100 days of Modi sarkar – Day 21
“Love thy neighbour ”was the dominant theme of day 1 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bhutan. Modi with his gift of gab charmed the Bhutanese people who embraced him with open arms.
Modi’s Bhutan trip:
It was like a carnival in the streets of Thimpu. Bhutanese folks mainly students were out in large number to welcome Narendra Modi. Even in the route from airport in Paro to Thimpu, people gave him a rousing welcome waving flags of both the countries. There was life size portrait of India’s Prime Minister in Thimpu. Modi and his team which included Sushma Swaraj and Ajit Doval had detailed meeting with both Bhutanese king Jigme Khesar Wangchuk and Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.
Modi inaugurated the Supreme Court of Bhutan, which incidentally has been built by using India’s aid. He announced steps to set up digital library in the country to promote education and also increased scholarship amount for Bhutanese students coming to study in India.
The day ended with a banquet dinner hosted by Tobgay in honour of Modi. There Indian Prime Minister sounded overwhelmed at the warm reception he has received. He stressed on strengthening “B4B” i.e. “Bharat for Bhutan and Bhutan for Bharat” ties which he described as “unique and special”. With a touch of theatrics Modi said that, “Humare passport ke rang alag ho sakte hain par humari virasat aur values mein koi farak nhi nazar ayega”, an ode to the shared culture of both the countries.
Prime Minister has host of engagements lined up for tomorrow in Thimpu before coming back to New Delhi. Modi sarkar is looking to rejuvenate ties with all our neighbours. According to sources next in line is Nepal, where Prime Minister will probably visit on August.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in his second day of tour to Kashmir went to the Line of Control to get a firsthand report of the prevailing conditions. Jaitley after visiting the army posts at LOC in the Haji Pir region praised the soldiers for their unflinching dedication. In the recent times, there has been a spike in ceasefire violation from across the border. Jaitley said that if men across the borders stop doing such provocations it will be a confidence building measure in itself.
Defence Minister refused to give any categorical answer on repealing AFSPA, a long time demand of the Kashmiri people. He said that such decision will solely be dependent on the progress of the state over time. Defence Minister today chaired an important meeting where all the stakeholders who provide security in this sensitive state were present.
Arun Jaitley who is also India’s Finance Minister today echoed the words of Narendra Modi on the needs to take harsh economic decisions. He said that “fiscal discipline” is the need of the hour for a course correction at a time when India is reeling from a period of low growth and high inflation. Jaitley however refused to go into specifics of his “fiscal discipline” leaving it for the Budget Speech.
State Centre relationship:
Almost a month has passed after declaration of election results. Yet hardly a day passes when news of political clashes is not received from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Interestingly BJP cadres and leaders have been mostly targeted in these sporadic skirmishes. It is probably not a coincidence that BJP did exceedingly well in both the states.
Today two such incident occurred in UP. Some goons allegedly opened fire on Fatehpur MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti who escaped narrowly. In another incident, a mid level leader of BJP from Uttarakhand was found dead in a car near Bareilly. UP CM Akhilesh Yadav is looking to make major reshuffle in both ministry and administration to control the law and order situation of the state. There has been demand from BJP cadres to impose Presidents rule in Uttar Pradesh. However Modi sarkar is unlikely to take such radical steps at the beginning of its term.
In Bengal today a high level team from Central BJP visited to meet the family of a worker who was allegedly killed by TMC sponsored goons. This is the second time in less than three weeks that Modi has sent a team of senior leaders to keep Bengal government under pressure. Expectedly this has irked Mamata Banerjee. She has threatened that if BJP continues this practice, then she will send TMC MPs in BJP ruled states as soon as some incident takes place. According to didi, her party doesn’t want to mix politics and development and intends to play a constructive role. But Mamata alleges that BJP is trying to vitiate the situation in the state by combining with CPIM.
A frequently heard complaint is that students pursuing higher education don’t get the necessary guidance required to hone their skills and become “employable”. Now HRD Minister Smriti Irani has announced that they will start an online and personal interface programme comprising academicians to tackle this burning issue. Smriti wants the students’ bodies to play an effective role in shaping policies. She has earlier promised to significantly increase funding in higher education, a demand made by researchers for decades now.
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…