Saffron BJP leading central govts 1st day of 2016

New Delhi: The year has barely begun but the Modi and BJP government seems hell-bent on fixing the mistakes of the previous year and start afresh. In a year which ended with an impromptu visit to Pakistan– a move that confounded Modi’s party members, the opposition and the media—the BJP has begun 2016 on a strong foot.

Narendra Modi

  1. IAS Officer Ashok Khemka promoted to rank of Principal Secretary

Wish all a very Happy New Year! Grateful to the Almighty. Awaiting posting on promotion to the rank of Principal Secretary.

— Ashok Khemka, IAS (@AshokKhemka_IAS) January 1, 2016
Remember IAS officer Ashok Khemka, the man who was transferred after he cancelled mutation of a land deal between Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and real-estate giant DLF? Following this, Khemka was transferred repeatedly and as of April 2, he was transferred 45 times in 22 years of service and he alleged that he was targeted by the Congress government. Now, the BJP government in Haryana has promoted him to the post of Principal Secretary. He tweeted: “Wish all a very Happy New Year! Grateful to the Almighty. Awaiting posting on promotion to the rank of Principal Secretary.”

In October 2015, Haryana CM Khattar had ordered the chargesheet against him be dropped. He had been chargesheeted in December 2013 by the then Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda for overstepping jurisdiction in passing orders to cancel the mutation of land in Gurgaon which was sold by Vadra to DLF. Before he joined the civil services, Khemka topped IIT-Kharagpur’s 1988 batch in computer science and engineering.

  1. Revamp of the Censor Board

One of the most maligned appoints under the Modi government has been Pahlaj Nihalani’s elevation as CBFC chief. The panel, which would submit its report in two months, includes filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey and film critic Bhawana Somaaya. Apart from these, National Film Development Council MD Nina Lath Gupta and Joint Secretary (Films) Sanjay Murthy would also be part of committee.

A statement released said the panel has been formed “in sync with the vision” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The recommendations of this Committee are expected to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework, the statement said. “During their deliberations, the Committee would be expected to take note of the best practises in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression,” he said.

The Committee would recommend broad guidelines, procedures under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, rules for the benefit of the chairperson and other members of the Screening Committee. The staffing pattern of CBFC would also be looked into in an effort to recommend a framework which would provide efficient, transparent user-friendly services, the statement added. Today’s announcement came within days of Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley telling PTI that the “time has come” to have a re-look at the functioning of Censor Board as he would like the Certification Board to be “controversy- free”.

Filmmakers have complained of arbitrary objections and cuts sought by the Board in the recent past including the criticism for the cuts the latest James Bond movie Spectre had to go through for its screening in India.

  1. Parliament canteen becomes more expensive

Food items in the parliament canteen became more expensive from Friday. A veg thali which earlier cost Rs 18 will now be sold for Rs 30 and non-veg thali will cost Rs 60 instead of Rs 33 earlier. A three-course meal will cost Rs 90 instead of Rs 61 earlier and chicken curry, which earlier cost Rs 29, will be sold for Rs 40. The revision of the rates had been ordered by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan and has been undertaken after six years. “The rates of food items in Parliament canteen have been a matter of discussion in the media from time to time. Keeping this in view, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had directed the Parliament’s Food Committee to look into the matter,” the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement.

“After receiving the committee’s report, the Speaker has taken a number of decisions, out of which the most important is that the canteen in Parliament will now work on ‘no-profit, no-loss’ basis,” it added. “Accordingly, the rates of various food items have been increased and these would be sold at the actual cost of making… This will be effective from tomorrow,” the statement said. As per the decision, during the day, limited food items would be prepared so that there is no wastage and costs can be kept under check. Also, tea/coffee vending machine will also be placed so that there is little burden on the manpower. “This rate hike will apply to MPs, officials of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, media persons, security personnel as well as visitors,” the statement said.

  1. Adnan Sami gets Indian citizenship

Home Ministry officials said Sami has been given Indian citizenship following his request to the Centre to legalise his status in the country on humanitarian grounds. The singer, who has made India his home for the past few years, had made a representation to the Home Ministry on May 26 this year requesting that he be allowed to stay in India on humanitarian grounds. Sami had first arrived in India on March 13, 2001, on a visitor’s visa with a validity of one year which was issued by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

His visa was extended from time to time. His Pakistani passport issued on May 27, 2010 expired on May 26, 2015 and his passport was not renewed by the Pakistan government which led him to approach the Indian government with the request to legalise his stay in India.

WATCH: Adnan Sami sings ‘Teri oonchi shaan hai maula,meri arzi maan le maula’ after being granted Indian citizenship

— ANI (@ANI_news) January 1, 2016
“Had there been intolerance, I would not have taken Indian citizenship. I have never experienced intolerance. There is no intolerance in India,” he said. The singer said he was very happy after becoming Indian citizen and grateful to the government.”I am grateful to the government of India for giving me this beautiful gift,” he said. Asked how he felt after becoming an Indian citizen, Sami said there was no difference as the taste of ‘biryanis’ was same in both the countries. “And I have had enough of ‘biryanis’ in both Pakistan and India,” he said.

A New Beginning… A New Feeling… A New Belonging… A New Love Affair… A New Country… JAI HIND!!!

— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) January 1, 2016
Receiving my Indian Citizenship Certificate of Naturalisation frm MOS Home Affairs @KirenRijiju ji! Huge Thanks!

— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) January 1, 2016
My Profound thanks to Honourable Prime Minister @narendramodi ji for approving my Indian Citizenship.A New birth!

— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) January 1, 2016
I’m highly indebted to the Honourable HM @BJPRajnathSingh ji for his tremendous support in granting me Indian Citizenship..

— Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) January 1, 2016

All in all, it looks like the BJP is ready to set aside the mistakes of its past and start afresh to forget a year in which most of the media coverage was negative.

With agency inputs.