that govt. at least 8 times the GDP had fallen by two per cents. PM has rightly said that fundamentals of Indian economy is very strong so minor jolt to it would make no difference. PM has rightly said that economy of the country is on firm footing and that he will never jeopardize the country's future for the present gains. He has spoken plainly on the state of the economy as he addressed the Golden Jubilee of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. He has rightly attacked those pessimists who were exaggerating the extent of a fall in just a single quarter of growth. The PM said that many experts are in agreement that the fundamentals of the economy are strong and reforms are positive. The Govt. over the past three years has taken several important decisions to improve ease of doing business. PM has assured that economic stability would be maintained, and govt. will take all possible steps to increase investment and speed up economic development. It is correct to say that the country's economy has seen only one such quarter after achieving three years of 7.5 percent growth. The NDA Govt. is fully prepared to restore the growth trajectory. Inflation has been brought down from double-digit levels. The data indicates how the economy is improving both in urban and rural India. FMCG's growth has also increased, and so has production of coal and electricity. The credit offtake has increased and so has investments in the mutual fund. Rural road construction has increased by 50 percent in three years as has a construction in the housing sector. There may be gloom in the economy in the prevailing situation, but spreading pessimism in about it is not in the interest of the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is himself making the sincere effort to bring the economy of the country back on the track and be counted as the fastest-growing economy of the world.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sinha versus Sinha on state of economy

Former Union Finance Minister and veteran BJP leader Yashwant Sinha made a stinging remark on the state of the economy in the Narendra Modi-led NDA govt. in an article published in prestigious English daily. Yashwant Sinha is not only a former finance Minister but also a retired IAS officer, who used to be the Principal Secretary of former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur before joining politics. He was Union Finance Minister in the Vajpayee govt. As far as his academic record is concerned, he is an MA in Economics from Patna University. So, he cannot be a layman so far as his view is concerned on the state of the economy in the country. He may have a personal grudge against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not being given due position in the govt., but the way he criticized economic measures such as demonetization and GST cannot be given a go by. Instead of taking Yashwant Sinha’s criticism in a positive way, the entire Cabinet in the Modi govt. came out to attack him. But at the same time Opposition leaders have rejoiced at Yashwant Sinha's broadside of the economic policy of the Narendra Modi govt. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh defending the Govt. said that India is the fastest growing economy. There are four fastest growing economies in the world and India's position is at fourth. So, India is the fourth fastest growing economy in the world. The Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mr. Jayant Sinha, who is the son of Yashwant Sinha, has also written a blog to defend the economic condition of the country. He is also a well-read person. He is very articulate and has in-depth knowledge of economics. Narendra Modi govt. put him into the service to defend the govt. and he has rebutted his father’s charges against it. The issue appears to have taken the shape of father versus son. Being the son of Yashwant Sinha, the appeal among his caste men is still working. What wrong Yashwant Sinha has said? He opened the public eyes by enumerating the price of essential commodities. Jayant has tried his best to rebut the charges made by his father Yashwant Sinha against the handling of the economy by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yashwant says in his article that as PM Modi has seen poverty from close quarters, so Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ensures that people see poverty from very near. In other words, Yashwant Sinha says that Jailtely ensures making the people poor. He has mishandled the economy. Jayant Sinha rebuts his father’s comments on the status of the economy. He in his blog has said that some "sweeping conclusions" were drawn from a "narrow set of facts", missing the "structural reforms" transforming the economy He said GST, demonetization and digital payments were game-changing efforts to formalize India's economy. He also said India is well on course to achieve 100% village electrification by 2018 with the number of villages remaining to be electrified having decreased to only 4,941 villages by 2017 from 18,452 in 2014. Son’s defence of the govt. doesn’t hold water. It also doesn’t carry weight. Modi govt. must take Yashwant’s broadside of its economic policy seriously at the earliest. Otherwise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may meet Vajpayee’s govt. fate, which was thrown out of power in the very next Lok Sabha elections after five years in 2004 despite the slogan of Shining India.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Indo-US to jointly fight terrorism

The visiting US Defence Secretary James Mattis and India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held talks and resolved to fight terrorism jointly. Both agreed to hold to account those who use terrorism as the instrument of state policy and dismantle the infrastructure that supports it. In the recent years, undoubtedly, the US has come closer to India and strengthened defence and strategic ties with it. But as far as the terrorism to be used as the instrument of state policy is concerned, it is no secret which country adopts this. It is also no secret which country is terrorists' safe havens. The US is the sole superpower of the world. It is also the oldest democracy and India is the largest one in the world. Both are natural allies. Both understand democratic values and both respect them. But in Pakistan despite being the democratically elected government in power, its military rules the roosts. No country knows Pakistan better than the US. Pakistan has been the blue-eyed boy of the US since its inception. In the last few years, especially, after 9/11 when the tentacles of terrorism spread to the US, it started to maintain some distance from it. Now, Pakistan has gone completely into the lap of China. But one thing is certain that when the US' own national interest suffers, it leaves no stone unturned to plug the loopholes existing wherever. Even after a long time, the US got its most wanted terrorist Al-Qaeda boss Osama binLaden killed in Abbottabad near Karachi in Pakistan by its tried and tested Navy SEAL personnel. The US sent its navy personnel without giving any notice to Pakistan. But if the same thing had been done by India to get its most wanted terrorists living in Pakistan with full state patronage, the US itself would have been the first to raise a hue and cry on the international level. Though the US is a very good friend of India, it must treat its friend on equal footing. Despite the US President's Donald Trump's suggestion that India must play a greater role in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Sitharaman has rightly said that India would not send its military in Afghanistan. India has already been playing a vital role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and strengthening democracy there. It has also been experienced that American dignitary speaks one thing in India and just another in Pakistan. US must warn Pakistan that if they continued to use terrorism as the instrument of the state policy, it would pressurize UN to declare it a terrorist state. The US is still the greatest helper of Pakistan. If the US wanted to fight terrorism to finish in reality, no power on earth can support it. One major take away from the talks was also a categorical statement by Nirmala Sitharaman ruling out any troop contribution in Afghanistan. India's position assumes significance given that under the new Afghan policy, the Trump administration wanted greater participation by India in the war-torn nation. After the meeting, Defence Minister clarified that India won't send boots on the ground in Afghanistan and will continue its development and reconstruction efforts in the country. The two countries have agreed to expand their maritime engagements explore additional and specialized military-to-military exercises and re-energise technology sharing, co-development and co-production under Make in India in the defence sector. The two countries agreed that the full implementation of the status of a Major Defence Partner given by the US to India will provide further momentum to their collaboration on defence technology and manufacturing. They also discussed issues relating to maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the broader Asia-Pacific Region as well as regional connectivity issues. It is good that India's strategic partnership with the US is getting stronger and stronger. The need of the hour for the US is to act against the country which has used terrorism as the instrument of state policy and provided safe havens for terrorists.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sushma's befitting reply to Pak

External Affairs Minister of Sushma Swaraj has rightly exposed Pakistan before the world about its achievements and attainments in comparison to India in 70 years since Independence. As there is a difference of few hours of time between the Independence of both the countries, they should develop equally. But here, there is a wide gulf in the development between India and Pakistan. While India is way ahead, Pakistan is on verge of being declared a terrorist state by the international community. India in the last 70 years established a number of IITs, IIMs and AIIMS and produced a large number of engineers, doctors, technocrats, scientists managers of world fame, intellectuals etc., while Pakistan created an army of terrorists and their organizations like LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Haqqani network. The successive governments in India kept itself involved in achieving all-round development. India has become IT super power, while Pakistan has converted itself into the breeding ground for terrorists. Swaraj has also rightly called Pakistan Terroristan. Pakistan is known for promoting terror all over the world while India is known for its intellectual temperament, scientific temper, rich cultural tradition and vibrant democracy. India being the largest democracy of the world, and the successful carrying out of the electoral process by it for the last 70 years is also commendable. While Pakistan has been under its military rule half of the period since its inception. Sushma Swaraj has rightly questioned as to what has Pakistan offered to the world and to its own people apart from terrorism. This way Sushma Swaraj showed the mirror to Pak Prime Minister for his objectionable remarks about the functioning of Indian democracy at UNGA shows her acumen in presenting India’s view at UNGA. Indian doctors, engineers, scientists and others have made their marks in international arena, while Pakistanis are famous for terrorism all over the world. It is also Pak tactics to Keep India engaged in blame game to show the world that it too is not constructive. So, it will be better for India to take no notice of Pak's baseless charges. In a stinging response to Pakistan at the UNGA, Swaraj said that India is completely engaged in fighting poverty, whereas Islamabad seems engaged in fighting New Delhi. India must respond to Pak Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi’s goof up at the UN where she had shown pictures of Palestinian victims and tried to pass them off as 'evidence' of atrocities on Kashmiris. The picture used by Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN was reported by a number of media outlets as that of Rawia Abu Joma'a, a 17-year-old girl injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza city in 2014. Rawia's picture was taken by award-winning photographer Heidi Levine. It is not goof up made by Maleeha Lodhi but it was her deliberate attempt to defame India’s democracy before the world. She must be rebuffed without any loss of time so that the world could know about Pak's knavery.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Varanasi on development pedestal

Being the parliamentary constituency of the top Executive of the country, Varanasi is bound to see the light of the day. It is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Before being PM’s parliamentary constituency, Varanasi is known all over the world as the holiest city in India. It is also the religious and cultural centre of the country. Above all, Varanasi is the abode of Lord Shiva (Baba Vishwanath). As far as the development of the Varanasi is concerned, it first needs cleanliness then development. It is also known for narrow lanes. First of all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have ordered the civic body of Varanasi to keep the city neat and clean. Varanasi has also historical importance. The Ganges is said to be dirty in Varanasi and despite crores of rupees spent on her cleanliness, she remained dirty. PM Modi during the tour of his constituency should have taken serious note of it. PM has launched a bouquet of development projects and dedicated to the nation a Trade Facilitation Centre and Crafts Museum for weavers and artisans in Varanasi. It will certainly boost cultural heritage of the city and help increase the income of weavers and artisans. About 95,500 weavers in his constituency will be benefited. This Trade Facilitation Centre has been named after Deen Dayal Upadhya. PM's visit to Varanasi will certainly bring happiness and well-being for the weavers and craftsmen. Weavers and craftsmen will be economically benefited by several projects launched by the PM during his tour of the constituency. Being the VVIP constituency of the nation, Varanasi deserves all development projects' execution properly and speedily. By visiting Varanasi, PM Modi has shown that he is committed to the development of Kashi whom he had treated as his mother and on whose call he fought Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi as Prime Ministerial candidate. Undoubtedly, PM is development oriented and he keeps the issue of progress and peace as the top priority of his government. PM has also dedicated to the nation a state of the art Trade facilitation Centre named Deendayal Hast Kala Sankul and inaugurated the Crafts Museum.Craftsmen can now showcase their work at a global level and sell their crafts directly to buyers as well as preserve their heritage. PM also tried his hand at the digital interactive section that showcases the art and culture of Varanasi. Of special interest was the digital carpet in the carpet weaving display section of the Museum. Prime Minister had rightly said that the solution to every problem lies in development.He said that other parties are focused on only winning the elections, the goal of his government is the welfare of the poor. The Deen Dayal Hast Kala Sankul is an indispensable and necessary step to help weavers and artisans of Varanasi to preserve their heritage while integrating into the Global economy. This state of the art facility will certainly prove to be a boon for many. PM Modi has rightly criticized the previous UPA govt. for its lethargic approach towards development that resulted in great loss of time and money of the country.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Security is govt. domain

There must be a clear line of demarcation among the four wings- Judiciary, Legislature, Executive and the Press- in the democratically elected govt. As far as the matter of national security is concerned, it completely comes under the domain of executive and the legislature. Govt. of India has rightly filed an affidavit on Rohingya issue in the Supreme Court that decision to deport is an executive policy decision. Whether it is illegal Rohingya immigrants or anyone else who poses threat to the security of the nation must not be allowed to live in the country. These days, there has been an exodus of Rohingyas from the Rakhine province of Myanmar in large numbers because of a military offensive against them into Bangladesh, from where they are also crossing over to the bordering states of India adjacent to it. Rohingyas in large number are driven into Bangladesh across the border by the Myanmar military personnel. Myanmar slaps charges on ARSA, a terror outfit of Rohingya Muslims, who are bent on creating mayhem there, for the attack on its military personnel killing nine on August 25. Since then Myanmar army launched a military offensive against the Rohingyas who are allegedly in contact with terror organizations and IS. Myanmar alleges that Rohingyas are involved in carrying out terror acts and the military personnel are generally targeted. Though thousands of Rohingyas leave the Rakhine province of Myanmar for Bangladesh and from there some of them easily sneak into India, posing a security threat. Bangladesh High Commissioner already met Foreign Secretary Jaishankar and apprised him of the situation in view of a big exodus of Rohingyas from Rakhine province. They are reportedly pushed into Bangladesh. There are reportedly 40, 000 illegal immigrants (Rohingyas) living in India in different states and pose a serious threat to the security of the country. The govt. of India has taken right decision to deport all the illegal immigrants (Rohingyas) living in India. Illegal Rohingyas must not be allowed to live in India. India is also not under any obligation to take care of Rohingyas as a mark of humanitarian help. Only the genuine citizens of India have the right to stay here. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly looked the other way from the issue of Rohingya, while traveling to Myanmar. As Myanmar is India’s trusted, close and tradition friend, it cannot offend it on the issue of Rohingyas. First of all, it is the responsibility of the govt. to take care of all its citizens, who are legally living here. The Centre’s affidavit says many Rohingyas figure in suspected sinister designs of ISI and ISIS and other extremist groups who want to achieve their ulterior motives in India including that of flaring up communal and sectarian violence in sensitive areas of the country. The Govt. says intelligence inputs show that illegal Rohingya immigrants in areas like Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat have links with terror organizations while some are involved in an organized influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar through agents and touts. National security ranks highest on country's list of priorities given its geopolitical influence in the region and its vulnerability to cross-border infiltration due to the porous nature of its borders. The Central Government observed that some Rohingyas are mobilizing funds through hawala channels, procuring fake documents and indulging in human trafficking. Many have managed to acquire fake Indian identity documents like PAN and voter cards. The affidavit makes it clear that the fundamental right to reside and settle in any part of India is available to citizens only and not to illegal immigrants. While treating the issue as a highly sensitive one, the government will take a decision in the national interest. Govt. must take a decision in the national interest. It is the sovereign right of Myanmar to deal with its own people. India need not interfere in internal security affairs of other countries. Rohingyas have posed a security threat to Myanmar military personnel because of disaffection among them. The best thing would be to find an amicable solution to the problems through talks.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sindhu made India proud

Rio Olympic silver-medalist P.V. Sindhu took a sweet revenge of her World Championship defeat to Nozomi Okuhara by beating the Japanese opponent in the pulsating final match of the Korea Super Series badminton tournament. It was an exhilarating summit showdown that lasted one hour and 24 minutes, the ace shuttler produced a spirited performance as she bounced back from a game down to register a 22-20, 11-21, 21-18 win over Okuhara and eventually lift the third Super Series title. Badminton star PV Sindhu has made India proud by winning the Korea Superseries title in Seoul, South Korea with her brilliant performance. She is an extra-ordinary Badminton player who has displayed her talent in Badminton at several international stages. The entire nation is proud of her well-accomplished act on the field of sports. Sindhu is our sports icon. All of us are proud of her scintillating performance on the field. The entire nation has congratulated for her thumping performance. It is not the first time that Sindhu has made us proud. She has already performed brilliantly and won several awards for the nation at various international level sports competitions and matches in the past. The govt. of India must pay adequate attention to encourage more and more girls to participate in the sports of their choices. This is the time of women empowerment in every field of activity. Women are no less in any field than the men. The Hyderabadi shuttler staged a brilliant fight back to take a big lead in the mid-break of the decider and finally win the trophy despite a late surge from Okuhara. With the victory, Sindhu has become the first Indian to win the Korea Open Super Series title.World No. 4 Sindhu, who had won the China Super Series Premier last year and clinched the India Super Series and Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold this season, had earlier settled with the bronze medal at the World Badminton Championship after going down against Okuhara 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 in the finals in Glasgow. PV Sindhu has talent, technique and will to win the matches. She is always aggressive on the field. She is the pride of the nation, Sports ministry must take appropriate steps to encourage women sportspersons to play on large scale. At one point in time, the position of Sindhu weakened, but with the grace of God, she made a great fight back and won the match. The entire nation is grateful to her. She has done a miracle. Sports ministry must take a special step to encourage and confer awards on her. The days are not far off when she would emerge as the world champion of Badminton and hold the No.1 position.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Take decisive action against terror

British Prime Minister Theresa May has rightly warned of an imminent terror attack. She has warned after the yesterday’s attack on Tube train. She brought terror threat in Britain from severe to a critical level. It means that the terror attack on Britain is imminent. She also rightly ordered to replace police officers on guard duties with military personnel. British Security and intelligence agencies failed to get a scent of terror attack beforehand. There has been this type of terror attack on a tube train in Britain earlier also. Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the explosion in which 29 people were hurt after an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasted on a Tube train at the Parsons Green Station. The joint terrorism and analysis centre, the independent organization responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of available intelligence has now decided to raise it from severe to critical. This is the fourth time that the assessment has been placed at the highest level in the past 11 years.The UK's threat level was upgraded from "severe" to "critical" on May 23 following the Manchester bombing on May 22, in which a bomb exploded in the foyer of Manchester Arena moments after US pop star Ariana Grande left the stage. The attack left 22 dead and 59 injured. Britain has been a strong ally of the US-led International fight against terrorism. This is not the first time that terror attack on Britain Tube train took place. The US formed an international coalition when its own sovereignty was challenged by 9/11 terror attack. The US in a fit of rage called a meeting to form an international coalition to fight terror to finish. But it did not succeed in its aim. The US invaded Afghanistan to hold catch of the perpetrators of 9/11 and throw outlawed Taliban regime out. Since the terror had hurt it directly, it took initiative to fight against it unitedly. Otherwise, it did not pay any attention. This is the double standard in its approach towards terror. Britain has also been a very strong ally of an international coalition led by the US to fight against terror. Until and unless the entire western countries rise above self-interest and make concerted effort against terrorism, it can never be finished. Which one of the big 5 powers of the world does not know that terror emanates from Pakistan? It is the breeding ground of terror. The terror incident happening anywhere in the world has its roots in Pakistan. Despite knowing this, even one of the five big powers supports Pakistan on the issue of terror only because it hurts India most. So, as long as this tendency of double standard persists among the big 5 powers, the fight against terrorism will remain incomplete. Whether it is IS, LeT, Jaish or al-Qaeda, all must be flushed out of the world by a united attempt. And as long as the tendency that this terror is good or that terror is bad persists, nothing can be achieved and terror will continue to flourish all over the world. If the terror attack is not pre-empted, the merely upgrading of the threat level is of no use. With upgrading the threat level, the security arrangement must also be made to that proportion. British security agencies are required to be alert always to thwart any terror attack in advance.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Strengthening relation between India and Japan

The warmth, affection, and affinity shown towards Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Ahmedabad by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amply reflect how close these two countries are with each other. It is PM Modi's personal touch that he makes the world leaders visiting India his friends. He develops a personal rapport with Japanese PM Shinzo, who had also visited Kashi in 2015 along with PM Modi. India being the largest democracy of the world, the leaders of all developed countries keep PM Modi in the highest esteem. Both PM Modi and visiting Japanese PM Shinzo signed a number of agreements between the two countries. In the joint declaration issued by both the leaders, there has been specific mention of terror organizations like LeT, Jaish, and others based in Pakistan. They favour immediate action against the terror outfits. Pakistan has provided them safe havens. Prime Minister Shinzo supported India's demand of bringing perpetrators of 26/11 and Pathankot terror attack to justice. It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's effort that the name of Pak-based terror organizations like Let and Jaish got mentioned in Brics Declarations at Xiamen of China, despite the displeasure of the host. It is the personality of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that dominates every international meeting and platform. All the world leaders are found of PM Modi's charismatic personality. As PM Modi had promised to introduce Bullet train in India during the Lok Sabha elections if elected to power, he delivered on that by taking a loan of 1.1 lakh crore rupees on a nominal interest from Japan. Bullet train is the sign of development. Japan has shown readiness in providing all assistances to complete the track laying work speedily. The inauguration of the Bullet train foundation, which is to run between Ahmadabad and Mumbai, has already been done. Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Abe laid the foundation stone for the proposed Ahmadabad-Mumbai High-Speed Rail Network, known as the bullet train, at Ahmadabad. Prime Minister Modi has rightly said that 'friend' Japan gave India a loan worth Rs. 88,000 crore at 0.1 per cent interest and further praised Prime Minister Abe for taking a personal interest in the bullet train project and ensuring that it fructifies into something huge for India. As per the railway ministry officials, the operating speed of the bullet train will be 320 kilometers per hour and the maximum speed will be 350 kilometers per hour. With this, India has become the first to import the iconic 'Shinkansen' bullet-train technology after Taiwan. The Japanese Govt. has also agreed to fund the project at minimum interest rates. Undoubtedly, PM Modi is a development-oriented politician. He has left his imprint on all world leaders, and all respect him very much. Japan has been a good old friend of India. It has rightly condemned the nuclear tests undertaken by North Korea time and again. Japan has been the worst affected country by a nuclear explosion. PM's pet projects of Skill India, Digital, India, Make in India and Stand UP India were appreciated by the visiting Japanese PM Shinzo. Japan invested USD 4.7 billion in India during 2016-2017, which is 80 per cent higher than the last year. The initiatives like the Ease of Doing Business, Skill India or Make in India show that India is transforming. PM Modi has rightly urged the Japanese business community to open the maximum number of Japanese restaurant chains in India. This visit of PM Shinzo is very successful from India’s point of view as it has not only got heavy investment from Japan but also full-throated support to fight against Pak-sponsored terrorism. A new hope pouring in investment from outside has dawned on India with the visit of Japanese PM Shinzo.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Morale booster to Cong, strong jolt to BJP in DUSU elections

The result of DUSU elections is a booster to the sagging Congress morale and a very strong jolt to the ruling BJP at the Centre. Delhi University being the most prestigious in the country, the message which goes out of it has a great significance. It is the first time in four years that Congress grabbed the post of President in Delhi University Students' Union elections. The posts of president and vice president went to Congress and Secretary and Joint Secretary went to BJP. From any parameter of political standard, it can easily be deduced that the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone down among the students of DU, JNU, Punjab and Rajasthan University where the elections to students' union have recently been held. Whether the BJP accepts it or not, one thing that clearly indicates is that the students’ community dislikes the politics of division, discrimination, distortion, deviousness, and recrimination, which is being promoted and played by the fringe groups of the ruling political party. The students want peace, progress, employment, and co-existence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have realized that by only giving long speech extempore and doing nothing on the ground among the people are bound to fall flat. Preaching cannot fill the empty stomachs of the people. The youth had wholeheartedly supported PM Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with great hope. They chanted 'Modi, Modi very loudly as a sign of their approval to him, who now appears to be realizing that he is no different from his predecessors. The hastily introduced GST and whimsically implemented demonetization has now proved to be great failures. The market is getting gloomier and gloomier and economic growth has come down by two per cents. The employment opportunities are shrinking day by day in contrary to the promises made by PM Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha elections that if voted to power, his govt. would generate 2 Crore jobs every year for the youth of the country. The reality is that even 2 lakh jobs have not been created in any one of the three years of BJP govt. The condition of Jammu and Kashmir is getting worse and worse. It appears that Modi govt. is directionless and has no policy on Kashmir. Realizing the all round disillusionment prevailing in the country, the students of DU have given a very appropriate message to BJP to awake within the time. Otherwise, it would face the same fate as Congress faced in 2014. The vote of the people must not be taken for granted by politicians. The BJP may say that DUSU result will have no impact on the popularity graph of PM, but one thing is crystal clear that BJP must read the writing on the wall. Otherwise, it is bound to be thrown out. Only tall speech of PM is no longer taken seriously by the people. Congress must also be not in any delusion that with the victory in DU, it has won the battle. Its battle has begun now and be fought democratically to take to the logical end. Congress is also required to cast off its lethargy and overhaul organizational set-ups from the village to the national units as soon as possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

An endeavour to communicate with people

Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi is on a two-week visit to the US. He addressed there the students of California University, Berkley on 'India at 70: Reflections on the Path of Forward'. Mr. Gandhi spoke on a wide of range of topics. He attacked Narendra Modi govt. at the Centre. His sharp criticism of Modi govt. has unnerved the ruling BJP. He hit the BJP hard. To defend the govt., almost all important ministers and spokespersons of the party came out before the press to blast Rahul Gandhi and called him a failed dynast. Rahul said that Modi govt. failed on all counts. Prime Minister Modi’s hastily taken decision of introducing GST without giving much thought to it and his move of demonetization brought the GDP growth down to two percents. Though Rahul Gandhi candidly admitted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a better communicator than he, his failure on all fronts has caused dismay in the country. On the issue of dynastic politics in India, he rightly said that most of the states' politics is controlled by dynastic politics. So, it will be an exaggeration of the fact on the ground that only Nehru-Gandhi family members represent dynastic politics. Rahul Gandhi rightly said that Mr. Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. M K Stalin in Tamil Nadu, Anurag Singh in Himachal Pradesh and Abhishek Bachchan in Bollywood, are all dynasts. From the South to the North almost every political family pursues dynastic politics. Dynastic politics plays a major role in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh etc. In almost all states, the CM grooms his son as immediate successor in politics. In Himachal Pradesh former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal's son Anurag Singh has already been trained to take the charge of CM if ever the opportunity came his way. Badals family in Punjab is famous for ruling the state. In Bihar, Lalu's son Tejswi Yadav has been groomed to take over all political assignments of the family. This way, it is wrong to say that only Rahul Gandhi represents the dynatic politics. With the elapse of three years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's govt., vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused him of massively opening up space for the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Rahul Gandhi has rightly said that when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress, was in power, he had worked with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior leaders like P. Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh to resolve the problems facing Jammu and Kashmir for nine years. He blames PM Modi for destroying the hope and aspiration of Kashmiris. The situation in Kashmir is getting worse and worse. Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed so far to act to bring the normalcy in the region. It is correct that Narendra Modi govt. has neither given policy nor direction. India's Kashmir policy appears to be directionless. Gandhi would interact with global thinkers and political leaders, and address overseas Indians as part of an outreach initiative by his party, during his U.S. visit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

India to play greater role in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is India's tried, tested and traditional friend. From the point of view of culture and civilization, India and Afghanistan have been very closely attached since time immemorial. Afghanistan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has held delegation level talks with Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj aimed at advancing 'India Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Council'in New Delhi and agreed to remain united in dealing with the challenges posed by cross border terrorism. Both India and Afghanistan are faced with the problems of cross border terrorism. The sanctuaries and safe havens are provided to terrorists against India and Afghanistan. They are provided all assistances to create mayhem in these two countries. Without naming Pakistan, both the countries hinted adequately about its involvement in aiding and abetting terrorism. Since the beginning, India has been playing an important role in rebuilding and reconstructing Afghanistan, which was devastated by the Taliban. Despite the loss of precious lives and property, India never retraced its steps from helping Afghanistan. Apart from being an old and close friend of India, Afghanistan is also very strategically important. Due to Afghanistan's strategic importance, it India's obligation to be present there with men and material to build and reconstruct it. India has been constantly helping the civilian govt. of Afghanistan in its fight against cross border terrorism. Pakistan never liked Afghanistan to be closer to India. But it is a matter of importance that Afghanistan always preferred India to Pakistan whenever the question before it arose to choose between the two. India's presence in Afghanistan and its deep involvement in rebuilding and reconstructing it have always been an eye-sore for Pakistan. So, the need of the hour for both the countries to remain united like a rock against the onslaught of terrorism. Even the entire world knows that most of the terrorists are reported to be found at the place where Afghans regularly visit. The time has come for India and Afghanistan to remain united against all odds placed in the way by Pakistan. Pakistan is a very notorious country and its ISI is always on look out to create mayhem to make the security affairs vulnerable. After the talks, four agreements were exchanged in areas like health and transport between Afghanistan and India. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has rightly said without naming Pakistan that India remains united in overcoming the challenges posed by cross border terrorism and safe havens and sanctuaries to both our countries. India supports national peace and reconciliation in an atmosphere free from violence and within the framework of Afghanistan’s Constitution.It has been and will continue to work with the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to build a secure, stable, peaceful, prosperous, united and inclusive nation. Ministry of External Affairs has said that both ministers jointly agreed to embark on a New Development Partnership in keeping with the priorities of Afghanistan and the main focus will continue on building governance and democratic institutions; human resource capacity and skill development. The visit of Afghanistan foreign minister to India assumes a greater importance that it is being undertaken in view of US President’s Donal Trump’s suggestion that India should play a bigger role in Afghanistan.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Myanmar rebuffs ARSA’s truce offer

Since the insurgency broke out on August 25 by a group of Rohingyas in the Rakhine province of Myanmar, the chain of violence set in motion. Rohingya insurgents have reportedly killed 12 security officers of Myanmar. The Myanmar military launched an offensive against the Rohingya Muslims, who are largely the inhabitants of Rakhine province. It has been reportedly estimated that at least 1000 Rohingyas were killed in a military offensive against the insurgents. Thousands of Rohingyas are fleeing the Rakhine state. Their exodus on large scale in Bangladesh creates another problem of humanitarian crisis. The condition of Rohingya Muslims is reportedly getting worse and worse in the province of Rakhine. They are crying for food and shelter. Every country has its sovereign right to protect and maintain its peace and security. Rohingya insurgents try to create mayhem in Myanmar. So, Myanmar military has toughened its stand against them. The offer of truce for a limited period by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) was rebuffed by the Myanmar. It is not prepared to negotiate amid ongoing violence in Rakhine province of the country. Rohingyas are facing humanitarian crisis and the international organization UNHCR has taken note of the situation. Bangladesh is itself financially constraint. The refugees from Myanmar rushing into Bangladesh across the border have become unmanageable for it. So, Bangladesh High Commissioner has also met Indian Foreign Secretary to brief him on the problem arising out of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar in Bangladesh. The issue requires serious attention of the international community to resolve it. Myanmar is also right in saying that there could be no negotiation with terrorists. It rightly believes terror and talk cannot go together. Myanmar says its security forces are carrying out clearance operations to defend against the ARSA, which the government has declared a terrorist organization.The ARSA in Myanmar's Rakhine state had declared a month-long ceasefire starting on Sunday after more than two weeks of violence and called on the Myanmar Govt. to respond in the same manner. At least 294,000 ethnic Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh since fighting broke out on August 25, according to a situation report from the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Bangladesh. The report said $77 million in funding was needed to deliver urgent aid to the new arrivals. Rohingyas are not recognized by Myanmar as its citizens and are called Bengali by them and leaders of countries with majority Muslim populations including Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh have led efforts to increase pressure on the Myanmar government. According to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, so far, an estimated 270,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from the violence affected Myanmar's Northern Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh where the limited shelter capacity is already exhausted. Amid a dramatic increase in the number of refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar's Northern Rakhine state, UNHCR has rightly called for urgent action to address the root causes of the recent surge in violence, so that people are no longer compelled to flee and can eventually return home in safety and dignity. It is the urgent requirement of the international community to sit together and find out a solution to the problems of violence in the Rakhine province of Myanmar. The violence is stated to be espoused by Rohingya insurgents. All human beings must live safely with dignity.