'Govt response to SC decision on coal block good governance'

The government's decision to accept the Supreme Court's decision to term the coal block allocation since 1993 as illegal is an example of good governance, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

New Delhi: The government's decision to accept the Supreme Court's decision to term the coal block allocation since 1993 as illegal is an example of good governance, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

"We said we accept your decision. Please consider the 46 mines where production is about to start. We said you decide whether to stop it or not... It was a straight answer. No hanky-panky, no corruption," he said terming it as an example of good governance and clarity of thoughts of the Modi government.

Referring to the achievements of the NDA government in 100 days, he said opening of over one crore bank accounts for financial inclusion of all Indians was a major step.

But former Union minister and senior Congress leader Manish Tewari had different views. He said the rise in incidents of communal violence and failure of the government to check prices could not be ignored.

CPI-M leader Mohd Salim said opening accounts was not enough as India is one country where some people have crores in their banks and some have nothing.

They were participating in a discussion at a conclave organised by a television news channel on 100 days of Modi government.

In the course of the discussion, Prasad rejected charges that most decisions were being taken by the PMO.

He said while ministers were at liberty to take decisions, they were free to approach the PMO to clear doubts. He said the final decision should always rest with the Prime Minister. He said it was case with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and is the same under Narendra Modi.

Tewari said the decision of the government to pull out of Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan was a "180 degree U turn" as Modi had invited Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony.

Prasad said while inviting Sharif for the swearing-in ceremony was a big decision, Pakistan was told that India would not like its neighbour to talk with Hurriyat leaders ahead of Foreign Secretary talks.

He said Prime Minister Modi gave indications to China also during his ongoing Japan visit.

Modi had yesterday deplored the "expansionist" tendency among some countries which "encroach" upon seas of others, in oblique comments against China which is having a maritime dispute with Japan.

Referring to communal riots and the rights of the minorities, Prasad said any government in power will have to respect all religions. He also recalled that when Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister, several Muslim councillors were elected on a BJP ticket. He said several Goa MLAs are Christians.

In another round of discussions on India's foreign policy, Congress MP and former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar claimed that the talks with Pakistan were called off not because of Pakistan High Commissioner meeting Hurriyat leaders but keeping in mind the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Sheshadri Chari of BJP rejected the contention saying electoral politics had nothing to do with it. He said the Modi government has drawn a red line for Pakistan which was earlier not there.

In another discussion, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's Maulana Mahmood Madni said it is a good sign that Modi wants to see every Indian as one and not based on religion. He said only time will tell how Muslims are treated under BJP rule. He also hoped that Modi will control elements in BJP and RSS who attack Muslims.

He further said on the whole, Muslims do not feel insecure.

Insecurity stems in areas which have witnessed communal flare up in the recent past.  

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