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Narendra Modi's Thirteenth (13th) week in Office Analysis

Narendra Modi's Thirteenth (13th) week in Office Analysis

Work done in week 13 of Modi Government.

Apart from unveiling the blue print for Digital India, this week also showed that the Modi government can really get tough, if the situation demands.

India acts tough on Pakistan

When Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India, he extended a hand of friendship to Pakistan by inviting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony. This gesture was applauded across the world. Nawaz Sharif too accepted the invite and was a guest at the ceremony. The bilateral talks were then planned and the foreign secretaries of both the nations were scheduled to meet. Unfortunately this meeting was not to be.

India took a very strong stand and cancelled the meeting in the wake of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit deciding to meet Kashmir separatists ahead of the talks.

This call shows the tough stand that India can take when the need arises. India has always expressed displeasure at Pakistan’s engagement with Kashmiri separatists. However, this is probably the first time the engagement has led to breakdown in dialogue.

A high level government official commented that Pakistan has to choose whom to engage with – with the government of India or the separatists.

When India questioned Pakistan’s sincerity, Pakistan reacted by saying that India was never serious about the talks and was running away from taking decisions.     

India has been exercising restraint by not attacking Pakistan on various counts, even as the latter provoked India with many instances of ceasefire violations.  By taking this decision, Modi clearly sent across a message that India is open to do business with Pakistan but will never compromise on national security.

FMC to get more teeth

The finance ministry has decided to draft rules that will give more powers to Forward Markets Commission (FMC), the commodity market regulator.  With these rules, the FMC can check any violations by market intermediaries. The rules also allow FMC to check an intermediary’s electronic records and books of accounts.

This move comes after the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scandal where NSEL violated the rules by selling goods that were not there in the warehouse. As per the rules, FMC can do the following:

  • Appoint qualified auditors to inspect books, accounts, records including telephone records and electronic records to check if the laid out rules are being followed by the intermediaries
  • Make it compulsory for all the intermediaries to be registered with FMC
  • Refuse registration to an intermediary if the reasons are good enough
  • Suspend or cancel an intermediary’s registration
  • Debar the intermediary’s principal officer for a specified time

Once the rules are enforced, FMC will be able to directly regulate the intermediaries and the intermediaries, in turn, will be bound by the code of conduct set out by the FMC.

India to go digital

This week the government unveiled the blue print for Digital India. To be implemented at various stages, the plan aims to connect even the remotest part of the country. Through this connectivity, people will be able to easily access government facilities, register births and deaths, fill forms, submit applications, etc. It will also bring education and healthcare closer to people.

Modi emphasised that when he says Digital India, it is not meant for the rich but for the poor. By 2017, the government is aiming to connect 250,000 gram panchayats with high-speed broadband connectivity via the Rs 20,000 crore National Optic Fibre Network.

It also aims at providing Wi-Fi facility to 2.5 lakh schools, universities and generate thousands of jobs. It also plans to double up post offices as multi-service centres that will integrate services and platforms like UIDAI.

Royalty rates of key minerals increased

The Cabinet has approved the increase in the royalty rates for few key minerals. This is based on the request submitted by states like Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. These states have been requesting for an increase in the royalty rates for some time now. The previous government had set up a committee to look into the demand of the state and revise the rates. Unfortunately, they could not complete the process. The royalty rates that were announced this week are based on that committee’s recommendations.

The royalty rates differ from minerals to minerals and while the state collects the royalty, the rates are decided by the Centre. With this development, minerals like bauxite, copper, zinc, iron ore will have new royalty rates.

Nagpur’s mass rapid transport system gets a boost

The Centre has set aside Rs 8,680 crore for Nagpur’s mass rapid transport. It also approved setting up the Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation to oversee the execution of the 38.215 km long Nagpur Metro Project. Nagpur is a big developing city and has about 2.2 million passengers commuting every day. This project will usher in connectivity and ease of travelling among these commuters.

A committee by the government to restructure FCI

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has constituted a committee to come up with recommendation on how the Food Corporation of India (FCI) can be restructured. FCI, a nodal agency of Union government, was set up in 1964. Its main objective was to procure food grains through a price support mechanism, distribute the grains under the public distribution system and maintain buffer stocks to ensure food security. Today, the FCI is faced with multiple inefficiencies that are leading to considerable wastage of food.

The committee will consist of eight members who will study various role models and suggest methods to achieve operational efficiency and financial management. The idea is to segregate the procurement, storage and distribution activities with a view to increase the efficiency of FCI.

Three-day North East Film Festival inaugurated

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar inaugurated the three-day North East Film Festival on the theme ‘Fragrances from the North East.’ Speaking at the occasion, he said the government is fully committed to usher in new initiatives in the North East. He said the government’s endeavour is to bring about synergy between talents across different sectors in the region.  The film festival will be able to showcase the region’s potential in the media and entertainment sector, Javadekar added.

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Last Updated on August 23, 2014, 6:02 pm