Tag Archives: Manmohan Singh

Congress is Sycophancy, Sycophancy is Congress

Lalit Shastri

Sycophancy is synonymous with the Congress party, which claims the legacy of the grand old party that was at the forefront of the Freedom Movement and is now ruled by Sonia Gandhi and her family.

Responding to a breach of privilege notice moved by three ruling BJP MPs against Rahul Gandhi after his slanderous remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Senior Congress leader and former Foreign Minister Salman Khursheed on Saturday remarked: “Rahul has given a voice to the soul of this nation. If they are giving notice, then they are giving notice to the soul of the country, not to Rahul Gandhi”.

Throwing a poser at journalists, regarding talks with China leading to disengagement of troops and China backing off along the LAC in Ladakh, Khursheed asked “What is being talked about (with China) for so many days? Are the talks going on because we had taken away something from them that we are returning or the talks are are on as they had entered our land they should give it back to us? What is the issue, why these talks? If nothing had happened, then what is the uproar? What is being discussed?At the height of the draconian Emergency in 1976, Dev Kant Barua, the then Congress President had said ” India is Indira, and Indira is India. Who lives if Indira dies?”Zail Singh too, after rising to the office of President of India, had gone ahead and said that he would be happy to  “sweep the ground” that Indiraji walked upon”.  At the fag end of his tenure as Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh too had announced: “I will be very happy to work in the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.” He had made this remark while talking to reporters who were accompanying him on board the special Air India plane on his way home after attending the G-20 summit in September 2013. One had found it so disgusting watching the Prime Minister of India at a terrifying nadir when he had uttered these words and thereby lowered the prestige of the high office of Prime Minister.

Earlier in July that year, the Supreme Court had pronounced that legislators would be disqualified immediately on conviction, even if the conviction was appealed in a higher court. The Government had responded to the Supreme Court judgement by introducing a Bill to amend the Representation of the People Act 1951.The purpose of this Bill was to give convicted legislators the benefit of attending the proceedings of the legislature without the right to vote while their appeals were pending before the court. As there was stiff opposition to this Bill, while it was being considered in the Rajya Sabha, it was referred to the Standing Committee. As the Bill was getting delayed, the Manmohan led UPA-2 government had decided to bring an Ordinance. In September 2013, at a Congress party press briefing, Rahul Gandhi tore a copy of this Ordinance describing it as “a piece of nonsense that should be torn up”.

Manmohan remained unruffled by the disdain and public demonstration of total lack of respect for Parliamentary form of Government by Rahul Gandhi and had announced simultaneously while he was still Prime Minister that he was too willing to serve under Rahul Gandhi.

I have seen Congress Chief Ministers bend in every direction before Rahul Gandhi so much as if their spines were made of rubber that too long years ago when he was just a lad and not holding any post in the Congress party. When I saw it for the first time it filled me with utter shame and rage as this was happening in our democracy where someone holding such high constitutional position was ready ro act as a slave of just one family. We the people have paid a very heavy price for the mansabdari system that has been perpetuated by the Congress party after Independence. The chaos is not just an internal matter of a party. It has afflicted the whole nation. The malaise is too deep. It needs the surgeon’s knife and in a democracy, it is the voters who have the power to eliminate what’s eating into the vitals of the nation.

Lalit Shastri, Editor-in-Chief Newsroom24x7, is proud of the legacy of the Freedom Movement and spirit of nationalism, which he has inherited from the freedom fighters who had sacrificed their all for the country’s Independence. His father late Anant Maral Shastri also was a freedom fighter.

Modi has failed to meet any of his big promises, bringing back black money stashed abroad is a case in point: Ram Jethmalani

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Ram Jethmalani
Ram Jethmalani

Bhopal: Member of Parliament and senior Supreme Court advocate Ram Jathmalani today said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to fulfill any of the big promises he made to the people of India.

One of the great promises was ending corruption, Jethmalani pointed out. He was speaking to media-persons in the State capital.

Jathmalani also said that both the previous UPA Government led by Manmohan Singh and the present government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi are not interested in bringing back black money stashed abroad.
He chastised Manmohan Singh, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on this count alleging that all are hand-in-glove when it comes to protecting the corrupt and doing nothing to bring back black money illegally stashed in foreign banks. It is estimated that huge amount of black money, according to estimates about Rs. 90 lakh crore, has been deposited in foreign banks, he said.

Jethmalani pointed out that the United Nations was busy finding methods to end corruption between 2000 and 2004, the UN worked on the Convention against Corruption, he said adding India became a signatory to it in 2005 but did not lodge the document of ratification. This is the greatest scandal since the the convention is not binding. he emphasised.

Throwing more light on this issue, Jethmalani said that Manmohan Singh signed a secret protocol with the Swiss and underscoring two points said India ensured that it would not seek information about the past but only relating to the future and, secondly, information would be sought only under the dual taxation avoidance treaty.

Continuing his attack on the issue of black money, Jethmalani projected Finance Minister Jaitley in poor light and said for two years he was not given copies of communication linked with Government of India efforts to bring back black money by the Finance ministry as ordered by the Supreme Court. A day before the Modi Government was sworn-in in 2014, he was delivered a set of letters with a covering note but with the names of the senders and addressess scratched with black ink. From an email address that was some how left intact, he could decipher that it was addressed to a lady, who was a popular friend of Chiidambaram, Jaitley pointed out.

Talking about the illicit money in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein, a known tax haven near Munich in Germany and the list of 1400 clients, that had been stolen from the LGT database and given to the German authorities, Jethmalani said that he had visited Germany after this and met the authorities there to ask them to hand over the list of 1400 clients in his capacity as an MP and a representative of the people of India. The German authorities had appreciated this initiative and told him that they would be ready to pass the information if a few more Indian MPs made a similar request. Upon returning to India, He asked three leaders, including veteran BJP leader K Advani to sign a two line letter which he had already drafted but none of these leaders (two of whom he did not name) have paid any heed and more than two years have passed.

On the issue of Reservation in Promotion

A delegation of SAPAKS met Ram Jethmalani in Bhopal on February 17, 2017 to discuss the issue of reservation in Promotion and how the Madhya Pradesh government employees and officers belonging to the unreserved category were suffering due to this discriminatory policy
A delegation of SAPAKS met Ram Jethmalani in Bhopal on February 17, 2017 to discuss the issue of reservation in Promotion and how the Madhya Pradesh government employees and officers belonging to the unreserved category were suffering due to this discriminatory policy

When asked what is his message to the Madhya Pradesh chief Minister on the vexed issue of “reservation in promotion” and on being told how lakhs of Madhya Pradesh Government employees from the unreserved category were suffering due to this arrangement, Jethmalani said: “I have had a meeting with people interested in this question and I believe that the present arrangement has someday to come to an end. That’s for sure. It cannot possibly be an eternal feature of Indian politics.”

Regarding Reservation in Promotion, he said, that is where the injustice seems to be a little more awful. Ultimately this will also come to an end, he said and urged that no one should create any animosity.

Jethmalani said that when a delegation met him this morning, he had said: Let us evolve some particular solution to this problem that some justice should be done to those who are suffering because of that policy (reservation in promotion).

Coming back to the larger issue of reservation, he said: “I don’t believe that those who are the beneficiaries of reservation have completely resolved their problems for which this reservation was created. I think an intelligent dialogue and some adjustment is very essential. I hope now that I have heard about this from the people here this morning, be sure that I will do my best to find a solution to this problem.”



Selection of NBA Chairman: The exercise to fill the post is under a cloud

Lalit Shastri

nba chairman ad Questions are being raised once more in knowledgeable circles about the objectivity and fairness of the ongoing selection process for the appointment of the next chairman of National Biodiversity Board and it is being pointed out that the mandatory requirement of experience of benefit sharing arising out of the use of biodiversity is being put on the backburner to kep this post reserved only for a bureacrat.

In a span of 17-months – between October 2013 and March 2015 – the Government of India has twice initited the process for selecting the chairman of National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). The first time this exercise went into a spin and the process was abandoned mid-way as there was “conflict of interest” and on PMO’s intervention the approval granted by the Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change for the appointment of the secretary in the same ministry to this important post was withdrawn and it was decided to go through the selection process all over again.

NBA was set up on October 1, 2003 through Gazette Notification in exercise of the powers conferred by the sub-section (1) and (4) of Section 8 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (18 of 2003). The Authority is a body corporate and its head office is at Chennai.

Applications were invited to fill the post of chairman NBA for the second time in the last week of February this year. The advertisement followed the letter and sririt of the Biologocal Diversity Act while spelling out in categorical terms that the chairman shall be an eminent person having adequate knowledge and experience in the conservation and sustainable use of of biological diversity and in matters relating to equitable sharing of benefits arising ot of use of biological resources. The advertisement also made it mandatory that the candidate should hold at least a post graduate degree. The advertisement further said that the candidate should be well versed with current developments related to to access and benefit sharing under various relevant international fora. candidates were also supposed to have experience of working with different stakeholders in biodiversity and experience in participation in international negotiations.

The earlier advertisement for this post issued in October 2013 also carried the same requirements. Ministry insiders had informed at that stage that the advertisement to fill this post had been tailor-made to suit the candidature of then Secretary MoEF V Rajagopalan, IAS (UP: 1978). It was pointed out that the mandatory requirement of direct ground-level experience of equitable sharing of benefits arising out of sustainable use of biological resources was relaxed and a premium was placed on being “well versed with current developments related to access and benefit sharing under various relevant international fora”. Even this time the call for applications has the same thrust, ministry insiders said adding “may be to suit the interest of some other bureaucrat.

Inquiries have revealed that after the interview stage during the ongoing selection process, a panel of three names has been forwarded to the PMO for final selection. One of those in the panel is a former Secretary in Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and now posted as chief secretary in a state. He is a graduate engineer with a post graduate diploma in management and lacks the mandatory PG qualification. It is being said in knowledgeable circles that the Government has paved the way once again to tilt the selection process to pick a “favourite” for the post by repeatedly puting the waiver clause which says: “The Government may on its own discretion relax one or more of the…requirements in case of an applicant of outstanding ability.”

The first time, dozens of applications were received for the NBA chairman’s post in response to the demand raised by the MoEF website for filling up this post on October 5, 2013. Seven of the applicants were short-listed and called for interview on April 29 this year. The MoEF had announced that the post of the Chairperson of the National Biodiversity Authority (Rashtriya Jaiwa Vividhata Pradhikaran) is to be filled upon completion of the tenure of the present incumbent.

Mr. Rajagopalan’s name for the top post was initially approved by former Minister for MoEF M. Veerappa Moily when Manmohan Singh was prime minister. Mr. Moily had withdrawn his approval on May 15, 2014. It is learnt that Mr. Moily withdrew his earlier decision in favour of Mr. Rajagopalan as he saw a “conflict of interest” in the selection process. Mr. Moily had recorded dissent by saying he did not know that in his capacity as secretary Mr. Rajagopalan had recommended only a single name for the appointment of chairman of the selection committee for appointing the NBA chief.

Section 8. 4 (a) of Biological Diversity Act, 2002, which deals with the appointment of chairman of NBA, says: “the Chairperson shall be an eminent person having adequate knowledge and experience in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and in matters relating to equitable sharing of benefits and will be appointed by the Government of India”. Section 8.4 (a) of the Act, which is the law of the land, makes it mandatory for the government to ensure that the NBA chairman should have both “knowledge and experience in conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and in matters relating to equitable sharing of benefits”. The Act does not allow any relaxation on this count and the MoEF call for applications both in October 2013 and February this year crossed the mandatory line by stating “that it may on its own discretion relax one or more of the aforesaid requirements in case of an applicant of outstanding ability.

MoEF sources had informed during the first selection process which was later scuttled that the criteria inserted by MoEF that the candidate “must also be well versed with current developments related to access and benefit sharing under various relevant international fora. Experience of working with different stakeholders in biodiversity, experience in participation in international negotiations, and an understanding of legal issues shall be desirable was meant to overshadow the mandatory requirement in terms of “experience in the field of conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and in matters relating to equitable benefit sharing” only to entertain the MoEF secretary for the NBA chief’s post.

India is party to the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) 1992 which recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources. In order to help in realizing the objectives of CBD, India has enacted an umbrella legislation called the biological Diversity Act 2002(No.18 of 2003) aimed at conservation of biological resources and associated knowledge as well as facilitating access to them in a sustainable manner and through a just process.

“The Enabler Narendra Modi: Breaking Stereotypes”

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It has been a year since Narendra Modi came to power after leading the Bharatiya Janata Party to a landslide victory in the 2014 parliamentary election.

Modi in a few months after his inauguration shut down the Planning Commission, which by default subverted the idea of India being a federal democracy. All chief ministers as a matter of routine would line up each year to get their annual plan approved by the Planning Commission. Modi has in place inaugurated NITI Aayog wherein the chief ministers head sub-groups on various subjects. But most importantly Modi assured from the ramparts of the Red Fort, that he would ‘neither take bribe nor allow others to do the same (naa khaaoonga, naa khane doonga)’. No Prime Minister before him acknowledged the cancer of corruption and owned up responsibility to crush it down. A year has passed by since the inauguration of Modi and the economy has resumed its journey on the upward trajectory, but the real-estate prices in Delhi and satellite towns around have slumped by at least 20 per cent. The real-estate in Delhi zone thrived because the black money was in ample supply. The tap appears to have been turned off and there is tangible effect on the grounds.

ENABLER NARENDRA MODIManish Anand in his book: “THE ENABLER NARENDRA MODI: BREAKING STEREOTYPES” describes Modi as an Emperor of Indian democracy. The author prefers not to draw a parallel but goes on to emphasise that Modi has surpassed the stature of Indira Gandhi of 1971 when she was India’s most powerful leader and had unveiled a single party rule in the country. Modi’s position is both ominous and providential, he says adding his position could be ominous because he may throttle dissent and cause serious damage to Indian democracy. At the same time it could also be providential because he can guide India onto a new path and liberate the shackled potential of the country.

In the preface, Modi has been described as “arguably” India’s first non-Congress Prime Minister. To drive home the point Manish says there were seven Prime Ministers of India, who headed non-Congress governments. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee of BJP was Prime Minister for about six years. Yet, Modi is the first non-Congress Prime Minister in the true sense. Congress in India is not just a political party but a culture. And that culture was seeded deep into Indian democracy by Indira Gandhi. Her stature was such in her prime time that she ensured Constitution Amendment (42nd) to give India the character of a welfare state. All her successors, barring Modi, bore her imprints in their statecraft.

Carrying forward the argument Manish underscores how PV Narsimha Rao, ably assisted by his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, sought to force open the window to the world, which was further carried forward by Vajpayee, they could not lay their hands on a formidable electoral template. Both were consequently rejected by the people. Both suffered from contradictions. They wanted to write new chapters in Indian economy and polity yet could not shun the ideological imprints of Indira Gandhi fully. Rao was a Congress man, but had vision to think beyond the Nehru-Gandhi bank of party ideas. Vajpayee was an RSS man, but had co-opted socialists, who were non-Congressmen for just namesake. Vajpayee was a minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet. The old man was a hardcore Congress man and a rival of Indira Gandhi in her party. Vajpayee propped up VP Singh as Prime Minister also with the support of the Left parties. VP Singh had spent his life in the Congress and quit the party to head the Janata Party, which was essentially a loose confederation of provincial caste chieftains. Vajpayaee in his thoughts was centrist, with little leaning to the right.

In this backdrop, Manish goes on to examine the Congress party and what it stands for. Congress essentially is a political culture wherein the power of decision making is centralized. Popularly it is called a ‘High Command’ culture. This bears strong imprints in the statecraft. Even though India is a Union of states, with much thrust on federalism, Indian statecraft essentially is of centralized planning and decision making. The Centre decides what the states should do. The Centre decides how much money states should spend and under what heads. The Centre decides what laws states should have.

The author has illustrated the point vis-a-vis the Congress by drawing attention to the Indian Parliament enacting a law on acquisition of land in 2013, which was actually a political legislation thrust upon the government due to Rahul Gandhi’s obsession to do the politics of land. Land is a state subject and all state governments have their own respective policies or laws on acquisition of land. Then what was the need for the Centre to enact a law on land and whose amendments Modi is desperately seeking, because he believes it has forced a lock-down on development. If not for Rahul Gandhi ambushing Bhatta-Parsaul to throw his weight behind arguably relatively rich farmers of western Uttar Pradesh, India may have continued with the British time law on acquisition of land. The basic idea is that the Centre essentially lacks trust in state governments to be fair in dealing with its people. And that must sound ludicrous, because the state governments have more connect with the people than the state.

Carrying forward the argument, Manish says Modi is the first non-Congress Prime Minister because he has not been touched by the ideology and culture of the grand old party. Because he was chief minister of Gujarat for about 12 years with strong majority in the state Assembly. He never needed to bend even little to allow Congress to cast its imprints on him. Congress and New Delhi are a lot similar, because they too have the same culture.

The book, by Manish, who is a seasoned journalist covering the political beat for The Asian Age in Delhi, is a treatise on Indian politics and an in-depth analysis of the political philosophy and style of working of Prime Minister Modi and what sets him apart from his predecessors when it comes to vision and setting the agenda for the nation.