WHY SHOULD WE NOT JUSTIFY TRIPLE TALAQ?
WILL THE BJP’S DRUBBING IN RAJASTHAN BY-POLL TRIGGER THE CONGRESS’S REVIVAL?
THOUGH POLITICALLY VOLATILE, NAGALAND’S VIBRANT CULTURE HAS MUCH TO OFFER
BUDGET 2018-19: KEEPING AN EYE ON ELECTORAL DIVIDEND
his was Narendra Modi governmentâ€™s last full-fledged budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. If one looks into its political implication, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looks to be ready for 2019 Lok Sabha elections as Finance Minister has announced that his government will give 1.5 times the cost of production to farmers. While presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, Arun Jaitley said the government has declared the minimum support price (MSP) for 2017 rabi crops at least at oneand-a-half times the cost involved as promised in BJP's poll manifesto. Keeping in mind the rural constituency, Jaitley announced setting up of Ekalavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment by 2022. This will be established in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons with special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
The current Lok Sabha is scheduled to be dissolved by May 2019. So the BJP, which holds a majority of 282 seats in this Lok Sabha, must start thinking about re-election. Multiple state assembly elections are scheduled before that general election.
To attract rural voters, the Finance Minister announced the worldâ€™s largest government funded health care programme titled National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. He also committed Rs 1200 crore for the National Health Policy, 2017, which with 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. The Government also decided to allocate additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment. The current Lok Sabha is scheduled to be dissolved by May 2019. So the BJP, which holds a majority of 282 seats in this Lok Sabha, must start thinking about re-election. Multiple state assembly elections are scheduled before that general election. Budget presented also kept in mind the incoming assembly polls for Karnataka currently ruled by the Congress, and for the BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The states are predominantly rural accept Karnataka, which has now emerged as an information-technology (IT) powerhouse. Sanjeeb Kumar
Editor-In-Chief |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR|
POLITICAL MIRROR Volume: 4, Issue: 3 , March, 2018 SANJEEB KUMAR Editor-in-Chief ACHYUT NATH JHA Executive Editor SHIV KUMAR CHAUHAN Sales Head
A COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE ON WHOSE BUDGET IS IT ANYWAY?
HARI OM SHARMA Sr. Photo Journalist ONKARESHWAR PANDEY Contributors
NIRMALA SINGH RANA President ANWARUL HAQUE Design Head SUMIT KUMAR Legal Advisor Owned, Edited, Printed and Published by Sanjeeb Kumar published from House Number-34, Gali Number-10, South Ganesh Nagar, New Delhi-110092 Printed By Modest Graphic (P) Ltd, C-52-53, DDA Shades, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-1, New Delhi-110020 All disputes to be settled in Delhi Courts only. All rights reserved. No responsibility in taken for returning unsolicited manuscripts unless a self-address stamped envelope is enclosed. Views express in articles in National Political Mirror do not necessarily those of the editorial. Contact us
News MANJHI SEEKS 50 SEATS TO CONTEST 2020 ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has put the BJP and the ruling JD(U) in fresh trouble by staking claims over 50 seats for assembly elections. The next assembly election strangely is due in 2020. Manjhi, who is the national president of the fledgling Hindustani AwamMorcha (HAM) and happens to be its only MLA in Bihar..
Cover Story : Quotes BUDGET DEVELOPMENT-FRIENDLY, WILL STRENGTHEN 'NEW INDIA' VISION: MODI
NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR Head office: House Number-34, Gali Number-10, South Ganesh Nagar, New Delhi-110092 M.:|NATIONAL 8527577849 POLITICAL MIRROR| FEBRUARY 2018| A JN Media Publication 4 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the Union Budget for 201819 "development-friendly" and said it will strengthen the vision of a 'new India'. Congratulating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team, Modi said farmers, Dalits and tribal communities will gain from the budget.
Cover Story : GDP Economy GDP GROWTH TO CLOCK 6.75 PERCENT A series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 201819, thereby re-instating India as the world’s fastest growing major economy.
IN FOCUS I remember the days of 1994 when I had written a stage play named, Rabia. It was based on the theme of the freedom of choice in marriage to the Muslim girls in Islam and the society at large. When I dived deep into the religious texts while researching on the subject, I came across a very famous saying of Prophet Muhammad in which it has been clearly said that a young girl or woman has every right to either accept a person in marriage or reject.
POLITICS WILL THE BJP’S DRUBBING IN RAJASTHAN BY-POLL TRIGGER THE CONGRESS’S REVIVAL?
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party in power in both the state and the Centre, came in for severe drubbing in Rajasthan where it is eyeing a second straight term, with Congress candidates thumping its nominees in two Lok Sabha and one assembly seats.
Northeast THOUGH POLITICALLY VOLATILE, NAGALAND’S VIBRANT CULTURE HAS MUCH TO OFFER
Situated in the extreme northeast of India, Nagaland is bounded by Arunachal Pradesh in the north, Manipur in the south, Myanmar in the east and Assam in the west. The beautiful, picturesque and colourful Nagaaland is attractive and full of beautiful people: 20 groups of Nagas and one group of Cachari (Kuki).
WHY SHOULD WE NOT JUSTIFY TRIPLE TALAQ?
|MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR|
Manjhi seeks 50 seats to contest 2020 assembly elections Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has put the BJP and the ruling JD(U) in fresh trouble by staking claims over 50 seats for assembly elections. The next assembly election strangely is due in 2020. Manjhi, who is the national president of the fledgling Hindustani AwamMorcha (HAM) and happens to be its only MLA in Bihar.. He said that there would be two deputy chief ministers, one from the Dalit and the other from the Muslim community, if his government comes to power in the state. He accused the ruling Nitish Kumar government of ignoring the interests of the minority community people in the state. HAM is currently in NDA and had contested Bihar’s 2015 Lok Sabha polls as an NDA partner, winning only one of the 19 seats in which it had fielded candidates. Manjhi has been sulking since Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) allied afresh with BJP after a gap of four years and formed an NDA government in Bihar in July 2017. Like him, Rashtriya Lok Samata party
NBCC to develop Twin Tower trade centre in Guwahati In a major development ahead of the Global Investors' Summit, the Assam government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Building Construction Corporation (India) Ltd on Friday for setting up a Twin Tower Trade Centre here at projected cost of Rs 1.950 crore in self-financing mode. The project will be implemented at Basistha Crossing near NH-37 within a period of sixty months. The construction work of the Twin Tower will commence from July 2018 using green technologies and would reflect rich natural heritage and culture of Assam. l
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(RLSP) which is led by union minister Upendra Kushwaha too has demanded 10 seats to contest the next Lok Sabha elections. Last time the RLSP had won three LS seats out of four it had contested. Bihar has a total of 40 LS seats. In the meantime, JD(U), BJP, LJP and RLSP – who reportedly do not want to allot more than ten seats for HAM to contest in the next Assembly poll. l
Assam investment summit close with Rs 100,000 cr investment proposals The two-days Global Investors Summit here ended with signing of more than 200 MoUs entailing an investment of more than Rs 100,000 crore, officials said. Assam Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal urged the business community to be the trusted, committed and honest partner of his government. "We have miles to go and I request the industry captains to forge stronger ties with us. Our relationship with you is not only a business relationship, it is more of a humanitarian relationship and I assure you to ensure full cooperation and support in all the initiatives," he said while adding that summit is a way forward to strengthen ties between Assam and ASEAN and BBN countries. "We want to have a full-fledged relationship with ASEAN and BBN in different fields including people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges. I appeal ASEAN to start flight services to Guwahati as well as setting up their respective offices here," he said. l
TMC wins two bypolls in West Bengal, BJP finishes second Trinamool Congress (TMC) made a clean sweep in the byelections to Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara assembly seats, while BJP finished second increasing it vote share CPI(M)-led Left Front was pushed to the third position while Congress candidates suffered the ignominy of losing security deposits in both the seats, including Noapara which it won in 2016 TMC candidate Sajda Ahmed trounced Anupam Mallick of BJP by over 4.74 lakh votes in Uluberia Lok Sabha seat in Howrah district She has secured 7,67,219 votes as against 2,93,018 votes bagged by the BJP candidate Sajda is the wife of TMC MP Sultan Ahmed, whose death necessitated the bypoll. The BJP's vote in the seat has doubled as the party secured slightly over 1.37 lakh votes in Uluberia in the 2014 Lok Sabha election CPI(M) candidate SabiruddinMollah finished third securing 1,38,792 votes. In the 2014 Lok Sabha poll the party bagged over 3.69 lakh votes in the constituency Congress candidate Muddasor Hossain Warsi emerged fourth by securing only 23,108
votes. In Noapara Assembly constituency in North 24 Parganas district TMC candidate Sunil Singh emerged victorius securing 1,01,729 votes, while BJP's Sandip Banerjee got 38,711 votes CPI(M) candidate Gargi Chatterjee was at number three spot with 35,497 votes The bypoll in Noapara was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress MLA Madhusudan Ghose Congress, which had won the Noapara seat in the 2016 assembly election, finished fourth as its nominee Goutam Bose secured only 10,523 votes. l
Former Karnataka Congress leader Karthik Ghorpade joins BJP Former Karnataka Congress leader Karthik Ghorpade, the son of late Congress veteran MY Ghorpade, joined the BJP in the presence of its senior leaders today, saying it was imperative to throw out the â€œcorruptâ€? Siddaramaiah government in the state. Karnataka, ruled by the Congress, will go to the polls this year. Ghorpade, who hails from a royal family, met BJP chief Amit Shah at the party headquarters here, before joining the saffron party in the presence of its senior leaders from Karnataka, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and DV Sadananda Gowda among others. Ghorpade said his family had been with the Congress since independence, but he decided to join the BJP after being inspired by the vision of Prime Minister Modi.l
PAKADUAVIVAH IN BIHAR: 3,400 youths kidnapped for forced marriages in 2017 More than 3,400 youths were kidnapped for forced marriage, locally known as "PakaduaVivah" in Bihar last year, official data revealed. "PakaduaVivah is rampant in Bihar. About 3,405 youths have been kidnapped for forced marriage in the state. In most of the cases, PakaduaVivah was solemnised at gun point or threats to their life and their families," a police official said. According to the data, about 3,070 youths were kidnapped for PakaduaVivah in the state in 2016, 3,000 in 2015 and 2,526 in 2014. "In all such cases, either the youths and their parents have been forced at gun point for PakaduaVivah," police officials said. Going by the police records, on an average nine PakaduaVivah have been taking place daily in the state. The number of abducted males in Bihar in the 18 to 30 age-group was 1,096 in 2015. The state alone accounted for nearly 17 per cent of the national figure in the category. l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR|
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat unfurls national flag at school in Palakkad RashtriyaSwayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has unfurled the national flag at a school run by Sangh workers in Palakkad city on India’s 69th Republic Day. Bhagwat hoisted the tricolour at Vyasa Vidhya Peetam Higher Secondary School, an institution run by Vidya Bharti. On Independence Day last year, Bhagwat had kicked up a row by hoisting the national flag at the government-aided Karnakiamman Higher Secondary School, flouting an order by the Palakkad collector. The order had stated that heads of departments have to hoist the tricolour. The RSS had said that the state government’s circular, laying down guidelines for hoisting the national flag in government and educational institutions, was not binding on it. The RSS has maintained that there was nothing wrong in Bhagwat hoisting the national flag in the school as every citizen has the right to do so. Both the ruling CPI(M) and the opposition Congress in
the state had asked the government to register case against the RSS chief for defying the government directive. The government had also sought an explanation from the school management.l
India announces nine new smart cities
Punjab launches farm loan waiver scheme for 47,000 farmers
India’s Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has announced the name of nine more smart cities, taking the total to 99. The mission of hundred smart cities was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015. Silvassa in Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli has topped the list of winning cities in this round of competition. The other cities include Erode in Tamil Nadu, Diu in Union Territory of Daman and Diu, Biharsharif in Bihar, Bareilly, Saharanpur and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Kavaratti in Lakshadweep. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, the minister said, the nine cities have proposed an investment of 12 thousand 824 crore rupees to develop 409 projects. He said, with the selection of these nine cities, the total proposed investment in 99 smart cities will be Rs 2,03,979 crore. Giving details of the progress made in smart cities scheme, Puri said, Smart City Centers have become operational in Pune, Surat, Vadodara and Kakinada and work is in progress in another 18 cities. l
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has launched his government’s farm loan waiver scheme here and slammed opposition parties and some kisan unions for spreading a “false propaganda” on the issues faced by farmers. Singh symbolically handed over farm loan waiver certificates to 10 farmers from Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar and Moga districts, where nearly 47,000 farmers would benefit from the scheme. He said a total of 5.63 lakh farmers would benefit in the state during the first phase, which will provide relief to the tune of Rs2,700 crore. Farm loan waiver was one of the key promises of the Congress ahead of the February polls in the state. Then Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had during the election campaign described Singh’s promise of waiving farmers’ debt if the Congress comes to power, as an “election stunt”. He said 10.25 lakh farmers were being covered under the scheme, which only left out the bigger farmers. Punjab has 17.5 lakh farming families, according to the government. l
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Rawat appointed new Chief Election Commissioner, Lavasa election commissioner
Om Prakash Rawat was appointed the next chief election commissioner(CEC) and former finance secretary Ashok Lavasa was also appointed as an election commissioner (EC) to fill up the vacancy that would have arisen in the three-member Election Commission after Joti’s retirement tomorrow. Sunil Arora is the other commissioner in the poll
body. His tenure will end in December this year and Arora, the senior most commissioner after the CEC, is expected to take over as the head of the poll panel as per convention. Arora would retire in April, 2021, and would oversee the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the CEC. Lavasa would demit office in October, 2022 and would be the CEC after Arora. An EC or CEC has a tenure of six years. But if he turns 65 before that, he demits office. Born on December 2, 1953, Rawat is a former Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer. His appointment will come into effect from the day he assumes office, a law ministry statement said here. Rawat also served as secretary, department of public enterprises in the ministry of heavy industries. Earlier in 1993, he served as a director in the defence ministry. He also served as principal secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh between 2004 and 2006. An awardee of state government’s ‘recognition of forest rights’ in 2009, Rawat did M.Sc in social development planning in 1989 in the United Kingdom.l
Jammu and Kashmir Shiv Sena breaks ties with BJP Assembly passes Rs 95,666.97 ahead of 2019 elections The Shiv Sena, a partner in the governing coalition formed by crore Budget for 2018-19 Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in Maharastra, has decided The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly has passed the Rs 95,666.97 crore budget for 2018- 19 with 20 per cent rise in the budget size over this year. The Jammu and Kashmir appropriation bill-2018 moved by the finance minister Haseeb Drabu in the house in this regard was passed with voice-vote. For the first time in state s legislative history, the finance minister has linked the appropriation bill with wide- ranging expenditure reforms to ensure checks and balances for efficient fiscal management and speed up spending to make productive use of resources for the larger public good. Drabu on January 11 had presented the budget proposals for 2018-19 in the house, comprising a revenue component of Rs 51,244.72 crore and capital component of Rs 44,422.24 crore. l
to contest elections on its own, the party’s president, Uddhav Thackeray, said. “We will contest elections in all states without making an alliance,” Thackeray said. The decision makes the Shiv Sena the first major political outfit to break an alliance with the BJP since Modi became prime minister in A powerful regional political party has snapped ties with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of general elections in 2019, a party leader said on Tuesday, ending a nearly three-decade-old alliance based on nationalist ideology.2014. The Shiv Sena, a partner in the governing coalition formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in Maharastra, has decided to contest elections on its own, the party’s president, Uddhav Thackeray, said. “We will contest elections in all states without making an alliance,” Thackeray said.The decision makes the Shiv Sena the first major political outfit to break an alliance with the BJP since Modi became prime minister in 2014.l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR|
Jharkhand to organise Global Agriculture Summit this year: CM Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das said the state government would organise Global Agriculture Summit this year on the pattern of Momentum Jharkhand Investors Summit, according to a release. The Global Agriculture Summit would involve scientists, processing experts, innovators and agro-entrepreneurs, said a Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) release quoting Das. Addressing the concluding session of the three-day 'Agrotech 2018 Farmers Fair' at Birsa Agricultural University (BAU), Das said 72 food processing plants were set up during the last three years in Jharkhand, providing jobs to 2,350 youths. Fifty-five such units were being established in the current year also, which would employ about 2500 people, the release said. Das announced that all the villages of Jharkhand including those located in hills and dense forests would be connected by metalled roads by the end of 2019 and electrified by the end of 2018.
MHRD approves Rs 456.10 crore for IITs
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has granted Rs 456.10 crore to four older IITs including the one at Kharagpur for development projects. An IIT Kharagpur statement today quoted a tweet by the HRD ministry on the approval of the Rs 456.10 crore as onetime additional capital funding for IIT Kharagpur and three other IITs. The funding has been earmarked for lab infrastructure, equipment and others, the statement said. As per the announcement by the HRD Ministry, Rs 151.19 crore has been earmarked for IIT Kharagpur followed by Rs 105 crore for IIT Delhi, Rs. 103.41 crore for IIT Madras and Rs 96.5 crore for IIT Bombay. The funding was approved based on proposals submitted by the four IITs for augmentation of infrastructure and facilities, the statement said. l
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He said that small water harvesting structures like dobha, bora bandh, water tunnel and small check dams would be constructed in 32,000 villages with active involvement of concerned villagers. 'AadiwasiVikasSmiti' in villages with over 50 per cent tribal population and 'Gram Vikas Samiti' in other villages will be constituted which would decide the location and number of such structures.l
No enhancement of seats in Andhra, Telangana assemblies
The number of seats in the assemblies of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will not be enhanced till 2026, the Lok Sabha was informed. Minister of state for Home Hansraj GangaramAhir said section 26(1) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 states that "Subject to the provisions contained in article 170 of the Constitution and without prejudice to section 15 of this Act, the number of seats in the legislative assembly of the successor states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana shall be increased from 175 and 119 to 225 and 153, respectively,?.". Ahir said this issue was taken up with the ministry of law and justice, who had sought the opinion of the attorney general (AG). "He (AG) had opined that as per Article 170(3) of the Constitution, the total number of seats in the assembly of each state shall not be readjusted till after the first census is published post the year 2026. "Therefore, unless and until Article 170 is amended to bring up in line with Section 26, the increase in the number of seats cannot be given effect," he said replying to a written question. Telangana came into existence on June 2, 2014 after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. l
Shivpal Yadav calls for Samajwadi Party unity to fight ‘communal forces’ Sidelined Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav has stressed the need for unity in the party and Yadav family in order to fight “communal forces” in the country. “I am still with ‘netaji’ (Mulayam). I will do whatever he directs me to do. I still pray for family unity. Only by being united, we can fight communal forces strongly,” Shivpal, who has been sidelined in the party by nephew Akhilesh Yadav, told reporters here, as he turned 63 today. “The state is facing a lot of challenges. Farmers and youths are a disgruntled lot. Corruption is rising, but there is no one to hear,” he said. Shivpal’s birthday, which coincided with ‘Basant Panchami’, was celebrated by his supporters as ‘SatatSangharshDiwas’ (relentless struggle day). A close aide of Shivpal believed that a leader of his stature, who nurtured the Samajwadi Party and made it a principal political force in Uttar Pradesh, “cannot live in a state of limbo” for an indefinite period. Soon after the elevation of Akhilesh as the party president in January last year, Shivpal had announced that he would float his own party by April 2017. As of now, supporters
Uttarakhand CM spent Rs. 68.5 lakhs of taxpayers on refreshment
An RTI query has revealed that Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has spent a hefty amount on refreshments and snacks for his guests from the state government's fund. In a reply to an RTI query, an RTI officer stated that a whopping amount of Rs, 68,59,865 has been spent by the Chief Minister after assuming his office last year. In the query, the RTI activist Hemant Singh asked as to how much money has been spent by the Rawat after assuming office as the Chief Minister of the state. It is to be noted that Rawat, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader assumed his office on March 18 last year. l
of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal have suddenly become active and can again be seen reaching out to their old supporters. “The 2019 Lok Sabha elections are hardly a year away and there is no let up in the war of attrition between Akhilesh and his uncle. It is time for Shivpal to act decisively,” a Shivpal supporter said. Party insiders said it was too early to comment on whether Shivpal will go against the wishes of Mulayam and float a new political party, as the latter might not like the birth of a Samajwadi Party splinter group that could dent his son’s claim to the state throne. l
Kerala to protect samaritans helping accident victims The Kerala government is thinking of formulating a new law to protect people wholend a helping hand to road accident victims, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Strict instructions have been given to police asking them to ensure that those helping the victims are not put to any difficulty, Vijayan told the state assembly. Instructions have also been given to investigators against enlisting them as witnesses to be examined, if they are not eye-witnesses to the accident, he said. Fear of litigation and legal consequences often prevent people from helping accident victims, he said. The chief minister was replying to a submission raised by opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on increasing road accidents and the plight of 'good samaritans' who rush to help victims but later find themselves entangled in legal issues. "As per the 2016 Supreme Court verdict in this regard, those who extend help to road accident victims will not have to face any legal liabilities," Vijayan said.l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 11
O P Singh takes charge as Uttar Pradesh DGP O P Singh, a 1983-batch IPS officer, assumed office as the Uttar Pradesh (UP)Director General of Police. The post of the UP DGP has been lying vacant for over a fortnight after Sulkhan Singh retired on December 31. Singh, a gallantry medal winner, had been heading the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) since September, 2016 and is given the credit for ushering in some major changes in the work profile and operations of the force, especially in the aviation sector. Under his initiative last year, the force did away with the traditional system of putting tags on air passengers’ hand baggage, a move seen as a major game changer in the airport security domain. He also initiated simpler flying procedures for specially-abled passengers after talking to representative groups of such passengers. CISF provides security cover to nuclear installations, space establishments, airports, seaports, power plants, sensitive government
Brilliant step as India ends Haj subsidy, says will use funds to empower minorities There will be no subsidy for Haj from this year, India’s minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. About 3 lakh 59 thousand application have been received for Haj 2018. Naqvi said that despite the subsidy withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage this year from India Naqvi also said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities. “This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters and cited a host of measures for the welfare of minorities Earlier this year, Naqvi had said that the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with a Supreme Court order “A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime in 2012, directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with. Hence, in the new policy, as per the recommendations of a committee, we have decided to do away with the Haj subsidy gradually,” he had said. l
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buildings and heritage monuments. Singh, before heading the CISF, has served as the chief of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). He led his men from the front in a number of relief and rescue operations, including the massive earthquake in Nepal in April, 2015. l
6 crore toilets built in India under Swachh Bharat Mission The Swachh Bharat Mission is the largest behaviour change programme in the world. Through mobilization of rural communities, the SBM (Gramin) has truly turned into a janandolan, a people’s movement. As per a progress update shared in the capital today, over 6 crore toilets have been built across rural India under the Mission. Two independent surveys by the Quality Council of India in 2017, and National Sample Survey Organization in 2016, have pegged the usage of these toilets at 91% and 95% respectively. As an outcome, over 3 lakh villages and 300 districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF), across ten States and Union Territories, namely, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh and Daman & Diu. Terming this a “Sanitation Revolution in Rural India, 15 States/UTs are expected to be declared ODF by March 2018, and with this accelerating progress, the Mission is on track to achieve an ODF India by October 2019,” said ParameswaranIyer, the Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. l
Rs 2.20 lakh crore investment proposals will create 20 lakh jobs in West Bengal: Banerjee West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that the state has received investment proposals worth Rs 2.20 lakh crore in the two-day Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) as a result of which over 20 lakh jobs would be created in the state over the next few years. West Bengal chief minister termed the summit an astounding success and claimed that over 110 MoUs were signed during the event. “We have received investment proposals worth Rs 2,19,925 lakh crore as a result of which 20 lakh jobs will be created in the state. Over 1040 B2B and 40 B2G meetings were held after which 110 MoUs were signed. Investment of Mukhesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) will create over one lakh jobs in telecom sector alone,” she said. She also claimed that half of the investment proposals of the previous BGBS editions were in the process. The state government claimed that West Bengal had received investment proposals of Rs
2.43 lakh crore in 2015, Rs 2.5 lakh crore in 2016 and Rs 2.35 lakh crore in 2017 editions of BGBS. Just after her announcement, Adani Wilmar (Adani Group constituent) MD Pranav Adani announced that the group will invest Rs 750 crore in port, power and agricultural sectors and also replicate Mundra port of Gujarat in West Bengal. "The summit was highly successful with big names like Mukesh Ambani, L N Mittal, Sajjan Jindal, Uday Kotak, Pranav Adani, N Hiranandani, Kishore Biyani, Pranab Adani and local industrialists like Sanjiv Goenka, Harsh Neotia attending it," Banerjee said. l
Enquiry into 22 coal blocks Niti Aayog’s ‘in principle’ allocated between 1993-2005 nod to Chhattisgarh’s The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the Bastar development plan Supreme Court that it has closed its enquiry into 22 coal block allocations, which were made from 1993 to 2005, with the approval of the chief vigilance commissioner. The probe agency, in its 18th status report filed before the apex court in coal block allocation scam cases last month, has said that it had registered 16 regular cases covering 21 coal blocks during the period 1993-2005. The top court is monitoring the probe in the coal scam cases. “In respect of 43 coal blocks (during 1993-2005), CBI had registered 16 regular cases covering 21 coal blocks. Enquiry has been closed in respect of the balance 22 coal blocks. This has the approval of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner,” a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur noted in its order. “It is stated (by the CBI) that enquiry into all 43 coal blocks (during 1993-2005) have been completed. In fact there were initially 45 coal blocks under consideration, but two coal blocks relate to government dispensation route. These are, therefore, not considered under this heading,” the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri, noted. l
Niti Aayog has given an “in principle” approval to various proposals related to roads, telecommunication, education, LPG and banks for the overall development of Chhattisgarh’s Bastarregion.. Bastar is one of regions of the state severely affected by Naxalite activities. The approval was given at a meeting held here yesterday attended by senior officials led by Chhattisgarh chief secretary Ajay Singh, Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar, its CEO Amitabh Kant and senior officials of select central government departments, it said. The “in principle” approval is for the construction of an additional 600km of roads in Bastar under the Rashtriya Road project–2 and sanctioning Rs 65 crore for the expansion of telecom services to increase connectivity in remote areas, the release said. The amount will be utilised for increasing connectivity between districts and development blocks in Bastar and expedite the execution of 402 towers in the first phase and 1,028 telecom towers in the second phase of operations. l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 13
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WILL INDIA GROW AT 7.4% IN 2019? The Modi government claims that it is firmly on course to achieve high growth of 8% plus as manufacturing, services and exports are back on good growth path. While GDP growth at 6.3% in the second quarter of 2017-18 signalled turnaround of the economy, growth in the second half is likely to remain between 7.2% and 7.5%. The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley said that Indian society, polity and economy had shown remarkable resilience in adjusting with the structural reforms. IMF, in its latest update, has forecast that India will grow at 7.4% next year in the backdrop of services resuming high growth rates of 8% plus, exports expected to grow at 15% in 2017-18 and manufacturing back on good growth path. Reiterating the pledge given to the people of India four years ago to give this nation an honest, clean and transparent Government and to build a strong, confident and a New India, Jaitley said, the Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has successfully implemented a series of fundamental structural reforms to propel India among the fastest growing economies of the world.
The Finance Minister said that Government has taken up programmes to direct the benefits of structural changes and good growth to reach farmers, poor and other vulnerable sections of our society and to uplift the under-developed regions. He said, this yearâ€™s Budget will consolidate these gains and particularly focus on strengthening agriculture and rural economy, provision of good health care to economically less privileged, taking care of senior citizens, infrastructure creation and working with the States to provide more resources for improving the quality of education in the country. The Government has ensured that benefits reach eligible beneficiaries and are delivered to them directly and said that Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism of India is the biggest such exercise in the world and is a global success story.
WHOSE BUDGET IS IT ANYWAY?
|MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 15
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ECONOMY Referring to the Government’s commitment to the welfare of farmers and doubling farmers’ income by 2022, the Finance Minister announced a slew of new schemes and measures. He told that government has decided to keep MSP for all unannounced kharif crops at least one and half times of their production cost after declaring the same for the majority of rabi cops. He informed that the volume of institutional credit for agriculture sector from year-to-year increased from Rs.8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15 to Rs.10 lakh crore in 2017-18 and he proposed to raise this to Rs.11 lakh crore for the year 2018-19. After the establishment of Dairy Infrastructure Fund, Jaitley announced setting up a Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FAIDF) for fisheries sector and an Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) for financing infrastructure requirement of animal husbandry sector with a total corpus of Rs.10,000 crore for the two new funds. On the lines of ‘‘Operation Flood’’, a new Scheme ‘‘Operation Greens’’ was announced with an outlay of Rs. 500 Crore to address the challenge of price volatility of perishable commodities like tomato, onion and potato with the satisfaction of both the farmers and consumers. He also announced
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to develop and upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) to take care of the interests of more than 86% small and marginal farmers. These GrAMs, electronically linked to e-NAM and exempted from regulations of APMCs, will provide farmers facility to make direct sale to consumers and bulk purchasers. Moreover, an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund with a corpus of Rs.2000 crore will be setup for developing and upgrading agricultural marketing infrastructure in the 22,000 Grameen Agricultural Markets (GrAMs) and 585APMCs. He added that so far 470 APMCs have been connected to e-NAM network and rest will be connected by March, 2018. Jaitley announced Rs 200 crore for organized cultivation of highly specialized medicinal and aromatic plants and said that the organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers’ Organizations (VPOs) in large clusters, preferably of 1000 hectares each will be encouraged. Similarly, allocation of Ministry of Food Processing has been doubled from Rs.715 crore in 2017-18 to Rs.1400 crore in 2018-19. Terming bamboo as ‘Green Gold’, the Finance Minister announced a Restructured National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs.1290 crore to promote bamboo sector in a holistic manner. Under Prime Minister Krishi Sinchai Yojna-Har Khet Ko Pani, 96 deprived irrigation districts will be taken up with an alloca-
tion of Rs 2600 crore. The Centre will work with the state governments to facilitate farmers for installing solar water pumps to irrigate their fields. He also proposed to extend the facility of Kisan Credit Cards to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them meet their working capital needs. Jaitley said that India’s agri-exports potential is as high as US $100 billion against current exports of US $30 billion and to realize this potential, export of agri-commodities will be liberalized. He also proposed to set up state-of-the-art testing facilities in all the forty two Mega Food Parks. He also announced a special Scheme to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region by subsidizing machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.
ployment, this expenditure will create employment of 321 crore person days, 3.17 lakh kilometers of rural roads, 51 lakh new rural houses, 1.88 crore toilets, and provide 1.75 crore new household electric connections besides boosting agricultural growth.
EDUCATION, HEALTH AND SOCIAL PROTECTION Finance Minister said that estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs.1.38 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18. On education front, Jaitley announced setting up of
LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES IN THE RURAL AREAS On the loans to Self-Help Groups(SHGs) of women, the Finance Minister said it increased to about Rs. 42,500 crore in 2016-17, growing 37% over previous year and expressed confidence that loans to SHGs will increase to Rs.75,000 crore by March, 2019. He also substantially increased allocation of National Rural Livelihood Mission to Rs 5750 crore in 2018-19. Referring to the measures taken for the benefit of lower and middle class, the Finance Minister said, under Ujjwala Scheme distribution of free LPG connections will be given to 8 crore poor women instead of the previous target of 5 crore women. Under Saubahagya Yojana, 4 crore poor households are being provided with electricity connection with an outlay of Rs.16, 000 crore. To fulfil target of ‘Housing for All by 2022’, more than one crore houses will be built by 2019 in rural areas, besides already constructed 6 crore toilets under Swachh Bharat Mission. Jaitley stressed that the focus of the Government next year will be on providing maximum livelihood opportunities in the rural areas by spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied activities and construction of rural infrastructure. He said, in the year 2018-19, for creation of livelihood and infrastructure in rural areas, total amount to be spent by the ministries will be Rs.14.34 lakh crore, including extra-budgetary and non-budgetary resources of Rs.11.98 lakh crore. Apart from employment due to farming activities and self- em-
Ekalavya Model Residential School on par with Navodaya Vidyalayas to provide the best quality education to the tribal children in their own environment by 2022 in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons with special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development. To step up investments in research and related infrastructure in premier educational institutions, including health institutions, a major initiative named ‘‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’’ with a total investment of Rs.1,00,000 crore in next four years was announced. He said that a survey of more than 20 lakh children has been conducted to assess the status on the ground, which will help in devising a district-wise strat|MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 17
COVER STORY egy for improving quality of education. To improve the quality of teachers an integrated B.Ed. programme for teachers will be initiated. Jaitley said, the Government would launch the ‘‘Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF)’’ Scheme this year. Under this, 1,000 best B.Tech students will be identified each year from premier institutions and provide them facilities to do Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship. Allocation on National Social Assistance Programme this year has been kept at Rs. 9975 crore. Finance Minister announced the launching of world’s largest government funded health care programme titled National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. He also committed Rs 1200 crore for the National Health Policy, 2017, which with Rs. 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. The Government also decided to allocate additional Rs. 600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs. 500 per month for the duration of their treatment. Jaitley told that the government will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.
MEDIUM, SMALL AND MICRO ENTERPRISES (MSMES) AND EMPLOYMENT The Budget has given a big thrust to Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) to boost employment and economic growth. A sum of Rs. 3794 crore has been provided for giving credit support, capital and interest subsidy and for innovations. MUDRA Yojana, launched in April, 2015 has led to sanction of Rs.4.6 lakh crore in credit from 10.38 crore MUDRA loans. 76% of loan accounts are of women and more than 50% belong to SCs, STs and OBCs. It is proposed to set a target of Rs.3 lakh crore for lending under MUDRA for 2018-19 after having successfully exceeded the targets in all previous years.
THE NAMAMI GANGE PROGRAMME FOR EMPLOYMENT GENERATION INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT On cleaning the Ganga, the Finance Minister said, a total of 187 projects have been sanctioned under the Namami Gange programme for infrastructure development, river surface cleaning, rural sanitation and other interventions at a cost of Rs.16,713 crore. 47 projects have been completed and remaining projects are at various stages of execution. All 4465 Ganga Grams – villages on the bank of river - have been declared open defecation free. He said that the government has identified 115 aspirational districts taking various indices of development in consideration for making them model districts of development.
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Reiterating that creating job opportunities is at the core of Government policies, Finance Minister cited an independent study as showing that 70 lakh formal jobs will be created this year. To carry forward the momentum created by the measures taken during the last 3 years to boost employment generation, he announced that the Government will contribute 12% of the wages of the new employees in the EPF for all the sectors for next three years. He proposed to make amendments in the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 to reduce women employees' contribution to 8% for first three years
online monitoring system of PRAGATI alone, projects worth 9.46 lakh crore have been facilitated and fast tracked. To further boost tourism, the Budget proposes to develop ten prominent tourist sites into Iconic Tourism destinations by following a holistic approach involving infrastructure and skill development, development of technology, attracting private investment, branding and marketing. Under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, about 35000 kms road construction in Phase-I at an estimated cost of Rs.5,35,000 crore has been approved.
RAILWAYS Railways Capital Expenditure for the year 2018-19 has been pegged at Rs.1,48,528 crore. A large part of the Capex is devoted to capacity creation. 4000 kilometers of electrified railway network is slated for commissioning during 2017-18. Work on Eastern and Western dedicated Freight Corridors is in full swing. Adequate number of rolling stock â€“ 12000 wagons, 5160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are being procured during 2018-19. Over 3600 kms of track renewal is targeted during the current fiscal. Redevelopment of 600 major railway sta-
of their employment against existing rate of 12% or 10% with no change in employers' contribution. The Budget proposed an outlay of Rs.7148 crore for the textile sector in 2018-19 as against Rs.6, 000 crore in 2016.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND FINANCIAL SECTOR DEVELOPMENT Emphasising that infrastructure is the growth driver of economy, the Finance Minister estimated that investment in excess of Rs. 50 lakh crore is needed to increase growth of GDP and connect the nation with a network of roads, airports, railways, ports and inland waterways. He announced increase of budgetary allocation on infrastructure for 2018-19 to Rs.5.97 lakh crore against estimated expenditure of Rs.4.94 lakh crore in 2017-18. The Government has made an all-time high allocation to rail and road sectors and is committed to further enhance public investment. Prime Minister personally reviews the targets and achievements in infrastructure sectors on a regular basis. Using
tions is being taken up. Mumbaiâ€™s local train network will have 90 kilometers of double line tracks at a cost of over Rs.11,000 crore. 150 kilometers of additional suburban network is being planned at a cost of over Rs.40,000 crore, including elevated corridors on some sections. A suburban network of approximately 160 kilometers at an estimated cost of Rs.17,000 crore is being planned to cater to the growth of the Bengaluru metropolis.
AIR TRANSPORT The Budget proposes to expand the airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative NABH Nirman. Under the Regional connectivity scheme of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) initiated by the Government last year, 56 unserved airports and 31 unserved helipads would be connected. |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 19
FINANCE To encourage raising funds from bond market, the Finance Minister urged regulators to move from ‘AA’ to ‘A’ rating for investment eligibility. He said that the Government will establish a unified authority for regulating all financial services in International Finance Service Centre (IFSCs) in India.
DIGITAL ECONOMY The Finance Minister said that NITI Aayog will initiate a national program to direct efforts in artificial intelligence. Department of Science & Technology will launch a Mission on Cyber Physical Systems to support establishment of centres of excellence for research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and internet of things. The Budget doubled the allocation on Digital India programme to Rs 3073 crore in 2018-19. To further Broadband access in villages, the Government proposes to set up five lakh wi-fi hotspots to provide net connectivity to five crore rural citizens. The Finance Minister allocated Rs. 10000 crore in 2018-19 for creation and augmentation of Telecom infrastructure.
DISINVESTMENT The Finance Minister announced that 2017-18 disinvestment target of Rs.72,500 crore has been exceeded and expected receipts of Rs.1,00,000 crore. He set disinvestment target of Rs.80,000 crore for 2018-19. Three Public Sector Insurance companies- National Insurance Co. Ltd., United India Assurance Co. Ltd., and Oriental India insurance Co. Ltd., will be merged into a single insurance entity. The Finance Minister announced that a comprehensive Gold Policy will be formulated to develop gold as an asset class. The Government will also establish a system of consumer friendly and trade efficient system of regulated gold exchanges in the country. Gold Monetization Scheme will be revamped to enable people to open a hasslefree Gold Deposit Account. The Budget proposes to revise emoluments to Rs.5 lakh for the President, Rs 4 lakhs for the Vice President and Rs.3.5 lakh per month to Governor. These emoluments were last revised in 2006. With regard to the emoluments paid to the Members of Parliament, the Finance Minister proposed necessary changes to refix the salary and allowances with effect from April 1, 2018. He said the law will also provide for automatic revision of emoluments every five years indexed to inflation and hoped that the Hon’ble Members will welcome this initiative. To celebrate the 150 Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation from 2nd October 2019, the Budget set aside Rs.150 crore for the activities leading to the commemoration programme.
Recognizing the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces in meeting the security challenges, the Finance Minister proposed development of two defence industrial production corridors. Jaitley announced that a scheme will be evolved to assign every individual enterprise in India a unique ID, on the lines of Aadhar.
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The Budget Revised Estimates for expenditure in 2017-18 are Rs.21.57 lakh crore (net of GST compensation transfers to the States) as against the Budget Estimates of Rs.21.47 lakh crore. Continuing Government’s path of fiscal reduction and consolidation, the Finance Minister projected a Fiscal Deficit of 3.3% of GDP for the year 2018-19. The Revised Fiscal Deficit estimates for 2017-18 were put at Rs. 5.95 lakh crore at 3.5% of GDP. He also proposed acceptance of key recommendations of the Fiscal Reform and Budget Management Committee to bring down Central Government’s Debt to GDP ratio to 40%.
Presenting his direct tax proposals, the Finance Minister said that attempts to reduce the cash economy and increase the tax net have paid rich dividends. The growth rate of direct taxes in financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18 have been significant, he said. The growth of direct taxes in financial year 2016-17 was 12.6 percent, and for financial year 2017-18 (upto 15th January, 2018) is 18.7 percent. Therefore Shri Jaitley said buoyancy in personal income tax for financial year 2016-17 and 2017-18 (RE) are 1.95 and 2.11 respectively. This the Finance Minister said, indicates that additional revenue collected in the last two financial years from personal income tax compared to average buoyancy for the pre 2016-17 period, amounts to a total of Rs. 90,000
The Budget Revised Estimates for expenditure in 2017-18 are Rs.21.57 lakh crore (net of GST compensation transfers to the States) as against the Budget Estimates of Rs.21.47 lakh crore. Continuing Government’s path of fiscal reduction and consolidation, the Finance Minister projected a Fiscal Deficit of 3.3% of GDP for the year 2018-19. The Revised Fiscal Deficit estimates for 2017-18 were put at Rs. 5.95 lakh crore at 3.5% of GDP.
crore, which is a result of a strong anti-evasion measures by the government. The Finance Minister also said that there has been a huge increase in the number of returns filed by tax payers. The number of Effective Tax Payers has increased from 6.47 crore at the beginning of Financial year 2014-15 to 8.27 crore at the end of 2016-17. Jaitley has proposed 100 percent deduction to companies registered as Farmer Producer Companies with an annual turnover upto Rs. 100 crore on profit derived from such activities, for a period of five years from financial year 2018-19. This he said will promote post harvest agriculture activities and also encourage “Operation Greens” announced earlier and would give a boost to the Sampada Yojana. In order to encourage creation of new employment the deduction of 30 percent Under Section 80-JJAA with a further relaxation to 150 days in the case of the apparel industry, has been proposed to be extended to the footwear and leather industry. The Finance Minister has also proposed to rationalise the deduction of 30 percent by allowing the benefit for a new employee employed for less than the minimum period during the first year, but continues to remain employed for the minimum period in the subsequent year. Turning to the real estate sector, the Finance Minister has proposed that no adjustment shall be made in respect of transactions in immovable property, where the Circle Rate value does not exceed 5 percent of the consideration. This would minimize hardship in real estate transactions. In fulfilment of the promise to reduce the corporate tax rate |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 21
COVER STORY in a phased manner, Shri Jaitley has proposed to extend the reduced rate of 25 percent currently available for companies with turnover of less than 50 crore (in Financial Year 2015-16), also to companies reporting turnover up to Rs. 250 crore in Financial Year 2016-17. This would benefit the entire class of micro, small and medium enterprises, which account for almost 99 percent of companies filing tax returns, he said. The estimated revenue forgone during Financial Year 2018-19 will be Rs. 7,000 crore. This lower corporate income tax rate would leave such companies with higher investible surplus, which would create more jobs. The Budget proposals also seek to provide relief to salaried tax payers by allowing a Standard Deduction of Rs. 40,000 in place of the present exemption allowed for transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses. However, transport allowance at enhanced rate is proposed to be continued for differently abled persons. Further, it is also proposed to continue medical reimbursement benefits in case of hospitalization etc. for all employees. The proposed Standard Deduction will help middle class employees even further in reducing their tax liabilities. It will also significantly benefit pensioners, who normally do not enjoy any allowance for transport and medical expenses, Shri Jaitley said. 2.5 crore salaried employees and pensioners would benefit from this proposal and the revenue cost would be approximately Rs. 8,000 crore.
RELIEF TO SENIOR CITIZENS HAS ALSO BEEN PROPOSED. THE PROPOSALS ARE Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices are proposed to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. TDS shall not be required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit will also be available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under sec-
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tion 80D. Increease in deduction limit for medical expenditure for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs. 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs. 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB. Concessions will give extra tax benefit of Rs. 4,000 crore to senior citizen. It is also proposed to extend the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March, 2020. The current investment limit is also proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen. It is proposed to provide more concessions for International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), in order to promote trade in stock exchanges located in IFSC. The concessions propose transfer of derivatives and certain securities by non- residents from capital gains tax, and non corporate tax payers operating in IFSC to be charged Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) at concessional rate of 9 percent at par with Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) applicable for corporates. In a measure that proposes to control the cash economy, payments exceeding Rs. 10,000 in cash made by trusts and institutions shall be disallowed and would be subject to tax. In order to improve TDS compliance by these entities, the Finance Minister has proposed to provide that in case of non deduction of tax, 30 percent of the amount shall be disallowed and would be taxed. Turning to rationalization of Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG), the Finance Minister noted buoyancy in the equity market, as a result of reforms and incentives given so far. The total amount of exempted capital gains from listed shares and units is around Rs. 3,67,000 crore (as per returns filed for A.Y. 2017-18). Shri Jaitley said that a major part of this gain has accrued to corporates and LLPs. This has also created a bias against manufacturing, leading to more business surpluses being invested in financial assets. Due to attractiveness on return on investment on equity, even without tax exemption, there is a strong case for bringing Long Term Capital Gains from listed equities in the tax net, the Finance Minister said. He has however only proposed a modest change in the
needs of Below Poverty Line (BPL) and rural families, The Budget proposes to increase the cess on personal income tax and corporation tax to 4 percent from the present 3 percent. The new cess will be called the â€œHealth and Education Cessâ€? and is expected to lead to a collection of an estimated additional amount of Rs. 11,000 crore.
present regime, recognizing that a vibrant equity market is essential for economic growth. Shri Jaitley has proposed to tax such Long Term Capital Gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh at the rate of 10 percent, without allowing any indexation benefit. However, all gains up to 31st January, 2018 will be grandfathered. The Finance Minister has also proposed to introduce a tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at the rate of 10 percent, to provide a level field across growth oriented funds and dividend distributing funds. The proposed change in Capital Gains Tax will bring marginal revenue gain of about Rs. 20,000 crore in the first year, in view of grandfathering. In order to take care of the education and health care
The Budget proposals also seek to provide relief to salaried tax payers by allowing a Standard Deduction of Rs. 40,000 in place of the present exemption allowed for transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses. However, transport allowance at enhanced rate is proposed to be continued for differently abled persons.
The Finance Minister also announced a proposal to roll out E-assessment across the country to almost eliminate person to person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency in direct tax collection. E-assessment had been introduced on a pilot basis in 2016 and extended to 102 cities in 2017. On the indirect taxes side, this being the first budget after the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the budget proposals are mainly on the customs side. The Finance Minister has proposed changes in customs duty to promote creation of more jobs in the country and also to incentivise domestic value addition and Make in India in sectors such as food processing, electronics, auto components, footwear and furniture. Therefore it is proposed to increase customs duty on mobile phones from 15 percent to 20 percent, on some of their parts and accessories to 15 percent and on certain parts of televisions to 15 percent. Customs duty is proposed to be reduced on raw cashew from 5 percent to 2.5 percent, to help the cashew processing industry. It is also proposed to abolish the Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess on imported goods. In its place it is proposed to impose a Social Welfare Surcharge at the rate of 10 percent of the aggregate duties of Customs, on imported goods, to provide for social welfare schemes of the government. However, goods which were so far exempt from Education Cesses on imported goods, will however continue to be so. In addition, certain specified goods, mentioned in Annexure 6 of the Budget speech, will attract the proposed Surcharge, at the rate of 3 percent of the aggregate duties of customs only. With the roll of GST, the Budget also proposes to change the name of the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 23
Highlights of Budget 2018-19 l l
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presents general Budget 2018-19 in Parliament. Budget guided by mission to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors Government says, a series of structural reforms will propel India among the fastest growing economies of the world. Country firmly on course to achieve over 8 % growth as manufacturing, services and exports back on good growth path. MSP for all unannounced kharif crops will be one and half times of their production cost like majority of rabi crops: Institutional Farm Credit raised to 11 lakh crore in 2018-19 from 8.5 lakh crore in 2014-15. 22,000 rural haats to be developed and upgraded into Gramin Agricultural Markets to protect the interests of 86% small and marginal farmers. “Operation Greens” launched to address price fluctuations in potato, tomato and onion for benefit of farmers and consumers. Two New Funds of Rs10, 000 crore announced for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry sectors; Re-structured National Bamboo Mission gets Rs.1290 crore. Loans to Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) will increase to Rs.75,000 crore in 2019 from 42,500 crore last year. Higher targets for Ujjwala, Saubhagya and Swachh Mission to cater to lower and middle class in providing free LPG connections, electricity and toilets. Outlay on health, education and social protection will be 1.38 lakh crore. Tribal students to get Ekalavya Residential School in each tribal block by 2022. Welfare fund for SCs gets a boost. World’s largest Health Protection Scheme covering over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families launched with a family limit upto 5 lakh rupees forsecondary and tertiary treatment. Fiscal Deficit pegged at 3.5 %, is projected at 3.3
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l l l l l l
% for 2018-19. Rs. 5.97 lakh crore allocation for infrastructure Ten prominent sites to be developed as Iconic tourist destinations NITI Aayog to initiate a national programme on Artificial Intelligence(AI) Centres of excellence to be set up on robotics, AI, Internet of things, etc. Disinvestment crossed target of Rs 72,500 crore to reach Rs 1,00,000 crore Comprehensive Gold Policy on the anvil to de-
velop yellow metal as an asset class 100 percent deduction proposed to companies registered as Farmer Producer Companies with an annual turnover upto Rs. 100 crore on profit derived from such activities, for five years from 2018-19. Deduction of 30 percent on emoluments paid to new employees Under Section 80-JJAA to be relaxed to 150 days for footwear and leather industry, to create more employment. No adjustment in respect of transactions in immovable property where Circle Rate value does not exceed 5 percent of consideration. Proposal to extend reduced rate of 25 percent currently available for companies with turnover of less than 50 crore (in Financial Year 2015-16), to companies reporting turnover up to Rs. 250
crore in Financial Year 2016-17, to benefit micro, small and medium enterprises. Standard Deduction of Rs. 40,000 in place of present exemption for transport allowance and reimbursement of miscellaneous medical expenses. 2.5 crore salaried employees and pensioners to benefit. Relief to Senior Citizens proposed:Exemption of interest income on deposits with banks and post offices to be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000. TDS not required to be deducted under section 194A. Benefit also available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. Hike in deduction limit for health insurance premium and/ or medical expenditure from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 under section 80D. Increase in deduction limit for medical expenditure for certain critical illness from Rs. 60,000 (in case of senior citizens) and from Rs. 80,000 (in case of very senior citizens) to Rs. 1 lakh for all senior citizens, under section 80DDB. Proposed to extend Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana up to March, 2020. Current investment limit proposed to be increased to Rs. 15 lakh from the existing limit of Rs. 7.5 lakh per senior citizen. More concessions for International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), to promote trade in stock exchanges located in IFSC. To control cash economy, payments exceeding Rs. 10,000 in cash made by trusts and institutions to be disallowed and would be subject to tax.
Tax on Long Term Capital Gains exceeding Rs. 1 lakh at the rate of 10 percent, without allowing any indexation benefit. However, all gains up to 31st January, 2018 will be grandfathered. Proposal to introduce tax on distributed income by equity oriented mutual funds at the rate of 10 percent. Proposal to increase cess on personal income tax and corporation tax to 4 percent from present 3 percent. Proposal to roll out E-assessment across the country to almost eliminate person to person contact leading to greater efficiency and transparency in direct tax collection. Proposed changes in customs duty to promote creation of more jobs in the country and also to incentivise domestic value addition and Make in India in sectors such as food processing, electronics, auto components, footwear and furniture. l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 25
BUDGET DEVELOPMENTFRIENDLY, WILL STRENGTHEN 'NEW INDIA' VISION: MODI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the Union Budget for 2018-19 "developmentfriendly" and said it will strengthen the vision of a 'new India'. Congratulating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and his team, Modi said farmers, Dalits and tribal communities will gain from the budget. The budget, he emphasised, will create new opportunities for rural India. This is the government's last full budget before the general elections. Discussing various schemes of his government, including the construction of toilets and initiatives in the areas of housing, power and health, the prime minister emphasised that the budget devotes attention to all sectors, ranging from agriculture to infrastructure. The budget is "farmer friendly, common citizen friendly, business environment friendly" and will add to 'ease of living' and 'ease of doing business', Modi added. The government will soon announce concrete steps to address non-performing assets (NPA) and 'stress account'issues for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, the prime minister said.
UNION BUDGET ANTI-POOR, PRO-CAPITALISTS : MAYAWATI BSP supremo Mayawati has dubbed the Union Budget presented in Parliament as anti-poor and pro-capitalists. In a statement issued here, she said like the previous budgets of the Narendra Modi government, this one was also "antipoor and pro-capitalists". "What happened to Modi's promise of 'achchey din' he had made before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014?" she asked. Mayawati also accused the prime minister of making "misleading speeches and claims". The BJP-led NDA government has cared a fig for the poor, the labourers, the farmers and the working class as a result of which unemployment is rising and the chasm between the rich and the poor widening, she claimed. 26 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| MARCH, 2018|
THANKFULLY, ONLY ONE MORE YEAR TO GO: RAHUL
Congress President Rahul Gandhi expressed his displeasure with the Centre’s Union Budget for the year 2018-2019 stating that he was “thankful” that this was the government’s last whole budget. “4 years gone; still promising FARMER a fair price. 4 years gone; FANCY SCHEMES, with NO matching budgets. 4 years gone; no JOBS for our YOUTH. Thankfully, only 1 more year to go,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. This is the last full-fledged budget of the BJP-led NDA government before the next Lok Sabha polls, scheduled for the year 2019.
UNION BUDGET 'DESTRUCTIVE' : AKHILESH YADAV
Attacking the BJP government at the Centre for presenting a "destructive budget", Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that in its last Union Budget before the next general elections the saffron party has shown it "favours" capitalists. "In its last budget, the BJP has shown it only favours the capitalists. Now people will reply," he said. "It's a slap on face of traders, women, working class and the common man. The poor, farmers, labourers are disappointed. This is an arrogant and destructive budget, which ignores problems of the masses," he said. |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 27
ARUN JAITLEY DID NOT APPLY HIS MIND TO BUDGET, SAYS YASHWANT SINHA
Dissenting BJP leader and former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha has criticised the 2018-19 Union Budget presented by Arun Jaitley, saying there was no application of mind while preparing it. Sinha, who was the finance minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet, said the budget did not keep in mind the global and domestic contexts under which it was being thought out. "It seems that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not apply his mind to the budget speech. If that be so, then he must not have applied his mind while preparing the budget itself," he said at a seminar organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata. Sinha said the budget had announced a number of schemes, particularly in the health sector, which were not properly thought out. Pointing out that this was the last full budget of the present government as Lok Sabha polls were due in 2019, he said the decision to recapitalise the banks was announced very late and the backlog of stalled projects was not eliminated. Sinha also criticised the Finance Bill, saying the government was making several amendments through it, which should not have been the case. The budget did not follow the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management) Act as well, he said. Sinha also criticised Jaitley for being dismayed with the role of the GST Council.
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ARVIND KEJRIWAL ACCUSES CENTRE OF STEP-MOTHERLY TREATMENT
Expressing disappointment over the General Budget, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has alleged that the Centre was “continuing” with its “step- motherly” treatment to Delhi. Kejriwal said he had expected some financial assistance for important infrastructure projects for the national capital. His deputy Manish Sisodia also expressed unhappiness over Delhi’s share in central taxes and duties remaining unchanged, saying the BJP-led Centre treats Delhi residents as “second-grade citizens”. Sisodia said that no plans or schemes have been announced for Delhi Police while the AAP government’s demand for special package for 2,000 electric buses to combat air pollution has also not been addressed. He said that land in Delhi comes under the Centre, but despite this, no plans have been announced for regularisation of unauthorised colonies and giving more land to Delhi government to build clinics, schools, hospitals and bus depots. The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has been demanding that the share in central taxes and duties for the city should be increased. “I had expected some financial assistance to important infrastructure projects for the nation national capital. Am disappointed that the Centre continues its step-motherly treatment to Delhi,” Kejriwal tweeted. Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, hit out at the central government, saying it does not care for Delhi. “Disappointing #Budget2018. Not a single extra rupee increased in Delhi’s share in Central taxes since 2001-02, stays at Rs325 crore. No other part of India gets such treatment (sic),” he said in a series of tweets. “Delhi police comes under Centre. Yet no plans or schemes announced to tackle crime and issues of women safety that have made Delhi the crime capital of India. Highly disappointing #Budget2018! (sic).” According to the government, Delhi’s share in central taxes has been kept at Rs325 crore, static since 2001-02.
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CHIDAMBARAM CRITICAL OF UNION BUDGET 2018, TERMS IT ‘WORST’
Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram has rebuffed the Union Budget 2018-2019, saying that it was the "worst budget". In a statement, Chidambaram listed out certain sectors, including exports, agriculture, healthcare, jobs, investment and tax relief, and recounted the failures of the government to bring improvement in all of them. Noting that the Centre did not take any measure to boost exports, he said, “The government has run out of ideas to boost exports. The Finance Minister has imposed additional customs duties to restrict imports. The Prime Minister’s speech at — and the spirit of — Davos has been forgotten within a few days”. Training guns at the Centre for overlooking agriculture sector in the budget, he said that the agrarian crisis would continue. “There is nothing to indicate that farmers' real income will rise. Farm sector distress will continue and deepen, putting in peril the lives of a majority of the people primarily dependent on agriculture”, he added. Chidambaram also called the health scheme proposed by the government a “big jumla”. He went on to target the Centre over job generation and said, “The Finance Minister has no new ideas and has fallen back on the tried and failed Mudra scheme. The average size of the Mudra loan is Rs 43,000. This is tokenism and will not create even one job. More Mudra loans will mean more tokenism, but no additional jobs”. The Congress leader further said that it seemed Jaitley "gave up" on the private investment as there was nothing in the budget to boost it. Pointing out that there was no tax relief to the average tax-payers, Chidambaram said, “Only corporates with income up to Rs 250 crore get a tax relief of 5 percent”. He further said that the most disappointing part of the Budget was the cut in the outlays on major schemes for 2018-19. “Some important schemes that will get constant or reduced outlays are: MGNREGA, PMAY, National Drinking Water Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Health Mission, Midday Meals Scheme, Interest Subsidy for Short-Term Farm Credit, Northeastern Investment Promotion, Price Stabilisation Fund and Gram Jyoti Yojana”, he added. 30 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| MARCH, 2018|
TAMIL NADU CM HAILS UNION BUDGET AS "GROWTH-ORIENTED"
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami has welcomed the Union budget describing it as 'fairly balanced' and 'growth-oriented'. "I commend the Union Finance Minister for presenting the Budget which is fairly balanced, growth-oriented, that focuses on development of agriculture, rural development and health sector," he said about the first post-GST regime budget by Arun Jaitley. He welcomed the Centre's decision to give a 'big push' to the agriculture and allied sector, especially the enhancing of minimum support price (MSP) for all crops by about 1.5 times. However, he said, "implementing this is a big challenge." Palaniswami lauded other proposals like 'Operation Green' meant to benefit bamboo sector, proposed liberalisation of exports of agricultural commodities and full tax deduction to Farmer Producer Companies with turnover up to Rs 100 crore among others. "Overall, there are many initiatives in the agricultural sector which will benefit the farming community," the Chief Minister said in a statement. Referring to the special focus on expanding the capacity of suburban train systems in Mumbai and Bengaluru, he said Chennai was expanding fast and it also needed strengthening of its suburban train system. "This has been left out in the Budget. I hope the Union Government will also improve the suburban train system of Chennai," he added. He said the proposal to reduce the rate of corporate tax to 25 per cent to companies with turnover of less than Rs 250 crore would benefit Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) but added the sector needed greater support. Palaniswami welcomed the tax concession on interest accrual to senior citizens but indicated that the salaried classes could have been given a better deal. Noting that the country was going through a 'difficult' phase of economic development, the Chief Minister said it needs acceleration and stabilisation of the growth momentum. The budget should give a boost to increase investment and generate more jobs, he said. "Given these circumstances, this budget is addressing the critical issues effectively and the Union Finance Minister has put his best efforts to present a balanced and growth- oriented budget," he said. Palaniswami hoped that the budget will bring fiscal stability to the country and accelerate economic growth. |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 31
RURAL MURAL: CRISIL
Rating agencies led by Crisilsaid that this Union Budget came against the backdrop of a raft of reforms, economic slowdown and fiscal stress. While the budget proposals will incrementally contribute to economic expansion, with its de facto elements of stimulus, the pace of growth will largely be due to factors outside the budget. Growth has already bottomed out, so the key drivers in fiscal 2019 will be: 1) improved ability to benefit from strong global growth as domestic headwinds from demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax fade, 2) enhanced ability of banks to lend following recapitalisation, and 3) normal monsoons. To be sure, there was limited headroom for a big spending push due to fiscal constraints. The government has for the second consecutive year already breached its fiscal deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) target of 3%. As opposed to a budgeted 3.2%, fiscal deficit in fiscal 2018 stood at 3.5% of GDP and is budgeted at 3.3% in fiscal 2019. But the more worrisome part is that the breach in fiscal deficit is despite a cut in capital expenditure (capex); that means, had the government stuck to its targeted capital expenditure for fiscal 2018, fiscal deficit would have been still higher. Moreover, it is the productive spending in the economy that has seen a compromise, making way for revenue spending. The fiscal deficit target for fiscal 2019 overtly relies on a large indirect tax collection target. In sum, the governmentâ€™s fiscal consolidation path has got stretched by three years. As opposed to achieving a 3% fiscal deficit in fiscal 2018, the government now hopes to achieve the same in fiscal 2021.
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IMF WELCOMES FISCAL DEFICIT TARGETS SET BY ARUN JAITLEY
The Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed the fiscal targets set by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the annual budget proposals and noted that the economic survey released this week strikes a good balance with realistic forecast. "We really havent had a chance to fully assess it. But, that said we welcome the fiscal 2019 budget targets, which has a fiscal deficit of 3.3 per cent of GDP which in our view returns budget to a path of gradual fiscal consolidation while keeping in mind the need to provide support to Indias needs and economic recovery," William Murray, deputy spokesman, International Monetary Fund, told reporters. Few days ago, the IMF in its World Economic Outlook update released in Davos, Switzerland, projected a 7.4 per cent GDP growth in India in 2018 and 7.8 per cent in 2019, Murray said. Responding to a question, he welcomed the economic survey and said its interesting informative report that provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of the economy. The IMF, he said, is impressed by a range of important economic issues covered and the depth of the analysis in the survey. "We broadly shared the overall assessment of the state of the economy in particular the economic surveys outlook of 6.7 per cent in fiscal 2017-2018 and 77.5 per cent in 2018-19," he said, noting that this is in line with the IMFâ€™s forecast. The Economic Survey report, he said, strikes a good balance with realistic forecast and at the same time remains cognizant of the economic risks that India faces. "We take note of considerable progress made on both the pace and composition of reform being implemented in India in recent years in line with our recommendations," Murray said. These reforms include, for example, implementation of goods and services tax, implementation of the insolvency and bankruptcy code, the ongoing recapitalisation of public sector banks, and further liberalisation of foreign direct investment in India, the deputy spokesman said.
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NO PROVISION FOR BUDGET SCHEMES MAKE IT HOLLOW: DR SINGH
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that the budget for 2018-19 doesn't have provisions for the schemes announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and felt that the promise of doubling farmers' income cannot be met unless agriculture grows at 12 per cent. Reacting to the budget proposals, Dr Singh asked the government to hold separate discussions in parliament on matters pertaining to the farmers, job creation, health and education. "The budget does not provide any assurance for the schemes taken up or announced by the Finance Minister. So there should be a separate discussion on the issues of farmers, job creation, health and education," the Congress leader said. He also panned the government over its claim to double the farmers' income by 2022, saying it was "impossible" to do unless the country's agricultural growth is 12 per cent. Singh said that unless the growth of 12 per cent is achieved in the agriculture sector, the claim of doubling the farmers' incomes was just a "hollow assurance". He said as far as budget deficit was concerned, the Modi government had claimed on earlier occasions that it would reduce the deficit but going by the Finance Minister's budget speech the deficit seems "to be increasing".
IT IS NOT A GROWTH-ORIENTED BUDGET: CPI CPI leader D Raja said the Union budget shows the “desperate attempts of the government to hoodwink the people” in 2018, in which several state polls will take place and “probably the Lok Sabha polls too”. “It is not a growth-oriented budget. There is no certain attempts for employment generation. The government has talked about doubling the farmer’s income, but for that the agricultural growth should increase up to 12 per cent. That is not there,” Mr. Raja said. 34 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| MARCH, 2018|
BUDGET IS NEGATIVE, SUPER FLOP SHOW: BANERJEE West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee dismissed the Union Budget presented as “negative and a super flop show” and said the “anti-people” BJP government is not fit for governance. “I am disheartened with the Union Budget. This is a hopeless, negative and super flop budget. It is a big bluff budget. I think this anti-people BJP government is not fit for governance,” she told reporters here. She said the country’s middle class is completely disheartened with the budget as it has nothing to offer for them. “We heard that they (the central government) would take some measures to appease the people. But it has nothing to offer except disinvestment,” she said about the Union budget, which is the NDA government’s last full budget before the general elections. Ms Banerjee said the budget does not spell out the direction on employment generation and has cut allocation on various other social schemes. “Small scale and medium industries have been badly hit due to demonetisation and GST. We have been saying this from the very first day,” she added.
IF PROPERLY IMPLEMENTED WILL BRING SOME RELIEF AND BENEFIT TO FARMERS : PMK
PMK founder-leader S Ramadoss said "in total, only the proposals made in agriculture sector, if properly implemented will bring some relief and benefit to farmers." The proposal to implement eminent farm scientist M S Swaminathan formula of minimum support prices for crops to give farmers 50 per cent return over production cost "brings happiness and relief," he said. However, "it is very sad, that it is not clear how this will be done," he said. The proposals to establish 22,000 gram mandis would benefit the farmers. Otherwise, the Narendra Modi government's fifth budget "is a great disappointment to the people of India," he said. |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 35
BUDGET 2018 IN LINE WITH GOVT'S FISCAL CONSOLIDATION PATH: MOODY'S ANALYST
India's 2018-19 budget is in line with the government's fiscal consolidation path, a Moody's analyst said, adding that it reinforced the credit ratings agency's recent rating upgrade for the country. Most of the spending announced seemed to be on "productive investments" rather than 'one-time hand outs', said Joy Rankothge, Vice President of Moody's Investors Service told Reuters. "You'll see more mediumlong term benefits, again depending on how it's implemented and how it's funded," he said. Moody's Investors Service upgraded India's sovereign credit rating for the first time in nearly 14 years in November, saying continued progress on economic and institutional reforms would boost the country's growth potential. Moody's rates India at "Baa2" with a "stable" outlook.
BUDGET DISAPPOINTING; TO SPUR INFLATION, HURT COMMON MAN: NCP The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) described the Union Budget as "disappointing" and claimed that it would increase inflation and hurt the common man. "The budget proposals will pinch the pocket of the common man," party spokesman Nawab Malik said. "The (Narendra) Modi government is running away from the basic responsibility of providing health services and is handing over the sector to the insurance companies," he added. Ridiculing the budget proposal to increase farmers' income, Malik said, "Even the minimum support price announced earlier was not paid to the farmers. This is nothing but a 'jumla' (gimmick) budget." The NCP leader also criticised the BJP-led government for initiating strategic disinvestment in 24 public sector undertakings (PSUs), including Air India, by setting Rs 80,000 crore as the disinvestment target for 2018-19. "This budget has been tabled to sell off government resources to private companies," he alleged. 36 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| MARCH, 2018|
UNION BUDGET DISAPPOINTING FOR MINORITIES, SAYS OWAISI Union Budget disappointing for minorities, says the Union Budget presented had nothing "worthwhile" for various sections of society and it was particularly disappointing for minorities, AIMIM President AsaduddinOwaisi alleged. "The Union Budget for 2017-18 looks hardly inspiring. There is nothing worthwhile for every section of society and every sector of the countryseconomy.Particularly for the minorities, the budget is very disappointing," the Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad said. The allocation for minorities welfare was meager though they account for 20 per cent of the country?s population, he claimed in a statement here. "Minorities account for 20 per cent of the countrys population (24.17 crores out of 121.08 crores) but they were allocated Rs 4,515 crores in the Budget which envisages total expenditure of Rs 21,46,735 crore. "The outlay for minorities comes to just 0.21 per cent (one-fifth of 1%) though they account for 20 per cent of the population. The per capita outlay for minorities comes to only Rs 187 per capita. The per capita budgetary expenditure for the countrys population is Rs 17,730," he said. Though AIMIM had demanded scrapping Haj subsidy on chartered flights and instead allocating the money for education of Muslim girls, it has not been done. The allocation for madrasa education has been reduced in comparison with the allocation for 2015-16 though the party sought a higher allocation for the purpose, the MP said. "Overall, the allocations for Ministry of Minority Affairs, as also madrasa education under the HRD Ministry and the Haj subsidy under the Ministry of Civil Aviation rose from actual expenditure of Rs 3,765.33 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 4,480.33 crore in 2015-16 but declined to Rs 4,397.205 crore in budget estimates for 2016-17 and Rs 4,354.25 crore in revised estimate for 2016-17. "The Budget estimate for the fiscal 2017-18 is Rs 4,515.48 crores for Ministry of Minority Affairs, madrasa education and Haj subsidy," he said. |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 37
GDP GROWTH TO CLOCK 6.75 PERCENT A series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, thereby reinstating India as the worldâ€™s fastest growing major economy.
series of major reforms undertaken over the past year will allow real GDP growth to reach 6.75 percent this fiscal and will rise to 7.0 to 7.5 percent in 2018-19, thereby re-instating India as the worldâ€™s fastest growing major economy. This was stated in the Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in Parliament by the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley. It said that the reform measures undertaken in 2017-18 can be strengthened further in 2018-19. The survey underlines that due to the launch of trans-
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formational Goods and Services Tax (GST) reform on July 1, 2017, resolution of the long-festering Twin Balance Sheet (TBS) problem by sending the major stressed companies for resolution under the new Indian Bankruptcy Code, implementing a major recapitalization package to strengthen the public sector banks, further liberalization of FDI and the export uplift from the global recovery, the economy began to accelerate in the second half of the year and can clock 6.75 percent growth this year. The survey points out that as per the quarterly estimates; there was a reversal of the declining trend of GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017-18, led by the industry sector. The Gross Value Added (GVA) at constant basic prices is expected to grow at the rate of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18 as compared to 6.6 per cent in 2016-17. Similarly, Agriculture, industry and services sectors are expected to grow at the rate of 2.1 per cent, 4.4 per cent, and 8.3 per cent respectively in 2017-18. The survey adds that after remaining in negative territory for a couple of years, growth of exports rebounded into positive one during 2016-17 and expected to grow faster in 2017-18. However, due to higher expected increase in imports, net exports of goods and services are slated to decline in 2017-18. Similarly, despite the robust economic growth, the savings and investment as a ratio of GDP generally declined. The major reduction in investment rate occurred in 2013-14, although it declined in 2015-16 too. Within this the share of household sector declined, while that of private corporate sector increased. The survey points out that India can be rated as among the best performing economies in the world as the average growth during last three years is around 4 percentage points higher than global growth and nearly 3 percentage points higher than that of Emerg-
ing Market and Developing Economies. It points out that the GDP growth has averaged 7.3 per cent for the period from 201415 to 2017-18, which is the highest among the major economies of the world. That this growth has been achieved in a milieu of lower inflation, improved current account balance and notable reduction in the fiscal deficit to GDP ratio makes it all the more creditable. Though concerns have been expressed about growing protectionist tendencies in some countries but it remains to be seen as to how the situation unfolds. Some of the factors could have dampening effect on GDP growth in the coming year viz. the possibility of an increase in crude oil prices in the international market. However, with world growth likely to witness moderate improvement in 2018, expectation of greater stability in GST, likely recovery in investment levels, and ongoing structural reforms, among others, should be supporting higher growth. On balance, country’s economic performance should witness an improvement in 2018-19. The survey highlights that against the emerging macroeconomic concerns, policy vigilance
will be necessary in the coming year, especially if high international oil prices persist or elevated stock prices correct sharply, provoking a “sudden stall” in capital flows. The agenda for the next year consequently remains full: stabilizing the GST, completing the TBS actions, privatizing Air India, and staving off threats to macro-economic stability. The TBS actions, noteworthy for cracking the long-standing “exit” problem, need complementary reforms to shrink unviable banks and allow greater private sector participation. The GST Council offers a model “technology” of cooperative federalism to apply to many other policy reforms. Over the medium term, three areas of policy focus stand out; employment: finding good jobs for the young and burgeoning workforce, especially for women; education: creating an educated and healthy labor force; and agriculture: raising farm productivity while strengthening agricultural resilience. Above all, India must continue improving the climate for rapid economic growth on the strength of the only two truly sustainable engines — private investment and exports.l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 39
WHY SHOULD WE NOT JUSTIFY TRIPLE TALAQ? Millions of cases are pending in the civil courts just to seek divorce or alimony from the respective husbands and wives.
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8 By: Dr. Mohammad Aleem
remember the days of 1994 when I had written a stage play named, Rabia. It was based on the theme of the freedom of choice in marriage to the Muslim girls in Islam and the society at large. When I dived deep into the religious texts while researching on the subject, I came across a very famous saying of Prophet Muhammad in which it has been clearly said that a young girl or woman has every right to either accept a person in marriage or reject. No one can force them to marry against their will and wishes. The hadith is like this: once a young bride came to him and implored very touchingly that please save me from the cruelty of my belliger-
ent father. Prophet asked what the issue is! She said that my father has married me a man whom I donâ€™t like in any way and he wants me to send forcefully with him. The revered Prophet replied that you have every right to either live with that man or abandon him. It was a very far-sighted verdict according to that time when women was the most deprived lot in the Arabian society. Still, in India, thousands of young girls and women unfortunately get killed every year barbarically in the name of dowry and marriage related violence. Millions of cases are pending in the civil courts just to seek divorce or alimony from the respective husbands and wives. The issue of Talaq or divorce is one of the most important issues in the lives of people, not only in India, but all over the world. But in other parts of the world, it is not as contentious as it is in India, especially among the Muslims. A raging debate has been going on in pro and against of the triple Talaq in one go not only among the Muslim intelligentsia, but people of the other communities and faiths also for a long time. Everyone knows that the holy Quran has its clear-cut views about it. It has been clearly described in it that a person can give Talaq to his wife only in three stages over the complete three months period. And within that
time, all conciliatory approach should be adopted at hand either from the groomâ€™s side or brideâ€™s side. But a section of Sunni Muslims are always against it and they look rigid in justifying it in the name of the Islamic tradition. It shows that their tradition holds much more importance than the divine teachings of Allah. To what extent, it is justified? Is not so that Islam as a religion had come like a saviour for the deprived women? It was the first religion which talked about the basic human rights and dignity for a woman as a wife, mother, sister, widow and divorcee. It granted the inheritance right properly first time in the human history. Should they not be given the same kind of freedom and dignity in the matter of divorce also as they have been given in the choice of marriage and inheritance? Does marriage and separation not hold the equal importance in life? I urge fellow Muslims not to look at this issue as an affront to their long-held regressive thoughts, but as a progressive and advanced opportunity to correct their mistakes which ruined the lives of thousands of women who were arbitrarily left by their ignorant husbands by uttering the triple talaq in one go. Writer is a national award winning novelist, playwright, scriptwriter and journalist.l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 41
WILL THE BJPâ€™S DRUBBING IN RAJASTHAN BY-POLL TRIGGER THE CONGRESSâ€™S REVIVAL? 8 By: Achyut Nath Jha
he Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party in power in both the state and the Centre, came in for severe drubbing in Rajasthan where it is eyeing a second straight term, with Congress candidates thumping its nominees in two Lok Sabha and one assembly seats. The Congress won both Lok Sabha seats and the lone Assembly constituency where by-elections were held on January 29 and whose results were announced on February 1. While Karan Singh Yadav won Ajmer by a margin of over 1.96 lakh votes, Raghu Sharma wrested Alwar by 84,000 votes. In the Mandalgarh Assembly by-poll, the Congress won by a margin of 12,976 votes. With the latest win, the Congress's strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up to 48. Rajasthan, like Gujarat, had given the BJP a clean sweep
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in the 2014 parliamentary polls. The Congress failed to win even one of the 25 seats in the state and the voteshare gap was 25 per cent. Even in the Assembly elections in 2013, the BJP had won 163 seats in Rajasthan and the Congress 21. The Congress sees in this result a general change of mood on the ground as its main leaders from the two seats - Sachin Pilot and Jitendra Singh - didn't contest. It appears that the voters wanted to teach the BJP a lesson irrespective of the candidates. Some political observers opined that the results suggested the tide might be turning around before the Assembly elections in Rajasthan and the big parliamentary battle. Rajasthan, along with Madhya Pradesh and Chhat-
ment stood solidly behind the Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which spearheaded the protest against the film, to stall its release, the gesture did not pay off as the party lost the Ajmer seat that has sizeable population of Rajputs. The recent incidents of vigilantism in the name of cow protection, including the lynching of Pehlu Khan in Alwar over allegations of cow smuggling, appeared to have consolidated the minority community electorate behind the Congress. Buoyed by the results, a jubilant Congress president Rahul Gandhi hailed the party's Rajasthan unit for its impressive show, calling the outcome a "rejection" of the BJP by the people. According to the BJP sources in the state, the Congress’ victory in the recent bye-elections in Rajasthan was not unexpected considering the widespread unhappiness that had been building up against the Vasundhara Raje regime. Still, the magnitude of the victory has come as a surprise to the BJP – and to the Congress. They see it as a wave in
tisgarh, will vote later this year and the outcome will more or less decide the fate of the parties in 2019. After making a remarkable turnaround in its electoral fortunes in neighbouring Gujarat late last year, the Congress put up a muscular performance in Rajasthan where its candidates wrested Lok Sabha and assembly seats from the BJP by impressive margins. This will also bolster the Congress's claim on leadership of the Opposition ranks. The defeat for the BJP came days after the release of period film 'Padmaavat' with the influential Rajput community up in arms against its screening, claiming it distorted historical facts and projected queen Padmini of Mewar in poor light. Though the BJP govern-
favour of the Congress, cutting across castes as well as the urban-rural divide. The party saw a turnaround of around four lakh votes in Alwar Lok Sabha constituency and a jump of 25% in Ajmer, where its state chief Sachin Pilot had lost by 2.5 lakh votes in 2014. This and the fact that it won big in all 17 assembly segments – eight each of Alwar and Ajmer parliamentary constituencies and one of Mandalgarh – shows that it was a “vote of anger” against the Raje government. In normal situation, an incumbent doesn’t lose a byelection. Voters feel that electing an opposition candidate will neither change the government nor help in getting work done. Yet, voters have elected Congress candidates in the Lok Sabha and the state assembly. The fact that Chief |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 43
Minister Vasundhara Raje personally campaigned in the bypolls means that she can’t escape the responsibility of defeat. The scale of the losses shows that there was a wave against her government. Apart from numerous reasons centred on local issues, the Congress victory can be attributed to two factors -- the style of functioning of Raje and the leadership of the Congress. Sachin Pilot was appointed the state Congress chief in 2014, a few months before the general election that brought Narendra Modi to power. After the party’s humiliating drubbing in the Lok Sabha, Pilot made Jaipur, capital city of Rajastha, his home and base. His party colleagues
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say that Pilot had been actively touring the state and rebuilding the party’s support base. The Congress under Pilot began to notch up victories, in student elections and in polls to gram panchayats and municipal corporations. The Congress managed to win six of the eight bye-polls held in the state in the last four years. However, it goes without saying that even as the bye-elections have gone in favour of the Congress, much will now depend on the unity Rajasthan Congress leaders – Pilot, CP Joshi and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot who still enjoys goodwill – show in the coming weeks to encash the sentiment in their favour in the upcoming Assembly election. The ruling BJP’s embarrassing defeat in the byelections in Rajasthan has triggered a churn in the party, with senior leaders deliberating on the reasons for the drubbing. A beleaguered Raje, already battling factionalism within the party and growing resentment among the people, has little time on her hands as she seeks to course-correct with Assembly elections scheduled for December this year. At a core group meeting at Raje’s residence on Februar 2, BJP leaders reportedly analysed the factors responsible for the shrinkage in the party’s traditional support base. While sections of the Rajput community had announced their support to the Congress much before polling day, the impact of the Centre’s decisions of demonetisation and GST
rollout was described as a “worrisome trend” beyond the State’s control. Among the other factors responsible for the BJP’s defeat in Alwar and Ajmer parliamentary seats and Mandalgarh Assembly seat, according to political observers, are the bitterness among the business community, deteriorating law and order in semi-urban areas, enactment of a legislation to protect officers charged with graft and Gujjars and Brahmins turning against the party over reservation and other issues. The voting pattern in the urban pockets depicted a marked shift away from the BJP. In Ajmer city, considered the BJP’s stronghold, the party lost Ajmer North by 6,975 votes and Ajmer South by 13,070 votes primarily because of the traders’ anger over loss of business and complications in filing of GST returns. The Congress, on the other hand, put up a united front during the election campaign. Party leaders, including Pilot, built up an atmosphere against the BJP’s policies and programmes while cashing in on the resentment among different sections of the population. In both Alwar and Ajmer, the Congress tried to forge new alliances with different caste groups in order to pose a fresh challenge to the BJP. The atmosphere was charged in Alwar in the wake of attacks on dairy farmers by cow vigilantes, while the contest in Ajmer was a direct one between Pilot and Raje. The victory in Rajasthan has undoubtedly given a
fresh lease of life to the Congress and many other opposition parties. For one, it might stop some regional parties from gravitating towards the BJP as they might done otherwise. As it is, after Gujarat, many in the opposition began to feel that the BJP’s invincibility could be challenged. In the 2019 general election, large states will hold the key. If the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) team up in 80-seat Uttar Pradesh ( Though as of now, it looks unlikely), and the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) join hands in Maharashtra with the possibility of a tacit understanding with the Shiv Sena, the BJP would find it tough in both states. Needless to say, the Rajasthan by-poll result comes as a much-needed gift to new Congress president. Despite, Rahul Gandhi’s rigorous campaign, the party couldn’t defeat the BJP. The latest outcome shows to the Congress leadership that by backing a young state leader whole heartedly and highlighting the failures of the ruling party without being carried away by caste and communal conundrum, it could win back people’s faith. The poll outcome indicates that the Raje government is facing strong anti-incumbency, the Congress is in a position to exploit the situation because of the presence of strong local leaders. Most importantly, unlike Gujarat, where there was no one who could be projected as the chief ministerial face, in Rajasthan the Congress has the state unit chief Pilot and veteran Ashok Gehlot. l |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 45
DECODING THE MAKING OF SMART CITIES: INDIA NEEDS TO FOLLOW THE BARCELONA MODEL India's model of Smart Cities have become the classic example of the story of an elephant and four blind men. Nobody has a complete picture and definitely, the picture that we missed out was the “urban form”, the public spaces, solutions to de-clogging drains, solar street lighting, rainwater and solid waste management, and also hawkers and informal sectors. India needs to follow Barcelona model of the smart city, which is far more holistic than ours. Our model of the smart city is ironical, more engineering driven and not an architecture and urban design solution," says Dikshu C Kukreja, one of India's top Architect, who is a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Smart City projects. Dikshu has designed several iconic and largest buildings such as Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida, which maintains a strong position in the top 10 best design universities of the world in the list of Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. Onkareshwar Pandey talked to Dikshu C Kukreja on various issues related to Architecture, Planning, Designing and Architectural education in India in a freewheeling Interview. Here are the Excerpts:
Your company CP Kukreja Architects (CPKA) is forty years old and one of India's top company in Architecture, Designing and Planning. How do you summarize this 40 years long journey of CPKA? The journey through all these years is hard to summarize as the time span is so large and it is still ongoing. And it has still not concluded, yet I think it’s been an amazing and tremendous journey. I have lived in the USA and seen the architecture and design world very closely. We, in India, started out so far back and when we talk about crafting world-class buildings and world-class infrastructure, we started from somewhere when we were literally a couple of centuries behind the West and now, we are talking
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about the same quality of buildings. It has been a much longer and faster journey than what you would see what the US did 100 years ago and what the US is accomplishing today. So, of course, there is progress everywhere but the kind of difference in progress is very different here in the last 40 years.
Do you think that not giving authority to planner, designer or architect to perform the policy-making job is a shortcoming of the law? Do you think it’s necessary to bring new laws and policies? We have plenty of laws such as building sanctions and building codes but what needs attention is the planning policies. Look at the district centres in Delhi, how they have come up, which district centre today is a success? Whether, it is Nehru Place or Bhikaji Cama Place or Janakpuri, each of these is in a bad state. Every district centre is in a run-down condition and half empty, yet there is so much chaos inside and outside these places. There is no consideration for pedestrians, parking is ad hoc at best, hawkers/informal sector occupy every available space and are totally unorganized and the icing on the cake, no greenery at all. So, the policies themselves have been very shortsighted, which proves that everything is engineering driven. We have not looked at these things in a holistic manner.
What is your opinion about the government’s idea of 100 smart cities all over the country? The focus is very different. The government policies that are coming up are definitely something more serious towards problem-solving. For example, one side is the Smart City mission and another side is affordable housing, both are important. So, in today’s time smart city is very important. I have been very enthusiastic and a huge supporter, right from inception, of this initiative and feel proud to have been part of the think tank for this. Unfortunately, Smart cities have become the classic example of the story of an elephant and four blind men. Everybody has their own perspective about a smart city. Somebody thinks it has to do with recycling, somebody thinks it has to do with roads or telecom or Wi-Fi Nobody has a complete picture and definitely the picture that we missed out was the “urban form”, the public spaces, solutions to declogging drains, solar street lighting, rainwater and solid waste management, and also hawkers and informal sectors. How do you rejuvenate public spaces and allow public seating? On the other hand, when European cities talk about smart cities they look at all these aspects when they define smart cities they talk about empowerment and facilities that they give to the citizens. A classic example is Barcelona. Their model of the smart city is far more holistic than ours. Our model of the smart city is ironical, again, more engineering driven and not an architecture and urban design solution.
How do you view the architecture and planning in India, post-independence? Indian Architecture before independence was the Golden Era for our |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 47
ABOUT DIKSHU C KUKREJA Dikshu C Kukreja is one of India's top Architect, who has designed several iconic and largest buildings in India. His firm C.P. Kukreja Associates (CPKA) is a premier architectural and engineering organisation based in Delhi. CPKA is ranked amongst the top 100 architecture firms in the world and top 10 in Asia. His firm has designed many Greenfield as well as heritage/conservation buildings which including Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; International Buddhist Centre (Rumtek Monastery), New Delhi; Sikkim Legislative Assembly, Gangtok; Sikkim Guest House, New Delhi; Grand Palace (Former Palace residence of the Maharaja of Kashmir converted to 5 Star Hotel), Srinagar; Maitreyi College, New Delhi; Delhi Gymkhana Club, Extension Complex to Secretariat of Madhya Pradesh and Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida which maintains a strong position in the top 10 best design universities of the world in the list of Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. He is also designing a 10,000 capacity Exhibition cum Convention Centre, on 225 acres of land in Dwarka, Delhi which is Asia’s 2nd largest state-of-theart Convention Centre and the 3rd largest in the world with largest LED Façade ever built in India. This 26,000 Crore worth project is being designed for G20 Summit in India. Dikshu Kukreja has been selected as the ‘Young Icon of the Decade’, ‘Best Citizen of India’ and most recently as the ‘Face of 21st Century Architecture in India’ and recently featured in ‘Who’s Who of Asia’.
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country because this period was not just about creativity but about the technology too. There are many unique things that we were able to do then, which are still unparalleled. When British came to India, they did things in an organized way and with certain purpose and intentions They introduced their unique architectural style with their train stations, in general, and in particular, buildings like Victoria Terminus in Kolkata, Lutyens Delhi and Rashtrapati Bhawan being the most iconic examples. Their “public architecture” was exemplary. Post-Independence, architecture and public space as a field were overlooked for the needs of the country being perhaps more pressing and the architecture field took a back seat. “Architecture” became subservient to the engineering discipline. The chief engineer became the chief planner/chief designer and the chief architect was somebody three levels below in government hierarchy. This approach which is totally engineering driven lost its complete sensitivity towards design. Same layouts were replicated irrespective of location or climate and all government buildings became identical. “Government Architecture” became a style!!!
Tell us about your important projects which you have made? Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida – This project is very close to my heart. This was very exciting and at the same time challenging because what we were designing is not just the university, it’s actually a city. If about 5500 students, 600 faculties and their families are staying in one campus then you are looking at the population of 25,000 to 30,000 people equivalent to
The focus is very different. The government policies that are coming up are definitely something more serious towards problemsolving. For example, one side is the Smart City mission and another side is affordable housing, both are important. So, in today’s time smart city is very important. the population of many European towns. You are getting to build something where you can influence the way one thinks. We created the university on a raw piece of land i.e 500 acres and today, transforming it completely. This university maintains a strong position in the top 10 best design universities in the world in the list of Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge. Exhibition cum Convention Centre, Dwarka - This project is again very exciting because here we are talking about the third campaign, which is Make In India and here we are very fortunate that we are creating India’s one of the largest building projects till date ever. It is a 26,000 Crore project and Asia’s 2nd largest stateof-the-art Convention Centre being designed for the Prime Minister to host G20 Summit in India. It is the 3rdlargest in the world with 10,000 capacity Convention Centre on 225 acres of land with largest LED Façade ever built in India.l
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THOUGH POLITICALLY VOLATILE, NAGALAND’S VIBRANT CULTURE HAS MUCH TO OFFER Housing is specialized skills of Nagas. They are the master architects and aestheticians.
8By Dr. Kailash Kumar Mishra
ituated in the extreme northeast of India, Nagaland is bounded by Arunachal Pradesh in the north, Manipur in the south, Myanmar in the east and Assam in the west. The beautiful, picturesque and colourful Nagaaland is attractive and full of beautiful people: 20 groups of Nagas and one group of Cachari (Kuki). The bio-cultural diversity and green vegetation make it a heaven on the earth for the anthropologists, tourists, aestheticians and travelers. Naga is a generic term given to the 20 groups of indigenous people of the State by the Assamese long ago. They are distinct and different and retain their unique cultural practices, languages, dress pattern, food habits, and life-style. The 20 communities of the State fall under the Naga category: Angami, Ao, Chang, Chirr, Khiamnungam, Konyak, Liangmai,
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Lotha, Makury, Mzieme, Pochury, Phom, Poumai, Rengma, Rongmei, Sangtam, Sumi (Sema), Tikhir, Yimchunger, and Zeliang. Some negligent number of Kukis and Kacharis (also known as Dimasas) are also living with them.. About 84 percent of the population belongs to 20 Naga groups. In order to communicate among all the 20 Naga groups and also one Cachari Group of people they have developed a link language – Nagami. As is clear from the nomenclature, Nagami is a combination of Assamese and Nagas’ words and phrases. This makes it clear that the Nagas are not a composite people. They speak many languages. They differ widely in dress and other cultural traits, as well as in physical features. They belong to Mongoloid stock but yet there are great differences in the details between one tribe and other, as well as between different people of the same tribe. Some are tall, some are short. Some are yellow in complexion and some are even brown. The cultural traditions of the Nagas include features which are common to all the tribes like common sleeping house for unmarried men which are taboo to women, a sort of trial marriage, disposal of dead on raised platforms, the simple loom for weaving cloth etc. Interaction with the Nagas takes an outsider into a different world of creativity, natural wonder and charm. They are extraordinary carvers of wood, beautify themselves with distinctive hairstyles and tattoos. The Naga males and females are world-
class singers and dancers. With their war like dance and martial gate they steal the heart of the audiences. They construct beautiful, tiny and very unique thatched huts and decorate them with the bones, skulls, skins of animals, wood carvings, feathers of words and some natural grasses and flowers. Their houses are neat and clean. They are extraordinary vernacular architects. The forests of Nagaland are rich in bamboo and cane. They are as a result, expert basket makers. However, the art of basketry is restricted to males. All Naga men know how to weave mats of split bamboo, which is the chief material besides wood for constructing walls and floors of houses. Very important is the production of finely woven mats for drying paddy. Split bamboo is the usual material used for both mats and baskets. There are various stages involved in the preparation of baskets and other cane goods. It begins in the collection of raw materials from the forest, making splints of necessary sizes, weaving of the basket and finally giving the finishing touches. They now prepare different kinds of armchairs, sofas, tables and cradles for babies. Apart from baskets, the Nagas make mats, shields and different kinds of hats from bamboo. They make attractive chungas or drinking cups; mugs made of bamboo with poker work. They are sometimes designed with painted stylized floral patterns or with human figures done in relief, greatly enhancing the shape and the texture of the articles. In Nagaland, the bamboo pipe is popular. In general, it has been rightly said that Nagas start life â€œin a cradle of bamboo and ends in a coffin of bambooâ€?. Cane being profuse is largely utilized for works in craft. For coarse baskets, cane is employed. Picturesque cane crafts comprising bowls, mugs and containers with multicoloured engravings on them are made by all tribes. Other varieties such as fillets as part of ornamentation have elaborately worked out design. Cane helmets and hat frames are many. Among the Nagas, a cane-rain proof hat is also
made. Men of some tribes weave very attractive neck-bands, armlets and leggings from fine strips of cane dyed red and stems of the yellow orchid in combination with cowries. Mats woven of cane strings with fine texture have decorative value. Cane furniture is also quite popular. Necklace and armlets are also made from cane. Cane ornaments such as head bands, bangles, leg-guards, etc. constitute other models of workmanship. A typical haversack in a cane frame, sewn over it by a thick cloth and with decorations of shells and beads is also seen. Several opinions are prevalent about the origin of the word Naga. Some believe that the word Naga has evolved from the Sanskrit word nagna, means naked. Another view is that the word Naga originated from Naga meaning Snake or king of snakes. Mythologically, princess Ulupi was a Naga Kanya that is daughter of the king of snakes. Ulupiâ€™s residence is generally identified in the south-west of Nagaland. Since this area was under the Naga raj, the people are known as Naga. Naga society is egalitarian and no economic differentiation exists among the members. The economic life has a communalistic base. Youth dormitories and tribal councils at the village and inter-village level are important institutions and leadership is polymorphic. Customary laws govern the sociocultural life. A very high degree of social integration exists. No occupational diversification; no tendency for capital formation and no tendency for acquisition of wealth by unfair means.
Youth Dormitories and Aesthetic Sensibility of Nagas in their Vernacular Architectures Before marriage traditionally the Naga boys and girls spend quite a valuable time in youth dormitories made separately for the boys and girls and learn practical, societal, cultural and security training in the life.
The Morung: Youth Dormitory A typical Naga house is a one-story structure with leveled earth used as flooring. It is from 10-20 meters in length and from 6-8 meters in width. Material used in hut roofing is determined by individual status in the village, and there are four such degrees. A first-degree hut may be roofed with thatching grass, a second-degree hut with bargeboards and kika (which differ at times in shape and placement on the hut). The interior of each hut contains three compartments. The front room (kiloh) is half the length of the house. Paddy is stored here in baskets along one or both walls and the room is furnished with a bench (pikeh) for rice pounding. The second compartment (mipu-bu) is separated by a plank partition containing a doorway. It is here that the hearth is located (consisting of three stones embedded in the ground to form a stand for cooking containers). This room also serves |MARCH, 2018 |NATIONAL POLITICAL MIRROR| 51
NORTHEAST as sleeping quarters, and beds are found here. The third compartment, 1 meter or so in depth and extending the entire width of the house, is the kinutse, where the liquor vat is located. This room also contains the rear entrance to the house. The house is usually home to no more than five persons. Nearly every village has an open space that serves as a meeting place and ceremonial locus for all of the village inhabitants. This area may also contain plinths for sitting made of stone masonry or wood. These stations (which often surmounted village walls or other high points in the village and could rise as high as nine meters) may have originally been used as posts for watchers whose purpose was to warn of impending enemy attack.
Traditional Ao Naga Youth Dormitory There is an age-old tradition of youth dormitories for unmarried boys and girls among all Naga communities. The dormitories are made separately for the boys and girls. Each dormitory is unique and structured in a distinct style. The creative mind of Naga male and female is beautifully reflected in the structure and function of these dormitories. Male and female dormitories are called Ariju and Tsuki respectively.
The Ariju: Morung for the Unmarried Males The membership of the Morung is extended to all boys irrespective of their status since they are entitled into its system at the age of 12 to 13. The system is called Ariju and the occupant a zunga. The oldest zunga retires every three-year at about 25 years. Generally, ariju consists of the following six age group zunga, namely: Sungpur, Tenapang, Zutsung, Salang, Senyim, and Jojen. Every group has a well-defined status and they play their roles accordingly. In most cases, every age group maintains a two-tier system – upper and lower grade within the same cadre. ‘Sungpur’ means, ‘wood carrier or server’ and the term ‘Tzuir’ stand for ‘pouring water’. This is the junior most age group which goes on upgrading every three year till they become Jozen from where they retire. Since they are under service training, the first three years are spent in manual service to the elders. They are supposed to do all sorts of duties assigned to them by the seniors. It is a time of genuine test of life, and they are bound to take it as a challenge in life to reach real manhood. Tenapang is the scond stage of Ariju. Tenapang refers to blooming ages that are ready to get married. Most members marry at this age. As the new batch enters, sungpur is promoted to Tenapang. Their main job is to teach the
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younger age group in the Ariju, disciplining them in every aspect of living including war tactics. After a period of three years in Tenapang, they are upgraded to Sutsung. Here, they attain the status of seniors. After serving for Sutsung zunga for three years, they are upgraded to this zunga. Thus, they become the senior class by virtue of their status and long experience. It is their responsibility to train up the juniors in different specialized trades. Senyim is the fifth and next to the most senior zunga. Senyims are the chief buyers of animals for feasts and ceremonies. Without their knowledge nothing is bought, especially the livestock. Jozen is the last category of the age group in the Ariju system. They are treated as commanders of the Ariju and its members Arijuchanger, the most matured age group. The Ariju life retires from this age. The principal objective of the Ariju men is to defend their village as trained warriors. The isntution of Ariju acts like a “public school”. A public school is found very active and busy during daytime and during the night it becomes a deserted place. The life and activities of Ariju is just the vice-versa, as the Ariju men would go to their respective fields during the day time. Hardly two or three members as sently men guard the Ariju when the rest of the members go to work. The institution provides many instructions, which cover the entire aspects of man’s life. The subjects taught in Ariju are many that includes both technical and non-technical.
Housing is specialized skills of Nagas. They are the master architects and aestheticians. In the Ariju they are taught designing, construction of huts, Ariju, village gate and fencing, wood and bamboo works, masonry and metal works, panting and carving of wood, stone and pottery etc. This is a real training centre of master craftsmanship for boys. Wood caring is a specialized subject for every Naga tribe. The Ariju boys learn wood carving works. Each one of them can do it beautifully. They can turn solid log into any kind of object like tiger, hornbill, mithun’s head, snake, lizard, human skull etc. They are talented and extraordinary wood carvers. This makes Ariju almost like an institute of Polytechnic-cum-Military Training School for the boys in modern terms. They collect enough raw materials during winter months to suffice through summer and autumn. Gradually, all the Ariju men become specialized personnel in every subject. They are known for decorating their houses with beautiful objects all made from the element of jungles and their habitats. In this institution the boys get themselves specialized in the art of making various handicraft techniques which includes bamboo and cane works, wood and stone works, tools and implements etc. Most of the daily use items like baskets, mugs, spoons, dishes, wooden or bamboo bowls, cages, knife, dao, spear, shield, scabbard, smoking pipes, weaving instruments etc. are manufactured in the Ariju mostly in the evening. The master artists and senior members usually teach both theory and practical on these subjects.
The Tsuki: A Female Morung Tsuki serves the needs of unmarried Naga girls. It is an absolute feminist socio-cultural institution. In Tsuki the unmarried girls sleep under the guardianship of an experienced widow, or normally an unmarried woman of the same clan. As a normal practice, only girls of the same clan can sleep in a given Tsuki as they practice clan exogamy. The members of Tsuki are called Tsukir – members of a small garden of beautiful flowers. In Ao Naga dialect Tsuki means ‘garden’. Therefore, when one talks about Tsuki, it refers to that ‘garden of young girls’ where the socialization takes place under a qualified matron. In Ao Naga tradition, flower denotes the ‘young girls’. Tsuki is a small
institution where five to ten girls can be accommodated.
FUNCTIONS OF TSUKI To train Tsuki (members) into womanhood; To strictly discipline them to maintain the dignity of a woman regarding family norms, socio-cultural activities and proper placement in society; To educate the members on dignity of labour such as l weaving and methods of cultivation; To initiate the process of courtship between partners l and bridging the gap between the parents; Often act as the meeting place for unmarried boys and l girls particularly in the evening hours. This is the joyous moment of Tsukir and Ariju members where they exchange their views normally through songs after the daylong tiresome works in the field. Thus the functions of a Tsuki are manifold towards shaping the adulthood of a woman. The activities of Tsuki are numerous. They deal mostly with activities related to matrimony, domestic, social, cultural, educational, and economic and so on. All sorts of competition take place here in the evening. A girl is regarded matured when she starts growing long hair, wears a covering on the chest called jenko ajen (brassieres), and begins to tattoo her chin, chest, and wrest. After attaining maturity, the mother would request permission from a widow friend, a Tsukibutsula, to allow her daughter to sleep in her house. This custom has to be complied with as it is considered shameful on the part of the parents if they continue to keep their matured daughter at home in the evening after she attains her puberty. Once this request is approved, the girl’s father prepares a cot and sends it to the house of Tsukibutsula. During this time the boys would recite the love songs and the girls respond to it through songs. In course of such interaction, mutual likings develop between them. She mostly sings love songs. In addition, folk songs are sung and folk tales are narrated. In course of such interaction, mutual likings develop between the opposite sexes. The Ariju members often visit the Tsuki, but no Tsuki member can visit the Ariju. Life in Ariju is not a time of mere training and punishment. It is full enjoyment, recreation, leisure, and merry making. The occupants are fully engaged during festivals and ceremonies, which is a part of their life. The Ariju serves for learning songs, love affairs with girls, besides they are taught to make varieties of musical instruments like bamboo flutes, string instruments made of hair, bangles out of bamboo and buffalo horns which are played during festivals. For centuries, Ariju and Tsuki served as the best instructional institutions in Ao Naga society. Unfortunately, in the present time, the working system of both Ariju and Tsuki do not exist in real term. l l l
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UBM INDIA CELEBRATES Silver Jubilee edition of SATTE with 50 countries UBM India launched its most awaited travel and tourism exhibition, SATTE, in the national capital and Celebrating the success of the Silver Jubilee edition of SATTE, South Asiaâ€™s leading travel and tourism exhibition, the three-day event plays host to over 1,000 exhibitors and represents over 50 countries and 28 Indian states.
he expo got off to a start with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mr. Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India, Ms Pallavi Mehra, Group Director, UBM India, Mr. Jime Essink, CEO, UBM Asia and Mr.
Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia at Pragati Maidan among others, in the presence of an august industry congregation. As a prelude to the inauguration, the Silver Jubliee edition of SATTE was formally launched along with the second edition of the SATTE
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Awards on January 30 at Le Meridien New Delhi amidst an august industry gathering from the travel and trade fraternity. The glitterati event was graced by Chief Guest Mr. KJ Alphons, Minister for Tourism (I/C), Govt. of India, along with T.S. Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarak-
hand; Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Faiyaz Koya, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Fiji; I Gde Pitana Dy. Tourism Minister, Indonesia; Bo Keun Choi, Senior Officer, Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO; Subhash Goyal, Member, National Tourism Advisory Committee; Navin Berry, Founder, SATTE; Mr. Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia and Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India. SATTE provides a comprehensive platform to domestic and international buyers and professionals from across the travel, tourism and hospitality industry along with National and State Tourism Boards (NTOs and STOs) to congregate and conduct business, arrive at solution-driven innovations to counteract economic uncertainties, and promote
inbound, outbound and domestic tourism in India. This most favoured industry platform is also well-supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Govt. of India. Over a span of three days, SATTE 2018 is set to witness several exciting partnerships and announcements that promise to augur in new trends in the industry. Visitors at the signature expo witnessed a number of features including a special pavilion of 10 start-ups, as well as a live show at ‘Colors of SATTE’ apart from other captivating engagements. This year, SATTE was also happy to engage its exhibitors and visitors to pledge for sustainable tourism under the unique I-Pledge initiative where they pledged to conserve natural reserve; respect and save wildlife; say no to plastic; dispose waste smartly and travel responsibly. Over 30,000 pledges have been registered at last count. Speaking at the inauguration of the Silver Jubilee edition of SATTE, Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India said, “The tourism industry has been a major engine in the economic growth of India. While it contributes almost 7% to nation’s GDP, it also provides over 12% of the total employment in terms of jobs. The industry itself has been growing at an unparalleled rate. This is evident from the very fact that the country is now ranked 40th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index in 2017, a huge leap of 25 places from 2013. As the disposable income rises and more Indians travel, the industry is only poised to flourish further.” “From hosting tourism boards from across the nation and the world under one roof to providing a unique opportunities for discussions pertaining to trending subjects like sustainable tourism, travel technology, skill development by acknowledged industry thought leaders, SATTE has carved a unique place as the most comprehensive industry platform in the coun-
try. This year, we are proud to achieve a milestone with the Silver Jubilee edition of SATTE, celebrating and encapsulating 25 years of success in the domain. With an aim to analyse and forecast trends and developments in the travel trade industry along with helping businesses prosper, SATTE 2018 promises not only constructive but also informative and engaging three days”, he further added. SATTE continues to receive the support of international organizations and Indian travel trade associations such as World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), United Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) and IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), to name a few.
Record participation: From Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Goa & Odisha and Himachal Pradesh to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Delhi, Jharkhand, Andaman and West Bengal, SATTE 2018 featured an array of State Tourism Boards, with many of them increasing their presence at the 25th edition. The eight North Eastern states have participated in the Incredible India Pavilion of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. As far as NTOs are concerned, Spain, Peru, Czech Republic, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Turkey, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Fiji, New Zealand, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Israel, Sharjah, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mauritius, Indonesia, Abu Dhabi, Visit Russia, Visit Florida and Las Vegas and Oman,
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amongst others showcased their destination and launches. SATTE 2018 witnessed the return of Taiwan, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Philippines on the floor. While Turkey, Thailand, Srilanka and Dubai are Partner countries, Mauritius and Madame Tussauds are feature destination and feature attraction respectively. Similarly, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha and Jammu & Kashmir are Partner States for this year with the show being supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India. In its 25th edition, the expo has witnessed an increase in participation from an array of hospitality players and products such as -- Movenpick, Neemrana, Treebo, Sterling Resorts, Minor Hotels, Dusit, Melia Hotels International, Shangri -La Hotels and Resorts, DS Group, Choice Hotels, Abad Hotels, Lords Hotels, Alcon Victor Goa, Zen and Singge Palace from Ladakh, Grand Imperial Agra, Somatheeram, Ramada Kerala, Ananta Resorts, Venetian Cotai, Ayana Resorts Bali, Marasa Africa, Banyan Tree, Disneyworld Paris, EuropeCar, The Ultimate Travelling Camp and many more.
Insightful conferences: One of the key features of SATTE 2018 is the conference programme on all three
days of the expo that promises industry discussions and sharing of new insights pertaining to the sector and industry best practices. During this time, SATTE is hosting six panel discussions that will bring together stakeholders of the industry on a single platform, allowing exchange of ideas that will add value to Indian tourism at large. The sessions of the conference touched on topics such as – ‘How to realize effective collaboration between stakeholders for sustainable tourism?’, ‘How can we achieve the successful journey to 2030?’; ‘Visa Reforms & Tourism Growth’; Travel Technology; MICE, Cruise Tourism and Niche Tourism, to name a few. The three day conference will also see destination presentations by tourism boards such as -Czech Tourism, Egypt, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, West Bengal; a product presentation by Tragly and a Workshop and a panel discussion on Skill Development in the Hospitality Sector.
Recognising the Best: As a pre-cursor to the expo, UBM India hosted the second edition of the SATTE Awards. The awards was an endeavour to recognize and celebrate the excellence, achievements and innovations of key stakeholders in the Travel and
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Tourism industry and was based on transparent, authentic and genuine parameters, a philosophy which is imbibed in the values of SATTE. The awards night also included networking opportunities, presentations and other features. The 23 categories of awards covered various segments of the travel and tourism industry including tour operators, hotels, destinations, online travel portals, to name just a few. In just its second year, the Awards received an overwhelming response from the travel and industry. The winners list:
Dignitary speak: Bo Keun Choi, Senior Officer, Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO): “Globally, we crossed the mark of 1.3 billion travellers this year. The growth rate to be expected in the upcoming years for the travel and tourism industry is around 7%. India is one of the leading countries with almost 16% contribution to the industry. I appreciate SATTE’s contribution over the years in getting the industry together, and also its campaign I-Pledge, that promotes the cause of sustainable tourism, thereby giving us the opportunity to pledge for and promote
Sr. No. Category
sustainable tourism and create a better world to live in.”
Excellence in Adventure Tour Operations
Snow Leopard Adventures Pvt Ltd
Excellence in Domestic Tour Operations
Operations less than 5 Years
Excellence in Domestic Tour Operations
Operations more than 5 Years
Thomas Cook India
Excellence in Inbound Tour Operations
Operations less than 5 Years
India City Walks
Excellence in Inbound Tour Operations
Operations more than 5 Years
Creative Travel Pvt Ltd
Excellence in Outbound Tour Operations
Operations less than 5 Years
Guiddoo World Travels
Excellence in Outbound Tour Operations
Operations more than 5 Years
Cox and Kings Ltd
Excellence in Customer Service – Hospitality
Excellence in Customer Service – Hospitality
Excellence in Customer Service – Hospitality
Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort Noida
Excellence in Customer Service MICE (Hotels)
Excellence in MICE Segment – Hotels
Grand Hyatt Mumbai
Excellence in Environmental Sustainability - Hotels
Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort Noida
Excellence in Environmental Sustainability - Hotels
Madhuban Resort & Spa
Innovation in Hotel Design
Innovation in Hotel Marketing & Communications
Excellence in Destination Tourism
South African Tourism
Excellence in Destination Tourism
Tourism Promotion Agencies
Excellence in Online Travel Booking Sites
Excellence in Travel Blogging
Company Operated Blog Cleartrip Pvt Ltd
Excellence in Travel Blogging
Individual Operated BlogRachel Jones (Hippie in Heels)
Lifetime Achievement Award
Innovative Tourism Product
Heritage Car Museum
KJ Alphons, Minister for Tourism (I/C), Govt. of India “It is a pleasure to attend a platform such as SATTE that brings the entire industry together. Let me tell you, 2017 has been amazing for India from tourism perspective. We had a growth of 15.2% in terms of foreign tourist arrivals. When it comes to domestic tourism, we had 1.8 billion travels (not travelers) in the country. In three years from now, we aim to double the amount of international tourists arrival in India, increase the contribution of tourism industry to GDP to 10% from the current 6.8% and double the employment contribution. Honestly, tourism is the best weapon against terrorism anywhere in the world, apart from its other obvious advantages.”
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog: “Statistics show that more tourists visit Singapore & Malaysia but the truth is that India is a long haul destination. 97.2% people come to India by air and the average stay is 14-20 days -- one of the highest duration for travelers around the world. Therefore, India’s earnings from tourists are much greater than many of the other countries etc. Of course, it is up to us to make this duration extremely attractive and rich in experiences. And that’s where an exhibition like SATTE comes to the fore with its reserves of ideas and thought leadership. “I am proud of my association with SATTE as I remember attending the first edition of the show and learning a lot from it. SATTE taught me sound strategies that helped a lot in conducting business and ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.” l
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THE MIRROR CORNER
WHY POLITICAL MIRROR? Achyut Nath Jha
ust a couple of months back, even as the media industry was battling against odds( It is still the same), we decided to relaunch, revamp and resurrect the magazine which had hit the stands first in the year 2013. Given Sanjeeb’s passion, enthusiasm and what he called ‘zeal for the country’ (the tagline of the monthly), I virtually gave in to him and without wasting the time further, came on the board. As we all know a mirror reflects our personality and gives us ample opportunities to do image makeover if needs arise. In recent times, despite time-tested import of the fourth state, powers-that-be have left no stone unturned to muzzle its voices and those engaged in reporting, writing, investigating and putting things in right perspective for the public at large are at the receiving end. Then there is ongoing fight between the Right and the Left to ensure that main issues remain at the periphery. But at National Political Mirror, we are wingless, neither Right nor Left and we are here to call a spade a spade, bringing in news, views, stories and narratives to enhance the awareness of readers. National Political Mirror is just not about the politics though it has a dominant space; it carries within it a whole-range of issues related to business and economy, art and culture, society, travel and tourism, entertainment and event and many more. Moreover, as is expected, a substantial number of pages are devoted to the 2018-19 Budget as this is the last full-fledged for the incumbent central government before the next General Election scheduled in April-May 2019. The by-poll results in Rajasthan coming as it was after the Gujarat assembly elections where the Congress enhanced its tally and claimed ‘moral victory’ despite the sixth consecutive defeat, could be an eye-opener for the ruling BJP. Then three of the smaller states are on election mode and national as well as regional parties are pitched in the poll battle. Politics apart, in the Northeast section, this issue carries a scholarly article on the Naga culture and architecture. In Focus, we have a piece on the much-talked-about Triple Talaq by a renowned writer. Needless to say, the life of a magazine depends on how seriously readers and advertisers take it. We are sure we will bring in a rich content where there is something for everyone, of course, without compromising on media ethics. We welcome your feedback. Yours (The writer of this piece is Executive Editor, National Political Mirror)
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Published on Mar 1, 2018
Published on Mar 1, 2018
National Political Mirror has been setup with the aim for the forefront of every single news revolution. The website target the global Indi...