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Congress takes on Modi over ‘industrialist’ remark

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Manish Tewari

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) With Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that he was “not afraid of” publicly standing beside industrialists because his intentions were “noble”, the Congress hit out at him, saying he should not lend his legitimacy and respectability to such corporates.

“If the Prime Minister feels alright to be photographed with such people, who allegedly ripped off the banking system, and run away to Antigua and London or probably disappear from the earth, then I leave it to the Prime Minister’s wisdom to lend his legitimacy and respectability to such people,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said at a press conference.

“The question is not the capitalists or industrialists. The question is what kind of capitalists or industrialists,” he said, while stressing his party was not against industrialists and capitalists, but against “crony capitalists”.

“The Congress feels that private enterprise has a legitimate place in the developmental trajectory of the country. But what we are against is crony capitalism and the nexus between the suit and the boot. ‘The Suit Boot ki Sarkar’, when the government functions for the benefit of a few at the cost of many,” he said.

Tewari also hit out at Modi for comparing himself with Mahatma Gandhi, saying: “What is even more astonishing is that the Prime Minister went and compared himself to Mahatma Gandhi.

“Its unfortunate because no politician should compare himself to the father of the nation. He said that even Mahatma Gandhi used to carry industrialists with him. Again the question is what kind of industrialists. They were those people who in the teeth of British tyranny, British imperialism, in the teeth of persecution were ready to stake in sacrifice everything they had for the freedom of India.”

These industrialists stood with Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress because their goal was the freedom of India, and were “not those industrialists who had gamed the banking system and runaway with thousands of crores of public money,” he said.

Slammed Modi over development issues, Tewari said that “the Prime Minister patted himself on the back saying that the country is developing splendidly”, but this is not borne out by facts.

“The facts are that farmers are forced to sell their crop below the minimum support price. The fact is that small and medium industry is closing down rapidly across the country.”

On Modi’s visit to Uttar Pradesh, Tewari said when any Prime Minister visits a state seven times, six or nine months before the Lok Sabha elections, it is possibly the most “potent barometer of the nervousness” of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Prime Minister of India.

“This is perhaps the seventh trip that the Prime Minister is making to Uttar Pradesh in less than a month.”

He also criticised BJP President Amit Shah’s interview to a newspaper where he mentioned the Rs 12 crore Mudra loans for youth, saying the question was “how many sustainable livelihoods have those loans created”.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala meanwhile tweeted: “Dear PM, your political career reeks of a culture of cronyism! From giving land to your crony friends at throwaway prices in Guj to GSCPC scam, from promoting select mobile wallets in DeMo to gifting largest defence contracts in Rafale! So spare us the lecture!”

India

DoT finalising revival proposal, no shutdown: BSNL

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BSNL

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) State-run BSNL on Thursday said government is in the final stage of drafting a revival proposal for the PSU and it would shortly be sent for the inter-ministerial panel for approval.

“Department of Telecom is in the process of finalising a proposal for revival of BSNL to be considered by the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) very soon. DoT would like to see a robust BSNL, duly strengthened and financially viable, dedicated to servicing the nation and playing an important role in the telecom sector”, the PSU said in a statement.

The state carrier was responding to a media report on its closure pressurised by the mounting losses.

At present there is no proposal under consideration with the government for closure of BSNL. DoT recognises and values the inherent strengths of BSNL as a telecom services provider with huge infrastructure and reach, especially in rural areas, the PSU said.

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India

HAL to display is prowess at Aero India

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Bengaluru, Feb 14 : Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) would showcase its prowess at the five-day 12th edition of ‘Aero India 2019’ expo, starting here on February 20, to hard sell its military aircraft and helicopters, a top official said on Thursday.

“HAL will explore opportunities at the Aero India by showcasing its fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms and technologies as an industry player in the domestic and global defence market,” said HAL Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan in a statement.

The statement was issued ahead of the biennial air show at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force on the city’s northern outskirts near the Bengaluru International Airport.

The aerospace major is also organising the present edition of the air show, where 31 aircraft will be part of the flying display and 22, static display.

HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, HTT-40 (Basic Trainer Aircraft), upgraded Hawk Mk132 named Hawk-i, Civil Do-228 (civil version of Dornier 228 aircraft), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) will also be part of the flying display.

The fixed and rotary wing aerobatic teams Suryakiran (Hawk aircraft) and Sarang (ALH-Dhruv) will enthrall about six lakh visitors likley to attend the carnival of aircraft.

The defence behemoth will also showcase its LUH (PT-1), LCH (TD-2), ALH Rudra and ALH Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) as part of static display, HAL said.

At the expo, 360 exhibitors — 196 from India and 164 from foreign countries — will showcase their products.

HAL’s pavilion will include technological demonstration of the tail boom folding and main rotor folding of the Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH), which is ALH customised for the Navy.

“For the first time, HAL’s Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) simulator will be at the pavilion,” the statement added.

The SPORT aircraft will be used for fighter training after advanced jet training stage and before the induction of pilots into the frontline fighter squadron.

The exhibition space will also have a Jaguar aircraft simulator, HAL said.

As part of the air show’s ‘Innovate’ theme, the aerospace major will also display the technologies of Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine (HTFE-25) and Hindustan Turbo Shaft Engine (HTSE-1200) along with rotary unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), models of avionics and mechanical system line replacement units and complex manufacturing capabilities.

Global aerospace majors, including Boeing (US), Lockheed Martin Corp (US), Dassault (France), Russian Aircraft Corp MiG, Saab (Sweden) and European aerospace firm Airbus, will also take part in the exhibition.

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India

Rafale deal realization broke all records: CAG

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Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) Going by inordinate delays in realization of defence contracts, the deal to buy 36 French Rafale fighter jets broke speed records, a report on Wednesday by the Comptroller and Auditor General indicates.

The CAG noted that against the three-year period fixed by procurement rules for completing deals, four Indian Air Force contracts, out of 11 scrutinized, took more than three years and seven cases fructified in more than five years.

The fastest was the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale jets which took 24 months. The deal for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) was hanging for 180 months.

The contract for 22 Apache attack helicopters was signed after 105 months and it took 113 months to buy 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. Even staid equipment like purchase of doppler weather radar took 96 months.

The negotiations on price after clearing all the layers of the acquisition process also took months. The MMRCA price negotiations went on for 48 months. It took more than 26 months to finalize the price of Chinooks.

The CAG noted that the acquisition process could not effectively support the Indian Air Force in its operational preparedness and modernization.

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