India’s bestselling author giving pep talk to employees in a conclave, all of them gifted an autobiography of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end. What used to be common practice in employee outreach programmes in multinational companies and tech giants are now being used by ministers of Modi sarkar to chart a new course in governance. This and much more happened in a busy Monday as Modi begun his second week in office. But 2nd June will be remembered in history as a day when 29th state of Indian republic, Telengana formally started its journey amidst much hope and expectation.
Slew of Chief Ministers are expected to meet Narendra Modi this week. Many of them belonging to non NDA parties are looking to bury hatchet to work closely with the Modi sarkar. Today Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik met Modi. He raised the demand for granting special status to Odisha as it is one of the most impoverished states of India. According to Naveen talks were positive. He denied the speculation that possibility of BJD returning to the NDA fold was discussed.
Kerala CM Oommen Chandy too called on the Prime Minister. He expressed satisfaction over the meeting saying Modi has assured him of listening to Kerala’s point of view before taking calls on contentious issues involving the state.
Late in the night Modi sat with his council of ministers for a three-hour marathon meeting!! Again departing from convention there was no formal agenda. According to reports, freewheeling talks were held with inputs taken about President’s speech in the Joint Session of Parliament. Ministers were also asked about progress regarding deciding on the agenda for first 100 days and to prepare status reports on schemes started by UPA. Tomorrow Modi will meet the secretaries of several important ministries.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is planning to increase FDI cap in insurance from 26 to 49%. Interestingly NDA had opposed this move during UPA regime. Finance Ministry officials though are saying some riders will be attached to safeguard Indian interest. Government may first open up non-life and health sectors followed by life insurance segment.
Sensex today shot up by nearly 467 points after suffering loss in the last four trading sessions. Markets are waiting eagerly for RBI’s monetary policy tomorrow which will indicate if impetus is given for growth or not.
Home was one ministry apart from Finance which came for maximum flak in the last UPA government. New Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh knows that he has his work cut out. Today he met heads of various paramilitary forces and chiefs of security agencies. Rajnath has asked them to come up with a blueprint to strengthen internal security.
Head of paramilitary forces, IB and RAW all attended this meeting. Also present was new NSA Ajit Doval who is sort of known as a czar in matters of internal security. This team will also look at possible amicable solutions to niggling border issues.
The first decision which Modi took just after becoming Prime Minister was the formation of a high powered SIT to bring back black money. SIT had its first meeting today. Mainly stock checking was done about past cases with suggestions coming about possible fast tracking of some black money probes. SIT has a formidable task in front of them as they will have to encounter thick maze of international laws for bringing back money stashed illegally in foreign banks.
Board results are out and it is time for admission. Now with classes slated to start soon, demands have been raised for scrapping the 4 year under graduate course in Delhi University. Teachers’ body today met Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani. They allege that this course violates UGC norms and laws established by Parliament. It is left to be seen if Smrit Irani who is yet to emerge from the whole “educated” controversy hastens to take any decision in this contentious issue.
The government has played it safe in the sensitive issue of providing security to Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra. There was suggestion from certain quarters that Robert Vadra may be stripped off the privilege of not being frisked in an airport. Priyanka Gandhi promptly wrote to SPG chief asking him to withdraw all privileges the family enjoys in airports. Now MOS Home Kiren Rijiju has issued an official statement. According to him, Priyanka Gandhi should not play petty politics in the matter of security. It is something which is exclusively decided by security agencies. Many though believe there is a political sub-text to this statement. Narendra Modi doesn’t want Priyanka Gandhi to take the moral high ground in this issue.
Congress though has squandered the chance of putting up a spirited performance in the Lok Sabha. In a baffling decision, Sonia Gandhi has nominated Mallikarjun Kharge as the leader of the Congress Parliamentary party. Kharge is an old party loyalist with a commendable record of never losing a single election in his life. But most expected Rahul Gandhi to take charge when Congress has been reduced to its historic low. If Rahul was unwilling, the post could have been given to the likes of Kamal Nath or Jyotiraditya Scindia. Kharge has to really up his game if he has to match Narendra Modi in the floor of the house.
Congress today criticized Modi Sarkar for concentrating all powers with PMO. This was in context of Modi cancelling all GOM and EGOM set up in UPA era. According to Congress Modi is ignoring well established traditions of taking combined decisions in certain issues.
Modi today received a back-handed compliment from Hurriyat hardliner leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He has rejected all apprehensions that parties in Jammu & Kashmir should be wary of Modi sarkar. According to Geelani, there will be no difference between policies of NDA and UPA governments. What the hardliner meant was that Modi will do much more posturing compared to Manmohan Singh but will stop short of crossing the Lakshman Rekha.
Modi-Sharif talks are still making waves in Pakistan. Now Imran Khan, leader of Tehreek-i- Insaf has accused Sharif of conceding ground to India. According to Imran, Pak PM was treated like a school boy in New Delhi. Imran particularly raised questions about inability of Sharif to meet separatist leaders from Hurriyat during his brief tour.
Political pot is still simmering over the gruesome double gangrape and killing in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh. Today Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that Uttar Pradesh government has acted in an insensitive manner and they should go. She however stopped short of saying whether NDA is planning to impose President’s rule in the state.
Gandhi said she will not go to Badaun as it will not solve any problem. She stressed on the goal of setting up rape crisis centres in all the districts of UP. Gandhi said that merely CBI probe is not a solution. LJP leader Chirag Paswan visited the site to meet the affected family on Monday.
Today in a refreshing change to government culture, Chetan Bhagat met bureaucrats belonging to Power, Coal and Renewable Energy ministries. He was invited by Piyush Goel who holds all the three portfolios. Both Bhagat and Goel in their speeches spoke about being considerate to the needs of the commoners, to build the trust that has eroded over the years. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was the chief guest in the conclave.
Telangana officially started its journey today. K Chandrasekhar Rao was sworn in as the first CM of the state. PM Modi congratulated the citizens of Telengana in this happy occasion. Significantly Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister designate Chandrababu Naidu was not invited to KCR’s swearing in ceremony. But Naidu has decided to invite KCR along with 10 other non-Congress Chief Ministers when he takes oath on 8th June.
Finally, a look at the key economic parameters as of today…