Times of India | 2 months ago | 26-09-2022 | 04:46 am
Calangute: Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Sunday said that the people have got the wrong impression that he broke an oath to God by leaving Congress and joining BJP. “The oath was that we will not break from the party when we form the government. If the people of Goa did not give us 21 seats, then the oath does not stay. The oath was that if the party gets the numbers and wins and forms government, we will not break. But we only got 11 seats,” he said. Replying to queries, Lobo said it is for the people to decide if they will vote for him again. “We have to work for the people, only then will they vote for us again,” he said. He said the eight MLAs leaving Congress does not mean the party is finished. “Congress still has three MLAs. It does not mean the end of Congress,” Lobo said. However, he said it was a mistake to have left the BJP and joined Congress just before the assembly election. “Personally I think we should not have left BJP. If we made a mistake, then we have to admit it and we have admitted it. We’ve now come back into the party,” he said. He also denied that he rejoined BJP because of threats of raids by the ED and other investigation agencies.
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.
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 email@example.com.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
CALANGUTE: Police and panchayats have to act tougher to bring the problem of touts under control in the Calangute coastal belt, according to Calangute MLA Michael Lobo. Talking to media, he said touts misguiding and cheating tourists is giving the coastal belt a bad name and though police have been taking action by fining them, more needs to be done. “There are some touts who are looting tourists. They will approach tourists and tell them that they will take them to so-and-so club where there are women available, but when they reach there, there is nothing inside. That’s the reason we see fights between tourists and touts. To control this policing should be increased,” Lobo said. “They also use swipe machines and take Rs 20,000 or more. When the tourists complain to police, police call the touts and make them refund the money. But they don’t register an offence. They should file an FIR,” Lobo said. He said with the new tourist season having started, a lot of people from other states are coming to Goa and getting into illegal activities. “Although police have been arresting a large number of drug peddlers, new drug peddlers keep coming from other states and also many locals get into these illegal activities. We have to see how to stop this and make Goa the safest destination,” he said, referring to the recent incident of a woman tourist from Delhi who was hospitalised after allegedly overdosing on illicit drugs at a nightclub in Vagator.
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.