Economy
Modi is effective but graft, land bill, inflation remain issues: Survey

On corruption, which was a major electoral plank for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to the elections last year, more than 60 percent of the people polled felt the levels have either increased or seen no improvement, and just 12 percent agreed that graft has declined

 

Seventy-two percent of the people feel satisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to a survey on one year of his government, but the majority also sees no let-up in graft, and more seem opposed to than supportive of his controversial land acquisition bill.
 
According to the survey conducted by Axis My India for IBN Network/#Modi365, the majority of the 20,000 people polled in 23 states, across 155 districts, with a 70:30 rural-urban spread, the main reason for satisfaction has been overall development, skillful governance and lower prices.
 
The reactions of people in the survey, shared with IANS, also dwelt upon the policies being pursued by the prime minister, and notably over 35 percent did not support the controversial land acquisition bill, an equal number were undecided and only 28 percent were supported it.
 
On corruption, which was a major electoral plank for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to the elections last year, more than 60 percent of the people polled felt the levels have either increased or seen no improvement, and just 12 percent agreed that graft has declined.
 
According to the survey, 56 percent of the people felt Narendra Modi was fast and effective as prime minister, an overwhelming 85 percent endorsed Swachch Bharat as his best initiative, and 76 percent listed his Jan Dhan Yojana as second best.
 
For his two other initiatives, Make In India received the support of 43 percent people, Digital India got the approval of 42 percent. 
 
Reactions also came on some of the controversies that hit the government and the ruling party during the past year. 
 
Some 34 percent of the people felt statements on "ghar vapsi", or re-conversion, dented the Modi government's image, 32 percent felt it had no impact, and nearly 35 percent were undecided on it.
 
Similarly, over 43 percent wanted Modi to rein in his cabinet colleagues who have made it a habit to make some controversial statements, and only 26 percent disagreed with the view.
 
There also appeared to be no clarity in the interference from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the ruling party of which Modi has been a staunch member, in the functioning of the government.
 
Some 32 percent felt there was RSS intrusion, an equal number disagreed and 35 percent were undecided.
 
Then the question: How is Narendra Modi as prime minister? Nearly 57 percent opted for effective and fast, 15 percent for ineffective and slow, 2.6 percent for no will power, 3.7 percent for not so strict, 6.1 percent for clean image but not a good administrator, and 13.5 percent for less work, more talk.
 
Regarding the individual's economic improvement during the year, while 42 percent of respondents felt there was "better improvement", a little over 5.5 percent felt their condition has worsened.
 
The percentages were similar for perceptions about the overall economic condition of the nation. Over 43 percent felt there was "better improvement" and over 20 percent thought there was very good improvement.
 
Salient points of the Axis My India survey:
 
* Over 72 percent satisfied with Modi government in last one year, attributed to development, skillful governance, lower prices.
 
# 26 percent dissatisfied with government for want of development, with just over 14 percent attributing it to price rise.
 
* 56 percent feel Narendra Modi fast and effective as Prime Minister, while 13 percent say Modi is less work and more talk. 
 
# For 15 percent he is slow and ineffective, while over six percent say he has a clean image but is not a good administrator.
 
* 61 percent say their economic conditions have improved, while 63 percent say India's economic situation too has improved.
 
# 55 percent feel corruption has either come down or remained the same and 47 percent say inflation is down or has remained the same.
 
* Confusion over land bill -- Over 35 percent do not support the Land Bill, an equal number undecided, leaving only 28 percent supporting the bill.
 
# 43 percent support Make In India, and 42 percent say yes to Digital India. 
 
* 32.35 percent feel RSS interferes in government functioning, 35 percent are undecided, while 32.64 percent disagree there is interference. 
 
# 33.65 percent say Ghar Wapsi comments dent Modi government image, 34.59 percent are undecided on the issue, and 31.76 percent say such statements do not dent government image. 

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CID quizzes suspended Bengaluru cop on lottery scam

An IPS officer of 1994 batch, Kumar's name figured two-three times along with that of five other high-ranking police officers in the report on the multi-crore lottery scam, thriving across Karnataka despite an official ban

 

CID sleuths on Sunday interrogated suspended Bengaluru additional commissioner of police Alok Kumar on his alleged nexus with lottery scam kingpin Peri Rajan.
 
"A team of four officers interrogated Kumar for over seven hours since afternoon on his meetings and conversations with Rajan on the basis of mobile and landline call records in connection with the illegal single digit lottery scheme in the state," a CID official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IANS.
 
As the interrogation will continue on Monday, the official declined to share more details but said the role of other serving and retired police officers who figure in the CID report would be investigated.
 
An IPS officer of 1994 batch, Kumar's name figured two-three times along with that of five other high-ranking police officers in the report on the multi-crore lottery scam, thriving across Karnataka despite an official ban, as such schemes were operative in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
 
The state home ministry ordered a CID probe into the scam after a Kannada news channel telecast in April a sting operation on Rajan who boasted connections with top police officials and that "the law dare not touch him".
 
Though the CID sleuths took Rajan into police custody at Bangarpet in Kolar, his arrest was not made public.
 
Earlier, Superintendent of Police, Lottery Squad, Dharanesh was suspended earlier this month, as he was heard talking to Rajan in the sting operation's video clip.
 
In addition, names of a serving additional director general of police and inspector general of police, and retired director general of police Shankar Bidari and another ADGP figure in the CID report.
 
"Kumar has been accused of interfering with the CID probe into the lottery scam and attempting to prevent Rajan's arrest by calling up the jurisdictional sub inspector at Bangarpet on April 28," the official said quoting from the interim report.
 
Kumar, however, told the probe team that though he knew Rajan as a friend and a well-wisher, he was not aware of the latter's illegal activities such as operating the lottery scheme of other states in Karnataka despite the ban.
 
"I was introduced to Rajan four-five years ago and has been meeting me now and then. But I never knew he was into such activities," h said in his defence.
 
Bidari too denied knowing Rajan and refuted charges levelled by Janata Dal-Secular lawmaker and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of involvement in the scam.
 

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Learn from Nepal quake, stop illegal construction: Himachal High Court

A division bench consisting of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan pointed out that even though the latest studies indicated that most of Himachal Pradesh fell in seismic zone V and the remaining in zone IV, this fact had failed to move the authorities in Shimla

 

Taking notice of haphazard development and encroachments in the state capital, where "most buildings are precariously hanging", the Himachal Pradesh High Court has observed that the devastating earthquake in Nepal last month had failed to shake the authorities out of their slumber and curb illegal construction that has turned Shimla into a "slum".
 
In a 29-page strongly-worded judgment delivered last week, a division bench consisting of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan pointed out that even though the latest studies indicated that most of Himachal Pradesh fell in seismic zone V and the remaining in zone IV, this fact had failed to move the authorities in Shimla. 
 
The quake-prone erstwhile summer capital of the Raj cannot avert a Himalayan tragedy of the kind that killed thousands and caused massive destruction in Nepal, the bench said, while taking suo motu cognisance of encroachments in Shimla markets.
 
"It is high time that building byelaws are suitably amended by taking into consideration the recent seismic activity in the entire Himalayan region," it said while asserting that illegal structures won't be regularised.
 
The order mentioned that Shimla's north slope of the Ridge and open space just above the Mall, which extends to the Grand Hotel in the west and Lower Bazaar in the east, was slowly sinking.
 
"Most buildings are precariously hanging on the steep slopes and clinging to one another. A moderate to high intensity temblor can be catastrophic for congested settlements, with no escape routes. They are likely to collapse like a pack of cards, more particularly when none of the authorities has ever cared to carry out the seismic pounding effects in buildings," the court added.
 
"We can only fasten the blame on the haphazard and illegal constructions being carried out and all-out efforts being made for converting the once scenic seven hills of this town into a concrete jungle," the judges said.
 
"It cannot be denied that haphazard, unplanned and illegal constructions have marred the beauty of hill towns, more particularly the capital, Shimla.
 
"Why then is the administration permitting it to be converted into a slum," the judges asked and directed the Shimla Municipal Corporation to demolish all illegal projections within six weeks.
 
During the hearing, the amicus curiae pointed out that it was not only the market roads that had been encroached upon in Shimla but also public roads had been choked, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to reach the spot of a mishap in time.
 
The high court said that after decades of haphazard development and environmental degradation, there was a ray of hope for Shimla getting the Unesco World Heritage Site Tag.
 
"But can the city get the status in the current scenario where the encroachers are having a field day and the roads are completely choked?" the bench asked.
 
Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma told IANS that the government was planning to decongest the capital by moving out some government offices to its peripheral areas.

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