Mood of the Nation Poll gives Modi clear support
Even as the Narendra Modi administration nears 100 days at the Centre, the Prime Minister continues to enjoy the confidence of the Indian masses. According to the Mood of the Nation Poll conducted across the nation by the India Today Group and Hansa Research, over 61% of the poll respondents said that Modi is an excellent Prime Minister. Among the respondents, almost 71% agreed that the performance of the NDA government has been satisfactory. While only about 12% of the respondents think that Modi is being controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), about 47% believe that the PM is self-motivated and capable of resisting the RSS agenda.
The India Today-Hansa Research Mood of the Nation Poll pronounces a clear verdict in favour of the NaMo administration. As a leader, Modi continues to retain his popularity among the masses. This also is indicative of the high expectations that the country has of the Prime Minister. The poll suggests that if the Lok Sabha elections were to be held again, the BJP would gain 32 additional seats (over the 282 seats of May 2014 LS elections) and the Congress would bag only 40 seats, down from the 44 seats of May 2014 LS elections. This amplifies the electorate’s disillusionment with the Indian National Congress and approval of the NaMo-led government.
Arun Jaitley continues to invite criticism over Nirbhaya remark
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, joined the brigade criticizing the Finance and Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley, over his remark about the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case that had the country up in protests. Jaitley had said that the case was a “small rape incident” that had cost the country millions worth of tourism. Yadav called the remark “most humiliating” for the country and its womenfolk. The remark has invited the ire of the Twitterati and other users of various social networking sites in India. Jaitley clarified later that his intention was not to belittle the incident but to lament the loss of tourism to the nation.
The gang-rape of a 23-year old paramedic in the capital city of India on December 16, 2012 had led to unprecedented outrage and protests all across the country. The girl had sustained fatal injuries and later succumbed to them causing much soul-searching over crimes against women in India. The girl who earned the sobriquet Nirbhaya, became the cause for women’s security awareness and freedom all over the country and an insensitive comment about the issue seems extremely unbecoming of the Finance Minister.
8-member panel to replace Planning Commission
According to popular news reports, the panel that is now likely to replace the Planning Commission will have 8 members – 4 of them will be representatives of the government and 4 others will be prominent members of the society such as economists, scientists and social activists. Half of this 8-member panel will be permanent and the others will be floating members. The panel is likely to be headed by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, himself, or by a representative. This 8-member body will perform important advisory function and help the Prime Minister in administering reforms.
The Prime Minister had announced the scrapping of the 64-year-old Planning Commission in his Independence Day address. The announcement has met with much criticism, especially from the Congress front. The Prime Minister, however, holds that the Planning Commission – a legacy of the socialist era – is ill-equipped to face modern day challenges, has outlived its purpose, and had become a white elephant squandering precious public money like most other institutions in India. For now, there is much ambiguity and debate among the public about the nature and duties of the panel that is replacing the Planning Commission, but a debate also raises a basic point what makes us think in terms of replacements for deadwood.
Subramanian Swamy urges PM to rebuild Ram temple
Senior BJP politician Subramanian Swamy has urged the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to rebuild the Ram temple at Ayodhya. The suggestion became public when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) published the letter written by Dr. Swamy to the PM outlining an elaborate plan for the construction. In his letter Dr. Swamy suggests the relocation of the Babri Masjid across the Saryu river and establishment of a Ram temple rebuilding committee on the lines of the committee that rebuilt the Somnath temple.
The publication of this letter itself, if not the act of rebuilding the temple and relocation of the masjid, may cause much criticism. In 1989, the BJP’s Advani-led Ayodhya movement was at the heart of the party’s claim to fame as a Hindutva-based political party. In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP manifesto made a significant shift; it read “BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.” It now remains to be seen how the party deals with this sensitive issue.
SC refuses to postpone UPSC prelim exam
A week ago, in response to protests from candidates across the country, the government had decided not to assess aspirants on the English comprehension section of Paper II of the UPSC pelim exam. The examinees were asked to leave the section unanswered even as the duration of the exam remains unchanged at 2 hours. Following this announcement, an aspirant had filed for postponement of the exam to compensate for the time lost in the agitation. The Supreme Court declined to postpone the exam. About 9 lakh aspirants are likely to take the exam that has been at the centre of many debates and controversies lately. It is perhaps time that the government revisits the examination and evaluation system that provides the country its civil servants and administrators.