100 Days of Modi sarkar- Day 31
In the last one month we have heard copious times about how Narendra Modi denounces sycophancy, how he is trying to empower officials to take decisions without fear and prejudice. All those claims came under scrutiny today with eminent lawyer Gopal Subramanium leveling sensational charges against the current government. This is a throwback to the Manmohan era when legislative and judiciary were continuously at loggerheads. Some traditions unlike changing governors are hard to do away with.
Former SG speaks out:
Former Solicitor General in the UPA era Gopal Subramanium has lashed out against the Modi government. Earlier his name was shortlisted for being chosen as a judge of Supreme Court but government put spanner to his appointment. They cited unfavourable reports by IB and CBI against Subramanium.
Subramanium today wrote to the SC withdrawing his candidature. The eminent lawyer gave a string of interviews where he didn’t hold back any punches against the Modi government. He accused them of using CBI to “dig up dirt” and didn’t even spare the judiciary for not supporting him. Mincing no words, former SG said that he has been targeted for taking an independent position in the Sohrabuddin fake murder case, where Narendra Modi’s man Friday Amit Shah is a key accused. However Subramanium said that he is not biased against the government and merely did his job as “amicus curiae”. The erudite lawyer said that government shouldn’t expect judiciary to be its yes man and stressed upon diversity of views for reaching proper decisions. Modi sarkar was visibly taken aback by this no holds bar attack from former Solicitor General. None of the senior ministers agreed to comment in this issue.
In two consecutive days, Modi government has been accused of showing intolerance against people who probably are not the greatest cheerleaders of “Acche Din”. It is entirely possible that government is in no fault in either DU VC case or in this matter. But politics is often guided by perception. Symbolic gestures like PM kissing the stairs of Parliament are greatly appreciated but true respect for democracy can only be shown through concrete actions.
Inflation is skyrocketing. With bad monsoons on the anvil, the problem is unlikely to be solved any time soon. The voices of Modi’s detractors are getting shriller. Facing such problems, Narendra Modi has decided to go for an austerity mission. Ministers have been strictly asked not to purchase any new cars. All purchases above one lakh rupees will need sanction from the Prime Minister’s office. Many though believe it is a new ploy by Narendra Modi to keep his ministers under total control.
Narendra Modi has always given importance to social media. Now reports suggest that he may soon overtake “White House” in Twitter, when it comes to number of people “following” the handle.
Rajnath Singh today took stock of the Police Division in his Home Ministry. Singh expressed concerns over huge number of vacancies and other lacunas when it comes to recruitment rules. Singh today didn’t rule out the possibility of NDA sending names of possible governors to the President before commencement of budget session. Government has tacitly urged many UPA appointed governors to step down. Today Governor of Nagaland Ashwini Kumar accepted centre’s wish and resigned from his office. He is the third governor to resign in the last few days.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today spoke to Mamata Banerjee ahead of her tour to Bangladesh. Bengal Chief Minister had earlier expressed her objection to Teesta water sharing treaty and boundary agreement with Bangladesh.
Days after train ticket fares were hiked; Delhi- Dhibrugarh Rajdhani Express got derailed near Saran in Bihar killing 4 and severely injuring 10. There were contradictory reports about whether it was an accident or sabotage by Naxals. Railway Board Chairman said that prima facie it looks like a planned attack, a theory subsequently discarded by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Rail Minister Sadananda Gowda has rushed to the spot. He has promised detailed enquiry in this matter. There were some intelligence inputs that Maoists may try to resort to violence within a short period. However police has ruled out any foul play raising fresh questions about safety measures taken by railways.
Government has decided not to increase gas price as of now. Modi sarkar has decided to postpone this unpopular decision for three months. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that detailed discussions are required in this issue. UPA had planned to double gas price using the formula given by Rangarajan Committee. Finally courts intervened and UPA couldn’t take the decision in the fag end of its term.
New government was on the verge of announcing increased price. But with massive protest from NDA itself in the issue of rail fare hike, government has decided to go slow. To shed the perception that government is hands in gloves with Ambanis, Oil Ministry has cracked the whip. Reliance Industries will have to shell out additional $578 million for producing less than promised natural gas from KG-D6 basin. Both these moves are seen as an effort to blunt Arvind kejriwal’s tirade against Modi sarkar ahead of Delhi assembly polls.
Automobile industry is currently in doldrums. To boost the industry UPA had announced cut in excise duty for six months. Government has now decided to extend this favor for another six months. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that this move will be fruitful for the economy in the long run. Auto industry welcomed the decision and all auto stocks recorded gains in the market.
Law Minister is looking to change different laws to make business more investor friendly. He has written a letter to the law commission suggesting changes like not treating business disputes as “criminal cases” and to examine if companies can be given clearances for certain projects only on basis of “self-certification”. Earlier Modi had asked his ministers to identify archaic laws so that they can be abolished to speed up the process of governance.
The conflict between DU and UGC is still playing out in the open with no party willing to budge from its stand. UGC has sent another letter to DU to start admitting students under three year undergraduate programme. They have asked the admission process to start from Thursday. Most colleges are willing to comply with UGC’s order. This has considerably increased pressure on DU VC and other top officials to toe the “official” line. DU has always maintained that it is an autonomous university and UGC is merely an advisory body with no overarching powers.
Harsh Vardhan’s clarification:
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan received huge flak in the social media after New York Times quoted him saying that focusing on condoms in AIDS campaigns gives wrong message about illicit sexual relationships and multiple partners. Today Harsh Vardhan clarified that he was misquoted. He said that he had no taboo about using condoms but stressed on the fact that fidelity to one partner is the best way to avoid AIDS. It is highly doubtful Health Minister’s hurried clarification will stop the torrent of sarcasm and ridicule directed against him in the social media.
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…