With the Supreme Court clearing the deck for OBC reservations in Madhya Pradesh local body elections on Wednesday, major political parties in the state have gone into an overdrive to woo and consolidate their OBC vote bank. The apex court has upturned its own ruling it delivered barely four days ago on May 10, in which it refused to extend 35 per cent of reservations to OBCs in the coming panchayat and local urban body elections, as pleaded by the BJP-led state government. There can be no reservations for OBCs, the Court observed, until the state government properly completed the triple test exercise as stipulated in its 2010 bench verdict. But the clearance comes with a rider: in no circumstance can the OBC reservations go beyond the preset limit of 50 per cent. Elections to over 23,200 local bodies are due in the state since 2019-2020.
There is jubilation in the BJP camp, as the Supreme Court verdict was celebrated by the BJP with sweets distribution in the state party office here in Bhopal. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan could not hide his glee while welcoming the Court decision. Squarely blaming the Congress Party for filing the case in the Supreme Court and unfavourable verdict earlier, Chouhan said, “Finally, truth has prevailed and it has been proved again that truth cannot be defeated. I salute the Supreme Court. We had sought elections but with OBC reservations. The Congress Party had sinned. The elections were being held with OBC reservations, but it was the Congress Party people who had approached the Supreme Court upon which it was decided (by the Court) that elections should be held without OBC reservations. We left no stone unturned and submitted the (Backward Commission) report before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ordered to hold elections with OBC reservations. We welcome the decision.”
The jubilation in the BJP camp over the Court verdict is not misplaced, though. Muralidhar Rao, in charge of the BJP Madhya Pradesh, had not long so ago said, “Brahmin and Baniya are our pocket borough.” It is Rao, in fact, who has set out a goal for the BJP to secure 51 per cent of votes in coming elections by roping in SC, ST and OBCs in the state. If the BJP is able to hit that target, it would be no less a miracle as it would help the party to remain at the helm of affairs in the state for a long time to come. Behind the OBCs becoming a hot property for both the saffron party and the Congress party lies the need to consolidate them as a reliable vote bank by making OBC reservations a cause calibre.
OBC communities constitute about 50 per cent of the 8 crore population of the state. Both parties, therefore, are making an all-out effort to lure OBCs like Lodh, Yadav, Kurmi, Kirar and Kalar, among others, into their political fold and convert them into a solid and permanent vote bank. If this tactic pays off in assembly elections, which are due in 2023 in the state, the BJP would deploy it in other states including Uttar Pradesh, where the OBCs are in decisive sizable numbers, to counter caste-based politics, and take it further in 2024 parliamentary elections, as well.
The political power in Madhya Pradesh revolves around two parties. The government will be formed either by the Congress Party or by the BJP. Regional parties in the past have tried to make inroads in the state but could not succeed. Except for the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party from UP, no other outfit could ever secure a single-digit win in assembly elections in the state. Even the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, with a firm base among the tribal population in the state, and the Bharatiya Janashakti Party formed by Uma Bharti after deserting the BJP could not make in a visible impact on the electorate.
Actually, it is the tribal constituencies that play a decisive role in bringing a party to power in Madhya Pradesh. Tribals have been a traditional vote bank of the Congress Party. After the tribals switched their allegiance to the saffron outfit in 2003, the BJP has been winning election after election to form government for the past three terms. In the 2018 elections, however, the Congress Party under Kamal Nath managed to wean them away from the BJP. The party was able to form the government, though it did not have a full majority, but could not complete the term and was removed after 15 months in a high-pitched political drama. The disillusionment of tribals from the BJP allowed the saffron strategists to introspect. The BJP is, therefore, not only trying to win over the tribals Scheduled Castes back to its fold but also trying to make OBCs its sold vote bank. Pitching for OBC reservations in local body elections is, thus, the fulcrum of the BJP poll strategy.
However, the credit of bringing the OBC vote bank politics to centre stage in the state goes to the Congress Party. It was, in fact, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh who took cognizance of the strength of this class of voters, who had been rather neglected in electoral politics until then. He tapped this potential vote bank by extending 14 per cent reservations to OBCs and formed government twice in succession. After 2003 elections, he put in place an agenda to empower Dalits and his government implemented reservations in government contracts and purchase orders to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Congress lost its base among the OBC in the next elections and BJP formed the government under the leadership of Uma Bharti, an OBC herself. Recognizing the community as a kingmaker, the BJP appointed OBC leaders like Babulal Gaur and Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief ministers of the state in this order. Chouhan is the longest-serving BJP chief minister among the OBC. The BJP has won elections thrice by putting Chouhan at the forefront. He is serving the fourth term as Chief Minister. Although Chouhan has carved out for himself an image of a popular leader, especially among women and the youth as Mamu, this image cultivated through government schemes and social engineering programmes could not secure him a clean sweep in 2018 elections. Chouhan and the BJP strategists have, thus, made this strategy of wooing OBCs to their camp, rather than relying on communal polarization.
However, if there is any politician the BJP should thank for bringing the OBC discourse in the state electoral politics, it is Kamal Nath. The veteran Congress Party leader, just before the 2019 parliamentary elections, promised to extend 27 per cent reservations to OBCs in government jobs and local body elections. It did not help the party, though. It nonetheless made the OBCs aware of the issue and the empowerment it could bring to them as a community. This development gave rise to all sorts of gamesmanship among the political outfits with regard to reservations in three-layered local body elections. The issue assumed so much significance that Chouhan was forced to promise local elections with OBC reservations.
Both the Congress Party and the BJP are competing with each other while taking credit for the Supreme Court verdict in favour of OBC reservations in local body elections.
“We did not expect the Shivraj government to work for the welfare of OBCs … therefore, we have already decided that the Congress would extend 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in local body elections and we will ensure them all rights. We will fulfil our promise come what may. We are committed to ensuring 27 per cent reservation to OBCs and we will fight for it,” said the Kamal Nath after the Court verdict.
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CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING BUSINESSES
Several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals by embracing the SaaS model.
The groundbreaking SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) idea has the potential to disrupt many industries, including banking. SaaS, being a cloud-based technology, may assist both fintech startups and banks, particularly in satisfying regulatory requirements and providing security to their consumers. Without a doubt, SaaS is gaining popularity among financial services organizations due to its promises of more business flexibility, faster deployment, and support for an open ecosystem.
Symbiotic relationship between SaaS platforms and Fintech growth
The Fintech approach, which makes use of the resourceful SaaS foundation, allows businesses to access and utilise cloud-based applications rather than purchasing or building their own software. Financial firms may reap advantages such as end-to-end cost reductions, data security, scalability, and agility from the fintech industry. PwC, a well-known rating agency, predicts that more fintech businesses will utilise SaaS to address concerns generated by the post-Covid environment.
Understanding the significance of the SaaS model is not rocket science. According to Financesonline.com, the SaaS market capitalization will reach $623 billion by 2023. The use of the SaaS model in the fintech industry may foster innovation and creativity while also improving efficiency and profitability. Fintech companies can also save huge amounts of operational capital every year because of SaaS. This is not possible with the traditional model, in which companies hire experts.
SaaS solutions are extremely scalable, allowing a financial institution to digitally alter its operations while boosting security and enhancing compliance. It is also feasible to minimise physical footprints and increase efficiency via automation. By embracing the SaaS model for online transactions, several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals and the banking and finance industry at large. FinTech lenders, for example, might accept business loan applications online, process them in minutes, and send the money to qualified customers a day or two later.
What makes SaaS a magic sauce for Fintech growth
SaaS platforms have shown the power of open platforms in the open-platform vs. patented technology argument over the last several decades. This has given SaaS a long-term viability and scalability that was previously unheard of, particularly in the financial services sector. For a fraction of the price, fintech companies have started bringing in the bulk of the capabilities that sophisticated legacy systems had inside mega banks.
There was a chance to develop an ecosystem with the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow banks to interact with these fintech partners, who could bring in novel processes and products at a relatively low cost and with relatively low usage of resources. It is also critical to incorporate outside innovation into an internal environment dominated by legacy technologies in financial organizations. The necessity to start small, to be nimble, and to expand with the market’s and customers’ ever-changing needs is obvious.
The maturation of SaaS models has aided the rise of APIs in the financial services sector, while laws such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) are driving banks to establish and promote open platforms. While API-based SaaS platforms have opened up a wide market and empowered the developer community, they have also contributed to the abolition of faceless goods that dominated conventional industries. It has also aided in the extraction of enormous value from data and innovative system integrations, which is now shared across a bigger and more powerful ecosystem.
The triple-edged efficiency of SaaS
Scalability, sustainability, and convenience are the three pillars furnished by SaaS to the Fintech ecosystem. The compulsions in the financial sector are being addressed by the three pillars of a SaaS delivery model. Scalability and the need to quickly add new products to existing systems, as well as a high level of data and platform security and the ability to better control costs, are all reasons why SaaS models are the delivery method of choice for banks around the world, both big and small. It is also the best strategy for working with banks, development communities, incubator programs, and data suppliers in the ever-expanding fintech ecosystem. All of this is wrapped up in a customer experience layer that is easy to use and lets business users, with only a little technical knowledge, launch products in a way that is good for business.
This transformation of SaaS-based delivery models into revenue-generating and customer-driven ones is beneficial to all parties involved. Some issues persist, but the overall contribution of proprietary and open businesses built on the SaaS cloud to the financial services sector has been spectacular. If the total cost of ownership data for the manufacturing sector is any indication, the collaborative delivery models that have recently been brought to the market will almost certainly have an almost immediate effect on banks’ total expenses.
Rahul Meena is the founder and CEO of Treflo.
‘SYL’ SPARKS CONTROVERSY AMONG HARYANVI YOUTH
The last song of singer Sidhu Moosewala, ‘SYL’ released after his demise is said to have sparked the dispute pending for decades over water sharing between Punjab and Haryana and also featured visuals of controversial figures. Sutlej Yamuna Link’s abbreviated form is SYL, which contains a topic about the same. The Singer starts the song with controversial lines, “Give us our social history and our families back. Return Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana to us. In case you do not give us sovereigntyand authority. We will not even give a drop of water to anyone,” stirring up controversy and resulting in anger among the people of Haryana for the slain singer Moosewala. In response, a number of Haryanvi musicians have also sought to express their rage and agony in the same way, stalking their claims over the SYL problem.
A song named ‘SYL-Haryanvi’ by a Haryanvi musician claims that Haryana owns 50% of the SYL water. In response to Moosewala’s song, the songs ‘Tipka-Tipka Koni-Paani Aadha Lewange’ and ‘Haq Sai Mara SYL’ became popular on YouTube and other media. These songs reflect the ire of Haryana residents who delayed the release of SYL water in defiance of Supreme Court orders. Other than this, a number of additional songs that are popular among Haryana residents have become the talk of the state›s towns and can be found on social media.
Millions of views on YouTube for these songs are a clear sign of their popularity. In addition, a different Haryanvi artist released a song on the same subject in reaction to Moosewala’s declaration that we will take our fair share of the water. The song is currently receiving widespread distribution throughout the state. These Haryanvi songs continue to feature images from the farm protest that express the feelings of how the Haryana agricultural community welcomed the protesters from Punjab.
MUKHTAR ANSARI, HIS WIFE STAYED TOGETHER IN JAIL IN CONGRESS TENURE: AAP
The Jail Minister orders FIR and probe after receiving a Rs. 55 lakh bill from an SC lawyer.
Punjab Jail Minister Harjot Bains created a sensation on Tuesday in the state Assembly when he disclosed that the previous Congress government spent Rs. 55 lakh to hire a Supreme Court lawyers to protect Mukhtar Ansari instead of handing him over to the UP Police. The Jail Minister said that the then Congress government had registered a fake FIR against Mukhtar Ansari and did not even present a challan against him. Ansari was lodged in Ropar Jail in Punjab in 2019 in a extortion case.
Making the revelation in the House, the minister said that this was a serious matter. The gangster had, while in Ropar Jail, a whole barrack to him and given VIP treatment. His wife also stayed with him in the barrack.
To get Ansari’s custody, the UP Police issued production warrants 26 times but he was not handed him over to them. The UP government moved the Supreme Court. The then Congress government hired a well-known lawyer in the Supreme Court to help Ansari and the Punjab Government has now received a bill of Rs. 55 lakh.
Bains also informed the House that he has ordered to register an FIR and investigation into the matter.
Ansari was accused of demanding Rs. 10 crore from a builder in Mohali. He was brought to Mohali on a production warrant by the Punjab Police and was lodged in Ropar jail since January 2019. He was handed over to the UP Police upon a Supreme Court order in April last year.
Mukesh Ambani resigns from Reliance Jio Board, Akash new Chairman
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of Reliance Jio handing over reigns to his elder son Akash Ambani, who will be Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board has approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.” It said that the Board of Directors in their meeting held on June 27 noted the resignation of Mukesh D Ambani as Director of the company effective from the close of working hours on June 27, 2022.
Akash has been closely involved with the disruptive and inclusive growth path charted by the digital services and consumer retail propositions of Reliance group and is now leading the creation of the ‘convergence dividend’ for over 500 million consumers, digitally and with high-inclusivity across geographies and income levels.
His elevation as Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm recognises the specific contributions made by him to the digital services journey and rededicates him to even higher levels of responsibilities, going forward.
Mukesh Ambani will continue to be the Chairman of Jio Platforms Ltd, the flagship company that owns all Jio digital services brands including Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Akash Ambani, who has graduated from Brown University with a major in Economics, has been closely involved with the creation of the digital ecosystem around Jio’s 4G proposition. He was closely involved with a team of engineers in inventing and launching an India-specs focussed Jiophone in 2017 which became quite a revolutionary device to take many people out of 2G to 4G.
Akash personally led the key acquisitions made by Jio in the digital space in the last few years and has also been keenly involved with the development of new technologies and capabilities including AI-ML and blockchain.
He was integrally involved in the trailblazing global investments by tech majors and investors in 2020, which in many ways catapulted Jio onto the global investor map.
Akash is expected to continue to operate on the cutting-edges of innovation and technology to encourage an ecosystem that will further digital solutions and make the power of data and technology more accessible to all, including those who are still at the margin.
Amid new Russia sanctions, Modi sticks to India-first mantra
Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.
As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.
The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.
Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.
India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.
Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While
German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”
With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”
In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.
The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.
(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.
Maharashtra wants Fadnavis-led BJP govt: Poll
With uncertainty still looming over Maharashtra political crisis, The Daily Guardian Review (TDGR) on Tuesday conducted a massive poll, bringing the voice of the people of Maharashtra to the forefront.
As per the TDGR poll, the people of Maharashtra want an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena to come to power, with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. The majority of the respondents stated that Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. In the wake of the rebellion, it is the Eknath Shinde camp that actually controls Shiv Sena, as per the respondents. At the same time, the respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of the MVA government.
When asked which party would they like to see form a government in Maharashtra, the majority of the respondents (42.19%) said that they would like to see an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena come to power. 32.15% respondents voted in favour of the BJP, 17.23% were in favour of an alliance between the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)BJP and only 8.42% voted for Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance.
Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the most preferred choice for the post of the chief minister of Maharashtra with 35.20% of respondents voting in favour of him. 23.58% of the respondents wanted Uddhav Thackeray to retain the chief minister’s seat. Eknath Shinde might claim the support of a majority number of MLAs, but only 19.20% respondents want to see him become the chief minister of Maharashtra. 16.62% respondents voted in support of Supriya Sule, whereas only 5.41% respondents voted in favour of Raj Thackeray.
34.70% respondents believe Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva Ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. 30.22% respondents said that Uddhav shut doors of CM house for MLAs and public. 20.48% respondents attributed Sharad Pawar’s overarching role in running MVA government behind the Shiv Sena rebellion. Giving Aaditya Thackeray number 2 position in MVA government (8.04%) and Sanjay Raut’s instigating remarks and statements (6.57%) were not substantial reasons for the rebellion, according to the respondents.
Two-third of the respondents (34.08%) stated that Eknath Shinde›s camp is controlling Shiv Sena in the wake of his rebellion against the party. About 26.51% respondents said they couldn’t say who controls Shiv Sena, whereas 24.03% respondents said that Thackeray family controls the party. Only 15.38% respondents said Sanjay Raut controls the party.
The respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of MVA government. 27.74% respondents said rebel MLAs should be paraded in front of the governor, 26.74% respondents said the speaker must decide, 24.73% suggested a floor test in the legislative assembly and 20.79% respondents said the Supreme Court must decide the fate of the Maharashtra government.
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