India has re-elected Modi. Going by the track record of the previous five years of Modi’s governance, this inflexion point in the journey of post-independent India can accelerate India’s economic development. In recent times, Russia, UAE, Palestine, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia have conferred their highest civilian awards on Modi. His initiatives like the Global Solar Alliance and International Yoga Day created new opportunities for India although the world media has failed to pick this strong undercurrent of love and respect Modi has gained on the world stage, not just within India.
Today India’s opposition lies decimated. In the face of an imminent defeat, the uncanny alliance of opposition parties started blaming the electronic voting machines (EVMs). They didn’t inspire confidence as they had no problem with the EVMs when they won in three states last year. Similarly, when India launched a surgical strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan earlier this year, the Congress party claimed to have launched several surgical strikes during their earlier tenure in the government, a claim that was subsequently debunked by the Indian armed forces.
Modi has time and again reaffirmed that he is wedded to the Hindu scriptures that implore one to respect all religions as offering different paths to the same God (“ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti”). This re-election presents an unmissable opportunity to India led by Modi to demonstrate leadership in establishing world peace, following the core tenets of Hinduism that are rooted in truth, righteousness, peace, love, and non-violence.
JP Tamvada, Professor, University of Southampton
Sr Fellow, IndiaGlobal
जड़ें बहुत शेष हैं
देश है !
परम्पराओं से जुड़े हुए
ये मानों केश हैं
देश है !
मिट्टियों की धूल बन
मुट्ठियों से बहूँ !
कुल्हड़ों में जमी
दही ये विशेष है
देश है !
हृदय में धड़कती
धड़कनें मात्र लेश हैं
देश है !
26 January 2019
Noted Bollywood actor Anupam Kher was honoured as a ‘Distinguished Fellow’ by IndiaGlobal – a leading think-tank that works on the issues concerning NRIs and India’s position with the world.
The actor was given a fellowship on November 3, 2018 at the 3rd IndiaGlobal Summit organized by India Global. The event was held at the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston, and was facilitated by MIT Sloan India Business Club.
On this occasion Anupam Kher said, “This honour gives me a further sense of responsibility towards my country. A lower middle class Kashmiri boy from Shimla has come a long way. Jai Ho”. The former national award winner and film director Maj Ashok Kaul, Vice Chairman of IndiaGlobal noted, “It is indeed a momentous occasion that someone from the Indian film fraternity is given such a honour”.
Giving her Chief Guest address, Minister for Rural Development, Government of Maharashtra Smt Pankaja Munde said, “Those days are gone where we want to market India’s depravity, now we want to market India’s strength”. Pankaja was leading the delegation of four women self-help-groups from rural Maharashtra. Smt R Vimla, CEO MSRLM told the gathering about the amazing work done by these small women microentrepreneurs and urged American-Indians to adopt the goods made by SHGs to promote quality hand-made items in United States.
The 3rd IndiaGlobal Summit also discussed the growing importance of a relationship between India, USA and China. On this occasion the Senior Fellow and the Convener of IndiaGlobal Dr. Nikhil Agarwal said, “Now we can proudly say that the sun never sets on Indian diaspora. Indians are present in every corner of the world and many of them are top entrepreneurs, Prime Ministers and Presidents of their countries”. Co-chairs of the summit Sanjeev Tripathi and Dinesh Nagraj summarised the entire conference and gave Diwali gifts to speakers and delegates.
वो जो अटल था
जो हार नहीं मानता था
जो रार नहीं ठानता था
वो अब चुप है
वो अब चला गया
शायद बरसों पहले
उसने लड़ना छोड़ दिया था !
अचानक से श्रधांजलियाँ दी जा रहीं हैं
सोशल मीडिया अटा पड़ा है
अतीत के संदूक को झाड़
आज बाहर निकल रहे हैं
पुरानी कविताएँ आज ताज़ा हो गयीं हैं
पर अब इन सबका
उस पर कोई फ़र्क़ नहीं पड़ता
मीडिया hyperactive हो चला है
सोए सुस्ताए लोग भी
पर शेर की तरह दहाड़ने वाला अटल चुप है !
वो बरसों पहले चुप हो गया था
किसी ने सुध नहीं ली
इतिहास के हाशिए में पहुँच
वो शांत था
अपने घर के भीतर ।
उसे किसी के सहारे
या झूठे सत्कार की ज़रूरत नहीं थी
वो आया था कुछ कर गुज़रने
बहुत कुछ कर
बस यूँ ही गुज़र गया
वो तब भी अटल था
वो अब भी अटल है
बस पलटी तो हमने मारी है ।
-श्रद्धा सुमन सहित
By Prasoon Sharma
In his remarks delivered at the 2015-18 summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Chinese President Xi Jinping called on SCO members to uphold the Shanghai Spirit, embrace openness and enhance cooperation in various fields.
The following are memorable quotes from Xi's speeches.
UPHOLDING SHANGHAI SPIRIT
At the 2018 SCO summit President Xi Jinping said "the Shanghai Spirit, transcending outdated concepts such as clash of civilizations, Cold War and zero-sum mentality, has opened a new page in the history of international relations and gained increasing endorsement of the international community."
Speaking at the 17th Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the SCO in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2017, Xi said: "Firmly committed to the Shanghai Spirit, SCO member states are making solid progress on the road of building a community of shared future, thus establishing a fine example of the new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation."
Speaking at the 16th Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the SCO in the Uzbek capital Tashkent in 2016, Xi praised the first of the achievements is that the SCO has advocated and put into practice the Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development, said the Chinese president.
Speaking at the 15th Meeting of Council of Heads of States of the SCO in Ufa, Russia in 2015, Xi said: "Featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respecting diverse civilizations and seeking common development, the Shanghai Spirit has over the past 15 years underpinned the SCO's development and represents the trend in contemporary international relations."
The SCO is a Eurasian platform for political, economic, and security cooperation among member nations. At present, world is facing disruption and uncertainty in all these domains. As examples, there is political turmoil between US & Russia and US & Iran, which has been threatening global political stability. A potential US-China trade spat and the US inclination towards anti-globalization has posed challenges to the world economy and especially to the world's two fastest growing major economies i.e. India and China. The world is facing severe terrorism and extremism threats from organizations like ISIS.
In 2018 SCO summit President Xi Jinping said "We should promote open and inclusive cooperation for win-win outcomes. We should reject self-centered, short-sighted and closed-door policies. We should uphold WTO rules and support the multilateral trading system so as to build an open world economy."
"Openness has been a defining feature of the SCO since its inception. China supports the SCO in carrying out cooperation of various forms and in a broad range of areas with its observer states and dialogue partners as well as other countries, and in further reviewing the applications from the related countries for legal status in the SCO in accordance with its regulations and the principle of consensus," said Xi at the 2017 summit.
In 2016, Xi said: "Members of the SCO should remain open and transparent without targeting any third party, engage all like-minded international partners in wide-ranging cooperation and act as a constructive force for the healthy development of the international order," said the Chinese leader.
In 2015, Xi said: "We should uphold international equity and justice, promote multilateralism and openness, respect each other's interests, refrain from interfering in other country's internal affairs, settle disputes through peaceful means and seek common development and prosperity with a win-win approach."
China has already built 21 economic and trade cooperation zones. The SCO should achieve the target of completing SCO Free trade Agreement by 2020. India's pending energy projects like the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline, IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline, and CASA (Central Asia-South Asia)-1000 electricity transmission projects can get a much-needed push through the SCO, which involves both India and Pakistan.
Beyond this, the most important aspect of embracing openness is connectivity. The International Union of Railways (UIC) had ranked India as 4th and China as the 2nd largest rail network in the world. Both railway networks should come together to connect 42% of global population residing in SCO countries.
China-India should create separate platforms to resolve all the issues and concerns related to the Belt and road initiative (BRI). And both countries should create synergy in their connectivity projects.
ENHANCING SECURITY AND OTHER COOPERATION
In 2018 SCO summit President Xi Jinping said "We should pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We should reject the Cold War mentality and confrontation between blocks and oppose the practices of seeking absolute security of oneself at the expense of others. This is a sure way to achieve security of all."
At the 2017 meeting, Xi said: "At present, the international and regional situation is undergoing profound and complex changes. Destabilizing factors and uncertainties are on the rise. Only through cooperation can countries properly meet threats and challenges. China is willing to work together with all parties to strengthen the sense of community with a shared future, and build a common home of security, stability, development and prosperity."
In 2015, Xi said: "Upholding security and stability in our region is a common concern for all member states. The SCO has the responsibility to prevent instability, forestall the spread of terrorist and religious extremist ideologies and stop forces with hidden agenda from undermining peace and stability in our region."
As per reports, ISIS posts around 90,000 items daily on various social media platform to influence, recruit, and create terror. The Chinese Internet Plus and Digital India plan should work together to help other SCO members to counter cyber terrorism.
The most important strategy to fight against these terror groups is to provide employment to young people so that they don't become drawn-in by these extremist groups. As such, an Asian Silicon Valley, an idea discussed during an India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, should be extended to other SCO countries. This will provide an eco-system to the youth of SCO countries to think about positive ideas, convert these ideas to commercially viable products and services and contribute to the growth of whole region and world.
As for the potential benefits, India can gain from SCO's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) – manned by 30 professionals analysing key intelligence inputs on the movements of terror outfits, drug-trafficking, cyber security threats and public information in the region that we in India know little about. Likewise, participation in SCO's counter-terror exercises and military drills could be beneficial to the Indian armed forces.
(Prasoon Sharma is Director- India Global Centre for Chinese studies. He represented India at various forums like India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in 2016 & 2018, BRICS summit etc.)
By Prasoon Sharma
In March 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled the China Internet Plus (CIP) plan, “to integrate mobile Internet, cloud computing big data, and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to get Internet-based companies to increase their presence in the international market.” With annual ICT investment worth 2.7 trillion yuan (US$415 billion) and 731 million internet users, China is looking to re-boost its economy through Internet Plus.
In July 2015, Indian Prime Minister Sh.Modi launched Digital India program (DIP) to transform India into digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. For DIP, India will spend `1.13 trillion INR in the next three-five years to provide Internet connections to all citizens. The plan is likely to create over 17 million direct and 85 million indirect jobs.
During 4th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue held in Delhi, India on October 7th, 2016, an Action Plan on "Digital India” and "Internet Plus” between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India and National Development and Reform Commission of China was agreed.
China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation
In January 2017, Infosys presented a report in World Economic Forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This report revealed a surprising fact that China-India’s companies AI maturity score is much higher than of US companies
In March 2017 at the opening of the the National People's Congress, the annual meeting of China's top legislature, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced another historic step by showing strong determination to support Artificial Intelligence’s future growth. In the same meeting, Robin Li, founder of Chinese search engine Baidu Inc., made proposals for regulators to consider using artificial intelligence to crack down on human trafficking and to reduce traffic jams in cities. According to a study done by IIT, Madras, Traffic congestion on Delhi roads cost around $10 billion annually. Thus, cooperation between India-China on AI will be win-win situation for both countries.
However in terms of resources like infrastructure, research and talent pool, China is much ahead of any other BRICS countries in AI domain. As shown below, China is next to US in terms of total AI companies and total number of patent filed in AI domain.
As per report published jointly by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and consulting firm PwC, AI can be applied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives such as the Digital India initiative, Skill India and Make in India; in large-scale public endeavours ranging from crop insurance schemes, tax fraud detection, and detecting subsidy leakage.
For example, Farmer (Kisan) Call Centres can respond to issues raised by farmers instantly and in their local language. An AI system can assist this call centre by linking soil reports from government agencies to the environmental conditions prevalent over the years using data from a remote sensing satellite. The call centre could, then, provide advice on the optimal crop that can be sown in that land pocket. This information could also be used to determine the crop’s susceptibility to pests.
Thus, China-India and especially BI (Baidu - Infosys) should work together to induce AI in BRICS. If implemented successfully and in synergy, this cooperation can improve life of almost 40% of world population and can boost the world economy by reenergising two world ’s fastest growing economies i.e. India and China.
China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation
Since long, BRICS countries are considered the beacon of hope for the global economy. Owing to an increased mining of raw materials and the outsourcing of numerous Western branches of industry to low-labour-cost countries, investors expect long-term yields. But, Brazil and Russia are becoming less attractive as demand for raw materials is currently very low. With AI, the technical development of production robots, many companies producing in low- labour-cost countries will relocate their production sector to the countries where they originally came from. Thus during BRICS summit 2017, AI skill development centre and AI Task force should be announced to prepare the future blueprint of AI cooperation framework. As China-India already have national policy named China Internet plus and Digital India, companies like Baidu and Infosys as well as students with good mathematics background should lead this drive to promote and support AI growth in BRICS countries. This drive can be named as iBRICS- Intelligent BRICS which resembles BRICS countries with strong AI capabilities.
(Prasoon Sharma is Fellow at India Global ,a think tank formed by US & UK based Indians, and Visiting Research Fellow at Qianhai Institute of Innovative Research (QIIR) , Shenzhen, ranked among top 35 Global New think Tank in 2016 by University of Pennsylvania )
We’re about two months away from elections in Pakistan -- elections that are almost certain to be shrouded in controversy, one way or another. And, worryingly for Pakistan, it appears that the economy is weakening, just in time for the instability that might follow from the country’s turbulent politics.
Under the outgoing government -- led till last April by Nawaz Sharif, three times prime minister -- the economy had appeared to be doing well. In fact, a new energy seemed to have infused Pakistan’s entrepreneurs and investors; in the last fiscal year, the economy grew at 5.8 percent, the fastest rate in 13 years.
That now appears set to change. Economists polled by Bloomberg worry that, in the coming year, growth will slow to 5.2 percent -- a full percentage point below the government’s own optimistic forecast.
China’s Silk Road
The problem is that much growth in the recent past has been unbalanced, depending particularly on investment from China in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPECNSE 0.00 %) -- a branch of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s world-spanning Belt and Road Initiative -- and on Pakistani government spending that matches the CPEC’s aims. China’s big bet on Pakistan’s infrastructure has to be paid for somehow, in part through the purchase of Chinese heavy engineering and other inputs.
Those imports have helped swell Pakistan’s current account deficit by 50 percent, to a record high of over $14 billion. Pakistan’s central bank has devalued the currency twice but has felt that it has few options other than running down the country’s foreign-exchange reserves. Over the past fiscal year, a third of the reserves have evaporated.
These are the classic signs of a fragile economy that is failing to tighten its belt where needed. To give the outgoing government some credit, it tried to correct course slightly in its annual budget last month, which cut infrastructure spending by 20 percent.
As the economists polled by Bloomberg point out, however, that’s going to affect growth going forward. Meanwhile, the government’s other expenditures -- on wages, pensions and so on -- went up by 20 percent. There’s an election on, after all. And, of course, the pampered Pakistan military had its budget raised by 20 percent.
Many analysts expect that Pakistan is going to have to turn to the International Monetary Fund in a few months, particularly if its reserves continue to dwindle at this rate. Even the rabidly anti-Western opposition leader, Imran Khan, has reportedly admitted in private that he would approach the IMF for help if he’s elected.
The problem is that Pakistan’s leaders have put all their eggs in one basket. The CPEC may have some advantages for Pakistan’s economy -- for one, it has helped address the country’s chronic power shortage -- but the costs are worrisome. China forces Pakistan to buy Chinese equipment for use in Chinese projects, shredding its reserves; then Beijing extends loans to cover the purchases, which sends Pakistan’s debt soaring.
Pakistan’s external debt is now $91.8 billion -- up 50 percent since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister almost five years ago. The public debt-to-GDP ratio is 70 percent, far higher than most of the country’s peers. And about two-thirds of the early loans from China have been extended at a usurious rate of interest – seven percent, according to some experts.
The next government -- even if it’s again led by Sharif’s party -- will have to recognize that Pakistan’s China-first economic model has broken. Frankly, it looks awfully odd for Pakistan to be bankrupted by China and then to approach the West -- in the form of the IMF -- for help. China and Pakistan may be “iron friends,” but this isn’t what friends do to each other.
The truth is that the cure for Pakistan’s economy is obvious -- just difficult for politicians to implement. Pakistan needs to be integrated with the global economy, not just with China’s extractive state.
Only after Pakistan begins to export more to the world will it be able to pay for what investment it needs. Currently, the exports-to-GDP ratio is below 10 percent, far lower than other countries in the region. The Sharif government began structural reform with some enthusiasm, but that effort faded as it ran into heavy weather politically.
The reform program needs to be revived, and forms of funding and building infrastructure must be found that don’t leave Pakistan dependent on expensive Chinese financing. Till that happens, even fast growth won’t be sufficient to paper over the Pakistan economy’s essential fragility.
(This article is published by Economic Times on May 23rd 2018 by Mihir Sharma)
By Prasoon Sharma
China has celebrated Innovation week in various cities on the same lines India has set up Atal innovation centers in nooks and corners of the country. There are efforts going on in both the countries for creating innovators and entrepreneurs. There are efforts which are being made individually by both the countries we would propose that joint efforts should be put by both the countries for Innovation. Think on the lines of setting up India China innovation Forum and then helping both the nation to not only share but also utilize resources.
Atal innovation centers is providing financial and strategic help to all the selected incubators similarly China is also spending a lot on incubation activities, the same money can be utilized for Joint innovation activities.
Post setting up joint innovation forum, the forum can jointly utilize the ecosystem and help policy making think tanks by influencing policy decisions.
“The new direction by President Xi for China is an innovation led growth. As such Shenzhen & HK is ready to play their role in building a world class innovation center and work with other Asian cities to bring together entrepreneurs and innovators at one platform.” said Dr. Witman Hung , Deputy to the National People’s Congress of the People's Republic of China. Dr. Witman Hung is also currently the Principal Liaison Officer for Hong Kong, Shenzhen Qianhai Authority.
"Both India and China have national policy on digitalization, innovation and Artificial Intelligence. This initiative of creating Asian Silicon Valley will bring synergy and thus success for not only India-China but whole world. Asian Silicon Valley will bring partnership between cyber cities to share each other's best practices and build up a cyber hub at the Asian level." said Mr Prafulla Ketkar, Editor of Organiser. Organiser is an affiliated publication of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)- the parent organization of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). Sh. L K Advani (cofounder of BJP) was former editor of Organiser.
Shenzhen is the manufacturing hub while Bangalore as stated above is a services hub, joining both together will create synergy and will help both the nations to realize innovation targets.
Hong Kong is one of the most significant global financial centers, holding the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranking as the most competitive and freest economic area in the world. As the world's seventh-largest trading entity, its legal tender, the Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th-most traded currency. Hong Kong's tertiary sector dominated economy is characterized by competitive simple taxation and supported by its common law judiciary system.
Hong Kong and Shenzhen have close business, trade and social links and are like one connected city.
Shenzhen – The city that transformed China
Shenzhen has transformed from a fishing community of 30,000 to a sprawling industrial and financial megacity, with a population exceeding 12 million.
The city ranked first on the list of 2016 China's Urban Comprehensive Economic Competitiveness.
In 2015, Shenzhen's economic growth maintained a healthy momentum and its GDP grew by 8.9% to 1.75 trillion yuan. It’s total retail sales of consumer goods increased by 2% to 501.78 billion yuan and the foreign trade volume increased to US$442.55 billion. The export and import volume has stayed at the top of the nation's large and medium-sized cities for the 23rd consecutive year.
Shenzhen is currently fourth on the Chinese mainland in terms of economic power and is one of the country's top cities for economic returns. Surpassing Hong Kong for the first time, Shenzhen was placed first on the list of 2015 Chinese cities' comprehensive economic competitiveness, according to the 2015 Competitiveness of Chinese Cities Blue Book.
Shenzhen reported a local revenue of 272.71 billion yuan in 2015, up by 30.9% from 2014. The public budget expenditure in 2015 was 351.9 billion yuan, up by 62.5% from the previous year.
Shenzhen is the main link between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and a transport hub for coastal southern China today. The city leads in high-tech development, financial services, foreign trade, shipping, and creative and cultural industries. It has undertaken a mission to pilot China's structural reform and continuous opening up to the outside world.
Bangalore – Economy, Industries and Commerce
One of the important factors spurring Bangalore's growth was that the Central Government invested heavily in public sector industries in Bangalore, partially due to the fact that it is geographically disconnected from India's competitors Pakistan and China. This led to the concentration of technical and scientific manpower in Bangalore and is a factor in leading the "IT revolution" in Bangalore.
Newsweek proclaimed Bangalore to be one of the 12 "Capitals of Style", along with Paris, London and Los Angeles.
Long before Bangalore was called the Silicon Valley of India, the city made its name as headquarters to some of the largest national heavy industries of India. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) headquarters was based in Bangalore and was for the most part dedicated to R&D activities for indigenous fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Today, HAL develops and maintains an impressive fleet of fighter aircraft and trainers for the Indian Air Force including Sukhoi 30 Flankers and Jaguars.
The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) is also headquartered in Bangalore and is dedicated to the development of aerospace technologies. NAL has a staff strength of over 1,300 employees and often works in conjunction with HAL.
Bangalore is called the "Silicon Valley of India" due to the large number of information technology companies located there. Many multinational corporations, especially computer hardware and software giants, have operations in Bangalore. Electronics City, located in the southern outskirts of Bangalore, is an industrial park spread over 330 acres (1.3 kmÂ²). Whitefield, located in the northeastern outskirts of the city is another technology hot spot. The government has plans to develop an information technology corridor linking Whitefield and Electronics City. Over 200 Information Technology corporations have facilities in Bangalore. At the peak of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, Koramangala - a suburb of Bangalore, was believed to have had the highest density of telecom software companies per square mile in the world. Infosys and Wipro, India’s 2nd and 3rd largest software companies are headquartered here and are now billion dollar companies, looking to reach 2 billion in 2005.
Biotechnology is a growing field in the city. Bangalore accounts for at least 97 of the approximately 240 biotechnology companies in India. Interest in Bangalore as a base for biotechnology companies stems from Karnataka's comprehensive biotechnology policy, described by the Karnataka Vision Group on Biotechnology.
In 2003-2004, Karnataka attracted the maximum venture capital funding for biotechnology in the country - $8 million. Biocon, headquartered in Bangalore, is the nation's leading biotechnology company and ranks 16th in the world in revenues.
Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) which is initiated by Biotechnology vision group, ICICI, Biocon which is located in ITPL is trying to shape revolutionary scientists in the field. Like the software industry which initially drew most of its talent from the local public-sector engineering industries, the biotechnology industry had access to talent from the National Center of Biological Sciences(NCBS)and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
(Prasoon Sharma, Director of India Global’s Centre for Chinese studies)
(originally published in China Plus - http://chinaplus.cri.cn/opinion/opedblog/23/20180330/110514.html)
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s decisions- from banning pan, chewing tobacco, illegal slaughter houses, cancelling public holidays and above all, to go ahead and distribute school bags with the previous chief minister’s photo shows he made of a different mettle. What is more, other state governments too are duplicating his ideas
Over the last few months, images of Chief Minister of the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath have been flashing all over the place. His government started various transformative changes that is making everyone sit up and take notice. What started off as a ban on pan, chewing tobacco and plastics is transforming not just offices but also officials of the Uttar Pradesh government.
The change is fast and he seems to mean business. The latest move by him asking his party workers not to welcome him and his ministers with flowers during their visits to the districts and instead welcome his team with a cleanliness campaign is striking a right chord with the common man. In what can be termed as an unprecedented move, never before attempted in the political firma, Yogi Adityanath allowed the distribution of thousands of unused school bags, branded with images of his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav. The measure is to save money as he was keen that public money should not go a-begging just for ‘political ego’.
The most tangible message has been his message that no scheme would be named after any person. The flair with which he is going about his tasks and the determination and quickness with which he is taking decisions is taking many by surprise as the five-time Gorakhpur MP and head priest of the Gorakhanath Mutt has taken the Chief Minister’s seat with consummate ease.
The Yogi effect is rubbing off on other states as well, Gujarat, which goes to the polls later this year, came up with an amendment to make cow slaughter an offence punishable with life term. What is striking is all his decisions are being taken with much appreciation by the man on the street and others are following him as well. For instance, the AAP decided to follow Yogi Adityanath and Delhi is to cancel holidays marking birth and death anniversaries. The UP chief minister’s move to cancel 15 public holidays is being applauded by the intelligentsia as well as the common man.
Even the Muslim community in UP is batting for ban on illegal slaughter houses in the state. Yogi Adityanath’s journey from becoming the head priest in 2014 after the death of his spiritual guru Mahant Avaidyanath has been fast and steady laced with fiery speeches and activism. Now that he is the head of the most populous state in the state, all eyes are on him but he has till date, though too early in his tenure is making the right moves and is able to catch the attention of the common man.
As soon as he was sworn in, he lost no time in making the employees read out and take the ‘swaacchta shapath’ the cleanliness oath and weild a broom to make the offices spic and span. The offices now are cleaner than before and sycophancy is slowing fading away. But apart from these ‘cosmetic’ changes a need to root out corruption that is so ingrained in the officialdom is something that one would have to wait and watch.
If one would bring in cricketing terminology. His first few overs have been phenomenal but there is still a long way to go. Well begun, is half done goes the saying, how it will culminate is something everyone is waiting to watch.