Times of India | 1 month ago | 06-10-2022 | 11:55 am
PANAJI: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday condemned the BJP-led state government for considering the amendment of the Goa Municipalities Act through an ordinance, even as it claimed that democracy was being killed by the BJP regime. AAP Goa unit president Amit Palekar called on chief minsiter Pramod Sawant to explain the significance of amending the Goa Municipalities Act and said the BJP government has already undermined democracy by buying eight MLAs from Congress. “At present, they are attempting to destroy the democratic process at the grassroots level. All of these tweaks were done to end the opposition,” Palekar stated. “Dussehra is meant to kill evil forces; however, the BJP is trying to kill democracy. All of the BJP’s activities, from buying MLAs to making policy amendments, are done through the backdoor entry,” he added. AAP Velim MLA Cruz Silva said that democracy is in danger under the BJP government. “The BJP government is trying to end the opposition through Operation Lotus. However, the AAP leaders will join forces to oppose this,” he said. AAP Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas too called the ordinance a backdoor entry, and asserted that the BJP and Congress are working together to sabotage the democratic process. “AAP, however, will keep speaking out against government misconduct,” said Viegas. Ahead of the election to the Margao municipal council election, the state cabinet on Tuesday granted its approval to amend the rules to elect chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of municipal bodies by using show of hands instead via secret ballot. The cabinet by circular approved the amendment of Goa Municipalities (Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson Election) Rules 1969 and the government will shortly issue an ordinance in this regard. After Margao MLA Digambar Kamat defected to the BJP along with seven others, Vijay Sardesai-backed Ghanashyam Shirodkar won the Margao Municipality Council (MMC) chairperson poll, but faced a no- confidence motion within three days.
To welcome the cast and crew of Israeli TV series Fauda at International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted in Hebrew on Monday. “I am pleased to welcome @FaudaOfficial stars @liorraz and @issacharoff to #IFFI53 in India! Israel and India share a special relationship,” he posted (roughly translated from Hebrew). Thakur also shared a clip of himself and Fauda actor Lior Raz jumping from the bus. In response, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, tweeted: “…You look one of the team and should probably consider joining Fauda”.NOTA Worry NotedAmid reports that BJP is in a comfortable position in Gujarat, the party leadership appears to be more worried about voter turnout as the D-day nears. The main topic of discussion in BJP’s internal meetings to review preparations is to bring down NOTA votes. Votes for NOTA came third in nearly 115 seats in 2017 elections. There were unsuccessful attempts from the party to shift the category from last position on electronic voting machines (EVMs) because, according to BJP leaders, many people cast their votes on the last line, considering it as number one on the list. Party leaders admit that the biggest task for its cadre and booth-level workers is to get voters out on polling days instead of “being overconfident” about BJP’s victory.Guns Trained on TrainsEven as the government highlights Vande Bharat Express trains as its major achievement, the train seems to invite more Opposition scrutiny. Several MPs, mostly from the Opposition camp, are armed with questions on the Vande Bharat for the ensuing Winter Session of Parliament. The drift of most of these questions, it is learnt, are to catch the government on the wrong foot and to get it revealing something not so complimentary about the celebrated train set.
Vasco: The department of legal metrology during a raid at Housing Board Colony, Zuarinagar, Vasco of BPCL domestic LPG cylinders, found 13 of the domestic LPG cylinders to be underweight.On Monday, people residing in Lamani Colony, Zuarinagar raised a protest after finding some cylinders brought for distribution were short in weight.Both the delivery person and driver of the distribution vehicle abandoned the truck and fled from the site after consumers confronted the duo.Following the uproar, assistant controller, legal metrology, South Zone-I Margao, Nitin Purushan along with his team rushed to the site and conducted a raid. Purushan said that necessary action will be initiated against the gas agency as per provisions of the legal metrology rules and acts. The department has advised consumers to check the weight of a cylinder before buying it and check the verification certificate issued by the department, and also urged citizens to lodge complaints on the designated number.
PANAJI: BJP South Goa in-charge and Union minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship, electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, will hold a brainstorm meeting with BJP functionaries, ministers and MLAs at Margao to chalk out a plan to win the South Goa Lok Sabha parliamentary seat. Chandrasekhar will arrive in Goa on Tuesday on a two-day visit as part of the Lok Sabha Pravas programme. He will visit the district office at Margao and meet the chairperson and councillors of the Margao Municipal Council and sarpanches, deputy sarpanches and elected representatives of South Goa panchayats and zilla parishad. Discussions will be held on the progress of Central government schemes in the region.
ExplainSpeaking-Economy is a weekly newsletter by Udit Misra, delivered in your inbox every Monday morning. Click here to subscribeDear Readers,The western Indian state of Gujarat is set to hold elections for the state Assembly this week. Since the time of India’s freedom struggle, and especially because it was the home state of leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Gujarat was always a politically significant state in India.However, two factors have further bolstered the state’s political heft over the past three decades.One, the Bharatiya Janata Party (or the BJP) has won all the Assembly elections since 1995. And barring a brief period between late 1996 and early 1998, the BJP has been in power in the state. To be precise, it has ruled without break since March 1998. Another five year term would mean that the BJP will extend its unbroken run to 29 years. For perspective, the longest that any party has been in power in a state was the 34 years (1977 to 2011) that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) governed the eastern state of West Bengal.Two, the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, lends importance to Gujarat. Modi had served as the Chief Minister for 12 years, winning three Assembly polls in the process, before shifting to Delhi. During Modi’s tenure as the Chief Minister, the notion of a so-called Gujarat model of development or economy gained traction.Here’s a look at the different aspects of Gujarat’s economy — factors such as unemployment, per capita income, inflation etc. that often play a crucial role in influencing the voters.#1: Overall size of the economyNo matter which way one calculates, Gujarat is one of the biggest economies in the country. Table 1 details the top 6 states with the highest “net State Domestic Product (SDP)” in India. Think of the net SDP as the GDP equivalent at the state level. The Table also mentions Kerala even though it is not a state of comparable economic output just to provide a more complete picture; often the “Gujarat model” has been contrasted with the “Kerala model”. Between the seven states mentioned in the data tables, one can also get a fairly wide geographical spread.Data shows that Gujarat is the fourth-largest economy with a net SDP of Rs 14.6 lakh crore. However, this valuation of economic output is based on current prices. If one were to remove the effect of inflation and look at the “real” net SDP (column 3), one finds that Gujarat becomes the second-largest economy.It is also worthwhile to look at where Gujarat stood relative to the other big states in 1994-95, just before the BJP started its dominant phase. It is interesting to note that at that time Gujarat was even behind UP and West Bengal in terms of overall output. The only state that has actually outdone Gujarat is Karnataka, which was much smaller in terms of economic output in 1995 but has since rapidly grown to become the third-largest economy within India.#2: Per Capita IncomeWhen India’s economy recently overtook the economy of the United Kingdom to become the fifth-largest economy on the planet, it was pointed out that despite this achievement, the UK’s average income levels were twenty-times more than India’s.Table 2 attempts to place the same states in terms of per capita income in order to understand the average level of economic prosperity in a state.Now, Karnataka turns out to be the state with the highest per capita income, closely followed by Gujarat. This is not to suggest that there are no states in India with higher per capita income — Delhi, Goa Sikkim etc. do score higher — but among the bigger states, this ranking still holds.Population size of different states imply that UP lags far behind most states in India despite having a much higher overall output. Kerala also shines.When compared to how things were in 1995, it is interesting to note that Gujarat was, even then, the second-richest in terms of average incomes.And while holding on to the 2nd rank is no mean feat — Tamil Nadu, for instance, failed to stay at the top — it is Karnataka’s rise that has been far more phenomenal.#3: Unemployment rateTable 3 details the unemployment rate (per thousand people) in Rural and Urban areas for the biggest state economies in India (plus Kerala). Gujarat had one of the lowest unemployment rate among all the states and well below the national average.However, unemployment rates have gone up almost across the board since 1999-2000 — the time since when the BJP has had an unbroken streak in the governance of Gujarat. In particular, in Gujarat, both rural and urban unemployment rates have doubled since 1999-00.#4: Inflation rateJust as Gujarat had the lowest unemployment rate among all the big economies, it also had the lowest retail inflation rate among them in each of the past five years (barring UP in 2017-18). Gujarat’s retail inflation rate (that is, based on Consumer Price Index or CPI) was also lower than the national average for each of the five years (see Table 4). Of course, this data does cover the past few months of 2022-23.High inflation has become a global menace and has resulted in voters throwing out incumbent governments to express their anger. However, Gujarat has performed relatively well on this metric for the majority of the current term.#5: WagesWhen it comes to earning daily wages, workers in the agricultural sector as well as the non-agricultural sector of Gujarat earn considerably less than their counterparts in the other big states. Table 5 details how Gujarat not only pays less than the other big economies but also pays less than the national average.#6: InfrastructureChart 6, sourced from the Central Electricity Authority, shows the level of per capita power consumption in the seven states under consideration. Power consumption is a very good proxy for overall infrastructure in any economy. Gujarat’s per capita consumption is the highest among these states and, barring Punjab, the highest among large Indian states.#7: Health metricsTypically it is found that financially better off economies tend to have inhabitants who are physically better off. That’s because a rich state with richer inhabitants and a larger government capacity, can invest in improving the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants.However, it is on these metrics that Gujarat falters the most.Table 7 details Gujarat’s standing on a whole host of crucial metrics. But be it infant mortality rate or the maternal mortality rate or the prevalence of anaemia among infants and pregnant mothers or even indeed the number of beds in government-owned hospitals, Gujarat lags behind the other big economies. In particular, it lags considerably behind the Kerala achievements.That was a summary of where Gujarat stands relative to the rest of the country as well as relative to where it was in the past.Share your views and queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.Lastly, do watch the latest episode of The Express Economist. This time it features Dr C Rangarajan, former RBI Governor and Chairman of the Finance Commission, on the state of the Indian economy.Stay safe,Udit
Margao: Noted lawyer and writer Uday Bhembre on Saturday said that defections by elected representatives amounted to betrayal of democracy and the Constitution, and voiced his disapproval over the refusal of the courts to decide on such defections. Earlier this year, on February 24, the Goa bench of Bombay High Court upheld the speaker’s order dismissing two petitions seeking disqualification of 12 MLAs who left their respective parties and joined BJP in 2019. In September this year, 10 Congress MLAs left the party and joined BJP. “This is a betrayal of democracy. And when betrayers get elected as people’s representatives, they can easily betray the people to whatever extent,” Bhembre said.He made these remarks while speaking at the award presentation ceremony instituted in memory of the late Chandrakant Keni. “The anti-defection law is so simple and short. The moment one resigns as MLA, he stands to be disqualified the very moment. He has betrayed his voters. When power goes into the hands of such betrayers, what allegiance will they have towards democracy and democratic principles. They aren’t willing to adhere to democratic principles nor to the Constitution of India, the 10th schedule of which prohibits such a betrayal,” Bhembre said.He said that while there were attempts at weakening the media and judiciary, the two important pillars of democracy, refusal of the court to decide the case of defection that came before it was worrisome for democracy.