In a major embarrassment to the Modi sarkar, Chief Justice of India RM Lodha has lashed out against them for the “casual handling” of the Gopal Subramaniam incident. In the last one month many things have not gone in expected lines. But government can say that issues like price rise, fiscal deficit are legacy of UPA which they inherited and can’t be fixed so soon. But Modi sarkar can’t hide away from the perception created already that it is not showing enough restraint while dealing with critics.
Justice RM Lodha today said that the government unilaterally took the decision to drop Gopal Subramaniam’s name from the list of 4 possible judges recommended by the collegium. He said that the segregation of former Solicitor General’s name was done in a casual manner. However Chief Justice refuted Gopal Subramaniam’s charge that independence of the apex court has been compromised in this incident. He said that if anything like that happens, he will immediately demit office.
The government was visibly stung by the CJI’s public criticism. But they stood their ground saying they are well within their rights to “seek reconsideration of a nominee for judge”.
Subramaniam had earlier withdrawn his candidature after government raised objection sighting reports from IB and CBI. He alleged that he was being targeted for his role in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case where Amit Shah is an accused. Subramaniam even expressed his anguish for not getting support from judiciary. After his public outburst, Justice Lodha had to give his side of the story. But that has only made the situation worse for Modi sarkar.
The “bitter pills” promised by Narendra Modi seems to be unending. Today the government increased the price of non-subsidised LPG by Rs 16.50 per cylinder and that of jet fuel i.e., ATF by over half-a-per cent. This hike is attributed to the increase in crude price oil after the outbreak of civil war in Iraq. At present, 12 cylinders are given to domestic homes at a subsidised rate per year. Government is also mulling to cut down on the number of subsidised cylinders. A final decision hasn’t been taken though. Already train fares have become costly. Now ATF price hike will make plane fares more expensive.
BJP snooped upon:
Modi sarkar may have taken charge only a month back, but US intelligence agencies had inkling of possible changes in the Indian political spectrum for a long time. They gave so much importance to BJP that the saffron party was one among the six parties across the globe that were spied upon by Natonal Security Agency (NSA). Whistleblower Edward Snowden has published documents that reveal this stunning news. NSA also kept tabs on activities of 193 governments.
Union Agriculture Minister today said that lack of sufficient rain in the Western part of the country may lead to drought-like conditions. He said that the Centre is working closely with Maharashtra government to prevent drought in places like Vidharbha. Minister said that they are working on a contingency plan to ensure farmers don’t commit suicide like past years. He also reassured that diesel and seed subsidy will be given to pockets where drought condition is noticed.
Till now rainfall has been 40% less than average. Government is keeping its hope on July and August to make up for this massive shortfall. If rain picks up around July 6, then some losses from sowing of kharif crops will be compensated.
There is an apprehension that food prices may hit the roof, if indeed drought is declared officially in some parts. Radha Mohan Singh virtually acknowledged this problem saying that supply lines need to be improved. However, he said that there is no shortfall of food products.
In some good news from the economic front, factory activity expanded at its quickest pace in the last 4 months. HSBC PMI Index was 51.5 for the month of June, just marginally increasing from 51.4 in May. PMI figure of above 50 indicates that economy is expanding.
Ratings agency Fitch has put their weight behind Modi sarkar. In a report they have said that the BJP-led government buoyed by their clear mandate will look to increase the pace of reforms. They expect India’s economy to grow at 5.5% in 2015 and at 6.5% in 2016. Fitch like everybody else is looking at Modi sarkar’s maiden budget to get cues about government’s policy intentions. The rating agency said that they have factored in the apprehension of poor rainfall while doing their calculations. Fitch believes Indian government will get a leash on food inflation sooner than later.
As promised Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has unveiled the new online clearance system. Hopefully projects will be now vetted much quickly to check whether they conform to the environmental laws or not. Environmental clearance or the lack of it was one of the major reasons why growth slowed down during the last few years of UPA regime.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius today met Narendra Modi. Fabius’s main goal is to push through the Rafale aircraft deal. After the meeting Fabius said that he can’t give any timeframe within which the deal will be inked. France has offered to give India nearly $1.4 billion dollar soft loan to fund sustainable infrastructure and urban development projects. A host of other foreign dignitaries will be visiting India shortly with their eyes on selling weaponry and fighter aircrafts to Modi sarkar.
Amidst renewed tension between India and China, army chief Vikram Singh will start his China trip from tomorrow. He will meet top military and civilian leadership in China and will also address the military academy.
Condition is still tense in Iraq with very little news of 40 odd workers abducted in Mosul. 46 nurses who have been caught in the crossfire at Tirkit are currently living in extreme fear. According to news received they have taken refuge in the basement of the hospital where they worked.
President Pranab Mukherjee has now joined the social networking site Twitter. His twitter handle is @RashtrapatiBhvn. It will carry regular updates of President’s activity. However since Pranab Mukherjee is a stickler for rules and protocols, selfies of Rashtrapati with Bollywood stars or cricket players are unlikely to be taken and shared!!
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…