Panelists feel that the government now has ministers well aware of the problems, and they need to be more pro-active

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is back at work, home minister Amit Shah has met JK Governor, defence minister Rajnath Singh has visited Siachin, finance minister is looking at the budget to be presented in July, and so on. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the new government’s promises and challenges. Anchorperson Akshay posed the questions to panellists, including the BJP’s Harish Shrivastava, former police officer Ranveer Singh, defence expert Col Fashi Ahmed, noted scribe Anupam Mishra and APNconsultant Govind Pant Raju.

Mishra : “There has been no grace period for this government, it is a continuation of the old dispensation. There is nothing surprising about that. Amit Shah had been talking about national issues at his poll meetings, as if he was doing his homework before taking over as home minister.”

Col Ahmed said: “Now we have seen the talk, policies have been made, and it is time to see some actual work on the ground. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been associated with internal security in the past, and knows Kashmir and the East side well. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman knows defence well, and now she is going to make the budget, and much is expected from her by the defence forces, because earlier the budget was not in line with expectations.”

Raju said: “Earlier too, we had men as home ministers, it is for the first time we have a woman as the finance minister. Many feel it is a tactical move to have a woman as finance minister. Amit Shah has been heading BJP for long time and has been having detailed talks with party workers, and knows regional issues well.”

Shrivastava said: “Our ministers are fully equipped to handle their beats. Amit Shah met JK Governor Satyapal Malik, because Kashmir is a sensitive subject.”

Ranveer Singh said: “Whatever happens, it is the public or the soldier who suffers most in Kashmir. Government has done too little for jawans, for their pensions, to enhance their canteen benefits and so on.”

Col Ahmed said: “The soldier draws inspiration from the nation, the issues will be there, pensions, salaries and so on. The officers make sure that the jawan on the border does not think about these issues and focusses on his responsibility. Government has its priority sectors, and it is the job of the officers to keep the morale of the jawans high.”

Mishra said:”We take pride in the fact that there is civilian supremacy in our country. In our country, our army has conducted its role with complete responsibility restraint. It is the responsibility of the government to look into the interests of our armed forces, whether its weapons or facility. Over the years, governments have done a lot to reduce the fatalities rate on the border.”

Raju said: “Needless to say a lot needs to be done for our jawans, who are ready to give up all for the nation. It is the duty of the nation to look after the families of jawans, to look into their welfare and pension grouses.”

Ranveer Singh said: “Look into the reasons of the high rate of suicides in the para military forces.”

Mishra said: “We should look at the huge promises made and where all that is taking us. Today Kejriwal has said women will not have to pay for public transport. Why give so many freebies, waivers etc? All this needs to be seen in the perspective of growth rate.”

Col Ahmed said:”Finance minister has a huge responsibility, to look at oil prices, Chabahar port has to be institutionalised, US is acting tough…”

Raju said:”The government sure has greater challenges this time than earlier, though it all has to be in continuation of the earlier work.”