In our previous article, we told you about some great performers in the Narendra Modi-led NDA government
. Here is the work of some more ministers in the second edition of that article.
Woman and Child Development Minister
Maneka Gandhi, an environmentalist and animal rights activist in India, made a comeback to the union cabinet as the only member of the Gandhi family in the BJP-led government.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, which is expected to function as a deterrent for child offenders committing heinous offences, has come into force, replacing the Juvenile Justice Act 2000. Under the new law, the juvenile can be convicted for up to seven years and special provisions have been made to tackle child offenders in the age group of 16-18 years.
The Ministry of Woman and Child Development (WCD) has revised the guidelines governing the adoption of children issued by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) that would replace the 2011 Adoption Guidelines. The ministry says the new guidelines will provide more effective regulation for adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children and would bring more transparency and efficiency in the adoption system. The WCD ministry has also launched ‘e-office’ aiming to bring transparency and accountability, and thus stepping up the delivery mechanism. According to her, about 12,000 files of her ministry had been digitized since July 2015.
“The file now took 4-5 days to be processed as compared to 30-40 days earlier and it was possible now to locate the point at which the file was held up and avoid delay,” according to an official of the WCD ministry. The minister has also announced that the NDA government’s flagship programme ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, initially launched in 100 districts, will now be extended to 61 more districts owing to its success.
PM Modi launching the Sukanya Samridhi Account Scheme at the launch of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ Programme, at Panipat, in Haryana. rediff
Touted as the first of its kind in the country, the minister has also launched a ‘One stop Centre’ for women that will take care of physical and psychological well-being of women who are victims of various kinds of violence.
In this centre, the victims of rape, dowry harassment and domestic violence will get medical aid and also help in filing FIRs, legal advice and psychological counselling. The WCD ministry has also come up with Khoya Paya, a missing child tracking website. It was launched on June 2 and it already has 4194 users. Here anyone can participate in search for missing children. However, according to Sushil Kambampati, publisher of a parenting and family information website FamiLife.in, Khoya Paya allows citizens to violate the privacy of children.
Screenshot of Khoya Paya portal.
Last year, the minister has also agreed to increase the maternity leave to six-and-a-half months.
Maneka Gandhi has also launched the first-of-its-kind modern and model Anganwadi centre ‘Nand Ghar’ on PPP model at Hasanpur village in Haryana’s Sonepat district.
The Centre will set up 4000 such multifunctional Nand Ghars across the country to benefit over 4 lakh women and children. Based on the concept of ‘Building as a Learning Aid’ piloted by UNICEF, the centers would attempt to increase attendance of children.
The minister has also propsoed an age waiver for widows allowing them to sit for competitive exams for government and PSU jobs. The minister has also suggested tax rebates for single married women with children and parents who have adopted children besides increasing incentives for higher education of girl children. The WCD ministry has also approved construction of a widow home, which will be the largest in the country, in Vrindavan. It will have a capacity to house 1000 women.
Dharmendra Pradhan, the youngest ever oil minister, also works for the development of backward classes and the rehabilitation of the farmers.
The petroleum ministry has launched a facility allowing consumers to make online payment for the cooking gas or LPG cylinders at the time of booking, which the minister believes promotes consumer convenience, transparency and cashless transaction.
The facility would bring great relief to the working couple as well as to senior citizens as they can make the payment online without bothering to keep adequate cash at home.
Thanks to PM Modi’s diplomacy, Qatar has agreed to reduce the cost of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by half. An agreement has been signed between Petronet, India’s biggest gas importer and Qatar’s RasGas to supply LNG at $6-7 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), which is far lower than $12-13 per mmbtu, agreed earlier. India is the biggest importer while Qatar is world’s largest exporter of the LNG.
As per the direction received from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Indian Oil LPG officers have adopted a village each to convert it into a “smokeless village”. As a result, around 60 villages in Karnataka have successfully moved away from traditional stoves that use firewood and cow dung cakes to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves, hereby becoming “smokeless villages”.
On January 29, Indian Oil hit a milestone as 1066 villages and 15 towns were declared smokeless.
Indian Oil had undertaken the task of achieving 100 per cent LPG penetration in the country, mainly to improve the lives of rural masses. Over four million Indians die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution.
Targeting to add 10 crore new LPG connections in the next three years, the petroleum minister has said that oil marketing companies are mulling to sell new cooking gas on an EMI basis, just like for other consumer durables.
The ministry is also planning to open 104 CNG retail outlets by oil marketing companies in addition to existing 350 CNG filling stations in next three months. Pradhan says the sector had seen a 14 per cent growth, which is about 1.5 times the growth in GDP, and that the Centre had a set target to increase the petrochemical industry’s output to 12 million tonnes from the current capacity of 6 million tonnes.
Minister for road transport and highways
The minister, who has authored India Aspires, has a good understanding of how to develop infrastructure and how to use green and renewable energy. The use of PPP model is his strong area.
The minister claims that the road building pace is picking up and has reached 18 kilometre per day now from “mere 2 kilometre a day during the UPA regime. He also says that it will reach 30 kilometre a day by March 2016, adding that 95 per cent of the stuck 380 road projects, when he took over, have been rolled out by addressing regulatory hurdles.
The highway ministry is also looking to increase the total length of national highways to 1.5 lakh kilometre by March 2016 from the present 96,000 kilometre.
To decongest Delhi, PM Modi recently launched a Rs. 7500 crore project to widen the Delhi-Meerut highway and replace it with an expressway. The project will give “road to freedom from pollution” and will do away with 31 traffic signals on the road and make it “signal free”, thus reducing the travel time between Meerut and Delhi from two and a half hours to around 40 minutes.
Gadkari has also said that highway projects worth Rs 55,000 crore would be rolled out in Uttar Pradesh and the work will shortly begin on Delhi-Dehradun project for faster connectivity.
The government is also expected to soon start work on three express highways, including the one between Delhi and Srinagar. “(We) will construct Delhi-Srinagar express highway which will reduce travelling time to Srinagar from national capital to 6 hours from present 22 hours. Similarly Mumbai-Nagpur express highway will reduce travelling time to 6 hours from 18-19 hours,” he said.
The highway ministry is also looking to launch 100 highway projects next year through the public-private partnership PPP model. According to Gadkari, 95 per cent of problems pertaining to PPP projects had been addressed.
The government also plans to build a number of expressways including Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Nagpur, Delhi-Ludhiana and Bengaluru-Chennai.
Ravi Shankar Prasad
Communication and Information Technology Minister
A Supreme Court Advocate, orator par excellence, and a humble person, his ministry earned nearly Rs 1.1 crore from free and fair means of spectrum allocation.
The spectrum auctions resulted in a record windfall of nearly Rs 1.1 lakh crore into the coffers of the government — crossing the communications ministry’s target of Rs 1 lakh crore — from the sale of airwaves last year when a total of 418 MHz was sold across 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.
Ravi Shankar Prasad/Twitter
According to TRAI and government officials, the availability of spectrum should lead to improved services in the telecom industry and end the menace of call drops and poor data connectivity.
TRAI is also recommending a record mega auction of mobile airwaves – the biggest-ever so far- to tackle deficient consumer services – that could give a windfall of nearly Rs 5.5 lakh crore into the coffers of the government.
PM Modi launched the government’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme on July 1, with an aim to create participative, transparent and responsive government, with focus area as health and education. The Ministry of Communications is the nodal agency to implement the programme.
The Digital India programme includes various schemes worth over Rs 1 lakh crore like Digital Locker, e-eduction, e-health, e-sign and national scholarship portal. BharatNet in 11 states and Next Generation Network (NGN), are also a part of the campaign.
PM Modi inaugurating Digital India week.Ravi Shankar Prasad/Twitter
The Digital India initiative also aims to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically and people get benefit of the latest information and communication technology. The apps for programme includes Digital India Portal, MyGov Mobile App, Swachh Bharat Mission App and Aadhaar Mobile Update App.
Ravi Shankar Prasad/Twitter
Through Digital India, the government is planning broadband in 2.5 lakh villages; universal phone connectivity; Net Zero Imports by 2020, Wi-fi in 2.5 lakh schools, all universities; public wi-fi hotspots for citizens, and getting 1.7 crore people trained for IT, Telecom and Electronics Jobs, and e-Governance & eServices. According to Prasad, 70,000 km optic fibre had been laid so far in the country.
Digital India tableaux at Republic Day.Ravi Shankar Prasad/Twitter
The Digital India programme has launched ‘jeeven Pramanam’ web portal for pension seekers. Earlier, people seeking pension had to come personally to show that they are alive to seek pension. Through this web portal, pension seekers can digitally prove that they are alive.
Screenshot of web portal Jeevan Praman.
The minister also said that India, which currently has around 400 million Internet connections, is aiming to raise it to 500 million connections in coming years.
Ravi Shankar Prasad/Twitter
According to Prasad, taking strong exception to the problem of call drops, as per a directive by PM Modi, private telecom operators have installed 29,000 new mobile towers in the country while 2,200 of them were installed in Delhi. While public sector BSNL has installed 4,500 mobile towers in the country, MTNL installed 28 towers in Delhi.