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Confident Of Doing Well in General Elections: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

When asked if there was any political pressure on the governor to resign, Modi denied that was the case.

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Modi to inaugurate several infrastructure projects in Odisha. VOA

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of doing well at this year’s general election despite the party’s recent losses in state polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an interview with Reuters partner ANI on Tuesday.

“No reason for morale down. We are confident and are moving ahead. In 2019, if there is one party which the country trusts and is connected with the people, it is the BJP,” Modi said.

India’s ruling party lost power in three key states in December, handing Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014 and boosting the Congress party opposition and its allies ahead of national polls due by May.

Modi said it was more important to focus on his government’s achievements, including the introduction in September of a new health care scheme for the poor.

“In such big numbers people suffering, today they have got treatment, how can I consider this a failure. It is my biggest achievement,” Modi said.

Modi, Bank, BJP
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

He said the party has been discussing what it lacked at the state elections, but winning or losing was not the only yardstick. The Hindu nationalist BJP was willing to work with regional parties in the run-up to the general election, he said.

“Our effort is to take everyone along, and listen to everyone. I am committed to give importance to regional aspirations. The country cannot be run by ignoring regional aspirations.”

Farmer relief

Modi said farm loan waivers should be “definitely done” if it helps, but that was not a long-term solution to the problem of farmer distress.

“What is lacking in our system, that farmer becomes debt-ridden and the governments have to repeat vicious cycle of elections and loan waivers. So solution is to empower the farmers. From seed to market, give all facilities to the farmers,” he said.

Farmers’ anger about low crop prices and their sense that the government has done far too little to address them contributed to the state election defeats.

The government is now considering three options for a relief package to help farmers suffering because of low crop prices at a cost of as much as 3 trillion rupees ($43.20 billion), three government sources told Reuters last week.

Urjit Patel, Bank, BJP
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel attends a news conference in Mumbai, India. VOA

Patel resignation

Former Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel had written to Modi about wanting to resign, citing personal reasons, several months before stepping down from the office in December, Modi said.

“The governor himself requested [to resign] because of personal reasons. I am revealing for the first time, he was telling me about this for the past 6-7 months before his resignation. He gave it even in writing. He wrote to me personally.”

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Patel resigned after a months-long tussle over policy with the government that raised concerns about the bank’s independence as the next general election nears.

When asked if there was any political pressure on the governor to resign, Modi denied that was the case.

“No such question arises. I acknowledge that Patel did a good job as RBI governor.” (VOA)

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India To Become Global Steel Manufacturing Hub By 2031

The Modi government seems determined to boost the country's crude steel production capacity to 300 MT by 2030-31 in a bid to make India a global steel manufacturing hub

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steel, manufacturing, india, global
Modi government seems determined to boost the country's crude steel production capacity. Wikimedia Commons

The Modi government seems determined to boost the country’s crude steel production capacity to 300 MT by 2030-31 in a bid to make India a global steel manufacturing hub.

At present, China is the world’s largest steel producer with a production capacity of 928.3 MT of crude steel (2018), while India, with 106.5 MT of crude steel production, ranks second on the list. Dedicated participation of all stakeholders is a must to achieve the projected capacity target of 300 MT by 2030-31.

To deliberate on major issues plaguing the sector, the Ministry of Steel is organising in Delhi on Monday a day-long conclave, during which Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will seek suggestions from the stakeholders to address its challenges, identify opportunities and arrive at tangible interventions that can aid the growth of the Indian steel industry.

The National Steel Policy 2017 envisages ‘creating a self-sufficient steel industry that is technologically advanced, globally competitive and promotes inclusive growth’.

Being the third largest steel consumer in the world after China and USA, India’s per capita steel consumption at 74 kgs is one-third the global average of 225 kgs.

steel, manufacturing, india, global
Being the third largest steel consumer in the world after China and USA, India’s per capita steel consumption at 74 kgs is one-third the global average of 225 kgs. Wikimedia Commons

Various countries have focused on rapidly increasing their steel consumption in the high growth phase of their economy. At present, India’s majority steel demand comes from construction, infrastructure, automobiles and capital goods, among others.

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Steel intensive construction offers an increased pace of durable and environmentally sustainable construction. Its recyclable nature also contributes to the circular economy.

The government has set a target to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, therefore promoting domestic steel industry is essential, given its high GDP multiplier and critical role in the construction and infrastructure sectors, said the Ministry. (IANS)