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Archives for : Narendra Modi

Open letter to Mr Modi, Prime Minister of India: Ambedkar Museum, London

ambedkarstatue

London, 14 November 2015

An open letter to Mr Modi, Prime Minister of IndiaAmbedkar Museum, London

Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar remains a paramount champion for social reform both in India and beyond. In his Constitution, he far-sightedly incorporated principles of equality and human dignity by outlawing the perniciousness of Untouchablity which remains a scourge in India and the diaspora, Britain included. In it he framed a set of fundamental rights to equality, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and personal liberty. His work in the 1950s championing the liberation of women in India will continue to inspire people around the globe for generations.

In spite of the principles of Dr Ambedkar’s Constitution, crimes against Dalits continue to rise. Furthermore, reported crimes are just the tip of the iceberg. Each day two Dalit men, women, or children are murdered and five Dalit women are raped. Toleration, freedom of religion and the personal right to choose ones faith particularly in the context of Dalits, and freedom of speech are being eroded while sadly the Government remains silent or mouths platitudes. In the wake of this, Dalits, Ambedkarites and groups that represent such communities in the UK have justifiably raised their voice against these atrocities and against your visit.

Prime Minister, you have visited the Ambedkar Museum in London today against a background of rising tensions in India and robust and vocal indignation about your visit here. Many see your visit as appropriating Ambedkar’s name for party political gain. Babasaheb stands tall above this. I hope your visit to the Ambedkar Museum is your commitment to take a lead in translating his message and his legacy into real action in India and deliver real social change at home. T

here is an urgent need to reform local, state, and national justice systems and to make the police force register, process and prosecute crimes against Dalits. As the dismal conviction rates indicate, justice for Dalits is wanting in a casteist society where more often than not the perpetrators walk free. Where this happens, punish the police for dereliction of duty and pursue corruption. You and your government are under international scrutiny.

The initiative of the Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK to acquire the house where Dr Ambedkar lived from 1921 to 1922 must be a beacon to the world for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. These are the values Dr Ambedkar cherished and put into practice.

When opened, the Museum ought to be the symbol of hope for those fighting for justice, equality and social reform worldwide, including those fighting for justice for victims of caste-based discrimination in the UK. The legislation agreed by Parliament in 2013 is being robustly resisted by the Hindu groups in the UK who argue there is no such thing as caste discrimination. The true reality is, when people get off the plane in Manchester, they do not leave their caste prejudices behind in Mumbai.

In defining the partnership between India and UK, going forward from your speech in Parliament on 12 November, you committed to drawing on the life’s work of Dr Ambedkar in terms of “building a future of social equality, opportunity, and dignity for all humans and peace among people.” This now needs to be backed by concrete actions, and not just rhetoric by the Government of India.

The Ambedkar Museum needs to be developed and managed transparently in order to deliver the purpose it was bought for. This can be achieved only with the involvement of Dalits and Ambedkarites in UK in its making and administration.

Ms Santosh Dass, MBE
President, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhists Organisations UK

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#ModiFail- USA Protests- Diverse communities join hands to counter the Modi PR machine

San Jose, CA: September 27, 2015: Passionate crowds of protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with loud slogans and a sea of placards upon his arrival at San Jose’s SAP Center for a stage-managed Silicon Valley “community reception.” The posters, chants, and surprise banner drop challenged the Modi PR team’s attempts to whitewash the controversial politician’s record. The protest was the culmination of a month-long campaign to educate Silicon Valley leaders and elected officials about Modi’s troubling human rights record.
The Indian American community is sharply split on Modi’s performance during his first year in office, and that was obvious in the huge crowds of protesters filling up the designated protest zones and sidewalks in front of the SAP Center. Organizers estimated the number of protesters above 2,000. In addition to the Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA), a large progressive umbrella group, other groups also gathered in front of the SAP Center—most notably the Sikh community that showed up in large numbers.
We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, which was much higher than we anticipated,” said Bhajan Singh, a community leader with the AJA. People came from cities as far away as Los Angeles. The numbers are a testament to the strong feelings that Modi evokes because of his poor record on religious rights, women’s rights, caste, digital freedom, LGBTQ equality, and environmental justice.”
Protesters enacted a “die in” to dramatize the attacks against Muslims, Christians, Dalits, women, and other communities that are occurring with increasing frequency under the Modi administration. As in India, Modi die-hards threatened and attacked protesters, including Dalit and LGBTQ Indians, leaving them shaken.
Local Politicians Not Impressed
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in whose district the event took place, chose not to attend. Congressman Honda, who has the largest number of Indian American constituents, issued a statement stating that he is “well aware of the controversy that surrounds Prime Minister Modi’s visit…I will neither overlook nor forget my duty to be a strong advocate for human rights.” Ro Khanna, who is running against Honda, issued a statement saying the US-India partnership “must be rooted in a respect for civic dissent, for human rights, for a robust public square that engages NGOs, and for religious tolerance and liberty.” AJA ran an outreach campaign to local elected officials, educating them on Modi’s failed civil rights record; many subsequently declined the Modi invite.
Speakers representing the wide variety of groups in the alliance addressed the gathering and the media. They recounted the repeated and increasing violence visited upon India’s most vulnerable communities by Modi’s government and his supporters.
Said Virali Modi-Parekh, “Modi talks about Digital India, while ignoring millions of Digital Indians demanding an end to Internet censorship, restrictions on online privacy, and arrests of social media users.” Added Neil Tangri, “Since 2014, the Modi government has tried to shut down Indian civil society organizations, including targeting frontline groups, cracking down thousands of NGOs like Greenpeace India and the Sierra Club, and intimidating journalists who expose inconvenient facts.
It’s important to compare Narendra Modi’s words versus his actions,” explained Sabiha Basrai of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action. “This is a man being praised for tweeting #SelfieWithDaughter, even though he actually slashed funding for the Ministry of Women and Child Development by 50 per cent just months before.” Imam Zaid Shakir said, “Modi was banned from the United States by successive administrations for his egregious human rights violations. Winning an election doesn’t change the facts.
Protesters held signs, chanted, and connected with communities impacted by Modi’s regressive policies in India via social media. The die-in honored those who have lost their lives due to Modi’s policies, ranging from victims of the Gujarat genocide to the 100,000 Indians who die every year due to the dirty coal expanded by Modi. An actor donned a Modi mask to stage a mock trial, indicting him for his involvement in the pogroms of Gujarat in 2002.
The month-long campaign included some of the following highlights:
Billboard campaign
The Modi PR team announced to the media that they raised nearly a million dollars from companies wanting to do business in India, in order to whitewash his image with the SAP Center reception. AJA responded by launching a billboard campaign telling the other side of the story. The billboards were linked to the #ModiFail campaign, which highlighted the gap between Prime Minister Modi’s words and his actions.
Zuck, Wash Your Hands!
A week before Modi’s arrival, Silicon Valley residents started mailing packages of Purell hand sanitizer to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, so he could wash off the stain after shaking hands with Narendra Modi, who was accused by Human Rights Watch of presiding over the killings of about 2,000 Muslims in 2002. Over 250 bottles have already been sent, with more pouring in; each package is dedicated to a named victim of the Gujarat pogroms.
The Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA) is an Indian American coalition working to address attacks on Indian communities. We stand up for India’s religious minorities, women, LGBTQ people, marginalized castes, Dalits, and adivasis — as well as everyone who loves a safe and clean environment, free speech, digital freedom, and the right to openly debate and disagree.
PROTEST PHOTOS:

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What are the best Achievements by BJP after forming the Government?

achhe

Then: Modi government plans 660 Centres for women violence
victims
Now: Modi govt to build just 36 of the 660 promised rape crisis
centers

Then: Aadhaar not approved by Parliament, says BJP
Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhaar project a political gimmick with
no vision Not afraid of Nilekani Aadhaar a national threat:
BJP’s Ananth Kumar ‘Will Scrap Aadhaar, Revive National
Population Registry’
Now: PM Modi sees advantage for BJP government from UID
scheme. Modi govt to give legal backing to Aadhaar –

Then: Ceasefire violations should not be politicised, says PM Modi
Now: Opinion: Where’s The Pakistan Tough Talk Now, Modiji?
Narendra Modi on Twitter
Congress targets PM over his ceasefire violations remarks

Then: Full statehood for Delhi is top BJP priority | The Asian Age
BJP demands full statehood for Delhi, Congress sees politics
Dikshit failed to get full statehood for Delhi: Harsh Vardhan
BJP releases ‘Delhi-specific’ manifesto ahead of Lok Sabha polls
Now: Modi may not grant Delhi full statehood

Then: Pics: Land Acquisition Bill passed; gets majority support from BJP
No ordinance to amend land acquisition law, law min Gowda says
Sushma Swaraj’s pro-farmer stand on Land Acquisition Bill
Now: Govt approves ordinance to ease Land Acquisition Act for reforms
Stringent Land Acq. law to be amended without Opposition’s support

Then: Will Modi’s ‘swacch bharat’ spell acche din for Indian hygiene?
Cabinet approves 5-year-long ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission
Now: Modi has just washed his hands off Swacch Bharat in budget
Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is nothing but a UPA scheme

2007: We will re-negotiate nuclear deal: BJP
2014: Ahead of Modi’s US trip, IAEA pact ratified .
AEA to get more access to India’s nuclear programme.

Then: 1962 Indo-China war secret report ‘blames’ Nehru;
BJP demands the document be made public
Now: In U-turn, Modi govt rules out release of Henderson Brooks report
Jaitley Wanted China War Report Declassified, Changes Opinion

Then: No talks till Dawood and Saeed are handed over, demands BJP
Now : Pakistan PM to attend inauguration of India’s Narendra Modi

Then: BJP warns against removal of AFSPA – The Times of India
Now: After Article 370, BJP does a U-turn on AFSPA in J&K

Then: BJP wanted files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose made public
Now: U-turn: BJP govt won’t make Netaji files public
BJP following Congress path in suppressing facts on Netaji

Then: BJP to oppose land boundary agreement with Bangladesh
Now: PM Narendra Modi endorses UPA’s land swap deal with Bangladesh

Then: BJP against hiking FDI cap to 49 per cent in insurance sector
Now: Determined BJP seeks to table insurance, GST Bills
Insurance bill: The reasons behind BJP’s puzzling about-turn
Then: Congress opposed to being covered by RTI; BJP sees no wrong
Now: BJP reverses stand on bringing parties under RTI

Then: Uma Bharti promises clean Ganga in 3 years
Now: Cleaning Ganga will take 18 yrs massive investment, Centre tells SC

Then: BJP, Left hit out at interim budget

Now: Jaitley’s maiden budget is like Chidambaram’s with a saffron lipstick
BJP at pains to explain why Budget is not an extension of UPA’s

Then: We’ll bring back black money in 150 days: BJP president
Will bring back black money in 100 days: BJP chief Rajnath Singh

Now: Never talked about bringing black money in 100 days: Govt
Black money: Back to square one, list same as last June, says SIT
BJP falling into black money ditch: SIT report will embarrass Modi
Black money case: Most accounts cleared or closed
Have BJP’s white lies on black money been nailed?

Then: Nirmala says no to FDI in multi-brand retail
BJP not to support more FDI in insurance, pension sectors

Now: Govt departs from BJP to let FDI stay in multi-brand retail
Modi signals BJP rethink on multi-brand retail FDI
BJP may consider higher FDI in insurance, but not in retail
BJP not against FDI in pension, insurance, wants to see fine print
‘Guj will be among the 1st to implement FDI in retail’ – Opinion
BJP To Welcome FDI In Defence
How vibrant is the Gujarat growth story?
Gujarat, the gateway to India: fact or farce?
Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit

Then: Narendra Modi opposes GST
Now: Modi’s GST U-turn set to make India single market for first time

Then: BJP not in favour of privatisation of railways: Rajnath Singh
Now: Govt outlines areas open for FDI in railways

Then: PM Modi Hints at Private Involvement to Modernise Railway Stations
Now: PM Narendra Modi rules out privatisation of Railways

Then: Raise I-T slab to Rs 5 lakh, demands Arun Jaitley
Now: Tax Exemption Limit Raised to Rs 2.5 Lakh

Then: BJP dubs loan waiver as fraudulent propaganda by UPA
Now: Chandrababu Naidu to waive off farm loans totalling Rs 54,000 crore

Then: BJP calls for direct transfer of subsidies
Now: Modi’s Jan Dhan Yojana a free loan Mela without cash transfers
Jan Dhan Yojana has all the characteristics of bad old loan melas

Then: BJP hails PM Modi’s Jan Dhan Yojana
Now: NDA copying UPA’s financial inclusion plan: Congress
It’s an UPA scheme: Congress on Jan Dhan Yojna’s launch today

Then: Train fare hike unacceptable, says BJP
DMK opposes railway fare hike, BJP wants rollback
Now: BJP defends railway fare hike, puts blame on UPA

Then: We condemn the decision to deregulate diesel prices, says BJP
Now: Govt raises diesel price, puts limit on LPG subsidy
BJP allies want diesel subsidy to continue

Then: People won’t spare congress for fixing LPG cap:BJP
LPG cylinder cap will be increased to 24 if BJP voted to power
Now: Eye trained on deficit, FinMin pushes for lowering LPG cap
Raising LPG cap was UPA mistake, oil minister to tell Modi govt
Center to deregulate diesel prices, reduce LPG cap

Then: BJP slams price hike of non subsidized LPG cylinders
LPG cylinder price hiked, cylinder to now cost Rs.921
LPG price hike: BJP slams govt, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi
Now: LPG price hiked by Rs 16.50 per cylinder
LPG price hike to affect only 1% of consumers: Government
Non-subsidised LPG price hiked by Rs 16.50 per cylinder on

Then: Government’s ‘pink revolution’ destroying cattle, says Modi
Now: ABP investigation: Modi govt’s biggest U-turn on ‘Pink Revolution

Then: Haryana: bjp’s manifesto released, promise 24 hrs electricity supply
Haryana polls: BJP promises to develop the state capital
Now: Can’t assure 24×7 power in this term: CM – The Times of India

Then: Irony: Rape accused PJ Kurien heads for global meet on women
Now: Sexual assault case:No question of minister’s resignation, BJP says

Then: BJP attacks Robert Vadra over ‘inappropriate’ behaviour
Now: Robert Vadra continue to enjoy security check exemptions at airports

Then: BJP looking for clean candidates
BJP wants Chidambaram, Sibal dropped
Now: Half of Modi’s new ministers face criminal cases, majority crorepatis

Then: BJP accuses Trinamool of using Saradha money to fund terror
Now: Govt contradicts Amit Shah’s claim Saradha money used for terror

Then: BJP to strengthen institutions like CVC, CAG
BJP vows to oppose any government attempt to dilute CAG authority
Now: BJP pulls up Narayanasamy for questioning CAG’s mandate

Then: Judges’ verdicts are influenced by post-retirement jobs: Arun Jaitley
Now: Former Chief Justice P Sathasivam Appointed Governor of Kerala

Then: Immediately withdraw railway freight hike before budget: CM to PM
Now: Govt hikes railway fares by 14.2%,freight charges increased by 6.5%

Then: Lashing out at Cong Modi says under UPA, Governors were unilaterally dismissed in 2004
Now: Modi raj marks the end of road for Congress governors, Governors in the firing line

Then: Goa minister says centres to be set up to ‘cure’ LGBT youths
Now: Goa minister takes U-turn after facing flak for LGBT remarks

Then: Congress undermining CAG authority on coalgate, BJP tells Pranab
BJP accuses Govt of flouting rules amd for attacking national auditor
Now: Stop sensationalising reports, Arun Jaitley tells CAG, after BJP milked 2G spectrum allocation, coal scam figures

Then: Modi sarkar breaks from UPA, to rethink Section 66A
Section 66A: Nightmare for citizens who dare to dissent
Now: Modi government does flip-flop: this time it defends net censorship
Internet needs stricter curbs than print, TV: Centre to SC
U-turn as Government Prepares to Defend Controversial IT Rule

Then: Declaration of assets of the Ministers of the UPA Union Cabinet
Now: PMO under Modi blocks access to information on ministers’ assets

Then: BJP accuses UPA Govt. of providing shelter to the corrupt
Govt protecting ‘corrupt’ ministers: Advani
Now: Coal ordinance by BJP gives blanket protection to ministers

Then: Congress draws criticism from BJP as Khemka transferred again
BJP, IAC demand probe into Ashok Khemka’s transfer
Now: Ashok Khemka transfer: Bharatiya Janata Party justifies action
BJP downplays Khemka’s transfer
Haryana CM Khattar defends Ashok Khemka’s transfer
Ashok Khemka, whistleblower IAS officer, transferred again

Via – Rohit Nigam ( Quora )

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India’s Enviornment ministry working at industry’s behest

At industry’s behest

The Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar decision to lift the moratorium of 8 critically polluted clusters of the country is inexplicable. The ministry took the decision on June 10 2014 but announced it publicly on July 24 2014 on MoEF’s website

Rohit Prajapati

Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014 and Mr. Prakash Javadekar took charge as the Minister of Environment & Forests and Climate change on 30 May 2014. Immediately Javadekar started fulfilling Modi’s commitment given to the industrialists during the election campaign in return for their “support” to BJP during the election.

Javadekar decided to lift the moratorium from some of the critically polluted industrial clusters as a first step within 11 days in the ministry. On June 10 2014 he suspended the September 17 2013 order extending a moratorium on 8 critically polluted industrial clusters. That order related to “Re-imposing of Moratorium in respect of critically polluted areas namely Ghaziabad (UP), Indore (M.P.), Jharsuguda (Orissa), Ludhiana (Punjab), Panipat (Haryana), Patancheru – Bollaram (A.P.), Singrauli (UP & MP) and Vapi (Gujarat).” The UPA government imposed the moratorium because of people’s pressure rather than the goodness of their hearts. The UPA government had originally imposed a moratorium on 43 critically polluted industrial clusters of India. Then after undue pressure from the industrial lobby, moratoria on some of the clusters were lifted. The overwhelming evidence of damage to environment, agriculture and health on eight of the clusters forced them to re-impose the moratorium on them.

We had repeatedly demanded that MoEF should impose moratorium on all 43 critically polluted + 32 severely polluted industrial clusters of India and they should not lift the moratorium based on vague assurance, without substantial reduction of pollution and short & long terms remedial measure in these industrial clusters. We have repeatedly demanded the closing down of the polluting industries in these industrial clusters.

If we are not mistaken, on that day – 10 June 2014 Mr. Javadekar and his office probably was not ready with the an appropriate official response required to reverse the past decision of ministry dated September 17 2013 and that is why this direction dated 10 June 2014 was not released to media, or concerned authorities like Central Pollution Control Board. This was their one of the first step in the direction of lifting of moratorium of critically polluted industrial clusters of the country.

There remains consistent lobbying by the industrialists on the newly elected Modi government and specifically on the Government of Gujarat to start the lifting of the moratorium from critically polluted industrial clusters step by step. And that is why Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava, Minister of Forest and Environment, Gujarat State, on 5 July 2014, in a public function organized by Industries of Vapi GIDC, in media presence prematurely announced that the moratorium on Vapi is lifted and official announcement will follow soon. Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava was forced to make similarly announcement for the Industrial Cluster Ankleshwar and Vatva of Gujarat State. A detail letter dated 11 July 2014 was sent by us to Mr. Prakash Javadekar to clarify the issue.

Mr. Javadekar instead of stating the truth which might be difficult to defend his ministry’s decision dated 10 June 2014 even after more than a month he on 13 July 2014, in an press conference at Ahmedabad stated in a reply to the press on the issue of moratorium of Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva, “I have met the state government officials and have got a lot of material from them (on the subject).” Mr. Javadekar further clearly stated that in two weeks’ time a decision will be taken by the Ministry on the issue of moratorium of Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva. Mr Ganpatbhai Vasava was also present in this Ahmedabad press conference. Mr. Javadekar kept quite on that day also about the “decision” of his ministry dated 10 June 2014 best reasons known to him.

One more letter dated 17 July 2014 was also sent by us to MoEF with the demand that MoEF should continue the moratorium for Vatva, Ankleshwar, Vapi of Gujarat and declare the moratorium for the Vadodara District of Gujarat state by applying the same principle. In this letter detail about the track record for their ready reference of these clusters were supplied to the ministry.

But Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava reflecting the increased bonhomie with the industrial lobby on July 18, 2014, he again in an interview to in Valsad’s edition of Gujarati news paper, Divya Bhaskar reportedly said that the moratorium on Vapi is already lifted and now it’s a question of formal announcement. Again letter dated 23 July 2014 was sent by us to Mr. Prakash Javadekar to clarify the issue and to take the exemplary action against Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava for his repeated illegal and unconstitutional announcement of the “decision” of the MoEF.

Silence on the part of ministry clearly indicates that Mr. Prakash Javadekar and Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava both belong to the same party and that is why ministry want to ignore this constitutional issue.

Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava about the lifting of the moratorium of Industrial Cluster Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva of Gujarat State is now proved right if we read the letter now uploaded on MoEF website on 24 July 2014 of dated 10 June 2014 of the Ministry clearly indicates that ministry’s decisions are influenced by the industrial lobby in connivance with the state governments.

The consistent follow up by the pollution affected people, people’s organisations and NGOs regarding the increasing pollution levels in the industrial areas of India forced the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) in 1989 to initiate the process of indexing the critically polluted areas. At that time 24 industrial areas including Vapi, Ankleshwar, Ludhiana etc. were declared ‘critically polluted’.

Thereafter, in several meetings of CPCB and SPCBs serious debates on the pollution status of these areas were undertaken. Even after formulation of ‘action plans’ for the said industrial areas no substantial or qualitative change was observed in these industrial areas. For this reason, in 2009 the CPCB and IIT-Delhi, in consistence with the demands of the people’s organisation’s working on environmental issues decided to use a new method of ‘indexing the pollution levels’ of these areas, which is now known as the ‘Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index’ (CEPI). The CEPI includes air, water, land pollution and health risks to the people living in the area. However, our demand has been to include the health of the workers, productivity of land and quality of food / agriculture produce in the index since the presence of high levels of chemicals and heavy metals in food produce has severe health implications. This is affecting not only people living around the industrial area but anyone consuming it – hence not restricting the impact to the particular industrial area.

As per the agreed upon measures, industrial areas with a CEPI of 70 and above are considered ‘critically polluted’ areas while those with a CEPI between 60-70 are considered ‘severely polluted’ areas. In our opinion, those industrial areas with CEPI between 40-60 ought to be labelled as ‘polluted areas’.

In December 2009 the CEPI of 88 polluted industrial estates was measured; it was then that the CPCB and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) of Government of India were forced to declare 43 of those as ‘critically polluted areas’ and another 32 industrial areas as ‘severely polluted’ areas. Following this study the MoEF on 13 January 2010 was forced to issue a moratorium (prohibition on opening new industries and/or increasing the production capacity of the existing industries) on the 43 critically polluted areas. At that time, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) and other environment protection groups had asked for a moratorium on all the 75 (43+32) polluting areas, but the powerful industrial lobby and state governments working in tandem prevailed. The mucky politics and economics of ‘GDP growth’ prevailed over the cause of ‘life and livelihood’ of ordinary people and ‘environment & conservation.

In 2009, the Ankleswar’s industrial area, with 88.50 CEPI , topped the list of ‘critically polluted areas’ of India.

In 2011 and 2013, Vapi industrial area, with CEPI of 85.31, topped this list.

Thus Gujarat is able to top in 2009 in ‘critically polluted areas’ in India and continues to maintain its position in 2011 & 2013.

The Government of Gujarat deliberately ignored to comment or engages ever on these issues.

Mr. Narendra Modi in his book ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s Response to Challenges of Climate Change’ published in 2011, on p. 132-133, has printed a photograph of Vapi’s Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) which even today does not operate as per the prescribed norms of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB). When the CETP of Vapi industrial area is not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms, what message does the then CM want to convey to the country and the world by printing a two page photograph of this treatment plant? On this issue we have posed several questions to him in our review of his book but he has been unable to answer a single question.

As such the process of declaring moratorium was started from Ankleshwar in Gujarat in 2007. The industries located in Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia GIDC estates treat their effluent in their Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) and then, after giving further treatment ‘at the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) at Ankleshwar discharge the effluent into the sea. The FETP, from its inception, did not work as per the prescribed norms set by the GPCB. Even today it is not able to meet the prescribed norm. For this reason, on July 7, 2007, GPCB, on the directions of the CPCB, imposed a moratorium on the industrial areas of Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia. The moratorium is in force even today, since there has been no substantial improvement in the pollution levels even after the implementation of the so-called ‘action plans’ prepared by these estates. The same plant’s disposal pipe line’s project was inaugurated by Mr. Narendra Modi on January 25, 2007. By inaugurating this plant, he was sending out the message to the investors to not to worry much about the compliance/s of environment laws in the state. Despite this moratorium being in force officially, the active connivance of the industrial lobby with the collusion of politicians along with the official machinery in Gujarat has surreptitiously lifted the moratorium from some area at different times.

It appears that Mr. Javadekar’s ministry first took the decision on 10 June 2014 to honouring BJP’s pre-election “commitment” during election given to them and also pressure from Gujarat Government but his office was busy in “preparing” the documents for justification of the decision. Now so-called papers and documents for the justification of the decision might be ready and that is why now decision is announced on webpage of MoEF.

The order – Office Memorandum – dated 10 June 2014 of the MoEF lately up loaded on website on 24 July 2014 states “It has, therefore, been decided to keep in abeyance until further orders the aforesaid O.M. (Office Memorandum) dated 17th September, 2013 to the extent it related to the re-imposition of moratorium in eight CPAs (Critically Polluted Areas) till CPCB re-assesses the CEPI taking into account all constituents of index as originally envisaged in 2009, subject to the following stipulations.

  1. All projects requiring EC in these areas will be considered only by MOEF;
  2. At the stage of TORs the EAC concerned would, in such cases spell out the due diligence required in terms of assessment of baseline conditions of ambient air, water bodies, etc. as applicable and provide guidance on monitoring locations, parameters, etc. In doing so, in addition to pollutants to be discharged / emitted by the proposed project, the pollutants of concern in the area would also be kept in view. Assessment of performance of common facilities such as CETP, TSDF, etc. if proposed to be utilized should also be included as part of due diligence;
  3. In addition to monitoring by the regional office concerned, third party monitoring by a reputed agency at a frequency to be specified by the EAC would be necessary;
  4. The implementation of action plan of each of these eight CPAs to be jointly reviewed by the CPCB and SPCB on quarterly basis and report sent to MoEF by the 7th day of the month succeeding the end of quarter.”

If you read the subject and the entire decision dated 10 June 2014 of MoEF it clearly indicates that the MoEF is not able to defend its decision about putting order dated 23 September 2013 of pervious government in abeyance and sole purpose of the decision of MoEF is to lift the moratorium by hook or cook.

This clearly indicates that central government is not concerned about the environment but it is working under the pressure of Industrial lobby and central government is involved in reversing the past decisions of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change to please the industrial lobby.

The crucial understanding and concerned about environment of BJP (Modi) is very well mentioned at page 29 in BJP’s Manifesto “Decision-making on environment clearances will be made transparent as well as time-bound.” The word environment clearance is highlighted in bold which clearly reflect that Mr. Modi’s main concern is speedy clearance for the industries and not the environment. The other word like ‘time-bound’ is also clearly reflect that Mr. Modi’s main crucial concerns is speedy clearance for the industries and not the environment. To make it very clear on the same page the BJP Manifesto further states “Frame the environment laws in a manner that provides no scope for confusion and will lead to speedy clearance of the proposals without delay.” This well spell-out assurance of Mr. Modi is to the industrialist that they should not worry about environment laws because Mr. Modi will remove all their hurdles so that just by filing some papers and giving some vague assurance they will get the clearance. To make it further crystal clear BJP Manifesto states that “Take all steps: like removing red-tapism involved in approvals, to make it easy to do business, invest in logistics infrastructure, ensure power supply and undertake labor reforms, besides other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.” The “Modi-Festo” says in very clear words to mortgage the environment law and labor laws.

It is time for all the environment groups, affected peoples and other mass organization to collectively oppose, fight-back consistently all such anti-people moves of the Modi’s government with facts and figures.

Read more here- http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/industrys-behest

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The Brains Behind Modi Sarkar

How did a little-known think-tank end up supplying so many bureaucrats to the NDA government? Brijesh Singh reports
slide

Illu

What do Ajit Doval, Nripendra Misra and PK Misra have in common? Of course, they are top bureaucrats whom Narendra Modi handpicked to run his team. There is another common factor. They all hail from New Delhi-based think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).

FormerIB director Ajit Doval was steering the ship at VIF as founder-director before he was appointed as Modi’s National Security Adviser. He was advising Modi even before the government was formed. In fact, it was Doval who came up with the idea of inviting South Asian leaders to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.

After his stint as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman was over, Nripendra Misra became a member of the VIF’s executive council. Now, he is Modi’s principal secretary. There was a legal hitch in his appointment as TRAI law bars former chairmen from holding government positions. But Modi wanted him so bad that he tabled an ordinance to amend the law.

Former Union agriculture secretary PK Misra was associated with the VIF as a Senior Fellow. Now, he is the additional principal secretary to the prime minister.

Other VIF members whom the Modi regime has tapped for inputs include former RAW chief CD Sahay, former urban development secretary Anil Baijal, former ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla, former IAF chief SG Inamdar and former BSF chief Prakash Singh.

Former army chief Gen (retd) NC Vij has replaced Doval as VIF director. Sources claim that many other VIF members are likely to be enrolled in the government at significant posts soon. There are reports that former DRDO director general VK Saraswat, who is currently the dean of the Centre for Scientific and Technological Studies at VIF, might replace Chief Scientific Adviser R Chidambaram.

Interestingly, the first book that Modi released after assuming office was Getting India Back on Track. Its editor is none other than Bibek Debroy, who is the dean of VIF’s Centre for Economic Studies.

So, what is the VIF? Who are the people associated with it? When and how did the think-tank become a breeding ground of candidates to fill Modi’s bureaucracy?

VIF is Doval’s brainchild. After his retirement from the IB in 2005, he focussed his energies in creating the think-tank. On 10 December 2009, Mata Amritanandamayi and Justice MN Venkatachaliah inaugurated the foundation.

The VIF is affiliated to the Kanyakumari- based Vivekananda Kendra, which was established by RSS organiser Eknath Ranade in 1970. In 1993, the Narasimha Rao government allotted land to the Vivekanada Kendra in Chanakyapuri. And VIF was founded at the same spot.

The think-tank’s website introduces the organisation in the following words, “The VIF is a New Delhi-based think-tank set up with the collaborative efforts of India’s leading security experts, diplomats, industrialists and philanthropists under the aegis of the Vivekananda Kendra. The VIF’s objective is to become a centre of excellence to kick-start innovative ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India playing its destined role in global affairs.”

About its vision and mission, the website adds, “The VIF is an independent, non-partisan institution that promotes quality research and in-depth studies and is a platform for dialogue and conflict resolution. It strives to bring together the best minds in India to ideate on key national and international issues; promote initiatives that further the cause of peace and global harmony; monitor social, economic and political trends that have a bearing on India’s unity and integrity.”

The VIF has many scholars as members of its advisory and executive councils, besides former army chiefs, former ambassadors, foreign secretaries, retired RAW and IB officials, bureaucrats as well as other key officials who have held top posts at the Centre (see box).

The VIF chiefly works in eight different areas: national security and strategic studies, international relations and diplomacy, neighbourhood studies, governance and political studies, economic studies, historical and civilisational studies, technological and scientific studies, and media studies.

The VIF invites scholars and experts from all over the world for conferences and lectures. It presents India’s outlook before the New Delhi-based diplomatic community and takes their inputs to further the country’s political, strategic, economic and cultural interests. It also holds dialogues with policymakers on current affairs. It gives policy advice to government representatives, MPs, members of the judiciary and civil society. It also carries out exchange of ideas with academic institutes and research centres.

“The foundation has done commendable work in the past 5-6 years,” says former RAW chief Anand Verma, who is now a member of the VIF advisory board. “Top-level research has been conducted in various fields. Numerous seminars of national and international significance have been organised. It has held dialogues with various global think-tanks. Senior officials, including government and nongovernmental ones, from all over the world are invited for interactions. Since the think-tank has its own rules, many of its discussions are not made public.”

Modi has had a long association with the VIF. Sources reveal that he constantly took counsel from this institute regarding economic and security issues when he was the Gujarat chief minister. In fact, the VIF core team helped Modi draft the blueprint of his election campaign.

“We were confident that Modi would be elected as prime minister,” says a VIF member. “That’s why we had been working on developing foreign, security and economic policies, etc. During the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, he was provided all the necessary inputs on various issues by the VIF. In fact, the major intellectual inputs for his political campaign in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu was organised by the foundation.”

Sources in the foundation confirm Modi’s affinity towards VIF, which prominent BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders approach for inputs on governance issues.

The links between Modi and the VIF became apparent last year. When Congress leaders attacked Modi in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, Doval jumped to his defence. The then VIF director argued that Ishrat was a member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Congress-led UPA government was politicising the whole matter.

In the run-up to the General Election, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal alleged that under Modi’s watch, industrialists made huge profits in Gujarat, while no actual development had taken place in the state.

Following the accusation, a group named Concerned Citizens sprang to life and came out with a statement that AAP was making unsubstantiated allegations in a bid to help the Congress in the General Election. The members included Doval, author MV Kamath, journalist MJ Akbar, former Jammu & Kashmir governor SK Sinha, former bureaucrat MN Buch and economist Bibek Debroy. It was clearly part of the foundation’s strategy.

The VIF’s major achievement has been the building up of an anti-UPA (read anti- Congress) atmosphere in the past few years. Sources close to the foundation claim that VIF members played a significant role in mobilising the anti-corruption movement across the country in 2011.

“In April 2011, the decision to create an anti-corruption forum under Baba Ramdev was taken here,” reveals a VIF member on the condition of anonymity. “It had been planned for almost a year.In collaboration with KN Govindacharya’s Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan, the foundation organised a two-day seminar on black money and corruption on 1 April 2011. Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi attended the programme. At the end of the seminar, an anti-corruption front was formed with Baba Ramdev as patron and Govindacharya as organiser. The members included Ajit Doval, Bhishm Agnihotri (ambassador-at-large to the US when the NDA was in power), Prof R Vaidyanathan from IIM Bangalore, Ved Pratap Vaidik, journalist and Baba Ramdev’s close aide, and (author and financial expert) S Gurumurthy.”

imgMeanwhile, Govindacharya organised a meeting between Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev. VIF members devised a strategy that both of them will push the anti-corruption movement forward. Three days after the seminar, Hazare began a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. By the end of April, Ramdev had also announced an anti-UPA protest on 4 June at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.

Rumour has it that the plan to corner the Congress was allegedly drafted by VIF at the behest of the BJP and the RSS. On one hand, Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were raking up the corruption issue and protesting against the government. On the other hand, the BJP was adding fuel to fire. This is why senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh kept referring to the anti-corruption movement as an RSS conspiracy. But as the movement reached its peak and the UPA government came up with absurd steps to tackle the situation, nobody paid him any heed.

The VIF’s alleged links with the RSS has come in handy for Modi’s critics. Sangh leaders regularly visit the VIF, while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP leader LK Advani actively engage with it. Recently, Bhagwat was at the VIF to release former diplomat OP Gupta’s book Defining Hindutva. Since the VIF emerged out of the Vivekananda Kendra, critics believe it would be a mistake to consider the VIF separate from the RSS.

“VIF is an RSS project,” says a critic. “The first thing you notice when you enter the building is a photograph of Eknath Ranade. VIF is filled with right-wing officials. As they were marginalised intellectually, they created their own think-tank. It is a desperate attempt to get acknowledged in the intellectual world. If it is not so, then why does the RSS chief keep visiting the VIF?”

The critic provides some examples of the VIF’s alleged right-wing bias. “When the controversy over Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History erupted, Senior Fellow Makkhan Lal wrote that the incident has provided pseudo-secularists and anti-Hindus an opportunity to play their old trick where, in the name of freedom of speech, they bitterly criticise the Hindus,” he says. “While analysing the Lok Sabha election mandate, joint-director Prabhat Shukla wrote that the results were the outcome of the exploitation of Hindus, which has been going on for decades. Another fellow, Anirban Ganguly, wrote in his research paper titled Man and Environment in India: Past Traditions and Present Challenges about how Hinduism is intrinsically aware of the natural surroundings and that the tradition finds mention in the Vedas andArthashastra. If it is not right-wing ideology, then what is?”

However, KG Suresh, editor of the foundation’s magazine Patrika, rubbishes such allegations. “I don’t understand why there is so much negative reporting,” he says. “A picture is being projected as if everyone in the foundation is roaming around in khakis. It is wrong to link the foundation with the RSS. We are totally apolitical. Neither the BJP nor the RSS is funding us.

“We are neither pro-BJP nor anti- Congress. When the UPA was in power, we backed the government on the Devyani Khobragade issue. Similarly, we supported the UPA in the land swap deal with Bangladesh, while the Opposition raised a furore. Hence, it is wrong to call us anti- Congress. It is true that the top leadership of the BJP and the RSS take inputs from us on various issues, but even Congress leaders participate in our seminars.”

Verma is also at pains to emphasise that the VIF has no political leanings. “The think-tank is absolutely non-political and secular,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the RSS. The sole objective of the foundation is to find solutions to the various challenges before the country.

“I don’t look at the RSS the same way as the Congress does. What wrong is the RSS doing? It is only trying to restore the esteem of the Hindu community. Those who don’t understand it, abuse the Sangh. It is establishing the ancient sanskritik principles. It’s doing good work.

“When Swami Vivekananda delivered his speech in Chicago in 1893, it caught the world’s attention. But he was criticised for giving rise to a new Hinduism. If even Vivekananda is not considered secular, then who can be considered so?”

Agrees Maroof Raza, a consultant and strategic affairs expert with Times Now, who regularly participates in various programmes organised by the foundation. “Although there are rumours about VIF’s association with the RSS, no right-wing bias has come to light,” he says. “In fact, the foundation is doing excellent work.”

To buttress his point, Verma adds, “Recently, we organised a conference on the Kashmir issue and members from the PDP, Congress and National Conference took part in the discussion. (Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief ) Maulana Mahmood Madani also visited the foundation recently. So has the head of Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Even the Dalai Lama has attended several programmes here.”

Adds another VIF member, “When the UPA was in power, many PMO officials attended our seminars. In fact, minister Kumari Selja came here to release a book.”

Shedding light on the VIF’s objectives, Verma says, “Among significant issues taken up by the foundation, one is to present the correct cultural, traditional and spiritual aspects of India. We have studied from books that offered a distorted version of our history. Today, we learn history from books prepared by the British and (Thomas) Macaulay. Their objective was to make us feel inferior and destroy our fundamental Indian values. We need to know our actual history and the foundation is working towards it. The history of India is being rewritten in 10-11 volumes, of which half are ready.

“It was necessary to establish VIF. The situation was such that whenever someone talked about Indian culture, Leftist intellectuals would dismiss him or her. They felt he or she was preaching Hinduism. The Leftist historians see RSS conspiracy in anything that involves culture.”

Adds Suresh, “Indian history must be nationalised. The Left has already been marginalised politically. Now, it will be marginalised intellectually. We had been on the margins so far, now it is their turn.”

Another VIF member echoes the sentiment. “Most of the think-tanks are governed by Leftists,” he says. “Ours is a platform for non-Leftists and nationalists who were considered untouchables in the intellectual world.”

On the subject of funding, Verma says, “This institute is funded by people from all over the world. It is not funded by any government organisation. People like you and me fund it.” In 2013, VIF reportedly received donations worth 1.5 crore.

Verma rubbishes allegations that the Sangh Parivar played a part in the appointment of Doval and Misra, saying that their elevation was made purely on merit. “I know the bureaucracy inside out,” says Verma. “I can declare with conviction that they have no match in the entire civil services. Just as they say about Modi, there is nobody like Doval.”

But are they not close to the Sangh Parivar? “Doval is a completely apolitical person,” he replies. “Yes, personally he may have cultural preferences, but in public life, he is very professional.”

As VIF basks in the newfound limelight, foreign dignitaries are making a beeline to the think-tank. Just days after Doval’s elevation, two Chinese delegations came calling. The same day, a 17-member British team, including Royal College of Defence Studies commandant David Bill, visited the place. Later, a delegation from the US Army War College held discussions with VIF’s security experts on nuclear weapons. Experts from the French Atomic Energy Agency and diplomats also paid a visit to discuss various matters, including security issues.

As more and more VIF members join the Narendra Modi sarkar, it is a no-brainer that the think-tank will play a key role in formulating the country’s foreign, economic and security policies.

Translated from Tehelka Hindi by Naushin Rehman

[email protected]

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Narendra Modi over-sharing politician, now he’s a silent PM

 July 22

Narendra Modi waves to supporters. (Prakash Singh/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

“You campaign in poetry, but govern in prose” goes a well-known saying by Mario Cumo, the New York politician.

In India, leaders campaign in talk mode, but they prefer to govern in silent mode.

For years, former prime minister Manmohan Singh was bitterly attacked for being too silent, a trait that eventually became a metaphor for his ineffective leadership. Many called his 10-year rule “a decade of official silence.”

But it was going to be vastly different with the new prime minister, Narendra Modi.

During his four-month-long campaign this year, Modi spoke breathlessly on almost every national and local issue. He gave stump speeches, blogged, tweeted, Facebooked. India’s youths had finally found in the 63-year old Modi a leader fit for a generation of over-sharers and hyper-communicators.

Now journalists, political pundits and opposition politicians have begun asking why Modi has gone silent. What happened to the promise of a leader who weighed in on every issue that consumed the nation?

“Narendra Modi brought with him the promise of a leader who will not be a mute spectator,” the Headlines Today channel said last month. “Is silence going to be the norm when it comes to complex issues like crimes against women?”

“Why has our current prime minister, who is a 24×7 communicator, suddenly fallen silent on matters that are making front-page news, have been headlined in the international press, and have worked the Twitterati up into a tizzy?” wrote Caravan magazine.

The Business Standard newspaper called it “Narendra Modi: Silent PM 2.0?”

Modi was silent when Indian construction workers were kidnapped by Islamist militants in Iraq; when a young Muslim techie was killed by a Hindu mob angry over a derogatory Facebook post; when Hindu nationalist leader Praveen Togadia gave an open “warning” to Muslims this week to fall in line; he has been silent on price rise; and he has been especially silent on the spate of rape incidents being reported across India.

Instead, he gives long speeches on his vision for the nation — when he inaugurates a train line or attends the launch of a space rocket.

Even as he encourages his colleagues in the government to open Twitter accounts to disseminate official news, he has put a gag on them. He has instructed them not to speak to reporters out of turn, to be wary of sting operations and not allow anyone into their offices with cellphones or cameras, or even pens.

He has also ended a political culture in which prime ministers took large contingents of journalists with them on foreign trips.

The result is “a virtual news drought for 24×7 media,” complain local journalists.

“All the officers are under strict orders … not to have any connection with media,” Kumar Ketkar, a political commentator, blogged Tuesday on NDTV.com, a 24×7 news Web site. Calling it a “Gestapo-style” vigil, he said, there is “constant surveillance of the offices to keep tab on who meets whom and to check on whether ministers are spending evenings at social parties.”

Read more here- http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/07/22/indias-modi-was-an-over-sharing-politician-now-hes-a-silent-prime-minister/

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#Budget2014 – Farewell to Welfare – Patch work schemes for Rural Development

Farewell to welfare

Posted on: 10 Jul, 2014

The budget is a patch work of abandoned schemes revived or existing ones being re-named. This is all for rural development

“One fails only when one stops trying.” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rose to present his budget with these profound words. After more than two hours of speech—the budget speech comprised 16,536 words, one of the highest in recent past—with a highly unusual five-minute break, specially requested by him, Jaitley appeared to have failed as he simply “stopped trying”. The budget, the first for the new government, looks like a standard company account with debit and credit entries. Except for the revival of some controversial projects taken up during the NDA government 10 years ago – the Special Economic Zones and the River inter-linking project – and renaming a few ongoing programmes, the budget doesn’t have anything new to offer, either in the form of policy or by way of practices involving governance.

First, let’s look at the rural development programmes. The employment guarantee scheme, MGNREGA, that always accounts for a major chunk of the central budget, got a mention in four lines with the absurd articulation that government will use the labour under the scheme only for creating productive assets. The law already has “non-negotiable” provisions for the same since its inception. Is it a deliberate attempt of the finance minister to give a political message that the earlier government’s programme, however important or critical it may be, needs to be ignored? The suspicion got stronger as one waited for the budget speech to mention other similar flagship programmes of the earlier UPA government. Jaitley didn’t mention the Food Security Act, there was no mention of the rural health mission, no mention of the conditional cash transfer programme like the Janani Suraksha Yojana. There was also no mention of the Direct Benefit Transfer programme.

If the core programmes of the earlier government didn’t get any political weightage in his speech, what new thing did he suggest for the rural development sector? Before the budget he said in public interactions that mindless populism is to be avoided. But let’s have a quick look at some of his new programmes.

He made 13 specific allocations for programmes targeted at the rural population, besides many more policy and intent expressions. Out of the 13, all are either re-orientation of existing programmes into schemes with names of BJP-related personalities or revival of a few programmes taken up during the last NDA government (1998-2004). Take for example, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. With Rs1,000 crore allocation to  aid access to irrigation in rainfed areas, this is just a reframing of the much maligned Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Scheme already in existence. Similarly, the Kisan Vikas Patra, a definitely popular investment bond, has been revived to fund public agriculture investment.

The other flagship idea of Modi, “Skill India”, is no different from the ongoing National Skill Development Mission initiated by the former prime minister, Manomohan Singh. It does talk about the enhancement of traditional skills. Similarly, the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan, the mission to help India achieve total sanitation by 2019, is a just a renaming of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.

Poor get the short shrift

On the specific issue of better targeting of subsidies to the beneficiaries, the budget makes just a passing remark—that there will be a review—even though this is an issue that needs urgent attention. Due to lack of proper targeting and identification of beneficiaries, huge public investment for the poor have gone wasted. But we didn’t get a ring side view of the government’s vision on this.

Read more here-  http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/farewell-welfare#.

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#Budget2014: Narendra Modi eyes Rs.700 bn privatisation target

IndiaToday.in New Delhi, July 6, 2014 | UPDATED 16:19 IST

The National Democratic Alliance, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has come to power on the growth plank, is all set to usher the economy into a vibrant mode. Come Budget 2014, and the government will seek to raise up to a record $11.7 billion in asset sales, it has been learnt. The budget is due on Thursday.

July 6 | Railways plans X-ray system to detect train faults
July 2 | Need to check mindless populism: Jaitley
According to Reuters, the privatisation target could reach Rs.700 billion, “almost equal to all proceeds over the last four years, in a budget Prime Minister Narendra Modi hopes will launch the growth and jobs agenda”.

The report has quoted a senior official, with direct knowledge of the budget process, as saying, that the finance ministry has approached different ministries “to increase the divestment target”.

While opening up industries like defence is an option, selling controlling stakes in bloated state enterprises is out of the question, the report has said.

India’s business confidence at 3-year high

Confidence of India Inc. in the economy has risen to the 14-quarter high ahead of the first budget of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, according to a survey conducted by industry chambers FICCI.

“A clear mandate in elections, followed by a slew of announcements undertaken by the government has lifted the spirits of industry members,” IANS quotes the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry as saying in a survey report.

“However, going ahead, it will be imperative to back these announcements with speedy and timely action,” it said.

FICCI’s latest Business Confidence Survey reflects signs of rebound in the economy.

The Overall Business Confidence Index inched up eight notches in the current survey vis-a-vis the previous round.

This is the third consecutive improvement in the business confidence in the country.

The survey report comes days ahead of the first Union budget of the Modi government to be presented July 10.

Respondents are clearly more upbeat about the near term prospects and this is true for expected performance at all the three levels – economy, industry and firm level, the survey report said.

In fact, a whopping majority of 93 per cent participants said that they expect the overall economic situation to be “moderately to substantially better” in the coming six months.

The investor sentiment which had taken a sharp hit in the past also seems to be recuperating.

According to the current survey results, a plunge was noted in the percentage of participating companies anticipating investments to decline in near term.

About 6 per cent of the respondents indicated lower investments over the next two quarters. The corresponding figure was 20 per cent last time. Also, 40 per cent companies said that they foresee higher investments over the next two quarters, vis-a-vis 24 per cent stating likewise in the last round.

Outlook of the participating companies with regard to employment and exports also improved.

However, low demands remain a key constraint. Nearly 74 per cent of the surveyed companies said demands remained weak. Majority of them expect it to improve over the next six months.

Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/budget-2014-narendra-modi-eyes-rs-700-bn-privatisation-target-business-confidence-up/1/370120.html

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Greenpeace India fears charity crackdown under Narendra Modi

Foreign-funded charities accuse PM of scare tactics as national intelligence agency submits anti-NGO report to government
Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, has attacked NGOs in his speeches, previously describing foreign-backed protesters as ‘five-star activists’. Photograph: Reuters

Emma Gibson, a Greenpeace campaigner from Kent who participated in the Kingsnorth power station protest in 2009, has been worried she could be deported from India ever since an intelligence report accusing several foreign-funded NGOs of stalling major infrastructure projects was leaked this month.

 

The intelligence bureau (IB) report was submitted to Narendra Modi days after he took over as prime minister. Modi won last month’s general election on an aggressive development plank. He had risen to national prominence due to his encouragement of big business in his home state, Gujarat, where he acquired the image of a strong, no-nonsense leader.

 

Although Modi has made no comment, the anti-NGO report by the national intelligence agency listing dozens of organisations and individuals was circulated to several ministries, and raised the spectre of a general crackdown on these organisations.

 

Gibson’s name is on one of the lists, but there has been no midnight knock. She returned to the UK of her own accord on Sunday. Greenpeace India, however, has been singled out for action. Although it is a registered charity permitted to receive donations from abroad, Greenpeace India must now seek the home ministry’s permission before it accepts donations from two sources – its parent international body and the US-based Climate Works Foundation.

 

“Greenpeace India has clarified that most of its funds (61%) come from 300,00 individual Indian donors, and the rest almost entirely from Greenpeace International,” Gibson said. “The IB report is riddled with inaccuracies. It called me a cyber security expert, which is laughable. The report is designed to cause huge damage, but much more than Greenpeace, it’s the smaller NGOs that are absolutely terrified.”

 

Official hostility toward NGOs campaigning on environmental, land rights or anti-nuclear issues is not new. Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh, openly complained that foreign-funded NGOs were blocking the expansion of nuclear power and the introduction of genetically modified products. But it is Modi’s image as a muscular leader that has raised fears of a clampdown.

 

“The government is adopting scare tactics,” said Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights. “It wants to ensure that nobody comes in the way of big projects.”

 

The authorities, it appears, are taking no chances – even foreign academics and researchers who have been working for decades to help India’s poor and dispossessed have come under suspicion.

 

A day after the intelligence report on NGOs hit the headlines, a British academic from Birkbeck College, London, arriving in Hyderabad to attend a conference organised by the International Federation of Ageing, was turned away at the airport.

 

Penny Vera-Senso, a social anthropologist researching poverty and ageing in India since 1990, was given no reason for the ban on her entry, but was told she could not apply for a new visa until 2016.

 

She was last in India in March, when she attended a Right to Food convention in Gujarat and put up a photographic exhibition on old people at work.

 

“Penny has a passion for old people, and has done a lot of good work to show that the aged can also contribute to the Indian economy,” Harsh Mander, head of the Centre for Equity Studies in Delhi, said. “The Right to Food convention was a very big one, and some speakers criticised the Gujarat model of development, which an intelligence official might have construed as anti-national activity. Penny’s presence was obviously noticed at the meeting. But her work is very focused on poverty and ageing, so this is nothing but plain intimidation.”

 

The intelligence report damning NGOs appears equally slipshod. It claims that “people-centric” campaigns organised by NGOs blocked projects in seven sectors – nuclear power, uranium mining, thermal and hydroelectric power, farm biotechnology, extractive industries, and mega industrial projects. The objective was to keep India in “a state of underdevelopment”.

 

The report then goes on to make the unsupported claim that India’s annual GDP growth rate fell by 2-3% because of NGO campaigns between 2011 and 2013. It does not assess the impact of grassroots campaigns in relation to other factors that impacted the political economy – the policy paralysis in government, the corruption and mismanagement, and some keen judicial scrutiny.

 

NGOs have also had some major failures. Despite significant local support, for instance, the agitation to stop the nuclear power project in Kudunkulam, southern Tamil Nadu, state failed. Across the peninsula, in Maharashtra, another nuclear power project has failed to take off due to opposition not so much from NGOs but from a political party, the Shiv Sena, which is part of Modi’s government in Delhi.

 

But NGOs are clearly worried. The anti-nuclear campaigner Achin Vinaik said: “We are fearful that this is a kind of witchhunt with longer term implications to repress all kinds of popular struggles.”

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Guess who is asking Aamir Khan to apologise to Modi ?

VHP asks Aamir if he apologised to Modi

 

From the desk of  Ashok Chowgule, Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad

June 28, 2014

Dear Aamirji,
Pranam,

We would like to refer to your recent meeting with the prime minister, Shri Narendra Modi. We trust you recall signing a statement titled “Text of Citizens’ Statement”, signed by you along with 203 other people in March 2005. Amongst other things, the statement says “More than 50 national and international agencies of high credibility with their painstaking investigation had held Mr. Modi directly responsible for the act of genocide.” The statement also says that Narendra Modi ji is ‘an organiser of mass murder’ and one ‘who feels no remorse for his role’.  (emphasis added)

If you still hold on to this view point, we are surprised that you decided to meet a person whom you have characterized in such vile terms. Don’t you think you have set a bad example to the people, especially the young who have shown their keen intention to participate in the well-being of the country? It is, of course, possible that you have had better information than in March 2005, and that you are today convinced that the findings of the more than 50 agencies were wrong. The question that now arises is whether you have apologised to Narendraji for signing the statement. From your twitter comments, we do not read that you have apologised.

We think that if you did not apologise, and yet met Narendraji, it would breed a huge sense of cynicism amongst the people. They will start wondering if you are seeking any special favours from the present government. We are sure you will appreciate that such a feeling will lead to apathy, and people will start feeling that it would be best to be concerned only one about oneself, because those projected as role models also behave in such a manner.
We would like to hear from you. Namaste.

Yours sincerely,
Ashok Chowgule

To:

Shri Aamir Khan,
2, Hill View Apartments,
Hill Road, Bandra (W),
Mumbai 400 050.

 

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