Land acquisition bill deferred! Coal and mines bills passed!
These are surprising wins for the government. Given the first flush of enthusiasm and Sonia Gandhi leading a delegation of 14 Opposition parties, the Rajya Sabha or rather the Rajya Sabha ‘managers’ succeeded in pushing through two crucial bills.
It looks that given the time and tactics a ruling party is capable of the land bill too could be pushed through various devices that are available to a government.
And let us not forget that the Opposition is never a united voice, already the Congress members at the upper house ‘conveniently’ absented themselves!
So, this is political reality.
Prime Minister Modi won an absolute majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This is a historic event. As such the whole country must understand its full significance.
Indian Constitution has given the elected Prime Minister almost unlimited powers and had reposed great faith in his or her wisdom. Our 67 years of democracy have given the Indian people certain mindset and maturity to judge the rulers. So, in our wisdom, this journal also moving with the times and with a sense of moral responsibility gives the PM the benefits of doubt and we are sure he would discharge his duties fully in a sense of detached commitment for truth and justice.
The latest session of the Parliament saw many new developments. Though the Congress seemed down and out in the wake of the absence of Mr.Rahul Gandhi, the Vice-President of the Congress, the only credible Opposition party, though with just 44 MPs, the absence of Mr.Gandhi really came as an embarrassment to the party.
Mr.Gandhi’s mysterious disappearance is perhaps the major upset for the old party and perhaps this might have given to Sonia Gandhi a new found deeper sense for self-survival.
So, she showed many new unpredicted courage and energy, the ultimate step was her march towards the Raisina Hills and she really scored a major victory by managing to lead the 14 party delegations.
Yes, please note this was just a delegation and it was by no means any Opposition unity, let alone a new trend towards any political alliance.
But then this new found assertion of unity seemed to have unnerved Mr.Modi. He deployed Mr.Nitin Gadkari, a veteran of sorts to come with a new strategy. Mr.Gadkari had asked for the Opposition parties to come on a common platform to debate the Land Acquisition Act.
In this he had asked Mr.Anna Hazare too. As we write it is not clear how Mr.Gadkari’s opening gambit would pan out. Land Acquisition Act is only one legislation. There are other legislations too. We are sure that given the time and deliberations across the political spectrum Parliament would rise up to the occasion, now and later.
Agriculture is one vital subject where there must only be wider convergence of views from all parties. Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy. Modi had made so many promises during his election campaign. We should not be childish to expect all such promises are easy to deliver.
Minimum support prices, timely kisan credit, subsidies where they are fair and due are all old issues and there can be any variations depending upon the particular states also. Now, farmers in UP and Haryana in particular have expressed their apprehensions as well as disappointments over the unseasonal rains recently and the damage to their crops.
Mr.Ajay Jhakkar of the Kisan Krishik Samaj and others have conducted farmers meet and they have expressed certain positive views and called for new policies. Now, farmers are better informed and even the All Indian Kisan Panchayat that was met by Niti9n Gadkari over the Land Acquisition Act have expressed their views rather forcefully.
India needs developments at a fast pace, no doubt. You go to China and see giant steps in infrastructure, giant airports, giant, high speed trains, and bullet trains are only the latest additions. In India the government had taken up also giant projects like cleaning Ganga and also linking rivers.
So too make in Indian campaigns. The UPA introduced the rural jobs scheme, What we need as a new departure is not just targets for food production but also innovative projects like urbanisation, urban governance and also rural roads and delivery of rural services; he is kisan credit cards to other services through IT tools.
Farmers need healthcare insure cover and also modern governance tools like computerised land records and also pragmatic land reforms which must ensure their lives in villages decent families with a higher land ceiling.
Today farming calls for new investments. No one would invest money in farming unless there is an incentive to earn an assured income from farming enterprises. Poverty is still a great issue and we need a new expert committee to reduce the incidence of inequality and also persistent poverty in the rural areas. So to slum poverty levels.
Urban governance is in shambles, as for instance in Bangalore, the IT hub. Urban governments are now unable to support the heavy weight of challenging problems. So too, corruption.
Corruption is killing the poor more than the well-off, the rich and the middle classes. So, why not the Lok Pal and the Lok Ayuktha.
So, governance reforms, willy-nilly, might take its own shape and Modi might succeed after all.