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100 Days of Modi Sarkar – Day 41

July 6, 2014

Modi Sarkar Work - Day 41

It is expected that in the next couple of days almost 600 Indians will be brought back to India. Two hundred of these people will be transported in a special chartered flight that will be operated by Iraqi Airways. The plane will leave Najaf and arrive at Delhi. This information has been provided by the Union Ministry of External Affairs. Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesperson of the MEA, has stated that the process to get back Indians has quickened in the last few days. The Sunni militants had previously held 46 nurses from India as hostages. They were given an emotional welcome when they arrived at Kochi.

Ministry of External Affairs quickens efforts to bring back Indians from Iraq

It has been stated that the Indians being brought back will be heading to different destinations such as Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore. It is being assumed that the Indian government may have brought back around 1200 people from Iraq in the last few days. Akbaruddin has revealed that the Indian embassy of Iraq has been able to convince several companies over there to let Indians come back. In fact, the embassy has been taking care of the paperwork necessary for this purpose. In the last few days there has been a war in Iraq between Sunni militants and the national forces of the country.

UK looking to be a partner of India in renewable energy

 Baroness Sandip Verma, the Energy and Climate Change Minister of the United Kingdom, has expressed a willingness on behalf of her country to be a partner of India in the domain of renewable energy. She has also stated that the models followed in India in this regard could use the ones that are being used in UK in order to replicate the ones that they are using. The main aim of UK is to improve the investment that is being in the environmental industries.

Verma, an Indian origin lady, happens to be a member of the House of Lords. She feels that the two phenomena – protection of environment and economic growth – are not in conflict with each other. She has stated that India could use something like the Green Investment Bank or GIB, which is a British organization that provides financial assistance to the green sector in the European country. She feels that the success of GIB could act as a good example for India and it could boost investment in the green sector.

Union minister looking to increase tax exemptions for differently-abled people

Thaawar Chand Gehlot, the Union Minister responsible for the social justice and empowerment ministry has stated that his ministry has asked the union finance ministry to think about providing greater tax benefits to the differently-abled people in India. Gehlot has stated that his ministry has put forward a request to double the tax exemptions that are being provided to them. According to the interaction Gehlot has had with the media in this regard, the finance ministry is looking into the issue.

The previous administration headed by the United Progressive Alliance had introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014 during its tenure. Regarding the same Gehlot revealed that a new standing committee has been created in order to look into the issue. He has stated that once the standing committee has reviewed the bill the social justice and empowerment ministry will be looking to get the same passed. The union minister also stated that the Indian government has issued circulars regarding 3% reservation for differently-abled individuals, presumably in government jobs. He revealed that the circulars had been sent to various state governments as well as ministries.

Indian government asks UP government to provide report on violence in Moradabad     

 The Indian government has asked its counterpart at Uttar Pradesh to furnish a report on the violent incidents that are taking place at Kanth, Moradabad. Rajnath Singh, the union home minister has said that the Indian government has asked for a detailed report of the entire incident. He has also stated that the Indian government will be able to make a comment on the incident only after it receives the said report. The area has seen a wave of fervent protests following efforts by the local police to stop a mahapanchayat being held in the said areas by the local people. Before this, a loudspeaker had been removed from a temple over there and the mahapanchayat was being organised in order to protest the same.

A Lucknow-based spokesperson of the local police has stated that protesters had taken to stone pelting and this had injured 12 government officials. The list of injured people includes Chandra Kant, the district magistrate. The spokesman also revealed that a case had been filed against 362 individuals. 62 of these people had been named in different sections of the Indian Penal Code. The charges levied against them included attempt to murder. These people have also been arrested and taken in judicial custody.

Union health minister calls for greater imposition of VAT on tobacco products

 In an effort to dissuade the youth of today from indulging in harmful – from the point of view – practices such as smoking, Harsh Vardhan, the union health minister has asked the governments in the union territories as well as the states that they impose value added tax at a minimum rate of 50%. He believes this will make these products costlier and thus increasingly out of their bounds, thus making them unattractive to the young generation. This, he believes, will drive them away from smoking.

He has in fact made the same request to Arun Jaitley, and this latest request comes after that. The health minister has asked that this be incorporated in the budget for the 2014-15 financial year itself. A recently published report has stated that each year the total cost incurred by diseases that are caused owing to consuming tobacco products comes to INR 1.04 lakh crore. Vardhan has also stated that with reduction in tobacco consumption there would also be a significant lessening in the expenses of the government in treating people affected with these diseases. Rajasthan already has imposed a VAT of 60% on tobacco products and Vardhan believes that this is one example worth following.

Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of Exchequer, UK, set to visit India in coming week

 William Hague, who serves as the Foreign Secretary of UK is supposed to come to India on a visit in the coming week. In this visit, that is supposed to last from July 7 to July 8, he will be accompanied by George Osborne, who happens to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Hague will have delegate level discussions with Sushma Swaraj, the union external affairs minister, and the meeting shall take place at the Hyderabad House on July 8.

It is believed that Swaraj and Hague will be discussing issues that are of interest to both the countries. Other global and regional issues will be on the table as well. Meanwhile Osborne will meet Arun Jaitley for an EFD or Economic and Financial Dialogue. This meeting too will happen on July 8 and following the meeting both will be meeting Narendra Modi and then visiting Mumbai. The two ministers will be coming with a delegation that includes 3 other ministers from UK – Gregory Baker, Joseph Edmund Johnson and Oliver Letwin.

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I am from Kolkata. Like any other Bengali I love my fish, eggs and bhaat and sweets but I also feel proud to be a part of the biggest melting pot of the world - India. It is true that I need to go a long way before I finally call it a day but I have come some way and am sure will travel further. Cheers :)

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