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Fate Of West Bengal: TMC’s Regionalism Or BJP’s Gujrat Model?

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BJP TMC Bengal Election

The political dynamics of West Bengal depends upon the 2021 assembly election, making it one of the most crucial election. Bhartiya Janta Party’s success in Bihar after cut-throat opposition competition, could also impact West Bengal’s future course. Trinamool Congress’s and West Bengal CM Mamta Banarjee is trying every means to protect power from the clutches of ever-growing BJP by resorting to the traditional regionalism tactic.

Mamta Banerjee has a strong position in West Bengal since 2011. Uncertainty mounts as major parties throw arrows and verbal remarks in electoral campaign.

The political structure of the State will see a unique turn as many political analysts look at the 2021 elections as a battle between Nationalism and Regionalism which is observed as the underlying themes of BJP and TMC respectively.

Regionalism, in its essence, has been a threat to nationalism. Still, at the same time, it helps the State to protect its ethnic and cultural identity and occasionally leads to economic development. Regionalism is a common political tactic used in every country to protect and mobilize aspiration of people.

BJP’S Gujrat Model and Hindutva wave:

Gujrat Model, is essentially, a decade from 2002-2012, when the State experienced quantum growth in terms of economic activities by then CM Narendra Modi. Thus, the model is widely used by BJP in terms of influencing other states and has a significant role in the big win of the 2014 General elections.

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh urged voters to elect BJP to power and enable them to emulate Gujarat growth model in the State. In Mr Ghosh’s words “Give us a chance so we could change this scenario in Bengal and turn the state into a business and industry hub like Gujarat, so youths don’t have to look for jobs elsewhere.”

BJP’s new slogan “Ebar Bangla Parle Sambhla” (Bengal, save if you can). The slogan indicates imperialist view of BJP after gaining momentum in Bihar. To reply, Mamta Banarjee coined “Duare Sarkar” for its governmental policies which will be provided on “doorsteps.”

With more leaders from Delhi approaching West Bengal for electoral campaign, TMC MP Saugata Roy said to The wire “BJP is parachuting its Delhi leaders in, to control Bengal. This clearly shows they don’t trust their Bengal leaders.”

BJP cleverly refute outsider tag given by TMC and connects with the people by providing example of Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Swami Vivekananda. Using historical factor, BJP is luring West Bengal.

Digs at West Bengal’s law and order and development:

The BJP profoundly pointed out that the students from West Bengal, who once were seen dominating the civil services examination, now do not feature in the merit list. The party pushed the blame upon the Left Front government for the sudden downfall in the education sector.

Mr Ghosh said “Biman babu (the Left Front chairman Biman Bose) and Buddha Babu (former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee) have successfully politicized the people in a way that we now produce migrant workers who move to Gujarat for menial work, and not doctors, engineers or professors.”

Raju Banerjee, vice-chief, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) West Bengal unit said: “Over time, the meaning of TMC kept changing, it has now become a Terrorist Manufacturing Company.”

Mr Ghosh took a dig at the law-and-order and commented “The other day six Al-Qaeda terrorists were arrested from Aipurduar (in North Bengal). A network has been formed in several places of the State. Even Bangladesh leader Khaleda Zia has said the terrorists are being trained in India and sent to Bangladesh to create disturbance. This State has become a centre of terrorists, and anti-nationals. They are coming here from other places and taking shelter. The situation of Bengal is now worse than Kashmir.”

TMC’S regionalism and outsider label to BJP:

TMC is smart enough to instil Bengali Pride and use regionalism to counter back BJP’s growing influence. After the appointment of Bengal’s governor by Centre and political chaos in the State, Mamta Banarjee said “Why should Gujarat rule all states? What’s the need for a federal structure?”

She and TMC further labelled BJP as an outsider and commented “People of Bengal will rule the state and not outsiders and people from Gujarat.”

In response to Gujrat Model, the TMC leadership didn’t fail to remind the BJP of the communal violence and atrocities against minorities in Gujarat in 2002.

West Bengal’s Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said: “People of Bengal are living in peace and they (BJP) want the State to be Gujarat.”

Mr Hakim further commented “Over 2,000 people were killed and encounter deaths of people like Ishrat Jahan have occurred. If Bengal is turned into Gujarat or U.P., then here, too, people will get killed in encounters. We want our State to remain the way it is.”

Mr Hakim reacted to Mr Ghosh’s assertion that Tata Motors small car production was set up in Sanand of Gujrat after being moved out from Singur, West Bengal, “the Tata Nano factory which was set up in Gujarat has closed down, while the MSME sector in West Bengal is making good progress. In Gujarat only a few industrialists are given preference.”

BJP’s plan to gain the confidence of the voters is unique to the kind exhibited by the saffron party previously. BJP has moved from Hindutva to focusing on development issues in the electoral campaign. However, leadership becomes vital to West Bengal as the party lacks a strong face.

As a regional party, TMC must focus on the ground level development and the burning issues like that of employment, education, healthcare etc., to have an impact on people. TMC has to go beyond regionalism argument for running a majority.

Though the BJP lacks a strong face of the party in Bengal but it has higher aspirations this time. On the other hand, TMC is rooting for regionalism in terms of language, culture and tradition of West Bengal, which gives TMC an upper hand. At the same time, it discredits the non-locals as outsiders who will set the State ablaze if they came in power in their opinion.

In the words of Professor Ajay Gudavarthy “In the upcoming election in West Bengal, the likely binary would be ‘outsider’s development’ versus ‘insider’s culture.’’

A girl with aspirations and desires skyrocketing yet likes to keep it lowkey—also a political enthusiast with the zest of bringing a change. I always like to be indulged in good conversations with a hot cup of coffee. I am an avid reader with a habit of binge-watching movies and shows.

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All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

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National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.

Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)

With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.

Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.

The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.

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Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained

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Pegasus II News Aur Chai

Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.

The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.

Pegasus Spyware and India

According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.

This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.

Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.

According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.

The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’

This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.

Pegasus Spyware and World.

 In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.

At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden.  After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.

If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.

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Modi Cabinet 2.0: Young and Dynamic Leadership or Otherwise

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Cabinet II News Aur Chai

On the 7th of July, the union government announced the biggest cabinet expansion in the 7 years of NDA rule. The recent expansion increased the size of the Council of Ministers from 53 to 77. About 43 new ministers were sworn in, 15 of which were Cabinet Ministers and 28 Ministers of State (MoS). This is the first cabinet overhaul in the second term of NDA governance.

Experts however claim that the new cabinet expansion is a pre-emptive measure to balance electoral formulae in different states ahead of the 2022 State Assembly elections. It is also conjectured that the reshuffle comes as rectification of prolonged criticism about BJP’s governance in the past 2 years, including the Healthcare management during the Pandemic.

The Performance Paradox

This recent cabinet expansion is a report card of the BJP government’s performance in the last 2 years. Major ministerial changes, such as the resignation and replacement of Dr. Harshvardhan as the Health Minister indicate a confession of their mismanagement of the pandemic.

He has been replaced by Mansukh Mandaviya, a 2 time Rajya Sabha MP who has also been awarded by the UN for initiatives in Women’s healthcare in the past. His appointment as the Health Minister is one of hope for BJP, to change and streamline (a.) the COVID-19 Pandemic response and (b.) BJP’s image in the name of healthcare management.

On the contrary, Anurag Thakur’s promotion from MoS Finance to a Cabinet Minister defies all logical explanations for awarding performance. Not only has India’s economic condition worsened under his management, his controversial statements like “Desh ke Gadaaro ko…” do not present a strong case for him. His appointment is a political investment by BJP in Himachal Pradesh’s state elections next year which happens to be Thakur’s home state.

Similarly, Sitharaman’s finance ministry has remained untouched, after historical mismanagement of our Finance capabilities. All of this reflects a selective approach adopted by BJP, which is one of political hesitation and hyperopic ignorance.

BJP’s Political Calculator

Apart from the ‘punishment’ narrative, the new cabinet expansion has also given an insight into BJP’s political planning.  This expansion has incorporated key leaders from several states that go to elections next year. Moreover, it has also been carefully planned to cover the losses BJP has incurred in the past two years.

As a reward for dismantling the elected Madhya Pradesh government and tipping scales in BJP’s favor, Jyotiraditya Scindia was appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Civil Aviation (a post held by his father as well in ’91) almost after 3 years.

On the contrary, Pashupati Kumar Paras got an early reward for breaking down Lok Janshakti Party’s (LJP) representation in Lok Sabha. He was appointed as the Union Minister for Food Processing, after the attempted coup on Chirag Paswan’s leadership.

Sarbananda Sonowal, who was replaced by Himanta Biswa Sharma as the Chief Minister of Assam after the fresh elections, was also awarded a berth in the Cabinet. It is conjectured that this development was in talks ever since Himanta Biswa Sharma was chosen as the CM.

As the Uttar Pradesh elections near, BJP also made sure to improve representation from the state. Major appointments such as Niranjan Jyoti (MoS Food Processing), Anupriya Patel (Mos Commerce and Industry), and Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma (MoS MSME) were made majorly because of their heavy support base in UP.

Following the same lead, Ajay Bhatt from Uttarakhand was appointed as MoS Defence and Tourism. As seen earlier, BJP has made major organizational changes in Uttarakhand which goes to elections next year.

Some Positives

In the mirage of calculated placements and image reconstruction, BJP has hit a few rights with this organizational change. The new cabinet includes a maximum number of women to have ever served in a Union Cabinet, a first in a nation with largely patriarchal tendencies.

The cabinet has also tried to focus on bringing people with commendable background experience and education on board. Ashwini Vaishnav, former IAS and an alumnus of Wharton School have been given major ministries such as Railways, Communications, and IT. Similarly, Anupriya Patel who has been given the Commerce and Industry as an MoS has also served as an educator at Amity University.

Moreover, the diffused reliance on regional strength has become the overarching theme in this cabinet reshuffle. Even though the ruling party intends to balance the voter dynamics, this regional unity has become something to watch out for.

Yet, the big story remains the ouster of major politicians who have served loyally and faithfully to this government. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Jaavedkar, and Dr. Harshvardhan are major losers in this dynamic reshuffle. While the current government has tried to modernize the leaders of this nation, it has set a new precedent that loyalty is not the most critical virtue anymore; Election Commission’s schedule is.

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