Modi’s year-old government faces storm brewing in rural India

 Source: Business Standard, May 15, 2015

Khanna / Kamargaon: Just one year after taking office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing a challenge that could come to haunt him – the farm sector that sustains three-fifths of the population is in deep trouble, and he is being blamed for not doing enough.

Promising good governance and a stronger economy, Modi romped to power in elections last May by the biggest margin any prime minister has got in three decades. But the rural crisis has dented his popularity and the vanquished opposition is finding new vigour in his discomfort.

From the start of the crop season last October through March, India’s farm exports have fallen more than 11% to $15 billion, as the impact of the global commodities glut has been sharpened by events like Iran’s nuclear talks and a currency dip in Brazil.

The fall in exports has depressed domestic farmgate prices just as unseasonal rain damaged winter crops such as wheat, potato, chickpea and rapeseed. Farmers have little money now to buy seeds for the summer sowing, and meteorologists have predicted the annual June-October monsoon will be below par, which means the next crop may also fail.

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Govt expansion: 21 more join council of ministers

Source: Business Standard, Nov 10, 2014

New Delhi/Mumbai: The Narendra Modi government made the first major expansion and restructuring of its council of ministers on Sunday, six months after taking charge. With 21 ministers taking oath of office and secrecy – four in the Cabinet rank, three as ministers of state with independent charge and 14 as ministers of state – the government’s bench strength has now reached 66.

According to a late-evening announcement, former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar (to be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh) will take over as defence minister from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who until now held defence as an additional portfolio. Suresh Prabhu (yet to be elected to either House) replaces D V Sadananda Gowda as railway minister. J P Nadda has been given the health & family welfare portfolio and Birender Singh has become the Union minister for rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation.

Govt expansion: 21 more join council of ministers

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List of Cabinet ministers & their portfolios

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 26, 2014

New Delhi: Here is the list of new Cabinet ministers:

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, retains with him the portfolios of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy; Department of Space; all important policy issues and all other portfolios not allocated to any Minister

Cabinet ministers

List of Cabinet ministers with portfolios:

1. Rajnath Singh – Home Affairs

2. Sushma Swaraj – External Affairs, Overseas Indian Affairs

3. Arun Jaitley – Finance, Corporate Affairs, Defence

4. M. Venkaiah Naidu – Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Parliamentary Affairs

5. Nitin Jairam Gadkari – Road Transport and Highways, Shipping

6. D.V. Sadananda Gowda – Railways

7. Sushri Uma Bharati – Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation

8. Dr. Najma A. Heptulla – Minority Affairs

9. Gopinathrao Munde – Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation

10. Ramvilas Paswan – Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution

11. Kalraj Mishra – Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

12. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi – Women and Child Development

13. Ananthkumar – Chemicals and Fertilizers

14. Ravi Shankar Prasad – Communications and Information Technology, Law and Justice

15. Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati – Civil Aviation

16. Anant Geete – Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises

17. Harsimrat Kaur Badal – Food Processing Industries

18. Narendra Singh Tomar – Mines, Steel, Labour and Employment

19. Jual Oram – Tribal Affairs

20. Radha Mohan Singh – Agriculture

21. Thaawar Chand Gehlot – Social Justice and Empowerment

22. Smriti Zubin Irani – Human Resource Development

23. Dr. Harsh Vardhan – Health and Family Welfare


Elections 2014: Eight takeaways from BJP’s biggest win

Source: The Economic Times, May 16, 2014

The 2014 poll results underscore one point: there is no such thing as a predictable election in India. Everyone expected Narendra Modi to form the new government but the scale of his victory and the decimation of the Congress Party has stunned most observers. These elections will join the 1977 and 1989 polls as the most significant in India’s history.Here are some key takeaways from the electoral battlefield.

BJP’s biggest win.

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World’s biggest electoral battle kicks off on April 7

Source: Business Standard, Mar 06, 2014

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday announced a nine-phase polling schedule for 814 million eligible voters to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The first day of polling will be on April 7 and the last on May 12. Counting of votes will take place on May 16.

A snapshot of the schedule, along with the number of seats going to polls on each of the nine days in various states and UTs:

Besides the Lok Sabha, electors in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim will also vote to elect new Assemblies during this period.

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Kerala Cabinet Approves Solar Energy Policy

Solar Energy Source: The Economic Times, Nov 21, 2013

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Cabinet has approved a Solar Energy Policy that seeks to raise installed capacity of the solar sector to 500 MW by 2017 and 1,500 MW by 2030. The mission is to contribute to long-term energy security of the State well as ecological security by reduction in carbon emissions.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told newspersons here that the draft policy had been posted on the website of the Agency for Non-Conventional Energy and Rural Technology. Comments received from stakeholders, including the general public, have been incorporated to the final document. Land suitable for development of solar installations in the possession of either Government or private individuals will be identified, as per the original draft.

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Japanese Emperor coming to India this month

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Nov 07, 2013

New Delhi: The Emperor and Empress of Japan will arrive in Delhi on November 30 and reach Chennai on December 4, the Embassy of Japan announced here on Thursday. During their stay in the national capital, the visiting dignitaries will not only meet the President and Prime Minister but also meet the local people and Japanese expatriates. In Chennai, the Emperor and Empresses will visit the Kalakshetra Foundation and the Spastic Society of Tamil Nadu apart from a meeting with the Tamil Nadu Governor.


Food Security Bill Passed By Rajya Sabha

Food Security Bill Passed By Rajya SabhaSource: Livemint, Sep 3, 2013

New Delhi: The National Food Security Bill, 2013, moved closer to becoming law after the Rajya Sabha passed it by a voice vote on Monday. It will become a law after the President signs off on it.

The Rajya Sabha voted on the proposed legislation that was passed in the Lok Sabha on 26 August. The food security Bill, which takes forth the thrust of the entitlement-based policy of the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, is expected to electorally benefit the alliance in the general election next year. Under the new law, each beneficiary will be entitled to 5kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains at a subsidized price of Rs.3, Rs.2 and Rs.1 per kg, respectively. Two thirds of the population, or nearly 800 million people, will be eligible for this entitlement, which will cost the government Rs.1.3 trillion a year.

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Maharashtra Governor hosts High Tea for King of Spain

Source: Business standard, Oct 26, 2012

Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan today accorded a warm reception to the King of Spain Juan Carlos I at Raj Bhavan here.

During an interaction with the Governor and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the King recalled his first visit to India in 1962.

The King of Spain who is on a 4-day state visit to India was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Manuel Carcia-Margallo Marfil, Minister of Defence Pedro Morenes Eulate, Minister of Infrastructure Ana Pastor Julian, Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism Jose Manuel Soria Lopes and a high level business delegation.

The Governor hosted a High Tea in honour of the King and his official delegation, an official said.

Maharashtra ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane, Harshvardhan Patil, industrialists Harsh Goenka, Gautam Singhania, and Captain C P Krishnan Nair were present.


Source: The Economic Times, Sept 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to make the government rollback the recently announced economic reforms regarding FDI in retail and a hike in diesel prices, opposition parties including NDA and Left have called for a pan India bandh on Thursday.

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