Modi Government’s long promised smart city plan is set to kick off. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday that the project will start with the selection process.
“A Smart Cities Challenge system will be approved by the cabinet anytime this month. Cities must qualify themselves through city-challenge criteria like sanitation, clean water, power, greenery quotient and ratio between revenue and expenditure on municipal salaries,” Naidu said.
The project is to be of a public-private partnership (PPP) kind as the government needs help from the industry.
The government’s role in the project will be of a facilitator or “handholding” and the focus will be on transparency and accountability.
The selection process will start by the end of this month.
As the Narendra Modi-led central government is leaving no stone unturned in fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, 83.5 per cent people from various states “trust in government” in handling the crisis.
The findings came out in the IANS-CVoter exclusive tracker on COVID-19 Wave 2 survey conducted during last seven days among 18 plus adults nationwide. The findings and projections are based on Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).
Replying to a question “I think Indian government is handling the coronavirus well”, 83.5 per cent people agreed that they trust in government’s steps being taken in fight against the deadly disease, and 9.4 per cent expressed their disagreement. The survey was conducted on March 26 and 27. Of the 83.5 per cent who showed their trust in government, 66.4 per cent strongly agree with the opinion and 17.1 agree with the view.
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A similar survey on the same question done on March 17 and 18 showed that 83.6 per cent people expressed their trust in government in fight against the pandemic which so far has claimed 29 lives and over 1,000 conformed cases. A total of 13.7 per cent people expressed their disagreement.
As per the tracker, the data is weighted to the known demographic profile of the states. Sometimes the table figures do not sum to 100 due to the effects of rounding, it says. “Our final data file has socio-economic profile within plus 1 per cent of the demographic profile of the state. We believe this will give the closest possible trends.”
The Tracking Pol fieldwork covers random probability samples during the last seven days from the release date and that the sample spread is across all assembly segments across all states. This survey covers all states in India and was conducted in 10 languages as part of our routine OmniBus, it says.
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“This is a thorough random probability sample; and we are ensuring a proper representative analysis by statistical weighing of the data to make it representative of the local population as per the latest census and or other available demographic benchmarks.”
The data clarified that it strictly follows the WAPOR code of conduct (World Association of Public Opinion Research) for our ethical and transparent scientific practices and have incorporated the PCI (Press Council of India ) guidelines as our SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). (IANS)
The domestic scene in India looks like it is acquiring an air of general disquiet for several reasons — the after effect of ‘communal’ violence in the capital that had caused large casualties and destruction of property, the rising trend of the ‘liberal’ lobby orchestrating criticism of our Supreme Court for its alleged lack of judicial objectivity and the unraveling of institutional profligacy of many financial and corporate bodies as an upshot of the legacy of permissive corruption that had prevailed in India in the regimes gone by.
Unmistakably, this instigated restiveness has become more pronounced ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to power with a much larger majority in 2019 — completing the first tenure with a fairly successful record of governance. He was able to do this largely on the strength of his personal image as a leader of integrity given to taking firm decisions for the people and ruling with a strong hand. This reaffirmation happened — much to the chagrin of his opponents — even when the BJP had failed to retain many crucial states of the Hindi belt in the intervening Assembly elections. The big picture behind what prevails today needs to be looked into so that the country is not caught in a stalemate and held back from making socio-economic progress that it so urgently requires. The crossover to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by Jyotiraditya Scindia speaks of the political credibility that Prime Minister Modi commands today and makes for an improvement in the internal stability of India.
A distinct plank of the renewed campaign of the opposition against the Modi government is the allegation that the latter was pushing the country towards ‘majoritarianism’ — an ambiguous term designed to create the illusion of the advent of a ‘Hindu rule’ — in its watch. This clearly is a repackaged Minority politics. India is the world’s largest functional democracy rooted in universal franchise based on the principle of ‘one man one vote’ and the Indian masses have proved their robust electoral freedom by punishing the perpetrators of the Emergency and later ousting an entrenched regime that had earned a bad name for corruption and ‘policy paralysis’. And this happened in spite of the existence of multiple parties that drew upon ideological, sectarian and regional divides so characteristic of our internal scene.
The political legitimacy of the return of Modi regime has driven its detractors to pushing the Hindu-Muslim divide to the front of their narrative in a more vicious way — by running down the usage of the word ‘nationalism’ as something that was contrary to ‘secularism’ and putting the situation of Muslims in democratic India on the same footing as the minorities had in the Islamic State of Pakistan. They have unwittingly caused a deep-rooted damage to the image of India’s Muslim minority by pushing it to the same side of the fence with Pakistan.
The groups in opposition would have every right to criticise the Modi government if the two basic paradigms of secularism — development for all and equal protection of law for all — were not getting full attention of the state. Considering the reality of law & order being a state subject they would still be entitled to take on the Centre if any case of communally motivated public violence was found to have been neglected by it. They followed none of this logic and just took to a propagandist line alleging that the Muslim minority felt unprotected in Modi rule. They forget that the common folks of all communities in India were preoccupied — all alike — with pursuing their livelihood in a peaceful environ. The opposition had the right to confront the regime on policy issues of citizenship including those related to CAA without joining hands with the Ulema and the communal elite who were only interested in playing up the fears of our Muslim minority for political expediency.
Certainly, upholding the lawlessness practised in the name of anti-CAA protests did not help the cause of the minority — it apparently gave an opportunity to quarters hostile to India to fish in our troubled waters. The democratic instincts of Indians as a whole would not allow persecution of any community through the gross misuse of law. The timing of the Delhi disturbances and the pattern of violence seemed to suggest that something different from the traditional mob violence of a communal riot rooted in a cycle of action and reaction, happened there. This has to be quickly probed and all culprits, including the agents provocateurs, brought to book. Of course, the lesson for the police is that all sensitive areas should be marked from before and effective intervention made on the first signs of tension.
A notably vague but mischievous line of attack on the Modi government these last few months has come from its political opponents masquerading as ‘liberals’ and alleging that the former was a dispensation of the ‘ultra right’ taking the country towards ‘fascism’ in the name of ‘nationalism’. They have insinuated that the regime was somehow able to manoeuvre even the highest judiciary of the land to respond in a certain way on issues like Ayodhya, Kashmir and CAA. There is an attempt to damage the faith of the people in our Supreme Court — an institution installed by the Constitution as the final arbiter of all executive and legislative acts in this country. This is going beyond the legitimate limit of expressing a disagreement with a particular verdict of the Supreme Court — and is a matter of concern.
To add to the impression of a general disquiet in the country on the economic slowdown, a string of cases of important banks being exposed for corporate mis-governance and fraudulent deeds under the watch of this government, have been used by the opposition to question the efficacy of the Modi government even as in many cases the malady was traceable to the times of the UPA rule. A deepseated malaise exposed by these cases is that many bureaucrats retiring from top positions lent their names to the board of directors of private companies for mutual gain and looked the other way when irregularities were committed by the concerned entities. The government may consider using a combination of measures like ‘cooling period’, restriction on the positions of Director for a retired official and an obligation of an independent Director to annually report to the Ministry concerned of the Centre on the responsibilities handled. All this could be suitably brought under the scope of service rules.
The Modi government needs to demonstrate its capacity for prompt remedial administrative and legal action against economic offenders as well as the socio-political activists who committed the crime of creating communal discord. The national security set-up has to gear up to the new task of watching out for internal destabilisation at the hands of agents provocateurs and colluders of foreign adversary on our soil and expanding the intelligence oversight on the same. Indian democracy needs protection against internal threats as much as the security it requires against an attack from outside.
The anti-CAA agitation and the extensive violence it has led to in Delhi have further encouraged the Pak agencies to step up their operational effort to ‘radicalise’ vulnerable youth and put them on to the path of militancy. This is a major threat to our internal security at present. (IANS)
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday claimed that the previous Left Front government’s “terrible legacies of corruption, misgovernance and party domination” over 25 years were major hindrances for the BJP- led government’s developmental efforts.
Despite the erstwhile Left government’s “all-round non-performance”, Tripura under his government would become a model state in three years since the state had gained leading position on many counts in the last two years, the Chief Minister told IANS in an interview as his government completed two years on Monday.
“In just two years, we made Tripura corruption-free, removed middlemen’s role, initiated online systems in almost all public services to reach the doorsteps of people, reduce crime, boost growth and per-capita income,” he added.
To further improve connectivity between land-locked Tripura and the rest of the world, ambitious projects of railways, roadways, waterways, and airways are under implementation, Deb added.
After completion of the ongoing such projects either by year-end or early next year, all northeastern states would benefit in terms of easier connectivity.
The 49-year-old Deb, the 11th Chief Minister of Tripura, claimed that during the Left regime ‘dal tantra’ (party-run system) dominated in all spheres, while ‘ganatantra’ (democracy) was non-existent.
“The BJP-led government had to cope with Rs 12,902-crore loan burden left by the previous Marxist government. We had to pay Rs 5.56 crore per day to repay the loan along with interest,” he added.
The BJP in alliance with tribal-based Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) had won the Assembly polls two years ago, breaking the 25-year uninterrupted rule of the Left Front led by Communist Party of India-Marxist.
Highlighting his government’s two-year performance, Deb said that in 2017-18, Tripura’s per capita income was Rs 1.05 lakh. “Because of BJP regime’s good governance, Tripura rose to 16th position from previous 21st position among 37 states and union territories in the country.”
According to Tripura Chief Minister, Sikkim topped among the northeastern states in per capita income with Rs 3.17 lakh while Tripura is now at the second position among the eight northeastern states with Rs 1.54 lakh.
Deb claimed that after the completion of the five-year term of the BJP-led government, Tripura’s per capita income would be Rs 2.26 lakh in 2022-23 and the GSDP Rs 95,46,333 crore. The state’s current GSDP is Rs 63,466 crore against Rs 44,161 crore in 2017-18, when the Left Front was in power, he said.
“The BJP government has taken several steps to boost the state’s economy by mobilising available resources. The total tax collection has increased from Rs 1,915 crore in 2017-18 fiscal to Rs 2,338 crore in the current fiscal (2019-20), a net increase of 21.82 per cent. National GST (Goods and Services Tax) collection is 3.7 per cent, but in Tripura this is over 10 per cent.”
Deb, who pledged to make Tripura drugs-free, said that to save the young and future generations from the menace, his government after assuming office on March9, 2018 launched a war on drug trade, cultivation and smuggling.
“As Tripura has taken a lead among northeastern states in curbing drug menace, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked governments in the region to make northeast India a drugs-free are by 2022.”
Deb, who holds the Home portfolio, said that the conviction rate in Tripura has increased to 47 per cent from 29 per cent and organised crime against women reduced by 10 per cent in two years.
“Crime against women in Tripura is 15 per cent less than the national average. To empower the women, 10 per cent posts in police department have been reserved for the women.”
Deb said that the Tripura government had introduced 21 new schemes and taken many steps in two years to improve the quality of education, including introduction of NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) curriculum.
The Chief Minister assured that his government would take steps to protect the jobs of 10,323 Tripura government teachers recruited during the previous government’s tenure but now facing termination due to High Court and Supreme Court verdicts.
Regarding the expansion of eight-member Tripura council of ministers, Deb said that it would be done in due course of time. (IANS)