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Focus on energy security to become self sustainable: Narendra Modi

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Talking on energy security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India will have to be independent in this area and seek new avenues to replenish existing sources in a bid to serve the growing need of the people.

He called for enhancing domestic production to reduce the energy import burden of the country by at least 10 per cent, till 2022 – the occasion of the platinum jubilee of India’s independence.

“We need to be independent when it comes to providing our people with energy,” Modi said, while inaugurating the “Urja Sangam – 2015” conference on energy security at the Vigyan Bhavan exposition complex in Delhi.

He also asked people who are well off to surrender their fuel subsidy entitlement.

“People who don’t need LPG subsidy and those who are capable of managing without it should give it up. I ask you to join this movement. Give up gas subsidy. Create a record. The subsidy that you will give up will go a long way in benefitting the poor people.”

People are already giving up their subsidy, Modi said, and added that “over 2.8 lakh consumers have surrendered LPG subsidy, resulting in a saving of Rs.100 crore to the exchequer”.

Modi said that the government aims to provide piped cooking gas, which currently serves 27 lakh households, to one crore households in the next four years. He also complimented ONGC Videsh Ltd, Engineers India Ltd, and Barauni Refinery, for their successful journey of five decades, and called upon India’s energy sector to plan for the next five decades with a global perspective. He said India, with one-sixth of the world’s population, should shoulder one-sixth of the world’s energy responsibility, hence contributing to global prosperity.

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Continues To Stay Mum On The #MeToo Movement. Wikimedia Commons

“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

India,India, elections
India’s Congress party President Rahul Gandhi displays documents as he accuses Narendra Modi’s government of buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault at a highly inflated price, in New Delhi, India. VOA

The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
Modi Appeals For A Regional Front Against Terrorism, flickr

Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)