Tag Archives: BJP Government

Who will pay the price for the damage to the ecology of Narmada in recent years

Lalit Shastri

Madhya Pradesh Government is in the dock as many among those who are worried about conservation and its related issues have started asking questions and want to know why the State Government had spent recklessly a huge amount of public money to mobilise attendance at the ecologically sensitive area of Amarkantak -where the Narmada River originates – for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally to mark the closing of the Narmada Seva Yatra on 15 May 2017.

To drive home their point, those questioning the whole idea of mobilising a couple of lakh citizens to attend Modi’s rally at Amarkantak, are underscoring the verdict by a Committee of Experts appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that held Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation responsible for destroying the ecologically sensitive area of the Yamuna floodplain that was used by the foundation for organising the ‘World Culture Festival’ in March 2016.

Addressing the gathering at Amarkantak, the Prime Minister certainly had hit the nail on the head by stating that the Narmada River has been “brutally exploited in recent years” but what is rather confounding is that there was no mention, what to talk of castigating or punishing, of those at the helm of affairs in Madhya Pradesh who have been responsible for either turning a nelson’s eye or had chosen to patronise, as widely alleged, the forces behind the progressive encroachment of forest land or the timber and mining (especially sand mining) mafia. In these circumstances, it would be a tall order to seek the prosecution and conviction of those who have devastated the sensitive ecology of the Narmada river in recent years, particularly after the National Water Policy which defines the framework for management of water in the Narmada basin was put in place by the Government of India in 2002.

People should be aware that it was at the Millennium Summit in September 2000 – the largest gathering of world leaders in history – that the UN Millennium Declaration was adopted to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through a new global partnership aimed at reducing extreme poverty through a series of time-bound targets, with 2015 as the deadline. Ensuring “Environmental Sustainability” was one of the eight Millennium goals.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power in Madhya Pradesh continuously since 2003. Yesterday at Amarkantak, it was none other than Prime Minister Modi who stated categorically that the Narmada has been “brutally exploited in recent years”. In the last few years, the issue of illegal sand mining and the damage it has been causing to the ecology and biodiversity of the Narmada landscape has been debated fiercely in the State Assembly on a number of occasions. The media has also raised this matter repeatedly by highlighting the involvement of a powerful lobby
having close links with those in power in the illegal sand mining activity.

People are also aware of the various factors threatening and wiping off vast tracts of forests in the catchment of the Narmada river. Those in knowledgeable circles are pressing for an independent investigation to find out the extent to which forest land has been encroached upon and also the status of forest in terms of total growing stock and forest density in the Narmada basin with special reference to misuse of the Forest Rights Act, forest fires, illegal mining and logging of timber, firewood or headload collection, reckless grazing, poaching and minor forest produce collection.

Any attempt to short shrift the above pointers would demonstrate callousness and total disregard to the millennium goals and the deadline for achieving these, which has already been missed.

Setting conservation goals, on the culmination of Narmada Seva Yatra, is laudable but what cannot be digested is that those who have presided over the system that was supposed to arrest the ecological disaster in recent years are now taking the credit of laying before us the road map or the blue print for conservation of the Narmada River. It may be politically correct on the part of the State BJP Government to give monetary incentive to farmers planting fruit bearing trees on their land along the Narmada river especially at a time when the State Assembly election is round the corner. This initiative may even deliver political dividends and keep the rulers entrenched and riveted to the seats of power in Madhya Pradesh. If fruit bearing trees in the catchment of a river could prevent the top soil from getting washed away during monsoon and reduce the amount of silt and clay in the rivers and streams that drain the area, Nature would not have blessed the central Indian landscape and the highlands of Madhya Pradesh with such fantastic sal, teak, bamboo and mixed forests.

Postscript: The big question is what about the damage to ecology that has already been caused due to lack of action in “recent years”. If one were to draw an analogy, so many monetary scams that we talk about would pail into insignificance if we were to assess in real terms the damage and destruction that has been caused to the ecology of River Narmada in recent years.

Madhya Pradesh Government has failed on every front: Ajay Singh

Newsroom24x7 Staff

ajay-singh
Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh

Bhopal: Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh today lashed out at chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and held the State BJP government responsible for the plight of farmers, widespread malnutrition, rising graph of crime against women and the girl child, poor response to the Global investors’ Summit, massive illegal sand mining in the Narmada river with the patronage of BJP leaders, rampant corruption and the massive VYAPAM scam that has played havoc with the lives of the young generation.

The Opposition leader was participating in the discussion on the vote of thanks for the Governor’s address. Ajay Singh said that for four consecutive years, Madhya Pradesh has been receiving the Krishi Karman Award and the growth rate in the agriculture sector is being projected as 20 per cent but this is not visible on the ground. Since the farmers were not getting on time loans at zero percent interest as promised by the government, about 40 per cent agriculturists have been forced to seek loans at a higher rate of 14 per cent and almost 40 per cent of these farmers have become defaulters. The Government wants to make agriculture a profitable business but the paradox is that in this soybean State, not a single solvent extraction plant is working at present, Singh told the House adding maximum number of farmers have committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh in last few years.

Singh drew the legislators’ attention towards the manutrition crisis. Citing from a latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau, he said that Madhya Pradesh ranks fifth in terms of crime against girls and first when it comes rape and molestation of women.

The Opposition leader took a dig against the Government on the dismal outcome of the much hyped event -the Global investors’ Summit – and questioned the logic behind organising this event. Pointing towards the Rs. 5, 06, 200 crore worth of MoUs signed under this Summit, he said that only Rs. 2600 crore worth of these MoUs have been translated on the ground.

Singh also told the House that Union Minister for Steel Narendra Singh Tomar had promised an investment of Rs. 6000 crore by NALCO for bauxite, HCL was to invest Rs. 100 crore in the solar energy sector, there was an investment proposal of Rs. 250 crore for a manganese plant, and Rs. 1000 crore for diamond mining in Tikamgarh district but none of these have taken off. The Minister for Chemicals also had announced a Rs. 1 lakh crore Petro Investment Region and a Petro Chemical Complex linked with Bina Refinery but nothing has happened on this front.

Singh expressed concern on growing unemployment in the State. There was 1.8 per cent unemployment in 2012-13; 2 per cent in 2013-14; and it rose to 3 per cent on 2015-16, he added.

Singh accused top BJP leaders of patronising the sand mafia. He said “perhaps the Chief minister is not aware that his nephew’s mining lease is without the mandatory environment clearance”. From where he is loading his dumpers, he pointedly asked. He said that the chief minister should tell the House how many dumpers were seized and how many of these have been released after ha had given instructions to catch those dumpers that were illegally transporting sand. Singh urged the chief minister to stop illegal sand mining and to protect the sanctity of the Narmada river.

Singh said that the VYAPAM scam has played havoc with the lives of the youth . The questions raised by the Supreme Court in this matter show that even the apex court is now aware that there has been a big scam linked with State Public Service Commission and the recruitment of patwaris.

The leader of Opposition said that the Chief Minister talks of zero tolerance but even today 163 persons have not been prosecuted and the Government is refusing to grant permission to prosecute 200 corrupt officers.

Chief Minister replies

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Replying to the debate, the Chief Minister said that the baseless allegations hurled at him and those from his family regarding the Vyapam or the recruitment scam  revolving around the State Professional Examination Board have been extremely distressing.

During the previous Congress regime admissions were granted or people were given jobs on instructions given on small slips and the job industry was flourishing in the State.

Chouhan gave credit to his government for detecting huge irregularities and putting in place a transparent recruitment process. On the Vyapam scam, the chief minister said that he would quit politics if there is even an iota of evidence about his involvement.

The chief minister denounced those who were defaming and, harassing his family and were bent upon making their life miserable.

Controversy, thy name is NDA Government!

P. Sunderarajan

Ram Madhav
Ram Madhav

Yoga is supposed to help attain inner peace. But, the celebration of the first International Day of Yoga has led to the breaking out of yet another storm for the BJP Government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi.

What started as a celebration of the international recognition that has been accorded for a tradition that had its roots in India ended on a nasty note after Ram Madhav, the link man between the RSS and the BJP came out with a twitter questioning the absence of Vice President, Hamid Ansari, in the mega yoga exercise programme organised at Raj Path with Prime Minister Modi himself giving the lead.

Mr. Madhav no doubt soon after deleted his tweet in the wake of clarification that Mr. Ansari could not attend the programme since as per protocol he could not be invited to attend the programme. But, the damage had already been done.

Allegations and counter allegations flew around between the ruling party and the opposition dampening the high spirits and bonhomie that prevailed across the country just a few hours earlier.

In fact, in the run up to the first International Day of Yoga some people had raised objections to the Government taking the lead in organising the celebrations on the ground that yoga was linked to Hinduism.

But, these were brushed aside and the Government made special efforts to involve leaders of other religions and also allay apprehensions by doing away with elements like `suryanamaskara’ and `slokas’, which are normally associated with yoga and have deep religious connotations.

What then really went wrong? Was it merely an innocent slip? or was it deliberate as alleged by the opposition?

BJP has after all been trying to keep the minority communities in good humour particularly in the context of the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar. With the opposition parties in Bihar, particularly Janata Dal [Secular] led by Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal led by Laloo Prasad Yadav, coming together, the party well knew it has to be friendly towards all communities if it has to pass muster.

Bihar assembly elections would be a crucial test for BJP and the leadership of Modi especially since the party have had some reverses here and there in Assembly and other elections in different parts of the country over the last one year leading to some denting of the image of Modi.

The party faced one of its worst debacles during the Assembly elections held in Delhi in February this year. It started the campaign with the confidence that it would romp home with a majority but ended with a measly three seats of the total of 70 just managing to be slightly ahead of Congress, which could not get even one seat. The party would not like to have a repeat of Delhi in Bihar. That would be a disaster.

Controversies are, however, not new to BJP. The party has been dogged by one controversy after another over the last one year. The party had been rubbing the minorities in more than one way, If it was not the campaign against “love-jihad’, which focussed on inter-religious marriages, it was the “gharwapasi’’, which focussed on the issue of religious conversion.

The Government’s decision to observe Christmas as Good Governance Day also did not go down well with the minorities as it was thought of as an attempt to prevent Christians from celebrating one of their most important festivals.

Given the current economic scenario in the country and dire predictions about the global economy, its hoped that the ruling party and the Government would take prompt action to defuse the situation arising out of the twitter episode at the earliest.

Rs. 16745 crore deficit Budget for Madhya Pradesh

Newsroom24x7 Desk

BudgetBhopal: Madhya Pradesh Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya today presented a budget with Fiscal Deficit for the year 2015-16 estimated to be Rs. 16,745.33 crore.for the financial year 2015-16.

The Budget proposes total expenditure of Rs. 1,31,199.06 crore for the year 2015-16 and appropriation of Rs.1,42,094 crore with Revenue surplus of Rs. 5,587.97 crore for the year 2015-16.
Presenting the budget, malaiya said that the state government hopes to meet the targets set under the Madhya Pradesh Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2005. The total Revenue Receipts for the year 2015-16 are estimated to be Rs. 1,14,422.89 crore. Components of the Revenue Receipts are Rs. 43,447.69 crore as State’s Own Tax Revenue; Rs. 30,449.65 crore as share in Central Taxes; Rs. 10,124.28 crore as State’s Own Non-Tax Revenue and Rs. 30,401.27 crore of Central Grants. State’s Own Tax Revenue estimates are 11.43 percent higher as compared to 2014-15. Revenue Expenditure of Rs. 1,08,834.92 crore is estimated for the year 2015-16 which is Rs.9,821.11 crore more than Rs. 99,013.81 crore for the year 2014-15. The Minister told the Assembly that  the Opening balance of Rs. (-) 129.32 crore is estimated for the year 2015-16. Net transactions during the year are estimated to be Rs. (-)383.79 crore. Hence, closing balance at the end of the year is estimated to be Rs. (-)513.11 crore.

The Finance Minister told the legislators that Plan expenditure for the year 2015-16 is estimated to be Rs. 60,348.88 crore as against Rs. 54,290.15 crore for the year 2014-15.Thus, an increase of Rs. 6,058.73 is estimated in Plan expenditure. Budget estimates of Tribal sub-plan have increased from Rs. 11,749.67 crore for the year 2014-15 to Rs. 12,688.58, Malaiya said adding Budget estimates of Scheduled caste sub-plan have increased from Rs. 7,903.80 crore for the year 2014-15 to ` 9,064.41 crore for the year 2015-16.

The Budget of 2015-16 is inspired by the aim to realise ‘Make in Madhya Pradesh’ by increasing employment opportunities for youth of the state and by increasing production capacities, Malaiya announced.

fiscal indicators

Salient features

Stamps and Registration
Exemptions

• Stamp duty on sale and lease documents executed by M.P Housing Board, Development Authorities, State Co-operative Housing
Federation and urban bodies for LIG category shall be exempt from stamp duty. Such exemption is currently being given only on EWS
category.
• Registration fees payable on leases of residential property constructed under BSUP and IHSDP program for urban poor, is being reduced
to only rupees 1,000/-.
Stamp Duty Enhancement
1. Stamp duty of rupees 10,000/- on license document for revolver and pistol and rupees 5,000/- on renewal document. Rupees 2,000/- on
license document for other weapons and rupees 1,000/- on renewal document shall be levied.
2. The upper limit for stamp duty on value of transferred plant, machinery and other movable properties as going concern of industrial units
is enhanced to rupees 25 crores from existing 10 crores.
3. Stamp duty shall be imposed as per that on lease documents, on leave and licenses or conducting licenses of immovable property.
4. Stamp duty on sale certificate shall be levied on amount of purchase money or market value of property, whichever is higher.
Stamp duty shall be levied on the amount secured in work contracts, as per the rate on bank guarantees i.e. 0.25 percent with a ceiling of
rupees 25,000/-.
Commercial Tax Department
• Power driven agricultural equipments Laser land leveler, Seed cum fertilizer drill, Reaper cum binder and straw
reaper, Rake and shredder exempted.
• Shoes/ Chappals and their straps MRP up to Rs. 500 (earlier Rs. 250) exempted.
• Bicycles, tricycles, cycle rickshaws and parts (including tyres and tubes) and accessories thereof exempted.
• Exercise books, graph books, drawing books and laboratory books exempted.
• Rate reduced from 13% to 5% – baby diaper, hydraulic trolley, steam, high voltage isolator, battery operated car/
rickshaw, bio fuel based smokeless stove, accessories of tractor, gas geyser/ stove, induction stove, dental filling
material, educational science kit, album (photo and stamp), audio tape recorder and audio cassette, school bag,
bangles of ivory, carbon paper, electronic toys, ladies hand bag, purse and vanity bag, locks and keys, soya milk
powder, razor and razor blades, shoe polish and cream, aluminum composite panel, nitrogen gas, liquid nitrogen
helium & argon, brahmi, kalaunji oil etc.
• Vat on all kinds of pan masala and gutka (without tobacco) increased from 13% to 27%.
• De-oiled cake including all kinds of soyameal/ cotton seed oil cake / mustard oil cake / makka khali included in 1% tax
rate.
• Goods mentioned in schedule II of MP Vat Act, 2002 – rate of vat 13% increased to 14%.
• Vat on sand, gitti and flooring stone increased – sand, gitti from Rs. 20 to 35 per cubic meter, flooring stone Rs. 1/ 50
paise/ 25 paise to Rs. 2.50 / Rs. 1.50 / 75 paise.
• VAT on goods used in manufacturing of tax free goods and goods which are stock transferred increased from 4% to
5%.
• CST concessions given on brass, copper, kansa, aluminum sheet, circle, leaf spring, copper wire rod, rod, wire bar,
cathode and coin blanks extended for the year 2015-16.
• Entry tax concessions given for purchase of raw material by handloom cloth manufacturer, Khadi Gramodyog Units,
Pathya Pustak Nigam, newsprint for publication of newspaper, iron & steel and leather for manufacture, crude edible
oil for refining, oilseed by small scale industries having annual purchases not more than 1 crore, bidi, plastic water
storage tank, timber, clinker, unprocessed cloth manufactured on powerlooms, tea extended for the year 2015-16.
• Natural gas including CNG brought from outside states for consumption/ use – entry tax levied at the enhanced rate
of 10%.
• Non AC cinema halls/ AC cinema halls in municipal area, established prior to 1.4.2006 – exemption limit raised from
Rs. 50 to Rs. 100. Exemption available in respect of singlex cinema halls only.
• Sports activities organized by non-commercial sports clubs for regular members exempted.
• Entertainment tax concession given to MP State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. In respect of “Sound and
Light” show in a protected archaeological monument and “Pedal Boat operated Water Sports” extended for the year
2015-16.
• Professional tax exemptions given to physically handicapped persons upto 31.3.2015 – extended upto the year 2019-
20.
• Constitution of MP Traders Welfare Board to give economic assistance not only on death of Rs. 1 Lac, on disability
Rs. 50000 or Rs. 25000, but also for treatment / education of children etc.
• Reward Scheme for informers / employees.