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Maximum reforms are undertaken, says PM Modi on completion of 2 years

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As the Modi-led government completes its two years in power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an interview to the Wall Street Journal, has said that the changes he put in place would have been regarded as difficult to implement in previous governments.

“I have actually undertaken the maximum reforms,” Modi said in the interview, but added: “I have an enormous task ahead for myself.”

The prime minister said he had opened up more of the economy to foreign investment, made changes to check corruption, fill gaps in rural infrastructure and make it easier to do business.

He also asserted that he expects that the Goods and Services Tax bill, a major reform that will transform India into a uniform market will be passed this year. The bill has been stuck in the Rajya Sabha in Parliament, where the government is in a minority.

The interview comes ahead of his visit to Washington early next month, where he is to meet President Barack Obama and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

“President Obama had sent me an invitation in March. And later when I went for the Nuclear Security Summit, he had personally requested me. And it was on my request that he had visited India again. Naturally it was my responsibility too. And we’ve also developed a kind of friendship where we can speak freely with each other,” he said.

He also commented that “today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner.”

PM Modi came to power in 2014 after his BJP decimated the Congress, which had battled allegations of deep-rooted corruption and a flagging economy towards the end of its 10 years in office.

Wall Street Journal says two years later, while PM Modi has pursued a “series of incremental, and not always glamorous, changes aimed at re-energizing a struggling economy, he hasn’t emerged as the rapid liberalizer that some investors had hoped.”

On critics accusing him of failing to bring in big bang reforms, he said: “When I came to the government, I used to sit down with all the experts and ask them to define for me what is the ‘big bang’ for them. Nobody could tell me.”

Read More: Modi government 2 years: Nation wants to know when “Acche Din” will come?

Wefornews Bureau

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Editors Guild laments Meghalaya HC summoning editor for alleged contempt

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The Shillong Times

New Delhi, Dec 16 : The Editors Guild on Sunday expressed grave concern over the Meghalaya High Court summoning ‘The Shillong Times editor and publisher for alleged contempt over reporting on how the judges of the court have granted themselves and their families multiple facilities and benefits.

“It is unfortunate that an editor has been summoned by the Meghalaya High Court for what appears to be a factual news report,” the Guild said over The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shobha Chaudhuri being issued a show cause notice for contempt and asked to appear personally before the court.

The notice was issued by Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen over the daily’s December 10 report “When judges judge for themselves”, about a recent order passed by Sen calling for better facilities for retired judges and their families.

Justice Sen has been facing criticism for his recent observation that “nobody should try to make India… another Islamic country” and that the government should allow non-Muslim and tribal communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to live in India without any cut-off year.

The Guild said the judiciary was one of the pillars of democracy and should stand by the media in helping it discharge its functions in an independent and unbiased manner.

“Such contempt notices are regrettable and will be seen as judicial intimidation of the media. Judges, who have broad shoulders and are tolerant of criticism, are the need of the hour.

“The Guild urges the Meghalaya High Court to take necessary steps that uphold the spirit of unbiased and independent functioning of both the judiciary and the media,” added the Guild.

Both Mukhim and Chaudhuri appeared before the court on Thursday in pursuance of the court’s directive.

IANS

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Anand Sharma urges SC to recall Rafale judgement, issue contempt of court notice to govt

“The Supreme Court judgment is not only self-contradictory but is shocking in terms of having factual inaccuracies that are a result of false and misleading submissions made by the government.

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Anand Sharma
File Picture Congress Leader Anand Sharma

New Delhi, Dec 16 : Claiming that the Supreme Court judgment on the Rafale case was “void” as it was based on “false and misleading submissions” by the Centre, the Congress on Sunday demanded an immediate recall of the apex court verdict and a notice to be issued to the Modi government for perjury and contempt of court.

The Congress also urged the Supreme Court to not entertain the Centre’s Saturday application seeking rectification of errors in the judgment, which the government claimed “occurred, perhaps, on account of misinterpretation” by the court.

At the centre of controversy is paragraph 25 of the judgment in which the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench observed: “The pricing details have, however, been shared with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the CAG report has been examined by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Only a redacted portion of the report was placed before Parliament and is in public domain.”

However, PAC Chairman Mallikarjun Kharge and the Congress have maintained that “no portion of the CAG report has been placed before Parliament or was in the public domain”.

Stepping up the attack against the Modi regime, Congress leader Anand Sharma said that the Modi government not only committed perjury by making false assertions before the court but was also guilty of breach of parliamentary privileges.

“The Supreme Court judgment is not only self-contradictory but is shocking in terms of having factual inaccuracies that are a result of false and misleading submissions made by the government.

“We demand that the Supreme Court immediately recalls the judgment which is void as it is made on the premise of false submission by the government. The entire episode has dented the dignity of the highest court in the country and it should give notice to the Modi government for perjury and contempt of court,” Sharma told the media here.

The former union minister flayed the Modi government over its Saturday plea to rectify two sentences in the para 25 of the judgment where due to “misinterpretation” by the court, saying “is” was interpreted as “has been” at one place and as “was” in another.

“What the Modi government has done is unprecedented and its curative petition adds only to the injury it has caused to the Supreme Court. Instead of admitting its lies and apologizing, it is giving grammar lessons to the Chief Justice and his fellow judges.

“The court should take serious note of this and take action against the government for perjury and contempt of court,” said Sharma, adding that the matter of breach of parliamentary privileges will also be raised in both Houses.

The Supreme Court on Friday had dismissed multiple petitions seeking court-monitored probe into the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters holding that the decision making process was not in doubt and it cannot go into the question of pricing and choice of offset Indian partner by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation.

IANS

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Naxalism will be eliminated with the support of people : CM designate Bhupesh

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Raipur, Dec 16 : Chhattisgarh Chief Minister designate Bhupesh Baghel said that  the naxalism will only be eliminated  if firm steps are taken with the support of the people in the naxal-affected areas.

” The problem of naxalism is a very serious problem. Nobody can solve it instantly. They have a very strong hold. We will be successful in eliminating them if firm steps are taken with the support of the people in the naxal-affected areas,” Baghel said.

Bhupesh Baghel is credited with playing a crucial role in a landslide victory of the Congress in Chhattisgarh.

He added that the Congress government will unravel the conspiracy that led to the killing by Maoists of top Congress leaders in the Jheeram Valley in Bastar in May 2013 including the then state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, the veteran V.C. Shukla and Mahendra Karma.
Shortly after he was elected the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader by the MLAs at the party office Rajiv Bhavan, Baghel announced: “I am committed to waiving farmers’ bank loans within 10 days.”

The Congress said on Twitter: “Celebrations are in order in Chhattisgarh as Bhupesh Baghel is appointed CM. We wish him the best as he forms a government of equality, transparency and integrity starting off with farm loan waiver for farmers as we promised.”

Baghel is a powerful leader of the OBC community which makes up 52 per cent of the state’s 2.55 crore population.

The five-time MLA was elected from Patan in Durg district. He was Revenue Minister in Ajit Jogi’s first government in Chhattisgarh that was voted out in 2003.

Baghel was recently jailed for some days in Raipur after he was charge-sheeted by the CBI for his alleged role in the circulation of a sleaze CD against a powerful BJP Minister in Chhattisgarh.

Baghel is credited with leading the party from the front in the fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and scripting the crushing defeat of the 15-year-old regime of Raman Singh.

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