The federal government is reviewing some of the major decisions made by the Modi regime, to quickly withdraw or change them, earning it the nickname “amendment government”.
The workflow is more or less recognizable now. The Narendra Modi government first announces a major political decision. Following widespread protests or discontent or both, he announces a series of changes and “improvements” to the policy, saying that was the plan all along.
After several rounds of tweaks, U-turns, and revisions, the Politics is a barely recognizable version of the original. The pattern has been more or less the same, whether it is demonetization, the rollout of the GST, the land acquisition bill, agricultural laws, or CAA and NRC legislation.
So much so that the regime in power has earned the nickname of “amendment government”.
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The most recent addition to the list is the Agnipath short-term military recruitment program. Growing dissatisfaction among job applicants for the armed forces forced the Center to make a few announcements in less than a week after the program was rolled out.
Speaking at a reception on Sunday June 19, Modi said, without referring to the protests against Agnipath, that several well-intentioned government projects had been politicized.
He has already announced several incentives, including the reservation of 10% vacancies in his paramilitary forces and the Ministry of Defense for Agnipath retirees. He promised to consider any grievances about the new regime “with an open mind”.
On Monday, June 20, India Inc offered enthusiastic offers to future Agnipath retirees. From Mahindra Group to Biocon to RPG to NewsX, various companies have promised to absorb Agniveers into their workforces.
Decoded Agnipath: How to Join, Salary, Benefits – and Reviews
The Federal takes a look at some of the major decisions made by the Modi government, to withdraw or modify them quickly.
On the night of November 8, 2016, an unsuspecting India learned that its Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were no longer legal tender. Even before people could fully grasp what that meant, the new rules came. And then even more.
On November 19, for example, the RBI declared that deposits of demonetized notes above Rs 5,000 would only be allowed once until December 30. That too after careful consideration. This caused such a ruckus that the RBI withdrew the circular regarding KYC-compliant accounts.
Read also : Demonetization and TPS: the story of two economic “misadventures”
One day, people had to go to the bank in person to exchange notes. The next day, proxies were authorized. The trading limit has been changed frequently. There were so many political flip-flops that most bank workers, who bore the brunt of demonetization, were themselves confused about the rules.
Six weeks after the announcement of the demonetization, more than 50 amendments had been made.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Ending decades of twists and turns, the GST encompassed 17 major taxes and 13 assignments on July 1, 2017. It was touted as a policy that would end tax ambiguities and discrepancies.
It is estimated that over 1,100 amendments have been made to the GST Act. Goods and services moved slabs. The tiles themselves have been modified. The forms have been redesigned. The ITC (input tax credit) component of the GST has its own modification history.
Amid the GST changes, separate battles are being waged over tax and surtax. The compensation that the Center has promised states for forgone GST revenue has also seen a series of policy changes.
So-called reforms suggested by the Union government to improve the lot of farmers backfired on Modi, who was forced to recall the three controversial farm laws that pushed farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and west of UP, to hit the road.
In November 2021, days before the all-important Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Prime Minister appeared on television, announcing that the Farm Bills would be repealed. He went on to lament that his government had failed to convince farmers of the ‘benefits’ of the new laws, who were mainly opposed because of a clause that removed the Minimum Support Price (MSP) guarantee on specific crops. – mainly paddy and wheat. .
Land Acquisition Bill
The first big move by the Modi government since coming to power in 2014 was the land acquisition bill in 2015. It was opposed tooth and nail by opposition parties, mostly amid resentment of a section of landowners, mainly farmers, who argued that the Center introduced the amendment into the land law without asking the opinion of landowners. They also said he ignored a social impact assessment to assess the need for and effect of such an amendment.
Read also : A look at Agnipath-like schemes adopted by other nations
The Center had to roll back the reforms introduced in the British era law. This time too, the trigger was a state assembly election (Bihar, 2015) and the BJP was unwilling to risk its vote share in the heart of Hindi.
Although the land acquisition bill was approved by the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha blocked it because the NDA did not have the number of elders to push the bill through.
The Sedition Act is another British-era hangover, enforced under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which has been slapped against individuals since independence for ‘speaking’ against ‘interests’. ” of the nation. The Modi government has also been accused of “abusing” the law to suppress dissent. Popular examples are the JNU protests when student leader Kanhhaiya Kumar was arrested under the law and later agitation protesters who opposed the CAA, a law that discriminates between Muslim migrants and other religions of Pakistan and other neighboring countries.
When a question related to the review and need for a sedition law in modern India was recently heard by the Supreme Court, the Union government preferred to take a soft stance and told the Supreme Court that he was willing to repeal the colonial era law. based on extensive deliberations.
As a result, the Supreme Court temporarily suspended the then UK Act and directed the Center and the States not to file new FIRs under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalizes the offence. of sedition.
The Center welcomed the SC’s decision, saying “the government is committed to removing outdated colonial laws while protecting the nation’s sovereignty.”
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)
The CAA sparked widespread protests. The law aims to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who entered India on December 31, 2014 or before. The Center said citizenship to eligible CAA beneficiaries will only be given after notification of the rules under the legislation.
However, the controversial law has not been implemented so far. The Center, however, had to turn around on the controversial law. It has been two years since the law was passed in parliament, but no one has been granted citizenship under the law as the Center has not yet developed the regulations for its implementation.
Last July, the Union government asked for a six-month extension to frame the rules. He made it clear that he would only grant citizenship under the law after notice of the rules.
The “Agnipath” program, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of young people in the army, navy or air force between the age group of 17.5 and 21 years, for only four years, with the possibility of retain 25% of them for another 15 years.
The provisions of the recruitment plan have invited large-scale protests from several places, mainly in the North, which are sending large numbers of people to the defense forces. Protesters said the new recruiting method, which comes after two years of the pandemic, leaves many of them ineligible on the age front.
Seeing the unrest in the streets, the Center extended the upper age limit for recruiting “Agniveers” to 23, but for the 2022 recruiting season only. Since then, protests have raged in several states against the Center’s plan.
The Army said that, based on organizational requirements and policies, “Agniveers,” upon completion of their term of enlistment in each group, will be offered the opportunity to apply for enrollment in the regular framework. .
“These applications will be centrally reviewed by the military based on objective criteria, including performance during their period of engagement and no more than 25% of each specific batch of Agniveers will be enrolled in the regular framework. after the end of their four-year period of engagement,” according to the document released by the military.
“Agniveers so enlisted as a regular cadre would be required to serve for a further 15-year enlistment period and will be governed by the terms and conditions of service (junior officer/other ranks) currently in vogue,” a- he declared.
The military has declared that the Agniveers will have no rights to be selected after their four-year term ends, which is the main reason for the protests from the midshipmen.