It has been nine months since the BJP-led NDA coalition stormed its way into power and formed the Government. Over 270 days down the line questions are being asked about the plans drawn up by the Government in taking the country forward, and accelerating growth. We focused on a key ministry—chemicals and fertilizers—headed by Mr Ananth Kumar, a BJP stalwart from Karnataka. Much of India’s growth will be fuelled, literally, by the chemical, petroleum chemicals and fertilizer industries across the country. The big picture is that the ministry has drawn up plans to immediately start building 4 – 6 petroleum, chemical and petrochemical investment regions (PCPIRs) within the next three to four years at a staggering investment upwards of Rs 10,00,000 crore and with an employment generation potential of 40-50 lakh. Presently there are 22 refineries in the country but only 4 petrochemical complexes, an anomalous situation that needs speedy rectification. There are also 9 fertilizer plants on the anvil, each at a whopping cost of Rs 5,500-6,000 crore that should make India self sufficient in urea. There are also plans to increase plastic production and create more opportunities for plastic engineers in India as the demand for plastic has shot up across sectors including space technology, aviation, automobiles and agriculture. Mr Ananth Kumar, a 6-time Lok Sabha MP from Bengaluru South who defeated the Congress’ Nandan Nilekani in the 2014 elections, brings in a wealth of experience to his job—he also held several portfolios in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government.
We also focused on a PSU that falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment—the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation. The NHFDC’s CMD Mr P.C. Das has brought about a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the PSU in a matter of just over a year by benefiting lakhs of disabled people, something quite unprecedented since its inception in 1997. He has introduced a whistle blower policy to cut down on corruption, and has engaged the private sector, banks, hospitals, district administration vigorously, and brought in financial and accounting software that will make it very difficult for state channelizing agencies to ignore genuine and deserving candidates for NHFDC’s resources.
We have covered the Foreign and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the International Conference on Indian Diaspora where she has heaped praise on India’s diaspora, lauding them for their continued success, prosperity and outstanding contribution in their countries of domicile.
There are several other stories of interest.