Tuesday March 26, 2019
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Congress claims Modi govt “arrogance” reached zenith after Sushma’s “wilful” lies

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New Delhi: The Congress party on Thursday tore into the Modi government, saying its “arrogance of power reached its zenith” when it asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to “explain away her unpardonable impropriety, willful lies, criminal intent, gross misuse of office and patent conflict of interest in the garb of ‘humanitarian grounds’ to help Lalit Modi.

Sushma-LalitSushma Swaraj on Thursday made a passionate defence of her role in the Lalit Modi affair, but the Congress termed her arguments as “hogwash”.

Anand Sharma, senior party spokesperson and deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, in a statement said the Modi government “first murdered democracy by suspending 25 MPs and effectively expelled the entire opposition from Lok Sabha”.

The party accused the Modi government and Sushma Swaraj of “once again misleading the country shamelessly and unabashedly”.

It latched on to Sushma’s tweets of June 14 in which she “admitted that she enabled the British government to give Lalit Modi travel documents. Lalit Modi’s request for travel documents had been rejected by British authorities on July 3, 2014. Obviously, only Sushma Swaraj’s intervention helped Lalit Modi get the travel documents by making the British authorities reverse their decision,” the Congress argued.

The party said that Sushma Swaraj was maintaining a family relationship with Lalit Modi, a fugitive of law, a FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) violator and a money-launderer for over last 20 years, both as a leader of opposition with cabinet status and then as the union external affairs minister.

The Congress said that Sushma Swaraj received telephonic calls in July 2014 as foreign minister to help a fugitive, i.e., Lalit Modi.

In July 2014 itself, Sushma Swaraj herself spoke to British Envoy, James Bevan to help such a fugitive get travel documents from the British government. She, in the process, over-ruled all objections of the government of India as repatriation of Lalit Modi to face prosecution in India.

She did not consult even the then Foreign Secretary, Sujata Singh, or her own ministry. She also chose not to consult the finance ministry or ED or DRI before overruling the objections originally raised and communicated to the British government by finance ministry, it said.

Sushma Swaraj also recommended the case of Lalit Modi to the head of a parliamentary committee of a foreign country, i.e., chairman, home affairs committee, House of Commons, Britain – Keith Vaz to grant travel documents to Lalit Modi.

It said her daughter was counsel for Lalit Modi in this case before the division bench when it was decided against decision of foreign ministry confiscating the passport.

Sushma Swaraj or her foreign ministry never took opinion of counsel for foreign ministry, Rajiv Mehra, who appeared before single and division bench qua filing of appeal in Supreme Court. Rajiv Mehra now states that, “It (appeal to the Supreme Court) should have been done. Normally, it is automatically done….”

Sushma Swaraj, by her “humanitarian gesture” (as she says), has permitted a fugitive and money-launderer not only to travel from Britain to Portugal but also facilitated his travel for holidays to resort town of Ibiza (August 4, 2014) and back to his hideout in Britain to escape the Indian law and authorities, who, according to the finance minister, were chasing him for arrest.

He said the UPA government through its then finance minister, P. Chidambaram, wrote two letters to Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne asking him for action against Lalit Modi besides following it up with a personal meeting between India’s finance minister and chancellor of exchequer, Britain. But Sushma Swaraj overruled the objections given earlier by the government of India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj could not have withdrawn the written communications of the government of India written through the then finance minister without prior consent of the present finance minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to grant of travel documents to Lalit Modi. Tacit approval of the Prime Minister is, thus, writ large?, the Congress said.

(IANS)

Next Story

Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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VOA
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)

One response to “Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?”

  1. If the employment picture is bleak despite the construction of so many more Kilometers of roads, railways, air ports, bridges, toilets and other infrastructures compared to the five or even ten years of UPA government, imagine where we would be if we had UPA III government .