100 Days of Modi Sarkar – Day 68
It may have done away with subsidies on important commodities such as petrol but the Indian government is sure looking to make up for it on the international platform by attempting to hold its ground on the issue of food subsidy and thus blocking a WTO deal that is being said to be a landmark one as far as global trade is concerned. In fact the major reasons for this stance of India is the possibility that it break the subsidy limit for rice and wheat, as well as the various problems the government is facing within the country on subsidy-related issues.
India shows firm resolve on subsidy issue and stops WTO deal
WTO is trying its best to push this particular agreement through but India has stayed put on its decision to not support the same till the time its concerns are addressed properly. As per subsidy data that the government is supposed to release in the coming weeks, in 2011 the amount of subsidy provided on rice was 9% of the production value and for the wheat the rate was a little lesser. India is safe as of now but if the subsidy crosses 10% then it could be penalized by WTO.
UPSC row leads to disruption of Rajya Sabha
The controversy surrounding the change in the pattern of examination for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) has seen several candidates staging protests. The government had formed a committee, headed by Arvind Verma, in order to study the various aspects related to the changes and provided its report on July 31. However, the government for some reason decided to ignore this rather critical issue and not introduce it on August 1 itself. The result of this unfortunate and undesired delay was the loss of question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
The upper house of Indian legislature saw a couple of adjournments prior to noon when the members insisted on being provided details of the said report. The members of opposition in Rajya Sabha asked the government to accord due importance to the problems being faced by the students who have been agitating and stressed that this issue needed to be given proper importance. Naresh Agarwal, from Samajwadi Party, and Sharad Yadav, from Janata Dal-United, were at the forefront of the said demands. However, in all fairness the government made an effort to salvage the situation with Venkaiah Naidu stating that the details shall be provided following the question hour.
Government planning fresh auctions for spectrum by February 2015
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is supposed to start the coming round of spectrum auction and the date fixed for this procedure is February 3, 2015. It is expected that this spectrum auction will help the government draw an approximate amount of INR 14,000 crore. The spectrum is supposed to be sold in the following bands:
- 800 MHz
- 1800 MHz
- 900 MHz
- 2100 MHz
The budget for the 2014-15 fiscal has projected an aggregate amount of INR 9355 crore from the spectrum auction taking into account the first three among the above mentioned bands.
The DoT has learnt from the union finance ministry that if the spectrum, in possession of defense, can be included in the auction there will be an increase of INR 5000 crore. The department is supposed to start the process with a request for proposal (RFP) from the companies that are looking to take part into the auction. This will be done on August 14, 2014. This round is supposed to come to an end by October 17 and after that the department will issue notice inviting applications (NIA) from the companies in question. One just hopes that this process goes off better than how the UPA dealt with the spectrum auctions and the exchequer does not suffer any loss.
Focus on clean energy by way of properly defined roadmap
Energy is one of the most precious commodities nowadays as can be evinced from the rising prices of such products all around the world. Various countries are trying their best to deal with this crisis by trying to develop alternative sources of energy that are friendlier for the environment and also sustainable for the long term. Some countries have already made significant progress on the same and others are aiming to create roadmaps to reach a similar level.
India belongs to the second list. Over the years, petroleum and diesel prices have wreaked havoc with its economy. So it is imperative that it develops sources for clean energy that can be sourced for a longer period of time. As per Prakash Javadekar, the environment minister, the government is looking at innovation to come up with ways of development that can be sustained for a long time and for the administration developing a roadmap for the same is of utmost importance.
Government says that autism cases are increasing
The Indian government has stated that the number of instances of autism spectrum disorder or ASD have been increasing in India as is evident from the statistics available from medical institutions operated by the national government. At NIMHANS, Bangalore the number of patients admitted with this ailment has gone up to 97 in 2011 from 6 in 1989. In AIIMS, New Delhi the number of these cases, on a monthly basis, has increased from 2-3 during 2005 to 2007 to 7-8 in 2008-2011.
This is a worrying sign considering the fact that most government owned medical facilities are used by people who come from the middle and lower steps of the social order. Autism is a neurotic disorder and can hamper the normal functioning of a human being. For people in the less economically well-off strata it is a major issue if the children are not completely healthy as often they do not have the requisite financial strength to deal with the ailments of their children. Considering the fact that such diseases can affect their wards’ employment potential if left untreated, they are also at pains to secure their financial future.