Posts tagged ‘rahul gandhi’

13/10/2016

Is this the world’s most oversubscribed school? – BBC News

The VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, a boarding school in India‘s Uttar Pradesh state, is offering an elite education for pupils drawn from the rural poor.

There are about 200 places on offer each year – but such is the appetite for families to get a better life for their children, there are 250,000 applications.

The school, set up by the Shiv Nadar Foundation, is completely free, and offers the type of education usually available only to the very wealthy.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra, a businesswoman and trustee of the foundation, says the school has been modelled on India’s private schools, which put students on the pathway to top universities and high-flying careers.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra wants the school to produce a more meritocratic generation of leaders for India

But the VidyaGyan school is open only to the very clever and very poor – which she describes as the “top of the bottom of the pyramid”.

No-one can even apply u

Unless their family income is below the equivalent of £1,500 per year, and the school carries out checks to make sure that better-off families are not trying to get in.

“Most of India is rural, there is a huge population in India not being tapped for their excellence. They have no access to great universities,” says Ms Malhotra, who is chief executive officer of the HCL technology company.

A performer from Uttar Pradesh prepares to take part in a festival

“We wanted to see if we could have an admissions system that was truly meritorious.”

The admissions system operates on an epic scale.

After the initial 250,000 applications, Ms Malhotra says, about 125,000 turn up to take a written test.

The drop-out rate is a reflection of the tough lives of these families, who might struggle to travel to a local test centre or be stopped by bad weather.

The school’s ambition is for its students to compete anywhere in the world

Based on the results, there is a shortlist of about 6,000 students, who then take another set of tests. There are also visits to the homes of applicants.

This sifting process produces an intake of 200 pupils, boys and girls, who are taught, clothed, fed and housed by the school.

These children from the poorest rural families, a deliberate mix of religions and castes, then receive a high-cost education, exposing them to ideas and opportunities.

It is an intensive process, designed to create a “stepping stone” to top universities in India or abroad.

The school has been founded to help clever poor pupils from Uttar Pradesh

It has become such a phenomenon that there are now coaching academies dedicated to training people for the test.

So far the school has cost the foundation £59m – and Ms Malhotra says there have been questions about whether the money would have been better spent on teaching basic literacy to much bigger numbers of young people.The final intake of 200 pupils stands compared with Uttar Pradesh’s population of about 200 million.

But Ms Malhotra says the distinct purpose of the school is to create a leadership academy focusing on providing a chance for disadvantaged youngsters to compete with India’s elite.

These are the children of poor, uneducated farmers, and she wants them to be equipped to reach the top in politics, business or sport.

The school is intended to provide a stepping stone to top universities

And she says there is a “ripple effect” on the home villages of these pupils, as they see their young people being able to go to a top university in India or in Europe or the United States.

“When students get into a great university, it’s a huge aspirational lift for their village. These students become beacons of hope.”

There are also expectations of paying back to their local communities. In the summer, when they go home, they have to carry out a socially useful project, such as providing cleaner water, clearing away rubbish or finding a safer way of cooking.

“It’s about getting their hands dirty and finding out how to solve problems,” says Ms Malhotra.

Once pupils are accepted, everything in the school is free for families

The school’s first graduates have left with “stellar results”, but she also wants them to be equipped to compete with international students anywhere.

“It’s not just about getting in, they need to be able to survive. All of a sudden you’re thrown in with other highly competitive students from all over the world.”

It will be some time before it is possible to see if they become India’s future leaders, she says. “But they’re on their way.”

Source: Is this the world’s most oversubscribed school? – BBC News

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05/02/2016

‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accused Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi of disrupting Parliament to avenge defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and hence blocking the passage of Bills aimed at benefitting the poor. Prime Minister Narendra Modi being presented Jaapi, a traditional hat from Assam at a meeting in Sivasagar district on Friday.

Addressing tea garden workers in Assam, Mr. Modi alleged that “one family” was indulging in “negative politics”, as he claimed that there are leaders in opposition parties other than Congress, who want Parliament to function even though they oppose him.

“Those who have lost the election (in 2014) and have come down from 400 to 40 have decided not to allow Modi to work. They have decided to create obstacles and difficulties. The conspiracy for the same is going on,” he said, referring clearly to Congress.

“They have now decided to take revenge from people, from the poor workers for voting the Congress out of power,” Mr. Modi said.

“There are many leaders and parties even in the opposition who oppose Modi, the BJP and the government but they want Parliament to run and carry out is business. But one family is so rigid that they do not allow the Rajya Sabha to function and let the nation’s agenda of development to be taken forward because people of the country have defeated them,” Mr. Modi said.

“The country is not going to benefit from this politics of negativism and obstructionism. There is only one family with such a thinking, which has brought this kind of destruction. Leaders in the other opposition parties are not like this,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Modi urged people to give a chance to the BJP to form a government in Assam.

He contended that laws for the welfare of the State can be put in place only when there is a government in Guwahati, which listens to Centre.

Source: ‘One family’ not letting Rajya Sabha function, Modi says – The Hindu

18/10/2015

Sonia says Modi govt imposing its ideology on people – The Hindu

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday blamed the Modi government for the growing intolerance to intellectuals and communal tensions in the country. The government, she said, was anti-poor and corporate-friendly.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi at an election rally in Buxar, Bihar on Saturday. Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

“Ever since Narendra Modi came to power, the intellectuals are being harassed and an effort has been made to stoke communal tensions through rumours. The BJP is trying to enforce its own ideology on people. It is shameful,” she said at election meetings at Buxar and Chappra. Her comments refers to the recent lynching of a man at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and writers returning their Sahitya Academy awards.

“Modiji, Hindu aur Musalmaan apas main ladte nahi, balki unko ladaya jata hai… kyunki communal jhagde band ho gaye toh kuch logo ki dukaandari band ho jayegi, aur yeh BJP se behtar kaun janta hai? [Mr. Modi, Hindus and Muslims don’t clash with each other but they are being pushed to do it … If communal clashes are being stopped, many people’s business will be closed, and who knows this better than the BJP?],” she said.

Ms. Gandhi said the Modi government worked only for big businesses and had no concern for the poor.

She said the Congress would not allow the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill to go through the Rajya Sabha as it was against the welfare of the people. “The UPA government wanted the GST law for the development of industry, but we are opposing it now for the welfare of the people,” she said.

“Mr. Modi speaks much but delivers little. Has he delivered on the tall claims made by him during the last Lok Sabha polls,” she asked. When the crowd yelled “no”, she said: “It is high time he understood the pain of the people.”

The government was silent when pulse prices were rising, farmers were committing suicide and unemployment among the youth was rising, she said.

Taking on Mr. Modi for alleging that the Congress had done little in the past 60 years of its regime, Ms. Gandhi said: “When we got freedom, we had nothing; but the Congress government did revolutionary works in education, health and employment in the past 60 years. We maintained the unity and integrity of the country and strengthened democracy.”

Source: Sonia says Modi govt imposing its ideology on people – The Hindu

07/08/2015

Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The treatment of cows, animals considered sacred by India’s Hindu majority, has long stirred political controversy in the country –and now conservatives, emboldened by the first year of the Hindu nationalist government, are stepping up their campaign to protect them.

In many Indian states, the slaughter of cows is already illegal, making it difficult to buy, sell, and, as a result, eat, beef.

Some conservative Hindus want Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party government to enact a federal law banning cow slaughter. They are “encouraged to be aggressive under the Modi regime and this is to be expected,” said Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, an Indian specialist at the Cato Institute in Washington.

 

The party argues that protecting the animal is in line with India’s constitution, which includes language calling for the prohibition of the slaughter of cows.

In Maharashtra, where killing the animal is illegal, a new law in March banned the possession of beef and also the slaughter of bulls and bullocks. Running afoul of the new law can lead to a jail term of up to five years or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees ($156) or both.

The amendment was passed by the state government in 1995 and received the president’s nod in March.

In the same month, the state assembly of Haryana passed a bill containing stricter punishments for the animal’s slaughter. It is still waiting for the president’s approval, a senior official at the state’s animal husbandry department said.

States such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, which are at the heart of India’s buffalo meat industry, have also imposed complete bans on killing cows. The practice is outlawed in the capital city of Delhi. Other major states with bans include Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa.

In Gujarat, Mr. Modi’s home state, India’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s law that prohibits killing of cows, bulls and bullocks in 2005, overturning the decision of the Gujarat High Court that ruled against a blanket ban on bull and bullock slaughter. But in 2011, sentences for people caught killing cows were increased from six months to seven years.

West Bengal, which has a higher than average population of Muslims, is slightly more lenient and allows the killing of cows if they are “fit-for-slaughter.”  A senior official in the animal husbandry department in Assam said that such a certificate would also permit the slaughter of cows in that state but usually only during the Islamic religious festival of Eid.

Overall, 24 of India’s 29 states–including the newest state of Telangana–have imposed penalties  and restrictions of varying degrees on the slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Meanwhile, in the southern state of Kerala, where beef dishes are popular and which has a larger than average proportion of Christians, there is no statewide legislation restricting cow slaughter.

And the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and the territory of Lakshadweep also have no legislation banning or prohibiting slaughter of cows and other cattle.

Rajnath Singh, India’s home minister, failed to persuade Parliament to pass nationwide legislation banning the slaughter of cows in 2003 when he was agriculture minister. “The moment I rose to present the bill in the Parliament, there was an uproar and the bill couldn’t be passed,” he said in a speech in March.

This time, however, Mr. Singh said the government will do everything in its power to ban cow slaughter in the country. But BJP’s success in getting such a legislation cleared by the Parliament is not guaranteed as it is short of a majority in the upper house.

via Where You Can and Can’t Eat Beef in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

05/09/2014

Modi’s first 100 days looked more like Manmohan’s than Vajpayee’s

The new prime minister hasn’t faced a major crisis or unveiled a startlingly new policy.

For the last week, Indian newspapers, channels and websites have been plastered with evaluations of Narendra Modi’s first 100 days. From dedicating entire editions to the 100-day landmark to building complex timelines describing every policy announcement over the last three months (and even comparing what has been achieved to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign promises), there has been so much content that it’s hard to arrive at a conclusion about whether Modi’s Prime Ministership has been good or bad.

That might be expected, considering the scale of the challenge that the new government has set for itself. Alternatively, it might also be surprising: many expected Modi Sarkar to be a hate-it-or-love-it administration, rather than one that would leave people with lukewarm feelings.

Another way to approach the question might be to try and figure out how Modi’s first 100 days will be remembered. The first few months of new governments can often set the tone for what is to come. In hindsight, the trends picked up in the first days are then grafted on to narratives that are applied to entire tenures.

A look back at previous prime ministers might give us an inkling of how this will play out.

via Scroll.in – News. Politics. Culture..

07/08/2014

Rahul Gandhi Wakes Up to New Role as Rebel Leader – India Real Time – WSJ

There’s nothing particularly newsworthy about boisterous Indian lawmakers blocking debate on the floor of Parliament when they don’t get their way, unless one of the lawmakers is the usually-reticent Rahul Gandhi.

The typically uninvolved Parliamentary back-bencher and Congress party vice president made the front pages of Indian newspapers Thursday after he and others mobbed the desk of the lower house of Parliament’s speaker, demanding to be heard.

“Rip Van Winkle Rahul Finally Rises Out of Slumber,” read an Economic Times headline paired with a recent photograph of Mr. Gandhi nodding off during a parliamentary session.

Mr. Gandhi, who is part of a diminished Congress camp of 44 representatives in the 545-member Lok Sabha, also made a rare statement to reporters outside Parliament complaining that opposition parties were not being allowed to speak. He accused speaker Sumitra Mahajan of bias after she shot down a proposal to discuss recent communal violence.

“There is a mood in Parliament that only one man’s voice counts,” Mr. Gandhi said in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On the campaign trail a few months ago, Mr. Gandhi had said a Modi-led government would polarize Indians and trigger religious unrest.

Mr. Gandhi’s outburst was described as “surprisingly belligerent” in the Times of India that also carried a front-page story about what they called his “new-found combativeness.”

The fourth-generation scion’s occasional public outbursts are closely covered by the national media. In October when he called an executive order by his own party’s government “complete nonsense,” his tantrum was reported, discussed and debated for days.

On Wednesday, television news channels questioned what may have prompted a reaction from a leader who in his decade-long career in Parliament has rarely engaged in debate or taken the lead on policy issues.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party offered one theory.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Mr. Gandhi’s show of aggression was a result of internal rumblings – a “palace coup” – in the beleaguered Congress that is struggling to bounce back after its worst ever electoral defeat in national elections.

The party’s dynastic leadership by president Sonia Gandhi and her son, Rahul, must be struggling and Mr. Gandhi’s actions Wednesday were an attempt “to show they are also capable of aggression,” Mr. Jaitley said.

Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said there “wasn’t an iota of doubt or question” within his party on the Gandhis’ leadership. Some “disgruntled elements hankering for immediate power” had abandoned the Congress after the electoral defeat, Mr. Surjewala said, but added that his party had weathered numerous challenges in the past and, like before, would emerge stronger.

He said the Modi-led government couldn’t run away from a discussion on religious violence by making personal attacks against Congress or its leaders.

via Rahul Gandhi Wakes Up to New Role as Rebel Leader – India Real Time – WSJ.

06/06/2014

Modi’s Big Chance to Fix India – Businessweek

After five weeks of staggered voting, more than 550 million ballots cast, and almost $5 billion spent, the world’s largest democracy finally has a new leader. Yet the question that has loomed over India’s long campaign remains: What kind of leader is Narendra Modi going to be?

Narendra Modi speaks to supporters in Vadodara, India, on May 16

Modi fought an impressive campaign focused mostly on the right issues. He successfully cast the election as a referendum on who could better deliver jobs, government services, and economic growth: himself or Rahul Gandhi, the ruling Congress party’s heir apparent. The landslide victory of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party—the biggest for any party since 1984—testifies to Indians’ hunger for decisiveness and efficiency after years of policy drift and corruption scandals.

Yet voters have little idea how Modi will govern. He has given no sign of how far he’ll challenge his own supporters on economic and social policies. Investors expecting miracles are in for a letdown, because India’s political system is bound to intervene. According to JPMorgan Chase (JPM), about 70 percent to 80 percent of regulatory and other roadblocks impeding big industrial projects aren’t within Modi’s power to remove. Even so, he needs to make progress where he can.

via Modi’s Big Chance to Fix India – Businessweek.

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24/05/2014

Modi’s Big Chance to Fix India – Businessweek

After five weeks of staggered voting, more than 550 million ballots cast, and almost $5 billion spent, the world’s largest democracy finally has a new leader. Yet the question that has loomed over India’s long campaign remains: What kind of leader is Narendra Modi going to be?

Narendra Modi speaks to supporters in Vadodara, India, on May 16

Modi fought an impressive campaign focused mostly on the right issues. He successfully cast the election as a referendum on who could better deliver jobs, government services, and economic growth: himself or Rahul Gandhi, the ruling Congress party’s heir apparent. The landslide victory of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party—the biggest for any party since 1984—testifies to Indians’ hunger for decisiveness and efficiency after years of policy drift and corruption scandals.

Yet voters have little idea how Modi will govern. He has given no sign of how far he’ll challenge his own supporters on economic and social policies. Investors expecting miracles are in for a letdown, because India’s political system is bound to intervene. According to JPMorgan Chase (JPM), about 70 percent to 80 percent of regulatory and other roadblocks impeding big industrial projects aren’t within Modi’s power to remove. Even so, he needs to make progress where he can.

A good place to start would be to keep an election promise to introduce a combined goods and services tax—something Modi’s own party has long opposed, because it would force revenue losses on state governments. (Modi could offset some of the losses using central revenues.) He should move to phase out petroleum subsidies. He should give state and local governments greater flexibility in regulating labor markets, land sales, and more. Economic competition among the states is key.

Above all, India’s new leader must also reach out to the country’s Muslims—assuring them that he recognizes they are full and valued citizens entitled to an equal measure of security, trust, and respect. Modi’s campaign was based in part on a simple point: India can no longer afford to muddle through, endlessly avoiding difficult decisions. Now it’s time to deliver.

via Modi’s Big Chance to Fix India – Businessweek.

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08/05/2014

The Reluctant Prince of India’s Political Dynasty and His Anticampaign – Businessweek

Whither the House of Gandhi?

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the district collector's office on April 12 in Amethi, India

The Nehru-Gandhi family has dominated Indian politics since the nation’s independence in 1947, but it now faces a walloping at the polls, possibly its worst ever. While voting in national elections won’t be finished until next month, every indication is the Congress Party—for which a Gandhi presides as president and vice president—will lose the prime minister’s seat and watch its share of parliament thin considerably.

The face of that probable political calamity is Rahul Gandhi, a 43-year-old, good-looking Cambridge man who speaks of the need for a more inclusive political process. And as I’ve heard more than one liberal, middle-class Indian acknowledge with regret in their voices, he’s not much of a public politician.

via The Reluctant Prince of India’s Political Dynasty and His Anticampaign – Businessweek.

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11/04/2014

Young professionals in Bangalore favour Modi’s promise, shrug off riots | India Insight

As far as Vinod Hegde is concerned, Indian prime minister candidate Narendra Modi bears no responsibility for the 2002 Gujarat riots. More to the point, Hegde doesn’t care.

Hegde, a 26-year-old stockbroker in Bangalore, said that for people like him, the Gujarat chief minister is the only choice to lead India after countrywide parliamentary elections that began this week.

Allegations that Modi failed to stop or even allowed deadly riots in 2002 don’t sway his vote, Hegde said. And if the ruling Congress party’s candidate is Rahul Gandhi, the choice becomes even clearer.

“Even assuming Modi has been responsible for XYZ, we don’t see an alternative,” Hegde said. Referencing a Twitter post by music director Vishal Dadlani, he said, “If I had to choose between a moron and a murderer, I’d probably choose the murderer.”

Not everyone states their case for supporting Modi in such blunt terms, but interviews with young professionals in Bangalore, the information technology hub known as India’s Silicon Valley reveals a calculation in favour of Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that omits the riots from the equation.

For many people in Bangalore’s highly educated workforce, Modi is a welcome alternative to what is seen as an ineffective and corruption-tainted Congress party. They are part of what some media organizations have called a “Modi wave” that opinion polls, however unreliable, say could bring the BJP to power and push out the Gandhi-Nehru family’s Congress party.

Many BJP supporters see Rahul Gandhi, the party’s leader and the Gandhi family’s heir apparent, as ill suited for the job of running a country that is trying to revive its slowing economic growth and to provide opportunities for prosperity to its burgeoning middle class. (A note for people unfamiliar with this round of Lok Sabha elections: Indians will vote for members of Parliament in their local constituencies, and the winning party’s leadership names its ministers when it forms a new government.)

via Young professionals in Bangalore favour Modi’s promise, shrug off riots | India Insight.

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