August 29, 2016 | Cdr (Retd.) Dipak Naik
Last month the MEDC AGM has cast its vote and elected the new office bearers for the council for the next two years. It is indeed my privilege to gratefully acknowledge the trust and responsibility placed upon me by the Electoral College, by putting me back at the helm of the council. The three vice presidents of the council are Cdr. Anil Save from Aurangabad, Mrs. Meenal Mohadikar from Mumbai and Mr. Ravi Boratkar from Nagpur. Together we aim to meet the aspirations of our members and founding fathers. As we go to press this month a lot of events are happening around us. The U.S. government and India signed a deal for the purchase of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook multi-mission heavy-lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force.The contract is worth around $3 billion. This will surely boost the ground support and rapid action troop movement of the armed forces. This deal had been in the offing for a long time and had to undergo as many as 10 revalidations. Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has stated that the contract, will have a 30 per cent offset clause, which means that it will bring in business worth about USD 1 billion for the Indian defense industry. We only hope that it will be for indigenous production of the same helicopters as has been our practice and policy in the past. More importantly MEDC is eager to know how much of this USD 1 billion comes to our private sector. We will keep our readers informed of our efforts in this direction.
Draught and tax has drawn a lot of adverse reaction from common man and experts alike. An economic think tank like MEDC could have been a good help in arriving at a better informed decision. We also think that this is the right time for all the wisdom of agricultural research to be put together to find strains and crops that our lands and farmers can bring up in the prevailing circumstances and compulsions of weather. There is a lot of work to do in this direction.
The issue this month in on the much talked about “smart cities”. While Rs 48,000 crore has been allowed for 100 smart cities, now renamed Smart Cities Mission, another Rs 50,000 crore has been sanctioned for Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) of 500 cities. States along with local bodies and corporate entities have to spend the most in the projects, experts said. The Amrut project could lead to cities becoming smart subsequently.
The focus will be on core infrastructure services like adequate and clean water supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, affordable housing for the poor, power supply, robust information technology connectivity, governance, safety and security of citizens, health and education, and sustainable urban environment. What remains to be seen is how much of it is actually applied for the cause. How and what will be the mechanism to ensure correct application of funds for the correct cause remains to be seen. Given the sad corruption ridden history of local bodies, how much will be pocketed by uncouth and unpatriotic opportunists and what will be invested in the intended Cause … that should really be the concern