Tokyo: Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on Friday 28 August announced his resignation and decision to step down due to health issues.
I made a judgement I should not continue my job as prime minister. – Shinzō Abe
Addressing media-persons on Friday evening local time, Abe cited a his chronic ulcerative colitis as the reason for his resignation. I decided to resign in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic while trying to control my chronic ulcerative colitis, Abe said.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had made the announcement on 16 May that the Union Government has decided to go ahead with structural reforms in eight priority sectors, including Space and Atomic Energy, Defence Production, Civil Aviation, and Power Sector.
In the Space Sector, private sector participation will be boosted, the Finance Minister announced while underscoring that level playing field will be provided to private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services and that predictable policy and regulatory environment will be created for the private players. Under the new policy the private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. Future projects such as planetary exploration and outer space travel shall also be opened up for private sector. There will be liberal geo-spatial data policy for providing remote-sensing data to tech-entrepreneurs.
Reform of the Space Sector is a move in the right direction but it has to be coupled and integrated with the legal framework. Simultaneously, what cannot be swept under the carpet is the recommendation by a number of Parliamentary committees to separate the two posts – the post of Secretary Department of Space and Chairman ISRO.
In an editorial 3-months ago, it was also pointed out that the chairmanship of the Space Commission under the chairman ISRO has been given absolute freedom to push it’s own agenda. Seldom are the user departments consulted or a comprehensive review done on where is ISRO vis-a-vis other space-faring nations, especially in terms of technologies. The edit also brought in focus the fact that a lot many satellites have been launched with 2 to 5 years lag in setting up of ground segments. The recent aborted GISAT-1 launch was also in the category of disconnect with the user departments. The PM’s attention was also been drawn towards the need to bifurcate the top post in ISRO and to codify it’s selection and promotion policy.
As a first step towards reform of the Space Sector, the Government is on the verge of appointing the first Chairman of the National level Board being set up to handle a range of issues connected with India’s Space Programme, Private sector participation and optimum utilisation of the ISRO facility.
The Government while appointing a Chairman to head the new Board should not repeat the mistake it did when appointing a junior scientist as Space Commission member. The Government will be on the right track by ensuring that the senior-most scientist becomes Chairman ISRO and someone less senior heads the Board – preferably an outsider to bring in fresh ideas and better accountability. Putting an ISRO man in that capacity (Chairman of the new Board) will result in business as usual.
It is also important to note that the newly formed NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) is not exempt from Department of Public Enterprises guidelines and any Chairman of the company should be selected by an open advertisement by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) and not by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on the recommendations of the Chairman ISRO as it is being done.The company which was set up to transfer technology to the Pvt sector has not even been transferred a pin till now.
New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was established with public contributions to assist displaced persons from Pakistan on an appeal by Jawaharlal Nehru in his capacity as Prime Minister of India in 1948.
At the outset Nehru announced that he was establishing the fund called “The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund” and invited donations to this Fund.
Even though the fund (PMNRF) was not covered by the Union Budget, the fact that it had been set up by the Prime Minister and was named after the Prime Minister, a wrong precedent had been set by including the Congress President as a member of the Managing Committee appointed for running this fund by Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India
PMNRF has not been constituted by the Parliament. The fund is recognized as a Trust under the Income Tax Act and the same is managed by Prime Minister or multiple delegates for national causes. PMNRF operates from the Prime Minister’s Office, South Block, New Delhi-110011 and does not pays any license fee. PMNRF is exempt under Income Tax Act, 1961 under Section 10 and 139 for return purposes. Contributions towards PMNRF are notified for 100% deduction from taxable income under section 80(G) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Prime Minister is the Chairman of PMNRF.
Obviously since PMNRF has the dubious legacy of having the Congress President as it’s managing trustee from day one, the need was felt to set up a separate fund for extending relief in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic. This led to the creation of The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), which was created on 28 March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.
The Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees (Prime Minister) shall have the power to nominate three trustees to the Board of Trustees who shall be eminent persons in the field of research, health, science, social work, law, public administration and philanthropy.
Any person appointed a Trustee shall act in a pro bono capacity.
New Delhi: After leading the BJP and the NDA to a sweeping victory in the general election to the Lok Sabha Narendra Modi today took the oath of office and secrecy as Prime Minister of India for the second time in a row.
BJP President Amit Shah also took oath as Cabinet Minister after party senior Rajnath Singh had taken the oath of office and secrecy.
Among the first to take oath as Cabinet ministers were Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Singh Tomar and Ram Vilas Paswan.
A surprise induction in the Cabinet is former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
JDU, a constituent of NDA has chosen to stay out of the Cabinet. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told media persons that they were offered one ministerial berth but there is consensus among his party leaders that there is no need to go for ‘symbolic representation’. Nothing much should be read in this decision as the JDU is part of the NDA and they are running a government together with the BJP in Bihar, he added.