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A group of 32 former IFS officers and Ambassadors have slammed a motley group of activists for sustained smear campaign against the Modi government. The former IFS officers said in a statement that these activists many of them known leftists with sympathies for Maoists, joined by some former civil servants and military figures who have held the highest positions in their careers, as well as some sections of the media, have been conducting a sustained smear campaign against the present government on its presumed violations of the secular ethos of the country.
The statement is signed by former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, former Ambassadors Veena Sikri, Lakshmi Puri, Shyamala Cowsik, Bhaswati Mukherjee, D.N. Srivastava, Ashok Kumar, J.S. Sapra, O.P. Gupta, N.P. Sharma among others.
"This has taken effectively an increasingly anti-Hindu tenor under the guise of anti-Hindutva. The latter has become a convenient peg for "secular" posturing, adopting virtue-signaling "constitutional" positions, relying on bloated vocabulary of "Nazism" and "genocide" to gather international attraction and leverage it to bring odium to the Modi government. This explains the movement in US universities, for example, by elements of this assorted group to launch what are in reality anti-Hindu tirades", the statement said. The latest example of this is the manner in which these miscellaneous elements have latched on to some objectionable anti-minority statements made at a religious gathering at Haridwar in mid-December.
"These should be condemned by all right thinking people no doubt, but when the import of these is exaggerated out of all proportion and the rantings by fringe elements are seen as representative of the sentiments prevailing in ruling circles, and as laying the agenda of what lies ahead at the national level, then the political leanings and moral integrity of the critics can be rightly questioned", the statement said. A tirade of accusations and calumny has been let loose in an effort to falsely portray the Haridwar speeches as a force very much larger than the fringe groups they represent. A slew of articles has appeared in the press by predictable personalities in a seemingly coordinated attempt to malign the state of affairs in the country, former IFS officers added.
"Some journalists, speaking to the international media, have exposed their political bias by using terms like 'genocide' to describe the impact on a particular community. On a media platform in the Gulf countries, they have ranted about countless mosques destroyed, countless Muslims killed, the third largest Muslim population in the world targeted for 'genocide' in India and more in the same vein", the statement said.
Under PM Modi, welfare schemes for minorities have seen sharp increases.Wikipedia
"Some others have enlarged the canvas of their politically contrived prejudices to see in this event an all-round failure of the police, the judiciary, and other constitutional bodies. Overwrought fears are expressed about an irreversible fragmentation and disintegration of the country by what is described as brazen and violent attacks against minorities throughout the North Indian heartland by supposedly not fringe elements but ones dangerously close to mainstream, and holding that the instruments of state are being bent to advance this communal agenda", the former Ambassadors said. Amazingly, the claim of historical wrongs against the Hindu community is dismissed as flimsy, and the spectre is being raised of the State eventually arbitrarily targeting any citizen irrespective of faith. The Haridwar incident is projected ridiculously as a peril for all Indians.
"PM Modi's message of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas, is mocked by alleging that this is meant just for one community (the majority community), and not for all. This is line with attacks on 'majoritarianism', which is a way to question the mandate that the democratic process gives to the political party that wins elections legitimately and considers itself obliged to the electorate to implement its declared agenda lawfully", they added.
"If a handful of religious figures speak of installing a Hindu Raj in the country, is that a reason for former generals, admirals, IAS, IFS and IPS officers of the highest rank to paint a crisis scenario and appeal to the President and the Prime Minister to stop a presumed developing rot in the country? Is it that they have lost so easily after retirement that sense of proportion and judgment which raised them to career heights while in service?" they asked.
Anti-Modi government activists deliberately ignore anything positive that the Modi government has done. Rux Centea / Unsplash
"Does this reflect some frustration at not having obtained what they may have aspired for as recognition and reward from the government after superannuation, or is it that they made a discovery of their hitherto dormant political affiliations only after retirement? Are they investing in a potential political change at the centre? It is not as if these well-informed individuals are unaware that communal divide and religious violence have existed in the country since independence and before, and did not suddenly emerge after 2014", the statement said.
India's national security is not as much threatened, in the eyes of the signatories to the appeal, by Pakistan and China as by a handful of sundry Hindu activists saying some nasty things about the minorities in some forum of little importance and aggressively asserting their Hindu identity. As it happens, prominent seers in Haridwar have condemned their utterances as provocative, irresponsible and "damaging to the religious and social harmony of India". Action, including arrest, has been taken by the concerned state governments against the perpetrators. The redressal mechanisms are at work already, they added.
They said this cabal of anti-Modi government activists deliberately ignore anything positive that the Modi government has done as it does not suit their personal and political agendas. Under PM Modi, welfare schemes for minorities have seen sharp increases in expenditure, including on rural housing, scholarships for needy students, priority sector lending by banks, the rural and urban livelihoods mission, and the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. In the first six years of the Modi administration, a total of Rs 22,000 crore was spent on minority welfare schemes, scholarships were awarded to 3.2 crore students from the minority communities, half of them girls.
Are they investing in a potential political change at the centre? Pixabay
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has said (July 2021) in a public statement at a book launch that "If anyone says Muslims should not stay in India, then he is not a Hindu...Anyone who is involved in lynching is not a Hindu". Such messaging has a powerful, widespread impact, not just on the immediate audience, and far beyond just the Hindu community. Taking note of this does not, of course, fit into the narrative that this group of feel-good activists want to disseminate, the former IFS officers said. They said that all these attacks on the government, which seem quite orchestrated, have been completely one-sided and skewed. In the first place, they seek to blame the government in power for every statement made by any group anywhere in the country, which uses the name 'Hindu'.
The statement said these arm-chair critics choose to ignore or dismiss equally virulent calls for violence and threats of violence made by not merely fringe groups, but by mainstream political figures in other communities, who have ranted about needing "only 15 minutes" to finish off the majority community. Another mainstream political party figure incited the people of one community to come together to "create four Pakistans in India". One-sided lessons to Hindus on secularism will not help build a secular India that these activists espouse. "Why is it that their fear of being accused of Islamophobia or conserving their pro minority credentials deter them from decrying the religious violence and excesses in Punjab by Khalistani elements in league with Pakistan? They, as the responsible citizens that they claim to be, should be taking more balanced positions as a measure of their commitment to a secular India", they added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : activists, ignore, positive, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, government, campaign, genocide, constitutional, exaggerated, sentiments, accusations, media, malign, community, international, attacked, threatened, security, provocative, irresponsible, critics.)
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In the cabinet expansion, just one ministry was given to alliance partner Janata Dal-United (JDU). Only Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (RCP Singh) was inducted and given the steel ministry, but Nitish Kumar did not congratulate him publicly on social media.
As per the trend in Indian politics these days, after every development including the birthday of the leader, a flurry of congratulatory messages hit social media like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Nitish Kumar, a day after RCP Singh become a Union minister, has so far not posted any congratulatory message for him on social media.
Political analysts believe that the JDU wanted at least 2 cabinet minister posts -- one for RCP Singh and another for Nitish Kumar's closest aide Lalan Singh. As Modi has included just RCP Singh, he did not want Lalan Singh to get angry.
The Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar with Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.Wikimedia Commons
"At present, RCP Singh is holding the post of national president of JDU while Lalan Singh is the MP from Munger. These two are the closest aides of Nitish Kumar. They are supposed to be occupying the number 2 slots in the party. There is a political rivalry between them and Nitish Kumar does not want any of them to get angry. Lalan Singh was the one who was reportedly instrumental in breaking the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)," said a JDU senior leader who requested anonymity.
"Nitish Kumar may have congratulated RCP Singh personally but has not expressed the same publicly," he said.
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RCP Singh has already given a statement about Lalan Singh and said: "There is no difference between Lalan Singh and me. He is the senior leader of the party."
"There is a buzz inside the JDU that RCP Singh was given the responsibility to bargain with the BJP to bag at least two cabinet ministers' posts and two posts of a state minister. But Singh failed and just got one ministry for himself," another senior leader said.
He added that if the JDU needed only one post then why did it not accept it in 2019? Why did it delay for two years? Meanwhile, supporters of the JDU and RCP Singh have put up new posters and banners at the CM's residence, the JDU office, and other places in Patna to congratulate Singh. (IANS/KB)
Ashwini Vaishnaw may not be a household name but he is an emerging star of the Modi government.
Vaishnaw, who has made a straight entry into the Union Cabinet without any stint as Minister of State, is a former IAS officer holding degrees from IIT Kanpur and Wharton Business School, and a BJP Rajya Sabha member from Odisha since 2019.
In addition, during the oath-taking ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Vaishnaw was quite high in the pecking order, which might indicate his seniority in the Cabinet and among the new Ministers.
An engineer, CEO, IAS officer, entrepreneur, and finally a politician, he also did a stint in the PMO when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
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Vaishnaw served as a Collector in Odisha's Balasore and Cuttack districts. While a Collector in Balasore, the National Human Rights Commission placed on record its appreciation of the sincerity, dedication, and commitment displayed by Vaishnaw in organizing and executing relief and rehabilitation work in his district.
Indian cyclone 05B that hit Orissa region, in India, in late October 1999. Wikimedia Commons
In 1999, Odisha was hit by a super cyclone that killed thousands of people. Before the super cyclone hit, Vaishnaw logged into a US Navy website to track its path. He tracked the cyclone every hour and sent a report to the Chief Secretary at regular intervals, which became a major source of information for the Odisha government about the cyclone. This information helped government take the necessary steps which saved many lives.
He worked in Odisha till 2003, when he was appointed as Deputy Secretary in the office of then Prime Minister Vajpayee.
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After his brief stint in the PMO where he contributed to creating the public-private-partnership framework in infrastructure projects, Vaishnaw was appointed as Vajpayee's Private Secretary after the BJP-led NDA lost the election in 2004.
In 2006, he became Deputy Chairman of the Mormugao Port Trust, where he worked for the next 2 years. On completing his MBA in the US, Vaishnaw came back to India, quit the IAS in 2010, and joined GE Transportation as Managing Director. Then he joined Siemens as the Vice President, Locomotives & Head, Urban Infrastructure Strategy.
In 2012, he quit the corporate sector and set up Three Tee Auto Logistics Private Ltd and Vee Gee Auto Components Private Ltd, both automotive components manufacturing units in Gujarat. (IANS/KB)
The Modi government in order to double the income of farmers by 2022 announced a slew of measures last week, and it is widely expected that these reforms will benefit farmers who are reeling under the Covid-19 crisis. Post Coronavirus as state reopens farmers might benefit.
IANS spoke to Ashok Dalwai, chairman of the Committee for Doubling Farmers’ Income, on the issue of strategic reforms initiated by the government and their importance to the farm sector.
He said the alternative market provided to the farmers will give them more earning power. The reforms will unshackle the agriculture value chains by deregulating the essential commodity trade and introducing a Central law to ease inter-state farm trade, effectively overriding the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis that have shown resistance to change in the past.
“We are not ending the APMC, but reforming it. Till now APMC was regulated by the state governments, now the private sector can establish its own APMC which will give an alternative market to farmers,” Dalwai said.
He said the way the telecom sector provided options to the consumers to choose the operators of their choice, in the same way the private AMPC will give farmers the choice to sell their produce at a better price anywhere in India. “The proposed amendment to the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 will ensure seamless movement of farm produce not only inter-state, but also within the state. Anyone having a central license can buy and sell anywhere,” Dalwai said.
Dalwai said many states have already adopted the reforms and more will join in the future. “The new law related to APMC will be definitely adopted by the state governments and the Centre will provide the framework for inter-state trade of agricultural produce. If a farmer in UP wants to sell his produce to a market in Karnataka, he does not need to go there. He can do so online. The way e-NAM works for APMC mandis, e-platform will work for such farmers.”
He said the amendment to the Essential Commodities Act has been initiated with the sole purpose to provide better prices to the farmers. The government has also decided to free certain categories of agricultural products such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions, and potatoes from the government’s control and lend more predictability to even export policies.
On the question of challenges due to Covid-19 with regard to doubling farmers’ income, Dalwai said, “The farmers have not been impacted due to the pandemic. There will be no problem in achieving the target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.” (IANS)