New Delhi: After swearing-in as India’s 15th prime minister on May 26, Narendra Modi, who led BJP to an astounding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, completed one month in office on Thursday.
Here we present you his hits and misses in first 30 days in power:
Formation of SIT on black money
In the first Cabinet meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a crucial decision of forming a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe black money stashed in foreign banks.
Officials encouraged to freely interact with PM
On his third day in office, PM Modi met PMO staff and enquired about the facilities available to them for their functioning. He emphasised on leveraging modern technology and developing systems and processes for effective monitoring and resolution of issues which are particularly brought to his office.
Stressing on team work to bring in good governance, he encouraged officials to freely interact with him with their ideas.
Stress on efficient, speedy decision-making and improved work culture
Top bureaucrats have been directed to improve work culture in the central government. They have been asked to repeal ‘archaic’ processes and reduce the decision-making layers.
In an 11-point circular, the prime minister has laid stress on efficient and speedy decision-making in a transparent manner. All departments have been asked to reduce decision-making to a ‘maximum of four layers.’
All government buildings and work spaces of departments should be cleared of obstructions and spruced up, said the PM.
List of do’s and don’t for ministers to end nepotism
With an aim to avoid any allegation against his government, PM Modi has issued a list of directives for his ministers. He has asked the ministers to avoid appointing relatives as personal staff, not to give government contracts to relatives and well-wishers, ensure probity in public dealings.
Instructions for BJP MPs
During the BJP Parliamentary meet, the prime minister asked his party’s lawmakers – not to touch his feet, be regular in Parliament, speak in a decent manner, highlight constituency’s problem.
Have a look at incidents that kicked-off controversy
Row over Smriti Irani’s educational qualification
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani was at the centre of a controversy over her educational qualification after it emerged that she had made contradictory declarations when she contested Lok Sabha Elections in 2004 and 2014.
In her affidavit to the Election Commission for the 2004 Delhi elections, the actor-turned-politician mentioned that she is a 1996-batch arts graduate from School of Correspondence of Delhi University.
However, in this year’s election affidavit, Irani said she has passed part-I of Bachelor of Commerce from DU’s School of Open Learning in 1994.
A major row erupted over the contradiction in her affidavits, with Congress demanding her resignation. Madhu Kishwar, who is considered to be close to PM Modi, also showed her unhappiness over Irani’s appointment as the HRD minister.
Najma Heptullah’s controversial remarks on minority status of Muslim and reservation
Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah said, “Muslims are not minorities. Parsis are. We have to see how we can help them so that their numbers don’t diminish.”
She said ruled out reservation for minorities, saying minorities needed a “level playing field” in society, but reservation was not the answer.
Reservation on the basis of religion is not permissible under the Constitution. Nor is it a solution. It kills the spirit of competition,” she said.
Article 370 row
On his first day in office, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Jitendra Singh, kicked off a controversy by his comments on Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
He said, “The government is open to debate on merits and demerits of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir and would make efforts to convince the unconvinced by holding contact programmes with every section of society in the state.
Following his remarks, a war of words broke out between J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and RSS functionary Ram Madhav.
Other political parties also jumped into the debate.
In 2011, a woman filed a rape case against Union Fertilizers Minister Nihal Nihalchand Meghwal and 16 others in Jaipur. She alleged that Meghwal had sexually assaulted her.
The minister has recently been summoned by a court in Jaipur.
The Congress is demanding Meghwal’s resignation on moral ground.
Sacking of governors appointed by previous UPA government
The Modi-led NDA government asked the UPA-appointed governors to step down. The move drew a sharp reaction from different political parties.
IB report on NGOs
In a report entitled ‘Impact of NGOs on Development,’ the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has said that the opposition to several development projects in the country by a significant number of NGOs, including Greenpeace, will negatively impact economic growth by 2-3 percent.
A report to the Prime Minister’s Office said funds to certain NGOs were mostly used to fuel protests against developmental projects relating to coal, bauxite mining, oil exploration, nuclear plants and linking of rivers, resulting in stalling or slowing down of these projects. It also claimed some NGOs and their international donors are also planning to target many fresh economic development projects including those in Gujarat. In another report, IB has recommended the cancellation of permission given to Greenpeace for collecting funds abroad besides reassessment of its tax compliance. The report came under attack from activists. Former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramdas, former Director General of Tripura Police K S Subramanian, senior columnist Praful Bidwai, anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar and number of other activists debunked the IB report, terming it “baseless” and aimed at “discrediting popular protests.” Lashing out at the IB report, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it is nothing but “criminalisation of dissenting voices” and is being misused by political bosses.
Controversy over govt circular to promote Hindi on social media
Home Ministry circulars seeking to promote official language Hindi in the social media sparked a controversy with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, two of BJP’s allies and DMK opposing it strongly.
In the circular dated May 27, all ministries, banks and public sector undertakings have been asked to give preference to Hindi over English on their social media.
Rail fare hikesPursuing the policies of the previous UPA government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had condemned pre-budget hikes of the Manmohan Singh government as “anti-democratic,” allowed an increase in the railway passenger fare by 14.2 percent just before the annual budget which is to be declared in the Lok Sabha early next month. Freight charge was also hiked by 6.5 percent.
Objecting to the increase in freight rates ahead of the railway budget on March 14, 2012, the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked him to withdraw the notification.
“Such a hike violates the supremacy of Parliament. The timing of the notification, coinciding with the results of the assembly polls in five states, is surprising,” Modi had said in a strongly-worded letter to the then prime minister.
After the Modi government took the unpopular decision of hiking railway passenger fares, people started questioning the move.
Condemning the “unprecedented” hike, Left parties demanded a roll back. Demanding a rollback of the hike, CPI National Secretary D. Raja said, “Within a month, the Modi government has started showing its true colours. On the one hand, it is siding with the corporate houses and taking stark anti-people measures on the other.”
He asked how the new government was different from the UPA as the BJP regime was “pursuing the same policies of de-linking the hiking of rail fares from the budget. The government is yet to face Parliament for the budget.”
Former Railway Minister and RJD Chief Lalu Prasad also slammed the Modi government for announcing “big” hike in rail fare and freight, which he described as the “first salvo on the common man.”
Strongly opposing the hike, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back the increase in the interests of the poor and the middle class people.
The government’s silence on the stand-off between the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Delhi University over controversial Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) has drawn sharp criticism from the Opposition.
(With inputs from PTI)