Modi 3.0: Top 4 ministries unchanged; PM to handle high profile portfolios including Space and Atomic Energy

News Network
June 10, 2024

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet in his historic third term will retain the known faces in the big four ministries - Amit Shah will retain the Home portfolio, Rajnath Singh Defence, Foreign ministry will be retained by S Jaishankar and the Finance ministry by Nirmala Sitharaman. 

The Prime Minister himself will handle the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Space.

Many of the ministers have been retained with their last jobs in the interest of continuity as well. Among them is Nitin Gadkari, who will retain the Road Transport and Highways ministry with two juniors under him -- Ajay Tamta and Harsh Malhotra. The 67-year-old has been the longest serving minister in the department and has been credited with the building of construction of more than 54,858 km of national highways over the last 10 years.

Piyush Goyal has retained the Commerce portfolio.

JP Nadda, the health minister in PM Modi's first cabinet, has been brought back with the same portfolio. He has also been given additional charge of the Chemicals and Fertilisers department.

The plum portfolios of I&B and railways will be handled by Ashwini Vaishnaw. The Civil Aviation Ministry has changed hands from Jyotiraditya Scindia to TDP's Ram Mohan Naidu, the youngest minister in the cabinet. Mr Scindia has been put in charge of the Telecom ministry.

Two former Chief Ministers from the key BJP states of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, who have been brought to the Centre, have been allocated significant responsibility. Manohar Lal Khattar will handle two key ministries -- Power and Housing and Urban Affairs. For the first, he would have the assistance of junior minister Shripad Naik, for the second, Tokhan Sahu, the first-time minister from Chhattisgarh.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the four-time Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, will handle the key ministry of Agriculture, and the related Farmers Welfare and Rural Development ministries.

Former Minister for Earth Sciences and Food Processing, Kiren Rijiju, has been put in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, previously handled by Pralhad Joshi. Mr Joshi has been moved to the Food, Consumer Affairs and Renewable Energy department.

CR Paatil will be in charge of Jal Shakti ministry and Bhupendra Yadav, Environment. Giriraj Singh has been shifted to Textiles -- a department handled by Smriti Irani. Annapurna Devi will be in charge of the other portfolio handled by Ms Irani -- Women & Child Development. Mansukh Mandavia has been put in charge of Labour and Employment and Sports and Youth Affairs.

Ravneet Singh Bittu -- the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh who was assassinated in 1995 -- will be the junior minster for food processing and railways. Mr Bittu has lost the election from Ludhiana and will have to get a seat in either house of parliament within the next six months.

Among allies, former Bihar Chief Minister and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi will have charge of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises with Shobha Karandlaje as the Minister of State.

South ally and Janata Dal Secular chief HD Kumaraswamy has been put in charge of the Heavy Industries and Steel portfolios.

Key Bihar ally and LJP chief Chirag Paswan has been given charge of the Food Processing department.

Among the Ministers of State with Independent Charge, Dr Jitendra Singh is expected to be the busiest. A third-time Union minister from Jammu and Kashmir, he has been put in charge of multiple portfolios -- Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Space and the Prime Minister's Office.

Arjun Ram Meghwal will have Independent charge of for Law and Justice and will also be the junior minister for Parliamentary Affairs.

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News Network
June 8,2024

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Mangaluru, Jun 8: Trading licenses granted to commercial establishments in the coastal city will be revoked if 60 percent of their signages are not in Kannada, warned the commissioner of the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC).

"According to the language policy of the government, all commercial complexes, industries, business houses, organizations, trusts, counseling centers, hospitals, laboratories, entertainment centers, and hotels are required to display 60% of Kannada language on their name boards as a mandatory requirement," stated MCC commissioner C.L. Anand in a statement released on Friday.

He noted that the civic body has received complaints regarding some entrepreneurs violating the rules. "In the forthcoming days, it will be mandatory to prominently display Kannada language at the topmost position on the name boards of all industries and shopping complexes. Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of the trade license by the MCC, without prior notice," he added.

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News Network
June 5,2024

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India is unpredictable. This is an incontrovertible fact that Indians themselves seem to have forgotten over the past decade.

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed into office with an unexpected and unprecedented outright legislative majority in 2014, many have assumed the country’s politics had changed forever.

The age of coalitions was over; India seemed to be heading inexorably toward one-party dominance.

To stock traders and pro-government pundits, the country’s trajectory seemed so clear: It was destined to see steady 8 per cent growth, happy voters, and a prime minister going from strength to strength at home and abroad.

Indian voters chose to disagree. With votes still being counted in the country’s massive general elections and several races still hanging in the balance, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party looks almost certain to have fallen short of a parliamentary majority. 
That means it will have to depend, for the first time, on fickle smaller parties to hold onto power.

This was what Indian politics looked like for decades prior to Modi’s emergence. Many thought we were living in a new normal. Instead, the old normal has reasserted itself.

In these surprising elections, Modi and the BJP appear to have discovered the limits of hype. An apparently unified public sphere, solidly pro-government media, and impressive growth numbers had left many assuming that Modi’s performance in power had few holes.

Observers should have paid more attention to contrary indicators. Employment growth under Modi has been marginal at best. Social inclusion has been patchy.

While much of the country looks very different from it did in 2014, even more of it looks largely unchanged.

Small-town India has not seen the sort of revolution in infrastructure that cities of equivalent size in China or Southeast Asia have enjoyed over recent decades.

Big metropolises were transformed during the boom years of the 2000s; they have mostly stagnated since then.

Whatever the GDP growth numbers are, whether they are believable or not, one thing is clear: Voters do not believe enough of that growth has reached their wallets.
It’s not surprising such facts have been overlooked. The Modi government and its allies have completely dominated messaging over the past decade.

They sought to maintain, week in and week out, the frenetic pace and outsize enthusiasm that marked the Prime Minister’s initial march to power.

The government thought that the lesson of its sweeping re-election in 2019 was that social conservatism and welfare delivery was enough to maintain control.

But Modi and the BJP have reached the limits of welfare-first politics and saturation advertising. Without real change on the ground, he or any successor may struggle to retain power over the next five years. They will have to pay more attention to governance than to marketing.

There’s a lot that needs attention. Modi came into power promising manufacturing jobs and private-sector-friendly reforms. In this campaign, he instead argued that loans to small-scale entrepreneurs had gone up, proving that jobs were being created — and that increases in share prices for public-sector companies validated his economic performance.

This is clearly a retreat from the ambitions of a decade ago. Any new government must recapture those ambitions; voters clearly expect it.

If India’s politics have indeed returned to normal, its government must, too. Repression of the opposition does not work, not in a country this large and variegated.

For 10 years, Modi has promised to wipe out his principal rivals in the Indian National Congress party. Yet, in this election, the Congress demonstrated that it is not going anywhere.

The government arguably misused investigative agencies to go after opposition leaders in two states in particular, Maharashtra and West Bengal; both have decisively voted against the BJP.

Modi’s personal popularity is such that he and his government can survive the sort of relatively mild rebuke the electorate has delivered. To retain power for a third term, even if dependent on allies, is an historic achievement.

This result is only startling because the Modi hype had completely detached itself from reality.

We do not live, it appears, in a post-truth world. Even the most adept populists must eventually reckon with reality. None of them are immune to the most fundamental rule of politics: If you don’t perform, you perish.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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Mumbai: The 27-year-old daughter of senior bureaucrats died after jumping off a Mumbai high-rise in the early hours of Monday, the police said.

Lipi Rastogi, the daughter of Maharashtra cadre IAS officers Radhika and Vikas Rastogi, was taken to hospital but died during treatment.

Officials said Lipi, a law student, jumped from the 10th floor of a building near the state secretariat at around 4 am. 

The police recovered note from her room. Officials said the probe is under way to ascertain the reason behind the act.

Lipi was studying law in Haryana's Sonepat. According to police officers, she was believed to be anxious about exams.

Vikas Rastogi is Principal Secretary in Maharashtra's Education Department, while Radhika Rastogi is Principal Secretary in the state's Home Department.

In a similar case in 2017, Maharashtra cadre IAS officers Milind and Manisha Mhaiskar lost their 18-year-old son after he jumped off a Mumbai high-rise.

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