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With the Modi in Camelot 2.0, Expect the Unexpected

Many aspirations and ambitions have to be fulfilled while hard work and perseverance will need to be rewarded

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Modi, AIM, Global
The prime focus of the government as well as NITI Aayog remains on accelerating the pace of manufacturing sector in India. Flickr

With a gargantuan majority at his disposal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a huge gene pool to choose from and reward as he goes about appointing members to his new Camelot. However, with PM Modi, no one can second-guess him. At the same time, speculation is rife in Delhi’s political circles on the composition of the new Cabinet.

For starters, one will have to look at the Big Four – members of the all important Cabinet Committee on Security. In the erstwhile Cabinet there were two women. Apparently, former Rajasthan Chief MInister Vasundhara Raje may be sounded out for the External Affairs Ministry while giant killer Smriti Irani, who toppled Congress President Rahul Gandhi from his pocket borough of Amethi, may get the plum post of Raksha Mantri. Many aspirations and ambitions have to be fulfilled while hard work and perseverance will need to be rewarded.

The PM may also be looking at certain technocrats to push his JAM policy where the tri-junction of Jan, Aadhar and Mobile meet. This has paid handsome dividends at the bottom of the pyramid and in more ways than one given a sense of liberation and purpose to rural women. As such, one shouldn’t be surprised if there is a Make in India, Skill Development and other such nomenclatures in the new Cabinet.

Grapevine also indicates that NSA Ajit Doval may be one of the contenders for the Defence Minister’s job. He could even be sent to Washington as India’s ambassador to the US. Adding a twist to the permutations and combinations, if BJP President Amit Shah is inducted into the Cabinet, he may get one of the most crucial portfolios out of three – Home, Defence or even Finance.

Modi, Camelot 2.0
Former Rajasthan Chief MInister Vasundhara Raje may be sounded out for the External Affairs Ministry. Flickr

In whatever role the PM assigns him, he will be pushing the rollout agenda of the PM’s pet schemes aggressively. In the eventuality that he joins the Cabinet, given the nature of Indian polity where the country lurches from one election to another and the whirligig is more often than not year round; Dharmendra Pradhan or Bhupendra Yadav may get the nod for the party top job.

Health minister J.P. Nadda is another name doing the rounds. National General Secretary and a Rajya Sabha MP from Himachal Pradesh, Nadda is known as a master strategist in his party. The party had given him charge of Uttar Pradesh in the recently concluded hustings. The party bagged 62 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats.

Meanwhile, Pradhan cut his teeth in the Bihar Lok Sabha elections 2014 and once again, this time in his home state Odisha. BJP’s vote share in the Lok Sabha polls in Odisha rose from about 21.9 per cent in 2014 to 38.37 per cent while the ruling BJD’s fell from 44.1 per cent in 2014 to 42.76 per cent.

BJP’s vote share in the Odisha Assembly polls also rose significantly from 18.2 per cent in 2014 to 32.5 per cent in 2019. An RSS member since his student days and a close confidant of both Modi and Shah, Pradhan is expected to play a bigger role in BJP.

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Bhupendra Yadav is a Rajya Sabha member, but equally a powerful national general secretary. Fiercely private, like his mentor Amit Shah, Yadav keeps to the confines of the war room, a role that he relishes. Yadav had been the BJP election in-charge for Rajasthan in 2013, Jharkhand in 2014 and Bihar in 2015. While Bihar did not go the way the BJP would have liked, Yadav delivered results for his boss, Shah, in both Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh may be retained in his present job, but if party President Amit Shah, who has played a monumental role in the BJP returning to power working ceaselessly and tirelessly to put the strategic tent poles in place, joins the Cabinet, the former party president may become the new Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who served as the interim finance minister when Arun Jaitley was undergoing treatment, may step into his shoes.

However, other names are also doing the rounds for this post. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad may be moved to a more prominent ministry after his win in Patna Sahib. He was a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and became a cabinet minister under Modi. Nitin Gadkari had a number of ministries under him and is credited with most tangible work being done in those departments. He may continue with the work assigned to him. Agriculture will be one of the focus areas and, there is a thinking that a technocrat like Ashok Gulati should be given the job to ameliorate the woes of agrarian India which appears to be in distress mode.

Modi, Camelot 2.0
Speculation is rife in Delhi’s political circles on the composition of the new Cabinet. Flickr

Telecom will have a new minister since Manoj Sinha is one of the prominent losers in the BJP. If Pradhan moves to head the party, then the energy portfolio comprising petroleum and natural gas will also see a new face. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi may get a cabinet rank this time. He is the most prominent Muslim face in the Modi team. Prakash Javdekar will also be given an important position — he served as HRD Minister in the old Council of Ministers.

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With nearly 80 members in the previous Cabinet, lots of faces and names to fill the posts abound. Expect the infusion of new blood and representation to states where the BJP has done exceedingly well — Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and equal weight to the allies. (IANS)

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Can Modi’s ‘AIM’ Challenge Global Manufacturing Hub China’s Dominance?

PM Modi has set his eye on water management, agriculture and security issues

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Modi, AIM, Global
The prime focus of the government as well as NITI Aayog remains on accelerating the pace of manufacturing sector in India. Flickr

Eyeing the global revolution in tech-innovations, the Modi government, in its second avatar, is all set to redefine the scope of ‘Knowledge and Innovation’ at NITI Aayog. Before leaving for his foreign visit to the Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings with technocrats, top officials and key cabinet colleagues, discussing how to radically redefine innovations and technology on manufacturing front to compete with China.

Over all, the prime focus of the government as well as NITI Aayog remains on accelerating the pace of manufacturing sector in India. On domestic front, PM Modi has set his eye on water management, agriculture and security issues and he would likely underline his priorities once he chairs the first big meeting of NITI Aayog, on June 15.

In the wake of sharp criticism from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the alleged failure of NITI Aayog, the government now seems more determined to take the Aayog to a new height, inducting domain specialists at the rank of Joint Secretary and above.

“The PM’s dream project is the success of the Atal Innovation Mission,(AIM) the flagship project of NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. If AIM takes off well, the country would soon be a substitute for China as a global manufacturing hub. In fact AIM complements Make In India, Digital India and Start up India mega projects,” said a senior NITI Aayog official.

Modi, AIM, Global
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings with technocrats. Pixabay

To provide impetus to the industrial growth, the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar recently told media that a slew of big bang economic reforms are being pursued by the Modi government. These include change in labour laws, privatization moves and land banks for new industrial development. Once the stage is set for a positive industrial environment, the innovation mission will finally accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector.

Global tech giants such as Adobe, Amazon, Dell, IBM, Intel and Microsoft are already partnering with Atal Innovation Mission. The AIM project serves as a platform for promotion of world-class innovation hubs, and self-employment activities in technology-driven areas.

Through AIM, the government expects a radical change in country’s MSME industry.

Earlier in Modi’s first tenure as PM, his Cabinet Minister Kalraj Mishra and later Minister for State (Independent Charge) Giriraj Singh did not impress the business fraternity while running the ministry for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In an after thought, Modi in his second innings gave the charge of this crucial ministry to Nitin Gadkari, known for delivering the goods on time.

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“Modi ji had spoken about the project to Gadkari ji. He (Gadkari) was more than willing to take up this challenge. I am sure MSME would now be one of the most important ministries in the government as it also addresses the problem of unemployment and lack of a fast-paced industrial growth,” said a BJP leader close to Gadkari.

Another big change on the scene is the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL). It is Modi’s long-term plan for revolutionizing the young Indian minds. The ATLs are innovation workplaces where do-it-yourself kits on latest technologies like 3D printers, Robotics, Internet of Things, are installed at schools using the government grant. The mission director of AIMs , R. Ramanan, an IITian, says that by next year 10,000 ATL workplaces in the Indian schools will bring radical change in the near future in the field of innovation.

The objective of PM Modi through mega ATL project, is to enable India to become a global leader in technology and innovations, the key to rule the modern-day industries. (IANS)