It is football time folks!! Even Prime Minister has tweeted expressing his enthusiasm for the game so naysayers please don’t outrage about India’s lack of presence in the World Cup. No matter what the TV companies suggest there is nothing like being in Brazil currently. A group of Goan MLAs are planning to do just that but with tax payers money. At a time when Modi is trying to be different in his approach, people belonging to his very own party has embarrassed him and given opposition a potent issue to outrage about.
Modi sarkar however received couple of positive news today, which is likely to give them some breathing space in case of insufficient rain. After lackluster figure in last couple of months, industrial production has rebounded in April. It has comfortably exceeded prediction of economists to record a growth of 3.4%.
Index for Industrial Production (IIP) prepared by collecting data from mines, outputs and factories has shown such a steep increase after 13 months. It should be kept in mind that industrial production rate had actually contracted in February and March. For economic year 2013-14, overall production growth rate was in negative.
Another piece of good news came from the inflation front. Retail inflation has dipped from 8.59% in April to 8.28% in May, a small but significant fall. This is the lowest value of Cost of Living Index Number (CLIN) in three months. It is calculated by tabulating various sub-indices.
One of the major sub-indexes is food inflation which fell from 9.66% in April to 9.56% in May. Prices of vegetables, spices, condiments eased off from last month. Fruits however continued to remain very costly.
This figure is likely to please RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan, someone who has publicly announced that taming inflation is his prime agenda. But with inconsistent rain predicted inflation may soon reach double digit. Thus government and policy makers will be cautiously optimistic looking to see how the situation plays out in the next few months.
No such caution from the Goa MLAs though who are all set to travel to Brazil later this month to get a lesson in “crowd management”. 6 Goan MLAs including three ministers will go to the land of samba burning a hole in the state exchequer. The state will fund this thinly veiled junket where the representatives will watch quarter finals and semifinals of the World Cup. It is estimated to cost around 90 lakh rupees.
Expectedly opposition has slammed the Goan government for misusing public fund. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar though has decided to justify the trip. According to him MLAs who are going have football experience and they will try to learn how such massive events are organized, logistics of it etc. This is unlikely to cut ice with the cynics. Media has already taken up the issue with full gusto especially the fact that former Indian captain Bruno Coutinho was not given a chance to be part of the team. It will be interesting to see if Modi intervenes to stop this pleasure trip.
Congress spokespersons are beaming as they have got a good issue to attack BJP after a long time. But their enthusiasm is not shared by party MPs from Lok Sabha who are facing the possibility of being ignored by the government in every issue. Since the party doesn’t have 10% of the total seats, their leader is unlikely to get the post of Leader of Opposition. Thus from matters of selection of Lokpal to that of CVC etc. where LOP’s views are sought; now government can effectively ignore the opposition.
Sources indicate, Sonia Gandhi has now written a letter to the Speaker saying that the 10% rule is no longer effective. It’s left to be seen if Speaker yields to the demand of Congress President though it looks unlikely.
Suddenly environment issues are in focus and not for positive news. As usual with everything in India, politics is getting intertwined with pressing environmental issues making them even more complex.
After IB report came that eminent organization Greenpeace is trying to stall development in India in the ruse of saving environment former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has backed the NGO. According to him, Greenpeace is a domestic organization which gets donation from people who are impressed by its work. Ramesh said that protests are part of the democratic setup and shouldn’t be crushed. He warned India from taking a model of “grow now and pay later”.
Current government however is looking to speed up environment clearances especially in infrastructure projects along LAC. LAC with China is spread across the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Ministry of Defence wants to give a facelift to the border infrastructure to match the neighbours.
For this government is looking to relinquish some of its powers to the concerned states who from now will be able to green light projects within 100 kms from the border. The practice of case to case approval followed by past Ministers like Ramesh and Jayanti Natarajan meant the projects were delayed. Prakash Javadekar hence is looking for a general approval method which he claims will be ‘simpler, transparent & predictable processes.’
Meanwhile Narmada control authority has given approval to raise the height of dam in Narmada River to 138 meters, a decision hailed by Gujarat government. CM Ananadiben Patel expressed her thanks to Modi sarkar saying “Acche din aa gaye hain!!” The move has been bitterly opposed by members belonging to “Narmada Bachao Andolon” lead by Medha Patekar. Concerned Minister Uma Bharati however has defended the move saying they have given nod only after thumbs up from Social Justice Ministry.
Time for Manthan:
It may be 2014, but Ganga Manthan is apparently still a thing. Uma Bharati has said that she will take opinion of sadhus and religious leaders along with environmentalists, NGOs and elected representatives before deciding on a path to start rejuvenation of Ganga. This meeting of minds has been named Ganga Manthan and will take place in Delhi next month. True to her sadhvi roots Uma Bharati said that modernization without westernization is possible. A website will be started soon where suggestions will be taken from commoners on cleaning Ganga.
Akhilesh- Modi meet:
UP CM Akhilesh Yadav who is facing flak for inability to provide protection to women of his state met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. The meeting was deemed as a courtesy call by Akhilesh. He said that state and centre should work closely for the sake of development of the people.
Today security of different religious places like Ayodhya and Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh and Mathura of Gujarat was increased. It was done after inputs that terrorists are hatching fresh plans to create unrest in the country.
Staffers in the Ministry of Housing and Development were in for an unpleasant surprise when they found that concerned Minister Venkaiah Naidu has paid them a surprise visit. He came at 9.15 in the morning to discover that many officials were still not present. Also some of the work desks were not organized, contrary to instruction given by Narendra Modi.
Naidu though gave grace to the erring officers as it was his first day. He has not taken any action but has strictly advised them to reach office before 9 A.M. Babus are unlikely to be very amused!!
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…