It’s been little over a year since the Modi Government assumed office, and I find a new breed of severely misinformed and malicious lie peddling morons mushroom in our political discourse. Now these people are either truly misinformed and disinterested in getting their facts right, brainwashed or have political motives in spreading a plethora of lies that can potentially damage the country. In this series of articles I will try dispelling the U-Turn Sarkar propaganda what is being mounted against the Modi Government.
I had some AAP and Congress members come and question me regarding PM Modis “U-turn” on AFSPA with regards to Kashmir. Apparently, some loonies believe that one of BJPs poll promises was to “remove AFSPA” from Kashmir. Firstly, it’s been over a year and AFSPA is still valid in Kashmir the last time I checked. So unless something changes between me writing this article and positing it, they said U-turn doesn’t even exist.
I will however still humor the dolts and give some evidence. BJP has always been firmly in favor of AFSPA in Kashmir and rightly so. The article presented to me as evidence of BJPs U-turn said this:
“Contrary to its known stand on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday said if it is voted to power in Jammu and Kashmir, the act will not be needed.
“We believe the Armed Forces Special Powers Act will not be required if we come to power in the state. We will create such an atmosphere that everything will move peacefully and according to law. There will be no need of the stringent law,” BJP state vice-president and Kashmir affairs in-charge Ramesh Arora told reporters here.”
For the people who aren’t in the know, AFSPA is only valid in areas that are included in the gambit of “Disturbed Areas Act”. As the name suggests, states included in this act are the ones that face severe militant or insurgency problems like Kashmir, Manipur etc. Until an area qualifies under the DA Act, AFSPA stays. When an optimum level of peace is achieved, the state government can request the centre to remove the state from the Disturbed Areas Act. Once approved by the centre, the state government can then proceed to revoke AFSPA like in Tripura recently. What Ramesh Arora said in his statement was that if BJP comes to power, they will try and create an environment of peace that would make removal of state from DA Act and subsequently revoking AFSPA a possibility. He spoke about a process of weeding out terrorists so the state could be peaceful. Now I’m not sure where the U-turn exists since AFSPA is still very much in force.
- Land Acquisition Bill
The U-turn charge in this regard which is a favourite with the AAP and Congress supporters alike is that back in 2011 when LAB was formulated by the UPA government, BJP supported that act and now, they are amending it simply to help large corporates. Now getting into the details of this act is for another article. But here are some facts that would prove beyond doubt that whether political compulsions and personal hate allow you to agree with this bill or not, the U-turn allegation is squarely baseless.
When LAB was enacted in 2011, UPA Included Section 105 that included Schedule 4 which had 13 legislations like atomic energy, railway etc for which the land to be acquired would feature in the exempt category. This means, the government would have to take no consent from land owners, perform SIA or give due consideration to right to food security. BJP had supported this then with a demand to Jairam Ramesh that Rural Infrastructure should also be added to the list of exempted purposes for acquisition of land. To this Mr. Jairam Ramesh had said that the necessary amendments will be made. UPA, of course, did not make the amendments. The only change it made to the bill then was that irrigation projects where SIA had been done at the state level won’t need to done at the central level. Now, the 6 main amendments to UPAs LAB that has been done by the Modi Government are as follows:
1. Land to be acquired for Rural Infrastructure has been included in the exempt list.
This land, once acquired by the government would be used for irrigation projects, Rural road development etc. Incidentally, this is the very clause that BJP had requested UPA to add in 2011 and was assured of inclusion.
2. Land to be acquired for National Security and Defense purpose to be included in the exempt list.
This clause in the previous bill was in the Emergency purpose list and not in the exempt list. Which meant, that if the government had to acquire land for a military base or nuclear plant, the government would be required to divulge all information publicly for purpose of land acquisition. Even to a layman, that idea is preposterous. This was incidentally the cause for massive hold up in strategic development. BJP has now only taken this purpose from the emergency purpose list and included it in the exempt list.
3. Land to be acquired for affordable housing and housing for poor to be included in the exempt list.
At the very onset, it needs to be clarified that “Affordable housing” means housing which is less than 800 square feet. This will be built by the government for the rural population on the land acquired by the government since I’m guessing that the urban affluent won’t exactly shift to the rural areas to live in apartments which are less than 800 square feet.
4. Industrial corridors to be in the exempt list.
Finance Minister Sri Arun Jaitley in his parliament speech said that agriculture contributes to 15% of the national GDP and is shared by 60% of the national population. The need of the hour is to shift at least 30% of the agricultural population to industry based jobs. In order to do this without saturating the urban areas, Industrialization in the rural areas is imperative that can generate the necessary employment without resulting in rural migration.
5. Infrastructure projects including PPP projects where the central government continues to own the land to be included in the exempt list.
6. The current government has also increased the compensation the land owner gets for the acquired land.
Interestingly, all the changes that have been made by the BJP led government were the exact changes that Anand Sharma of Congress had written to the then Prime Minister about when LAB was being passed by the UPA government. Further details aside, I fail to see how this qualifies for a U-turn.
- BJP U-Turn on black money:
In this regard, I have heard the opposition and specially AAP supporters questioning two things.
1. They claim that BJP promised to bring back black money in 100 days.
The speech people refer to with regards to this claim, is the one made by now Home Minister Sri Rajnath Singh in one of his election rallies. Its claimed he said “We will get back black money in 100 days”. What he actually said was “We will start the PROCESS of getting back black money in 100 days”. To this end, BJP constituted an SIT after its first Cabinet Meeting. The black money law has been passed and several tax havens including countries like British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Jersey etc have begun sharing information with India regarding black money holders. But hey… don’t let facts bite u in your posterior.
For the skeptics, here’s the video where Rajnath Singh explicitly says “100 din main KARWAHI shuru karenge”.
2. They keep asking when the government would deposit 10 lac in their personal accounts.
I understand the opposition’s trepidation here. AAP is clearly a radical left party and for them to expect the government to pay citizens for doing absolutely nothing is in sync with its ideology. I hate to be the one to burst the communist muftkhor bubble here, but Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi never said that he is going to deposit 15 lac in every citizen’s personal account. The mention of this amount only features as a guesstimate of the amount of black money that could be stashed abroad. He also specifically mentions at the end of his speech that the money once brought back needs to be used for the poor of the country. Now I’m not sure if people falling for this propaganda are high on hallucinogens or are plain stupid, but they’re clearly wrong
Link to the mentioned speech:
Now these are only the three U-turn lies that have been propagated by the opposition against the Modi Sarkaar. There are many such allegations that are floating around that I will refute in my subsequent articles in the series. The blatant propaganda is of course the job of the opposition and I understand that completely. What I don’t understand are lazy supporters who buy whatever garbage is fed to them without even taking the time to run a basic Google search on what the truth actually is.
If you repeat a lie a thousand times, it starts sounding a lot like the truth. Here’s to hoping the truth prevails.
(Bias Declaration: Strong political inclination towards BJP and Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi)
Picture credits: http://www.newslaundry.com