Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Electoral reforms needed to eliminate black money

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a big rally at Lucknow. I appreciated the appeal made by him to party cadres to work with responsibility for providing a stable government in UP where family tussle is unfortunately prevalent within the present ruling Samajwadi party. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rajya Sabha MP and SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav were expelled from the party for six years on December 30 for “gross indiscipline” by the party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. After a meeting at Mulayam Singh’s residence the next day, the announcement to revoke the expulsion was made by Shivpal.

Having upstaged his father and the party supremo to appoint himself as the Working National President of the party at an emergency national convention, Akhilesh also replaced state unit chief Shivpal Singh with his loyalist and Member of Legislative Council Naresh Uttam. Mulayam Singh should allow an educated and young son to lead the party for elections. When you fight among yourselves in this manner, then people starts thinking about alternatives.

Sadly, in our Indian politics, leaders are unwilling to give up power even after attaining 75 years of age. Politics has become big business. We hear about eradication of corruption and wiping out black money, but unfortunately, these malpractices are widely prevalent in our electoral system. No party, including BJP, is willing to commit that they will not accept money in cash for ticket distribution. Political parties distribute lumpsum amount of money during election to woo voters. Modi is only speaking about electoral reforms pertaining to holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly election but he remains mum about the usage of cash in these elections. Though the PM speaks about development but after BJP came to power Ram Temple issue, Hindutva, gauraksha, etc has taken centrestage.

Modi announced a slew of incentives to the poor, farmers, women and small businesses in his New Year’s address to the nation. The incentives come ahead of the government’s annual budget, expected sometime in February, and before key assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in early 2017.

Modi has introduced a nationwide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women: 6,000 rupees will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children. Senior citizens will receive a fixed interest rate of 8 per cent for a period of 10 years on deposits up to 750,000 rupees. The interest will be paid monthly. Speaking on tax benefits for small business, the PM said that for small businesses, tax will now be calculated on 6 per cent instead of the earlier 20 per cent slab. He said that home loans up to Rs two lakh will receive an interest waiver of three per cent. Government will issue RuPay debit cards within three months to 30 million farmers who have Kisan Credit Cards.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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