Nation
Shiv Sena says delete ‘secular’ & 'socialist' words from Constitution

Shiv Sena said if the words, secular and socialist, were deleted from the Republic Day advertisement by mistake this time, they should be deleted from the Constitution permanently

 

A day after row erupted over a Republic Day advertisement of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday demanded permanent deletion of the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ from the Constitution.
 
“We welcome the exclusion of the (secular and socialist) words from the Republic Day advertisement. Though it might have been done inadvertently, it is like honouring the feelings of the people of India. If these words were deleted by mistake this time, they should be deleted from the Constitution permanently,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.
 
An acrimonious war of words had broken out between political parties Tuesday when an advertisement issued by the I&B Ministry carried a picture of the Preamble to the Constitution as it appeared before the 42nd Amendment, without the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’.
 
Raut said, “From the time they (the words) were included in the Constitution, it is being said that this country can never be secular. Balasaheb Thackeray and before him Veer Savarkar had been saying that India was divided on the lines of religion. Pakistan was created for Muslims, thus, what remains is a Hindu Rashtra”.
 
The minority community has been used only for political gains, while Hindus are being continuously disrespected, he alleged.
 
“It is nowhere written in the Constitution that you mete out such treatment to Hindus and use Muslims to garner votes,” he said.
 
“This mistake on the part of the government has happened only because destiny wants this to happen. Modi is the Prime Minister of India, and his thoughts on Hindutva are strong,” the Sena leader said.
 
Congress leader Manish Tewari on Tuesday had attacked the Centre on the issue, claiming the government advertisement “deleted” the two words, which was only a prelude to their “substitution” with “communal” and “corporate“.
 
Minister of State for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore, however, was quick to dismiss the charge, saying his ministry had only used an “original” picture of the Preamble as it appeared before the Amendment, to “honour” the first Preamble.
 
The Union Minister also claimed that the same picture had been used in an advertisement by the I&B Ministry in April 2014. Tewari had helmed the ministry at that time.
 
The advertisement showed a picture of the Preamble in the background with a quote from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pictures of some citizens in the foreground.
 

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Mining to resume in Goa but it will not reduce iron ore imports!
When mining operations in Goa is resumed, more than one hundred thousand miners will be able to get back to work, though they are not usefully employed in the mining operations
 
Indian iron ore mining industry is expected to produce 130 million tonnes this fiscal, as against the estimated demand pattern of 140 million tonnes, resulting in imports of over 10 million tonnes due to weaker output from Karnataka, Odisha and Jharkhand.  It may be recalled that the domestic output.  Domestic output has fallen due to restrictions imposed by Supreme Court to curb illegal mining.
 
Iron ore with 63% iron content has fallen steeply, in the international market from $175 to $55 per tonne and the price of Goa ore, which has 56% content has dropped to about $35 per tonne. Goa iron ore quality has been found acceptable only in China, and to some extent in Japan, who have managed to make a product mix with high grade ores from both Australia and Brazil to produce steel.  However, as of now, the demand from China has also gone down, due to general economy slowdown in that country.
 
In 2012, Goa government had brought the mining operations to a standstill and this has now been revoked, pending the lifting of ban imposed by Ministry of Environment and Forests. Leading miners like Sesa Sterlite expect to start their mining operations in about two weeks from now, once they get the MoEF clearance and clarity on dumping waste ‘outside the lease area’, as this is small.
In order to permit dumping of mining waste outside, as the lease area is small, it would be essential for the government to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act.
It may be remembered that the Supreme Court had declared dumping of waste outside the lease area as illegal.
 
In spite of the poor international price, which has fallen steeply, the exporters of iron ore have to overcome other obstacles before any further development in this area can take place. The exporter has to pay 30% export duty, 15% royalty and a 10% to the Goa Development Fund.  According to Aniruddh Joshi, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Sesa Sterlite (Iron ore Business), the central government has to remove the export duty, as a start.  
 
Unlike the Chinese steel makers, Indian steel industry has not been able to come terms with reaching a proper mix of our own poor grade iron ore and high grade ores to make steel in the country!
 
When mining operations in Goa is resumed, more than one hundred thousand miners will be able to get back to work, who, Joshi is reported to have said are being paid more than Rs1 crore per day, though they are not usefully employed in the mining operations!  As for Sesa Sterlite, having received the MoEF clearance, from Karnataka, they would be able to continue their work on 2.9 million tonnes ore from that state.
 
The state government in Goa has released the Mining Lease Policy, which avoids auctions for fear of attracting the "mining mafia" and delays in resumption of mining operations.  The only problem that the Goa State Mines and Geology department appear to have faced is the furore caused by the  renewal of leases, which includes a mine owned by a Pakistani national, Baddrudin Mavani, who appear to have given the power of attorney in favour of Radha S Timblo.  So far, 88 mining leases have been processed, and this department, it is reported, has collected the relative stamp fees for the same.
 
In any case, it will be a couple of months before opportunities may come up for export of these low grade ores from Goa.  In the meantime, Indian iron ore lumps with 62% iron content are now reported to be priced at Rs4,200-Rs4,500, depending upon demand, while international price is said to be Rs3,600. Miners like state owned NMDC are working round the clock to meet the demand but they cannot increase the production overnight.
 
It is hoped that, in line with the relaxation given by the Supreme Court, Karnataka miners would be able to increase their production along with those in three other major producing areas. In the meantime, it would be a good move if export duty is waived in case of low grade iron ore from Goa and steel makers be persuaded to investigate the methods, by which our own mills can use them to the maximum extent possible, so as to reduce the large scale imports of high grade iron ore year after year.
 
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
 

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