Narendra Modi takes charge as PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally took charge of his office on a pleasant Tuesday, and his very first act was to announce ex-gratia payment to victims of a train disaster in Uttar Pradesh.

Modi, who took oath as prime minister at the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan Monday evening, drove from the Gujarat Bhavan where he is staying to reach the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in South Block, near Rashtrapati Bhavan, around 9 a.m.

Senior officials welcomed Modi with bouquets as he got out of a black BMW, wearing a light brown kurta and churidar and a dark brown Nehru jacket.

Modi also waved and smiled at the journalists massed nearby.

“Modi was sitting in the back seat of the car, unlike the times when he used to occupy the front seat when he used to be the chief minister of Gujarat,” a media person present at the venue told IANS.

Moving into his room, Modi first stood briefly before a framed monochromatic picture of Mahatma Gandhi, folded his hands in reverence and placed some flowers in tribute.

“Narendra Modi today (Tuesday) assumed office as the 15th Prime Minister of India. Narendra Modi offered floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi in his office at South Block, and assumed charge of the office of Prime Minister,” an official statement said.

According to the statement, Modi held a short briefing with the principal secretary to the prime minister, Nripendra Mishra, and senior officers in the PMO.

Modi, who was in his office for close to 15 minutes, signed documents before heading to the stately Hyderabad House to meet leaders ofSAARC countries and Mauritius who attended his swearing-in Monday evening.

In his first official meetings after taking charge as prime minister, Modi met Presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives and Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka as well as Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Sushil Koirala of Nepal and Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan besides Bangladesh parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.

He also met Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam.

Modi’s first official act was to announce ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh and Rs.50,000 to the kin of those killed and to the seriously injured in a train accident in Uttar Pradesh Monday.

Directing the railway ministry to ensure that the relief operations are carried out smoothly, he said “it must be seen that all the injured are provided the best possible medical care”.

The accident in Sant Kabir Nagar district left at least 25 people dead and about 100 injured.

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Free Press Journal