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Sunday 6 May 2012

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that his Ministry had decided to prepare and implement a special plan for the development of Maoist-infested tribal regions of Malkangiri district of Odisha and Sukma district of Chhatti

Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that his Ministry had decided to prepare and implement a special plan for the development of Maoist-infested tribal regions of Malkangiri district of Odisha and Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.What about other districts effected?Those spread all over Central India, Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat?I had been in these districts which are inhibited by bengali refugees also along with the Tribal People. We all know that the word Development is the best ploy of displacement and ethnic cleansing! earlier Jairam ramesh could not help the Environment as all the Projects objected by him are now cleared. As NCTC is in Deep Freeze, who knows this could be latest strategy of Government`s war against Aboriginal Humanscape?
Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, chapter 767

Palash Biswas
Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that his Ministry had decided to prepare and implement a special plan for the development of Maoist-infested tribal regions of Malkangiri district of Odisha and Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.What about other districts effected?Those spread all over Central India, Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat?I had been in these districts which are inhibited by bengali refugees also along with the Tribal People. We all know that the word Development is the best ploy of displacement and ethnic cleansing! earlier Jairam ramesh could not help the Environment as all the Projects objected by him are now cleared. As NCTC is in Deep Freeze, who knows this could be latest strategy of Government`s war against aboriginal Humanscape?

Our people are siezed  by the Security forces all over the Central india along with the tribal people. The Chief Ministers who are opposing NCTC, are prtners in the war against Aborigine humanscape countrywide, in the Himalayas, in the Central india, deep down the South and specifically in the Northeast. but they happen to be in Opposition against NCTC ideologically but they happen to be instrumental in the Genocide Culture!Key UPA ally Mamata Banerjee on Saturday led a host of chief ministers in opposing NCTC, stating that there is no need for such a body while other non-Congress ruled states alleged it violates the federal structure and demanded drastic changes in the proposed law.But Never did she tried to bail out our people under sieze.She rode over the waves of Popular Resistance in West Bengal in  Nandigram, Singur and Lalgargh, but getting the helms of Brahaminical hegemony Rule , she is adopting draconian ways against the People who chose her the Chief minister rejectingg the Marxist Gestapo Harmad rule. But she is alos running blind on the High way iof Capitalist development and doing everything to woo the capitalist world.

The Centre today failed to break the logjam on the controversial anti-terror body National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) with non-Congress chief ministers stoutly opposing and some of them demanding its withdrawal.THE National Counter Terrorism Centre that the Union Home Ministry wanted to create will not see the light of day — not in the near future at least, and certainly not in the manner it was envisaged.After a majority of key states invoked federalism to reiterate their strong objections to the NCTC today at a meeting of chief ministers —- some of them even rejected the idea of having such an organisation — the fate of the body, that was to have come into operation from March 1, is all but sealed.

While ramesh declares development as the topmost Priority, the  Bengali Finance Minister of India, most probaly the Next president of India as he enjoyes the support f the Market forces and Political support across political ideological lines, sets the agenda of economic reforms which remains as the Central Issue of Maoist resistance all over the aborigine Humanscape.  The Indian government is committed to bringing down subsidies to below two percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the current fiscal and cut it further to 1.75 percent in the next three years, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee saidin Manila Saturday. this is clear indication what a President he would turn to be provided ELECTED!Addressing a press conference after taking over as chairman of the board of governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mukherjee said the government was taking measures to boost growth and curb fiscal deficit. Sharing concern over slow pace of key reforms in India, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Manila on Saturday that delays are inevitable in a coalition-run government as it has to take on board views of different ruling partners and the process is time-consuming.However, to boost business sentiment, the government has taken major initiatives like the new investor-friendly manufacturing policy, liberalisation of inflows in the capital market and easing of the rules for the companies to raise funds overseas, he said.Significantly, Mukherjee said, "Discussions are also underway about decontrolling some of the administered fuel prices". The Finance Minister shared concerns among a section of the industry and investors over delays in decision-making.

Meanwhile,DMK on Saturday gave its backing to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) presidential candidate. "If he is the candidate of the UPA coalition, DMK will not hesitate to back his candidature," DMK chief M Karunanidhi told reporters here.Asked about his earlier observation that his party favoured a 'good President' and whether Mukherjee could be the one, the DMK chief said, "I have no objection. But there has been no decision on the presidential candidate."t Pranab Mukherjee has surged ahead in the presidential race. But before you start dismissing all political news reports you hear as unreliable speculation, remember that politics is the art of the possible. And even mere speculative headlines have often come true.

The DMK leader, whose party is a key partner in the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, recalled that he had invited the Finance Minister as early as in 1969 for a conference on state autonomy. Asked whether Mukherjee was acceptable to the DMK, Karunanidhi said, "If the majority opinion is that, then DMK will also subscribe to it."

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday parried questions on whether the AIADMK would support Pranab Mukherjee for presidency, saying the party has not yet been approached by anybody in this regard. She said no "concrete proposal" has been put forward by anybody to her party on the issue of the candidate for the presidential polls scheduled to be held in July.

"The AIADMK has not yet finalised its stand or strategy with regard to the presidential elections. And no concrete proposal has been brought to us so far by anybody," she told reporters at the Tamil Nadu House here. She was asked about her opinion on Pranab Mukherjee being the Presidential candidate.

Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee are able candidates for the President's post. "Hamid Ansari is a good friend of mine and a knowledgable person. Pranab Mukherjee is a walking encyclopedia. Whoever occupies the post will follow the law and precedents," Aiyar told reporters here on Saturday.

When asked to name his preferred candidate, he refused to take sides and said both are equally able. He criticised BJP leader Sushma Swaraj's reported remarks that Ansari was not qualified for the post, and said this only showed she was not fit for the role of the Leader of Opposition.

Several key reforms like liberalisation of the voting rights in banks, hiking foreign direct investment (FDI) in insurance and allowing it in the multi-brand retail have been pending for long.Some of the allies of the ruling UPA coalition have been opposing FDI in retail and other reforms.

"Yes, there has been some delay in some of the crucial legislations, but when you run a multi-party coalition government and when the electorate gives a fractured mandate which limits the powers of the executive...with the mandate that you have to carry others with you...your own views or your own ideas are not adequate unless you carry others with you," Mukherjee said.

Although it is time-consuming and at times to "the point of almost frustration", it is lasting, Mukherjee said, adding that since the economic reforms began in 1991, there is a commitment among the political parties on liberalisation.

Asked about the perception among some of the global rating agencies on India, Mukherjee said they would have captured the mood and other parameters at a particular point of time, but the economic situations keep changing, like it improved in the US.

Last month, global credit rater Standard and Poor's had lowered the country's sovereign rating outlook on account of fiscal situation.

Mukherjee said the government is committed to addressing important issues like increase in fiscal deficit. "On the fiscal front, we are committed to bring down the subsidy bill below 2% of the GDP in 2012-13. Discussions are also underway about decontrolling some of the administered fuel prices," he said.

Citing strong fundamentals and hopes of revival in business confidence, Mukherjee said the Indian economy would return to the pre-global crisis growth path in the coming years.

"On the fiscal front, we are committed to bring down the subsidy bill below two percent of GDP in 2012-13 and to 1.75 percent of GDP in next three years," he said.

Mukherjee said the loosening of monetary policy by the central bank will help revive private investments and boost business sentiments.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its annual monetary policy for 2012-13 announced April 17, lowered key policy rates by 0.50 percent. This was the first rate cut by the central bank in three years.

"I hope this will help in investment revival and contribute to strengthening of business sentiments," he said.

The finance minister said India's economic growth is likely to accelerate in the coming years with the government's efforts to revive investments.

"In the union budget for 2012-13, we have focused on strengthening domestic growth drivers, encouraging private investments to regain its pre-2008 crisis growth momentum and addressing supply constraints in infrastructure and agriculture sector," Mukherjee said.

India's economic growth is estimated to fall to 6.9 percent in 2011-12 as compared to 8.4 percent registered in the previous year.

The government has set a target of 7.6 percent growth for the current financial year that began April 1.

Mukherjee said crisis in the euro zone had negatively impacted Indian economy.

"The unfolding of the Euro zone crisis has impacted the Indian economy through lower growth, falling business sentiments, declining capital inflows and exchange rate and stock market volatility with attendant implication for investor confidence," he said.

This despite the fact that the Centre tried to reach out to states with a six-step Standard Operating Procedure under which state anti-terror units would have been part of the NCTC and state DGPs included in its council. But this re-working was a non-starter given the deep political trust deficit between the Centre and the states.

After the day-long meeting, Home Minister P Chidambaram said that the government would "examine" all issues raised by the CMs before deciding on the next step. But the day's mood was summed up by the fact that he had already begun talking in terms of "NCTC or any other counter-terrorism body".

"Given the kind of terrorist threats we face, what we undoubtedly need is a counter-terrorism body — something that is more than a mere police organisation. It will need to mobilise all elements of national power — policing, diplomatic, financial and any other element — needed to thwart terrorist acts and designs. Whether it is an NCTC or any other body, we firmly believe that such an organisation is required," Chidambaram said after the meeting.

At the end of the day-long conference in which Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi asked the Centre to drop the proposal while Jayalalithaa said it should be kept in abeyance, there was uncertainty as to when the NCTC would come into operation.

Home Minister P Chidambaram parried questions on a time line for implementing his pet project that has been kept on hold ever since non-Congress chief ministers raised strong opposition saying it cut at the root of the states powers and destroyed the federal fabric.

He said he was "leaving the meeting with an open mind" and the Government would take a decision on concerns of the chief ministers over locating the NCTC in the Intelligence Bureau and undertaking operations even in exceptional cases.

"I firmly believe that we need a counter-terrorism body. Whether its is NCTC or some other body, whether it will have these powers or some other powers or functions is a matter that can be debated but certainly we need a counter-terrorism body.

"I have assured them that all their suggestions would be most carefully and anxiously considered," he said.

The non-Congress chief ministers opposition came notwithstanding appeals from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram for a broad consensus.

Even Congress ally National Conference voiced reservations over the NCTC in its present form saying it makes it as stringent as the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of Assam also wanted that Centre should take into confidence the states before undertaking operations.

Significantly, BJP leader and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said they would support NCTC if their suggestions are incorporated and NCTC is suitably amended.

Making a strong pitch for the formation of NCTC, the Prime Minister said its establishment is not a State versus Centre issue but will work as a vehicle of country's combined efforts to curb terrorism.

Stressing that NCTC will supplement the counter- terrorism capabilities of the states and not supplant them, Singh asked the state governments to work with the Centre in dealing with terrorism.

In his speech, the Home Minister, the prime mover of the NCTC proposal, said terrorists do not recognise boundaries and the Centre and State governments have to work together to make the country safe and secure.

"We have to work together. Working together – State Governments and the Central Government working together, the Opposition and the Treasury working together, civil society organisations and Government institutions working together --

I am confident we can make the country more safe and more secure," Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram pointed out that there are cases where, despite inputs regarding the presence of terrorists, the security agencies concerned did not act either due to lack of capacity or lack of a timely decision.

"Most of these cases concerned so-called 'Jihadi' terrorists and cadres of CPI(Maoists). What should the Central government do in such cases?," he said.

Addressing a press conference in Bhuvneshwar,Mr. Ramesh said the plan would be ready for implementation in three months, and construction of bridges, roads and water supply facilities would be taken up over two years,Mind You,the Centre will include a number of additional activities in the work schedule of its flagship programme MGNREGS, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said in kolkata on Saturday. "On Tuesday [May 8], I will announce a major expansion of the activities taken up by MGNREGS on the floor of the House," Mr. Ramesh told journalists.

The special plan for Malkangiri-Sukma would be prepared on the lines of special plans already being implemented in the Saranda and Sarju areas in Jharkhand.While 7,000 families had been benefited in Saranda, 12,000 families would be benefited in the Sarju area. Both the areas had been freed from the Maoists' clutches by Central paramilitary forces after many years, he said.

Mr. Ramesh expressed hope that implementation of the special plans would help fight the Maoist problem in a greater way.

Of the total 78 Maoist-infested districts in the country, 20 districts had been badly hit by the menace, and those districts were in need of special attention, he noted.

Stating that the Maoist menace could not be fought by security forces alone, Mr. Ramesh underlined the need for political activity, development activity, and security activity, simultaneously, to contain the problem and win the support of the tribal people.

The Minister revealed that the implementation of the Integrated Area Plan (IAP) in districts affected by the Maoist problem would be given a new approach in the coming days. Instead of the Collector, Superintendent of Police and Divisional Forest Officers taking decisions for the development of the IAP, the schemes under the initiative would be implemented on pubic consultation at the gram panchayat, block and district levels, Mr. Ramesh added.

All the IAP districts had been provided with Rs. 30 crore each last year for developmental work, and a similar amount would be given to these districts during the current fiscal too, Mr. Ramesh said.

Elaborating on the new initiatives of his Ministry, Mr. Ramesh said his Ministry had decided to take steps for the provision of dwelling units under the Indira Awas Yojana for all the beneficiary families under the Forest Rights Act, by accepting them as families living below the poverty line.

Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said in kolkata that  inclusion of new activities would boost the performance of the scheme,MGNREGS!

An expert committee, headed by Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, had submitted a report in February this year, suggesting a new set of operational guidelines for MGNREGS.

The committee has recommended inclusion of a number of activities under the scheme, which has been accepted by the Ministry.

The report of the committee, which is uploaded on the website of the Ministry, has suggested an expanded list of permissible works to be included under the scheme.

The new list suggested by the committee has 30 different categories of work related to agriculture, rural sanitation, drinking water, watersheds, fisheries and livestock.

Announcing that a five-year impasse on the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in West Bengal has been broken, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh saidin Kolkata on Saturday that the Centre has agreed to upgrade 5,733 km. of rural roads built by red sand (murram roads) under the central scheme.

Mr. Ramesh said the State government will need to send by October 24, a detailed project report (DPR), approved by the zilla parishads, where the work will be taken up.

Emphasising that "approval of zilla parishads is essential" for the Centre's sanction, he said this condition was applicable to all the States.

The impasse over 12,319 km. of murram roads in the State had started during the rule of the Left Front government, which had shown the habitation connected by these roads as linked, and had then wanted the roads to be upgraded under the PMGSY.

Mr. Ramesh said that in the first phase, 5,733 km. of through roads connecting habitations would be upgraded, and in the second phase, work for the remaining 6,586 km. of link roads would be taken up.

Pointing out that only 66 per cent of the 12,000 habitations eligible to be connected under the PMGSY were linked in the State so far, Mr. Ramesh said the State government had agreed to give a proposal for 4,000 km. of new connectivity under the scheme. "All unconnected habitations with a population of 250 or more in Maoist-activity-affected Bankura, Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and some other districts with a population of more than 500 will be connected under the scheme," he said, adding that the State government will have to submit the DPR for the Rs. 2,000-crore proposal by June 24.

Calling the initiative to connect the Maoist-affected-areas as a major step forward, Mr. Ramesh said the Ministry was taking similar steps in all the 78 affected districts in the country.

Last year only 1,200 km. of roads were laid in the State. For 2012-13, he said, there will be a massive increase, as work for nearly 10,000 km. of rural roads would be taken up.

Lauding the efforts of Mr. Ramesh to resolve the impasse, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said a solution had proved elusive during Mr. Ramesh's earlier visits.

Regarding approval of zilla parishads, most of which were administered by the Left Front, Mr. Mukherjee said it was a "difficult but not impossible task," and expressed the hope that all political parties would come together for development.

Launching a sharp attack on the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a key ally of UPA government, today demanded scrapping of the proposed NCTC dubbing it "anti-federal" and contending that it was brought without consulting states and taking Parliament's nod.

"The NCTC is iteslf is a contradiction of the federal structure and constitutional obligation also. So, I urge the government to withdraw it," Mamata told reporters on the sidelines of the Chief Ministers' meet here.

The CM said "everybody wants to fight terrorism. It is number one on the agenda. But there should not be any confusion, contradiction or controversy about any act or law and this NCTC was notified without consutation with state governments and without the approval of Parliament also."

On coordination with the Centre to fight terror, the Trinamool Congress chief said "what we feel that is that state police and central security forces must work together. The message should not go to the people that the Centre is trying to impose something which may not suit the federal structure."

"Law and order is a state subject. The Centre must take states into confidence. We should not see whether this is our government or not. All governments are according to the Constitution and they are elected by the people. When they are elected by people, we must work together."

Asked whether she supports the proposal of setting up a sub-committee of CMs to examine the issue, she said "the issue of sub-committee will come when we want it. When we do not want it then where is the question of sub-committee? I said it should be withdrawn."

When pointed out that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has proposed the sub-committee, she said "it is his view. Anybody can raise any issue. It is the freedom of democracy. What they said is their issues. They said a sub-committee can decide it and I said withdraw it".  

Mamata said government should come out with a big scheme to man all these areas and the Centre must help the states to create its own infrastructure to fight terror.

Referring to the Constitution, she said "in a democracy, we have constitutional boundaries and as per the Constitution law and order is a state subject. If the Centre interferes in the state subject, do you think it is proper for the federal structure"?
She said "political parties will come and go but the federal structure according to our democratic system will continue. If there is any emergency-like situation, then of course the Centre can extend its cooperation."

Hinting at possible bias against regional and smaller parties, she said "as per NCTC, unnecessarily for arrest, seizure, information, for everything they can requisition any police official. Then, what it is the state state government for? I do not understand. May be because of regional parties...I do not know."

Asked about the PM's response to her demand for withdrawal of NCTC, Mamata said "I heard fully the PM's spech. He never said options are closed and that we cannot discuss. He did not say that options are not open. If I can guess from his speech, it is obvious that the PM said the options are open and that is why the discussions are going on."
Hoping the Centre will not push it, she said "if I can guess the mood of the House, then the Ccentre is not going to do it."

Asked about her stand on hostage policy, Mamata said "our state is a border state. There are coastal areas, there are isolated areas which are not being manned. Infrastructure should be developed in these areas and for this modernisation funds and development funds are required".

WHILE rejecting the proposal to create an NCTC, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa showed how similar their thought processes are, at least on this particular issue.

Modi and Jayalalithaa — whose intriguing bonhomie has often invited political curiousity — read out the longest speeches, made the most critical remarks against the Centre, raked up almost the same issues, and used almost the same arguments to oppose the NCTC. Both stood out in the bitterness with which they spoke of the central government.

"Autocratic", said Modi, about the Centre. "Disdainful", and having "utter contempt" for the state governments, added Jayalalithaa.

Unlike their other colleagues, the two did not restrict themselves to the NCTC, the specific subject for the meeting. Instead, they brought up other contentious issues like the proposed amendments to the BSF and RPF Acts, and even questioned the creation of the National Investigation Agency in 2008, which incidentally the Home Ministry had cited as a precedent while proposing the NCTC.

"Be it the proposed amendments to the Railway Protection Force Act, the Border Security Force Act, and the limited competitive examinations issue and so on, the union government has behaved in a manner which reminds us of the 'viceroys of yore'," Modi said.

"The assertions and assumptions on which the NCTC order has been crafted casts the central government in the role of the omnipresent, omniscient ruler with the states portrayed like dependent vassals," he said.

Jayalalithaa echoed the same sentiment, though in slightly different words. The way things are evolving with the creation of the NIA and NCTC and the proposed amendments to the RPF Act and the BSF Act, we seem to be headed towards an autocracy consisting of a 'government of the Centre, by the Centre, for the Centre'," she said.

Jayalalithaa said the standard operating procedures — circulated by the Home Ministry on the eve of the meeting — for the proposed functioning of the NCTC offered "lame excuses" and were "only worthy of outright contemptuous dismissal".

The two leaders, almost in total synchronisation, raised concerns about the after-effects of an NCTC-led operation. "Who will be responsible for the loss of innocent lives that may occur during the course of the operation dictated by the Intelligence Bureau?" asked Jayalalithaa.

Modi said the NCTC would behave like "fly-by-night Rambos" and the states would be left to "clean the mess".

The two chief ministers have an interesting history, though totally different political backgrounds. Modi takes pride in having risen through the ranks of the RSS, that preaches cultural Hinduism, while Jayalalithaa's party belongs to the Dravidian movement that doesn't believe in any religion. Their two parties, BJP and the AIADMK, have a love-hate relationship. And yet, these two chief ministers have often demonstrated a perplexing mutual warmth that has been fodder for much political speculation.

Modi was one of the few chief ministers invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Jayalalithaa when she took over as chief minister last year. That was probably in response to Jayalalithaa attending Modi's swearing-in five years ago. Jayalalithaa is one of the very few prominent political figures outside of BJP who has not been overtly critical of Modi for the 2002 riots. In fact, last year when Modi was holding a series of fasts, she sent her representative to attend one of them.

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