George Osborne, the Finance Minister of UK, has stated that after the election of Narendra Modi as the new PM of India, there is hope that Indian economy would be able to achieve greater heights once again after the setbacks of recent years. Osborne, who is visiting India for two days, has said that since the last week there is a perception about Indian economy that it is going all guns blazing. He has also said that it is this present condition that prompted him to catch a flight and come and meet the new PM of India.
UK finance minister praises renewed vigour in Indian economy
During the 2012 budget, the UPA regime had made some changes that forced Vodafone, the telecom giant from UK, to pay taxes. Osborne has stated that it carried a rather bad message to investors from across the world. He further added that as a result of the said change, the investors did not feel that it was safe to invest in India and it ultimately had a detrimental impact on India’s economic prospects in the long run. He has also stated that he would refrain from asking Arun Jaitley to do away with the tax systems, but felt it was important to follow the roadmap laid out by Modi.
Railways to focus on technology – provide greater opportunities for IT companies
The first ever railway budget presented by the newly elected NDA government is looking to provide internet connection at railway stations as well as the trains themselves. It is also looking to create digital versions of existing land records and combine each and every computer system. The basic aim of the union railways ministry is to achieve a completely paperless office by the time the next assembly elections take place. Industry analysts and experts are of the opinion that this outlook could create huge opportunities for the information technology enterprises in India to the tune of almost billion dollars.
Sadananda Gowda has already stated that his ministry is aiming to come up with a programme for enterprise resource planning or ERP. This will take care of important details such as freight, human resources, passengers and administrative activities around the country. In fact the ministry had been planning to achieve this but till date the previous UPA government only attempted to do it in a stop-start manner. During their time, these projects were being handled by companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and L&T Infotech. However, the budget did not have anything for the betterment of the common man – from providing better amenities to more general passenger coaches to decongest traffic at peak times.
Indian government to provide subsidy on electric and hybrid cars
Taking the lead from developed as well as progressing economies such as UK, US, China, Canada and Germany the union government is looking to provide tax advantages and subsidies in order to promote electric and hybrid cars. The union heavy industries ministry has also sent across a proposal in this regard to the finance ministry and it is being estimated that the total expense of these subsidies would amount to INR 14,000 crores. The proposed subsidy, it is expected, will cover a certain percentage of the difference between the costs incurred for running an electric car and a fuel-based car.
The usage of these cars has been a topic that has seen much debate. Their supporters say that these cars will provide a significant breakthrough as far as reduction of pollution and consumption of petroleum and related products is concerned. The opponents of these cars are of the opinion that it would be a major technical challenge to run these cars. They will also be very expensive and this will make them less affordable for people, which will affect their demand as well.
Modi government does a u-turn on Brooks Report
In a stark contrast, to its previous stance regarding the Henderson Brooks Report, which dealt with the chastising defeat India suffered at the hands of China in 1962, the Modi administration has stated that it will not be publishing the report after all. Arun Jaitley has informed the Rajya Sabha that the said document is a top secret one and is yet to be declassified. Regarding its non-release he has stated that if the document is brought out – wholly or in parts – or even if some information regarding the same is disclosed it would be against the interests of India.
It is believed that the said report has squarely laid the blame for India’s abject result in the 1962 military exchanges against China on the Forward Policy initiated by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. It has stated that policy was badly timed and conceived and India did not have sufficient military preparation or intelligence information to fall back on at that time. Nevill Maxwell, the 87-year-old journalist and author from Australia, who created this work, had brought out a substantial part of the same before the assembly elections of 2014.
Cancer cases on the rise in India, says health minister
Harsh Vardhan, the union health minister, has stated in the upper house of Indian legislature that instances of cancer are growing in number in India. Using data provided by National Cancer Registry Programme, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) he said that in 2013 there were approximately 29 lakh cases of cancer across the country. The ministry states that in 2013 478,180 people died from cancer in India. In 2012 the number was 465,169 and the year before it was 452,541. Vardhan has also stated that the Indian government had started a program named National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke or NPCDCS in 2010.
The program dealt with 100 districts that were spread in 21 states. Its focus was on breast, oral and cervical cancer. From 2013-14 the NPCDCS had been taking care of prevention, diagnosis, detection and treatment of different forms of cancer and they have been done under the aegis of the National Health Mission. The government has also provided its approval to improving the facilities for tertiary care cancer in India. As part of the scheme the Indian government is supposed to provide help to 20 state cancer institutes.
Sports minister professes lack of detailed planning for inability to bid for 2019 Asiad
Sarbananda Sonowal, the sports minister, has stated that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) did not provide a detailed proposal within the stipulated time and this is what barred the country from making a bid for the Asian Games to be held in 2019. India had asked for an extension in deadline from the Olympic Council of Asia from July 1 but was ultimately unable to submit a bid. Sonowal stated that it was basically a question of time.
While talking about the responsibility of this particular failure with the media, the sports minister did not take any name as such, instead preferring to say that it was a closed chapter for the time being. If India could have made a successful bid it would hosted its second Asian Games after 1982. He said that it was no use in blaming anyone else at this point of time – instead it was better to look at achieving something better. After Vietnam pulled out India was one of the contenders to host the games. Sonowal, however, professed his ministry’s commitment towards hosting a major sporting event.