Citizens' Issues
Bullet trains apart, India needs high-speed growth: Modi
Apart from bullet trains, India needs high-speed growth, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday while addressing business leaders of India and Japan here with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
 
The visit of Abe, who arrived here on Friday on a three-day official sojourn, is expected to see progress towards India's first bullet train.
 
Prime Minister Modi emphasized that he wanted India and Japan to move ahead together, not just in the sphere of high-speed trains, but also for "high-speed growth".
 
Recalling his Japan visit last year, and the commitment of $35-billion investment made by Japan, Modi said the figure had surprised many at that time, but today, within a short time-span, "unimaginable progress" had been made, and the contours of this investment were beginning to get visible on the ground.
 
The Indian prime minister said "Make in India" was proceeding in mission mode, not just in India, but also in Japan. He said the "Japan Plus" initiative that was begun last year as a policy experiment, was also doing well.
 
Modi said recent economic indicators in both India and Japan were extremely encouraging, especially in the light of the global economic slowdown.
 
Stating that it was clear that India was a land of possibilities, Modi recalled Japan has been a part of many key economic turning points in India. He gave the examples of Maruti car, and the Dedicated Freight Corridor.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Government-Congress face-off derails work in parliament
The face-off between the Congress and the central government continued for yet another day on Friday in both houses of parliament.
 
The Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the National Herald case while Congress members staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha, demanding suspension of or an apology from Bharatiya Janata Party's Virendra Singh for his remarks against Congress leaders.
 
The Congress, both inside and outside parliament, tried to clarify that the Nation Herald case has nothing to do with the protests in the houses.
 
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said he has been telling all concerned, including the media people, that the National Herald case is not the issue on which the house was witnessing disruptions.
 
"I had said in the house that it did not function for the first two days because of the issue of V.K. Singh and after that for two-three days it could not function because the government did not take any action against chief ministers of Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh," Azad said, adding that the demand for action against them was made during the monsoon session of parliament.
 
Responding to Congress' charge against the government, Minister of State of Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in the Rajya Sabha that if the Congress was worried about its current perception among people and wants to correct it, the party must let the house function from Monday onwards.
 
"Perception against you could be wrong (that you are not letting the house function because of the National Herald case), but if you want to correct it, let the coming Monday be a good day, a working day," he said in the Rajya Sabha replying to Azad's charges.
 
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is in Guwahati, referring to the part's agitation in parliament said a wrong impression was being created about the party's stand on the GST bill pending in parliament.
 
"As far as Congress' statement (on the issue) in parliament is concerned, the impression is being given that we are not interested in the GST (bill)."
 
Referring to the National Herald case, he reiterated that the central government was having a political vendetta against the Congress party and that it was coming out of the Prime Minister's Office.
 
"Matter driven by Prime Minister's Office. It is a legal issue and we will handle it legally," he said.
 
The Rajya Sabha witnessed multiple adjournments amid protests by the opposition Congress on Friday. 
 
In the Lok Sabha, the Congress staged a walkout demanding suspension of or an apology from Virendra Singh of the BJP.
 
The parliamentary proceedings got paralysed from Tuesday onwards after the Delhi High Court, a day before, dismissed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gnadhi's plea to quash summons issued to them by a trial court on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's complaint in the National Herald case.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Drought hits 207 districts in nine states, major steps taken
The government on Friday said 207 districts in nine states have been hit by drought, and contingency steps had been taken to ensure there was no marked reduction in sowing area.
 
Replying to a marathon debate in the Lok Sabha in which 33 members spoke and 41 gave their views in writing, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said all farmers in the country would get soil health cards by 2017.
 
The debate was initiated by Congress member Jyotiraditya Scindia last week but Congress members were not present in the house during the minister's reply as they walked out earlier to demand an apology from a BJP member over his "objectionable" remarks against their party leaders.
 
Scindia had said 190 lakh hectare of land had been affected due to drought and the affected states had sought relief of over Rs.25,000 crore from the central government.
 
The minister said Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand had been impacted by drought due to less rain in the 2015 Kharif season.
 
"According to the memoranda received, 207 districts in nine states have been declared drought-hit," he said.
 
The minister refuted allegations by Scindia about differences in the government's words and deeds and highlighted the steps taken over the past 18 months for farmers.
 
Responding to the concerns of members, Singh said central teams had sent its recommendations to a high-powered committee to provide assistance to the affected states.
 
The minister said 302 districts in the country had received 20 percent less rain but that did not mean all were drought affected.
 
Radha Mohan Singh said it was wrong to assume that a state facing adverse conditions such as drought got money only after the recommendations of an expert committee sent by New Delhi.
 
"There is SDRF (State Disaster Response Fund) in which 75 percent contribution is from the central government."
 
The minister said the Modi government had faced three seasons with natural adversities - a drought during the last Kharif season (rainfall deficiency of 12 percent), losses due to hailstorm and another drought in Kharif season this year.
 
The sown area for the rabi season was 442 lakh hectare compared to 446 lakh hectare last year.
 
"We did not allow drought to have too much impact. We have given contingency plans to states."
 
Referring to wheat, he said the sown area was 16 percent less compared to last year but there were still 15 days of sowing left. 
 
He said pulses had been sown on 114 lakh hectare compared to 115 lakh hectare last year. This was achieved as half the money under the national mission was given to farmers who only grew pulses.
 
Taking a dig at the previous UPA government over the crop insurance scheme, he said he was unable to understand "if it was working for the benefit of farmers or the companies" and added that the Modi government would remove its shortcomings.
 
Referring to concerns over the minimum support price for crops, he said he would form a committee to review the national policy on farmers.
 
The minister claimed that farmers have been caught in a web due to the policies pursued over the last six decades and noted that suicides by any farmer was a matter of concern.
 
Referring to the impact of climate change on agriculture, he said soil health card was one of the ways to meet the challenge.
 
Singh said 300 agriculture markets would be linked by April.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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