Shimla-Suresh Bhardwaj – a cabinet minister of Himachal Pradesh Government- gave Lord Shiva a human form as he couldn’t resist calling Prime Minister Narender Modi an incarnation of Lord Shiva while speaking on the occasion of Maha Shivratri on Thursday.
Bhardwaj was speaking to the media at the Ram Mandir temple in Shimla. He first said that Narender Modi has the blessing of Lord Shiva. In his supporting argument, he referred to PM’s visit to Kedarnath during 2019 elections.
After the polling for and before the declaration of results for the last Lok Sabha election in 2019, he had visited Kedarnath shrine and spent two days in a cave. Thus, he is blessed by Lord Shiva,” he said.
“Prime Minister is blessed by Lord Shiva and that’s the only reason he has tackled the global pandemic so effectively. That’s why the rest of the world is seeing him as a world leader,” Bhardwaj said.
“It’s because of him that India is producing two COVID-19 vaccination, has the highest vaccination rate in the world, and lowest COVID-19 fatality rate,” he added.
Calling him Lord’s “avatar purush”, Bhardwaj said, “We believe that Lord Shiva has incarnated himself as Narender Modi Ji and it is because of him that COVID-19 fatality and infection rates remained much lower in India as compared to developed countries.”
Pertinent to mention that the Prime Minister has been facing severe criticism over price hikes, sinking economy, unemployment, privatization and most of all suppression of dissent. At the same time, massive farmers protest over the repeal of three Farm Laws that has entered 106th day is making international headlines, denting the image of India. On Friday, #NoVotetoBJP was trending on Twitter. Earlier, trending hashtag #Modi_Rojgar-Do had created a buzz and highlighted plight of those waiting for results of entrance exams for recruitments.
Suresh Bhardwaj is currently the Minister for Housing and Urban Development in the Jairam Thakur-led cabinet.
It was yet to be seen whether this comparison of a mortal politician with a contentious political history hurts the religious sentiments of the people or not. However, Vikramaditya Singh, MLA of Shimla (Rural) responded with scathing comments terming Bhardwaj’s this statement as an desperate attempt to top the list of “Andh Bhakts” (blind followers) in buttering. He also said that perhaps the change of Chief Ministerial face in Uttarakhand recently is the motivation behind such statements.
“Many ministers have become desperate to become Chief Minister in a hope that CM Jairam Thakur could also be replaced the way Chief Minister was changed in Uttarakhand. Perhaps that’s the reason that such statements are coming from legislators,” he said. Vikramaditya went on to say that the seat of Jairam Thakur is safe at least for the remaining tenure.
Further, Suresh Bhardwaj was later seen justifying his comment and using word “Mahapurush” as an addition to the earlier status he gave to Narender Modi yesterday.
Earlier too BJP leaders had been attempting to elevate Narender Modi to the status of a divine entity.
In June 2020, BJP national chief JP Nadda had referred to him as “Surendra” – lord of gods.
“Now, even God is not supporting Congress. Narender Modi is now Surendra Modi. He is the lord of gods,” he had said.
In October 2018, a spokesperson of BJP Maharastra, Avadhut Wagh had called PM as the 11th Avatar of Lord Vishnu. He had tweeted this statement with a Sanskrit shloka: ‘Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya.’
— Avadhut Wagh अवधूत वाघ (@Avadhutwaghbjp) October 12, 2018
On January 2020, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan had said, “If Narendra Modi is Lord Ram, then Amit Shah is Lord Hanuman.”
As a downside of elevating a politician to the divine status of gods, Shiv Sena had in 2016 said,
“It is the bhakts (devotees) that eventually get politicians and Gods into trouble. This has been so from the time of Mahabharat to the present political situation in Delhi,” it had said.
“Since he has been made a God, there is bound to be a temple and festivals in his name,” it had added.
The perception of a perfect nation with a perfect leader is in making, debates advocates of healthy democracy. Media channels have already started to hail him as ‘supreme leader.” Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb in February this year had claimed that the BJP is planning to expand its footprint not only across the country but also in neighbouring nations.
“During a close interaction in the state guesthouse, Ajay Jamwal (northeast zonal secretary of BJP) said that BJP formed its government in several states. Responding to this, Amit Shah told us that now Sri Lanka and Nepal are left. ‘We have to expand the party in Sri Lanka, Nepal and win there to form a government’,” Deb had claimed.
Apparently, the authority of a perfect or supreme leader is bound to be absolute, political commentators say.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.