India. At least 25,000 people were killed in an earthquake in the state of Gujarat in January, and more than a million became homeless. Great cultural historical values were wasted when the city of Bhuj with a multi-hundred-year-old walled city center was destroyed. The reconstruction work was estimated to cost more than SEK 50 billion. The disaster revealed serious violations of building standards, and in October, Gujarat’s chief of government resigned following criticism for his way of dealing with the disaster.
In February, the government presented a budget for 2001-02 with strong incentive measures for the industry, among other things. lower taxes. Nevertheless, the development was not as bright as the government expected. Growth decreased to just over 5% compared to an estimated at least 6%. The International Monetary Fund recommended tough austerity, faster privatization of state-owned companies and a softening of labor law.
The government was scandalized in March, when both ministers and senior officials at the Department of Defense and military revealed themselves as batsmen. In front of a hidden camera, some 30 officials received bribes from people who said they represented a company in the military equipment industry but who were journalists at the internet magazine tehelka.com. The revelations led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense George Fernandes, despite not personally being involved in the scandal. He returned to his post in October, when the international security situation deteriorated.
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The government parties suffered more setbacks in the state elections in May, all of which resulted in victories for the opposition. In West Bengal, the Communist-dominated Left Front won for the sixth time in a row.
Until May, the army retained the unilateral ceasefire in the state of Kashmir, which was announced in November 2000. The Muslim separatist movements rejected offers of negotiations, because India did not want Pakistan to participate in them. Meanwhile, the almost daily clashes continued. When the ceasefire was formally discontinued, at least 1,200 people had been killed for six months. A summit in July in the city of Agra between I’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf was unsuccessful and the violence continued. In October, 38 people were killed in a suicide attack against Kashmir’s state parliament.
An armed attack on the federal government in New Delhi in December, when 14 people including the five assailants were killed, triggered the strongest military rally along the Indian-Pakistan border since the war in 1971. India identified two Kashmiri extremist groups with bases in Pakistan as responsible for the act and demanded that Pakistan intervene against them, which happened to some extent.
Several prominent politicians retired in 2001. In April, the farmer leader Devi Lal, Deputy Prime Minister 1989-91, passed away, and in July, Phoolan Devi was shot dead. She was one of I’s lowest caste and became notorious for having forcibly rebelled against the caste repression. The internationally renowned movie “Bandit Queen” was an attempt to portray her life. Congress Party Vice President Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash in October.
In the February 1998 elections, the BJP won big. Along with its allies, it got 251 seats followed by the Congress Party with 166 and the Unity Front with 96. For the second time in 22 months, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was appointed prime minister. In May, the BJP allowed the government to conduct a series of nuclear test blasts, which drastically worsened relations with Pakistan, giving this a pretext for the same month to conduct similar test blasts.
A bill to reserve at least 1/3 of parliamentary seats for women was subject to extensive boycott when it came up for consideration in July. Opponents of the bill led by two socialist parties conducted protests outside parliament and constantly interrupted negotiations inside. Acc. the opponents were the proposition unsuitable because it did not set specific quotas for women from the lowest castes. The bill’s main supporters were the government coalition and the largest opposition party, the Congress party. It was the first time the two blocs could agree politically.
The government coalition collapsed in April 1999 when the leader of the AIADMK Tamil Party, Jayaram Jayalalitha, withdrew two of his ministers from the government after Prime Minister Vajpayee rejected the resignation of Defense Minister George Fernandes to remove India’s naval commander, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat. As the opposition failed to come up with any government alternative, President KR Narayanan disbanded the House of Representatives and printed new elections.
In June, there was a new clash with Pakistan after Pakistani forces crossed the demarcation line set by the UN. About 1,000 people perished during the fighting. Human rights organization Human Rights Watch criticized serious human rights violations on both sides of the border – perpetrated by officers and soldiers from both sides. The Indian security forces were charged with carrying out summary executions, rapes and torture.
After the 5-day elections in October 99, the BJP-led government coalition was reinstated as it captured 293 out of Parliament’s 545 seats. Despite the victory, the election was also a decline for the BJP itself, while the left and the regional parties were advancing. More than half of the seats were now beyond the control of the two major parties. The election went hardest over the Congress Party, which had its historically worst election with just 120 seats – 20 fewer than in the previous election. The BJP’s increasing reliance on the smaller parties will undoubtedly help create a more difficult situation for the government in the future.
Over 1 million people became homeless in the state of Gujarat in India’s northwest corner after a violent earthquake in February 2001. At least 30,000 were killed and 55,000 injured. The state had been hit by a cyclone in 1998 and traces of it remained visible. After the Muslim imam, Mufti Imtiaz, declared that it was TV and its transmissions that triggered the earthquake, the Muslim residents of the cities of Ahmadabad and Surat in Gujarat began throwing their televisions out of the windows and burning them in the streets as they did television’s immoral broadcasts responsible for the devastating effects of the earthquake. According to the mufti, “the thoughts of the TV journalists had been poisoned and this had provoked Allah who had therefore triggered the earthquake”.
According to Countryaah, the population of India in 2001 was 1,147,609,816, ranking number 2 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.670% yearly, and the population density was 385.9861 people per km2.