From policy to outreach: All that Modi Sarkar 2.0 has done in one month of governance
It's been a month since Modi Sarkar 2.0 was sworn in at an elaborate ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 30. In a bid to fulfil promises made in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto, the government has taken some promising decisions.
Here are some of the highlights of the first month of the Narendra Modi-led government's second tenure:
In one of the first executive orders signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he approved major changes in the 'Prime Minister's Scholarship Scheme' under the National Defence Fund. The rates of scholarship were increased and the ambit of the scholarship scheme was extended to the children of state police officials who were martyred during terror or Naxal attacks. This was in sync with the BJP's focus on national security, which was one of its primary planks in the 2019 elections.
The government also announced a voluntary and contributory pension scheme that would benefit five crore small and marginal farmers. In this scheme, the Centre will spend about Rs 10,774.50 crore for a period of three years towards its contribution (matching share) for providing social security cover for farmers. An interesting feature of this scheme is that farmers can opt to allow their monthly contribution to the scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme directly.
The government also announced extension of its PM-KISAN scheme to include all eligible farmer families irrespective of the size of land holdings. The revised scheme is expected to cover around two crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries.
In its first Cabinet meeting, a day after being sworn in, the Modi government approved a new scheme that offers pension coverage to the trading community. The scheme will benefit more than three crore small shopkeepers and traders.
The government will make matching contributions in the subscribers' accounts. As per this scheme, all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years.
The formation of the new Jal Shakti Ministry has drawn a lot of attention and is being held up by the government and the Prime Minister as exemplary of its commitment towards addressing the problem of acute water crisis. On Monday, the ministry launched its 'Jal Shakti Abhiyan' that aims to put in place measures for rainwater harvesting, water conservation and replenishing water bodies.
The BJP's election manifesto also promised to make India a five trillion dollar economy. To spur investment and create new employment opportunities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up two Cabinet committees to deal with the two crucial issues, respectively.
The panels, the Investment and Growth panel and the Employment and Skill Development panel, are headed by the Prime Minister himself.
PM Modi also announced setting up of a high-powered committee on structural reforms in the agriculture sector. The panel also includes some chief ministers and examines legislative changes required for reforms.
In its bid to root out corruption, the Modi government asked 12 top tax officers to quit. Some of the sacked officers have been allegedly involved in cases of corruption, illegal and disproportionate assets and sexual harassment. The government also sacked 15 customs and central excise officers on charges of corruption and bribery.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been active in the last month. It has attached properties worth Rs 9,778 crore of Sterling Biotech as part of its investigation into a money laundering case against the pharmaceutical company and others involving domestic and offshore branches of Indian banks in 2004-12.
In another matter, the ED registered a money laundering case against the SBL group, Sandesara brothers and others after a case of bank fraud of Rs 5,700 crore was filed against them by the CBI.
On the other hand, Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently said that Mehul Choksi, one of the prime accused in PNB scam who is currently residing in Antigua, will be repatriated to India, after he has exhausted all legal options in the country. India has been constantly lobbying Antigua to extradite Choksi so he could be tried in India for financial crimes.
Staying with foreign policy, PM Modi, in his second tenure, made his first foreign trip to Maldives.
Maldives honoured PM Modi with their highest award and according to media reports. Maldives is also on the verge of scrapping a maritime deal with China, tilting the balance of the region in favour of India.
PM Modi became the first world leader to travel to Sri Lanka after the Easter terror attack. This is in line with India's 'Neighbourhood First' approach to foreign policy.
At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Prime Minister Modi spoke out against terrorism and sought to build a global consensus around it. He raised the issue of state-sponsored terrorism and said that countries sponsoring, aiding and funding terrorism must be held accountable as he called for a global conference to combat the menace.
At the G20 Summit in Osaka most recently, PM Modi held 25 meetings in two days, one of the highest number of bilateral and pull-aside meetings among world leaders at the summit. He met world leaders from all continents and the tour was considered a success towards India's growing world stature.