Nitin Gadkari on warpath; India breathes worst air; Voter-Aadhar cards linkage pitfalls

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Opinion Watch

Union Minister Nitish Gadkari is a no pushover. When he became president of Bharatiya Janata Party in 2009, Gadkari faced challenges from the Delhi Club of his party.

The Pioneer in its Edit has dubbed Gadkari as an Advani-admirer, stating that the same went with Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The daily cautioned that Gadkari is a no walkover, while listing the way he has significantly scaled up the road building in the country by cracking whip on jaded bureaucracy.

TP also listed out some of the stinging statements of Gadkari, including “government doesn’t take decisions in time”, to explain discomforts in the top brass of the BJP against the Nagpur’s ‘eyes and ears’.

Prasad was eased out of the Cabinet even while his age isn’t yet a liability, while being a Lok Sabha MP. Gadkari is 65 years old.

His axing from the Parliamentary Board of the BJP has stunned a large number of the party leaders and workers.

There’s also an attempt to plant stories against Gadkari in the mainstream media, with claims that the RSS had been on board for dropping him from the apex body of the BJP. This is an old trick, for the RSS never comes out to deny such stories.

What will Gadkari do next? Indeed, he knows all the tricks of the one-upmanship. His words would henceforth need closer scrutiny for clues.

India breathes worst air  

Foul air in India kills more people than any ailments. Air in most of the cities in India is toxic, laden with dust. The state policies have always been apathetic to citizens’ right for clean air. Under the nose of seat of power in India, farmers burn their crops to drown over five crore people in months long toxic haze.

Deccan Herald has commented on ‘The State of Global Air Report 2022’, which was released last week. This is the worst-ever such report for India as it shows three of the country’s largest cities among the most affected by air pollution.

Delhi and Kolkata have bagged the honours being the top two worst air quality cities of the world. People in the City of Joy have long become adjusted to worst standards of air, water and other civic amenities. Delhi is the new Kolkata of India.

“As many as 12 of the 15 cities in Central and South Asia with the worst air in 2021 are in India. The report says that more than 76 per cent of India’s population lives in places where the ambient air quality limits are consistently exceeded,” stated DH.

The daily reminded that National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aims to reduce levels of particulate matter in 132 cities by 20-30 per cent by 2024 was launched in 2019, but the states haven’t spent even half of Rs 472 crore released by the Centre. That shows priorities of the state governments.

Voter-Aadhar linkage pitfalls

In the last six-seven years, Aadhar Card has been seen by the Central government as possessed by magical power to cure all maladies.

There is a renewed push to link Voter Cards with Aadhar.

The Supreme Court has ruled that sharing of Aadhar Card details is voluntary for the people if they are not availing benefits from Central schemes.

Indeed, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed by Parliament with sole aim to link Voter Cards with Aadhar. But subsequently the Central government and the Election Commission of India had clarified that this would remain voluntary, noted The Hindu in its Edit.

But the facts are on the contrary.

Even security guards at societies and offices, schools, clubs, ask for Aadhar Cards, while media reports are abundant to show that personal details of the people are available for a few bucks.

Parliament is yet to legislate on the personal date protection, which is still with the standing committee, sleeping like Kumbhkarna.

In this backdrop, the Chennai-headquartered daily has rightly flagged the risks of the misuse of the data amid push by the ECI for the linkage, while also citing instances of deletion of genuine voters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

This indeed calls for India to finally become serious about protecting the privacy of the citizens, as they are certainly not commodities who can be profiled and made public.

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