Posts tagged ‘Aam Aadmi Party’


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Punjab — Kejriwal vows to curb mining mafia in Punjab – The Hindu

Alleging that a “mining mafia” in Punjab was extorting money from owners of stone crushing units, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday vowed to put an end to the menace “within 24 hours” if his party comes to power in the 2017 Assembly election.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses the people at Dhilwan in Punjab on Sunday.

“I am shocked to know that legal crusher owners have to pay ‘goonda tax or jizya’ to the mining mafia in Punjab. I vow that within 24 hours of AAP’s coming into power, this will be curbed in the state,” Mr. Kejriwal, who is on a five-day tour of Punjab to reach out to voters ahead of the Assembly elections, said at a rally here.

Members of the business community, including owners of crushing units, on Sunday met Mr. Kejriwal and alleged that no action was being taken against the extortionists. They also claimed that false cases were being registered against them.

Mr. Kejriwal said once voted to power, AAP would set up a commission to review such cases and take action against officials who had lodged them.

Reacting to reports of a large number of posters which had sprung up in Jalandhar questioning his governance record, the Delhi Chief Minister hit out at the Akali Dal saying they had ruined the state during their 10-year rule.

“People know who has ruined his state for about 10 years and who is a failed CM,” he said.

Mr. Kejriwal also claimed that no government could have achieved in 65 years what his government had accomplished in one year in Delhi.

“What we have done in our one year rule in Delhi, I challenge that no state government could have done in the last 65 years. I am confident if Delhi goes to polls today, other parties will not be able to win even a single seat,” he said.

He also met people from different walks of life, including industrialists, advocates, shopkeepers and members of the Christian community.

Earlier, BJP workers led by district president Suresh Bhatia and Municipal Council president Naresh Mahajan, tried to gherao Mr. Kejriwal at Gandhi Chowk, but were stopped by police who resorted to mild lathi-charge, in which one person was injured.

Around 80 protesters were detained later released after the Delhi Chief Minister left, police said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kejriwal visited the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar.

Talking to media in Amritsar on Saturday night, he said he met various associations of traders who were not “happy” with the ruling government in Punjab because of “rampant corruption” in government departments. Moreover the state government had failed to “support” traders, he alleged.

Source: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Punjab — Kejriwal vows to curb mining mafia in Punjab – The Hindu


Launching of odd-even scheme in New Delhi: Overwhelmed by response of odd-even scheme, says Arvind Kejriwal – The Hindu

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said he was “over-whelmed” by the response of people towards the odd-even scheme in New Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal The scheme has been successful so far, the Aam Aadmi Party convenor said. “I am truly overwhelmed by the response we have received so far. There are very less even-numbered cars on the roads. The plan seems to have been successful,” Mr. Kejriwal told the media. He said the people of Delhi have accepted the scheme “whole-heartedly”, adding “I am confident that in next five years people will show the way to rest of the country”.

The odd-even scheme for private vehicles started in New Delhi on Friday. The move aims at reducing air pollution levels.

Source: Launching of odd-even scheme in New Delhi: Overwhelmed by response of odd-even scheme, says Arvind Kejriwal – The Hindu


Rag pickers’ services will be recognised by Government; to give national award – The Hindu

The national award, with a cash prize of Rs. 1.5 lakh, will be given to three best rag pickers and three associations.

Now, rag pickers’ services will be recognised by the government which has decided to give national award for their contribution to keep India clean. File photo

Now, rag pickers’ services will be recognised by the government which has decided to give national award for their contribution to keep India clean.

“There are millions of rag pickers in the country. This informal sector has saved the country. They are doing a good job and I have decided to recognise their efforts. We will grant national award,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said at an event on waste management in New Delhi.

The national award, with a cash prize of Rs. 1.5 lakh, will be given to three best rag pickers and three associations involved in innovation of best practices, he added.

Stating that rag pickers are helping to some extent in handling waste, the Minister pitched for setting up of a credible agency like Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that can guide municipal bodies to take measures to address waste management in a scientific way.

“At present, agencies that handle solid waste are working on contractual basis and this has failed miserably. Handling waste cannot always be a profitable business. We have suggested that the Urban Ministry build a credible agency like DMRC that can give scientific guidance,” he said.

The Minister also mentioned that there are adequate funds for waste management. “What is lacking is scientific guidance to handle different kinds of waste,” he said.

Expressing concern over the large quantity of untreated waste and sewage in the country, Javadekar said that current rules have been revised to ensure every village of over 5,000 population has a waste treatment plant.

The country generates 62 million tonnes of waste annually. “This is expected to increase to 165 million tonnes by 2030 and 450 million tonnes by 2050,” he said adding that the worrying fact is that 68 per cent of waste and sewage is not treated in the country at present.

He said the new draft norms on waste management, which aim to put in place a strong mechanism to address concerns related to different kinds of waste, would be implemented from August-end after seeking public comments.

via Rag pickers’ services will be recognised by Government; to give national award – The Hindu.


The Top 10 Misses of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had some major wins—including opening new sectors up to more foreign investment and raising India’s global profile as outlined in this accompanying post about Mr. Modi’s triumphs—he has also had some surprising losses.

Here are 10 that stood out:

Delhi Defeat: Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party made big bets on the Delhi elections in February and lost almost every seat to the upstart Aam Aadmi Party. The small but high-profile local poll proved that the BJP was not invincible. Sambit Patra, a spokesman for the party admitted that the BJP had misread Delhi voters and has learned from its mistakes.

The War on Tax Terrorism: Mr. Modi came to power promising to stop the tax harassment of corporations. The decisions not to appeal tax cases against Vodafone Group PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC were a step in the right direction. Some foreign investors though were then slapped with huge surprise back tax bills making everyone question whether anything has changed. India’s ruling party has said it is working hard to clarify tax laws but it cannot erase cases that had been brought before they came to power.

Minority Concerns: While there has not been anything close to nationwide backlash against minority groups that many had feared, critics say the prime minister has not yet gone far enough to calm the concerns of minority communities. Some worry that people within the BJP and others with Hindu-nationalist leanings seem emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s party, making them more likely to speak out and act out against Muslims, Christians and other non-Hindu communities. Mr. Modi has strongly condemned intolerance and reprimanded BJP members for controversial comments. The party says it represents all Indians and it cannot be responsible for every fringe group that makes trouble. “No one should be scared of anybody, the government supports every community,” said the BJP’s Mr. Patra.

No Big Bang: Two budgets down and still no sign of the big bang economic reforms optimists had expected from Mr. Modi. The changes he has promoted have been more incremental while attempts at some unpopular changes have been blocked in Parliament. He’s unveiled many promising campaigns to do everything from building more toilets and “smart cities” to promoting manufacturing and yoga. However, it’s too early to decide whether his campaigns represent a revolution in thinking or just rhetoric. The BJP spokesman said the party will continue to push for reform.

Paltry Profits: GDP growth has accelerated and inflation has plunged under Mr. Modi, but the Modi magic is not trickling down to the bottom line. For the fiscal year ended Mar. 31, many of India’s largest companies are expected to announce their weakest profit growth in more than five years.

Visa Glitches: On his many trips abroad, Prime Minister Modi expanded the number of countries eligible for so-called visa-on-arrival privileges. Travelers said the new visas ended up causing a lot of confusion forcing the government to rename them, more accurately, e-visas. There was a similar muddle about new rules combining the PIO and OCI visas held by people of Indian origin around the world. The change, which was meant to make it easier for people with Indian heritage to stay in India, ended up causing some angst about whether their right to remain was about to run out.

WTO Battle: One of Mr. Modi’s government’s first global moves was to reject a World Trade Organization agreement set in Bali. India had agreed to abide by the agreement before the BJP came to power but changed its mind, saying it needed more protection for its farmers. With few other countries backing its position, India eventually backed down. The Bali deal, which will simplify customs procedures world-wide, is now moving ahead; both India and the countries that pressured it to accept the agreement claim not to have blinked.

Crackdown: While Mr. Modi has been in charge, India has restricted funding of non-government organizations, including Greenpeace. It blocked the broadcasting of a BBC documentary about the 2012 gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus. New Delhi also stopped Al-Jazeera from broadcasting in India for five days for mislabeling India’s disputed border with Pakistan.

Government officials said the government was not trying to silence critics. In the case of the non-government organization funding, officials said they were just enforcing foreign exchange laws. A court said the ban on the BBC documentary was to avoid law and order problems. Meanwhile the Al-Jazeera blackout was punishment for showing maps with “parts of Indian territory inside Pakistan,” an official of India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry said at the time.

This Outfit: When the prime minister greeted U.S. President Barack Obama wearing this dapper suit in January, many applauded his bold choice of subliminal advertising; others called it an embarrassing display of gauche narcissism.

Mr. Modi hugs President Barack Obama while wearing a pinstripe suit with his name in the stitching. AFP/Getty

This Solo: As with most of his international trips, Mr. Modi was not shy about putting on the local attire during a recent visit to Mongolia. He should have considered ending his tryst with Mongolian culture at that though as his attempt at playing an instrument called the Yoochin—for more than two minutes—was painful to watch.

via The Top 10 Misses of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ.


Delhi’s AAP Provides More Free Water and Power to the People – India Real Time – WSJ

Once again, Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party, has opened up a big bag full of freebies.

Eleven days after being sworn into power again, Delhi’s new government has taken a big step forward in delivering on its promise to make power and water more affordable.

The beneficiaries of the electricity rate cut: households consuming less than 400 units of electricity. Starting next month, electricity tariffs will be cut in half for this section of consumers, Manish Sisodia, Delhi’s deputy chief minister, said Wednesday.

More than 90% of consumers in the capital- more than 3.5 million families- fall in this bracket, he said. The state government will set aside 700 million rupees, or about $113 million, to pay for the power handout.  For the full, new fiscal year starting in April, the Delhi government estimates the cost of the subsidy will be around $230 million.

In Delhi, one of the world’s biggest megacities, power generation and distribution lies in the hands of both the state government and private companies. It taps neighboring states for most of its power as it only produces about 20% of the electricity it consumes.

via Delhi’s AAP Provides More Free Water and Power to the People – India Real Time – WSJ.


Modi’s ‘Make in India’ gets GE boost – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated American multinational General Electric’s (GE) first manufacturing plant in India that will manufacture a range of diversified products for sectors such as energy, aviation, oil & gas transportation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the inauguration of General Electric's multi-modal manufacturing facility at Chakan, Pune on Saturday.

This multi-modal facility will support GE’s global operations as well as cater to the growing demand from the Indian market.

To support Mr. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, GE Vice-Chairman John Rice announced the second phase expansion of this unit by saying that it was a testimony of GE’s commitment for the Indian market.

Mr. Modi assured global investors that the government’s reforms push will continue and one can expect predictability in government policies.

Thanking GE for committing additional investment in India, Mr. Modi said: “This will give a boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative. I welcome all global investors to invest in India and I am assuring you that your products manufactured here will be globally competitive.”

He also urged GE to participate in the defence production programmes of the government as well as that of modernisation of Indian railway.

via Modi’s ‘Make in India’ gets GE boost – The Hindu.


BBC News – Delhi election: Arvind Kejriwal’s party routs Modi’s BJP

An anti-corruption party has won a stunning victory in the Delhi state elections in a huge setback for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man's Party, Arvind Kejriwal waves to the crowd as his party looks set for a landslide party in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

The BJP admitted defeat after Arvind Kejriwal‘s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

Mr Modi congratulated the AAP leader, whose career seemed doomed a year ago when he quit as Delhi’s chief minister over a crucial anti-corruption bill.

It is the BJP’s first setback since it triumphed in the 2014 general election.

Correspondents say the win marks a remarkable comeback for Arvind Kejriwal, a former tax inspector.

His party was routed by the BJP in last May’s general elections, months after the AAP made a spectacular debut in the 2013 Delhi elections.

Mr Modi has enjoyed huge popularity since taking office last year, winning a string of local elections and wooing international investors and world leaders.

Final results gave Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) just three seats. India’s main opposition Congress party failed to win even a single seat.

via BBC News – Delhi election: Arvind Kejriwal’s party routs Modi’s BJP.


Aam Aadmi Party Scores Delhi Elections Polling Hat Trick – India Real Time – WSJ

If three’s a trend then the Aam Aadmi Party might want to throw their topis in the air in celebration at the latest opinion polls.

Three voter surveys published Tuesday in the run up to elections in Delhi gave the lead to AAP slightly ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and leagues in front of the Congress party that held the capital for 15 years until 2013.

The city goes to the polls on Feb. 7 in an election that is widely viewed as a referendum on Mr. Modi’s performance since he took office in May. The results will be announced on Feb. 10.

To be sure, opinion polling in India is far from an exact science and usually needs to be taken with a handful of salt.

Nevertheless, the wind seems to be changing in favor of AAP, or the common man’s party in a revival of fortunes after a drubbing in national elections last year.

Analysts say this is because the upstart party has focused on local issues-based politics while the BJP and Congress have been turned their arsenal on Mr. Kejriwal at the expense of issues voters care about.

AAP, led by tax-inspector-turned-activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal, could walk away with 36 to 40 seats in the 70-member legislative assembly, according to the latest findings from polling firm TNS for the Economic Times newspaper.

To form the government in Delhi, a party needs a simple majority of 36 seats.

via Aam Aadmi Party Scores Delhi Elections Polling Hat Trick – India Real Time – WSJ.


“Take money from BJP & Congress, but vote for AAP” – The Hindu

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal was on Sunday at the centre of a controversy when he asked voters in Delhi to take the money offered by the BJP and the Congress but “fool” them by voting for the AAP in the coming Delhi Assembly elections, drawing sharp criticism from both the parties.

Mr. Kejriwal asked voters to “fool” BJP and Congress by voting for AAP even after accepting the “bribe money” as the parties have been “fooling people for the last 65 years.”File photo

“It’s election time. When people from the BJP and the Congress come offering money, don’t refuse, accept … some have looted money from 2G, some have looted money from coal scam.”

“And if any party does not show up, go to its office and take the amount saying we were waiting but you didn’t come,” Mr. Kejriwal said amid cheers from the crowd.

The former Delhi Chief Minister was speaking at a rally in West Delhi’s Nawada area in support of the AAP’s Uttam Nagar candidate, Naresh Balyan.

“Take money from both the parties but vote for the AAP. We will fool them this time. They have been deceiving us for the last 65 years. Now it’s our turn,” he said.

The BJP lashed out at the AAP chief saying his comments amounted to questioning the authority of the Election Commission apart from being an affront to the voters.

“He is essentially saying that voters accept money and alcohol. His comments also mean that the EC is not working properly as money and alcohol are getting distributed,” BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said.

The Congress said the party would seek legal opinion to approach the EC against Mr. Kejriwal for “insulting” the people of Delhi.

“Making such statements is illegal. It is like offering money to the people,” said Ajay Maken, who is campaign committee chief of the Congress in Delhi.

via “Take money from BJP & Congress, but vote for AAP” – The Hindu.


In India, Slum Dwellers Move Into High Rises – Businessweek

Indian developer Babulal Varma’s job requires the human touch. The company he co-founded, Omkar Realtors & Developers, specializes in coaxing Mumbai’s slum dwellers from their hovels, then bulldozing the slum and erecting a mix of luxury condominium towers and free new homes for the slum dwellers on the cleared land. Omkar has completed 12 projects, rehousing 40,000, with 12 more in the works, making it the most successful business in this niche. Mumbai’s slums still house 6.5 million people.

One of Omkar’s luxury high rises, under construction

In one slum several years ago, an old woman wouldn’t leave her home. Omkar was keen to develop the site into a $1 billion complex of six luxury high rises and modern housing nearby for the slum dwellers. As Varma recounts it, he visited her and learned that the woman wanted two free apartments, not one. The woman lived with her two sons and their wives in a 90-square-foot shack. The wives argued constantly. Yet the law regulating slum redevelopment says a family that proves residency since 2000 can get only one new, 269-square-foot home on the same land.

Varma came back with a piece of paper showing a line drawn through the unit they’d be moving into, with a second door cut into the hallway. The wives could live separately, he explained. Agreement came in 45 minutes. “If you can understand their problem, if you can understand their issues, all the issues are very small, like a peanut, but to them this is the biggest thing,” says Varma, who cites karma as his operating philosophy as he sits beside an incense-burning Hindu altar.

By law, Omkar and other developers must secure the consent of 70 percent of a slum’s inhabitants before a project can go forward. Slum dwellers who have lived in the same spot since 2000 hold rights to the land but can sign them over to developers.

Omkar (the long form of the Hindu mantra “om”) contributes to the city’s efforts to get its slum dwellers into the middle class. “There is all-round social upliftment as people move from slums into proper apartments,” says Nirmal Deshmukh, chief executive officer of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), which selects the developers for the slum projects.

Since her marriage to a postal worker 13 years ago, Swarangi Pingle had lived in a 90-square-foot bilevel hut with her in-laws, her husband’s two siblings, and her daughter, now 11. On May 1 she and her family became homeowners in the development where Varma persuaded the old woman to go along. Pingle’s home on the top floor of a 23-story building has plenty of ventilation and sunlight. In the slum, Pingle would wait an hour to fill water jugs at the communal tap and for her turn at the common toilet. “This is much better,” she says as she shows off the private bathroom, kitchen sink, and aqua-painted living room. The new homes allow space for children to study, she says: “I may have married into a slum, but my daughter won’t go back to one.”

via In India, Slum Dwellers Move Into High Rises – Businessweek.

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