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Narendra Modi turns 71 today: 10 landmark decisions that redefined India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Love him or hate him, you simply can’t ignore him! That’s India’s 14th and current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for you. It’s his birthday today and Modi – who has also been the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 – has turned 71. Here’s looking at 10 landmark decisions that redefined India and key developments during his regime.

Launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

 

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) is the one of the most significant cleanliness campaigns by the Government of India. A nation-wide campaign, the mission was launched in 2014 to eliminate open defecation and improve the system of solid waste management. The campaign was officially launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 at Rajghat. The Prime Minister’s speeches made for a personal push for the campaign and the construction of toilets in rural areas to stop open defecation earned praise from many.

Balakot airstrike: India’s military might

 

In the early hours of February 26, 2019, the Balakot airstrike was conducted by India. India confirmed the airstrike by saying that it was a  major “non-military pre-emptive” action directed against a terrorist training camp, which caused the deaths of a “large number” of terrorists. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in which over 40 soldiers were killed.

Abrogation of Article 370

 

On August 5, 2019, Articles 370 and 35(A) were nullified that gave Jammu & Kashmir its special status and the mandate to define its domicile rules. It also led to the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union territories. This revoked the temporary special status, or autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. Two years after the abrogation, the official account of Narendra Modi’s personal website tweeted, “A historic day. Two years ago, on this day, the first big step towards a #NewJammuKashmir was taken. Since then, there has been unprecedented peace & progress in the region.”

Revision of laws in Jammu and Kashmir

The Centre under the Modi government also paved the way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory by amending several laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. In a gazette notification, the Centre has omitted the phrase “permanent resident of the state” from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of the land in the union territory.

Fight against COVID-19

While the government and the Prime Minister came under sharp criticism during the second wave of COVID-19, which created havoc in the country including its capital, Delhi, the tide seems to have turned. With vaccination pace picking up, India witnessed a record 1 crore people getting vaccinated in a single day towards August end. While Modi applauded the feat calling it ‘momentous’, World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan congratulated India for vaccinating 50 per cent of the adult population with the first dose. This comes as a major pat in the back for the PM.

Introduction of Goods and Services tax

The nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime was rolled out in 2017 to incorporate and replace 17 existing indirect taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT and 13 cesses. The rollout of GST through a special session of Parliament four years ago is considered one of the major highlights of the Modi government.

Instant Triple Talaq made a punishable offence

The NDA government faced several hurdles but finally managed to enforce the Triple Talaq law on August 1, 20219, under which giving instant divorce by Muslim men to women was made a punishable criminal offence. Earlier, the Supreme Court of India struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in August 2017, following a petition filed by Shayara Bano, who was divorced through the instant triple talaq. While many opposition parties targeted the PM and government, this is considered a major win for the Modi government. The practice of instant divorce by Muslim men is now punishable by a jail term of up to three years.

Initiation of Digital India

As a PIB statement mentions, the vision of Digital India was aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The idea was to ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically. “This decade is going to enhance India’s capabilities in digital technology and its share in the global digital economy. That’s why top experts are looking at this decade as ‘India’s Techade’,” PM Narendra Modi said earlier this year.

Appointment of the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

While the creation of a CDS was suggested almost two decades ago by the Kargil Review Committee (KRC), in February 2000, General Bipin Rawat was named India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on December 30, 2019. Earlier that year, in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the decision to create the top military post from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

100% FDI for Telecom sector

In the latest development, the cash-strapped telecom sector received a big boost. The Centre has announced major reforms that are likely to usher the telecom industry into a new era, pushing investment and reducing the debt burden. The Union Cabinet, which cleared the big-bang reforms on Wednesday (September 15), also approved a massive relief package for the telecom sector that includes a four-year moratorium on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies as well as allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment through the automatic route.

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AC Approves Creation of 4 new Courts of Additional District & Sessions Judge

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The Administrative Council (AC), which met here under the chairmanship of the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, accorded approval for the creation of four courts of Additional District & Sessions Judges at district headquarters- one each in District Samba, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Poonch.

Farooq Khan and Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisors to the Lieutenant Governor, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, J&K and Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, attended the meeting.

The Administrative Council also approved the creation of 40 new posts of different categories (10 each) at the new court complexes in the four selected districts with a financial implication of Rs. 258.245 lacs (salary) and Rs 21.657 lacs (NPS) per financial year.

The gradual increase in the population of Jammu and Kashmir has substantially enhanced the judicial workload, which has necessitated the opening of new court complexes to cater to the increased public demand.

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J&K Rolls Out Aspirational Blocks Development Programme

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For intensive and focussed development of the 44 most backward blocks of the Union territory, the Administrative Council (AC), which met here under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, approved the rollout of the prestigious ”Aspirational Blocks Development Programme”.

Farooq Khan and Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisors to the Lieutenant Governor, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, J&K and Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, attended the meeting.

The blocks identified under the Aspirational Blocks Development Programme are the most backward blocks of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, requiring particular focus to par with other blocks. In addition, the programme aims to improve development in terms of various socio-economic parameters like education, health and wellbeing, and overall living conditions of the people.

These Aspirational Blocks shall be developed by converging various ongoing UT schemes/programmes and centrally sponsored schemes/ programmes. The District Development Commissioners will be tasked with preparing a suitable development plan. In contrast, the Planning Development and Monitoring Department will constantly monitor the district-wise progress of these blocks through a digital portal.

Under the programme, the resources will be delineated across various development sectors – poverty, health & nutrition, education, and basic infrastructure, at the district level. Additionally, an amount of Rs. 1.00 crore will be provided to each block after fulfilment of defined criteria.

The best practices implemented in the development of Aspirational Blocks will be acknowledged and duly replicated in other blocks to ensure the Union territory’s inclusive and equitable socio-economic development.

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RBI Approves Baldev Prakash As Jammu And Kashmir Bank CEO

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The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday approved the candidature of Baldev Prakash as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jammu and Kashmir Bank for three years; the Bank said in a note to exchanges on October 27.

The appointment is effective from the date of taking charge or April 10, 2022, whichever is earlier, the Bank said.

The Bank said that the appointment of Baldev Prakash as MD & CEO by the Bank of the Bank and the actual date of his taking charge should be communicated separately.

Previously, Baldev Prakash was working with the State Bank of India in various capacities, including as Chief General Manager responsible for framing bank-level policy and strategy for developing and providing digital and transaction banking services to all Bank corporate clients.

Besides this, Prakash has worked for over four years at Muscat (Sultanate of Oman), responsible for handling remittances business including treasury operations successfully, the Bank said.

In September this year, J&K Bank, in an exchange notification, said the board has approved fundraise up to Rs 2,000 crore subject to shareholders’ approval. The fundraiser will be a mix of debt and equity, the Bank said.

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