When Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi expressed his angst at Janata Dal (United) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar simply walking out of the mahagath bandhan or grand coalition, which he had so assiduously stitched together in the state ahead of the assembly elections in 2015, his pain was understandable – for the grand old party has of late being making overtures to all ‘secular’ parties to put up a united front against the BJP.
There can be no better example of this than the love-hate-love relationship shared by Nitish with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There relationship is best describes as that of a ‘frenemy’ or a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.
Once holding Modi in high esteem, Nitish changed his views in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots, even going so far as to end his 17-year alliance with the NDA after it chose Modi to lead its charge in the 2014 general elections and then becoming a bitter critic in the prime READ MORE
Even as low pressure continues to cause heavy rains and flooding in several regions of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey on Tuesday, announced a Rs 500-crore central assistance to the state disaster relief fund (SDRF).
PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of the Banaskantha district, the most affected region in the state, forcing the Indian Air Force (IAF), the national disaster relief force (NDRF) and other state agencies conduct rescue operations.
In the past 24 hours, districts of Banaskantha, Patan and Sabarkantha in North Gujarat have seen at least 12 talukas receive over 200 mm of rainfall, as per the state emergency operations centre. At least three IAF helicopters were pressed into service for airlifting locals and the distribution of food packets in Banaskantha, apart from the Indian Army rescuing stranded people using boats.
North Gujarat has, so far, seen over 500,000 food packets being distributed in the affected areas.
Followed by the air survey, PM Modi was apprised of the rainfall and flooding situation across Gujarat by the state government officials in a meeting attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and READ MORE
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat
on Wednesday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi
as an able ‘thekedar
‘, or contractor, of welfare but cautioned people not to leave everything to him and go off to sleep.
“Society has got a good and able ‘thekedar‘ (contractor) in Narendra bhai for its welfare but the danger is that people will leave everything to him and go to sleep. It should not happen. Books (on him) should help people develop attributes like him,” Bhagwat said at the launch of a coffee table book, ‘The Making of a Legend’, on the PM.
In his address, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah indicated the Modi government was confident of its return not just in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, but had put in place programmes and policies that should keep it in good stead for the subsequent 2024 elections as well.
Enumerating the achievements of the Modi government, Shah, who spoke before Bhagwat, said: “The government has set a target of giving 50 million LPG connections to poor women by 2019 and to every household by 2024.”
The RSS chief praised Modi the PM for his hard work, courage, patience, wisdom, strength and valour, but most of all his ability to do whatever needs to be done. “What should be done has been discussed in the country for the last 70 years. But it is happening now. Why? Because it is being done now,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief said all should endeavour to make India a greater country than it was before its “decline” in the last 1000-1500 years. “It seems to me that (BJP chief) Amit bhai
has given a safe estimate of 2024,” he then said read more
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
of India has strong views on economics. Speaking to a big crowd of tycoons, investors and journalists in New Delhi, Mr. Modi once admitted that he is “not a big economist.” Yet he promptly set out an economic vision for India to be a global manufacturing power. Investors should rush to “make in India,” he said. He claimed that his strong leadership would usher in economic revival and 100 million new manufacturing jobs by 2022.
During the prime ministerial campaign in the 2014 national elections, Mr. Modi mocked the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, for supposedly presiding over economic failure. He jeered that Mr. Singh — who has a doctorate in economics from Oxford University and was the architect of the liberalization of the Indian economy in the early 1990s — could not stop onion prices rising and that economic growth was jobless, both popular concerns.
Later, as prime minister, Mr. Modi told me that India’s economic performance had been embarrassing under Mr. Singh. (In fact, Mr. Singh’s record was pretty good: In his full decade as prime minister, economic growth was on average 7.8 percent a year.) The world, Mr. Modi told me, saw that “the ‘I’ in the BRICS had become a burden,” meaning India had fallen behind Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. He bragged he was restoring India’s image.
Parts of India’s $2.3 trillion-strong economy are in better shape today than they were three years ago. Onion prices are down. Deficits are lower. Businesses face somewhat less red tape. Foreign investment has come — over $160 billion in the first three years, compared with just $38 billion in the first three years of Mr. Singh — even if Indian firms are reluctant to spend.
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Local business leaders quietly grumble there is no dynamism on the ground, little consumer demand. Much infrastructure, such as wobbly roads and slow freight trains, needs improving. Indebted banks — state-run and READ MORE
Starting tomorrow, 4th of July, Prime Minister Modi will commence the first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Israel. While the commentariat waxes eloquent on the relationship, it is important for us to have a reality check and understand the micro-dynamics of this marriage.
There are three main components of India’s cooperation with Israel that are deemed to hold the potential to “revolutionise” the relationship – water, agriculture and defence.
Given India’s increasing water problems, and dire predictions of further drop in precipitation over the next few decades, water cooperation between India and Israel is obviously critical. Israel has now transitioned from a water-deficit state to one with a significant water-surplus. It has managed this through pioneering water desalination techniques. All good then – why can’t India benefit from this? Several reasons. First is that the desalination plants themselves have a massive ground footprint and draw huge amounts of energy. Given how many problems even routine industrial land acquisitions face in India, there are limits to how much land can in fact be requisitioned for the building of coastal desalination plants. Moreover, the question remains how much energy can India’s already overdrawn energy sector spare for a desalination plant infrastructure to supplement the water requirements of 1.3 billion Indians. As it is, READ MORE