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Modi exhorts India to ‘start up, stand up’, vows to end corruption

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New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday vowed to end corruption, exhorted India to “start up, stand up”, didn’t announce the eagerly-awaited One Rank One Pension scheme and gave a complete miss to foreign policy.images (2)

Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the 17th century Red Fort, Modi said in his second Independence Day address that his government was determined to build a new India, including providing electricity to 18,500 power-less villages in the next 1,000 days.

Dressed in a cream kurta pyjama, beige jacket and mustard headgear, Modi said his ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign was the biggest success of his BJP-led government which took office in May last year.

He, however, disappointed lakhs of ex-service personnel who were awaiting for a concrete announcement on the One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP) scheme. He said the government had accepted in principle the scheme, but not give any clear road map for its adoption, prompting protesting ex-servicemen in Jantar Mantar to cry out “shame, shame”.

In a first for August 15, the prime minister did not touch upon foreign policy – despite his numerous trips – and focused wholly on domestic issues. There was no mention of India’s neighbors, even Pakistan, in Modi’s speech that began at 7.30 a.m. and ended just before 9 a.m..

The miss is all the more stark as Modi had met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif just over a month ago in Ufa, Russia – in a landmark move to ease tensions between the two neighbors.

Barely hours before Modi spoke, guns boomed at India’s border with Pakistan. The Pakistan Army used mortars and automatic weapons on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Military spokesman Colonel Manish Mehta told IANS in Jammu that the Pakistani army “resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing at our positions” at 7.30 a.m. in Poonch district.”

However, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif greeted India and said “good neighborly relations” will benefit both New Delhi and Islamabad.

“We in Pakistan sincerely hope to settle all our bilateral issues through a sustained and comprehensive dialogue and usher in a new era of mutual trust and cooperation,” he said in a message.

During his one hour, 23 minute long speech, Modi made it clear that there was no place for caste ism and communal-ism in India.

He said the country can be free of corruption but we “have to start from the top”.

“It can be done… Corruption is eating up our country like termites. If you want to get rid of termites, you have to inject medicine.”

He pointed out that there was no allegation of corruption against his government.

“Corruption had become part of the system. Contractors were running the nation. We have taken steps to correct the system.”

He said while the previous government was faulted for causing a loss of Rs.176,000 crore by giving away coal blocks, his government conducted auctions in a transparent and time-bound manner and raised Rs.300,000 crore, Modi said. “Ask yourself. Has corruption gone or not?”

Other steps had been taken to tackle black money — from the appointment of a special probe team to enacting a stringent law.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), he said, was probing some 800 cases of black money until he took power. Now the CBI was examining 1,800 cases.

Already several thousand crores of rupees had been collected from people who had begun to declare their ill-gotten assets, he said.

In his speech, Modi repeatedly used the word “Team India” – to denote a united nation.

“This is Team India, a team of 125 crore Indians. This is the team that makes the nation and takes our nation to new heights,” he said.

Modi also listed key initiatives of his 15-month government in the area of financial inclusion, fighting graft and inducing transparency, and said true economic progress must touch the bottom of the pyramid.

He said the country’s youth be given opportunities and support to become entrepreneurs in their own right, notably the deprived. “In the coming days, start-ups will be promoted in every corner of the country. Start up India, stand up India,” the prime minister said.

“All banks in our country must contribute to a start-up revolution. Each of the 125,000 bank branches must assist one Dalit or one tribal entrepreneur and one woman entrepreneur. They must also become entrepreneurs in the future.”

The prime minister said a lot had been done in the area of financial inclusion in the past year, and gave the example of his Jan Dhan Yojana, under which some 17 crore people have got bank accounts. Also, 10 crore people enrolled in social security schemes in 100 days.

“For the poor, the doors of banks were closed. I said this has to change… Bank accounts are essential for integrating the poor into the financial system. That’s what we have done.”

Modi announced the agriculture ministry would now be known as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare — to take better care of farmers’ needs.

He said he had also faced a lot of pressure against the transparent processes such as on the e-auction of private FM Radio channels. But he did not yield.

“People said radio concerns the common man. I was pressured,” he said, alluding to calls for giving away the licences cheap. But the transparent process evoked a lot of interest and the 85 channels that were on the block fetched Rs.1,000 crore to the exchequer.

The government, he said, had brought down inflation despite poor rainfall, and called for a restructuring of agricultural practices.

(IANS)

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Is Supporting the TRUTH a Crime?

Is this the age of hypocrisy? Yes, it quite seems like. Hypocrisy and double-dealing are what characterize the social and intellectual nuances of present India. Nothing could be so disgusting than the fact that when you speak the truth and follow the truthful people then you are accused of being a follower of Saffron party. ‘Bhakta’, ‘Sangi’ are two terms much going around which are coined by those extra smart class of Indians

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Is it a crime in India now to admire those who really deserve?

By Salil Gewali

Just a few days back I was incisively criticized by one of such smarts – Mr. Sekular. He put forth very weak reasons to undermine my article on PM Modi as if it is outrageous to praise PM Modi’s dedication and activities. My article was intended to bring to the limelight a few of the rare achievements of the present government and how it brought about the overall development in the country and the appreciations PM Modi received from the countries abroad. Is it a crime in India now to admire those who really deserve? Here follow how I rebut that write-up by Mr. Sekular.

  • I am not a follower of any political parties. Nor am I associated with any organizations, so I do not have an allegiance to a specific political party. Nevertheless, I do support, and do not hold back to uphold the truth and do not shy away from admiring those who are genuinely truthful and putting themselves in the service of the nation. The nation belongs to me, my family, my village; and as a result, me, my family, my society, my culture, my language and my identity are inseparable from this land.   Well, even if I am a supporter of the Saffron party of PM Modi, what is the big deal about it? Does one commit a sin by supporting and encouraging persons who truly love the country and who want to do something substantial for the nation?
truth, crime
Why do Mr. Sekular and his kind hold the contrary ideas about the safety and security of this sovereign country?
  • Here my pointed question to that Mr. Sekular is, on the other hand, why does he support those parties and those “forces” whose “integrity” is very doubtful. Why do Mr. Sekular and his kind hold the contrary ideas about the safety and security of this sovereign country? Why do they discreetly, even openly, invite Bangladeshi infiltrators, and thereby put the peaceful Indians to great hardship? On the other hand, don’t they vehemently oppose CAB bill? Why so opposing views, conflicting perspectives?  Well, if trusting and espousing the “truth” and human “values”, and loving the country and its language and its culture will be equated with supporting the saffron party of India then I will never mind even if the whole world calling me as a leader of that party, lol. Why should one deviate from the “pathway of truth” lest somebody would label him as a certain thing or other?

 

  • Please watch out, if the same principle is applied, the leaders and country heads of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Palestine, South Korea, Japan are fast becoming the followers of the saffron party. They all have applauded the activities of the Supreme head of the saffron party – Mr. Narendra Modi and awarded him with the states’ highest honors. What is too disquieting here is that the president of Russia – Mr. Vladimir Putin also has jumped on the bandwagon. His government has recently announced to honor Shri Narendra Modi with the country’s highest award – Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. According to Mr. Sekular, I guess, it is objectionable. Well, barring a few, all world leaders have established the personal relationship with the saffron head.  Is Mr. Sekular aware that Tulsi Gabbard, who is now running for the President of America, is a passionate follower of Narendra Modi? One wonders what Mr. Sekular and his ilk will do if the US Congress’ leaders cry at the top their lungs – “America Mata Jai” in case Ms. Tulsi wins the election in 2020? Her name itself is Indian and so off-putting, isn’t it?
truth, crime
One wonders what Mr. Sekular and his ilk will do if the US Congress’ leaders cry at the top their lungs – “America Mata Jai” in case Ms. Tulsi wins the election in 2020? Her name itself is Indian and so off-putting, isn’t it?
  • Further, I guess, Mr. Sekular must not have completely read my articles and viewpoints, and therefore he is conveniently misinterpreting it to create confusion among other readers. His intention is seemingly not very clear. Almost all my l articles, starting from 1990, frankly speaking, invariably seek to bring about the harmony, peace, and co-existence among all peoples and the welfare of the whole humanity in the world. I personally have never compromised on the misconceived ideas and principles against human values and against the country, nor have I knowingly ever set out to cause a division, hostility, acrimony, hatred, among anyone through my write-ups.  And, despite that, if anyone draws the negative meanings from my writings then I am totally helpless. Of course, people usually understand a subject which is based on their already programmed and conditioned minds. The acquired information and impressions in the past only help them form ideas and conclusion. We usually become victims of wrong propaganda and misinformation and start to believe them as being right. One has to be extra alert in this age of digital media as there are many SECULAR propagandists around.

ALSO READ: First Hindu Temple Lays Foundation Stone in Abu Dhabi

Lastly, Mr. Sekular should note that my two eyes still clearly differentiate between right and wrong, and virtue and evil. Hence, I am deeply suspicious of those intellectuals who glorify “aluminum”, not “gold”, heap praise upon the terror-manufacturing countries, not upon where they have taken birth in, hate the native culture but eulogize and adopt the culture from the far-off lands. We must caution ourselves of these hypocrites who trifle with the country, its ethos, its sanctity and thus mislead the masses with wrong narratives.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali