Narendra Modi launches portal MyGov for the citizens
Prime Narendra Modi launched a portal called MyGov that aims to encourage democratic governance. The website intends to provide citizens a forum to express their views and opinions on all important issues that require action by the government. The website is a great opportunity for the common man to suggest effective solutions for good governance or “surajya”. On the occasion of the inauguration the Prime Minister said, “I am confident that people of my nation will welcome this initiative and this mission will succeed as strength and capability of 125 crore Indians is enormous.”
The portal shall also allow citizens to volunteer and contribute their efforts towards specific tasks. Users can earn points on the completion of these tasks and the portal’s most active contributors shall bag a chance to meet Modi. The website is a welcome addition to the technological repertoire of PM Modi and an outlet for the growing political consciousness of the citizens to express opinions about issues such as cleaning India, job and opportunity creation, cleaning the Ganga, encouraging education of the girl child, boosting skills in India, and digital India.
National War Memorial site to be finalised soon
On the occasion of Vijay Diwas – the 15th anniversary of the 1999 Kargil War, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley paid homage to martyrs and spelt out the government’s commitment to construct a grand National War Memorial. Jaitley promised to finalize the site very soon and said that the chiefs of three Services would be consulted before a final decision is taken. Jaitley, who is also the nation’s Finance Minister, had earmarked INR 100 crore for the construction of this memorial in his annual budget.
The construction of a war memorial comes as a late but much needed boost to the morale of the defence personnel of India. Despite the existence of over 25,000 war widows, India is one of the few of nations in the world without a dedicated war memorial. The memorial which will also house a war museum is likely to be a welcome addition to the capital. It is likely that the war museum will be built at the site of Princess Park in New Delhi.
India Nepal hold JCM after 23 years
Indo-Nepalese bilateral ties recorded a new high with the two countries holding their first Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) after a gap of 23 years. The JCM was chaired by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with the Nepalese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey. Swaraj headed the Indian delegation which included Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and some senior officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and Ministry of Water Resources. The JCM is being held at Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The discussions between the two nations explored five broad areas of cooperation – border issues, national security, and politics; economic co-operation and infrastructure support; travel and trade; sharing power and water resources; and cultural exchanges and education. The External Affairs Minister stressed that Nepal is high on the NDA government’s priority list. This JCM is a key part of the NaMo administration’s agenda to establish a clear dominance and cordial bilateral ties in the SAARC region. The two nations are likely to renew the 1950 Friendship Treaty, and open up avenues of cooperation to benefit people of both nations.
US, EU disappointed over India’s WTO stand
Even as India hardens its stand on the trade deal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the US and the EU have expressed disappointment and criticised India’s attempt to derail the deal. While India has refused to sign the accord on trade facilitation unless the forum simultaneously takes up the issue of food security, western nations have expressed concern that the standoff may be a very costly one. The WTO deal is expected to add over USD 1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy.
In December 2013, WTO member countries had agreed to the deal at the Bali Ministerial session; it is to facilitate easier trade by adopting faster and inexpensive trading systems. India has concerns that this will affect our food security programme and food procurement through minimum support prices (MSP). If India does not agree to the stand by July end it is likely to overshadow the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to India. Is the NaMO administration willing to risk alienating the US and the EU over this deal? India is likely to find out in the coming fortnight.
Adieu Gen. Bikram Singh
Outgoing Army Chief Gen.Bikram Singh is slotted to retire on July 31. In his honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a farewell dinner. The dinner was also attended by a number of senior government officers and the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag has been named as the Gen. Bikram Singh’s successor. Lt Gen. Suhag has been at the centre of a raging controversy even before he has taken over as the Chief of Army Staff. BJP MP and former Army Chief General VK Singh is believed to have attempted to sabotage the career progression of Lt. Gen. Suhag. In the days to come the NDA administration will have to walk a tightrope if it is to avoid any controversy or even a standoff with the defence forces. With over 7 incursions and ceasefire violations by Pakistan’s troops in the past one week, the government cannot afford to alienate the defence forces.
Saharanpur Violence – UP rages again
In what was faintly reminiscent of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, Uttar Pradesh once again erupted in communal violence. 3 people were killed and 20 injured when Sikhs and Muslims in Saharanpur, Western UP, broke out in violent clashes. Last year, the UPA government faced severe criticism for its inability to prevent the riots and protect lives and property of the people. It remains to be seen how the NDA government supports the state in handling the situation. Currently, curfew has been imposed in the township.