Monday, August 14, 2017

The Nandyal Bye-election...


The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:
Ms. Roja was a popular telugu actress in the 90s. She later joined the Telugu Desam Party (contested and lost the 2004 and 2009 elections), and then moved on to the Congress and she is currently with YSR Congress (won 2014 elections). Ms. Roja also is a judge on a couple of TV shows. Ms. Roja is also very abusive. She has little control on her tongue while addressing press conferences, and has attacked almost everyone in the Chief Minister’s  family. On December 18, 2015, she abused another MLA in the Assembly for which she has been suspended from attending the house for a year!
Her latest tirade is against the youngest minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet, Ms. Bhuma Akhila Priya. Ms. Roja has enlightened us that Ms. Akhila Priya is not a traditional lady because she wears chudidars in the public. Upon questioning further, Ms. Roja has further enlightened us that she doesn’t care if Akhila Priya wears a nightie or pyjama or chudidar, but we have a tradition that says women should wear sarees and Akhila Priya doesn’t adhere to that!
To understand what prompted this attack, we will need to get into the current political scene in Andhra Pradesh, that is heating up by the day!
Bhuma Akhila Priya’s parents – Bhuma Nagi Reddy (2-time MLA and 3 time MP) and Shobha Nagi Reddy (4 time MLA)– were powerful political leaders in the Nandyal region of Andhra Pradesh. The mother Shobha Nagi Reddy died in an unfortunate car accident in April 2014. She was contesting as an MLA on behalf of YSRCP, and the election was postponed owing to the death. Akhila Priya was nominated by YSRCP to contest the election in November 2014. A tradition in AP has been in vogue – if a sitting MLA dies and a family member is given ticket, all other political parties will not contest the election. Akhila Priya won unanimously as the MLA.
The father Bhuma Nagi Reddy, was getting vexed with YSRCP – and along with daughter and other followers, re-joined TDP in Feb 2016. Of course, the incentive was that either he or his daughter will be made a minister. Bhuma Nagi Reddy suffered a massive heart attack in March 2017 and passed away. About a month later, Akhila Priya was inducted into the cabinet of Chandrababu Naidu as tourism minister.
At the time of his death, Bhuma Nagi Reddy was representing the Nandyal Assembly constituency. The death mandated a by-poll. Tradition demanded that TDP will decide the candidate, and all other parties will not put up a contest. And here’s where all hell broke loose. Akhila Priya wanted the ticket to be given to one family member. Other powerful members also wanted the ticket. So, the guy who didn’t get ticket from TDP, re-joined YSRCP, and the YSRCP upped ante by announcing a fight in this election.
The upping of the ante didn’t stop at merely announcing a fight. The famed Prashant Kishor is now advising YSRCP. The advise given to Jagan Mohan Reddy, who leads the YSRCP, was to camp in the Nandyal constituency for 10 days, and do road shows every single day. Advise or no advise, Jagan Mohan Reddy has resorted to the lowest level of campaign speeches. First, he said there is nothing wrong if Chandrababu Naidu is shot in the middle of the road!
Needless to say, there was an uproar, and EC sent him a notice. Jagan wrote to the EC apologizing, and then came back on the campaign trail and then tells us that there is nothing wrong if Chandrababu Naidu is hanged to death.
Dear reader – are you trying to recover from the shock? Now, do the barrage of attacks by Ms. Roja on Ms. Akhila Priya make sense? Do those attacks seem miniature compared to what Jagan is doing? Are you wondering why do they have to plumb to such depths? Don’t – because we are now used to this! What should worry us is this - the crowd cheered both the times Jagan wished the death of Chandrababu Naidu. This is being touted as a very close election – which means the possibility of Jagan’s candidate winning is quite high. This would also mean that people gave credence to the abusive campaign mounted by the YSRCP.
Chandrababu Naidu too lost his cool on a campaign trail. A citizen was shouting when he was addressing a rally - the citizen was complaining that there is no power in Nandyal. Chandrababu accused him of being a YSRCP agent, a drunkard, and warned him of spreading falsehoods. The viral video has dented the credibility of the CM. Surely, it doesn’t behove the status of a Chief Minister to warn a private citizen in this manner, even though he was disrupting the speech!
The Nandyal by-election is the most prestigious by-elections in recent times. The YSRCP is fighting to stay alive; and the TDP cannot afford to lose this election because of the ripple effect it might create. And nothing is off the table, to win this election. If encouraging the death of sitting CM fetches attention and some votes, so be it. If accusing the sitting minister of not being traditional because she doesn’t wear sarees, so be it. The election is on August 23rd. Wondering what else we will have to hear!

Hamid Ansari disappoints with his parting note, resorts to rhetoric and falsehoods


The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference.
If you were to interview the outgoing Vice President of India who also doubles up as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who held the post for 10 years, would you want to talk about his experiences and learnings, or would you want to talk about the current government? Would you want to focus more about his experiences and his decisions as Chairman of Rajya Sabha, or would you want to focus more on events that have dominated the media space in recent times?
Karan Thapar got this opportunity and he asked/intervened (Well, it’s not a Karan Thapar interview if there are no interventions ;)) a total of 122 questions. Out of which only 32 were related to Rajya Sabha, out of which only 15 were related to *his* actions/decisions as Rajya Sabha Chairman. So barely 10% of the time was spent on his primary role. What about the rest of the 90% then?
In conversation with Karan Thapar on his last day as vice president, Hamid Ansari talked about growing intolerance, aggressive nationalism, the government’s political inaction on Kashmir and more.
This very much concurs with the agenda of the Lutyens cabal. And the Vice President obliged the cabal with equally rhetoric answers that have created quite a stir. Before we get into the details of these responses, I would like to highlight the mucky nature of this interview, by highlighting a few questions. Sample the first one below:
KT: You mentioned that on your first birthday as vice president, Dr Manmohan Singh and his wife came over to wish you. I imagine you’ve had three birthdays after Mr Modi took over. Has Mr Modi been to wish you regularly?
HA: Eh, regularly yes. I think the last occasion he was away he sent a message. But first two occasions, yes.
KT: He was there.
HA: Yes, he did, yes.
From where does Karan Thapar and his ilk get such ideas? If he was pursuing such an irrelevant line of questioning, then why didn’t he ask if Dr. Manmohan Singh and wife came to visit him on every birthday? Better yet, he could have counted the first three years of each PM and made a pie-chart out of it and furthered his research! The cheap line of questioning doesn’t end here – here’s another sample: 
KT: Just 48 hours ago or so, the Chinese newspaper the Global Times quoted a Chinese expert who said that a small-scale military operation is possible may be even likely in two weeks. Speaking of the apprehension in India are you apprehensive about this situation?
So now we have to answer based on a “quote” made by an “expert” we don’t know, published in a newspaper we don’t read? Why is KT assuming that the Vice President of the country will feel “apprehensive” about a random quote?!
Let’s anyway get back to the crux of the interview – Shri Hamid Ansari’s views on intolerance, fear, triple talaq etc. The all-knowing Karan Thapar framed the first question like this:
KT: I want to use this moment, Mr Vice President to talk about the general situation in the country today because I know it is one that concerns the large sections of the country. 
The classic cabal game – “Many people think(like me)”, “large sections feel (what I feel)”, “I know (everything!)” – where they generalize few occurences to create an atmosphere of fear. However, what is worrisome are the responses of Mr. Hamid Ansari.
He goes on to give credence to these baseless theories, and uses strong language to further perpetuate this fear. He says that a “certain ambience of acceptance” is now “under threat”; that he shares the feeling that “there is growing intolerance in India”, and spoke about it in an event in Bengaluru a few days back. He says that he has based all these conclusions based on “meeting fellow citizens” and reading papers etc.
Author and tweeter, Anand Ranganathan, has busted many of the myths surrounding the branding by the Lutyens media here. Likewise, there are many social media users who have busted many such propaganda machines. As Vice President, was Mr. Hamid Ansari not aware of these statistics? Is it not his responsibility to reassure the people of the nation, that statistics point out to the fact that we are as tolerant or intolerant as we ever were? Is it not his responsibility to chide the likes of Karan Thapar for trying to spread malice and fear, through their writings? Instead, very disappointgly, he obliges the provocative questions of Karan Thapar with his own rhetoric.
When pressed whether he bought this up with the PM and other ministers, and if he was satisfied with the answers – he gave the following answer:
HA: Well, there is always an explanation and there is always a reason. Now it is a matter of judgment, whether you accept the explanation, you accept the reasoning and its rationale.
Does this mean you don’t accept the explanation, Mr. Ansari? Should you not be telling the people of this country why you don’t accept the explanation?
When asked why he chose this moment to do so, Mr. Ansari responded that he has spoken at various times in the last 10 years whenever – “I have in the last ten years spoken out again and again on matters that I think needed to be aired in public.”.
Given how much corruption and inefficiency was the key point of public discourse in the years 2011 to 2014, I did a keyword search of “corruption” on his website where his speeches are uploaded. About 6-7 speeches came up with only cursory references to the word corruption and not on the mood prevalent in the country then!
When asked about Kashmir, he gave an elaborate answer blaming the ruling political parties for the scenario today. However, we do not find any view when Kashmir was equally burning back in the year 2010 (when he was our Vice President too)
Why then, does Vice President Hamid Ansari, find the need to give credence to the lies that the Lutyens cabal spreads? It is unfortunate that he was sounding more like a spokesperson of the cabal and hasn’t voiced a more independent opinion. It is equally unfortunate that he has chosen not to harp on any of experiences in improving the functioning of the Rajya Sabha (especially in the last 3 years), and instead laments on how he was helpless in controlling unruly members.
Karan Thapar’s conversation is easily one of the most easiest interview once could imagine to have. Rhetorical questions on “reforms in Rajya Sabha” as proposed by Arun Jaitley; money bills etc have all elicited rhetorical answers that don’t give us any clarity.
Further to this, the vile nature of Karan Thapar’s questions will put any neutral journalist to shame. Sample this one:
KT: Let me come to Rajya Sabha TV. To everyone surprise and delight, it’s a channel that established itself with credibility, with independence, with a certain neutrality and that happened under your charge. Important colleagues of mine, who are senior journalists like Siddharth Varadarajan, M.K. Venu, Govind Ethiraj, Bharat Bhushan, have all been anchors. Now that you’re stepping aside, there is a concern in the media world, that perhaps the quality and character Rajya Sabha TV will change.
Blood boils with anger when one reads such ridiculous assertions. It is independent when rabid anti-Modi journalists are given space to vent their frustration? The elongated question sounds more like an exasperation that another fortress has been breached despite all attempts to stop the breach.  
On the whole, it was disappointing to see Vice President Hamid Ansari choosing to step down in this manner. He could have done better.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Hindu creates a "furore" where there is none.


The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 

On July 1st, the Prime Minister of India made a significant announcement, while addressing the Chartered Accountant (CA) community. 48 hours before GST was launched, a whopping 1 lakh companies have been de-registered. Data mining from demonetization has helped achieve the elimination of these many bogus companies with “one stroke of a pen, in just one minute”.
On July 3rd, the usual suspects were at it again. Here is a big report in The Hindu today (pasting the image to show you the importance they have given to this report)
So, what is the furore about? Please allow me to present another image, from the same report, that summarizes the “furore”, and highlight the first point.
The newspaper report says – “This seems more like a veiled threat to all the companies to comply with the law,” said an expert, requesting anonymity given the sensitivity of the issue as the Prime Minister himself had made the statement.
Veiled threat to comply with the law”? Goodness Gracious!
Modi government’s intolerance is reaching heights taller than the Mount Everest. How can the Prime Minister tell companies to comply with the law? Is this the Idea of India? Is this the freedom companies have in today’s India? This warrants a full-fledged debate – how can the head of the Government make “veiled threats” to “comply with the law”?
The report also states this:
Sources pointed out that there is nothing unusual about striking off names of companies from the ‘register of companies’.
Of course, there is nothing unusual about striking off names of companies. One doesn’t need “sources” to tell you this! The “unusual” event here is the striking off a One Lakh companies at a time – also something that we didn’t need “sources” to tell us, because the Prime Minister himself has announced this!
The sequencing of the report gets more bizzare.
The CAs and lawyers contacted by The Hindu said they were waiting for a list of companies and the reasons for de-registration,…”

Whether under the provisions of the Income Tax Act or Companies Act, the companies are always given an opportunity to respond before any action is taken against them, including striking off the names, the sources said,
They dedicated another full paragraph to just explain that the procedure demands that the companies typically get an opportunity to respond.
This gave me, the reader, the impression that the Modi government didn’t give them any opportunity to respond. It felt as if, Modi woke up one day and decided that today is the day 1 lakh companies get de-registered because he felt like it! The last line of the report told us a completely different story.
In April this year, the government (RoCs in several States and union territories) had issued show cause notices to over two lakh companies under the Companies Act for striking off their names. The country has over 15 lakh registered firms.
Whoa – in April this year, show cause notices were given to over 2 lakh firms! Then what is the “furore” about? Where were the “sources” of The Hindu who wanted to see the list of 2 lakh companies? The rules say that companies get 30 days to respond, and if not satisfied with the reply, government can de-register. April to June is definitely more than 30 days time!
Basically, here is the sequence- data mining happened; companies were sent notices; the “unusual” decision of de-registering one lakh companies was taken; and all along the “sources” were fast asleep!
The report simply put, is baffling. The report is also the standard template that the English language media follows – first, come up with some vague argument and attribute it to “sources”; then, weave an entire article around it; finally, come up with a jazzy headline that will confuse the reader further. Or create further “furore” in people’s mind. If “comply with the law” is creating a “furore”, then so be it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Here is what Ramnath Kovind is accused of by the Liberal Elite...


The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 
It’s been a couple of days since Amit Shah announced the name of Shri Ramnath Kovind as NDA’s candidate for the post of President of India. Since then the English media went into a tizzy. Leading the way was The Wire, edited by the controversial journalist Siddharth Varadarajan.
Let’s begin with their most popular and profound analysis – “Kovind’s past as a defense witness in the Bangaru Laxman corruption case is at odds with the BJP’s official position on corruption.
The basis of this conclusion is evident from their headline below:
This news item was used by Congress handles, extensively on social media. Let’s take a look at what Shri Ramnath Kovind actually said (I didn’t have to do any research for this. I just had to bother to read the links provided in the article!).
  • “He deposed that he knows Bangaru Laxman for last 20 years.” (Shocking!)
  • “He deposed that Bangaru Laxman is a straight forward, simple and honest person, who became President of Bhartiya Janta Party.” (It this this line that the gang is picking up! What is wrong in this – is it such a horrible thing to assume that many members of the BJP saw Bangaru Laxman as simple and honest?)
  • “He deposed that in the meeting of National Executive held in January 2001, Bangaru Laxman had delivered presidential speech.” (Shame on Ramnath for mentioning this fact!)
  • “He deposed that he had met Bangaru Laxman, who told him that he was framed.” (So merely repeating what was told to him, meant “backing”?)
  • “On being cross examined on behalf of Ld.Special PP, this witness stated that he does not know as to whether Bangaru Laxman had accepted a consideration of Rs.1 lakh.”
  • “He denied the suggestion that after the telecast, a meeting was held of Senior BJP Leaders and as damage control exercise, it was decided that this amount should be shown as party fund.” (He denied! Yet another sure shot way of knowing he “backed” Bangaru Laxman.)
How does merely appearing as a defense witness, and stating general facts and an even more generic opinion on the nature of a person, amount to being “at odds” with official position of the party? It is one thing for political parties to put forward such childish arguments, but for the media to go overboard is amusing.
Not happy with a mere court appearance, The Wire brings in a bigger fish – WIKILEAKS!
The author of this piece in The Wire reaches an awesome conclusion based on these “wikileaks” – “Kovind toed the the Sangh parivar’s political line, which prefers reforms in the caste hierarchy as entrenched in the Hindu puranic system, instead of a complete annihilation of caste as advocated by Indian leaders like B.R. Ambedkar.
Ramnath Kovind toed the Sangh parivar’s line! Shocking that a member of the Sangh parivar will toe the line of the Sangh Parivar!! Stop the presses immediately, we have the biggest breaking news ever!
Wikileaks, are documents written by US officials, to their higher officials in hierarchical chain. Let’s see what they have to say about what Kovind’s views are:
  • Ram Nath Kovind, himself a dalit and a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, expressed a more positive view, stating that "open" discrimination against dalits has decreased dramatically over the last decade, while the number of persons who genuinely care about helping dalits has increased.
  • …that current legislation has to a large degree been successful in protecting dalit rights, but that India still has work to do to end discrimination, citing increasing dalit access to primary education as a place to start.
  • …commented that the true basis of discrimination is economic in nature rather than caste-based, as the "haves discriminate against the have nots" and use the caste system to perpetuate differences between economic groups.
  • Caste factors are now used to protect jobs and livelihoods more than anything else
  • Kovind predicted that caste-based discrimination will exist for at least the next 50-100 years in India.
  • He suggested that since the Hindu religion condones caste, it will take longer for the GOI to end caste discrimination in India than it will take to eradicate racial discrimination in the US.
  • Kovind stated that the BJP favors reservations in the private sector and will pressure the UPA government to institute them.
One would assume that the gang might pick up the last argument – the BJP favors reservations in private sector! Instead, all they chose to focus is that Kovind’s views match with Sangh parivars’. And if the above arguments are indeed Sangh Parivar arguments, can someone please enlighten as to what is exactly wrong in them? (Except of course the reservation in private sector).
Actually, The Wire started their series of articles with the this heading:
Oh boy, the language! Modi must flaunt “socially inclusive” credentials – what kind of days have befallen on us, that Prime Minister who himself has risen to position from acute poverty, has to find somebody to “flaunt socially inclusive credentials”! We are also told that – “in 2010 he was quoted by IANS as saying Modi was a “law-abiding chief minister” and the party “was proud of him” –“. What is this with Ramnath Kovind toeing the party line every time he speaks? Surely such a bad quality to possess!
And as usual, they also use the garb of “sources” to say whatever they want. Sample this – “”He has proved himself to be a pliant man in the party, something which the Union government wants in the top constitutional post,” said the BJP leader, who did not wish to be named.” So, for all that we know, this is the author’s view and he might be simply dramatizing it!
All that the media has could find on Shri Ramnath Kovind is that he deposed as a witness; a mis-quotation, and mention of his name in wikileaks documents!
Through Social media we also came to know now that the English media never wanted to take any byte from Shri Ramnath Kovind.
If these are his only shortcomings in all these years of public life, then Prime Minister Modi must be commended for making an excellent choice for the President of India!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Agenda of Scaremongering...


The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

he Hindu published three articles, in their “Left, Right and Centre” section of the Op-Ed. The topic – the ever so predictable – “Is the media under siege?”
Well, the very fact that they can publish such a headline shows they are not under “siege”, but let’s park that argument aside for now.
The first article is by Krishna Prasad, former Editor-in-Chief of ‘Outlook’ magazine, and a member of the Press Council of India. Predictably, he is representing the “left” side of this debate. He begins his article by telling us a conspiracy theory but not giving us any names.
Late last year, an editor whose employment was ended under the ‘tatkal’ quota met a media owner whose exit had been similarly fast-tracked a few months earlier.
“Who was making the [phone] calls?” the latter asked. When he heard the names of a couple of Union Ministers, the ‘malik’ snarled: “Oh, wasn’t that glib RSS chap in the BJP amongst them?
The story has remarkable similarities to what happened in the offices of The Hindu, in 2013. Siddarth Varadarajan was sacked as the editor of The Hindu, and Malini Parthasarathy was appointed as the editor. N.Ram gave an interview in which he alleged that a story related to Robert Vadra was held off from being published, for a very long time.
So, if we were to go by the anecdote provided by Krishna Prasad above, the media was definitely “under siege” by the UPA government in 2013. Krishna Prasad was the editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine then, and did not bother to tell us then that “it is not just the media that is under siege, but the very “Idea of India”.”
He goes on with his agenda of scaremongering, and invents a new phrase – “weaponised trolling”. What does this even mean? That I hold a gun to your tweet and blow my computer screen off? Or I hold a knife to your Facebook post and stab my monitor? What kind of pleasure do these editors get by using dramatic phrases that are nowhere close to reality?
Krishna Prasad goes on to make another accusation – “Putting the same man in charge of the Finance and I&B Ministries in 2014, therefore, was a masterstroke. After all, the government is the biggest advertiser.”
Guess what! The “same man” is not in charge of Finance and I&B anymore. Since 2016, it’s a different man. So where goes this theory now? Are these editors simply assuming that the people of this country do not know who their current Finance and I&B ministers are? The insinuation is merely a reflection of the uneasiness they are feeling at their repeated failures.
One statistic the liberal cabal has continued to throw at us, is some ranking called the “World Press Freedom Index”. In Krishna Prasad’s own words – “Little wonder, India now stands at 136 on the World Press Freedom index, down from 133”.
What Krishna Prasad (and the cabal) doesn’t tell you is this - India’s ranking was 105 in 2009 and 140 in 2013 – a staggering drop that never gets highlighted in the media. India’s ranking was 140 in 2013; 133 in 2015 and 136 in 2016. However, I am not sure the parameters through which these rankings are arrived at (because for example the “drop” in the rating in 2016 is attributed to “the rise of Hindu nationalism”) – hence, never bothered about these ratings. But if the cabal insists on following these rankings, then we might as well get the entire picture and not the skewed one!.
 “The Indian media has often acted more like a lap dog than a watch dog. On Modi's watch, it's tamer than ever.” – this is one of the tweets by Sadanand Dhume in his latest avatar as a troll.
If it has “often” acted like a “lap dog”, why pray didn’t these people raise a voice “often”? Why did they get the courage to speak up only now?
In 2015, at the peak of the debate on “intolerance”, Rahul Gandhi read out a speech in the Lok Sabha. He thundered:
“Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi are shot dead in cold blood by fanatics. The Prime Minster has nothing to say.”
Narendra Dabholkar was a doctor, rationalist and author. He was murdered in Maharashtra in 2013. Rahul Gandhi is right – the Prime Minister of India in 2013 had nothing to say. Neither did Rahul Gandhi want him to say anything. Kalburgi was shot dead in Karnataka – a state that is ruled by Rahul Gandhi’s party. It is one thing for political leadership to remain quiet – the question no one bothered to ask then was why is the “lap dog” silent?
The IT department filed a case against NDTV in 2008, and began to seriously pursue it in 2013. In 2017, NDTV releases a clarification in which they emphatically claim – “Shame on the IT department.” If they could write so in 2017, and not in 2008 or 2013, then during which regime is the media under “siege”?
The Indian main stream media is as free or as “under siege” as it has been for many years – the increased scrutiny it has begun to face, once social media has become active, is pushing these “liberals” into a corner. The resultant outrage is because of being questioned – something they are not really used to!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A fact-check on ‘NDA govt schemes are just copies of UPA schemes’ claim


The following article was written for OpIndia. Pasting it here, for reference: 
Last month, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s longest river bridge – the Dhola Sadiya bridge – that connects Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, and named it after the legendary Bhupen Hazarika.
This was enough for the social media handles of Congress folks to go into a tizzy on Twitter. This was their grouse:
They went on and on about how the foundation was laid in 2010 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and all that Modi did was to take credit for Manmohan Singh’s work.
But then Social Media is an evil place to be. It soon emerged that the go-ahead for the design of this bridge was given by the Prime Minister of India in 2003, and I don’t have to remind you, the enlightened reader, who the PM was in 2003!
So essentially the bridge was announced in 2003, foundation laid in 2010, construction started in 2011 and inaugurated in 2017 – the story of any project in India.
Nonetheless the issue here is this claim by the Congress party and the ecosystem. This “allegation” has been a trend ever since the Narendra Modi government started rolling out welfare schemes. The Congress party (and the English media) have constantly been saying that all the programs are a mere rehash of old UPA programs.
While researching to write this article, guess what I found? An article in 2001, in India Today that said – “Most of the rural development schemes announced by Vajpayee are merely repackaged versions of populist programmes of past prime ministers.”
In the aforementioned article, only 4 schemes are mentioned and only 2 are in continuum, and more importantly note how despondent that article sounded on what would eventually become one of the biggest successful infrastructure programs – the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (which incidentally is *not* a repackaged program!).
Guess what I did not find? Any headline, from 2004 to 2014, that says – “Most of UPAs schemes are repackaged versions of NDA”.
Only fellow tweeter “thinkerspad” exposed this thievery of the Congress party, way back in 2013, here.  And Prime Minister Modi touched upon this in his speech here (from 8:16 minutes onward, for about 3-4 minutes).
So, essentially, this is a media template. And I can just stop here and blame it all on media bias and propaganda, and I will not be wrong. But let us still look into the facts about welfare schemes by the Narendra Modi government, and whether they are mere rehash of some old Congress/UPA schemes, as is being claimed on Twitter by a few these days:

JAN DHAN YOJANA

The accusation is that the Jan Dhan Yojana is a mere rehash of “Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account (BSBDA) with max publicity”. First of all – how did the UPA even want to propagate this program with such a complicated name? Imagine a customer who doesn’t know English going to a bank and the executive telling him/her that there is this awesome “Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account” that will change your life!
This claim was made by no other but former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram who wrote in 2015 that this BSBDA, started in 2012, was basically an extension of “No Frills” accounts introduced in 2005. He goes on to claim that 24.3 crore accounts were opened under this scheme, without any boasting or advertisement. Safe to assume that he means they opened 24.3 crore new accounts in a period of 9 years.
He further goes on to tell us that there was a big problem – “Most zero balance accounts had a zero balance and no activity whatsoever.”
Enter Jan Dhan Yojana. The name is instantly connecting with people. It now includes an added insurance cover, and interest on deposit. It now includes the bank officials going to the homes of people to get them an account.
Within no time, it creates a Guinness Record – 27 crore accounts opened in ~2.5 years; 75% zero balance accounts have now become ~28% zero balance and nearly INR 65,000 crores have come into the banking system.
So basically, all the shortcomings of earlier schemes were effectively addressed, new benefits were provided, and most importantly, some exemplary implementation guaranteed unprecedented success.
To say that Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana it is merely a repackaged version of BSBDA is like saying that motorbike is just a repackaged version of bicycle.

NEEM COATED UREA

Here is the accusation: “Neem coated Urea started 13 years ago. Modi Govt increased the production ceiling fm 35% to 100% and that’s it.”
That’s it”? Let’s quickly understand what this Neem coated urea is all about. As per the website of National fertilizers limited: (emphasis added)
Agronomical trial on Paddy and Wheat crops with Neem coated Urea as source of Nitrogen has produced significantly higher yield at research and farm level.”
National Fertilizers Limited, in the year 2002, standardized the techniques for production of Neem Coated Urea in situ, at its Panipat Unit.”
Looking into the potential of Neem Coated Urea and its acceptance by the farmers, Ministry of Agriculture in July 2004, included the Neem Coated Urea in FCO.”
Let’s just focus on two timelines – standardization of technique in the year 2002, and adoption in July 2004.
Now, urea as a fertilizer is widely used and because of this, it is (was) also one of the highly pilferaged fertilizer in the country. Urea that was supposed to land in the hands of the farmer, often ended up with chemical industries or even rogue elements that used Urea to prepare adulterated milk.
So – it’s a open-and-shut case – move all Urea production to 100% neem coated, both to increase yield and stop the pilferage and misuse.
What did the UPA do? Mysteriously decides that only 35% of it will be neem-coated.  Why the 65% free takeaway was allowed, is anyone’s guess.
For a full ~10 years, only 35% Urea was neem-coated. What did NDA do after coming to power? Made it 100% mandatory. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what “industries” have been hurt because of this.
At various fora, the PM and his ministers have highlighted this monumental change – at one such forum, when this was being highlighted, Rajdeep Sardesai cut short the minister and asked him, “Are you a suit-boot ki Sarkar?”

ELECTRIFICATION DRIVE

We now move on to the next (hilarious) accusation – “RGGVY  (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana) renamed as Deen Dayal Upadhya gram jyoti yojana for Piyush Goyal to boast tall fake claims.
RGGVY, introduced in 2005, had the aim is to electrify all villages. By when? By 2010. [pdf] Quite obviously, that target was missed by a WIDE margin.
But was it some innovative program when it was introduced in 2005? Turns out that the NDA-1 government, under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had an “ACCELERATED RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAMME”.
Now, my head is spinning to understand who usurped whose idea?!
And by the way, in three years, India has become a power surplus and net exporter of electricity for the first time in 2016-17.

HOUSING SCHEMES

Seriously? Such schemes have been in vogue in India since 1985 at least. If successive governments haven’t been able to achieve targets, the incumbent government obviously has a responsibility towards plugging the loopholes, and achieving the new target of housing for all by 2022.
It is pertinent to mention here that Narendra Modi himself has said many times that if the country can just focus on finishing already approved projects, a lot of development is possible. Towards achieving this goal, he personally chairs a “PRAGATI” meeting every month and tracks the progress of all these projects.

PENSION SCHEMES

The accusation is “Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana started in 2007 became Modi’s Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.
I guess such statements are made simply assuming the reader is not intelligent enough to decipher outright visible differences. Here is “Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana” and here is “Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana”, and below is a quick table comparing them:
Insurance schemes UPA vs NDA
Just the name was changed?
Both the yojanas exist today, but it is anybody’s guess which one people will prefer to take! And the user conveniently forgets to mention the other insurance scheme – Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Bima Yojana – Life insurance of 2 lakhs with a premium of 330/- per annum. And as always – the NDA government put in a lot of efforts into spreading this information to the citizens of the country.

BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO

Some are claiming that the “National Girl Child Day” of UPA was renamed to “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” [pdf] program of the NDA. This is even more specious comparison than the insurance schemes – to compare the celebration of a day to a mass campaign program like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao!
However, this is not result of some lack of understanding. There is a clear agenda. To make these lazy accusations multiple times so that people start believing that they are true. An influential part of the media is complicit in fanning this narrative.


Also, one can’t help but notice the utter lack of in-depth coverage of unique flagship programs like MUDRA, Make in India, Ujjwala, Startup India, Digital India et al. Latest coverage was an article written in The Indian Express about Make in India, calling it a flop show, and guess who wrote it? P Chidambaram.