Industrial production shows unprecedented growth in May
There were many critics of Modi who were skeptical about the condition of Indian economy once he took over but it seems that for the time being they can take some heart from the fact that the national economy is showing some signs of recovery. A major evidence of the same is the growth rate of 4.7% achieved by the industrial sector during May 2014. If one takes into account that this is the highest rate of growth achieved by the concerned sector in a 19-month span, things only fall in perspective.
One of the major reasons for this improvement is the way various important sectors such as manufacturing, power and mining have performed in the said period. The capital goods segment, with its commendable performance, has also led a strong hand to this revival of sorts. When one considers the fact that in May 2013 this sector had seen a contraction of 2.5%, the proper significance of this can be gauged. The previous highest rate was 8.4% measured during October 2012. When one takes into account the first two months of the 2014-15 fiscal there has been a growth of 4% in industrial production. During the same period in 2013-14 there had been a contraction of 0.5%. At a time when Indian economy is trying to claw back to the good old days this is indeed a major achievement and sign of some good things to come.
Modi set to meet Obama at Washington
There was a time when US leaders and the administration, in general, were not eager to meet Narendra Modi. He was considered to be a violator of human rights after the Godhra riots of 2002 where his role, or rather the lack of an active one, is still debated by millions. However, things have undergone a sea change ever since the former chief minister of Gujarat was elected as the new prime minister of India. Now every country in the world wants a piece of India supposedly emboldened by the potential Modi has shown in his capacity as the CM of Gujarat and the dynamic vision he is supposed to have to lead India back to its pre-recession halcyon days.
The official statement for this meeting states that its main aim is to reconstruct relations that have been strained of late. William Burns, the US deputy secretary of state, had met Modi on July 11, 2014 during his two day visit to India and extended a formal invitation for the said meeting, which is supposed to be taking place during September. The PM of India has also extended his gratitude to the US President for the same. When one considers the number of times Modi has had to face rejection of his appeals to visit US, this is indeed a major victory for the PM and a vindication of the immense self-confidence exuded by him.
Narendra Modi set to attend BRICS summit
In what could be a very important first major foreign tour for him, Narendra Modi will be leaving for Brazil on July 13 to attend the latest BRICS Summit. The importance of the visit stems from the fact that he may have a chance to meet the state heads of China and Russia – countries with whom India has had some issues of late. The border issues between India and China are not unknown to anyone yet these countries also depend on each other to a certain extent from an economic perspective. Therefore, it will be imperative that both of them use the BRICS summit to mend fences and find out ways in which both can keep out of harm’s way for the other.
As far as Russia is concerned, it used to be the most important weapons supplier to India till 2013 when the pride of first place went to the US. After this the Eurasian country tried doing business with Pakistan, something which India could not approve of. Considering the tricky position India finds itself in with Pakistan being assisted with China, the last thing that India would want is a hostile Russia that is looking to help its immediate neighbours. So this is also one area where Modi would need to exercise his intellect and bring his political nous to play so as to find a way of keeping Russia happy.
Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry sacked by Indian government
The signs were already there when Kamla Beniwal was shown the door in Gujarat. The Indian government had made it absolutely clear that some of the governors who had been appointed by its predecessors – UPA – will also be accorded the same treatment and true to the alliance’s word the sequence of ‘bure din’ (bad days in Hindi) has started for the beleaguered dignitaries. Some governors have already been forced to call it a day and now Virendra Kataria, the lieutenant governor of Puducherry has been given the sack.
In fact as far as the political appointments of the UPA reign are considered this is the first such step initiated by the NDA government. As has been the wont in other similar decisions, retired lieutenant general Ajay Kumar Singh will be taking over at Puducherry – he is presently holding a similar post at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which he will keep even after being entrusted with the responsibilities at Puducherry. Kataria, 81 years old, has previously been the president of Congress’ Punjab unit and also been a member of Rajya Sabha.
Government officials coming to grips with social media
A distinguishing feature of Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial campaign was his effective use of social media. India has a substantial amount of voters who are young and regulars on the social media and networking circuit. They have been wowed by the way the ebullient PM-in-waiting used sites such as Twitter and that could have been one reason why they bought into his vision. Even after becoming the PM, Modi has been regularly in touch with his followers on Twitter sharing his insights on various important issues on the social media platform. In fact, he has also allowed plenty of access to social media websites to various domains of his governance. Digitization of administration is also one of the integral components of his vision going forward.
Now in such an atmosphere it is only natural that the officials working for the government would be acquainted with social media as well. On July 11, almost 150 officers from 59 separate ministries were taught the nitty-gritty of using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. They were also taught the use of blogs so that they could disseminate necessary messages and information on these channels that have a huge following in India. This was part of a social media workshop that had been organized the new media wing, information and broadcast ministry.
Indian government to ensure rural posting of doctors
One of the common problems for people in the rural areas of India, over the years, has been the lack of qualified doctors. More often than not the doctors, especially the younger graduates of the medical colleges, are not exactly to go and tough it out at the smaller centers worried by the fact that it will not be financially rewarding. They are happy opening a small clinic in the cities and then taking it from thereon. Well, now the Indian government has opted to take a step to bring an end to this sorry situation that is gradually assuming menacing propositions.
It has decided that medical students who are undergoing postgraduate level education will be dispatched to various villages. For this purpose it has identified 184 districts in 18 states where this deployment shall be done. Harsh Vardhan has stated that when the UPA government was there, a similar proposal had been mooted only for it to die an ignominious death in face of vociferous opposition from the postgraduate students. However, this process shall not be an autocratic one as the government will discuss the issue with various important stakeholders before finally arriving at a decision.