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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

JNU student protest taking partisan hue

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

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JNU Students Sansad March

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The agitation by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is getting increasingly politicised as the battlelines are now drawn on ideological lines over the “gaushala vs paathshala” debate.

Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammed Salim remarked on Sunday during a JNU protest that: “Paathshala mein kharcha nahin karenge, gaushala mein karenge”. He was referring to what the Left leaders are terming a threat to public funded education by raising fees in universities and colleges and instead trying to promote saffronisation.

It is becoming clear that what started as a protest on hiking of hostel fees by JNU students has turned into a political slugfest with the Opposition attacking the policies of the Narendra Modi government while the government conscious of the ideological baggage of the protesters is also digging in its heels.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said in a tweet: “JNU under seige; such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency. A peaceful protest march to Parliament against the unprecedented fee hikes is being focibly stopped by the police. Strongly condemn this denial of basic democratic right to protest”.

The JNU students march to Parliament became a huge controversy as it was stopped just before the main building by the police. The visuals of police and students clashing in Lutyens’ Delhi on a day when Parliament was on its first day of functioning led to a huge political uproar.

On Twitter, the comments around the protest march are as much around a “fascist mindset” as they are about keeping education affordable for poor students.

The Left leaders especially are seeking to attack the Modi government and the JNU administration for tactics of “Hindu Rashtra fascists” who are trying to curb democratic protests.

With the students also asking other universities to join in, it is becoming a protest against education policies of the government but also a protest against the alleged biases of the right wing.

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JNU students’ march at behest of Left leaders: Spl Branch report

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JNU protest to Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 18 : A confidential report of the Special Branch of Delhi police reveals that protesting students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) had no initial plans to march towards Parliament. “At the behest of prominent CPI and CPI-M leaders, the student group finally decided on Saturday to lead a march to Parliament on Monday,” says the report of the Special Branch sent to the Police headquarters.

On the basis of intelligence inputs, a heavy contingent of police consisting of 800 constables of local police and ten companies of Central paramilitary force was deployed at JNU while key Metro stations were shut.

On Sunday late evening, government officials held a meeting with a few student groups and requested them not to march towards Parliament where the winter session was to begin. However, the report says Left-supported student organisations, the AISA, SFI and AISF, insisted that the march to Parliament would not be postponed.

Sources said on Monday morning, a mob of students forced its way through by breaking the first line of police barricades. The students were led by a Left-wing union.

The report of Special Branch reveals that after the barricades were broken, the students were pacified. They were told that a high-power committee has been constituted to consider their demands. On persuasion of two senior IPS officers, most students seemed convinced and retracted.

However, after a while, a large group of students, suddenly turned violent and managed to break the barricades and proceeded to New Delhi area through Aurobindo Marg. The police contained the agitated groups at Safdarjung Tomb near Jor Bagh, at the border of New Delhi District.

The report says a particular student organisation again refuelled the situation by raising slogans against the government. Subsequently, over 100 students broke through the barricades and tried to march towards New Delhi district area.

The police spokesman told IANS that later these students had to be detained to prevent the situation from going out of hands. The report says that besides the Left, a few leaders of a prominent opposition party were also backing the agitating students to lead a procession towards Parliament.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Delhi govt approves 3 new hospitals

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

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Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Delhi government’s Expenditure Finance Committee here on Monday approved the plan to build three hospitals, each having 650-bed capacity, to increase the access to secondary and tertiary healthcare. Construction is likely to start in two months.

“Each of the three hospitals is to have around 650 beds as per the initial plan, thereby, adding 1,950 beds in the Delhi hospitals,” Health Minister Satyendar Jain said.

The committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, approved the projects.

The hospitals will be constructed in Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri areas of Delhi. “These locations have been selected given their high population density and lack of government hospital facility in proximity,” he said.

Madipur is located in West Delhi and is an urban slum area. Hastsal (near Vikaspuri) and Jwalapuri (in Nagloi) are inhabited by urban, rural and semi-urban population.

“The new hospitals will cater to over 40 lakh people, who had to travel around 5 km (or 30 minutes) to the closest government facility,” Jain said

Apart from increasing access to tertiary healthcare and reducing the expenses, the new hospitals would also reduce the burden on the existing facilities, he added.

“Analysis of the five-year data of the Guru Gobind Singh Hospital (which is 5 km from Madipur, Hastsal and Jwalapuri) shows OPD attendance had increased from 5.5 lakh in 2011 to 6.82 lakh in 2016, and has continued to rise. The corresponding increase for indoor admissions is 5,360 patients from 3,490 patients. Construction of new hospitals will lower the burden and increase beds per patient,” the Minister said.

The aim, he said was to provide free and quality healthcare to all, regardless of their income status. To achieve it, increasing access to healthcare was of paramount importance, he said.

“We want to bring healthcare close to people’s home to help them save money on travelling or on private facilities. We want to increase the number of beds so that no patient is denied treatment because of unavailability of services. Strengthening public healthcare provisions is mandatory for any state, which wants to benefit residents,” Jain said.

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