Switzerland has started sharing details of Indians who have stashed money in its banks with Modi sarkar. For a government currently facing severe backlash due to fare hike this is the best news possible. If indeed government can make some progress towards bringing back black money, it will take the sting out of criticisms made by Modi’s detractors.
Defence : India’s defence budget nearly equals its subsidy bills as most of the defence equipments are imported. Modi is aware of this fact and wants the nation to produce arms for itself. Now chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has gone one step ahead to say India can even export arms to friendly nations in an extremely competitive price range. DRDO chief Avinash Chander is hoping that the government plans a policy by dint of which arms can be exported easily. Even if India becomes partially self-sufficient in defence production it will be a huge boost to the economy as foreign exchange gets depleted while importing arms.
Education: The gloves are off. Facing defiance from Delhi University, UGC has now given them ultimatum to immediately scrap the controversial four year undergraduate programme. It has also warned of dire consequences if their demand is not met. Consequence may involve holding back funds or even de-registering some colleges. Yesterday Delhi University rejected UGC’s “suggestion” to assert that they are not going to scrap the four year course. UGC is taking a hawkish stand in this matter buoyed by Smriti Irani’s public declaration that she is against the four years course. Promise to abolish the course was also part of BJP’s manifesto. The course started last year and currently there is a batch of students who are studying under this system. UGC even wants this batch to switch over to a three year curriculum. This direct intervention is particularly worrying from a government which vouches on the slogan of “minimum government, maximum governance”. Rather than developing infrastructure in grassroots it is tinkering with higher education system, which is comparatively robust.
Tracking black money: Swiss authorities on condition of anonymity have confirmed that they are sending lists of names of Indians having unaccounted money in different banks of the country to their Indian counterpart. Expectedly BJP is trying to take political leverage from this news. According to Sidharth Nath Singh it is Modi government’s consistent efforts that are bearing fruit. Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani has attacked the past regime saying this list was always available but UPA didn’t show the political will to obtain it. AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has expressed caution regarding this development. Modi government in its first cabinet meeting decided to form a high level SIT to bring back black money to the country. Retired Justice MB Shah who heads the SIT hailed this development and said that they will thoroughly go through the names provided to check for illegality. The anonymous Swiss source today rejected the proposition that over trillion dollars of black money is stashed in their banks saying the actual figure is likely to be much less. Experts believe Swiss government is now trying to clean up its act after facing flak for its opaque banking system from different quarters. Sharing of names is one of the steps towards it.
Governance: Foreign policy is one of the key focuses of Modi sarkar. Thus government is walking the extra mile to ensure that it makes the right noises to make an impact particularly in the neighbouring countries. To take stock of the ground situation and to brief about government’s vision a conclave will be held tomorrow. Heads of Indian Mission from SAARC countries, China and Mauritius will be present in this conclave. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will personally chair the conclave. It is a first of its kind initiative where brainstorming will be done about follow up plans specific to each country. UPA in its fag end formed a judicial committee to look at allegation of snooping against Gujarat government. Expectedly the current regime is all set to give this committee a peaceful burial. We will probably never get to know if Amit Shah indeed ordered snooping on a girl at the behest of his “saaheb”. Modi sarkar is likely to continue with its policy of imposing tough decisions in this honeymoon period. Government may soon decide on increasing price of natural gas. Speculation is rife about such move after Modi met Oil Minister for the second time in three days. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also attended the meeting.
Allies unhappy: ShivSena Supremo Udhav Thakre has expressed his displeasure with the steep hike in train ticket fare. He deemed it as shocking and said that MPs of his party will ask for a partial rollback. Maharashtra elections are knocking at the door and Sena is worried that NDA may face the brunt of common people’s anger who will be directly affected by this fare hike. Congress has already latched on to this issue in Maharashtra to mobilize some support. BJP state leadership has also sent its feelers to the centre that it is also against such a steep power hike. However Modi government looks unlikely to budge from its position. Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…