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Cleanliness, punctuality Modi’s mantra: Chinese daily




Beijing: New vigour is sweeping through Indian government offices after Narendra Modi became the prime minister with ministers conducting surprise checks to see if bureaucrats are in their seats in time and offices being kept clean and tidy to give an air of efficiency, a Chinese daily said Tuesday. 

“Ministers are conducting surprise checks in the morning to see if bureaucrats are in their seats, offices are being thoroughly cleaned and all old furniture thrown away, senior officials are under orders not to keep files pending, and ministers are clearing files, including many left over from the previous government, in a jiffy,” the New Delhi-datelined article, headlined “Indian bureaucracy shaken up, more transparent after election win” in the Global Times stated. 

It noted how Modi was putting in an 18-hour work day from 5.30 a.m. till after 1 a.m. 

“Government officials have been ordered to clock in at 9 a.m. everyday, and are expected to sit beyond 6 p.m. – when the day is supposed to end – to clear any extra work. Saturdays are no longer holidays and the officials frequently take work back home. Senior bureaucrats, like the secretary of any department, have to ensure that the precincts of the office are spic and span – no dust, no old furniture lying around, no paper files piled up on desks, no betel leaf-stained corners,” said the newspaper, an English-language publication from the People’s Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Chinese media has been paying a lot of attention to the new Indian government and chronicling its various moves and policies. 

“The prime minister has also directed that officials should take to the electronic way to clear files. Tech savvy Modi, 63, has directed that officials should not have piles of files littering their desks and everything should be computerised.” 

The longish article particularly highlighted Modi’s fetish for cleanliness. “All offices were sent a letter via Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth asking officials to keep their offices clean, papers neat, and corridors unblocked,” it said. 

Modi himself has been keeping tabs on office cleanliness, it said, adding: “During his (Modi’s) initial days in office he took rounds of the Prime Minister’s Office, walking the corridors and looking into every room – something that his predecessors are not known to have done.” 

Modi reportedly frowned at the unkempt corners, the piles of dirty tea cups and plates, and loitering officials. The Chinese themselves have a fetish for cleanlineness and Chinese visitors to India are struck by the squalor and litter of public spaces in Indian cities. 

It pointed out how “lower-level bureaucrats and their aides under the previous regimes were notorious for their long breaks”. 

“During winters, the sprawling lawns near the central government offices in Delhi would be filled with government officials – chatting, eating, and napping – during the prolonged lunch time, while senior officials would be off to exclusive clubs or golf clubs.” 

As for officers getting to office in time, it cited the example of Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu reaching office early and finding many offices empty. 

“Last month, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu reached his ministry office in Nirman Bhawan at 9 a.m. and found the offices of many officials empty.” 

“The minister found electric wires dangling in the corridor and expressed his unhappiness at the shabbiness of the premises. Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar arrived at his ministry office in Shastri Bhavan at 9.15 a.m. late last month to find many vacant chairs,” the newspaper noted. 

“A circular was also issued to officials warning them that disciplinary action would be taken against them if they are late again,” it said. 

“Under the previous government, most officials would arrive at 11 a.m. or even later and be off by 6.30 p.m. They would never work on Saturdays, unless necessary. Now, everyone is in office on the dot in the morning. The senior officials stay till 8 p.m. and work regularly on Saturdays and, if required, even on Sundays,” the article quoted a senior bureaucrat as saying on the condition of anonymity.

“Everything is moving fast under the new government – files are being cleared in minutes, decisions taken fast. The top officials are inspecting their offices, even the toilets, to ensure everything is neat and clean. Under the previous government, no one seemed to work. Most of the officials are welcoming about the new work culture,” another official said. 

According to Minister of State for Home Kirren Rijiju, all these do not mean that India’s new prime minister was trying to centralise power. 

“Some people might be saying that Modiji is trying to centralise power, it’s totally wrong,” the article quoted Rijiju as saying. 

“Discipline and close coordination within a system cannot be termed as dictatorial in any manner. We are trying to bring some discipline in our working system, everything is being streamlined. It has to be seen from this perspective,” he said. 

The daily also highlighted how French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius remarked on the perceived efficiency of the new government.

“Fabius, voicing keenness that the new Indian government should conclude a multi-billion dollar deal for fighter aircraft that has stalled for two years, said France shared the ‘notion of efficiency in the new government’s approach’,” it stated. 

It also noted that “Modi’s government is far more visible than previous governments”. 

“He has two Twitter accounts -@narendramodi, from when he was chief minister of Gujarat, which has over 5 million followers, and @PMOIndia, after he became prime minister, which has nearly 2 million followers,” the daily noted. 

“The two handles are constantly updated and are a constant source of information to the public. Most of his ministers have also opened Twitter accounts to keep the public updated,” the article concluded. 

Canadian News

Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs



Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory take part in a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of a deadly shooting in Toronto on Wednesday July 25, 2018. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto were killed in Sunday's shooting attack, and 13 other people were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.

While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.

At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.

We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.

Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.

We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.

A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.

Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.

We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.

We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.

We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.

Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.

Our emergency services keep people safe.

Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.

Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.

Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.

We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.

With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”

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Canadian News

Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality



Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.

Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.

Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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Canadian News

Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?



The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.

He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture.  That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries.  Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.

Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.

Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response.  However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.

Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth.  Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.

In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide?  Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed?  However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.

The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?

Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.

Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.

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