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NEW DELHI : The government touted the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, bringing the region into the mainstream, as one of the landmark decisions taken during the first 100 days of the Narendra Modi administration’s second term.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which prohibits assembly of five or more people, is in place in only 14 police stations in Jammu and Kashmir now, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday, suggesting that the situation in Kashmir is improving.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government faces a litmus test as it begins to restore normalcy in the Kashmir region against the backdrop of unrest in the valley.

Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, were abrogated by Parliament, which passed a law for the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir state. Jammu and Kashmir has been made a Union territory with a legislative assembly, whereas Ladakh has been made into another Union territory without an assembly, according to the bill passed by Parliament.

The other landmark decisions according to Javadekar, were merger of public sector banks (PSBs), additional credit expansion through PSBs, corporate law reforms, abolishment of triple talaq, amendment to the POCSO Act, pay parity for women, housing for all, and extending PM-Kisan to all 63.7 million farmers in India.

“In 2014, India was the 11th largest economy in the world. We have become the fifth largest in 2019. In the direction of becoming the third largest economy, we have now set a goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy," said the minister.

The Narendra Modi administration, which returned to power in May with a bigger mandate than the previous term, has been battling an economic slowdown, tepid job growth, and decelerating exports. The economy expanded at 5% in the June quarter, its slowest pace in more than six years at a time that global economic conditions have also turned less favourable.

The government believes that the current slowdown will not affect India’s long-term prospects. “Sometimes the slowdown is a cyclical process but the fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong. We received record foreign direct investment (FDI), more than China has got, last year. The cyclical slowdown will not hurt India’s progress. The (growth) will sustain. There is no reason to panic," said Javadekar.

Decisions such as easing of foreign direct investment (FDI) rules to attract more foreign capital, plan to invest 100 trillion in infrastructure and to make big social spending together with an easing of procedures and improvement in ease of doing business will help achieve this goal, he said. The goods and services tax and income-tax rules are being calibrated with responsiveness, he added.

Javadekar said the government has taken strong steps against corruption in the first 100 days by compulsorily retiring identified tax officials. The action against corruption was a part of the government’s efforts to ensure good governance, he said.

Javadekar, who is also the minister for environment, forest, and climate changes, said that empowerment of socially and financially weaker sections and farmers is the theme for the second term of the Modi government. “Empowerment of poor, farmers, socially and financially weaker sections is the central theme of the government," he added.

Gyan Varma, Gireesh Chandra Prasad and Asit Ranjan Mishra contributed to this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Utpal Bhaskar

"Utpal Bhaskar leads Mint's policy and economy coverage. He is part of Mint’s launch team, which he joined as a staff writer in 2006. Widely cited by authors and think-tanks, he has reported extensively on the intersection of India’s policy, polity and corporate space.
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