The scare from ISIS insurgents has hit home. The organisation which is considered too radical even by Al Qaeda has kidnapped 40 Indians from Mosul, Iraq. Although no formal demands have been made so far this is going to be a huge test for Modi sarkar to successfully bring back our fellow countrymen.
Government- Governor standoff:
The cold war between UPA appointed governors in different states and Modi sarkar continued for the second consecutive day. Government wants nearly half a dozen governors currently serving in various states to resign voluntarily. The Home Secretary called up these governors to “suggest” government’s intention. While the UP governor has already put down his papers, others are unwilling to resign so soon.
Today Maharashtra governor Sankaranarayan confirmed that he did receive call from home secretary Anil Goswami. But according to Sankar, he will only resign if a written order is given by “appropriate authority”. Few other governors are likely to adopt this approach. The ploy is to force government to formally move in this matter. According to Supreme Court order in 2010, governors can’t be summarily sacked merely for having different ideology. If the government formally asks the governors to step down, they will have to justify that decision. Supreme Court said in its judgment that there is a scope of challenging such decisions legally.
Indians in Iraq:
Indian construction workers have been abducted from Mosul by suspected ISIS insurgents. The Foreign Ministry today formally confirmed the news although they refused to speculate on who is behind the kidnapping. No demand has been made so far according to MEA sources. The central government has sent former ambassador Suresh Reddy to assess the situation. The government is carefully looking at all the available options. They don’t want to take any rash decision as that can endanger the lives of other Indians who are currently in the warzone.
The government has deferred Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan. Modi was slated to go there next month. But with Budget session coming up followed by BRICS summit in Brazil, Modi has decided to put his Japan visit on hold. Modi sarkar wants to establish strong relationship with Japan, as a possible counter to China.
Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry O Rogozin is currently on a two-day visit to India. Today he met Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and paved the groundwork for summit level talks to be held later this year. Russia is an old ally of India and the relationship is likely to prosper under Modi raj. Both the countries have decided to increase cooperation in trade and energy security. Dmitry will meet Modi tomorrow.
Cabinet met today to formally ratify Narendra Modi’s decision to put an end to GOMs and EGOMs. It is seen as a move to facilitate the decision making process. Cabinet also gave their nod to set up a panel on Mullaperiyar dam which will look into safety concerns raised by various stakeholders.
IAS officer Rajiv Topno of the Gujarat cadet has been appointed as the private secretary of Prime Minister Modi.
Government has decided that the budget session of parliament will start from 7th July and will continue till 28th. The first budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be keenly watched as PM has already warned about some “bitter pills”.
The government is looking to amend Essential Commodities act to find a long term solution to the problem of hoarding by unscrupulous businessmen. Significantly they are planning to incorporate some suggestions given by a committee in 2011 headed by then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The new act will provide government power to direct states to firmly crackdown on hoarders. Currently the centre faces a precarious situation where it gets the flak for escalating prices but often the fault lies with the state governments.
It is a well-known fact that Indian government has been involved in a bitter battle with Vodafone over tax issues. With a change of guard in the centre, the telecom giant has indicated that it is willing to negotiate in this matter. Arun Jaitley though has excused himself from this entire process. No specific reason has been given by him.
Modi sarkar has started preparing groundwork to ease FDI norms in railways. Government has ambitious plans to completely revamp the railway infrastructure in the country but is woefully short of funds. Hence it is looking to open up the sector to attract foreign funds which will hopefully lead to speedy implementation of projects.
Iraq’s largest oil refinery is now under the control of ISIS insurgents. The intense civil war continues to cast its dark shadow on the Indian economy with Sensex today suffering a loss of nearly 275 points. Although price of crude remained relatively stable money depreciated to 60.39 a dollar, down 36 paise.
Rape survivor’s plea:
The woman from Rajasthan, who has accused union minister Nihal Chand of raping her now wants to meet the Prime Minister. The rape victim claims that accused Nihal Chand’s men are either threatening her or alluring her to give a job if she takes back her complaint. She wants to narrate her grief to the Prime Minister. This increases pressure on Modi to take a public stand in this matter.
Nihal Chand along with 16 others has been accused of raping the woman in 2011. Congress today protested in front of BJP headquarters seeking resignation of Nihal Chand. BJP has been extremely circumspect to react in this controversy. Today, Meenakshi Lekhi said that no one will be protected for his stature but reminded that nothing has been proven yet. It is to be seen if Congress goes ahead and disrupts the Parliament in the Budget session if Nihal Chand doesn’t resign till then.
Nihal Chand though continues to remain defiant and arrogant.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked his officers to expedite the process of creating a national register. This will ensure that illegal immigrants are promptly identified. But it raises question marks over the fate of UPA’s flagship Aadhar scheme.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has expressed anguish over the fact that nearly a quarter of India’s land is slowly turning into desert. This news comes at a time when industrialists are putting pressure on the government to give green clearance on the stalled projects. Surely, Modi sarkar has to find the right balance between GDP growth and preserving environment.
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…