updated 12:02 PM UTC, May 24, 2017

'Mind Boggling' Reform That Will Reshape India's $2 Trillion Economy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is set to dramatically reshape Asia's third-largest economy with the biggest tax reform since independence in 1947.

After finding common ground among India's 29 states, the finance ministry on Friday released detailed rates for the incoming goods and services tax, slotting more than 1,200 items -- from sugar to steel pipes and motorcycles -- into five tax brackets between zero and 28 percent. With that done, India is almost ready to implement a tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies, effectively creating a single market with a population greater than the U.S., Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan combined. 

"It is a tax revolution, in many ways, because the indirect tax structure in India was hopelessly chaotic," said Raghbendra Jha, head of the economics department at Australian National University. "It's mind boggling, the sheer magnitude of the reform taking place."

 

The sweeping tax reform will gradually reshape India's business landscape, make the world's fastest-growing major economy an easier place to do business and is likely to raise government revenues by widening the tax net in the country's largely informal $2 trillion economy. That means India could spend more on desperately needed infrastructure and training programs for a workforce that is growing by 1 million people each month, laying the groundwork for longer-term growth. 

With tax experts praising the rates as moderate and generally lower-than-expected, it seems possible Modi might be able to roll out this reform without a politically damaging rise in inflation. However some economists and analysts see a July 1st deadline as unrealistic, raising the possibility that less than 10 months after demonetization, India's economy could again be upturned as businesses struggle to comply with the new tax code.

PM Narendra Modi Shares Why He Banned Mobile Phones In His Meetings

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his session with the country's top bureaucrats, shared many nuggets of governance including why he had banned mobile phones in his meetings. He also stressed on the merits of anonymity while working on schemes.

Being faceless is a "big strength", advised the PM. "Many officers would have had vision, implemented something and the entire country benefited from the idea. But if you go looking for who came up with the idea, you will not be able to find them. This is the best quality of the Indian civil service," he said.

Of late, he complained, this had not been the case. "If I go and have my picture on Facebook administering two drops (polio campaign) then a question arises on the anonymity of officials," he commented.

Social media, he said, should be used to reach people for their welfare and benefit.

"These days... I see district officials so busy, busy, busy (with their mobiles)...so I banned mobiles in meetings," he said, mimicking furious tapping on a phone keypad as he addressed bureaucrats at a function to mark Civil Services Day.

"People have moved from e-governance to mobile governance, it is a reality today."

Since coming to power with a huge mandate in 2014, PM Modi has stressed on an efficient workforce. Sweeping changes in the bureaucratic ways of functioning began with his office.

Spelling out the need to revamp the mindset and style of working, the Prime Minister said, "there is a burden of hierarchy culture" that had been going on since the British rule. "If seniors or superiors feel that new entrants are doing good work and it is intimidating them, this is the pressure of hierarchy culture," he said.

Urging officials to use their experience well, PM Modi advised, "There is no way that there could be better suggestions and recommendations than yours." He urged bureaucrats to "think out of the box" and take collective ownership to bring change.

On His Way To Airport, PM Narendra Modi Stops Car To Meet 4-Year-old

SURAT: Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped his convoy in Gujarat today for a four-year-old girl who caught his attention from the sea of supporters gathered for a glimpse.

PM Modi was in Surat as part of his two-day Gujarat visit when he made the unscheduled stop.

In a video, the little girl - whose name was revealed later to be Nancy - is seen hesitantly approaching the PM's car but being stopped by commandos. The girl was called back and taken by the security men to the Prime Minister, who was seen stepping out of the SUV, reaching for the child and saying a few words before sending her back to her parents.

The crowd cheered wildly and chanted "Modi, Modi" as it watched the interaction.

The prime minister launched many projects today in the state.

This is the second time in a month that he has surprised many by breaking security protocol.

Earlier this month, PM Modi went to the Delhi airport to receive his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina without the traffic restrictions usually in place to facilitate smooth VIP movement.

The PM arrived yesterday in Surat and took out a roadshow embellished by huge television screens, flags, flashing lights and a 10,000-bike cavalcade. For two-hours, he rode an SUV, waving through its sun-roof to the crowd that lined the route from the airport to the city.

This is his eighth visit in nine months to his home state, which will vote for a new government in November. Buoyed by recent election victories, the BJP is prepping to campaign for a fifth straight term in Gujarat.

By-Election Results 2017: BJP Wins 5 Of 10 Assembly Seats In By-Elections

NEW DELHI: In by-elections held for 10 assembly seats in eight states, the BJP is in position to win six. It had held three of these seats and is gaining three from other parties, including Delhi's Rajouri Garden, where last time's winner Aam Aadmi Party has lost its deposit ahead of key civic elections. In Karnataka, the Congress has won both Nanjangud and Gundlupet, seats it held. In Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar, where fresh elections were ordered in 38 polling booths after violence on Sunday, less than one per cent have turned up to vote.

Today's big winner the BJP, has already taken Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh, a seat it had held. It also snatched Dholpur seat in Rajasthan from Mayawati's BSP. The ruling BJP asserted its hold in Madhya Pradesh retaining the Bandhavgarh assembly seat and heading to win Ater.

West Delhi's Rajouri Garden seat fell vacant early this year after AAP's legislator Jarnail Singh quit to contest the Punjab Assembly polls. A win has taken the BJP's tally from three to four in the Delhi assembly, dominated by AAP that had swept the 2015 elections.

The by-election was held only weeks before crucial civic elections in Delhi and the BJP will hold up a win today to assert that it has the support of Delhi's voters. For Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's AAP it's more bad news after its poor showing in the Punjab and Goa assembly elections last month.

As the trends indicated big win for the BJP and a massive loss for the ruling AAP, Delhi' Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia earlier this morning said, "need to revisit people connect." The ruling Congress celebrated in Karnataka, retaining both the Nanjangud assembly seat and Gundulpet. The by-polls became a prestige battle for the Congress and the opposition BJP ahead of assembly polls next year. "We bow our heads and accept the decision of the people," said the BJP's BS Yeddyurappa, conceding defeat.

Nanjangud is in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's home district of Mysuru and it is crucial for him to retain the seat. His close aide-turned-rival V Srinivas Prasad, who held the seat earlier, joined the BJP after he was dropped as minister and is now contesting as the BJP candidate.

Ahead Of PM Narendra Modi's Landmark Israel Trip, 2 More Deals For 8,000 Missiles

India is close to signing two defense deals with Israel as it seeks to deepen ties with the Middle Eastern nation before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in July, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The deals include anti-tank missiles and a naval air defense weapon system, the people said, asking not to be identified given the information is private. Still, the plan for the first trip to Israel by an Indian prime minister indicates that cooperation goes beyond Delhi's status as the largest buyer of Israeli military hardware.

"The visit is a big milestone," said Shailesh Kumar, senior Asia analyst at political risk firm Eurasia Group. "Officials in both countries believe they face a common external threat: terrorism. Working with Israel fits into Modi's bigger pivot of deeper relations with the U.S. given the U.S.-Israel friendship."

The deals for Spike anti-tank missiles for India's army and Barak-8 air defense missiles for its navy are expected to be finalized in the next two months, the people said. The pacts are worth $1.5 billion, they said, and will see the delivery of the 8,000 missiles two years after the contracts are signed.

 

The missile deals follow transactions finalized last week for India to obtain medium- and long-range surface-to-air missiles worth $2 billion.

 


They're part of PM Modi's $250-billion plan to modernize the armed forces by 2025 amid tensions with neighbors China and Pakistan.

Since PM Modi came to power in May 2014, his government has shed his predecessors' reservations on talking about India's ties with Israel. 

John Kerry meets Modi

 

New Delhi: US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Wednesday, the concluding day of his three-day visit to India.

"Capping off an important visit, Secretary of State @JohnKerry calls on PM @narendramodi," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders.

Kerry met Modi at 7 Race Course Road here on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Kerry addressed students at the Indian Institute of Technology here.

On Tuesday, Kerry co-chaired the Second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Minister for State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary for Commerce Penny Pritzker also attended the Dialogue.

The India-US Strategic Dialogue was upgraded to Strategic and Commercial Dialogue last year at the initiative of Modi and US President Barack Obama.

PM inaugurates ambitious water project in Gujarat, revives development plank

Jamnagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the first phase of the ambitious Rs 12,000 crore SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojna) project that aims to satiate the water and irrigation needs of the perennially parched regions of Saurashtra in Gujarat.

Modi, who landed at the Jamnagar airport in the morning, had to drive down to Sanosara to reach the Aji dam site to inaugurate the first link of the project owing to inclement weather. The inauguration got delayed a little.

The SAUNI project, which in Gujarati means something for everyone, aims at diverting the excess floodwater from Sardar Sarovar Dam to fill up 115 dams of the water-scarce Saurashtra region through a network of canals and pipelines. The first phase would help irrigate 4.13 lakh hectares of land.

The Prime Minister pressed a button at the Aji-3 dam to open Gate two, Three and Four, to start release of the water that would fill up Aji-4 dam. Simultaneously, water would also be pumped into Uund-4 reservoir. Modi had launched the scheme when he was Gujarat Chief Minister in September 2012, and on Tuesday opened the first phase.

Officials call the SAUNI project an engineering marvel since it involves lifting huge amounts of water through hundreds of kilometres to fill the dams. "SAUNI project is an engineering marvel that will quench thirst of 11 drought-prone district of Saurashtra and bring fresh life to the region," Chief Minister Vijay Rupani tweeted earlier.

Tuesday's visit of the Prime Minister is being seen as an attempt of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to usher in again its 'development' agenda on the Gujarat political horizon, at a time the Patidar and Dalit agitations have been a reason of worry for the party. Anandiben Patel had to resign as Chief Minister in view of the agitations.

"Thank you Prime Minister. After 2 years & visiting 42 countries, you have found some time for Gujarat. Elections must be round the corner," tweeted senior Congressman Ahmed Patel, taunting Modi.

Earlier, AICC spokesperson and Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said it was during elections or approaching elections that Modi makes such promises for the parched regions of Saurashta and Kutch, but nothing happens on the ground.

Addressing a massive rally of locals and farmers in Gujarati, Modi highlighted the "development" works done by BJP government in the state post 2001. Modi went on to enlist a series of works he had initiated in Gujarat in the field of water management, agriculture, girl child education and energy conservation.

The Prime Minister said it was his Gujarat experience that he was putting in practice at the Centre. "I will not do anything that brings a bad name to Gujarat and will work with all my might for the good of India," he said.

Striking a personal connect with the people, he said, "Gujarat knows it very well that when a son of Gujarat is responsible for whole nation, he will never let Gujarat down and will continue to strive for the welfare of the nation in the same way as he did for Gujarat as the Chief Minister."

He also promised the people that he would spare more time for the state. "Till now I was busy in Delhi and now you will have little to complain."

Modi was joined by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel, former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel (who had initially invited Modi for the function before being eased out) and legislators, for his first public rally in the state after taking over as Prime Minister.

Though Modi has visited the state for about half-a-dozen times, this is the first public gathering he addressed.

Talking of SAUNI, Modi said the scheme was conceptualized in 2007 when he was Chief Minister, launched in 2012 and work began on it in January 2014.

According to official sources, a mere 57.67 km of the total 1,126-km pipeline has been laid, only 15 per cent of the total Rs 12,000-crore envisaged spent, and less than 10 per cent of the project work is complete so far.

The Chief Minister, who had in his tweet called SAUNI an "engineering marvel that will quench thirst of 11 drought-prone districts of Saurashtra", compared Modi to sage Bhagirath (who in mythology is believed to have brought Ganga to earth) for bringing Narmada waters to Gujarat. Interestingly, it was in 1961, that the foundation for Sardar Sarovar dam was laid by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and successive national and state governments had been working on it.

 

Modi wants to destroy Delhi: Kejriwal

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Upset after two key bureaucrats in Delhi were transferred, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "hell bent" on "destroying" the capital through the Lt Governor.

Kejriwal reacted after Lt Governor Najeeb Jung suddenly transferred Delhi's Health Secretary Tarun Sen and PWD Secretary Sarvagya Srivastava on Tuesday.

The transferred officials were looking after the work of building Mohalla Clinics across the city as well as the job of building classrooms in government schools.

"Today, several officers transferred by LG directly. Files not even shown to CM or any minister. Is this Modi model of democracy?" Kejriwal tweeted.

"Modiji is hell bent on destroying Delhi through LG," he added.

He added that Jung had rejected Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's multiple requests not to transfer these officials till March 31.

Health and PWD Minister Satyendra Jain told the media separately: "LG is hell bent on stopping every work of the Delhi government.

"We had requested him not to transfer the two secretaries till March 31 as they were involved in developing Mohalla Clinics and classrooms in schools.

"They were doing good work but to no avail," Jain told the media here.

Alert PM saves media lensmen from big mishap

Sanosara (Jamnagar): The alertness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the inauguration of a water project near here on Tuesday saved the lives of several cameramen and photographers, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel informed.

Speaking at a function here after Modi inaugurated the ambitious SAUNI project, Patel said that the Prime Minister was just looking at the flow of the water at the Aji-3 dam site after pushing a button to start the release from the dam.

"He suddenly noticed that several cameramen and photographers were standing on the downstream side. The strong flow of water released a little while ago was racing towards them and could have washed them away," Patel said.

Busy taking photographs of the event, the cameramen and photographers were seemingly unaware of it. But by clapping his hands and with other gestures the Prime Minister alerted them and they escaped in time.

"If the PM had not alerted them, a big mishap could have happened," Patel said.

Modi, Myanmar President hold talks

New Delhi:  Visiting Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here after which the two held bilateral talks.

"Paving a new road of friendship btw #IndiaMyanmar.PM @narendramodi receives President U Htin Kyaw at Hyderabad House," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders.

Some bilateral agreements are set to be inked after the talks.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Myanmar President.

In the morning, President Kyaw was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

President Kyaw, who is on a four-day visit, was in Bodh Gaya in Bihar on Saturday and later visited the Taj Mahal in Agra on Sunday.

This is the first presidential visit from Myanmar to India after Nobel laureate Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) came to power in March this year.

UN General Assembly President-elect calls on Modi

New Delhi : President-elect of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Peter Thomson called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Monday.

"Advancing India's multilateral agenda. PM @narendramodi receives President Elect of the UNGA, Peter Thomson," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Thomson, who is from Fiji, was elected in June.

He is visiting India a fortnight ahead of the UNGA annual session in New York.

He is scheduled to hold meetings with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Panagariya later on Monday.

 

PM Modi meets Sindhu, Sakshi, Dipa and other athletes

New Delhi, Aug 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Rio Olympics silver medallist P.V. Sindhu and bronze medal winner Sakshi Malik at his residence here on Sunday.

Sports Minister Vijay Goel was also present at the meeting. Along with Sindhu and Malik, shooter Jitu Rai, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Khel Ratna awardees, Dhyan Chand awardees, Dronacharya awardees, and Tenzing Norgay awardees also met the Prime Minister.

The annual sports awards will be presented here on Monday. The awards will be distributed by President Pranab Mukherjee.

Modi then took to Twitter to speak about the meeting, saying: "Our sportspersons, our pride! Met Arjuna Award winners and congratulated them."

"Delighted to meet you (Pvsindhu1). Every Indian is so proud of what you accomplished."

"Congrats @DipaKarmakar. You have won the nation's hearts."

"You are an inspiration for so many people @SakshiMalik. Keep making us proud with your achievements."

"Meeting the skilled, talented and determined JituRai was wonderful. Best wishes for his future endeavours," PM Modi added.

Sindhu scripted history by winning the silver in women's singles badminton while Sakshi took the bronze in women's freestyle wrestling 58 kg category.

Dipa finished fourth in artistic gymnastics at the Rio Games.

Dipa's coach Bisheshwar Nandi has been selected for the Dronacharya award along with Indian cricket team's Test skipper Virat Kohli's coach Raj Kumar Sharma, athletics coach Nagapuri Ramesh and boxing coach Sagar Mal Dhayal.

Star cricketer Ajinkya Rahane will be conferred the Arjuna Award alongside archer Rajat Chauhan, athlete Lalita Babar, cueist Sourav Kothari, boxer Shiva Thapa, footballer Subrata Paul, hockey stars V.R. Raghunath and Rani Rampal, shooters Gurpreet Singh, Apurvi Chandela, paddler Somyajit Ghosh, wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Amit Kumar, Para-athletes Sandeep Singh Maan and Virender Singh.

Athlete Satti Geetha will be conferred the Dhayan Chand award along with hockey player Sylvanus Dung Dung and rower Rajendra Pralhad Shelke.

Teresa's canonisation portends more conversions: VHP

New Delhi, Aug 28: Mother Teresa's canonisation portends more conversions to Christianity, an issue that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have considered before deciding to send a delegation to the Vatican, the VHP said on Sunday.

"The canonisation of Mother Teresa is an alarm bell that now there would be more conversions in India and more funds (for conversions) would be routed to India," Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) International Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said here.

He said granting of sainthood to a person based on miracles attributed to them was not "practical" in today's times.

"Do you expect miracles to happen in this age," he wondered.

Jain warned that with more conversions, there would be more unrest in the society.

He said Modi should have considered the issue before deciding to send an official Indian delegation to the canonisation ceremony at the Vatican.

"The issue of Mother Teresa's services vis-a-vis religious conversions is not new. We have been raising it for years. I think the Prime Minister should have thought over it before he decided to send an official delegation to the Vatican," Jain said.

An official Indian delegation led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to attend Mother Teresa's canonisation ceremony at the Vatican on September 4.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 'Mann Ki Baat' radio address paid tributes to the late Catholic nun for her services to the poor of India, saying that Indians should be proud that Mother Teresa is being officially declared a saint.

The nun founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that runs hospices in India. She died in 1997.

Modi leaves on four-nation African tour

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for a five-day tour of Africa early Thursday that will take him to Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

"The Prime Minister emplanes for a vital four-nation Africa tour. The first nation he will visit is Mozambique," the Prime Minister's Office tweeted.

This is Modi's first official visit to continental Africa. He had earlier visited the island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles.

Modi will arrive in Maputo, Mozambique's capital, on Thursday morning.

This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to the southeast African nation in 36 years since the visit of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982.

After concluding his engagements in Mozambique, he will leave for South Africa on Thursday evening.

His engagements in South Africa will span across Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg on Friday and Saturday.

Following this, he will leave for Dodoma, Tanzania's capital, from Durban on Saturday evening.

After completing his engagements in Dodoma, Modi will leave for Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday evening.

Ahead of his departure, the Prime Minister tweeted on Wednesday that his visit was aimed at enhancing India-Africa ties.

Modi pulls up Swamy, admits to 'lot of problems' with China

New Delhi: Asserting his authority in no uncertain terms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday ticked off BJP leader Subramanian Swamy over his "publicity stunts", and said India can now speak to China eye-to-eye despite having "a whole lot of problems".

In a wide-ranging interview with TimesNow television, the Prime Minister urged the media to stop looking at everything from the Pakistani prism and said Indian troops "have full freedom to answer back in whatever manner they have to" in the event of border clashes.

Coming out unequivocally in support of the outgoing RBI Governor who had been denounced publicly by Swamy, Modi said "those who are creating controversies are being unjust to Raghuram Rajan".

"I believe Raghuram Rajan's patriotism is no less than any of ours. It will be doing injustice to him if one says that he (Rajan) will serve the country only if he is at a particular post," the Prime Minister said, responding to Swamy's charges but without taking the MP's name.

"Those who speak such language are doing great injustice to him... I believe such things (criticism) are inappropriate. The nation won't benefit from such publicity stunts. 

"One should be more responsible while conducting themselves. Anyone who believes he is bigger than the system is wrong." He added: "I have a very clear message. I have no two minds about it."

This is the first time Modi has come out openly against any Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader since taking office in May 2014.

Modi went on to say that he knew the RBI chief well and that "whatever post he holds, wherever he is, he is someone who will continue to serve the country. He is someone who loves his country". 

Without specifically answering questions on China's blocking of India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Modi said: "We don't have one problem with China, we have a whole lot of problems pending with China.

"On some issues, they differ with us and there are issues on which we differ with them. There are some basic differences. But the most important thing is we can speak to China eye-to-eye and put forth India's interests in an unambiguous manner."

Modi said he met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent three days ago and "told him clearly about India's interests".

He underlined that in foreign policy it was not necessary to have similar views to have a conversation. "Even when the views are contradictory, talks are the only way forward and problems should be resolved through dialogue."

On Pakistan, which Modi last visited in December, the Prime Minister called upon the media not to view things from Islamabad's prism and added: "It has been our biggest shortcoming and mistake that we have been tagging ourselves with another country and trying to do things."

The Prime Minister said "there are different types of forces operating in Pakistan. But the (Indian) government only engages with a democratically elected system".

Underlining the problem of multiple authorities in Pakistan, Modi said the issue for New Delhi was who to deal with. "Will it be with the elected government or other actors? That is why India will have to be on alert all the time. India will have to be alert every moment. There can never be any laxity in this."

On foreign policy, Modi made it clear that it was team work at play, involving key ministries as well as his own office. "The impact that is now visible, is not just because of Modi, it is because of the team."

Commenting on recent terror attacks, the Prime Minister said his government had stepped up pressure on terrorists and their schemes were proving unsuccessful. 

"It is because of this disappointment that such incidents are taking place," he said, in reference to Saturday's attack on a CRPF vehicle which left eight troopers dead in Jammu and Kashmir.

Alleging that people were given the opportunity to launder money "here and there" during 2011-14, Modi said his government had framed stringent laws to bring back unaccounted wealth stashed abroad "and whoever comes in its fold will know how strict the law is".

Asked about economic offenders who are now abroad, Modi said his government was determined to act against them. "The people have confidence that if there is someone who can do this, it is Narendra Modi and he will do it."

The BJP veteran implicitly accused the Congress of trying to stifle debate in Parliament and said it was unfair to target the entire opposition for disruptions in the house. "There is one party which has problems. And the whole world knows that party."

Not allowing debate in parliament bad for democracy: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attacked the Congress for disrupting Parliament and said not allowing debate was a bad sign for a democratic system.

"I agree there are lot of problems... Whether the blame is on us or others, I leave it to the people to decide," Modi told TimesNow television in an interview.

Advocating the need for a debate, he said: "The sad part is they are running away from debate. This is a serious issue for a democracy. 

"Parliament is there for debate and to express one's opposition. The responsibility of saving this spirit of Parliament is with all those who support democracy. 

"I have personally met and talked to opposition leaders, important people of our government also talk to opposition." 

Modi pointed out it was not the entire opposition which was creating trouble in Parliament and there were also parties that were not with the government but supported it on key issues. 

Pointing fingers at the Congress without naming it, Modi said "one party" had "problems" and the party had been in power for 60 years and they knew how the government works. 

He said if the Bharatiya Janata Party took to the opposition in "2040", it cannot behave the way it did in 2009-10. 

Disclose undisclosed income by September 30: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged citizens with undisclosed income to come clean by September 30.

"I urge everyone to disclose undisclosed income by September 30. This is the last chance to avoid any problems," Modi said in his monthly radio address 'Mann Ki Baat'.

"We lose our peace by violating rules, why not give correct information about our income and assets to the government," he added. 

He said the revenue department will soon unveil a mechanism to keep track of undisclosed income. 

Modi said he had asked the officials from the income tax, revenue and excise departments to build an atmosphere of trust with tax payers.

He said people living in huge bungalows cannot have annual income of less than Rs 50 lakh. 

"In a country where a government employee donates Rs 5,000 every month out of his monthly pension of Rs 16,000, nobody has a right to evade taxes."

The Prime Minister wondered how there could only be 1.5 lakh people with taxable income over Rs 50 lakh in a country of a billion people.

Modi to meet Russian President Putin at SCO

Tashkent: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to hold a bilateral meeting on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit here.

Modi, who arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit, earlier held a bilateral meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, in his first diplomatic engagement of the day.

He later posed for a family photograph with the SCO members ahead of attending a plenary of the grouping that is to focus on enhancing connectivity and cooperation.

"Expanding cooperation in our extended neighbourhood. PM @narendramodi with SCO Summit leaders in a family photograph," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

"Enhancing connectivity & cooperation, building prosperity. PM @narendramodi attends SCO Plenary in Tashkent," he posted.

The six-member China-led grouping has kicked off the process for absorbing India and Pakistan as members, following an agreement reached last year at the summit in Ufa, Russia.

Focus on defence, security as Modi meets Uzbek President

Tashkent: India and Uzbekistan on Thursday took note of their growing defence cooperation and called for enhanced security ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov here on Thursday.

President Karimov welcomed Modi on his second visit to Uzbekistan within a year and Modi thanked Karimov for support to India's membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Modi also conveyed the government decision to extend e-tourist visa facility to Uzbekistan.

"Both leaders recalled old historical and cultural connections and discussed ways to further expand and strengthen relations. Modi conveyed decision to extend e-Tourist Visa to Uzbekistan and to organize a Festival of India and an Indian Trade Exhibition in Uzbekistan to mark 25 years of Uzbekistan's independence and 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with India," said a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement after the talks. 

"Both leaders noted cooperation was growing in defence and an MoU on Cyber Security had been concluded. They called for more cooperation in security," it added.

This was their second bilateral meeting since Modi went to Uzbekistan in July last year during his visit to the five Central Asian countries.

Modi was received at the airport by Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Modi is here for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, which is to kick off the process for India's absorption as a member. 

Modi meets China's Xi in Tashkent

Tashkent: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met with Chinese President Xi Jinping here, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.

Modi's meeting with Xi was his first engagement after landing at the airport, where he was received by Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The Modi-Xi meeting is scheduled to see both sides discuss India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, among other bilateral and regional issues.

India is keen to become member of the 48-member elite NSG, that regulates global nuclear trade. Beijing, an important member of the grouping, has been holding out on New Delhi's induction into the grouping.