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On 75th day in office, PM says govt going full tilt with ‘spasht neeti, sahi disha’

Every government benchmarks itself over the first 100 days, the PM has compressed his report card to 75 days.

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Modi On IANS PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) On the 75th day of his second innings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met IANS with a smiling visage. Having successfully piloted the revocation of the contentious Article 370 and Article 35A in a systematic and seamless manner which has not only blindsighted Pakistan but also flummoxed them in an unequivocal manner, the Prime Minister spoke extensively about Kashmir and the last 75 eventful days where he has hit the ground running.

Every government benchmarks itself over the first 100 days, the PM has compressed his report card to 75 days.

IANS began by asking him what makes Modi 2.0 different. Straight off the bat, the PM spoke in clear-cut terms: “We have set an unprecedented pace within just the first few days of our government. What we have been able to achieve is the result of ‘Spasht Neeti, Sahi Disha (clear policy, right intentions)’. In just the first 75 days of our government, a lot has happened. From children’s safety to Chandrayaan-II, from action against corruption to freeing Muslim women from the scourge of Triple Talaq, from Kashmir to Kisan, we have shown what a resolute government with a strong mandate of the people can achieve. We have taken a head-start in tackling the most pressing issue of our times with the formation of Jal Shakti Ministry for a mission mode and integrated approach to improve water supply and augment water conservation.”

Did the return to power with an even stronger mandate than the first time have something to do with a catalogue of expeditious measures? Was he conscious of the fact that the people who voted for him needed to be given a snapshot of what is coming in the next five years? The PM accepted this axiom saying, “In a way, it is also the result of the government coming back with a stronger mandate. What we were able to achieve in the first 75 days was the outcome of the robust base we were able to build in the last 5 years. Hundreds of reforms in the last 5 years have ensured the country is now ready to take off, powered by the aspirations of the people. The push has come not just from the executive but from the muscle in Parliament….”

The PM said the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha has been a record-creating one — it was the most productive session since 1952. “This is not a minor achievement but, in my view, a historic turn for the better and one which will make our Parliament much more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people. Many momentous initiatives have been taken such as pension schemes for farmers and traders, reform of the medical sector, important amendments in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code, beginning of labour reforms…I could go on and on. But the gist of the matter is that when the intentions are right, there is clarity of purpose and implementation, and there is people’s support, then there’s no limit to what we can do. There has been no time wasting, no mulling over things for too long, instead a calibrated plan to execute, implement and take bold decisions, none bigger than the one on Kashmir.

There have been controversies too and the government has dealt with those too. For instance, medical reforms which have not gone down well with common folk. There has been some noise on the medical reforms front from various quarters.

Do you think the changes you have brought in are well thought through? He countered without batting an eyelid, “When we formed the government in 2014, there were many concerns about the existing system of medical education. Earlier, courts have used strong words for the institution overseeing medical education in India, calling it a ‘den of corruption’. A parliamentary committee did rigorous study and took a very dull view of the state of affairs in medical education. It pointed out mismanagement, lack of transparency and arbitrariness. Earlier governments, too, had given a thought to reforming this sector but could not go through with it. We decided to go through with it because this is not a matter that can be taken lightly, as it concerns the health of our people and future of our youth. So, we set up an expert group to look into what is plaguing it. The expert group studied the system carefully and brought out the problems and improvement areas. It is based on the suggestions from experts that we came to the current bill.”

Explaining the granularity of his standpoint, the PM said, “The National Medical Commission is a far-reaching reform in this space and seeks to correct the prevalent problems. It contains multiple reforms that curb avenues of corruption and boost transparency. At a time when nations are looking at India to power the next wave of growth in the world, we realise that this can happen only with a healthy populace. Freeing the poor from the vicious cycle of poverty that lack of health perpetuates is very important. The NMC serves this purpose well too. It will ensure transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country. It aims to lessen the burden on students, increase the number of medical seats and reduce cost of medical education. This means more talented youth can take up medicine as a profession and this will help us increase the number of medical professionals. Ayushman Bharat is bringing about a revolution in the healthcare sector. It is increasing awareness as well as affordability of quality healthcare, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 towns.

“We are also working to ensure that there is at least one medical college between every 3 districts. With rising awareness about healthcare, rising incomes and greater focus on aspirational goals among people, we will need thousands and thousands of doctors to fulfil the demand, especially in rural and urban areas. The NMC seeks to address these issues for a better outcome for all stakeholders. You must have also read that the academic year 2019-20 will see the biggest addition of medical seats in government colleges in a single year with the creation of around 2 dozen new government medical colleges. Our road map is clear — a transparent, accessible and affordable medical education system leading to better healthcare outcomes”.

India

Military officers, bureaucrats move SC over Article 370

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jammu and kashmir ladakh

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) Six retired military officers and bureaucrats have filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision to revoke Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioners include Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, Major General (Retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai, and former member of the Home Ministry’s group of interlocutors for J&K, Radha Kumar.

The petitioners said that the method of altering Article 370 by purporting to apply Article 367 with modifications to the state of Jammu and Kashmir is nothing but a fraud on the Constitution.

The petitioners have sought quashing of the Presidential Order as well as the Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019.

This is the seventh petition filed in the Supreme Court challenging the abrogation of Article 370.

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Cities

Major fire in AIIMS, Emergency wing closed

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A major fire broke out on a second floor of a building in the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) complex on Saturday evening. No casualty was reported but as a precautionary measure, the adjacent Emergency department has been closed and patients shifted elsewhere even as efforts to douse the blaze are on.

The fire broke out in the PC building, which is a teaching block and mainly comprises research labs. However, the Microbiology Department’s Virology unit was completely gutted while several samples and medical reports were destroyed.

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment at AIIMS, is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex.

According to Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer of Delhi Fire Services, a call regarding the fire was received at around 4.50 p.m. following which 34 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.


“The fire broke on the second floor in the PC building which does not have patients but is situated near the Emergency block. The fire was brought under control at around 6.30 p.m.,” said Garg adding that no casualty was reported.

Another fire official said the exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained, though initial investigation suggests a short circuit.

As panic spread among people, authorities closed some nearby buildings housing the Emergency and other facilities and shifted the patients to other wards.

“As a precautionary measure, authorities closed the Emergency department which is adjacent to the building that caught fire,” a source in the hospital said, adding that B block, ward AB1, and super specialty OPD area of AIIMS have also been shut down.

“Patients were shifted to other wards from the Emergency department soon after the building caught fire,” the source added.

Sources in the Fire Department said that the blaze spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept.

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Cities

Man held for duping over 20 women on matrimonial sites

He used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A 46-year-old man has been arrested from Meerut for allegedly defrauding over 20 women through matrimonial and dating sites, police said on Saturday.

The accused Gaurav Dhamija, a car spare parts dealer, mostly targeted widowed or divorced women and projected his virtual identity as a handsome, successful entrepreneur earning Rs 25-30 lakhs per annum.

“We had received a complaint at the Cyber Crime Unit/CyPAD, in which the complainant alleged that she has been defrauded by a fraudster who tricked her into depositing money after she showed interest in his very impressive profile on a matrimonial site. The fraudster, Dhamija, trapped her through a volley of emotional tricks such as calling the victim ‘Mrs Dhamija’ and promising to buy expensive gifts for her,” said Anyesh Roy, DCP (Cyber cell).

Police said that once the victim was emotionally trapped, he started asking for money on various pretexts such as parents’ treatment, business investment and other.

“The accused started with small sums and gradually escalated his demands. He kept asking for money but always avoided coming forward in real life. The victims kept paying him due to escalation of their commitment. It was only when the fraudster’s act became too brazen that they started demanding their money back, only to be threatened with dire consequences,” said Roy.

On the basis of the complaint, a case under suitable sections was registered and investigation was taken up, police said.

“During the course of investigation, technical details, including the digital footprints were collected. The accused, who is a resident of Nihal Vihar, Delhi, kept changing his location to evade arrest. His movements were tracked to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and western UP. Finally, with the help of technical data and field inputs, the fraudster was arrested from Meerut,” said Roy.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

“When they demanded the money back, he used to threaten them with dire consequences. It was also revealed that he also used to cheat some of these women by promising to get them jobs in schools and municipal bodies and used to take huge sums from them,” said Roy.

Police said they have found names of more than 20 victims disclosed by the accused who have been cheated by him. The victims are being identified and contacted to join the investigation.

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