Rafale: Modi govt gave unprecedented waivers- N. Ram

Rafale: Modi govt. gave unprecedented waivers in offset agreements

         By N. Ram

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave exceptional and unprecedented waivers to M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s MBDA in the offset contracts they signed with the Indian government on September 23, 2016 as part of the €7.87 billion  Rafale deal. These waivers, granted on August 24, 2016 at the highest level of political decision-making, were exemptions given to the two private French companies from having to comply with provisions of the Standard Contract Document of the Defence Procurement Procedure, DPP-2013.

The waivers concerned two key issues — the provisions to be made in the offset contracts for arbitration (Article 9) and access to books of accounts of the industrial suppliers (Article 12).

These had been sent up to the CCS for its “final review and approval” by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. He had evidently felt uncomfortable with sanctioning, at his level, major deviations from the Defence Procurement Procedure. But that was not all.
Rafale

Two other mandated provisions of DPP-2013 that prohibit the “Use of Undue Influence” and “Agents/ Agency Commission”, Articles 22 and 23 respectively of the Standard Contract Document, and provide for penalties against private industrial suppliers in case of transgressions, had been quietly dropped along the way by the DAC. Curiously, while the deletion of these vital integrity provisions from the Supply Protocols, which were themselves only annexures to the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA), went up to the CCS for “final review and approval”, their deletion from the offset contracts, which had been insisted on by the French industrial suppliers, did not have to.

These salient facts, which were not disclosed by the government in its submissions to the Supreme Court of India, as well as other aspects of an open-ended and murky set of offset arrangements which were enabled by a major change in offset policy in August 2015, come to light in the final report of the Indian Negotiating Team (INT), dated July 21, 2016, to which The Hindu has access.

What needs to be noted is that nothing in our current series of investigative articles raises any questions about the quality of the Rafale, or indeed the rival EurofighterTyphoon, combat jet, or about the need to modernise the Indian Air Force. Interestingly, and as a matter of record, this was also the case during The Hindu’s Bofors investigation of the late-1980s, when neither the quality of the Bofors, or the rival Sofma, howitzer nor the need to upgrade the Indian Army’s artillery resources was in question.

0% offsets in first three years

There has been a major political controversy over Dassault Aviation’s choice of Indian Offset Partners (IOPs), notably Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, and the non-transparent arrangements for the discharge of offset obligations. Offsets are ‘domestic content-based requirements’ imposed on an exporting foreign entity by an importing government or public entity as a quid pro quo for placing a large order with the exporting entity. ‘Offset’ is usually rendered in French as ‘contrepartie’ (compensation), as Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, pointed out in an interview to AFP.

Highlights
  • CCS gives exceptional waivers to Dassault & MBDA in offset contracts, exempts them from aligning Arbitration (Article 9) & ‘Access to books of account (Article 12) provisions with DPP-2013 Standard Contract.
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, uncomfortable with major deviations from DPP-2013, gets DAC to send unresolved issues up for “final review and approval” by CCS.
  • DAC drops DPP-2013 provisions on penalties for “Use of Undue Influence” and “Agents/Agency Commission” from offset contracts.
  • Offset obligations of around ₹30,000 crore are heavily back-loaded, to be discharged over 7 years, with zero discharge in first 3 years and 57% in 7th year.
  • INT’s efforts on offset issues weakened by parallel NSA talks.
  • Controversy breaks out over non-transparent & openended offset arrangements and choice of Reliance Group as Dassault’s only publicly known offset partner.

The total offsets to be delivered in the Rafale deal by Dassault Aviation (and its 21 Tier-1 sub-vendors) together with MBDA (and its 12 Tier-1 sub-vendors) have been fixed at 50% of the contract value. The contracted offset obligations, which are valued around ₹30,000 crore, are to be discharged over a period of seven years beginning in the fourth year, that is, from October 2019.

The discharge of offset obligations is heavily loaded on to the last two years of the seven-year period. According to the offset schedule, the two private French companies (along with their Tier-1 sub-vendors) will discharge 0% of the value of the total offsets for ‘Make in India’ in the first three years and 4% in the fourth year. After that, while Dassault (and its Tier-1 sub-vendors) will discharge 16% and 23% of the value of offsets in years five and six, the corresponding figures for MBDA (and its Tier-1 sub-vendors) will be 9% and 30%. No less than 57% of the value of total offset obligations will be discharged in the seventh year.

The INT’s final report reveals that the initial proposal of Dassault Aviation and MBDA had nearly 88% of offset obligations loaded on to the seventh year. The avenues proposed for offset discharge were also far from satisfactory. A meeting held in the Defence Ministry on January 4, 2016 decided that in view of advice received from the Ministry of Law and Justice, the French side should be informed that the offsets “will have impact on the commercial proposal” and that the French industrial suppliers should be advised to submit revised offset proposals urgently.

“After extended negotiations and on INT’s insistence”, the report goes on to say, “DA and MBDA reduced the offsets in the last two years (6th & 7th) and brought down the offset obligations in the last year from 88% to 57%. Another milestone was achieved as INT was able to persuade DA to increase the percentage of offsets in the avenue ‘direct purchase’ from the initial value of 9% to 72% and reduce offsets in the avenue ‘investment in kind (equipment)’ from the initial value of 30% to 20%. This would facilitate greater direct investment in India by the French vendors.”

Summary of offset proposal of Dassault Aviation

Avenue for offsets/Make in India % of offset/Make in India Total offset (%)
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
Direct purchase of eligible products 0% 0% 0% 1% 10% 17% 44% 72%
FDI in joint ventures (equity investment) 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 0% 1%
Direct purchase through investment in kind through ToT 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 2% 4% 7%
Investment in kind in terms of equipment 0% 0% 0% 2% 5% 4% 9% 20%
Provision of equipment and/or ToT,
Technology acquisition by DRDO
(*)
Annual offset obligation 0% 0% 0% 4% 16% 23% 57% 100%

(*)Technology Acquisition (TA) projects with DRDO are foreseen to be incuded in the Offset Contract, following discussions to take place between Dassault and the DRDO after coming into force of the Offset Contract. Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the Offset Schedule will be amended to reflect the TA projects and their associated offset value agreed between Dassault and the DRDO. However, such amendment will not affect the Annual Offset obligation indicated in the table above.

Summary of offset proposal of MBDA

Avenue for offsets/Made in India Yearly fulfilment of offset* Total Offset**
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7
Direct purchase or executing export orders (avenue 3.1 (a)] 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 6% 12% 20%
FDI (avenue 3.1 (b)] 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 0% 2%
Investment in kind through ToT to Indian enterprises [avenue 3.1 (c)] 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 1% 2%
Investment in kind in terms of provision of Equipment to Indian enterprises (avenue 3.1 (d)] 0% 0% 0% 2% 4% 14% 26% 46%
Provision of equipment and/or ToT to government institutions including DRDO Technology acquisition by DRDO (avenue 3.1 (e) & (f)] 0% 0% 0% 2% 2% 8% 18% 30%
Annual offset / Make in India obligation (%) 0% 0% 0% 4% 9% 30% 57% 100%

*Yearly fulfillment of offset/Make in India obligation (in %) of the total offset/Make in India obligation)
**Total Offset/ Make in India (%)

French reluctance to mention ‘offsets’

The INT report reveals that the French negotiators were initially “not ready to mention the word ‘offsets’ in the IGA” but upon insistence by the Indian side, they “relented and added ‘Make in India’ initiative through Offsets at Article 12 of the IGA”. The proposal originally submitted by Dassault Aviation and MBDA was titled ‘Rafale Make in India initiative in the frame of the procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft’. This “neither mentioned the word ‘Offset’ nor provided the desired avenues/percentages/yearly discharge, etc., as mandated by the DPP-2013 guidelines”. It was only after extended discussions that the two industrial suppliers agreed to provide their offset offer “as per the format specified in DPP-2013”.

Article 12 of the IGA reads: “The French Party will facilitate the implementation of ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Industrial Suppliers notably through offsets as specified through direct contracts between the Indian Party and the Industrial Suppliers for 50% value of the Supply Protocol”.

However, the INT report notes, certain Articles of the offset contracts “were not consistent with the standard contract document provided in DPP-2013. Specifically, the French side was not ready to include the Articles on ‘Arbitration’, ‘Use of Undue Influence’, ‘Agents and Agency Commission’, ‘Access to Book of Accounts’ and ‘Offset Performance Bond’.”

The two waivers

Dassault Aviation and MBDA proposed the inclusion of the same clause on arbitration in the offset contract as in the IGA. Article 16 of the IGA, the dispute resolution provision, stipulates that both parties make their best efforts to settle the dispute through direct negotiations and that if any dispute cannot be settled through direct negotiations within 24 months, it will be settled in accordance with the arbitration clause of the Supply Protocols.

Article 21 of the Supply Protocols stipulates that all disputes be settled by direct discussions and that if any dispute cannot be resolved in this way within 24 months, it will be settled by arbitration in accordance with the prevailing United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules in Geneva.

The Indian negotiators contended that the IGA formulations could not be applied to the offset contracts, which would be signed directly by the Government of India with the two industrial suppliers. The offset contracts were clearly not part of the IGA. Acting on directions from the DAC, the INT repeatedly pressed the French side to` agree to the alignment of Article 9 of the offset contract with Article 21A of Chapter V of the Standard Contract Document of DPP-2013. But Dassault Aviation and MBDA dug in and refused to do this, citing three reasons: “(i) Simple and efficient wording; (ii) Agreed by both governments; (iii) No confusion or risks of overlap in Arbitration procedure for any dispute spreading from the Supply Protocols to the Offset Contract.”

The INT’s efforts on this issue had been weakened, if not undermined, by the parallel talks conducted by the National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, in Paris in January 2016. The Indian negotiators found themselves up against a wall. Eventually, in July 2016, two months before the Rafale deal was signed, the DAC decided to send the issue of the lack of alignment of Article 9 — the arbitration provision in the offset contracts with the French industrial suppliers — with the mandated DPP-2013 provisions to “the government”. On August 24, 2016, the Cabinet Committee on Security decided to give a waiver on this issue to the two French companies.

Subject to France’s blocking statute

The INT report reveals that although the French side agreed to have a provision on ‘Access to Book of Accounts’ (Article 12) included in the offset contracts, it “introduced an additional formulation over and above the DPP guidelines”, which read: “However Dassault shall comply with French Law No. 80-538 dated 16 July 1980.” This is France’s controversial blocking statute which criminalises the communication of economic, commercial, industrial, financial, or technical documents or information to foreign individuals or foreign legal entities. France’s anti-corruption agency, the Service Central de Prévention de la Corruption, has recommended changes in Law No. 80-538, and in December 2016 a new anti-corruption law was enacted. But the blocking statute remains in place and can be invoked if needed.

The INT report shows that despite being repeatedly asked to remove the additional formulation, the French side insisted that “they are bound to consider the French law as stated”. In July 2016, the DAC directed that “Article-12 of the Offset Contract on ‘Access to Book of Accounts’ which has been aligned with the Mirage 2000 MLU Contract, may be placed for a decision by the Govt”. This waiver was also approved by the CCS on August 24, 2016.

Offsets are made for controversy

Offsets, as we have seen, are domestic content-based obligations that the buyer imposes on the seller as compensation for placing a large order. Although the practice is often criticised for being trade-distorting, non-transparent, and riddled with corruption and has been generally prohibited by the World Trade Organisation (with an exception made for protection of the essential interests of a country’s national security), offsets are increasingly in vogue in the defence sector.

India’s “Defence Offset Guidelines”, which form Appendix D of DPP-2013, lay down that the Defence Acquisition Council may, after consideration by the Services Capital Acquisition Plan Higher Categorisation Committee (SCAP HC), “prescribe varying offset obligations above 30 percent or waive the requirement of offset obligations in special cases.” In the original process, initiated by the United Progressive Alliance government, to procure 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) as well as in the new Rafale deal for 36 fly-away Rafale jets, the DAC prescribed offset obligations to the extent of 50% of the contract value.

It is important to note that the offset contracts, which were concluded between the Government of India and the two private French companies, were not part of the Indo-French Inter-Governmental Agreement. Although signed on the same day, September 23, 2016, as the IGA, the two offset contracts were completely separate from it. This crucial fact was brought up in the official talks by the Indian Negotiating Team with a singular lack of success, mainly because their efforts had been undercut by the “parallel negotiations” conducted by officials of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Adviser.

The significance of these offset-related issues and the ‘unacceptability’ of the French demands were brought out sharply by M. P. Singh, Adviser (Cost), A. R. Sule, Financial Manager (Air), and Rajeev Verma, Joint Secretary and Acquisitions Manager (Air), the three domain experts on the seven-member INT, in their June 1, 2016 note of dissent: “The offsets are not part of the G to G agreements and therefore the Offset Contract must be in line with the one prescribed in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). In the MMRCA process also, the French Industrial Suppliers would have been required to follow the Offset Guidelines and the Standard Clauses of Contract prescribed in DPP. The proposed draft Offset Contract is still not aligned with the one prescribed in the DPP. The arbitration clause proposed by the French Industrial Suppliers in the draft Offset Contract is not as per the DPP and cannot be agreed to. The French Industrial Suppliers have insisted upon reducing the maximum ceiling for penalty from 20% as prescribed in the DPP to 8.5% of the Offset value, which is not acceptable. The French Industrial Suppliers are not agreeing to the requirement of confirmation of Performance Bank Guarantee for Offset Contract from Indian Public Sector Banks located in India. The French Industrial Suppliers proposed to include a clause on ‘Access to the Book of Accounts’ subject to French Law, which is not acceptable.”

As the official negotiations got under way, it became clear that the August 5, 2015 amendment to the DPP-2013 “Offset Policy Guidelines” allowed Dassault Aviation and MBDA a great deal of leeway. They were no longer required to submit their offset plans, including the identities of their IOPs, the details of their work share and specific products, and supporting documents indicating IOP eligibility at the bid stage, as laid down earlier.

They were not even required to provide this information at the time of signing the IGA and the offset contracts. They are now required to provide the information to the Indian government only “at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations through that IOP”.

Questions that won’t go away

The controversy over Dassault’s choice of offset partners will not go away any time soon. As has been widely reported, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, with its subsidiaries, entered the defence manufacturing sector in January 2015. Reliance Defence Limited was incorporated on March 28, 2015, that is, two weeks before the new Rafale deal was announced in Paris; Reliance Aerostructure Limited (in which Reliance Defence Limited was a 99.988% shareholder as of March 31, 2018), was incorporated on April 24, 2015; and in October 2016 Dassault Aviation formed a joint venture with Reliance Aerostructure Limited’s subsidiary, Reliance Aerospace. The joint venture, which was incorporated in February 2017, has been named Dassault Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL).

The allegations revolve round the charge of crony capitalism – the charge led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi that as a quid pro quo for the new Rafale deal the NDA government had secretly nominated the younger Ambani scion as Dassault’s leading offset partner. It may be recalled that the controversy took off in September 2018, after the former French President, François Hollande, told Mediapart, the independent French online investigative journal: “We didn’t have any say in this matter. It is the Indian government which had proposed this service group, and Dassault who negotiated with Ambani. We didn’t have the choice, we took the interlocutor who was given to us.”

The allegations gained traction when Mediapart reported that it had obtained an internal Dassault document that revealed that “a senior executive of the French group told staff representatives that the joint venture with Reliance was agreed as a ‘compensation’ in the Rafale deal and that it was both ‘imperative and obligatory’ for Rafalein securing the fighter contract”.

The allegations have been denied by Dassault Aviation, by Anil Ambani, and by the NDA government, which has maintained that it has had nothing to do with the aircraft manufacturer’s choice of IOPs and has not even received official word on who they are. However, the Dassault chief, Eric Trappier, has gone on record to say that DRAL, the joint venture that was building a manufacturing facility in Mihan, Nagpur, would make components of the Legacy Falcon 2000 series of civil jets and deliver “about 10% of these offset obligations”.

What part Reliance Defence Limited, other Indian companies, or the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will play in the discharge of the offset obligations in the Rafale deal will be known only in the months and years to come.

Our present state of knowledge is that a group that entered the defence manufacturing sector some weeks before a new Rafale deal was announced in Paris is the only publicly known offset partner.

-Source:- The Hindu/ APRIL 09, 2019/

Narendra Modi announces success of Mission Shakti

Narendra Modi announces success of Mission Shakti, India’s anti-satellite missile capability

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers. “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today,” he said in an unprecedented broadcast to the nation on television, radio and social media.

“India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of #MissionShakti,” the prime minister tweeted later.

He said the action was not directed against any country and the satellite was a pre-determined target orbiting at an altitude of 300 km. The prime minister did not say who owned the satellite but added that India does not breach any international laws or treaties.

Mission Shakti, which was led by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, was aimed at strengthening India’s overall security, he said in his address that comes a fortnight before the start of the general election.’ “#MissionShakti was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme,” Mr. Modi said. “Shooting down a low earth orbit satellite is a rare achievement for the country,” he said.

India is only the fourth country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability after the US, Russia and China. The “entire effort is indigenous. India’s stands tall as a space power. It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony”, Mr. Modi said.

The prime minister had advertised his address to the nation on Twitter, calling it an important message. “Do watch the address on television, radio or social media,” he said, setting off speculation across the country on what the topic was likely to be. Earlier in the day, the Cabinet Committee on Security had met at the prime minister’s residence.

-PTI, MARCH 27, 2019

Tom Vadakkan, key Sonia Gandhi aide, joins BJP

Tom Vadakkan, key Sonia Gandhi aide, joins BJP

In a major surprise, Congress leader Tom Vadakkan, who was a close aide of Sonia Gandhi, on Thursday joined the BJP, and attacked his former party’s stand on the Pulwama terror attack and India’s retaliatory air strike.

Immediately after joining the BJP, Mr. Vadakkan said he was “hurt” at the situation within the Congress where it was not clear that who was the power centre.

Former Congress leader Tom Vadakkan with Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after joining the BJP, in New Delhi on March 14, 2019.

Attacks his former party’s stand on the Pulwama terror attack and India’s retaliatory air strike

He said the Congress’s reaction to attacks carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists was sad. He asserted that he believed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development narrative.

-PTI, NEW DELHI , MARCH 14, 2019

Lok Sabha Election to be held from April 11 to May 19

17th General Election to be held in 7 phases from April 11 to May 19; counting on May 23

PM Modi wishes the best to Election Commission and seeks blessings of people

Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and will be held over seven phases followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission has announced on 10 March, 2019.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from March 10 and 10 lakh polling stations would be set up this time as against about 9 lakh in 2014.

Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora addressing media to announce the dates for the General Elections 2019.Announcing the schedule for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission said the ‘voter verifiable paper audit trail’ (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time. The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23 and fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19. Counting of votes for all seven phases would be done on May 23, the EC said. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in J&K would vote in three phases due to security reasons, the ECI said.

Among other things, the model code of conduct bars the government from announcing any policy move that may impact voters’ decision. The ECI said all political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India assuring smooth elections. India is very proud of the ECI for assiduously organizing elections for several years, he said.

PM Shri Modi said, “The festival of democracy, Elections are here. I urge my fellow Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. I hope this election witnesses a historic turnout. I particularly call upon first time voters to vote in record numbers.

Photo: Twitter/@PIB_India

The PM further said, “Guided by ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, NDA seeks your blessings again. We spent the last five years fulfilling basic necessities that were left unfulfilled for 70 long years. Now, time has come to build on that and create a strong, prosperous & secure India. #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar”.

Assembly polls

Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha will be held simultaneously with the respective Lok Sabha constituencies.

President’s rule to continue in J&K

On J&K, the ECI said security situation is being monitored. Regarding holding elections ECI has sought info from the State administration. EC has assessed the ground situation and preparedness for the polls, also considering recent developments, sought comments from MHA and also visited the State, had meeting with all political parties and administration officials, based on the findings and availability of forces, EC has decided to announce only the parliamentary elections in the State, decision on holding Assembly elections to be taken soon, he says. So, Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir not to be held along with Lok Sabha polls.

-MARCH 10, 2019

Opposition’s statements brought smile on enemy’s faces

Opposition’s statements has brought a smile on our enemy’s faces: PM

Hitting out at Opposition parties for questioning the recent air strike in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said, “Instead of boosting the morale of our armed forces, some people are asking for proof of the strike and the Opposition’s statements brought smile on the faces of our enemies.”

He was addressing the NDA’s sankalp rally at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna. “We are proud of our armed forces, but some people in our country are making statements which have brought smiles on our enemy’s faces,” he said. “But, your chowkidar is standing rock solid before them for the security of the country and protecting the interests of the poor people,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the NDA’s sankalp rally in Patna.

He said, “The new India that is surging ahead will not sit silent over the martyrdom of its brave soldiers. It will take revenge point by point.”

Leaders of the BJP, JD(U) and Lok Janshakti Party were present on the dias along with the Prime Minister. Mr. Modi said, “For the first time in 50 years, India was recently invited to the Islamic countries conference,” and “its voice was heard with respect.

“The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia too had come here and he increased the quota of Haj pilgrims to 2 lakh for Indian Muslims on my request. He also declared the release of 850 Indian prisoners arrested in his country on flimsy charges,” he said.

“This reflects another example of our respect in world community, but it also reflects what Congress was doing when it ruled the country,” he added further.

While slamming the Opposition parties for coming together to contest him, Mr. Modi said, “My priority is to appeal people to come to end terrorism but they say come to finish Modi; I say come to end poverty, corruption, black money, malnutrition, unemployment and fight for cleanliness but they [Opposition] are cobbling together to fight Modi,” he said.

“But the people of the country have decided to punish them once again,” he added. “Every year, ₹75,000 crore will be given directly to the bank accounts of farmers of the country,” Mr. Modi said, addressing the issue of farmers distress.

He further listed several achievements of his government and programmes initiated for development in Bihar. He also thanked Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for “giving new direction to Bihar and taking it out from those dark days”. “Today Bihar has got a better atmosphere for business activity,” he said.

Mr. Kumar thanked Mr. Modi for helping Bihar with several schemes and welfare measures. Mr. Kumar and Mr. Modi are sharing the dias after nine years. In 2010, they addressed an NDA rally together in Ludhiana, Punjab.

The State NDA leaders claimed it as a “historic rally” in the political history of Bihar as over five lakh people were in attendance.

PATNA, MARCH 03, 2019 

All-party resolution; In solidarity with forces in defending India’s unity

All-party meeting resolution: In solidarity with forces in defending India’s unity

An All-party meeting on Saturday on the car bomb attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir, that killed 40 jawans adopted a unanimous resolution to condemn terrorism and the support it receives from across the border. The meeting was presided by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Opposition leaders told Mr. Singh that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should convene another meeting with the leaders of the national and regional parties to discuss the future course of action. “We condemn terrorism in all forms and the support being given to it from across the border. India has, during the past three decades, faced the menace of cross-border terrorism. Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by the forces from across the border. India has showed both firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges,” read the resolution. “The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. Today, we stand united, in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism, and in defending the unity and integrity of India,” it added.

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and other dignitaries during an all-party meeting on the Pulwama terror attack at Parliament House, in New Delhi, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire nation stood united, and pointed out that the attack was the biggest casualty that armed forces had suffered since 1947, barring wars.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said the Prime Minister should personally handle the sensitive situation and immediately take strong action.

Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena said the government should learn from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure to take immediate action against Pakistan.

D. Raja of the Communist Party of India said concerns were also expressed about the safety of Kashmiri students and citizens settled in other parts of the country after Mr. Abdullah raised the issue of Kashmiris facing the ire of people in Jammu on Friday.

The Home Minister assured the meeting that the government will not allow social harmony to be affected and will take action, even if someone from the BJP, was involved in any such act.

Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress, Jithendra Reddy of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, among others, also attended the meeting.

NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 16, 2019

At least 42 CRPF jawans killed in IED blast in Pulwama

At least 42 CRPF jawans killed in IED blast in Kashmir’s Pulwama

At least 42 CRPF jawans were killed and many injured in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in the Lethpora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday afternoon. This is the highest number of casualties in an attack in the last three decades in Kashmir.

Preliminary reports suggested that the blast occurred at 3 p.m. when the CRPF convoy, carrying dozens of jawans, was moving on the highway. CRPF Inspector General said a vehicle laden with explosives hit the convoy.

Jaish-e-Muhammad claims responsibility for the explosion, saying it was a suicide blast; two CRPF vehicles damaged in the blast.

Terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a suicide blast. A JeM spokesman said its cadre Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas carried out the bombing. It was not immediately clear if Dar was in the vehicle when it exploded. “All injured have been shifted to a hospital,” said the police.

The highway was sealed, as deployments were rushed to the spot. The police said they were verifying if the IED was planted on a vehicle and was detonated when the CRPF vehicles neared it.

Sacrifices of our security personnel will not go in vain:PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the attack despicable and asserted that the sacrifices of security personnel would not go in vain. He also spoke with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top officials in the wake of the attack. “Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain,” he tweeted.

He said the entire nation stood shoulder to shoulder with the families of those killed. He also wished speedy recovery of those injured. “Spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top officials regarding the situation in the wake of the attack in Pulwama,” he said.

 The Congress conveyed its condolences to the family of the slain jawans through its official Twitter handle. “We are deeply saddened and angered by the terrorist attack that took the lives of our CRPF jawans in Pulwama. We strongly condemn this violence and stand with the martyrs. Our thoughts & prayers are with their friends and families in this time of grief,” it said.

BJP president Amit Shah termed the terror attack an “act of cowardice” and asserted that security forces would defeat those involved in terrorist activities. “Pained beyond words by the terror attack on our soldiers in Pulwama (J&K). It is an act of cowardice. My deepest condolences are with the families of our soldiers who have lost their lives. Our forces will remain firm against such acts of terror and defeat them,” he said in a tweet.

-FEBRUARY 14, 2019 / Pulwama J&K/PTI & Microstat

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas:NRIs are India’s brand ambassador

Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas-NRIs are India’s brand ambassadors: PM 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday described non-resident Indians as India’s brand ambassadors and said they were the symbols of the country’s capabilities. The Prime Minister was inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention in his parliamentary constituency Varanasi on Tuesday.

Image result for Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: NRIs are India’s brand ambassadors

Mr. Modi also alluded to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s comment that only 15 paise of ₹1 reaches masses and said the Congress government had done nothing to stop the leakage. Mr. Modi added that his government had stepped in to rectify the situation. The “85 per cent loot” taking place during the Congress regime had been plugged “100 per cent” through technology, he said.

The theme of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’

“We have given about ₹5,80,000 crore to people, transferred to their bank accounts through various schemes. Imagine, if the country was being run on the older system? Then ₹4,50,000 crore would have vanished,” Mr. Modi said.

Continuing his attack on the Congress, he said efforts to stop the “leakage” could have been made earlier as well but there was no intention and will power. “Our government is moving towards ensuring that the aid given by government is directly transferred to beneficiary accounts through direct benefit schemes,” he said.

Mauritian Premier lauds Modi

Mauritian Premier Pravind Jugnauth, who is the chief guest for the three-day event, also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Jugnauth hailed India’s transformation through initiatives such as the Skill India and the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao schemes. He also praised Mr. Modi’s global stewardship in promoting clean energy and for setting up the International Solar Alliance.

Mr. Jugnauth announced that his country will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav next month and a Bhojpuri Festival next year. For the first time, the three-day convention is being organised from January 21 to 23 instead of January 9 to allow participants to visit the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital. The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Role of Indian diaspora in building new India’.

-PTI, VARANASI, JANUARY 22, 2019

BJP National Convention 2019: Amit Shah’s speech

Salient points of speech of BJP National President Amit Shah at the BJP National Convention at Ramlila Ground, New Delhi

In the last week alone, the government of Narendra Modi ji has taken two major decisions that have massive implications for future. The first of to these two decisions was providing 10% reservation for the poor from the upper castes in education and jobs.  Prime Minister has got it cleared in the Cabinet and parliament in a manner of less than one week to fulfill the aspirations of crored of upper caste youth in this country. In my view, the 124th amendment to the Constitution giving reservation to the upper caste youth is one of the most significant amendments to the constitution since it was framed.

The second major decision of the government under the leadership of Narendra Modi ji is simplification of the GST and the relief given to the small traders and manufacturers. As per this major decision, small traders and manufacturers with turnover upto Rs.40 lakh are exempt from registration under GST. Likewise, the turnover limit for coverage under the composite scheme has been increased from Rs.1 crore to Rs.1.5 crore.

He called upon the entire parliamentary board of the Bharatiya Janata Party to join him in congratulating and complimenting the prime minister for the truly historic decisions in the last one week.

Describing Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as the most popular Prime Minister since independence Shri Amit Shah exhorted the delegates attending the national convention to take a resolve and vow to re-elect the Prime Minister with a bigger mandate in 2019. Shri Amit Shah stated that the national convention was to strengthen our resolve to usher in New India as envisioned by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shri Amit Shah said that in a tribute to Swami Vivekananda during his Jayanti, which will be celebrated on January 12, the BJP would implement the vision of Swami Vivekananda. He said that the party would celebrate the party’s victory in 2019 which also happens to be 150th year of Gandhiji’s birth and 500th year of Guru Nanak.

Recalling the contributions of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee the BJP President stated the this is the first national convention of the BJP when Atal ji is not alive. Atalji provided leadership to the BJP from the Jan Sangh days and recalled how Atal-Advani duo strived to take the BJP to every corner of the country and in establishing it as a national party. Though there is a vacuum after the demise of Atal ji he would always remain with the people and the party as it pursues his goals.

Highlighting the significance of Ramlila Maidan as a venue where the party had resolved to secure a win in 2014 and the venue where the first rally to end the undemocratic Indira Raj after the imposition of emergency, Shri Amit Shah stated that 2019 would also become a significant milestone at the venue for securing outright majority for the BJP.

Shri Amit Shah emphatically stated that a victory in 2019 for the BJP is also important for 50 crore poor people of this country,  for the youth and for women who have suffered neglect under previous Congress dispensations and have not had access to even basic needs. For over 70 years people waited for a leader who would Make India great and Shri Narendra Modi had arrived to fulfill that desire.

Highlighting that the so-called Opposition Alliance has neither a leader nor any positive agenda, he said that the 2019 electoral battle will have an impact that would last for centuries. Underscoring the importance of 2019 battle, Shri Shah drew a parallel with the Great Maratha rulers in pre-British era who won 134 battles but a defeat in Panipat third battle had brought in the British Raj which subjugated India for 200 years.

Recalling the 2014 verdict the BJP national president said the people of this country have given an outright majority to a government after a gap of 30 years. He further stated the BJP was in power in only 6 States when the party secured a majority in 2014 while at present the party is in power in 16 States. Further, he said, the membership of the BJP has risen from 2.4 crores in 2014 to 11 crores at present. Once the party scores a victory in 2019 the party would expand its influence and become a dominant party even in the south of India going as far as Kerala, he added.

Stating the there is no leader to rival the popularity of prime minister Shri Narendra Modi, Shri Shah said that the BJP’s victory in 2019 was certain as the people of the country are with the BJP under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi. Highlighting the desperation of the so-called grand alliance the BJP President said that the politics is not just arithmetic or physics but produces chemical reactions. Referring to the alliance between Samajwadi Party and Congress party in 2017 UP assembly polls , the BJP President stated that the BJP had secured a massive mandate despite that alliance. He exuded confidence that the BJP would secure over 50% vote and would go on to win at least 74 scenes in Uttar Pradesh in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Taking a dig at rival political parties that are feeling compelled to come together despite their known rivalries owing to the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP President said that these attempts would fail.

Reeling out statistics as to how poverty and deprivation remained unaddressed despite the Congress having ruled India for 55 years the BJP President stated howin the last 4.5 years 6 crore women have received free LPG connections , 9 crore households have received a toilet , 2.5 Crore houses have received electricity, 2.5 crore households received free housing under Awas Yojana. Describing Ayushman Bharat as the world’s largest Health Insurance programme, the BJP President said that 50 crore people of the country who could not afford Healthcare are receiving Rs 5 lakh health insurance cover for hospitalization and for other expenses as well.

Highlighting significant improvement in the overall national security scenario, Shri Shah attributed improvements to the security doctrine followed by the Modi government which gave freehand to the armed forces to retaliate every act of provocation and infiltration with a heavy response. Naxalism has also been curbed and the problem has nearly ended, he said. The BJP government had given respect to the armed  forces by fulfilling a long standing demand of the armed forces for One Rank One Pension (OROP), he added.

Unlike the week-kneed response of the Manmohan Singh government in similar situations, our government carried out retaliatory surgical strikes after 16 of our sleeping soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Uri, he said. The whole world has started looking at us differently and with more respect after the surgical strikes, he added.

Demanding that the Congress party must make its stand clear on the National Register for Citizens (NRC), Shri Shah said that many opposition parties in Parliament shed tears for illegal immigrants who pose a threat to India’s security. Describing how this problem is eating away our resources like termites, he castigated them for vote bank politics.

Highlighting how India’s image and prestige has enhanced over the last 4.5 years under Modi government, Shri Shah recalled that Shri Narendra Modi was asked to inaugurate Davos summit though leaders from India never received such honour in the past. He also noted as major achievements the International Yoga Day, UN Champion of the Earth award for the PM Modi and India’s contribution to the deliberations in Paris Climate Summit.

Lambasting the corrupt rule of the Congress party before 2014 which looted Rs.12 lakh crore in various scandals, the BJP President listed various initiatives of Narendra Modi government like the SIT against black money, framing of rules under the benami act, fugitives act demonetisation etc to launch a big attack against black money. By implementing direct benefit transfer (DBT) under various schemes, the BJP government has plugged leakages and insured savings to the tune of Rs.80000 crore, he added.

Describing the Narendra Modi government as a Spotless government, the BJP president stated that the party cadres can hold their heads high for a government of total integrity. Highlighting how the Congress Party continues to indulge in lies and calumny even after the Supreme Court found absolutely no merit in the allegations being made in Rafale procurement and no need for any investigations. Shri Amit Shah has congratulated and complimented finance minister Shri Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for exposing lies of Rahul Gandhi and Congress Party during the parliamentary debates on the issue. Stating that the Congress Party is getting desperate as the party’s image is tarnished after the revelations by “Mama Michel” and Uncle Quattrocchi. Scare of a big defeat and the immaculate image of the government have made a desperate Congress to resort to lies and Propaganda, Shri Shah revealed.

Shri Amit Shah said that the likes of Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi , Nirav Modi who escaped India were in partnership with the Congress Party which allowed them to loot public money and that they would never have fled India had the Congress been in power. Because “chaukidar is holding everyone by the neck, they felt compelled to flee. Modi ji’s government will ensure that they return to India and payback everything they looted from this country with the Congress party’s collusion and help.

Source – http://www.bjp.org/ 11 January 2019/ New Delhi

ISRO to send human in space by 2022

‘ISRO to send human in space by 2022, Chandrayan 2 to be completed in 2019’

The ISRO will send human for the first time in space by 2022 while its ambitious project Chandrayan 2 will be completed in 2019 with. Landing of an indigenous spacecraft, the space agency’s chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan said here Thursday.

Sivan, who is here to attend the convocation ceremony of DDU Gorakhpur University Friday, told reporters, “We have set a deadline of sending human to space by the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022”.

The Chandrayan 2 will be sent on the moon by January or February next year. Chandrayan 2 is designed to make soft landing on the moon and carry out extensive experiments on its surface. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  will undertake three to six missions in the next six months, he said.

The ISRO is serving the nation in various fields including communication, navigation, space science etc and every single person of India is somehow linked with its services, he said.

ISRO to send human in space by 2022, Chandrayan 2 to be completed in 2019: Sivan“Under Digital India Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO is all set to provide high data connectivity of 100 GBPS in rural and remote areas by placing four communication satellites in to space, of which one is already placed this year, while the rest three will be placed in November, December and early next year,” he said.

He said more than 75 per cent of the population of country lives in remote areas and it is advisable to space technology to provide services in various speeds.

The ISRO chairman said although it was not possible for India’s premier space agency to recruit all potential engineers passing out from Indian universities yet it was working on capacity building programmes to tab their potential through incubation and research centers. “The ISRO is all set to give young engineers opportunity to serve the nation by opening six incubation centers, research centers and research chair in north, south, east, central and west India,” he said.

While one incubation center is already opened in Agartala, rest will operationalise in Jalandhar, Bhubneshwar, Indore, Nagpur and Kochi. Similarly, research centers would come up in Guwahati, Jaipur, Krukshetra, Kanyakumari, Patna and Varanasi, he said.

-PTI | 26 October 2018 | Gorakhpur (UP)