100 days of Modi Sarkar – Day 26
Modi sarkar took its bravest policy decision till date with far reaching consequences one way or another. Breaking away from Congress style socialist policies, government took the bold step of hiking train ticket fare by 14.2%. It is likely to infuse fresh lease of life to the fledging railway network in the country but leaves the government vulnerable to attack from its detractors.
Indians in Iraq:
Uncertainty prevailed over fate of 40 odd workers abducted in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS insurgents. Prime Minister today met top intelligence officers, IFS officers and crucial ministers to evaluate the possible options in hand to ensure safety of all the workers. Government for now is sticking to its plan of wait and watch as the overwhelming feeling is ISIS insurgents are unlikely to harm Indians.
In a dramatic twist however, one of the abducted worker has managed to escape from captivity. The enterprising person has even established contacts with Indian high commission in Iraq. According to MEA sources, NSA Ajit Doval an old hand in counter operation is personally monitoring the unfolding situation.
No Hindi chauvinism:
With controversy over use of Hindi raging on, government has now come up with a formal statement to clear the air in this issue. Modi sarkar has taken great pains to stress that they have not formulated any new policy and are merely following past traditions.
According to government, the circular issued was only valid for A category state i.e. all the states where Hindi is the first language of majority of the citizens. Government wants those states to communicate in Hindi but the instruction doesn’t hold for non-Hindi speaking states like Tamil Nadu and Bengal.
Perhaps the fact that two of NDA’s ally PMK and MDMK openly criticized the government in this issue alerted Modi sarkar to the sensitivity of the issue. Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalaithaa today wrote to the Prime Minister that all the social media updates by ministries should be given in English. Tamil Nadu has an extremely fragmented polity but derision towards Hindi unites all the warring political parties of the state.
BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today added a touch of humour to the entire controversy. After stressing that English or any other regional language is not being demeaned he said that Hindi is an amalgamation of languages like Tamil, Telegu, Gujarati, Bengali etc.
Judging from the reaction of political parties, this issue has the potential to split India down the middle which is completely contrary to Modi’s vision of “Ek Bharat, Sresth Bharat”. Thus government probably has decided to take a step back in order to maintain status quo.
Rail fare hike:
No status quo in railway fares though as common people will now have to shell out significantly more money. It is to be noted that the steep fare hike (14.2%) is across the board, i.e. aam admi travelling by sleeper classes are also going to be affected.
Freight charges have also been hiked by 6.5% which is likely to have a cascading effect on prices of vegetables and other goods. Opposition parties have expectedly slammed the government accusing it of hypocrisy. From Lalu to Digvijaya Singh everybody attacked the government particularly harping on BJP’s promise to bring “Acche din”.
Rail minister Sadanand Gowda however said that they have only implemented the decision taken by UPA government in the interim rail budget before elections. However that is not going to silence Modi’s critics anytime soon. Only if railways can provide better service, act on passenger safety and bring about new innovations, people will hail the decision in the long run. Railways for long have been used for extremely narrow political gains by successive ministers leaving its finance in jeopardy. Modi sarkar has the chance to correct that practice.
Gold prices hit one month high today amidst depreciating value of rupee and uncertain signals from global quarters. Sensex ended the week in red down 96 points. Nifty too suffered loses.
Market is likely to get a surge on Monday emboldened by Modi sarkar’s bold move to hike passenger fares. It is a signal to the investors that government is serious for economic revival and doesn’t want to play it “safe” for the sake of mere survival.
Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu has given his two cents on the ongoing controversy. According to him all political appointees should demit office when the government which promoted them loses power. He wants it to become a tradition. This is Naidu’s way of justifying his government’s stand of edging out senior dignitaries occupying important posts.
Government has asked all the states to follow the much talked about Gujarat model in the case of addressing problem of water scarcity. The problem is likely to garner importance in coming months with bleak monsoon predicted. Apparently Gujarat has a water supply grid that ensures that a place which receives very little rainfall also gets some water. It’s left to be seen if states are open to take suggestion from Gujarat in this matter.
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…