Connecting Music

Connecting Music HD Videos

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Congress, Please Calm Down - The Governors Issue

The possible removal of Governors, appointed by the previous government, is in the news. Congress party spokespersons are questioning the propriety of such a decision by the Union government. To bolster their arguments, many are quoting the May 7th 2010 judgement in the BP Singhal versus Union of India case by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which followed the removal of the Governors of Uttar Pradesh (Vishnu Kant Shastri), Haryana (Babu Parmanand), Gujarat (Kailashpati Mishra) and Goa (Kidarnath Sahni) in July 2004. More on that verdict later because this issue, first, needs to be examined in totality, or else the woods will be missed for the trees. The Governor's post is an office of eminence. The actions of a Governor must therefore be in keeping with the dignity of the institution. However, throughout their tenures, Karnataka Governor H R Bhardhwaj and Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal regularly made news with regard to their partisan attitude towards the BJP governments in their respective states. A number of existing Governors like Margaret Alva of Rajasthan have nearly completed their tenures. Others Like Mr BV Wanchoo of Goa and Mr MK Narayanan of West Bengal might be required for questioning by the CBI in the Augusta Westland helicopter scandal. The tearing hurry with which Mrs Sheila Dikshit was appointed as Governor of Kerala, literally days before the UPA government's term expired, is also questionable. It can also be argued that her appointment to a constitutional office was to offer her immunity from any charge that may arise on account of the Shunglu Committee report on the Commonwealth Games scam. The Judgment by the Supreme Court in 2010 case states that "Under Article 156(1), the Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President. Therefore, the President can remove the Governor from office at any time without assigning any reason and without giving any opportunity to show cause." However, this power (of the President to remove a Governor) " cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner. The power will have to be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons. What would be compelling reasons would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case." The top court also said that "A Governor cannot be removed on the ground that he is out of sync with the policies and ideologies of the Union Government or the party in power at the Centre." The court concludes by adding that "as there is no need to assign reasons, any removal as a consequence of withdrawal of the pleasure will be assumed to be valid and will be open to only a limited judicial review". From the judgement it is clear that the Union Government does have the power to change Governors as long as "valid and compelling reasons" exist. Former Attorney General of India, Soli J Sorabjee, who appeared on behalf of the petitioner in this case, in an article titled "On Governors, go by reason not whim" dated May 23rd 2014 in the Indian Express, concludes by stating "Apparently, hopes of successful judicial redress by governors who may be removed are not too bright. It would be befitting and also expedient if they resigned, rather than stuck to their gubernatorial chairs and tried their luck in the courts." Beyond the legal position, there are many broader issues to consider. Can the Congress party really argue against such examples on the basis of propriety? Nor can it be ignored that successive Congress governments through the decades not only removed and appointed Governors at their whims but also blatantly misused the office of the Governor especially with regard to Article 356 and the imposition of President's rule. Now that they are no longer in government at the centre, Congress Party spokespersons are displaying a convenient flexibility on stands involving principles. Precedence and the constitutional position both confirm that the Union Government enjoys the power to change Governors. Whether it chooses to exercise this right or not cannot be questioned, least of all by the Congress Party. In 2004, before removing four Governors appointed by the Vajpayee government, the Congress party ignored the fact that the BJP-led NDA government not only continued with Governors appointed previously but also granted a second term in 2000 to the Governor of Meghalaya, senior Congress leader Mr M M Jacob, who had served as the Minister of State for Home Affairs under Narasimha Rao. In light of all this, perhaps propriety might be better served if the said Governors displayed grace in considering resigning themselves. Or would they prefer a path of confrontation that demeans the very office of eminence that they seek to forcibly cling on to?
By Nalin S Kohli is spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Article Credits NDTV

P.M.Narendra Modi's Bhuttan Visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home on Monday from his 2-day Bhutan trip. This was PM's first foreign trip since assuming charge. During Modi's tour, both countries reaffirmed their commitment to extensive development cooperation and discussed ways to further enhance economic ties.
Here are some of the key points of Modi's visit to the Himalayan nation:
1. India and Bhutan reiterated their commitment to achieving the 10,000 MW target in hydropower cooperation and not to allow their territories to be used for interests "inimical" to each other.
2. Modi inaugurated one of India's assistance projects - the building of the Supreme Court of Bhutan and laid foundation stone of the 600MW Kholongchu Hydro-electric project, a joint venture between India and Bhutan.
3. India also announced a number of measures and concessions including the exemption of Bhutan from any ban on export of milk powder, wheat, edible oil, pulses and non-basmati rice.
4. The two sides recalled the free trade arrangement between them and the expanding bilateral trade and its importance in further cementing their friendship.
5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mooted the idea of an annual hill sports festival with India's northeastern states along with Bhutan and Nepal.
6. Modi announced doubling of scholarships being provided to Bhutanese students in India which will now be worth Rs 2 crore.
7. India will also assist Bhutan set up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.
8. Both India-Bhutan reaffirmed their commitment to extensive development cooperation and discussed ways to further enhance economic ties.
9. Modi described Bhutan as a natural choice for his first visit abroad as the two countries shared a "special relationship''.
10. The fact that the Prime Minister chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to woo it and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Obama will offer a $10 trillion carrot to Modi

US President Barack Obama intends to work towards making India a $10 trillion economy. Hence he is disregarding advice from Clinton-era officials to continue to adopt a hostile stance towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Authoritative sources in Washington say that the US President has decided to ensure that Modi receives "the same warm welcome that was extended to Manmohan Singh in the White House". Apart from a formal meeting in the Oval Office, "which would be the forum for substantive discussions and not merely a photo-op", the Prime Minister will be invited to a private dinner at the White House with President Obama, according to key sources on Capitol Hill. They point out that Modi will be "the only world leader attending the UN General Assembly in mid-September to get this level of Presidential attention", and that "this is a clear indication that President Obama seeks to distance his administration from the (George W. Bush-Hillary Clinton) legacy of seeking to indict Narendra Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots". This reconsideration was first reported in The Sunday Guardian (Obama quietly reverses Hillary's 'get Modi' policy, 20 April 2014). In a sense what Barack Obama is seeking with India is similar to the approach followed by then President Richard Milhous Nixon in 1972 towards China, "of seeking to make the country a strong economic power". A senior US official said that "the intention of President Obama is to help India to become a $10 trillion economy", which would be five times higher than the present level. Another official warned that "the $6 trillion gap between Indian and Chinese GDP is upsetting the strategic balance in Asia, and needs to be bridged". He said that initiatives which had been stalled by Clinton-era officials in various departments for so long "will now get fast-tracked". These will include much greater cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism, space, education and science & technology than was permitted by the Clinton-heavy US administration thus far. "Nearly 30 co-production programmes between the US and India are to be proposed within the year," a senior official said, adding that "some of these have already been suggested, but were blocked by paralysis in decision-making of the Manmohan Singh government." The US has already publicly announced that it would like trade between the two sides to cross $500 billion annually in a few years, up from the present level of $100 billion. A source on Capitol Hill claimed that "Hillary Clinton and her folks adopted the schoolmistress approach of telling countries what they should do." In contrast, he said that "President Obama is more respectful of the choices made by different countries, even when these do not conform exactly to US needs." A high-level source added that "the intention is to work out an equal relationship with India, which would create a balanced power equilibrium in Asia and moreover tap into the synergies between US and Indian (private) business". His assistant said that the intent behind the new approach was to "integrate Indian business firmly within the global supply chain" and to "maximise job-creating investment rather than just financial inflows". He pointed out that "the hostile rhetoric (from Washington) on trade protection that was evident in the past has been muted, now that Modi has taken charge and there is finally hope of a businesslike approach towards US-India ties". Senior officials pointed out that "President Obama did not wait for a formal declaration (appointing Narendra Modi as PM) but called him personally on 16 May as soon as the electoral verdict was clear". He said that President Obama "wants to make a genuine strategic partnership with India among the most important parts of his foreign policy legacy, and towards that objective, wishes to engage intensively with Prime Minister Modi". Disappointing those who were hoping for a cool reception during the new Prime Minister's first US visit in mid-September, it is now clear that Narendra Modi will be given a full dose of the legendary Obama charm. "The President has ensured that his entire team is on the same page on the question of welcoming and working with Prime Minister Modi, including senior officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry (who were earlier adopting the Bush-Clinton line on him)," a key source on Capitol Hill claimed. US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal arrived in Delhi from Beijing on the early morning of 7 June for meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. She is expected to assure her Indian interlocutors that the bitterness of the past is now history, and that the Obama administration seeks to engage "closely and fully in a spirit of mutual interest and partnership" with Team Modi.
Article Credits Madhav Nalapat-The Sunday Guardian

Bhutan prepares to welcome PM Narendra Modi

Thimphu, Jun 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to choose Bhutan for his first foreign visit has been hailed here as historic and authorities are leaving no stone unturned to welcome him to further cement the already strong bilateral ties. The visit scheduled on June 15 to 16 will provide an opportunity to discuss bilateral issues and further strengthen Indo-Bhutan relations. "We're honoured to have him choose Bhutan as the first country he's visiting after assuming office. This is a historic visit, the entire world is watching, not just the SAARC region, and we're extremely happy, we're proud," said Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay. "It speaks volumes about the importance he attaches to the region, but more significantly to the importance he attaches to the friendship between our two great countries," Tobgay was quoted as saying by the the local newspaper, Kuensel. The 11th Five Year Plan, the ongoing hydropower projects and the Economic Stimulus Plan will also be discussed in the meeting. "But as of now, we don't see any specific issue that we'll be discussing, as far as we're concerned, our main agenda is to further cement our already very strong ties of friendship," Tobgay said. Preparations are underway in the capital city to what local newspapers have described as "modi-fication". Gates and bridges are also being hoisted and painted. Modi is expected to meet King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, head of state Druk Gyalpo and other senior government officials during his stay. The visit reflects the importance India attaches to its ties with Bhutan. Prime Minister Tobgay was among the leaders from the neighbouring countries to attend Modi's swearing-in in New Delhi on May 26.

News Credits OneIndia

Monday, June 2, 2014

Modi takes charge, India rejoices

Euphoria of victory will start receding and the serious and challenging business of governance will begin.
The people of India celebrated with great joy and fulfilment as Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014. They had many things to celebrate. The success of their own mission of bringing in Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, whom they had firmly decided was the only hope for India's future, after the devastation of India unleashed by the UPA. But more than that, they were celebrating Narendra Modi's phenomenal and unprecedented victory, surpassing his own Mission 272, and almost achieving the impossible. Yes, the election did assume the form of a Presidential type election, and Modi swept it with a wave, bringing the BJP to power with an absolute majority for the first time since Independence and a single political party in power for the first time in two decades. One can even say that the election started looking more and more like a referendum on Modi, and not really an election between political parties. Anyone I have asked this question to, poor, middle class or rich, rural or urban, has said the same thing. For me, it was a personal celebration that brought me great satisfaction to see Narendra Modi being sworn in as Prime Minister, someone I had been championing from the very beginning, as the most qualified to lead the nation. He has ended the corrupt, communal and anti-national UPA regime, and has returned the nation to the people of India. It was a perfect oath taking ceremony — suffused with dignity and grace, with the aura of splendour that accompanies Rashtrapati Bhawan's august events. The people of India were delighted at Modi's surprise announcement of inviting heads of SAARC governments and of Afghanistan and Mauritius to attend the ceremony. A most meaningful gesture of goodwill for all our neighbours, that put behind the recrimination and rhetoric of the election, and gave way to bonhomie, generosity and magnanimity. The gathering was impressive and did India proud. But most of all, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan deserves our heartiest congratulations and thanks for standing up to all his internal pressures and accepting Narendra Modi's invitation. India was delighted to see him in New Delhi. Of course, nobody expected any serious negotiations and breakthroughs — the occasion was only meant as an expression of intent for future goodwill and dialogue. Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan reiterated their goodwill by releasing fishermen who periodically get arrested for fishing in neighbouring territorial waters, and India reciprocated likewise. The euphoria of victory and celebrations will gradually start receding, and the serious and challenging business of governance will begin, the real walk through fire, and in such disabling circumstances. Inheriting a nation with a bankrupt treasury, a dead economy. But the nation has already witnessed in the span of a mere week Modi's indefatigable energy and dynamism, his capacity for working long hours, and hard work, his competence in facing challenges head on, and his determination and dexterity to overcome them. He has a full agenda. He must prioritise among priorities, all of which are equally urgent for restoring development and the economy. He must start the process of fulfilling promises made to the people of India, and securing credibility. It is not for too much longer that opposition, media, and the people will remain overawed. Modiji has completed the first stage of his government formation, and tried to be as balanced about it as he could. No doubt, he realises that his bullet proof armour must protect him both from the front and back, and he has kept the "threatful" ones close to him, a wise strategy perhaps, also advocated by our great ancient scholar of governance and statecraft, Kautilya. The people of India have great confidence and believe it is only fair that they must wait until the new government has settled in, before the wheels of change start turning and promises start getting fulfilled. The Prime Minister has made another fine and unprecedented start by extending a proactive hand of friendship to the states, regardless of their political hue. He is reported to be keen on constituting a cell in government solely dedicated to issues that keep cropping up between the states and the Centre that remain unattended for years, and sometimes decades. Restoring the true federal spirit between the Centre and the states is something close to his heart, and in the long term, treating all states as equal, regardless of their political composition, is important for restoring democratic federal health in governance. I also congratulate the Prime Minister for his prompt action in constituting the Special Investigation Team ordered by the Supreme Court way back in 2011. The Congress government fraudulently managed to avoid bringing the team into existence through one ruse or another. The spate of government office fires in recent times, starting from the PMO, the last being at Shastri Bhawan, which saw several important files turn to ash, was extremely worrisome, as Shastri Bhawan also houses the Law Ministry. After being informed by the Solicitor General that the black money documents were lodged in North Block, I was constrained to bring to the attention of the Court my legitimate fears that North Block might well become victim of another sudden fire. The Hon'ble Court ordered that all documents be handed over under the safe custody of a joint secretary of known integrity. But I do hope that adequate photocopies of all documents have been made, and the correspondence properly listed, just to take precaution against yet another fire mishap or any other circumstances enabling loss of files. Even on the day that counting of ballot papers was in progress, the UPA government was in the Supreme Court, asking for a review of the Supreme Court order. It is now imperative that Narendra Modi must take all the necessary steps to bring back our nation's money to the tune of Rs 90 lakh crores, or US $1,500 billion, and make India a land of plenty again. It has recently been reported that the US Justice Department convicted Credit Suisse AG, Switzerland, for helping Americans avoid paying taxes through offshore accounts, and fined them $2.6 billion. If the US can do this, so can we. Governance, especially political governance, is never a predictable affair. Already, over enthusiastic and well intentioned, though not necessarily well informed ministers, have started airing their views about sensitive issues that are critical to the nation with far reaching ramifications that can only be understood after serious study, such as Kashmir and Article 370, about minorities, especially the Muslim minority. As reported in the press, Modiji has taken serious note of this irresponsible and personal obiter dicta that some of his ministers are indulging in, and has advised them regarding the importance of observing discipline regarding personal public comments on sensitive national issues, particularly those with security repercussions. I must, however, state that there appears some degree of disquiet in the legal fraternity about some of the appointments that have recently made, and I refer particularly to that of the Advocate General and Solicitor General. I am of the firm view that a precedent should be set that appointments of the highest law officers must be made after formal consultation with the Hon'ble Chief Justice of India and informal sounding of senior members of the bar. The Advocate General must be an eminent jurist, one who enjoys the confidence of the Bar and the legal fraternity. Narendra Modi always knew how challenging his new job would be, especially after the decade long UPA rule, and was well prepared for it. He has to rebuild governmental structures that he has inherited completely broken down. Most institutions don't work for the objectives they were intended, and those that do work, do so for the wrong reasons. He has to revive the economy, generate jobs, reduce prices and inflation, crack down upon corruption, and improve the lot of the common man through his development agenda. He has made a great start, and needs all our prayers and good wishes to succeed in his mission of placing India First, and fulfilling his promises to the people. The nation prays for his success, and for leading India towards progress, prosperity and peace.
Article Courtesy,RAM JETHMALANI on The Sunday Guurdian