Archives  >  2019  >  September  >  13th

One Hundred Days of Modi

1. What’s the story?

The Modi Government (that came into power with a sweeping mandate in May) recently completed one hundred days in office, with mixed reviews. On Thursday, however, Prime Minister Modi claimed that “picture abhi baaki hai”, indicating that the full film is yet to come.
Tell me more.
From repealing the controversial Article 370 to making a number of bold economic decisions, the first hundred days of NDA 2.0 have been newsworthy for sure. Here are some of the most important developments during this time.

“More than the claims on scheme implementation, the defining feature of this government’s first 100 days comes from Parliament. It was in Parliament that Amit Shah announced the abrogation of article 370 and passed the Triple Talaq Bill. Taken together, 28 bills were passed by both houses, the highest number in 20 years according to data …”

The Modi Government has also doubled down on its rural welfare schemes in the past few months, targeting completion of 1.95 crore homes by 2022. It also aims to deliver LPG to all rural households within the same timeframe. NDA 1.0 had earlier claimed to have distributed 80 million cooking gas connections during its stint.

Congress, predictably enough, has called the past hundred days a time of “tyranny, chaos and anarchy.”

“ ‘Eight sectors have recorded a growth rate below 2 per cent and our Finance Minister still refuses to accept that our economy is in free fall. If the BJP continues this path of negligence & deceit, we are headed towards a recession,’ the party said.”

“ ‘BJP Politics 101: When all else fails, arrest high profile Opposition leaders & hope the public doesn’t notice you have failed in every field,’ the party alleged.”
So, what now?
It’s been a hundred days of pretty incredible highs and lows. Kashmir is still cut off from the world and the economy is slowing down, but rural India is showing signs of growth and the Government has introduced a slew of reforms to boost the economy.

Watch this space. We’ll keep you updated.

2. Where else should I be looking at?

West Bengal and Assam, that’s where. Low wages, illiteracy, and useless labour unions have systematically destroyed the social and economic lives of the tribal tea garden workers in these states. Tea garden workers in West Bengal are paid less than the MGNREGA wages — and things are only getting worse. (Quick recap: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MGNREGA is an Indian labour law. According to its mission statement, it aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.)

According to a survey by West Bengal’s labour department, of all the 273 tea estates of West Bengal, only 166 have hospitals. Out of these, only 56  tea estates have full-time residential doctors and only 74 doctors have MBBS degrees. When a worker does not receive ration and other non-cash statutory rights on time, it literally creates a situation of starvation for the family. The problem becomes acute when the garden closes down, especially if there is only one earning member in the family.

In most tea gardens, workers do not receive PF receipts from the employer, and thus do not have any knowledge about their pension fund. Workers also do not get proper and timely ration and on retirement, they have to struggle to get what they are entitled to.

Violation of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 is common in the tea gardens of Assam and West Bengal. In Assam, 227 tea gardens have defaulted in depositing provident funds amounting to about Rs 100 crore.”

3. What more?

Back in June, Tabrez Ansari from Jharkhand was tied to a pole, accused of theft, forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, and assaulted by a violent mob. The 22-year-old later succumbed to his injuries. This week, Jharkhand Police decided to drop the murder charges against the multiple people accused. And Ansari’s wife, Shaista Parveen, is not having it.

“The wife of 22-year-old Tabrez Ansari, who succumbed to injuries after being attacked by a mob that accused him of theft in Jharkhand nearly four months ago, has demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident. Ansari’s wife Shaista Parveen said she did not have faith in the investigation by the district police, PTI reported.

Parveen also asked why the police did not shift her husband to a hospital, as he had received injuries due to the assault, instead of sending him to jail.”

4. Anything else?

The Indian Council of Medical Research, in a controversial step, has funded a project to chant ancient Vedic mantras to help patients with brain injuries. Not everyone is happy.

“At Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, comatose patients with serious brain injury have undergone a treatment that is not a usual part of hospital regimens—the chanting of an ancient Vedic mantra that is believed to ward off untimely death. This treatment, condoned by the hospital, is part of a study for which the Indian government has sanctioned research funds.

Since the doctors at the RML hospital did not know the intricacies of the chant, Kumar roped in teachers from the Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, a university in Delhi that imparts instruction in traditional Sanskrit. The Vidyapeetha is a public institution under the ministry of human resource development.

Their head of department of medical astrology was very interested and fine-tuned the Mahamrityunjaya chant for our project,” Kumar said, referring to the Vidyapeetha. ‘The name of the patient, date of birth, place of birth and gotra’—a Hindu system of patrilineal kinship—’were included in the chant.’”

5. Is that all?

A new, alarming report has found that the world is losing forest cover the size of the UK each year. And things aren’t looking up anytime soon.

“An area of forest the size of the UK is being lost every year around the world, the vast majority of it tropical rainforest, with dire effects on the climate emergency and wildlife.

The New York declaration on forests was signed at the UN in 2014, requiring countries to halve deforestation by 2020 and restore 150m hectares of deforested or degraded forest land.

But the rate of tree cover loss has gone up by 43% since the declaration was adopted, while the most valuable and irreplaceable tropical primary forests have been cut down at a rate of 4.3m hectares a year.”

6. Before you leave…

Make sure that you read about the “shameful story of how 1 million black families have been ripped from their farms in the US.”

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