Encouraging Signs: UPA 3 Years = 1 Day Modi Govt

Modi government’s earnestness and its work within a day matching to UPA’s three years is undoubtedly a good sign for India. Achchhe din aa gaye hain’¦

People were getting restless when Bhartiya Janata Party was taking too much time to decide on the date of coronation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Precisely 10 days after the election results came out the oath ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26. But it seems we do not need to worry anymore.

The first day of Modi government showed some quite encouraging signs. Not only the PM held a back to back meeting with all the SAARC heads at Hyderabad House discussing various topics of mutual interest, he also met former PM Dr Manmohan Singh in the evening before holding a cabinet meeting to decide on the important issue of black money.

While stressing on areas of concern, such as terrorism and security among SAARC nations, PM Modi also pitched for improved economic partnerships and better infrastructure linkages with his South Asian neighbours. Stressing on the need to improve road and rail linkages connecting SAARC countries, he discussed sub-regional connectivity with the Premiers of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan.

Expressing his “earnest wish” to visit Nepal this year, PM Modi praised the political progress achieved and expressed hopes that things stayed on track in the country. In his bilateral meeting with Mauritius, he stressed on the need for building partnership in maritime security and cooperating in renewable energy.

Although his attitude towards Bangladesh’s cry on Teesta and border dispute was quite diplomatic as he said in most of his answers that “he will see” as to what can be done, he told the representative of PM Sheikh Hasina that India was prepared to work together in all areas of mutual interest.

The issue of poor treatment of Sri Lankan Tamils and infiltration from Pakistan was also raised by PM Modi, however, he did not link it with the development and economic prospects between India and these countries.

During the UPA rule, the repeated attacks on Jammu and Kashmir had stopped all the talks between India and Pakistan. The CHOGM meet, which was held in Sri Lanka, had seen absence of Indian PM Singh due to the home-grown tensions. Giving in to the regional parties was seen as a weak statement by the PM at that time.

With PM Modi taking the earnest initiatives, the expectations of a better neigbourhood are high. It can be estimated by the fact that even before the swearing in ceremony of PM Modi, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai had personally called him and arraigned him of the situation in Herat where the Indian consulate was attacked by terrorists. He had promised full cooperation and assistance in fighting the terrorists and he kept his word.

Even Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in his brief press meet after the talks said that he looked forward to working with India with the changed leadership terming the meet ‘substantive’. He called it a ‘historic opportunity’ for both the countries.

While the ‘better neigbourhood’ initiative was a masterstroke played by Pm Modi, another area o concern for the public of the country – back money – was given highest priority given the impending Supreme Court order on it.

The first cabinet meeting of Modi government, held right after the meeting with SAARC leaders, decided on setting up a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the directives of the SC to probe black money stashed away abroad.

The SIT would be headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice M. B. Shah and another retired Supreme Court judge Justice Arijit Pasayat would be its vice-chairman.

The SIT will have high-profile government officials like Revenue Secretary, Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Director of Intelligence Bureau, Director of Enforcement Directorate, Director, Central Bureau of Investigation, Research and Analysis Wing chief, Director-General of Revenue Intelligence, Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes and Director of Financial Intelligence.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court in July 2011 had specified the terms of reference for the SIT acting on a writ petition filed by the former Law Minister and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani. However, the UPA government had failed to comply with the order for nearly three years and sought a direction to review/modify the order.

A Bench headed by Justice H.L. Dattu had dismissed the review application and had given three weeks’ time for the Centre to notify the SIT. Last Friday, the court extended the time limit by one more week.

Modi government’s earnestness and its work within a day matching to UPA’s three years is undoubtedly a good sign for India.

Achchhe din aa gaye hain…

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