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Narendra Modi's Tenth (10th) week in Office Analysis

Narendra Modi's Tenth (10th) week in Office Analysis

Work done in week 10 of Modi Government.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------India Pitches for ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status from Pakistan

During the upcoming meeting of foreign secretaries in Islamabad on August 25, the newly elected National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government plans to urge its neighbour Pakistan to award India the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status.

This status is intended to smoothen the trade ties between both the countries.

India had not hesitated in giving the same status to Pakistan way back in 1996, so Pakistan should have no problem in giving India the same status, said an official from the commerce ministry.

Currently, both the countries operate under the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) and have preferential trading arrangement. But Pakistan has blocked some of the benefits and moved from a positive trade list to a negative trade list with India. Going by the list, Pakistan has imposed restrictions on the import of 1,209 items from India. It allows only 137 items by way of imports via the Wagah-Attari border.

Due to the trade restrictions by Pakistan, most of the trade between both the countries is routed via Singapore or the United Arab Emirates. This trade amounts to about USD 3 billion. In 2013-14, both the countries traded to the tune of USD 2.7 billion.

Once the MFN status is awarded to India, it will promote direct trade between the two countries without any hindrances. With this move, the cost of trading is expected to come down significantly and the bilateral trade to rise to the tune of USD 10 to 12 billion.

During a secretary level agreement in 2012, Pakistan had committed to give the MFN status to India as an act of reciprocity, however, it is yet to become a reality. Pakistan is in a mood to give India a non-discriminatory market access, but the Modi government is firm on the MFN status.

Empowering citizens to take part in governance through MyGov website

To mark the completion of 60 days, the NDA government has launched a unique website - MyGov (www.mygov.nic.in) - to engage people in the governance.

Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that this technology driven platform MyGov would provide opportunity for the citizens to contribute towards good governance.

During his 60 days in office, Modi said that he observed many people wanted to contribute towards nation building and were ready to devote time and energy, but they required a platform (like MyGov) to shine and showcase their contributions. He also added that no democracy is possible without the contribution of the people and expressed the need to empower the people and close the gap between people and governance.

The website provides people the option to both ‘Discuss’ and ‘Do.’ It is a platform where people can share and discuss ideas. For those who wish to go beyond discussions and contribute to ground work, there are options. There are various sections that people can opt for like – Clean Ganga, Girl Child Education, Clean India, Skilled India, Digital India and Job Creation. The objective of each section is to bring about a qualitative change through people’s participation.

People can volunteer for various tasks and submit their entries, which would later be reviewed by other members and experts. Post approval, the tasks can be completed and shared with other members. Each approved task will earn credit points.

Modi to unveil new financial inclusion scheme on 15 August

Giving a big boost to the ongoing financial inclusion drive, Modi will be unveiling a comprehensive programme. – bank accounts for every Indian and banking services within 5 kilometres in every town and village – in his Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014. .In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that his government would work towards giving two bank accounts per household with an overdraft facility of Rs 5,000 as well as a RuPay debit card with a personal accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh in the first phase of the plan. In the second phase beginning August 15 2015, he had said the focus would be on providing micro-insurance and pension products to each household.

The Finance Ministry has begun full preparations to implement the scheme. The Finance Minister and the public sector bank heads will take stock of the preparedness with regard to the launch of the financial inclusion programme.

The Ministry has also launched a nationwide hunt for the logo and tagline for the programme. The Ministry said that this was being done to ensure wide participation and to get innovative and catchy ideas for the name, logo and tagline of the programme. The last date for the submission of the entry is 7 August.

Labour law amendments to be done on a fast-track mode

The Union government has approved proposals to three labour laws - the Factories Act, 1948, Apprentices Act, 1961 and Labour Laws (exemption from furnishing returns and maintaining registers by certain establishments) Act, 1988. With these amendments, it will be easier to hire workers. The recommended changes in the Factories Act are:

  • Improved safety of workers
  • Doubling the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter to 100 hours in some cases and from 75 hours to 125 hours in other work of public interest
  • Relaxing the norms for women to work in some industry segments at night
  • Reducing to 90 from 240 the number of days an employee needs to work before becoming eligible for benefits like paid leave
  • Increasing the penalty for violation of the Act

According to the government, the laws are being reformed without compromising worker’s welfare with an aim to create better circumstances for employment. The Labour and Employment ministry intends to introduce the Bills would in this Parliament session itself.

The industry hailed this move and said that this has been long pending and is not good just for the industry but also very beneficial for the workers.


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Last Updated on August 2, 2014, 12:09 pm