The meeting was attended among others by Modi, senior leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had to table the pre-Budget Economic Survey in Lok Sabha, joined the press conference where the announcement was made by Singh before all these leaders.
“From now and now on, Amit Shah will be the president of the BJP and lead the party. His appointment was asp proved unanimously,” he said flanked by Modi and other leaders.
Shortly after the announcement, Modi and Singh offered sweets to Shah while other leaders including Advani, Joshi, Swaraj and Jaitley gave him bouquets.
As reporters started plying him questions, Shah replied “I will speak later” bringing the brief ceremony to a close.
MASTER STRATEGIST SHAH SCRIPTS HISTORY IN BJP
BJP’s key election strategist who crafted an unprecedented victory in Uttar Pradesh. Shah, 50, scripted history by becoming the youngest president of the party in which veterans have called the shots since its inception.
Considered an invaluable deputy to any neta, he has taken less than a year to catapult himself from a Gujarat BJP strongman to the party’s supremo on the national stage.
Most leaders in the BJP agree that Shah, who was associated with the RSS in his early days, has earned every bit of his success.
What worked eventually in favour of Shah was his extra-ordinary political performance in UP where as BJP’s general secretary in-charge he led the party to a dream run wresting 71 of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats in the politically crucial state.
Together with Apna Dal, a new ally which Shah got on board, the BJP won 73 seats in the state leaving a handful for the ruling SP and the Congress in the state.
Shah’s organizational skills came in handy for the BJP in bordering Bihar as well where the party forged alliances with the LJP and OBC strongman Upinder Kushwaha to score a staggering 22 alone and 31 out of 40 seats with allies and reducing the state’s incumbent JDU government to a virtual naught.
With his master act of scripting LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s return to the NDA fold after over a decade since Godhra riots, Shah managed a massive political makeover for his boss Modi, who had long been denounced by Paswan for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
That apart, Shah’s poaching of LJP and Kushwaha who had been eager to ally with the Congress, forced political realignments in Bihar with the JDU and Lalu Prasad’s RJD coming together to face the BJP’s new political challenge.
UP, Bihar and Gujarat put together, Shah’s stamp was visible in half of the total number of seats the BJP won in the 16th Lok Sabha elections, driving the party to its best ever performance under the Modi-Shah combine.
Political acumen apart, Shah’s controversial past has continued to haunt him until lately. Accused of fake encounters involving Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Tulsi Prajapati among others, Shah spent three months in the Sabarmati jail before he secured bail in 2010.
The bail cleared the hurdles in
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Russia accepts John Tefft as new US ambassador to Moscow
Russia has accepted veteran US diplomat John Tefft as Washington’s next ambassador to Moscow, presidential aid Yury Ushakov confirmed. He declined to comment on whether the Russian government was concerned with Tefft’s reputation of a hawk and allegations that he was the mastermind behind ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia and Ukraine, where he served as ambassador previously. Tefft is to replace Michael McFaul, who resigned in February.
Jakarta Governor Jokowi leading Indonesia elections
Jakarta Governor Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo from Indonesian Democratic party is leading the country’s elections, according to an exit poll conducted by the Indonesian Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). After the polls closed at 1pm local time (06:00 GMT), Jokowi took the lead with 45.1 percent of votes. His main rival, former General Prabowo Subianto from the Great Indonesia Movement Party, had garnered 42.2 percent.
Japan’s super typhoon heads to Russia’s Far East
A super typhoon Neoguri which has already struck Japan, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more, is heading to Russia’s Far-Eastern island of Sakhalin. The island borders on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. Sakhalin authorities say Typhoon Neoguri will bring heavy rains to the region. A high alert warning was declared on the Island.
Four dead after homes collapse in central NY state
A powerful storm – and possible tornado – in New York on Tuesday has reportedly knocked down several homes in the central part of the state, killing at least four people. According to the Los Angeles Times, the severe storm caused the collapse of several structures in Smithfield, located in New York’s Madison County, resulting in “immense” damage and forcing local authorities to dispatch a number of ambulances. The Smithfield Fire Department confirmed to the Times that four people died as a result of the weather-inflicted destruction.
North Korea launches possible Scud missiles
The reclusive and bristly nation of North Korea appears to have launched two projectiles off its eastern coast in a continuation of recent missile and artillery test launches, according to a South Korean defense official cited by AP. Analysts believe the large number of test-firings of missiles and rockets are partly in protest against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to South Korea, which was the first time a Chinese leader had ventured to Seoul prior to visiting Pyongyang. North Korea is also angry over US-South Korean military drills in the region. Regular short-range missile launches are interpreted by Washington and nearby countries as a warning by the DPRK not to interfere with its nuclear weapons program.
Al-Shabab militants attack Somali presidential palace
Armed Islamist al-Shabab militants attacked Somalia’s presidential palace in the country’s capital of Mogadishu and gained access to the building, an al-Shabab spokesman said. All the militants were killed, the government official reported, and the fighting is now over. The president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, was not in the residence at the time of the attack. The Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab controlled Mogadishu till 2011, but they still regularly attack the city.
2 people dead in Washington State medical center shooting – police
Two people died in a shooting in a medical center in Spokane, Washington, local police said. Apparently, a man came into the institution, where his wife worked, killed her and subsequently shot himself, AP reported. Local media say the incident happened in the Deaconess Medical Center complex. There are no reports of other victims.
Marijuana shops open in Washington State
The first legal marijuana shops, where pot can be bought for recreational use without a doctor’s prescription, opened in Washington State on Tuesday. Currently, only 25 proprietors have a license to sell marijuana, Reuters reported. Washington became the second state after Colorado to give out retail marijuana licenses – the regulators have already accepted 334 applications.
Two British men arrested on attempted terrorism charges
Two British men, Mohammed Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Zubair, are currently on trial for attempting to engage in acts of terrorism. The childhood friends set off to Syria to assist rebel forces last year, and subsequently spent eight months in the crisis-ridden state. Prior to their departure, they had been in contact with Islamic extremists based in the UK. The young men, both aged 22, were arrested by a UK counter-terrorism unit upon their return to Britain in January. Both admitted to a single count of preparing to engage in terrorism acts at London’s Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.
25 recent Ebola deaths in West Africa – WHO
Fifty new cases of Ebola have been diagnosed and 25 people have died of the virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea since July 3, the World Health Organization reported on Tuesday. All the cases except two were registered outside Guinea, where there has been a reduction of the disease, the United Nations agency said. The epidemic broke out in Guinea in February, and since that time throughout the three countries there have been 844 cases recorded, with the death toll reaching 518.
3 injured during Spain’s San Fermin bull runs
Three people were injured in the second running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Spain on Tuesday. One of the injured, a 23-year-old man from England, is in a critical condition after sustaining severe chest trauma and rib fractures, the Navarra regional government reported. The other two injured men were from Japan and Spain. Another man was hurt on Monday. San Fermin, which attracts thousands of tourists, is an outdoor festival in Pamplona, whose main feature is the running of the bulls, which results in dozens of injuries every year.
Japan outraged at Chinese map showing Hiroshima, Nagasaki nuked
Tokyo said it will make a stern protest to China after a regional newspaper Chongqing Youth News printed a map of the country showing mushroom clouds hovering over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which suffered from US nuclear bombings during World War II. The controversial picture, accompanied by the words “Japan wants a war again,” came with an article decrying Japan’s turn away from post-war pacifist policies to what the author characterized as warmongering. It was later removed from the paper’s website.
Iraq’s parliament reschedules next session to July 13
Iraq’s new parliament rescheduled its next session to July 13, the day after proclaiming a five-week delay. On Monday, parliament put off its next meeting because they had not reached an agreement on new government nominations – a decision that has drawn intense criticism. Parliamentary representative, Mahdi al-Hafidh, claimed the delay is a threat to the security of the country currently being torn apart by Sunni Islamist insurgency.
20 rockets fired into southern Israel, Hamas claims responsibility
Two cylinders seized by Syrian troops contained sarin – UN
Prominent Kuwaiti opposition figure freed on bail
Israel denies killing six Hamas militants
London 7/7 memorial defaced with graffiti hours before 9th memorial service
Afghanistan’s Ghani wins presidential election – preliminary results
Italian navy saves over 2,600 migrants in the Mediterranean
3 suspects confess to killing of Palestinian teenager – official
Passengers evacuated from Channel Tunnel as train failure results in long delays
Hamas pledges revenge on Israel after 7 members die in airstrike
Afghanistan presidential hopefuls fail to agree on election outcome
Greenpeace anti-fracking protesters block access to Chevron shale gas exploration
Moscow concerned about Kiev troops shelling civilian territories
Afghan rocket attack kills at least 5 children
Vietnam helicopter crash kills 16
Israeli fighter jets strike targets in Gaza
US spying allegations are serious – Merkel
Indian Rail Budget 2014:
So hopefully, the platform at Kanpur Central will not look like this–or would it?
Economic Survey envisaged rational expectations
India’s GDP to grow between 5.4% -5.9% in FY2015
Economic Survey of India 2013-14 focuses on reforms for long term-growth prospects on three frontsnamely low and stable inflation regime, tax and expenditure reform and regulatory framework. Further survey suggests removal of restriction on farmers to buy, sell and store their produce to customers across the country and the world. Rationalisation of subsidies on inputs such as fertilizer and food is essential and the Government needs to eventually move towards income support for farmers and poor households.
Highlights of Economic Survey 2013-14
STATE OF THE ECONOMY AND PROSPECTS
- Economy to grow in the range of 5.4 – 5.9 per cent in 2014-15 overcoming sub-5 percent growth.
- Growth slowdown was broad based, affecting in particular the industry sector.
- Aided by favourable monsoons, agricultural and allied sector registered a growth of 4.7 per cent in 2013-14.
- Industry and Service sectors also witnessed slowdown.
- The fiscal policy for 2013-14 was calibrated with two-fold objectives; first, to aid growth revival; and second, to reach the FD level targeted for 2013-14.
- The Budget for 2013-14 followed the policy of revenue augmentation and expenditure rationalization to contain government spending within sustainable limits.
- The fiscal outcome of the central government in 2013-14 was achieved despite the macroeconomic challenges of growth slowdown, elevated levels of global crude oil prices, and slow growth of investment.
PRICES AND MONETARY MANAGEMENT
- High inflation, particularly food inflation, was the result of structural as well as seasonal factors.
- IMF projects most global commodity prices are expected to remain flat during 2014-15.
- The RBI with a view to restoring stability to the foreign exchange market, hiked short term interest rate in July and compressed domestic money market liquidity.
- RBI has indentified five sectors — infrastructure, iron and steel, textiles, aviation and mining as the stressed sectors.
- Public sector banks (PSBs) have high exposures to the ‘industry’ sector in general and to such ‘stressed’ sectors in particular.
- The New Pension System (NPS), now National Pension System, introduced for the new recruits who join government service on or after January 2004, represents a major reform of Indian pension arrangements.
- The next wave of infrastructure financing will require a capable bond market.
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
- The India ’s balance-of-payments position improved dramatically in 2013-14 with current account deficit at US $ 32.4 billion as against US$ 88.2 billion in 2012-13.
- India’s foreign exchange reserves increased from US$ 292.0 billion at end March 2013 to US$ 304.2 billion at end march 2014.
- India’s external debt has remained within manageable limits due to the external debt management policy with prudential restrictions on debt varieties of capital inflows.
- World trade volume which decelerated to 2.8 per cent in 2012 has shown signs of recovery in 2013, albeit slow with a 3.0 per cent growth.
- The sharp fall in imports and moderate export growth in 2013-14 resulted in a sharp fall in India ‘s trade deficit by 27.8 per cent.
- In April-May 2014, trade deficit declined by 42.4 per cent.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD MANAGEMENT
- Record food grains and oilseeds production of 264.4 million tonnes (mt) and 32.4 mt is estimated in 2013-14.
- Horticulture production estimated at 265 mt in 2012-13 has exceeded the production of foodgrains and oilseeds for the first time.
- Due to higher procurement, stocks of foodgrains in the Central Pool have increased to 69.84 million tonnes as on June 1, 2014.
- The net availability of foodgrains increased to 229.1 million tonnes and that of edible oils to 12.7 kg per year in 2013.
The latest gross domestic product (GDP) estimates show that industry grew by just 1.0 per cent in 2012-13 and slowed further in 2013-14, posting a modest increase of 0.4 per cent.
- India ranked 12th in terms of services GDP in 2012 among the world’s top 15 countries in terms of GDP (at current prices).
- India has the second fastest growing services sector with its CAGR at 9.0 per cent, just below China ’s 10.9 per cent, during 2001 to 2012.
- In 2013-14, FDI inflows to the services sector (top five sectors including construction) declined sharply by 37.6 per cent to US$ 6.4 billion compared to an overall growth in FDI inflows at 6.1 per cent resulting in the share of the top five services in total FDI falling to nearly one-sixth.
ENERGY, INFRASTRUCTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS
- Major sector-wise performance of core industries and infrastructure services during 2013-14 shows a mixed trend. While the growth in production of power and fertilizers was comparatively higher than in 2012-13, coal, steel, cement, and refinery production posted comparatively lower growth. Crude oil and natural gas production declined during 2013-14.
- The performance of the coal sector in the first two years of the Twelfth Plan has been subdued with domestic production at 556 MT in 2012-13 and 566 MT in 2013-14.
- A total length of 21,787 km of national highways has been completed till March 2014 under various phases of the NHDP. In spite of several constraints due to the economic downturn, the NHAI constructed 2844 km length in 2012-13, its highest ever annual achievement. During 2013-14 a total of 1901 km of road construction was completed.
- From the infrastructure development perspective, while important issues like delays in regulatory approvals, problems in land acquisition & rehabilitation, environmental clearances, etc. need immediate attention, time overruns in the implementation of projects continue to be one of the main reasons for underachievement in many of the infrastructure sectors.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE
- Human- induced Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are growing and are chiefly responsible for climate change.
- The world is not on track for limiting increase in global average temperature to below 2◦C, above pre-industrial levels. GHG emissions grew on average 2.2 per cent per year between 2000 and 2010, compared to 1.3 per cent per year between 1970 and 2000.
- There is immense pressure on governments to act through two new agreements on climate change and sustainable development, both of which will be global frameworks for action to be finalized next year.
- The cumulative costs of India ’s low carbon strategies have been estimated at around USD 834 billion at 2011 prices, between 2010 and 2030.
India’s Human Development Rank and performance
- According to HDR 2013, India has slipped down in HDI with its overall global ranking at 136 (out of the 186 countries) as against 134 (out of 187 countries) as per HDR 2012. It is still in the medium human development category.
- The poverty ratio (based on the MPCE of Rs.816 for rural areas and Rs.1000 for urban areas in 2011-12 at all India level), has declined from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12.
- In absolute terms, the number of poor declined from 407.1 million in 2004-05 to 269.3 million in 2011-12 with an average annual decline of 2.2 percentage points during 2004-05 to 2011-12.
- During 2004-05 to 2011-12, employment growth [CAGR] was only 0.5 per cent, compared to 2.8 per cent during 1999-2000 to 2004-05 as per usual status.
Today, we are pleased to announce that the World Wide Web Foundation has elected two world-leading innovators to serve on its Board of Directors. Sam Pitroda, an internationally respected development thinker, policy maker, telecom inventor and entrepreneur, and Alex Johnston, a leading communications expert, will join other board directors in shaping the strategic direction of the World Wide Web Foundation as it seeks to achieve its mission: establishing the open Web as a global public good and a basic right.
Established by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Foundation pursues its mission based upon three key pillars: affordable access to the Web, online rights and participation. In each of these areas, the Foundation combines robust original research with powerful advocacy and coalition building initiatives to deliver sustainable change. Pitroda and Johnston join a diverse international board, which works under the Chairmanship of Rick Haythornthwaite, and includes prominent individuals from the technology, philanthropy, academic and business sectors. All members of the Web Foundation’s Board of Directors serve on a pro bono basis and do not accept remuneration for their services.
Welcoming the election of the two new board members, Anne Jellema, Chief Executive Officer of the World Wide Web Foundation said:
‘We are delighted that Sam and Alex have been elected to join our Board of Directors.Their broad international experience and deep sector expertise will prove invaluable as we pursue our mission of building an open, free and universal Web to enhance the human rights of all.”
The State Government of Chhattisgarh must act to protect constitutional rights
The Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India has conveyed to the Union government and the Government of the State of Chhattisgarh its deep apprehension that the decisions of a number of village Panchayats in the Bastar region banning the entry of Christian workers could lead to the large scale persecution of the minority community by aggressive groups.
The government must reverse the decisions of these Panchayats immediately to restore the confidence of the Christian community in Chhattisgarh, which is under considerable stress in recent days. There seems to be well thought out pattern and sinister design behind these actions.
Mr. Suresh Yadav, Bastar district president of the VHP, has said over 50 Gram Panchayats in Bastar have passed orders under Section 129 (G) of the Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Act banning all “non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in the villages.” Some of these include the Sirisguda Gram Sabha, Belar in Lohandiguda and others. The District Collector has admitted that such orders have been passed by three Gram Panchayats. In addition to this, there seems to be a social boycott of Christian villagers, some of whom have also been denied basic amenities including rations.
Such actions are entirely ultra vires of the Constitution of India. They militate against guarantees to all citizens of Freedom of Faith, Freedom of Express and free movement, which are basic human rights. They discriminate against religious minorities, and specially the Christian community.
The delayed action of the district authorities, and the fact that the State government has not acted so far, encourage hostile political elements and their supporters into taking the law into their own hands. The Christian community finds itself extremely vulnerable in these circumstances. There are also accusations that vested commercial interests are encouraging such divisive action by the village Panchayats.
We appeal to the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and the Chief Minister, Dr. Raman Singh, to take urgent action to reverse these motivated decisions of the village Panchayats, and to order the district authorities to ensure their safety and security of the Christian community, their properties and their places of worship. The government must also ensure the local Christians are given their requirements of essential commodities.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India,
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
Rev. Vijayesh Lal
Religious Liberty Commission
Evangelical Fellowship of India
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