Monday February 18, 2019
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I-Day speech: Sartorially subdued Modi softens fiery rhetoric

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New Delhi, There was no eye-catching bright colorful flowing turban this year, that had made as much an impact as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech last year.

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zeenews.india.com

Modi, whose sartorial preferences have been much written about, chose a subdued creamish-yellow turban this year, matching with his simple cream coloured churidaar-kurta and jacket.
Matching his dress sense, the fiery rhetoric which had galvanised his supporters through elections and governance in the first year has undergone a change.
The intense delivery was replaced with a ‘team India’ approach which credited the nation with achievements and the greatness to come, rather than the “me, mine, myself” eloquence so typical of the man who brought his party to power through a high octane campaign, and which carried on in his speeches for a year.

People did notice and comment on his earlier approach. It was former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah who had hit the nail on its head by once saying that for Modi the “whole thing was about being me, myself and I alone”.
On Independence Day last year, Modi’s fervent speech had made as much impact as his bright red and green headgear. His appeal of Make in India, of abolishing the Planning Commission, setting up toilets for all among other pronouncements had caught on – and there was much applause, including from among the over 150 foreign diplomats who had crowded around to hear the then new leader of India.

His visit to the US last September was talked about not only for his meeting with President Barack Obama and his speech at the UN General Assembly, but also his frequent change of attire. Those following the prime minister would notice him in a changed suit or churidar-kurta and bright jacket for every occasion – and the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted pictures of all his meetings with dignitaries.

Modi’s sartorial choice became one of the most talked about event during Obama’s India visit in January, when he wore a pin-striped suit with his name on it – that fetched the prime minister enormous amount of flak, not the least from opposition parties which tried to paint him as a man of form, rather than substance.

The “Rs.10 lakh suit”, was gifted by a businessman and was later auctioned off, but the attacks did not end. ‘Suit-Boot ki sarkar’ became a war-cry of Congress trying desperately to find a chink in the armour of a man who had reduced the party to its lowest-ever tally in the Lok Sabha
Sitting along side Barack Obama watching Republic Day parade this year, Modi made an eye-catching picture, attired in a black bandh-gala suit, and topped with a green and red bandhani turban with a red frill at the top. He also wore a pair of stylish shades in contrast to the US President who was attired in a simple dark blue suit.

Perhaps in the aftermath of the disapproval he received for the pin-striped suit, Modi has, over the months, become markedly spartan in his attire, even on foreign jaunts. So has his grandiloquence. The few schemes he announced this year appeared to be a case of reality catching up with hyperbole.

Modi had confessed in interviews earlier that he likes to mix and match his wardrobe and experiments with colour. The experiments seems to have been given up. He now largely wears dark coloured bandh-gala suits or simple churidar-kurtas for his meetings.
In another marked change this year – there was no jostling, eager crowd to hear Modi’s Independence Day speech. Is this the beginning of ennui among the people?

(IANS)

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A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)