India marks two years of Modi government

Indian Premier Narendra Modi's government was Saturday celebrating two years in power with a large-scale event to showcase its achievements and sketch out a future roadmap.

Top cabinet ministers, some of the country's biggest film stars and scores of people were attending the "Ek Nayi Subah" (A New Dawn) show that began near the India Gate monument in central Delhi.

The five-hour-long event was shown on state-run broadcaster Doordarshan and included talk shows on the government's achievements. Coverage was interspersed with cultural performances featuring singing and dancing.

Modi was expected to attend toward the end of the event late Saturday night and make an address.

Federal Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, a key Modi aide, who participated in panel discussions, said India had emerged as the fastest growing major economy despite a global slowdown and could grow between 8 and 9 per cent in the years to come.

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan spoke on social issues including girls' education and fighting the culture of female foeticide, the selective abortion of baby girls. The 73-year-old actor later spoke to schoolgirls from various schools.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said the government was following a phased approach to clean up the Ganga, or Ganges, regarded Hinduism's holiest river.

"Today Ganga is among the 10 ... dirtiest rivers in the world. By 2018, it will be among the 10 cleanest rivers," she said, according to NDTV.

Other ministers emphasized the promotion of the Clean India drive, a campaign to promote cleanliness and better sanitation in the country.

The government of Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party was inaugurated on May 26, 2014, after a landslide victory on promises of boosting economic growth, curbing corruption and creating jobs.

Modi and his ministers have been addressing public meetings and press conferences across the country since the government's second anniversary on Thursday.

The main opposition Indian National Congress party released a "report card" on the failures of the Modi government in the last two years.

Congress leader Palaniappan Chidambaram questioned the government's performance, saying it had not been able to help in key areas like job creation, relieving India's agrarian crisis or providing relief in drought-hit areas in the country.

Last update: Sat, 28/05/2016 - 18:38
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