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Urban boom altering TN population profile A rapidly urbanising Tamil Nadu faces significant social and economic challenges, going byindicators in the 2011 census abstract report released here on Friday. The ratio of rural to urban population has nearly reached parity and stands, in percentage terms, at 51.6 in villages and 48.4 in cities. Tamil Nadu‘s population at the referral time – the stroke ofmidnight of March 1, 2011 – stood at 7.21 crore, including 3.61 crore men and 3.60 crore women. The population distribution in rural areas stood at 3.72 crore, while urban population was 3.49 crore. ―Of the total increase of 9.7 million people in the last decade, the contribution of rural areas was 2.3 million, whereas the contribution of urban areas was 7.4 million,‖ Joint Director of Census Operations M.R.V.Krishna Rao told reporters. Chennai had the highest population density at 26,553 persons per sq km. The city‘s adjoining districts Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur registered the highest population growth rates in the past decade. Sex ratio Despite being one of the States in the country to have an impressive track record in health and family welfare schemes, a comparison of the sex ratio of adults versus children shows a massive gap. The sex ratio (the number of females per 1,000 males) stood at 996, an increase of 9 points from 987 in the 2001 Census. Sixteen districts had a sex ratio in excess of 1,000. However, the child sex ratio (age group of zero to six years) – a more thorough indicator of the welfare of the girl child – stood at 943 per 1,000, up just marginally from 942 in the 2001 Census. Literacy rate The effective literacy rate in Tamil Nadu has been worked out to 80.1 per cent, with male literacy rate of 86.8 per cent and female literacy rate of 73.4 per cent. The top three districts for literacy rates were – Kanyakumari at 91.7 per cent, Chennai at 90.2 per cent and Thoothukudi at 86.2 per cent. The poorest performers were Dharmapuri at 68.5 per cent, Ariyalur at 71.3 per cent and Krishnagiri at 71.5 per cent. SC population The Scheduled Castes (SC) accounted for nearly 20 per cent of the State‘s population. Of the 14.4 million SCs, 9.5 million lived in rural areas, while 5 million lived in urban areas. 2. to East Asia As important as the new bilateral treaty on extradition with Thailand, the progress made in finalising the trilateral highway through Myanmar marks an important milestone in India‘s relations with its eastern neighbours. After concluding a productive visit to Japan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wound up his trip with a useful stopover in Bangkok. Though it took two decades for the extradition treaty to be negotiated, it has finally been signed and New Delhi can look forward to some tangible results. A longish list of wanted men is already with Thailand, and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has promised to expedite the process of extraditing those wanted in India, including Sayed Ahmed Ali Kari alias Munna, alleged to be involved in major cases in Mumbai. Apart from making it easier for India to get hold of fugitives, the treaty will give a boost to intelligence sharing and wider bilateral cooperation against terrorism, money laundering, organised crime, drug trafficking and counterfeiting. It has been India‘s argument all along that many organised groups indulge in serious crime in India and escape to Thailand, getting away from the long arms of law. The fact that Thailand had emerged as somewhat of a haven for Indian criminals has done Bangkok‘s image no credit. The push to shut down safe havens for Indian insurgents in Bangladesh has proved to be a win-win situation for both countries. Equally significant on India‘s borders with Southeast Asia is the trilateral highway that will connect Manipur and other northeastern States with Thailand through Myanmar. Also hanging fire since the first decade of this century is the proposal for a trans-Asian railway line

Highway

that will allow the movement of goods and people from Camranh Bay to the Caspian. India needs to pursue both projects seriously with ASEAN, especially the highway which is tantalisingly within reach. India has already extended a $500 million loan to Myanmar, which will also fund the trilateral highway. This project should substantially increase border trade with Myanmar, which has not picked up the way it should have because of infrastructure bottlenecks on both sides of the border but especially inside Myanmar. India and ASEAN have become such close partners that the highway project assumes greater significance. Thailand is already well linked to Malaysia and Singapore, which means that the trilateral highway to Mae Sot in Thailand could in effect connect India with four of its Southeast Asian friends. Connectivity through Myanmar is the bottleneck. New Delhi and Bangkok should work together with Nay Pyi Taw to ensure rapid completion of themissing link. 3. the markets clean The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is celebrating its silver jubilee this year. A period of 25 years may not be sufficient to assess the performance of a financial sector regulator, especially when the period under review spans a very tumultuous phase of economic history. During the decade before the start of financial sector reforms in the early 1990s, Indian stock markets had started attracting a wider clientele, such as non–resident Indians. But after the reforms, the markets really took off, both in terms of volumes and types of instruments. Yet even 25 years after SEBI was formed, Indian stock markets are overwhelmingly dominated by equities which, however, continue to form a small part of household financial savings. The government faces daunting challenges in popularising products such as those necessary for infrastructure finance. Matters are not helped by the lackadaisical approach of the government towards the regulator. Set up in 1988, the Board remained a toothless body until April 1992 when the SEBI Act waspassed. The stock market scam of 1992, attributed to lax regulations, hastened theconferment of legal status on the regulator. Right from that initial act of empowerment, the government‘s support to the new regulator has always come in reaction to a crisis or the emergence of new scams. It is not surprising that at its silver jubilee function, the SEBI chairman sought jurisdiction over multilevel financial conglomerates and other deposit-gathering entities whose failure has wrought havoc in Bengal and a few other States. At an even more basic level, the government‘s support to SEBI has been found wanting when it is crucially needed. This is spectacularly demonstrated by the failure of the government and all political parties to support the regulator, even after it had scored a major victory in the Supreme Court over the Sahara Pariwar. SEBI has also been handicapped in not having a strong middle management cadre, the backbone of any regulator. Despite all these hurdles, SEBI‘s performance deserves appreciation: its oversight has contributed to the exponential growth of the stock market, faster settlements, and extensive use of technology, encouraging disclosures and, above all, in extending regulation for the first time over capital market intermediariesthrough a well designed licensing process. In the 25 years it has spent down in the trenches of the financial world, SEBI has done well to earn a measure of respect from the markets and investors. What it requires today is the government support needed to go further and take its place among the most credible and respected global financial regulators. 4. Nepal tactics, without the strategy On November 23, 2001, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) attacked an army barrack in western Nepal. The move shook the Nepali polity, for the rebels had been in ceasefire talks with the government for the preceding five months. Violence resumed. More significantly, the Maoists had, for the first time, directly hit the army. Till then, as fierce battles raged between the Nepal Police and the Maoists, the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) — even when it was in

Keeping

the vicinity — looked the other way. It had then seemed unfathomable why the Maoists would draw the RNA into the conflict. Kathmandu‘s commentators concluded that the rebels had committed ‗political suicide‘. RNA generals declared that they would defeat the insurgency in six months. Like their Nepali counterparts in 2001, in Chhattisgarh the Indian Maoists have made a move which will lead to an escalation of an already violent conflict. Fortunately —for the Indian political system, their institutional interests, and the people in the conflict zone — the Indian Army has stayed away from the battles in central India so far. But stories emanating from the Home Ministry in Delhi indicate a renewed determination to step up the security offensive. Numbed by the attack, Ministers who earlier understood the limits of the security approach have declared the rebels as ‗terrorists‘. ‗Security analysts‘ have jumped at the opportunity to portray constitutionalists, liberals and human rights activists as somehow complicit in the attack — arguing it is time to go the whole way in ‗eliminating red terror‘, irrespective of the ‗collateral damage‘. This narrative conveniently ignores the fact that the security operations have never let up and the state, overtly and covertly, has invested enormous resources to fight the Maoists. In fact, in the past few months itself, the Maoists have suffered losses in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra. Sharpening polarisation The current rhetoric in Delhi would be music to the ears of the Maoist leadership, for this is precisely the kind of belligerence they are hoping to ignite. If the Nepali experience ofhighprofile attacks is any guide, the Indian Maoists have sought to project power. This would be a much-needed morale-booster to the organisation‘s rank-and-file after a series of setbacks. It would have satisfied the impulses for revenge among a large section of South Bastar‘s population, who have suffered due to the Salwa Judum experiment led by Mahendra Karma. The attack would be an effective medium to silence political rivals seeking to challenge the Maoists in the region and beyond. But there are two other striking similarities with the tactics adopted by the Nepali Maoists. The first is provoking the state to launch even more ruthless coercive operations, in order to ‗expose the character of the ruling classes‘. The 2001 attack on the army barrack led to a full-scale war in Nepal. An emergency was declared. The RNA‘s strength went up from 45,000 to 90,000 in a matter of a few years. It was armed, financed, and supported by the ‗international community‘, including U.S. and India to defeat the ‗terrorists‘. Yet, this was the period when the Maoists witnessed the greatest expansion, for the rebels calculated that the ‗greater the repression‘, the better for their kranti . It gave them ammunition to portray the monarch-led state as being ‗anti-people‘, and ‗imperialists and local feudals‘ as acting in concert. The army engineered ‗disappearances‘; soldiers raped and killed women; and by the end of the war in 2006, the security forces were responsible for almost two-thirds of the total killings, including of innocent civilians. The state approach helped the Maoists to tap into the resentment of local communities. For a range of reasons, in areas where insurgents have the advantage of being enmeshed with society, security forces have a terrible track record of identifying targets, winning the confidence of the local population, and using force with caution. Instead, reports show their tendency to alienate citizens with their unaccountable actions. The Indian Maoists wish to invite this avatar of the state. This is in no way an argument to turn a blind eye to the Maoist violence, but to make a practical case that building on an already flawed counter-offensive — which has not eroded Maoist capacity substantially, as this attack proves — will aid the rebels. The second similarity is engineering rifts within the mainstream political actors. The Nepali Maoists never targeted all their ‗enemies‘ simultaneously. In the first few years, they att acked the Nepali Congress (NC) — the palace felt this would add to the king‘s strength and turned a blind eye. When the Maoists attacked activists of the mainstream left, the NC felt that the divisions within the left would benefit them. The Maoists then attacked the palace loyalists

and the army, which suited the parliamentary parties locked in conflict with the king. With the attack on the Congress state leadership, the Maoists have succeeded in sharpening the divisions within the Indian political mainstream. Sections of Congress have begun attacking BJP in the hope of making the state government‘s failure a poll issue and garnering sympathy; sections of the BJP may feel that with key Congress leaders out of the scene, they have an electoral advantage. The ability of the Maoists to become a key poll factor, even while calling for its boycott, is at play here — a feature visible in the Andhra Pradesh elections in 2004, when they tacitly backed Congress, and West Bengal elections, when they actively targeted the CPM. (It is another matter that in both cases, the newly elected governments were quick to launch an offensive against the rebels, showing the fragility of such ‗alliances‘.) To what end? But certain caveats are in order. The Indian state‘s coercive apparatus, and bleeding capacity, is much stronger. The Maoists cannot take over a single district headquarter — let alone state power. International factors play a much greater role in Nepal, while corporate interests are more influential in India. India has a functioning democracy, and a relatively flexible constitutional arrangement, with the ability to accommodate new aspirations. The biggest difference, however, is that the Nepali Maoists had a clear objective. Their tactical moves were meant to achieve the strategic goal of creating a new political mainstream, holding elections for a Constituent Assembly, and abolishing the monarchy. The Indian Maoists may score temporary victories; they may shake local power structures; they may push the state to adopt welfare programmes and win concessions for their social base. But they do not have an attainable political goal which could serve as a meeting point with the Indian state in the existing balance of power, and give them space in the state structure. As Aditya Adhikari, author of a forthcoming book on the Nepali Maoists, says, ―In Nepal, the objective was to project military power to gain authority at the negotiating table. If you are not negotiating, and you do not have the capacity to win state power militarily, such attacks become merely tactical and unhinged from any long-term strategy.‖ Irrespective of the damage they inflict on the state, it is in the realm of a strategic political vision where the Indian Maoists will falter. The Maoists may be escalating the conflict to ‗expose the state‘ and divide mainstream parties, but without an attainable goal, their battles will be futile 5. Economy high on voters‘ agenda in Bhutan Second elections since it became a democracy Voters in Bhutan braved rain and treacherous mountain paths to cast their ballots on Friday as the ―land of the thunder dragon‖ began electing a government for only the second time. Wearing traditional dress and sheltering under umbrellas, Bhutanese queuedpatiently at polling stations in the isolated Himalayan nation in the first round of voting to determine the Lower House of Parliament. ―There are so many pledges in their [politicians‘] manifestos but basically what we expect is a government that can bring abouthappiness to the people and at the same time economic development,‖ said Chimi Dorji (35) as he waited to vote in Dopshari village, about an hour-and-a-half drive from the capital Thimphu. ―Because without economic prosperity there can‘t be happiness,‖ he added. Bhutan is the only country in the world to pursue ―Gross National Happiness,‖ a development model that measures the mental as well as material well-being of citizens. Other policies that have set the country apart include: banning television until 1999, keeping out mass tourism to shield its Buddhist culture and aiming to makeall of its farming 100 percent organic. While the electorate comprises fewer than 400,000 four lakh people, voting is a huge logistical challenge across the rugged country, where democracy was ushered in just five years ago after Bhutan‘s ―dragon kings‖ ceded absolute power. In the run up to the poll, officials trekked for up to seven days to reach voters in the most remote corners of the country. Armed with satellite

phones to send in results, officials have battled heavy rains and slippery leech-infested trails to ensure that even isolated yak-owning nomads can cast their vote, the national Kuensel newspaper reported. 6. Fiscal deficit lower at 4.89 % in 2012-13 Even as the low GDP (gross domestic product) and core infrastructure growth numbers came as a disappointment to the government , the fiscal deficit figure for 2012-13 was something to cheer about. With larger than anticipated mop-up by way of taxes coupled with higher nontax collection, the fiscal deficit for 2012-13 worked out lower at 4.89 per cent of the GDP, significantly below the revised estimate of 5.2 per cent. While the government had budgeted for a revenue realisation of Rs. 10.38 lakh crore during 2012-13, the revised estimates had pegged the direct taxes mop-up at Rs. 5.65 lakh crore with another Rs. 4.69 lakh crore coming from indirect taxes. During the course of the fiscal year, while there was a marginal slippage in direct tax collection, the revenue mop-up through indirect tax mop- up ended up exceeding the revised estimates. Alongside, with the total expenditure pegged at Rs. 14.30 lakh crore, the government‘s expenditure was consciously compressed through strict monitoring of spending by various departments. In the Budget, while the government had pegged the fiscal deficit at Rs 5.20 lakh crore or 5.2 per cent of GDP for 2012-13, the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) show the fiscal gap between expenditure and revenue at Rs 4.89 lakh crore, or 4.89 per cent of the GDP. Finance Minister P. Chidambaram attributed the decline in the fiscal gap to additional tax revenues and savings on expenditure. ―Many of the ministries could not spend money given in Revised Estimate. Also, there was some additional tax revenue of about Rs. 7,000 crore. So it has come down to 4.9 per cent [in 2012-13],‖ he said. In keeping with its commitment to adhere to the path of fiscal consolidation, Mr. Chidambaram, in the Budget for 2013-14, had proposed to lower the fiscal deficit to 4.8 per cent of GDP this fiscal and subsequently reduce it gradually to three per cent by 2016-17. With the fiscal deficit target nearly achieved in the previous fiscal itself, the Finance Minister sought to set himself a higher benchmark. ―I don't wish to compress expenditure. Therefore, revenues have to go up... For 2013-14, [we] have to do much better than 4.8 per cent,‖ he said. 7. Why Japan, China are wooing India Japan wants to offset China‘s might, while China needs a friendly neighbour. The two countries‘ needs can translate into economic advantages for India. It‘s been a month of hectic high-level diplomacy. The back-to-back exchanges with the Prime Ministers of China and Japan underscore the opportunities opening up for India. We seem to be at a rare moment when these two Asian giants are simultaneously desirous of moving closer to India. Their motivations for doing so are diametrically opposed. Yet, they present us with the possibility of expanding India‘s strategic and economic footprint in Asia. Let‘s start with Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been a champion of strategic ties with India since his first tenure in 2006-07. He is back in office now with a clear plan for jump-starting Japan‘s economy and beefing-up its military muscle. The backdrop to this is, of course, the sustained rise of China and the increasing toughness in Beijing‘s approach to dealing with maritime disputes. Japan‘s strategies Tokyo has already announced dramatically expansionist monetary and fiscal policies. Abe is also resolved to raising the long-run rate of economic growth. Towards this end, he has signalled his willingness to take on powerful lobbies in agriculture and pharmaceuticals and to spur investment and innovation. He is also keen to negotiate Japan‘s entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new free trade agreement being pushed by the US. Economic ties with India have assumed greater importance in this context. The Japanese are eager to

but as part of Japanese FDI in the Defence and aviation sectors in India. addressed regional security issues of concern to the other. India has also been engaged in trilateral discussions on security matters with Japan and the US. the Japanese have expressed their desire to build high-speed rail networks in India. the American efforts to strengthen its strategic presence in Asia. it has become clear to Japan that the web of economic ties with China. and so give a strong economic basis to our ―Look East‖ policy. both sides. . for its part. The Japanese have offered the state-of-the-art US 2 amphibian surveillance aircraft to India. especially their massive direct investments. too. Japan acknowledged the challenges confronting Afghanistan after 2014 as well as terrorism in South Asia. In fact. New Delhi seems conscious that the Defence relationship with Tokyo should not be seen as being driven by Washington. The heating up of its various maritime disputes. for instance — need to be removed. At the same time. believes that it faces an unfavourable international environment. Over the past couple of years. has worked to deepen cooperation in security and Defence. we should push for redressing the current imbalance in trade with Japan. The Abe government also wants to push ahead with civilian nuclear cooperation — an issue of considerable interest to India. we need to expedite large infrastructure projects where Japan is the key contributor: The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. This is likely to happen after the elections in the Upper House of the Japanese parliament. Japanese equity inflows to India remain a ridiculously small percentage of the total foreign direct investment by Japan. Promoting investments New Delhi. It is no coincidence that the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang went all out to impress upon his Indian interlocutors the importance that Beijing attached to the relationship with India. and bold measures being initiated by Japan: All seem to have given pause to Beijing. A joint feasibility study will soon be underway. The joint statement issued at the end of the visit. Indian companies that have a competitive advantage should have greater market access in Japan. India is already the largest recipient of Japanese overseas development aid. too. this balanced posture works to India‘s advantage in its dealings with China as well. the two Navies held a joint exercise off the coast of Japan. The two sides are already engaged in a range of bilateral Defence and strategic exchanges at various levels. At this point. The Japanese have been admirably patient. the Dedicated Freight Corridor. Apart from announcing a slew of grants for infrastructure and educational initiatives. There is an opportunity now to make substantial progress. For one thing. And India agreed with Japan‘s concerns about North Korea‘s nuclear programme and called on Pyongyang to adhere to UN resolutions as well as the understandings reached in the six-party talks. It is certainly not in India‘s interest to convey an impression that its security partnerships are subordinate parts of the US ―pivot‖ to Asia. Last year. The next round will be conducted in the Indian Ocean. the new Chinese leadership wants to keep relations with India on an even keel. This is as it should be. All of this presents an excellent opportunity for India. and the Chennai-Bengaluru Corridor. are working more to Beijing‘s advantage. we need to give a fillip to Japanese investments in India. Bilateral exchanges on Defence have also been stepped up. In consequence. The Japanese are particularly concerned at the lack of progress in introducing the Goods and Services Tax. The Indian Government wants to encourage this not as a direct sale. For China. On the security front. Tokyo has expressed interest in boosting cooperation in Defence and dual-use technology. Similarly. but this should not be taken for granted. And Tokyo wants to give a major boost to economic relations with India. Boost to infrastructure On the flip side. Japan‘s eagerness to bolster economic ties also presents us the best opportunity to become part of the integrated supply chains of Asia. Japan is keen to give real content to the relationship with India. Non-tariff barriers that hinder Indian exports — of shrimp.diversify their foreign investments to destinations other than China.

And over Rs 200 crore will be spent on running the advertisements on television and in the newspapers. Currently. too the evidence is tilted towards usage of CPI. WPI is also the most important gauge of price movements. 8. Around Rs 16 crore has been spent on producing the advertisements. we could move on to meet the needs of retail investors through CPI. 9. Globally. Barro. Musgrave. would not give complete inflation protection to the retail investor.YES The first issuance of an indexed financial instrument was in 1742 when the State of Massachusetts issued bills linked to the cost of silver. in which the capital was indexed. The market has traversed a long way since. "Thanks toMGNREGA. Turkey 19941997 had issued IIBs linked to wholesale prices." Had the advertisement said something to the . construction and wholesale price indices. New Delhi should actively leverage these attempts by both Tokyo and Beijing to improve ties with us. Bonded labour: The truth is out there The UPA's claim that its flagship rural employment scheme has eradicated an age-old scourge is hard to believe In preparation for the general elections next year. with economists such as Keynes. Moreover. Argentina (1972-1989). propagating the so-called claim of the government to have achieved everything that the general public could think of. it is felt. resulting in liquidity for the instrument. As the coverage of WPI is wider than the CPI. Columbia in 1967. Domestically. the reference index for IIBs could be shifted to CPI. instead of Consumer Price Index (CPI). WPI tends to fluctuate more than CPI.Beijing is apparently serious about taking steps to reduce its trade surplus by allowing greater market access to Indian firms and by promoting investment in India. For an index to serve as true reference it needs to meet certain criteria. What‘s more. In India. Concern has been expressed over the usage of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) as the reference. Our markets would require any new product to be well accepted initially by wholesale investors and market intermediaries. Above all. IIBs in their current avatar will still offer a high degree of protection compared with the nominal yield bond. However. the Government plans to issue Inflation Indexed Bonds (IIBs) where both principal and interest are to be protected from inflation. had referenced their first issue to non-agricultural wholesale prices and later graduated to a combination ofconsumer. Should inflation-indexed bonds be linked to WPI? . Once the wholesale market develops a level of comfortregarding IIBs. among others. we must avoid making sharp choices or premature commitments in our dealings with either country. which happens to be more volatile than the CPI. one of the pioneers of IIBs. the first indexed bond was issued in December 1997. Similarly Brazil from 1964-1990. Friedman. wide acceptance and regularity in periodic updates. The former. While a retail investor may assume a basis risk when he takes a bond linked to WPI rather than CPI. the choice of WPI instead of CPI as a reference index for pricing IIBs has been made more out of necessity rather than preference. Finland from 1945-1967. the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government recently launched a massive advertising campaign to prove how much it has done for the poor and the downtrodden and made good the promises set out in its last two election manifestos. any financial instrument indexed to WPI can cater to a wider investor base. supporting the issuance of indexed bonds. No bonded labour anymore. such as easy accessibility. The first advertisement states. This is already being looked at by the regulator. This is despite the fact that its monetary policy is focused on CPI. once the CPI matures to become the focus of monetary policy. as far as monetary policy is concerned. it has indicated its willingness to move ahead on the negotiations for a framework to resolve the boundary dispute. The WPI meets these requirements. The Union information and broadcasting minister unveiled the multimedia campaign in mid-May. It has been in existence for a much longer period than the national CPI (which came into being two years back) with revisions to its base at regular intervals. The UK continues to issue gilt linkers with the reference index being Retail Price Index.

is just that. on May 15. over 300. ST and BPL population which earlier worked as bonded labour on farms of rich land lords has become free from their clutches owing to MGNREGA projects. The fact is that the feudal system of bonded labour may have abated after independence thanks to land reforms. if we take the example quoted in the advertisement at face value. These data are based on the number of bonded labourers who have been able to avail of government benefits after procuring release certificates. over 21 million people across the world are trapped as forced labour." The argument appears to be as linear as the assumption that everyone was liberated when India gained independence in 1947 thanks to the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. the UPA would have been on safer ground. But this uncertainty only underlines the fact that accurate estimates of bonded labour are hard to establish. So what about the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Actof 1976? Are we to assume it did not have any impact? According to a senior government official in the ministry of labour. Is it possible to assume that all of them have been delivered from their predicament thanks to a rural employment guarantee programme? Even if the Human Rights Watch number were to be considered an overestimate. This is just a brief glimpse into the reality of the many millions who continue to toil in bondage in brick kilns. A blurb says. They had been forced to work as barbers for a meagre dole of 15 kg of paddy per year for their families.000 bonded labourers have been rehabilitated in the 37 years since the Act was passed. the government has lost much credibility. rice mills. the second-most populous country in the region? So.7 million (or 56 per cent) are in the AsiaPacific region. On the same day that this advertisement ran in the newspapers.indeed. nor does it provide any statistics to back the headline claim. To be sure. A publicity campaign. Of this 11. 149 victims of bonded labour were freed from a brick kiln in Andhra Pradesh. bonded labourers are denied freedom to leave their place of work and are not . By definition. on what basis does the government make this claim? The advertisement does not specify. a 70-year-old man sobbed as he recounted what his life had been like for 25 years: harvesting catfish and baiting them with maggot-infested chicken carcasses in a foetid. It seems to imply that the bonded labour system flourished until the advent of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). after all. The advertisement raises an additional puzzle. but modern forms of bondage have emerged. with the guarantee of 100 days of paid labour in a year . But to say bonded labour has been eradicated through a government scheme is to misunderstand the basic concept. Human Rights Watch put the number of bonded labourers in India at a steep 40 million. Then again. rock quarries. Is it possible that none of them exists in India. But by choosing to headline a propaganda claim. Jaipur. it shows how this can work well. In 2008. at the beginning of this year. all state-level media channels relayed the bondage stories of a dozen labourers from the Sahariya community in the state capital of Rajasthan. so the current government's claims to having abolished it are decidedly weak on this score. The text talks of an MGNREGA project in Jharkhand that has brought about social and economic transformation in a district. man-made cesspool. The data do not include the actual number of people rescued from bondage since many are unable to produce the necessary documents. Additionally. so this may be anunderestimate. According to the ILO. A casual glance at recent media reporting will show why. it plays an important role in securing the stability of rural workers. Odisha. Where it is well implemented. this is not to detract from the worth of the MGNREGA. take the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates of 2013.effect that "Government introduces MGNREGA to tackle labour issues". 17 bonded labourers were released by the district administration in Puri. "The landless SC. on a recent bonded labour rescue mission four hours outside Chennai. agriculture and various other industries across thecountry. A couple of weeks ago.

allowed to work elsewhere by employers for a variety of reasons (past debts being a key one). they are cut off from access to state or central government benefits and schemes. which despite a prolonged civil war grew incomes more than 9-fold. which multiplied per capita income 5. Before that. though. which in 1979 had a much higher income base than India has today. This will require formulating a comprehensive national bonded labour strategy that complements state-level plans. supposedly slow-growing. The Bharat Nirman authorities still believe that the general public can be persuaded through a campaign like this.Thailand which multiplied incomes 6. The World Bank has modified national income data. such as the MGNREGA. The problem is the political parties in government might have changed but the bureaucrats running it are the same. No data is presented for Taiwan.5 times. The best performers from three other continents come next: Europe's Turkey. You could even question the generally accepted narrative that the poor countries as a group have been doing better than the advanced economies . History shows that some people learn the hard way. while the city-states of Singapore and Hong Kong (also part of the original "Tigers") have of course done very well. They simply do not have the freedom to engage in such schemes. A list with surprises Who delivered the most growth in incomes? India used to be the world's second-fastest growing economy. that goes back to 1980 for most of some 213 countries. The National Democratic Alliance government learnt this after losing the 2004 polls because of its "India Shining" campaign. the picture begins to offer some surprises. have done well by quadrupling per capita incomes. to which they are entitled. and Spain (5. The UPA government has launched a similar campaign.5 times). The latest multicountry data is for 2011. Over these 31 years.or 6-fold. the runaway winner in terms of growth in per capita income is of course China. and still multiplied incomes more than 11-fold. using current US dollars (what it calls the Atlas method).the "catching up" story.Sri Lanka. The interesting discovery is that the advanced economies.2 times over 31 years.26 times.1 times). to see which country has done best by its citizens. As a result. Crucially. And if you ask who really shines when you look at the long-term record. It is only once bonded labourers are free that schemes such as the MGNREGA and other government welfare programmes can be converged and made easily accessible to promote the intended benefits to the vulnerable community. bested only by China. Australia and Britain are the best performers (multiplying about 4. The dark horse that gets the bronze medal is from our neighbourhood . the answers are both predictable and surprising. South America's Chile and Africa's Egypt. No prizes for guessing the runner-up either: South Korea. a match between China and India is like Roger Federer vs Somdev Devvarman. 10. led by two of the Asian Tigers . which multiplied incomes a staggering 22. The last two countries that make up the Top Ten are India. The first step in any plan to effectively address the issue of bonded labour must be a concerted effort to ensure their freedom through a robust identification system and official release. It will require the strict and effective implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act throughout the country. "Bharat Nirman". But if you switch from pure economic growth to per capita incomes. and Indonesia (6-fold). These three winners are followed by a clutch of seven countries. the story put out was that India was among the half-dozen fastest growingcountries. . investing crores to woo the middle class and poor agrarian voters before the upcoming elections. Count them all and India ranks a respectable 12th. which grew per capita incomes 5.

Note how the strategic precedes the economic.9) and Russia (which had a terrible 90s and then a spectacular 'noughties' decade) are both down to a crawl.might well bepackaged under the label of liberal democracy. but did better than a host of poor economies that are supposed to have been "catching up". The big economies that are traditionally seen as more successful .600 words. the ordering is equally instructive: after Sri Lanka and India. UN reform and climate change before concluding. UNCLOS and the freedom of navigation. Mr Abe sees the United States. India and Australia as his country's key partners with the capability of. it risks becoming one of the also-rans. Many of these scenarios could change in the troubled second decade of the new century. Brazil (which did well in 1980-2011. are beginning to do much better. CTBT. There is a refreshing boldness in the substance and style of the new Japanese government under Shinzo Abe. Europe has long-term problems and the US has its challenges too. If India can get back up to a 7 per cent rate of growth. the joint statement on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan earlier this week is perhaps as rare as the Japanese emperor's lunch invitation to the Indian prime minister. Mr Abe is quite likely to upgrade the initiative to a pentagon. balancing growing Chinese power.all cover geopolitical issues. there is greater enthusiasm today for alliances and initiatives that balance China At 34 paragraphs and over 3. the bulk of the statement . A single mention of the word "economic" and then it's back to maritime affairs dialogue again. Not much evidence of any "catch-up" here.grew incomes somewhat slower. China is slowing down. We do not know what was on the imperial kitchen's menu. stability and freedom of navigation" in the Indo-Pacific region. Within South Asia. The enterprise of bringing the four parties together .concerns economics. Note how the next seven areas mentioned in that paragraph concerning the two foreign and defence ministries. Yet.first under an "Asian Quadrilateral" and now under an "Asian Democratic Security Diamond" . as much to his foreign policy as to his economics. So are places like unpretentious Philippines. 11. with an income multiple of 4. development and trade. The first substantive issue it mentions is the foreign minister's strategic dialogue. but is grounded on the principles of good old realism.the US.3 multiple). is a reasonably good indicator of what is driving the bilateral relationship. and shared interests in. but thanks to the joint statement. which must stand up to a rising China's attempt to dominate and even appropriate parts of it. To be sure. trilateral dialogue with the United States and issues such as cyber strategy and counter-terrorism . Afghanistan. laggards till now. North Korean missiles. .followed closely by Italy. for the statement goes into East Asian security architecture. Communist Party-run Vietnam were to seek to join the project. including reference to the 2008 Manmohan Singh-Taro Aso declaration on security cooperation.11 big paragraphs . we do know a lot about the flavour of India-Japan relations. Germany and France . it is Nepal. Japan (surprise!) and Canada. Abepolitik conceives of Japan as the key player in preserving "the peace. If. it could continue to feature in the top dozen. which is second to China in current Asian growth listings. The prominence accorded to strategic issues in the joint statement. If not. but all of them have grown incomes more slowly than the rich bunch. India in Abepolitik Thanks to Beijing's mis-steps. say. Bangladesh and Pakistan (3. India is searching for the growth elixir again. immediately followed by the ministerial level economic dialogue. these paragraphs are sandwiched between those concerning geopolitical issues. not their domestic political orders. Japan may offer new hope while more than a dozen African countries. It is the shared interests and capabilities in balancing Chinese power that underpins this geometry.

The scars of the Second World War prevent it from developing closer ties with many East Asian countries despite decades of generous Japanese development assistance. Tokyo. but none of the other countries then had the appetite to engage in an initiative against China's objections. but it does appear that a start has been made. One measure of China's new leadership's performance must be how well they can reverse the acute insecurities their predecessors created across the Indo-Pacific region. then most of the blame should be directed at Beijing. territorial disputes with China and within range of North Korea's nuclear arsenal. 12. There's a lot of dogma and dearly-held twentieth-century principle to get around on both sides. There is no doubt that Indian. Washington. there is greater enthusiasm for architectures. The reasons why the Quadrilateral died a quiet death have not gone away entirely. Also.What matters is whether and to what extent are the points of the diamond willing to confront China. not least Japan. That said. Australia's former prime minister. The United States does provide it with a nuclear umbrella. If it appears as if China is being 'encircled' or 'contained' by its neighbours in concert with the United States. Australia. With parts of the Indo-Pacific close to outright military conflict today on the back ofBeijing's extravagant territorial claims. alliances and initiatives that balance China. for the United States. We can thank China for that.and wished for . There is a popular tendency to praise China's leaders for being astute strategists who think long-term. a wealthy island nation that is dependent on sea-borne trade. The countries of the region. Pulled down by poor performance of farm. Yes. Japan is. What many analyses miss out is that strong bilateral ties broaden the two countries' policy options with regard to the United States as well. As Stanford University's Daniel Sneider notes. with a greying population. Japanese and American interests are in alignment in many important contexts today. it is quite possible that they sometimes are not. India‘s economic growth slowed to 4. nuclear weapons and missiles. stop looking at RBI The latest figures released by the Union government‘s Central Statistical Organisation should make policy makers in the United Progressive Alliance‘s sit and think about rewriting the road map for India‘s economic recovery. As India's export of rare earth minerals to Japan shows. Kevin Rudd. A strong multi-dimensional relationship with Japan is crucial for India. Government must act now.8 per cent in the . after all. Five years ago. Tokyo's need for allies beyond its immediate neighbourhood is therefore acute and Mr Abe's government has started cultivating them with greater clarity and energy than ever. manufacturing and mining sectors. India and even Japan do not see conflict with China as being in their interests. while the only allies you have are bankrupt delinquents exhibiting terrorists. it has that effect. Even so. Canberra and other places who believed in . it makes sense to keep this iron in the fire. there were a lot of people in New Delhi. but the defence relationship has a physical footprint that is unpopular in many sections of the population." That argument resonates in New Delhi as well. the Asian Quadrilateral died because they were not. a pacifist constitution. many Japanese of all political stripes were never comfortable with a strategy of reflexive dependence on the United States. It is unlikely that Abepolitik's grand designs will take shape in the manner its proponents intend. might get most of the blame for it. in comparison to the myopic politicians in democracies who don't get strategy. we have what they need and vice versa. A number of media reports were quick to declare that Dr Singh and Mr Abe are engaged in a project to counter China. That the relationship is moving beyond investment and development assistance into the strategic realm is a good thing.China's "peaceful rise". to the extent that the prospect of an Asian Democratic Security Diamond tempers China's assertiveness. will count on that. "below the surface. Well. you are not much of a strategist if you provoke all your major neighbours into weighing how to contain you.

soon after New Delhi officially handed over him the mandate to pilot DRDO for the next three years. ease the supply bottlenecks and improve governance to facilitate more public investment. Subbarao has already said that RBI has done all it could and should not be expected to continue easing monetary policy if risks mounted. High-rise buildings. New York and Sydneyhave come up and become models of urban planning. For instance. has reached saturation points. Bangalore. has become a concrete jungle where traffic crawls and vehicular pollution is beyond tolerable levels. It had grown by 5. whether for office or for accommodation. The finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have been grappling with the problem of falling growth. some for years. because of their non-clearance. low investment and inflation for quite some time without any tangible success. The rub is that things are not working as per his plan. That India‘s GDP number came down to the lowest in ten years should not come as a surprise to anyone. water andsewage are woefully short of the needs in all these cities. which was once known for its salubrious climate where people preferred to settle down after retirement. Maharashtra‘s capital does not have any land for construction. . Investments still have to pick up. The development of Mumbai‘s suburbs. Facilities like road. there is a real danger of the tide turning adversely once again.2 per cent for the 2011-12 fiscal. The Mumbaites who live in sub-cities that developed on the city‘s periphery but work in Mumbai face innumerable problems of logistics. who has been working overtime to sell India to foreign investors. is right when he says India can continue its growth story ―if we ensure that conditions for growth remain intact and governance is efficient‖. 14. In his speech on Thursday. For a rapidly urbanising nation. this mismatch is a matter of serious concern. electricity. too.2 per cent and 4.4 per cent. there is enough space for parking and water and electricity are available round-the-clock on all the floors in the building. India‘s economic growth was at 6. with a possible mission to jettison it out of the current turbulence. India must get serious about urban planning Mumbai can grow only vertically. Restrictions like the one the ministry has imposed only encourage corruption and strengthen the land and building mafia. This poses a challenge to urban planners. second and third quarters. The factors responsible for the continued slowdown need to be addressed urgently. Unfortunately. the balance of payments is under severe stress and inflation remains a risk on the horizon. Avinash said that completing the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of Tejas by September this year and attaining the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the end of 2014 were two primary targets he has already set. 13. RBI governor D. borne out by the fact that not a single city has a proper waste management system. Unless the government takes effective measures to enforce fiscal consolidation. which is responsible for protecting forests. it does not cause traffic jams in the area. Given this simple truth. respectively. In an interview to Express on Friday. is also entrusted with clearing building plans in a city bursting at its seams. Despite moderation in global crude and commodity prices. urban planning is still in a nascent state in India. not horizontally. Many building plans in the city have been delayed.7 per cent in the first. They have to ensure that while allowing a new multi-storied building to come up. become inevitable. It is ironic that a ministry.January-March quarter and fell to a decade‘s low of 5 per cent for the entire 2012-13 fiscal. It is by addressing these issues that cities like Hong Kong. Union finance minister P Chidambaram. the economy‘s downward slide cannot be arrested. Delhi has expanded to become the New Capital Territory. 5. New DRDO chief puts Tejas on radar The Defence Research and Development Organisation‘s (DRDO) new boss Avinash Chander has put India‘s fighter jet project ‗Tejas‘ on his radar. the Maharashtra government cannot be faulted for asking the ministry of environment and forests to ease the restrictions on construction in the metropolis. But the solution must come from thegovernment and not the central bank.

I am catching the first available flight to Bangalore to review the project. End irrational spread on indirect taxes The finance ministry says a tablet will attract a higher duty than a mobile phone when imported. so that mining can stop being a dragon the economy 16. The Indian economy grew 4. This shows that continued fiscal restraint can rein in the current account deficit. spring can indeed be far behind.9% in the first quarter to 4%in the fourth quarter. And the key to that is boosting investment. True. the enterprises it owns must spend their huge reserves. The idea is to take DRDO to the next level. The growth in community. An importer cannot claim tax . Phones and low-cost tablets are what Indians will use to cross the digital divide. to create infrastructure. Things are not entirely bleak. ―I will take everything one step at a time. Is there any sense in having separate duty rates for the two kinds of products? Tablets and mobile phones. I will ensure that the confidence of users in DRDO will be always high. But by the standards of India's own recent performance. mostly driven by government expenditure has fallen from 8. when it comes to matters of economic growth. TheTejas‘ IOC and FOC cannot be postponed any further. He said the induction of India‘s long-range ballistic missile Agni-V and development of 155-mm gun were other projects that would get his immediate attention. showing the impact of what analysts have dubbed the Chidambaram squeeze. I am absolutely aware of the issues that are dogging the project and I would now want to see it from close quarters what the delays are. Incidentally.000 and 12% on tablets. which is the only way to reinvigorate the economy. It will be a collective team effort. India's potential and the pace that India's teeming population demands to address their growing aspirations and basic needs. He said the DRDO would be restructured to catch up with the challenges of modern times. by global comparison. Even more important is getting the policy right.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012-13. This grim little exception to romantic optimism is the central message of the latest official numbers for India's growth. Avinash promised to turn around DRDO into a delivery-oriented unit. A countervailing duty (CVD) is charged on imports equivalent to the excise duty— 6%for mobile phones valued over Rs 2. as information technology-related imports. the manufacturing growth rate touched a trough of negative 1%in the first quarter of 2012-13 and has staged something of arecoveryto2. Fiscal restraint has brought down the trade deficit in goods and services other than those of labour and capital in the fourth quarter.‖ Avinash said.‖ said Avinash. the government must act to step up investment. attract zero customs duty.Statemonopolyincoal is responsible for fuel shortage that has brought down power generation and converted the lines laid under rural electrification into dead capital. Rather than worry about what the RBI will do. The same goes for the declining expenditure on gold and silver as a share of GDP. I am aware that we need to create the ‗Brand DRDO‘ image.―After finishing the taking over formalities. who will also double up as the Scientific Adviser to the Union Defence Minister. Saying that his task was cut out with many projects reeling under time overruns. never mind the pious projections that India will see the world's fastest growth in data traffic over 2012-17. Growth calls for proactive policy: GDP numbers challenge the government If winter comes. Avinash will be the second man after Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. allocation of natural resources must be freed from corruption and malpractice. After a steep fall since the first quarter of 2011-12. India needs to grow much faster.6% in the last quarter. social and personal services. this is eminently respectable. And subsidies must slim down to feed capital formation. 15. Its Cabinet Committee on Investment must make delayed clearances history. who will serve as the DRDO chief beyond 65 years. Finally. This is a good thing. bringing up overall growth for the fiscal to a dismal 5%.

Assuming the difference between the market and PDS price is Rs 15 per kg of cereal.credit on CVD. Commentators have already reminded that this will have minimal or no effect inChhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu since these states already provide households more grain at even lower prices. If you believe in serious analysis over flag waving. Based on the large-scale expenditure survey of 2004-05.6 kg for the top 30%. whereas a domestic manufacturer can set offexcise duty on a product against the taxes paid on inputs.8 kg and 8. India has a strong case for developing indigenous manufacturing capability in data products. a recent look at some consumption data has convinced me otherwise. Yet. they would rhetorically answer: liquor. assessing this effect turns out to requirecareful detective work. The quantity rises to 10. low rate of import duty and domestic goods and services tax. It turns out that after cereals. uniform tax treatment to any kind of value addition so that policy does not discriminate against some kinds. This. they will simply cut their purchases of grains in the open market by 5 kg. even their consumption of cereals has been declining despite rising purchasing power. How the food security Bill impacts people's lives ultimately depends on the effect it will have on the consumption basket of the beneficiaries.1 kg for the middle 40% households and drops to 9. the next major item in the consumption basket is milk. the argument substantially extends to the bottom and middle groups as well once we recognise that over the past two decades. does not militatea against state activism to create a semi conductor chip-making industry in the country. consider first the urban households. there are good reasons to believe that the same is also likely to turn out true in other states. non-distortionary duty structure is more important than assorted subsidies and privileges. To realise this potential. The bottom 30% of the urban households consume just 2. A higher CVD on a tablet offers a local producer a higher level of protection than on phones. The irrational spread in duty rates came about on Pranab Mukherjee's watch and the need now is to narrow the range and eventually converge on a single. wheat.3 kg for the middle and top groups. the poorest 30% of the urban households nationwide consume 10 kg of cereals per person per month. Given this pattern of change over time and little variation in cereal consumption across different income groups currently. the proposition that the Bill will boost cereal consumption of the bottom 810 million citizens is a very long leap of faith. bajara or other grain) per person per month at the subsidised price of Rs 3 per kg or less. indeed near certain. To rise above rhetoric and search for what is likely to be a more accurate answer. The Bill proposes to give 810 million citizens 5 kg of cereals (rice. To see why. That is to say. It is as if the government transferred Rs 75 per person per month in cash to each beneficiary household. Economic sense lies in offering precisely the same. What is far more likely. We can reasonably assume that the top 30% urban households are not income constrained and therefore not opting for what the proponents of the Bill call "low" consumption quantity for reasons of deprivation. respectively. creating a rational.3 kg of milk per person per month compared with 4. which many consider an important ingredient of the eco system needed to promote electronics manufacture. So the extra Rs 75 . The million-dollar question then is: On what will the households spend these extra Rs 75 per person per month? If the opponents of direct cash transfers were consistent. of course. 17. There is little basis for such differential duties. this will release Rs 75 per person per month in expenditure in each beneficiary household. It is in milk consumption that deprivation is hitting the poorer households the hardest. But they will be wrong. is that the households will substitute kg-for-kg subsidised grain from the public distribution system (PDS) for their open-market purchases. Surprisingly. Why the food security Bill will not boost foodgrain consumption for the poor So much has already been written on the food security Bill that there would seem to be no justification for another column on it. As potentially the world's largest market for data communications. Indeed. we must once again look at the consumption patterns of different income classes.

Cricket's spot-fixing scandal. middle and top income groups. this is a very big if since giving Rs 75 per person per month to 810 million individuals would cost only Rs 729 billion per year compared with the grossly underestimated official cost ofthe Bill at Rs 1. the bottom 30% of the households consumed 11. Cash transfers would also reach the beneficiaries with greater certainty and empower them rather than leak out along the massive PDS chain and empower the shopkeepers."Gandhians with guns" in writer Arundhati Roy's words . bookies supplying call girls to rogue cricketers.9 kg consumed by the middle and top groups.2 kg per person per month among the bottom.2 kg. Expectedly.4 kg and 7. In 2004-05. human rights activists who litter newspaper offices with pamphlets of police atrocities on Maoists . This analysis has convinced me that if PDS had not been subject to massive leakages and inefficiencies. given low domestic-supply response in the short run. Senior officials in the government have claimed that there will be a shift in the strategy to tackle Naxalites and that "hard options" are being backed by the top Congress leadership. which closed ranks when terror visited their doorstep. the governmentneeds a massive campaign to inform and persuade the people of those benefits. was at the receiving end of bitter attack from Congress leaders for not backing their fake encounter theories. you can count on another bout of spiralling milk prices.3 kg and 12. There will be more of the by-now-familiar "Naxalism is the biggest threat to internal security" statements from the prime minister and the oft-repeated assertion that the "death of innocent people will not go in vain". N Srinivasan's refusal to quit the BCCI president's post. And every time Chidambaram tried to tackle the Naxal issue. The political class. Why politicians & intellectuals are wrong about maoists The raw horror unleashed by Maoist murderers in Chhattisgarh and the ghastly killing ofMahendra Karma have faded into memory. How different is the consumption pattern in rural areas? Not much.1 kg of cereal compared with the 12. A recent paper by economist Nisha Malhotra shows that lack of knowledge on nutrition and not just access to food plays a vital role in keeping children malnourished. The same also applies to adult malnutrition.245 billion.will dominantly fuel the demand for milk and if our government continues to be hostage to the milk lobby and refuses to allow duty-free milk imports. Milk consumption in rural areas averages 1.have chosen to keep silent. Instead. So perhaps there is a small margin — 2 kg per person per month — for higher consumption by the bottom group. who manned the home ministry after the country experienced the worst jehadi terror. The government has only itself to blame as it looked the other way when the court stepped . is already back at its favourite game of finger-pointing and blame-casting. res-pectively. It be recalled that P Chidambaram. 3. Unfortunately. who occupy balcony seats in Delhi and Bangalore. the data suggest that the rural households too will predominantly spend the cash released by subsidised grain on milk. Really? Past experiences do not suggest that the regime or its leaders have either the stomach or stamina to adopt a muscular approach. the BJP is flaunting statistics on deployment for the Congress yatra's route to counter the charge of criminal negligence. giving them subsidised grain will not do the trick. The activists and historians. While Congress leaders insist that their leaders were denied adequate protection. and Salman Khan's efforts to make Katrina Kaif's sister the new Bollywoodsensation dominate the headlines. There have been several instances of the leadership coming in the way of law enforcers and sharp shooters elevated to the position of harmless human beings. Beyond this. strongest resistance came from his peers in the Congress. continue to warn against tough measures to contain Maoists and argue for throwing more money into poorly targeted and clumsily executed welfare schemes. If our best medical experts are convinced that citizens will benefit from increased cereal consumption. the food security Bill would work just like cash transfers. 18.

people revolt. Naxalites have also cultivated a section of the intelligentsia in the cities that helps project them as victims of State oppression rather than as reckless killers. But a limp-wristed approach will not prompt Naxalites to give up Kalashnikovs and let welfare schemes reach the needy. Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. 9000 sq km in southern Chhattisgarh is a "free zone" where the Indian flag doesn't fly. .000 combat cadre operating in nine states. the court came close to justifying the revolt against the State.Sc rural healthcare The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has taken a definitive step towards introduction of the proposed undergraduate course in rural healthcare by deciding to approach the Union Cabinet for its consideration and approval. for the introduction of a 3-year diploma course in Medicine and Public Health. there is a case for a relook at the strategy to deal with the menace that obstructs governance.into its terrain and disbanded a popular resistance movement founded by Karma against Naxalities. now called B.Sc (Community Health). Odisha and Andhra Pradesh while the cadres moves freely across state jurisdictions. According to Ramesh. This proposal had been rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health in its March 2013 report (the 65th Report). The proposed course. a fear of lawlessness that is echoed in our conscience. the poor and the deprived." the court had noted. 1. An affidavit filed on May 27 by the Ministry in the Delhi High Court. or against human beings without rhyme or reason. of manifest injustices of all forms perpetrated against the weak. Gautham sought directives from the court to the government for the introduction of an appropriate short-term course for training mid-level health workers for primary health care in rural areas and implementation of the recommendations cited above. A readiness to engage Naxals in a protracted fight can. which comes as much out of fear as from the absence of governance in these areas. Armed with sophisticated weapons and tools. Dr. However. Cabinet nod sought for B. In her petition. we seek an order. the Maoists use local support. After the regrouping of the country's Maoists under the banner of CPI(Maoist). in an organised fashion. Maoists have around 10. when that order comes with the price of dehumanization. 2007. "People do not take up arms. The proposal is based on the resolution of the 9th Conference of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare on November 13. In its order. is aimed at creating a new cadre of intermediate level heathcare workers who would fill the gap in the delivery of primary healthcare in rural areas. Surely. and according to Thomas Hobbes. it has a dedicated cadre that operates on military lines. to their advantage. The top leadership is believed to be safely ensconced in the "liberated" expanse of Dandkarenya forests straddling Chhattisgarh. as the respondent in the matter of a 2009 petition by public health specialist Meenakshi Gautham. against the might of the State. The government can raise the confidence level of the grieving mothers and children who lost their dear ones in mindless Maoist violence only if it recognises that Naxalities are not a few men and women gone astray. where medical professionals were unwilling to serve. This despite the fact that a majority of the medical specialists who testified before the committee had favoured its introduction. stated that a Cabinet Note was prepared and that it was sent to the Prime Minister‘s Office on May 24 for its comments before placing it before the Cabinet. as well as the recommendation of a 2007 Task Force on Medical Education Reforms for National Rural Health Mission for the introduction of the 3-year Rural Practitioner Course. who frequently visits Naxalinfested areas has correctly summed up the issue in an interview to a Delhi daily on Tuesday. Guided by an instinct for survival. According to the government's own estimates.

a win-win situation. earning just 39 seats. Afterward. Perhaps the most critical step in Mr. The PML-N won 176 seats in the 342-member Lower House of Parliament. The previous ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was crushed. the more India should buy from it. Imran Khan. Sharif‘s attempt will be to address the energy crisis. Former cricket star Imran Khan‘s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 35 seats. India should export whatever it can to whichever destination is profitable at the best possible price. 2. Far from decrying this. 3. and use the money to import what other do best. but God willing. a badly ailing economy that might force the nation to seek an international bailout. ―We are facing many challenges.In its order of April 18. All countries end up specialising in what they do best. export these specialties. Among the lawmakers in the spotlight was the incoming Prime Minister. we should view . and the bigger should be the bilateral trade deficit. lawmakers were called up to the front of the hall one by one to sign documents formalising their membership. officially marking the first transition of power between democratically elected civilian governments in the nearly 66-year history of the country. did not attend Saturday‘s session. The more competitive the trading partner. the court said the Standing Committee Report was examined by the Ministry and a decision was taken. This implies that India should run a trade surplus with relatively uncompetitive countries (like Pakistan or Bangladesh). which has been exacerbated by the refusal of many Pakistanis to pay their electricity bills.‖ said Mr. Sharif. The beauty of international trade is that it enables every country to specialize in what it does best. so India should run its biggest trade deficit with this country. and has pledged to act as a strong opposition." But as an economist he surely knows it is wrong to aim for balanced trade with each trading partner. Li Keqiang. Pakistan MPs in historic swearing-in Newly elected members of Pakistan‘s National Assembly (NA) were sworn in on Saturday. and ongoing militant activity by Taliban and other extremists. Big trade deficit with China? Excellent! China is India's largest trade partner. we will overcome them. Among the steep challenges the legislators will face are massive energy shortages that leave some Pakistanis without power for up to 20 hours a day. it should import whatever it needs from wherever at the best possible price. whose Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) handily won the May 11 elections. at their recent meeting that this "needs to be addressed. with the approval of the Health Minister. China is the most competitive exporter of all. But India runs a large trade deficit of $29 billion with China. improving global productivity and reducing prices for everybody. and run a trade deficit with highly competitive countries (like China or Germany). Outgoing Speaker of Parliament Fehmida Mirza solemnly administered the oath to incoming legislators at noon. Sharif move to fix the economy. still recovering from an accident he met with in the last few days of the campaign. Mr. Pakistanis hope peaceful transfers of powers between civilian leaders become the norm and ultimately lead to more government accountability. to move a proposal for obtaining the approval of the Cabinet for the introduction of the course. Nawaz Sharif (63). In turn. Many Pakistanis are especially keen on seeing Mr. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly told his Chinese counterpart. who is expected to be sworn in as Prime Minister and appoint his Cabinet in the coming week.

and prevents its currency from appreciating. You can as a short-term measure subsidise some items here or there. India has imposed more anti-dumping duties than any other country. CURRENT AFFAIRS (03.06. not the trade gap. required to pay for imports. Lesson: target the productivity gap. Pakistan has promised to soon liberalise trade with India. Most people think that exports are desirable and should be maximized. Once that happens. You typically export what you have a surplus of. yet somebody has to produce commodities too. It does keep interest rates artificially low. Some experts think commodities are somehow inferior to manufactures. manufactures often have more value added than commodities. consider Indo-Pak trade. petrochemicals. But that will affect the trade gap only slightly. The fretting is unwarranted: large deficits in both cases are proof of sensible buying from the cheapest source. Exports are a secondary aim. power) and Birla (aluminium. Yet many Pakistanis fret at the prospect. the deficit represents the gap in productivity between the two countries. Where China gives excessive subsidies. Its imports are almost entirely manufactured goods. We can join the US in pressing for yuan appreciation. When this happens. Sorry. fertilizers. Are Ambani. they are India's crème de la crème. The very opposite is true. What's scarce is obviously more valuable than what you have in abundance.2013) Part 1 . but no individual. Seen in this light. especially machinery and telecom equipment. and import what is locally scarce. benefiting Pakistani consumers as well as Indian exporters. importing many items at prices higher than what India offers. getting its needs from the cheapest source. But their overall aim must not be to balance trade with China. iron ore). while imports are undesirable and should be minimized. but selling everything at a loss is economic suicide. Specialising in commodities is not inferior. or target a particular trade deficit. Pakistan has long erected trade barriers against Indian goods. soda ash. Chinese non-tariff barriers are higher. Tata (steel. India's biggest commodity producers are Ambani (oil. cement. India should target improvements in its own productivity and competitiveness. and so bemoan the Sino-Indian pattern of trade. Now. and these need lowering. Tata and Birla inferior industrialists in inferior industries? No. fibres). Rather. its trade deficit with all countries (including China) will automatically fall.it as evidence that India is. especially in manufacturing. and the government is quick to oblige. corporation or country can become prosperous by selling its goods below cost. The trade deficit however continues. That will be economically efficient. the main benefit of trade is to end scarcities by importing what you don't have. Indian businessmen are quick to demand antidumping duties. and China is not suicidal. gas. suggesting that dumping is not the key issue. Many Indians argue that China gives huge export subsidies that constitute unfair trade. To see this in perspective. very sensibly. India's trade surplus with Pakistan will become even larger than it is today. The pattern of Sino-Indian trade dismays many people. Both China and India still have far too many barriers to trade and investment. and Indian negotiators must focus on this. Additional curbs have been placed on Chinese telecom equipment on security grounds. India exports mainly iron ore and other commodities. just as many Indians fret at their growing trade deficit with China. Rather. copper. This hurts both Indian exporters and Pakistani consumers.

The prospects. which Nawaz Sharif won. The positives in these elections were the high turnout despite threats of violence. even if they do not overtly belong to religious parties. with positive consequences for the region as a whole. The TTP did not. religious forces will not become a major obstacle. The argument that religious parties have a limited hold over the Pakistani electorate as shown by their poor electoral performance becomes increasingly more academic given the lurch of society as a whole towards Islamism. A stronger democratic polity can better control the Pakistani extremist religious forces and security agencies seeking political and religious ―strategic depth‖ in Afghanistan. strengthening pluralism. given the geo-political factors operating in the region.1. . genuinely modernising forces with a wide popular base have to take control. a major Islamic country with nuclear weapons.‖ The many perturbing negatives were the Islamic criteria which Pakistan‘s Election Commission used for vetting candidacies and the violence unleashed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against ―secular‖ parties such as the Pakistan People‘s Party (PPP) and the Awami National Party (ANP). target electioneering by Nawaz Sharif‘s party and that of Imran Khan. and. Political assessments about the depth of this desire for change in Pakistan have eventually proved wrong. given the difficult conditions. The basic complexion of the country would have to change. The Islamist resurgence in Pakistan threatens not only the secularpolitical structures of Central Asian states but is causing concern even to Pakistan‘s all-weather friend China. Consolidation of democracy In this wide-ranging context. new. which have stakes in the progress of democracy in Pakistan. however. are quite uncertain. But Imran Khan lost momentum towards the end. controlling the menace of terrorism. the consolidation of democracy in Pakistan offers hope of arresting its decline towards extremism and state failure. internal political developments in Pakistan bear directly on the future of Afghanistan. the structural and societal problems in the country need more than the mechanics of elections for a solution. obstructing even normal electioneering by a national party like the PPP. their relative ―fairness. Moreover. is seen as sliding towards state failure. Simply put. The fact that India was not a factor in these elections and that improvement of relations with India figured in the election manifestos of various parties with the Pakistan Muslim League (N) the most forward-looking in this regard. armed with a national agenda of introducingthe needed reforms. with suspected complicity of state agencies. is no guarantee that faced with the prospect of serious steps to bury the hatchet with India. The desire for change in Pakistan seemed strong among the youth. Pakistani soil is being used for terrorist activity against its immediate neighbours. The elections. The public mood of disenchantment with the mainstream parties had given an early head wind to Imran Khan‘s Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI). backed by strong institutional support. The disquieting aspect about the PML (N) is its long-standing links with radical India and Shia-baiting groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Extremist forces are gaining strength in the country. Like in the Arab world. Nawaz and the Islamist gauntlet The return to office of an elected Prime Minister a decade-and-a-half after he was deposed by the military is an important development for India as well as the international community. the Lashkar-eJhangvi and the Sipah-e-Sihaba. particularly after NATO forces withdraw from the country in 2014. which is worried about links between extremist activity in Sinkiang and Pakistani safe havens. staging terrorist attacks with impunity. social media-urban youth driven calls for political change capture attention more easily than capturing power. tellingly. changing the equation between the armed forces and thecivilian authority and stabilising the polity. spurred in part by the so-called Arab Spring. have taken place at a time when Pakistan. The implication of this is more members of an Islamist hue in the new National Assembly.

notwithstanding his declared desire to improve all-round ties. The military will not give up its ultimate control over these domains. India is hardly likely to budge on the Siachen issue. But can Mr. exploring once again the possibility of resuming a serious dialogue on the subject. Sharif is hardly in a position to deliver on his promise to end terrorism against India when Pakistan is finding it difficult to control widespread domestic terrorism. has been soft on him all these years. with an abysmal tax to . will be dissuasive factors. The economic challenge facing Mr. but he is Pakistan‘s leader. Sharif‘s return invitation to Manmohan Singh to witness his oath taking ceremony received a politely discouraging response from the Indian side. He will encourage increased economic ties. India can pick up the threads of the back-channel dialogue conducted with some positive results during General Musharraf‘s presidency. He could well leverage it to seek upfront concessions so that his hands get strengthened and the prospects of delivery on his part become more promising. Opening Central Asia to India‘s political and economic influence would mean a huge reversal of Pakistan‘s strategic thinking. bolster its economy and bring benefits to the entire region in terms of trade and energy connectivity. it is not clear how he will expedite the trial of those involved in the Mumbai terrorist attack. He should be able to finalise the decision to accord the Most Favoured Nation trading status to India. Nawaz would be able to go with India. of course. but already Pakistani military sources have spilled the beans about the general‘s lies and obfuscations about the failed adventure he initiated. His invitation to the latter to visit India when he has kept his own visit there on hold was a little surprising. Mr. Sharif‘s mutually suspicious relations with the military will limit his capacity to do what he wants in the security and foreign policy domains. Mr. Besides that. Singh did not attend the oath taking ceremony of Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh. The election results have not given Mr. His grand vision of according India transit rights through Pakistan to Afghanistan is unlikely to materialise as this would be seen by many in Pakistan as a crucial strategic step with implications for India-Afghanistan relations and Pakistan‘s role in Afghanistan and Central Asia. particularly after the recent Chinese incursion into Ladakh. even if such a step will bring Pakistan additional revenue. But the issue of non-tariff barriers.Mr. and it would be normal for him to bargain his goodwill. Sharif is enormous. Similarly. The country‘s economic situation. the UPA government may not want to get embroiled in any controversy over the Kashmir issue close to elections in 2014. It is also pertinent to note that Dr. even though political personalities in his own party are closely linked to him. The promised exposure of the realities behind Pakistan‘s Kargil aggression may help Mr. under the leadership of his brother. A visit when the new Pakistani Prime Minister would not have found his feet yet would have been a waste diplomatically. fears of the Pakistani market being inundated by Indian goods and concerns about the large trade imbalance that already exists and is likely to expand. Sharif settle scores with Pervez Musharraf. of which the armed forces are a target too. consistent with his policy when he was last Prime Minister. He wants to signal domestically that the issue will not recede in importance amidst the general rhetoric of improved relations with India. Practising politician The PML(N) leader may well be sincere in wanting to normalise ties with India. besides. Relations with the military All said and done. Sharif the kind of overwhelming mandate as would enable him to radically change the equation between his civilian government and the armed forces. The Punjab government. whereas Pakistan considers it a low-hanging fruit. Sharif take ownership of the General‘s initiative? Even the well-meaning Asif Zardari disowned it. Our Prime Minister‘s message to Mr. as has the local judiciary.These linkages will limit how far Mr. Nawaz Sharif has already announced a dialogue with India on Kashmir. a practising politician. Sharif on his victory has been unusually warm. He promises to put curbs on Hafiz Saeed.

Even the more optimistic government spokespersons. poor growth rate. the economy grew by 4. high population growth and the like. but his victory offers hope 2. cannot be easily remedied. yes surprising. Consequently. Even those are subject to caveats. the economy would somehow break out of the sub-five per cent growth trend that had set in by the middle of last year to lift the annual growth rate to a level of respectability. Centre to do away with collegium. notably the index of industrial production (IIP) data. Manufacturing. Sharif‘s capacity to deliver on his promises to the Pakistani public and to India. Even his opening towards India to ease the situation will take considerable time to get translated into meaningful results on the ground. In fact.9 per cent compared to 3. but the degree of flexibility he will have on cooperating in Afghanistan and handling the vexed drones issue — all in the background of the increasing radicalisation of Pakistan and anti-U.Practically all official growth forecasts for last year are now seen to have been highly exaggerated. Disappointing. The just-concluded visit of the new Chinese Premier hasn‘t promised any economic bonanza to ―Iron Pakistan‖ that Mr. Mining and quarrying have posted negative growth for the second year in a row.5 per cent. growing by 1. says Sibal . one can be generous with one‘s hopes about the success of Mr. as far back as February.4 per cent and the third quarter the lowest of 4. grew by 1 per cent over the whole year. Lead indicators. compared to 2. the CSO had pegged the growth rate for 2012-13 at 5 per cent based on an advance estimate of national income.7 per cent. There are many reasons to be sceptical about Mr. of say above 5.1 per cent in 201112.7 per cent. statistical confirmation of the 5 per cent GDP growth rate. the lowest in a decade and well below the previous year‘s 6. high inflation. As hope is a sentiment that requires no reasons to justify it. 3. with the first quarter recording the highest rate of 5. There are many reasons to be sceptical about the Prime Minister‘s capacity to deliver on his promises to Pakistanis and India. now emerging as an important indicator on the demand side. though the recent election is a cause for hope. which accounts for a significant portion of the IIP. Motor car sales. What has obviously rankled the markets is the formal. who have placed so much faith on recent policy changes to revive the economy. which is not a recipe for public popularity. Both figures were widely anticipated. This reflects the continuing policy logjam in the face of environmental and legal activism. Mr. There was absolutely no reason to suppose that in the remaining part of the year. These and other corroborative data — such as the sticky and lacklustre export performance — cast doubtson the belief that the economy has bottomed out and that a recovery is under way. Agriculture has fared badly. Sharif will be put on test immediately. ranging from between 6 to 6.1 per cent during the first three quarters. expect results to flow only in the first part of the current year (2013-14) at the earliest. their initial projections for the current year (2013-14) have been much more realistic.6 per cent in 2011-12. Sharif‘s third tenure as Prime Minister. Pakistan will have to go the International Monetary Fund for economic relief and accept its onerous conditionalities.8 per cent in the last quarter and by just 5 per cent last year. Sharif could capit alise on. have slumped. energy shortages.GDP ratio. Government spending has been on the low side and there has been a significant drop in private consumption expenditure in the last quarter. no There ought to have been no surprise — much less the kind of disappointment demonstrated by tanking stock markets — over the release on Friday of GDP growth data for the last quarter of 2012-13 (January-March 2013). have provided no reasons to believe a rebound was under way. According to the Central StatisticsOffice. The economy had grown at an average rate of 5.S.2 per cent.. The future of liberal democracy in Pakistan is not assured as yet. feelings in the country — is questionable.S. He will have to mend relations with the U.

Sibal.6-tonne satellites in a pole-to-pole orbit 650 km away from ground. I don‘t think it even worked to the expectations of the judiciary. Law Minister Kapil Sibal says Asserting that the Union government must have a say in the appointment of judges. The PSLV can place roughly 1. Mr. Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir recently strongly defended the collegium system.The collegium system of appointing judges has not worked to the expectations. told The Hindu that a few more countries were discussing sending another half-a-dozen satellites on the PSLV. launch orders To fly a least 7 foreign satellites over 2 years The home-grown PSLV rocket has nosed its way a wee bit more in the global market: it will launch France‘s 712-kg SPOT-7 earth observation satellite and separately. In its 23 flights so far. Radhakrishnan. Eight PSLV launches are planned during 2013-14 and 2014-15. Since both of us have stakes in the appointment of members of the higher judiciary. K. ―We do not think that the collegium system has worked to our expectations. Going by the mass of the client satellites. it also sent up Chandrayaan-1 and will again come into planetary play in October this year for ISRO‘s Mars orbiter mission. ―One. and all the players in the field of dispensation of justice. its cache is getting bigger than before. according to Mr.‖ About the judiciary‘s objections to changing the system. In the upcoming crop of contracts. The government must have a say. I should say. which means the PSLV is graduating from tucking small commercial ‗piggybacks‘ in spare nooks left over by a main Indian passenger spacecraft. The very fact that SPOT- . saying appointments to the higher judiciary ―are made after intensedeliberations. and there must be broad-based consultations.‖ he emphasised. the government has an equal stake. ISRO‘s PSLV bags new clients. The launcher made its first commercial twin launch in 1999. the executive. The contracted ones would be fitted into the launch schedule of ISRO‘s own remote sensing satellites which need the PSLV. Globally sought after ―The PSLV. is due to go with the country‘s astronomy project.‖ Dr. Law Minister Kapil Sibal has said that a proposal to replace the 20-year-old collegium system to choose judges will be moved ―very soon‖ before the Cabinet. Indonesia‘s LAPAN-A2 observation satellite. who took charge of the Law Ministry last month. it has slotted 35 foreign commercial satellites in orbit. is now a globally sou ght after vehicle and for two reasons. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman and Secretary. The collegium system of appointing judges has not worked to the expectations and the government must have a say in such appointments. ―Enormous stake‖ ―Just as judges have enormous stake in the appointment of judicial officers in the higher judiciary [Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts]. the Minister said: ―We know the views [of the judiciary]. We will take that into account. Radhakrishnan said. the consultation of both of them is absolutely necessary.‖ Laws must be acceptable by and large to the stakeholders who include the judiciary. Sibal. Two. In 2008. the number of successful launches we have had with it is an important factor. 4. Department of Space. said the objective of the government and the judiciary was to have the best peoplechosen as judges with complete transparency and objectivity. Once cleared.‖ he told PTI in an interview while justifying the need for scrapping the system. at least half-adozen small foreign spacecraft for a fee this year and the next. SPOT-7 and the 950-kg EnMAP are primary satellites. One of them. it has a niche in that class of payloads. the new system in the form of a Judicial Appointment Commission will pave the way for the Executive to have a say in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts. They are still mini nibbles at the multi-billion-dollar space transportation pie but the country‘s workhorse launcher seems to be increasingly catching satellite makers‘ eye for its dependable and precise placing of spacecraft in their slots. Astrosat.

and on the other side are English translations of these hopes and dreams. hoping that the scrawled wish on the paper comes true. followed by an English translation.‖ the ISRO chief said. Ika from Indonesia wants her kids to live a better life. be a teacher and help people become knowledgeable.‖ explains Maria Eitel. Nurturing the Girl Tree and hopes The installation represents voices of girls living in poverty across the world Bang in the middle of the corridor is a shiny steel tree. talking to them. their communities. the girls have inked their aspirations in their native tongue. she‘s listening to you.6came to us and now SPOT-7 and EnMAP have followed indicates this. their families. Again. is just the beginning. Eitel says. president and CEO. It will have to be after them. Indonesia. the second International Day of the Girl Child.‖ Ms. Kathy Calvin. The girls‘ wishes have been collated into Five actionable points which will also go into the Girl Declaration which will be launched on October 11. says efforts are on to tap the voices of many more girls in other nations across . or those numerous peepul trees in Indian temples. Foundation. click on a button and you can hear the voice of the girl who wrote on the leaf. A date for SPOT-7 will be discussed when signing the agreement. U. ―This idea has been interpreted to represent the voices of girls living in poverty across the world today. Rwanda. Mexico. The U. Eitel.‖ The fee it commands is not disclosed but ISRO‘s marketing arm Antrix Corporation has earned between Rs.‖ she adds. To date. the hyperspectral environmental mapping satellite built by German space agency DLR. president and CEO.‖ says Ms. ―Girls are the most powerful force for change on the planet and as we look towards 2015 [the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals]. we want to enable them to thrive and reach their full potential.S. ―It all began with thinking about what we could do to get girls on the MDG agenda. the branches spread wide. Radhakrishnan said. EnMAP. An installation at the Women Deliver 2013 conference that just concluded here. Say ‗hello‘ to The Girl Tree. we did it in a fun way. SPOT-6. The Girl Effect is about ―leveraging the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves. And thereby. We wanted visual impact. their countries and the world. Shrusti from India wants to set up a karate training centre free of cost so that ―women can protect themselves. ―We did not frighten them about the MDGs. ―Then we will be getting ready for the Mars mission in October on the PSLV-C25. Quite like the Japanese wishing tree. On one side of these wooden leaves. China. Nike Foundation. however. the launch vehicle and the launch pad at Sriharikota which will be tied up for the first navigational satellite R1A planned in June and thereafter for the resumed GSLV flight. The next thing was to go around speaking to the girls.‖ Dr. articulate their hopes and wishes.N. created by the Nike Foundation in collaboration with the NoVo Foundation. ―One can expect the launch from December onwards.‖ and that Chu from China wants to grow up. and European launch prices per kg of satellite weight reportedly range from $10. and an installation that could be transportable.000-$20. 5. will be the heaviest lift bagged by the PSLV and is slated for 2016-17 launch. The Girl Tree is part of the ―The Girl Effect‖ movement. The concept of the Girl Tree emerged as a result of several funny brainstorming sessions. Kenya and Egypt representing the 250 million girls living in poverty. the earth observation satellite of French space agency CNES. The date would depend on the readiness of the satellite. 90 crore for some of its commercial services. This.‖ 250 wooden leaves There are 250 wooden leaves. the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls. the world learnt that Apophia from Rwanda wants to be a soccercoach. 5 crore and Rs. with scrolls of paper tied on fervently by devotees.000 depending on the distance to the orbit. getting them to open up. is the heaviest commercial satellite that a PSLV has lifted to space and that was in September last year. handwritten by girls aged 10-19 from India. Some of these leaves are interactive. the Girl Tree is actually a ‗wishing tree‘. 2013. brown wooden slabs hang low like leaves beside colourful origami folds.

working for banks or financial services. But until the SEBI and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) came into being. Twenty-five years are a relatively short period to evaluate a financial sector regulatory institution. Equally importantly.the world. of a less than supportive government. Both points are valid. the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). early handicaps it had to overcome in regulating wellentrenched entities like brokers.N. As a rule. regulation evolves over time. trained manpower is aproblem for a regulator just starting. capital market regulation under the Securities Contracts Regulation Act vested loosely with the Controller of Capital Issues. General Assembly. whispering to the girls about how the world has committed itself to making their dreams come true. it was conferred further powers through an amendment to the Act. But the tree will also travel backwards. The Finance Minister wants . The installation will also travel. A crucial handicap that the SEBI has faced is in being able to match or at least meet half way the remunerationpackage offered by the sector it regulates. been identified with the financial sector regulation in this country. because of its sheer stature. Evaluation Therefore. when SEBI came into being. SEBI at 25. SEBI has also had to reckon with the perception. will require a much longer period to make a mark. to DFID in the United Kingdom. and the U. it is at the middle levels that the new regulator has faced major problems. SEBI ought to be evaluated on yet another yardstick — the circumstances under which it came into being. drawn from the highest echelons of the government and public financial institutions. the regulator has not received even one word of support from any political party. even those not directly connected to its core areas of banking and monetary policy. say. stock markets were already sensing the onset of financial sector reform. with the accumulation of case laws and precedents. were already more than 100 years old. In the pre-SEBI days. Sinha. In 1995. One of the important handicaps the institution faced — and in many ways continues to face — is in recruiting and training qualified manpower. came into being in 1988 but acquired statutory powers only in 1992 with the passage of the SEBI Act on April 12 of that year. Handicap The culture of bringing in deputationists from the revenue services and banks has continued with deleterious consequences. which was to come two years later. however well supported by the government. which has. if not the fact. were people of high calibre. It has had seven chairmen so far excluding the incumbent U. 6. regulation is less glamorous than. functioning directly under the Ministry of Finance. the SEBI. Sahara episode These may not be insurmountable but the SEBI has had to face up to the fact that the government has not always been supportive. regulation in those areas was slack. Also. Needless to say. still on a learning curve The capital market regulator. some of them. The new regulator. there was nothing comparable to it before. to the places it came from. Regulation The RBI might not have had the mandate to regulate capital market or for that matterinsurance. for a long time. had to start from scratch. The SEBI is considerably junior in age to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In 1988. and the RBI. It can also be argued that the regulator. While its heads. it is a fact that regulators need time to equip themselves. K. Despite scoring big in the Supreme Court. was presumed to have the final say in all matters. The ongoing episode concerning the Sahara Pariwar is an apt example. Public sector bankers-turned regulators simply did not have the mindset to comprehend stock market activities. It acquired legal status only after the 1992 stock market scam broke out.

2013) Part 2 7. capital market regulation vested loosely with the Controller of Capital Issues. production and supply scenario and international trend of urea prices. around Rs 9. Group of Ministers looking to increase urea prices June 6 meeting to discuss new pricing policy. which is to be discussed at the meeting on June 6.000-24. This is part of a proposed new pricing policy for urea. the Planning Commission favours freeing maximum retail price (MRP) within a reasonable limit. Out of total imports. The stock markets and the various intermediaries have been transformed beyond recognition. is paid as subsidy under the Retention Price-cum Subsidy Scheme (RPS).4 lakh tonnes which is met through imports. The current pricing mechanism for urea is known as New Pricing Scheme (NPS)-III policy which was extended on a provisional basis on March 17. while the international price is hovering around Rs 22. Such a scheme ensures uniform sale price to the farmers besides a reasonable return (12 per cent) on capital investment to the manufacturers. 2010 till further orders. that freeing the MRP will raise the subsidy levels. Although.360 a tonne. known as the retention price. A Group of Ministers (GOM). and the statutorily fixed sale price. The argument is that the present cost of production is approximately Rs 15.‖ a senior Government official told Business Line.360 a tonne.‖ the official said while adding that the policy would be reviewed taking into account prevailing energy scenario. the maximum retail price is Rs 5. 20 lakh tonnes are imported from Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO) at a pre-fixed price. In the pre-SEBI days. which have brought new procedures and systems to India in a relatively short-time. That is most surprising since the SEBI Chairman has asked for extra powers to deal with the Sahara-type shenanigans. Currently. if not the fact. while rest is imported at spot prices. The regulator has also had to reckon with the perception. Now the fear is. had plenty of praise and homilies for the SEBI but he has not even referred to the Sahara episode. the Department of Fertiliser does not support that. This could be for a period of three years. while companies will have windfall gain. ―Farmers will be affected severely. Still there is gap of 78. Twenty-nine urea units produced around 225 lakh tonnes of urea against the capacity of around 200 lakh tonnes. Urea is the only controlled fertiliser where difference between the cost of its production as assessed by Fertilizer Industry Coordination Committee (FICC). To mark its silver jubilee.000/tonne may be given to urea units . Yet. is likely to consider an increase in retail prices of urea. New scheme Minimum fixed cost of Rs 2. Modified price scheme will also contain subsidy at the present level as it is proposed to increase retail price annually to compensate for any increase in gas price and fixed costs of urea unit.000 per tonne is given as subsidy to gas-based units. it would be appropriate to list out its several achievements. Currently with MRP of Rs 5. This policy will be for the existing urea units. if one were to identify its most important accomplishment. which include a Rs 50 per tonne charge imposed on October 12 last year for the Mobile Fertilizer Monitoring System.000 per tonne.06. it is being able to function with a reasonable degree of independence and professionalism given the major obstacles it faces.‖ the official said. of a less than supportive government CURRENT AFFAIRS (03.000 per tonne. which is also supported by the Department of Expenditure. led by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.SEBI to be a fearless regulator. ―The group may consider increasing the retail price due to increase in pool prices of fuel feedstock under modified New Pricing Scheme-III policy from the second year onward. ―Now the modified scheme is proposed for implementation. They are already hit by rising prices of phosphatic and potassic (P&K) fertilisers.

In this lie the real seeds of a recovery. the Telangana issue has returned to haunt the Congress again.which may not pan out.Continued production from naphtha units till natural gas availability and connectivity is provided No subsidy to naphtha based plant beyond December 2013 No new naphtha based plants to be permitted in Greenfield investment Net subsidy payout under new proposal is estimated at Rs 15. 35. unquestionably. more simply. Time to bite the bullet on Telangana issue With the resignation of two members of parliament and important state leaders. the Congress high command in New Delhi continues to drag its feet. indicate that growth will be better during 2013-14. presumably. However. in the third quarter of 2012-13. For investment to be truly stimulative of growth. This is a relief because it suggests a widespread perception that growth has bottomed out. and virtually all forecasts. However. this level of investment is consistent with about eight per cent growth. the fact that it has moved in a relatively narrow range as a proportion of GDP suggests that a reasonable level of investment is still taking place. which also showed the slowest growth rate in this two-year period. the most significant number in the report relates to gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) or. The government drew some satisfaction from the fact that the eventual fiscal deficit for 2012-13 was lower than the revised estimate presented along with the Budget for 2013-14. it needs to be balanced across a variety of sectors.2 per cent.8 per cent. ICOR-based optimism notwithstanding. In an apt illustration. This must be a policy priority if the potential has to be realised. the government needs to spend more on asset creation. slightly lower than the full-year proportion of 33. the basis of the government's confidence that growth will revive quite quickly from this bottom. Congress president Sonia Gandhi . 9. Do the quarterly and annual numbers reveal anything about a potential recovery? From this perspective. While investment spending has been somewhat volatile. this ratio was at its peak. Stuck at the bottom? Recovery is not guaranteed unless govt spends on asset creation The GDP numbers for the fourth quarter of 2012-13 indicated that the Indian economy grew by 4.7 per cent. Unfortunately. The critical question is. Things are unlikely to become any worse. 32 per cent. In this context. oil prices and so on . GFCF was 32.7 per cent estimated for the preceding quarter. Growth for the whole year of 2012-13 came in at five per cent. from public as well as private agencies. how soon they will start getting better. But. investment spending. the investment ratio reflects only the potential. Congress MPs G Vivekananda and Manda Jagannadham and former state Congress chief K Kesava Rao have announced that they are joining the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to achieve statehood for Telangana as the Congress was in no mood to deliver on its promises. The lack of balance is a clear threat to the recovery. This indicator reflects the magnitude of resources that the economy is allocating to create new capacity. in the first quarter of 2011-12. it is all very well to spend lots of money on building power plants (which shows up as investment spending). the fiscal response becomes critical. Over the past eight quarters. it was at its trough. at least on the growth front.763 cr 8. slightly above the 4.6 per cent of GDP in the fourth quarter. This is. of course. A rough rule of thumb using the concept of the incremental capital-output ratio suggests that if the ICOR is four. the early-year forecasts are based on several assumptions . consistent with the advance estimates released in February. but power plants cannot contribute to growth if there is no fuel to run them.of the monsoon. which in turn can catalyse private investment spending. A realistic interpretation of these numbers would be that the economy has indeed hit bottom and things are unlikely to become worse. Several things need to be done to realise it.

The bonds will. hopefully. The bond‘s major attraction is that it insulates the investor from inflation. on Sunday advisedAndhra Pradesh Congress leaders to wait and promised that the party would take a decision on the issue this month. One of the drawbacks of the IIB is that it seeks to protect the buyer only from inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI). Sadly. It is expected to catch the imagination of the average investor. even the RBI bases its anti-inflation policies on the WPI. mutual funds and company shares have not been adequately attractive to a large number of investors. This has. Tackle price rise with inflation-indexed bonds The sale of inflation-indexed bonds (IIBs) from Monday is an idea whose time had come long ago. it should not be difficult for the government to make adjustments to ensure IIBs remain a true bulwark against inflation. Subsequently. It should enable the government to use billions of rupees the people would have. There is a marked difference between the WPI and the CPI since key indices such as inflation in services like education. Ironically. otherwise. In December 2009. also submitted its report in January 2011. Ghulam Nabi Azad. No complacency on China Chinese premier Li Keqiang‘s recent visit to India was high on hype but low on substance. For the common man what matters is the consumer price index (CPI). Though he claimed that this was because the party wanted to hold more consultations. There is logic in the argument that a government. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had last year set the deadline of December 28 to settle the issue. in turn. 10. ―satisfaction‖ has been expressed at the work of the . it is clear that the Congress does not wish to stir up trouble during the budget session of the state assembly and the elections for local bodies due shortly. then Union home minister P Chidambaram had told parliament that the process for formation of Telangana state would be started soon. It is time it moved to CPI as its inflation anchor. prefer to invest in unproductive gold and real estate. They. AICC general secretary in-charge of the state. Many of the existing financial instruments like bank deposits. IIBs should become instruments against inflation that could rid off the craze for gold and real estate. The Congress must now bite the bullet and take an unequivocaldecision on creation of Telangana and the status of Hyderabad. as is evident in the surging import of gold. invested in unproductive assets for productive purposes. The issue has been referred to briefly and way down at paragraph 24 of a 35-paragraph joint statement wherein far from expressing concern at the glacial pace of the negotiations and the Depsang intrusion. however. the Srikrishna Commission it appointed to buy time. created a huge foreign exchange problem for the country. health and housing are not incorporated in the WPI.summoned Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy for a report on the implications of the latest resignation spree and held discussions with the members of the party core committee on Saturday without arriving at any decision. Since the interest rates will be determined every six months. The IIBs are intended to lure them away from investing in gold. Clearly the most serious of India‘s concerns relates to its recent stand-off with China in Ladakh and the latter‘s disinclination to take any meaningful steps for the early settlement of the boundary dispute. therefore. The Congress and the government that it leads must realise that they have run out of excuses. Further procrastination will only lead to turbulence and deterioration of law and order in Andhra Pradesh. who expectsregular returns on his investment and also protection from inflation. which is unable to control inflation through imaginative economic policies. After protracted discussions with all parties and stakeholders. create confidence in the investing public. The success of the bonds. this is not the first time senior party leaders had set deadlines only to let them lapse. 11. In order to accurately assess if the positive spin imparted to the outcome of the visit was justified or not one must examine the extent to which it addressed India‘s major concerns. depends on how attractive they are to the investor. should compensate those whosuffer on that account.

―stronger links‖ between the Chinese and Indian IT industry and ―completion of phytosanitary negotiations on agro products. With no time frame having been set in this regard no early settlement is on the cards. including the Security Council. we will have to contend with an unsettled border with China in the foreseeable future and will have to face more such standoffs at a time and place of the latter‘s choosing. the three trade related MoUs signed on export of buffalo meat. In the context of the foregoing. its contention that the Sino-Indian border is only 2. Surely. in the joint statement issued during Li Keqiang‘s visit to Islamabad. thereby indicating an unfortunate readiness to toe the Pakistani line on the imperatives of appeasing the Taliban. In these circumstances. India‘s quest for China‘s support to its membership of multilateral non -proliferation related technology control regimes and for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council met with no success. To add insult to injury. as well as its undertaking of a variety of infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) remained unaddressed.‖ Somehow. thus questioning the legality of our possession of Ladakh. fishery products. On Afghanistan. including in the nuclear field.Special Representatives on the Boundary Question who have been asked to ―push forward the process of negotiations‖ for a settlement. the trade target of $100 billion set for 2015 is likely to see the imbalance ballooning far beyond the current $40 billion! It goes without saying that India‘s concerns about Sino-Pak military co-operation. Our endeavours to institutionalise the sharing of information on upstream development projects on border rivers. Para 24 of the joint statement addressing trans-border rivers merely makes a general reference to co-operation in regard to them and in concrete terms only suggests ―provision of flood season hydrological data‖ and emergency management. it is evident that premier Li Keqiang‘s visit did little to alleviate our concerns. it is inexplicable how we allowed it to suggest at the outset in paragraph 2 that ―India and China have evolved an effective model of friendly coexistence and common development. ratcheting up of . Indeed. appears to have yielded no result. in its joint statement with Pakistan it went so far as to state that ―political reconciliation is a key step towards peace and stability in Afghanistan‖.000km. in the light of China‘s vigorous dam construction activity. China‘s annexation of 42.685 square kilometres in J&K. which can be an example for relations between big neighbouring countries‖. the aforesaid language does not inspire much confidence about China‘s sincerity in addressing this issue. and feed are not particularly encouraging as they reflect a mindset that sees India mainly as a supplier of primary products rather than of high value manufactures. while paragraph 9 states that the ―two countries agreed to take measures‖ to address this issue these have not been adequately spelt out apart from ―co-operation on pharmaceutical supervision‖. In respect of the latter there had been no evolution of the Chinese position beyond its traditional stand as stipulated at paragraph 32 of the joint statement to the effect that it ―supports India‘s aspiration to play a greater role‖ in the UN. we are required to laud the evolution of Sino-Pak ties with their anti-India bias as paragraph 4 of the Sino-Indian joint statement commits both countries to take a ―positive view of and support each other‘s friendship with other countries‖. while China in its joint statement with us stopped short at expressing support for an ―Afghan-led and Afghan-owned‖ reconciliation process. Indeed. The MoU signed in respect of sharing of such information only requires China to provide information on water levels pertaining to three hydrological stations on the Brahmaputra twice a day from June 1 to October 15 annually!! In respect of our concerns on the $40 billion adverse trade imbalance. While the talks may have been held in a ―cordial atmosphere‖ as mentioned in the joint statement. Thus. China and Pakistan agreed to ―further enhance co-operation in defence technology and production‖ and upgradeconnectivity related infrastructure between the two countries including the Karakorum Highway.

870-hectare reserve was last week officially declared as protected by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO‘s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. and interconnected natural ecosystems in maintaining a biosphere‘s favourable conditions. induction of the People‘s Liberation Army in PoK and its rapid upgrade of infrastructure in Tibet coupled with the undertaking of a military buildup in the area with India-specific military exercises should have militated against terming the Sino-Indian relationship as an ―effective model of friendly coexistence‖. improving global productivity and reducing prices for everybody. The designation is not binding under any law but aimed at building and promoting a network of places where people are attempting to mesh human activity with biological and scenic assets. semi-nomadic hunters dwelling inland and the Nicobarese who live in coastal areas and aredependent on fishing and agriculture. and use the money to import what other do best.claims on Arunachal Pradesh. little more than to gauge the mood in India and by no means to make any concessions or address its concerns. But India runs a large trade deficit of $29 billion with China. at their recent meeting that this "needs to be addressed. 800 animal species and some of the world‘s most endangered tribes. Preserve repositories of vulnerable biodiversity The India archipelago of Nicobar Islands. as these remnants are ancient repositories of rich and vulnerable biodiversity and optimal arenas for life-sustaining processes. reluctance to settle the land boundary dispute. pursuit of a String of Pearls strategy against us. Much has been made of India being the first foreign country Li Keqiang has visited after assuming office. and Achanakmar-Amarkantak (MP and Chhattisgarh) are already on UNESCO‘s list. In turn. unwillingness to support our quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council even though we have been in the forefront of those supporting its endeavours in this direction. Any viable response to the global environmental crisis must greatly expand the level of protection afforded to wildlife and wild places through conservation. it should import whatever it needs from wherever at the best possible price. They also serve as in situ laboratories for sustainable development. Li Keqiang." But as an economist he surely knows it is wrong to aim for balanced trade with each trading partner. Nilgiri (Tamil Nadu). complex. Pachmarhi (Madhya Pradesh). perhaps. opposition to ADB-financed projects in the north-eastern state. marine. Technological fixes cannot replace the role of robust. Man-made changes to ecosystems are now so alarmingly rapid that human lives and societies face epic challenges. has now been declared as a world biosphere reserve. coastal and freshwater resources. home to around 1. export these specialties. The purpose of the visit was. Nokrek (Meghalaya). for India is after all an important regional player and if such a gesture helps to lull it into complacency at a time when China is confronted with a host of angry neighbours this is a bonus for the latter without conceding anything. India should export whatever it can to whichever destination is profitable at the best possible price. Too much must not be read into it. This implies that India should run a trade surplus with relatively . The beauty of international trade is that it enables every country to specialize in what it does best. The 103. All countries end up specialising in what they do best. use of Pakistan as a proxy against us through grant of nuclear weapons-related materials and technology as well as conventional weapons. In India the biospheres of Simplipal (Odisha). 12. a winwin situation. Big trade deficit with China? Excellent! China is India's largest trade partner. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly told his Chinese counterpart. Sunderbans (West Bengal) Nanda Devi (Uttarakhand). Biosphere reserves are chosen by the MAB programme to experiment with different approaches to manage terrestrial. 13. The archipelago is also home to the indigenous Shopmen people. It is imperative to protect all oldgrowth habitats. the Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu).

benefiting Pakistani consumers as well as Indian exporters. not the trade gap. The pattern of Sino-Indian trade dismays many people. Rather. Some experts think commodities are somehow inferior to manufactures. or target a particular trade deficit. importing many items at prices higher than what India offers. Yet many Pakistanis fret at the prospect. corporation or country can become prosperous by selling its goods below cost. very sensibly. we should view it as evidence that India is. copper. manufactures often have more value added than commodities. To see this in perspective.uncompetitive countries (like Pakistan or Bangladesh). required to pay for imports. Sorry. but no individual. consider Indo-Pak trade. Where China gives excessive subsidies. But their overall aim must not be to balance trade with China. Both China and India still have far too many barriers to trade and investment. soda ash. getting its needs from the cheapest source. and the bigger should be the bilateral trade deficit. gas. and China is not suicidal. especially machinery and telecom equipment. while imports are undesirable and should be minimized. The trade deficit however continues. It does keep interest rates artificially low. yet somebody has to produce commodities too. Tata (steel. just as many Indians fret at their growing trade deficit with China. Tata and Birla inferior industrialists in inferior industries? No. and so bemoan the SinoIndian pattern of trade. The fretting is unwarranted: large deficits in both cases are proof of sensible buying from the cheapest source. Are Ambani. The very opposite is true. Pakistan has promised to soon liberalise trade with India. and Indian negotiators must focus on this. so India should run its biggest trade deficit with this country. and import what is locally scarce. the more India should buy from it. India's trade surplus with Pakistan will become even larger than it is today. its trade deficit with all countries (including China) will automatically fall. China is the most competitive exporter of all. Seen in this light. India's biggest commodity producers are Ambani (oil. Additional curbs have been placed on Chinese telecom equipment on security grounds. India has imposed more anti-dumping duties than any other country. fertilizers. Chinese non-tariff barriers are higher. iron ore). fibres).2013) . The more competitive the trading partner. the main benefit of trade is to end scarcities by importing what you don't have. Lesson: target the productivity gap. power) and Birla (aluminium. Exports are a secondary aim. India should target improvements in its own productivity and competitiveness. CURRENT AFFAIRS (04. Rather. they are India's crème de la crème. the deficit represents the gap in productivity between the two countries. suggesting that dumping is not the key issue. When this happens. Indian businessmen are quick to demand antidumping duties. What's scarce is obviously more valuable than what you have in abundance.06. Most people think that exports are desirable and should be maximized. and run a trade deficit with highly competitive countries (like China or Germany). Far from decrying this. Specialising in commodities is not inferior. You can as a short-term measure subsidise some items here or there. India exports mainly iron ore and other commodities. Pakistan has long erected trade barriers against Indian goods. especially in manufacturing. You typically export what you have a surplus of. Its imports are almost entirely manufactured goods. Once that happens. Now. and prevents its currency from appreciating. Many Indians argue that China gives huge export subsidies that constitute unfair trade. But that will affect the trade gap only slightly. We can join the US in pressing for yuan appreciation. but selling everything at a loss is economic suicide. This hurts both Indian exporters and Pakistani consumers. and these need lowering. petrochemicals. That will be economically efficient. and the government is quick to oblige. cement.

which. with its massive arsenal of missiles and rockets which can reach Tel Aviv. argued: ―It would be odd to argue that transparency is good for all State organs but not so good for political parties. ‗Political parties come under ambit of RTI Act‘ In a landmark judgment.‖ The full bench of the commission. The commission then directed the presidents and general secretaries of the six political parties to designate CPIOs and the Appellate Authorities at their headquarters in six weeks‘ time. will have its lifeline disrupted. the United States and Syria‘s Sunni neighbours to get rid of the Assad regime — the first set of countries to break the Tehran-Damascus axis and the neighbours to replace a Shia dispensation in Damascus by a Sunni one. Israel & Iran For Israel.‘‘ the commission held. decided to jump into the fray. it was an opportunity. requesting that political parties be declared as public authorities. It would greatly weaken Iran‘s clout in the region.‖ ―The criticality of the role being played by these political parties in our democratic set-up and the nature of duties performed by them also point towards their public character. therefore. The constitutional and legal provisions discussed herein above also point towards their character as public authorities. the ouster of the regime in Damascus would be of immense benefit. Iran has more than convincingly established its potential to prolong the conflict. The political parties. He has to go a step further and drop objection to Iran‘s participation in the Geneva II conference. if not irreparably breached. Sharma and Annapurna Dixit. Anything that debilitates Iran is of enormous importance to Israel. it should be given an opportunity to play a constructive role. comprising Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra and Information Commissioners M. the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that political parties come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. thereby bringing the American position closer to that of Russia and many others. with the exception of the CPI. For that very reason. The order came after activists Subhash Chandra Aggarwal and Anil Bairwal of the Association of Democratic Reforms approachedthe CIC. in reality. claiming that they do not come under the RTI Act. bringing them in the ambit of section 2(h). For Syria‘s neighbours. The Hizbullah. When the Arab Spring sprouted some shoots in Syria in the spring of 2011. The Shia-Sunni sectarian divide.L. one of the main reasons for Israel‘s restraint in dealing with Iran‘s nuclear threat is the capability of Hizbullah to inflict considerable damage to Israel in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran. were always expected to do their utmost to send succour to the Assad regime. it was immediately seized upon by Israel. ―The CPIOs so appointed will respond to the RTIapplications extracted in this order in four weeks‘ time. the two Shia regimes in the region. Iran and Iraq. Assad‘s fall has. not to be missed. refused to give away information. which has everything to lose in the event of Mr.‖ 2. they are held to be public authorities under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. given the portrayal of Iran as posing an existential threat to the Jewish state. ever present . They had asked the six political parties to make available details of voluntary financial contributions received by them and the donors‘ names and addresses. control all the vital organs of the State. Hizbullah. including India. The CIC order said. ―We have no hesitation in concluding that INC/AICC. to tilt the regional sectarian balancedecisively against the Shias. NCP and BSP have been substantially financed by the Central government and. BJP. CPI(M). however.1. however fundamentalist. unsurprisingly. There was thus ‗congruence‘ — a term much in use these days — of interests among regional and extra-regional players. The loss of the Alawite regime would be a huge psychological blow to Shias and an equal boost to Sunnis everywhere. CPI. One big step towards peace Secretary John Kerry has demonstrated courage and wisdom in abandoning his predecessor‘s insistence on President Bashar al-Assad‘s departure as a precondition to talks for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

which even the U. since it leaves open the possibility for both principal Syrian parties to participate. why should the Russian action to help the other side in the civil war be treated differently? Civil wars have always attracted external players to back opposing sides. The difficulty is more on the rebel side. The rebels could be excused for sticking to this line. was never going to present a unified and effective leadership.. The hardliners are insisting on prior departure of Mr.S. including the very real possibility of hard line Islamist groups gaining power in Damascus in the post-Assad scenario. But the temptation to get rid of Mr. is making belligerent statements.S. including the contingency of having to live with an Islamist government in Damascus. including Israel. member of the U. concrete suspicion that the rebels had used nerve gas sarin. These developments. Assad. There is a civil war within civil war in Syria. has attained a level of intensity which will be extremely difficult to contain in the years ahead. Assad was never going to work. though now it would like us to believe that things have not turned out as per its calculations. etc. such as by enforcing a no-fly zone. Was this wishful thinking? Or. Secretary Kerry is making strenuous effort to persuade the coalition to attend . Mr. cobbled together at the command of the former Secretary of State. Several Sunni states have been openly arming the rebels since almost the beginning. with the approval of the ‗international community‘. All of Syria‘s neighbours. had she said the same about the Assad regime. (This was exactly the strategy of the Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian civil war. with different factions unable to reach a consensus on whether and who should participate in Geneva. said a few weeks ago that there was strong. were easily anticipatable. since every country is guilty of it sometime or the other. He should know that great powers do not blink for a moment before deciding to reverse their positions. This is merely to point out the obvious and not to criticise anyone of practising double standards. Use of nerve gas Carla del Ponte. The most inexcusable mistake the western countries made was to assume that the Assad regime would fall within weeks of the beginning of the protests. the West likewise knew how events would unfold.but significantly reignited since the American invasion of Iraq in March 2003. have become involved. The Syrian national coalition is a house divided. The western countries were understandably disappointed by the statement of Ms del Ponte and largely ignored it. sending material and even men to the war zones.) Syria‘s Sunni neighbours also were not prepared to countenance the idea of talks with the Damascus regime for sectarian reasons. they really do not have permanent friends. why should Syria be an exception? It did not call for great analytical skill to recognise that making diplomatic initiatives conditional on the prior departure of Mr. were they victims of their own propaganda? The Russian decision to send missiles and other military equipment to Syria should not have surprised anyone. commission of inquiry on Syria. since there are nearly 150 rebel groups involved in the civil war. the most effective and disciplined of which are diehard islamists and al Qaedaaffiliated. and not necessarily against their wishes. since their strategy was to get the West more actively engaged on their side. The Grand Coalition. No doubt. and clamour for strong action against the regime by the U. and were anticipated by this writer and many others. who is enjoying relative military advantage at present. the uproar. has wisely decided not to insist on. Assad was so great that any price was worth it. But if the concern of other external players with the huge loss of lives in Syria was genuine. can easily be imagined. The LavrovKerry call for Geneva II offers the only realistic chance to work for a political settlement. Assad. whose President had repeatedly said that the use of this weapon would be a game changer. Various militia groups are fighting among themselves. they had every reason not to insist on the precondition for Mr. as well as to persuade the rebels and their regional supporters not to insist on it. Assad‘s departure.N.

its actual import is even bigger. Barel suggests. to 32 billion tonnes (plus another four billion tonnes from deforestation and even more of other gases). So even though the Earth absorbs — is being forced to absorb — twice as much CO{-2}(roughly 17-18 billion tonnes a year currently) as it used to 50 years ago. Assad in power as long as negotiations will be conducted with the rebels. spurred primarily. is the oceans getting more acidic. A race towards climate catastrophe When Brian Lara scored a scintillating 400 not out in Antigua in April 2004. When Charles Keeling [the world‘s leading authority on atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation and climate science pioneer] began measuring atmospheric CO{-2}in March 1958. with harmful effects on corals and some marine species. by the shifting of manufacturing to China. If Geneva II happens. .S. A consequence. Its symbolic significance is huge. Impact on life cycles One. Despite the world economic crisis since 2007. it will have a far better prospect of benefiting from the European decision to lift the arms embargo and Americans willing to supply lethal equipment. India should ask to be invited. and carbon emissions were commensurately lower. Our participation would be in line with our official line that the solution should be political and ‗Syrian owned‘. and threatens to go past that number effortlessly — carbon dioxide (CO{-2}). offers the only realistic opportunity to work for a political settlement 3. but not exclusively. usually rendered invisible as we tend to be so anthropocentric. The world economy was at a much lower level than today notwithstanding post-War growth. Birds are laying their first eggs earlier. the recent pace at which CO{-2}levels have been rising to reach 400 ppm.Geneva. for three reasons. the regime has gained an upper hand in the fighting.Geneva II. If it can demonstrate in Geneva the skill to put the blame for the likely failure of the talks on the regime. On balance. Zvi Barel. other species are trying to move away from the Equator or climb higher. CO{-2}levels in the atmosphere touched 400 parts per million (ppm) on May 9. an Israeli expert on such matters. A metasurvey by Prof. the coalition can be expected to swallow the bitter pill and decide to go to Geneva for one simple reason. it will forfeit the possibility of getting enhanced military assistance.000 times the long-term natural rate at which carbon dioxide has gone into and out of the atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle. has agreed to leave Mr. and through the 1960s. the U. But we now have another player on the scene who has scored 400. of insect pollinators and flowering plants. no one wants to negotiate from a position of weakness. If it does not. By the late 1990s this had changed. This is 20. CO{-2}rise in the first decade of this century made the collective jaw of climate scientists drop. Eight billion tonnes of CO{-2}in the atmosphere equals 1 ppm. in which both principal parties to the Syrian conflict can participate. This is the reason. This pace of emissions and consequent warming is also making it increasingly difficult for ecosystems and species to adapt. Refusal by the rebels will give an enormous political advantage to the regime as well as to Russia and Iran. CO{-2}emissions were found to be rising at a little over half a ppm a year. annual carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have been rising in recent years. The bitter pill The rebels are hesitating because as of present. We will be in good company and we would be seen to be ‗active‘ in a region where we have vital interests. wrote recently: ―the Syrian civil war is likely to continue for years and l ead to violent spillovers to neighbouring countries … the initiative to determine when and if to set off the regional powder keg has fallen into Assad‘s hands‖. atmospheric CO{-2}levels have been galloping three times as fast. As their habitat gets warmer. Camille Parmesan [University of Texas. The Damascus regime has already indicated its willingness to do so. and capitalism‘s desire to cut costs of energy inputs and labour. at a little over two ppm a year for the last decade. Austin] of 866 published studies reported species across the world struggling to cope with disruptions in the life cycles of predators and prey. it seemed his score would remain unchallenged for the foreseeable future.

org. founder of HasGeek in Bangalore.calls him a ―super-guru. where the magazine gave away Linux distribution package CDs once a year.‖ Falling CO{-2}levels contributed to the formation of ice caps on the Antarctic 34 million years ago.‖ Two. who grew up in Belgaum. we are going farther away from safe levels of CO{-2}. ―It‘s easy to underestimate the value of this. In The Long Thaw (Princeton 2009). This. CO{-2}was also one of two big factors in the Earth moving in and out of Ice Age glacials over the past 2. 350. Temperature regulator Three. the influence of CO{-2}levels on the Earth‘s temperatures and hence climate over the past 50 million years should give us pause.Consequently. It is this regulator of the Earth‘s temperature that we have been shortsightedly fiddling with. Climate change is also largely irreversible for a thousand years after emissions stop. but a growing one. This paper provides the intellectual basis for the worldwide campaign to reduce CO{-2}. as something that wasn‘t just being worked on by geeks in the U. FOSS. ideology or politics.‖ a causal link he says that‘s even stronger than that between smoking and lung cancer.‖ but simply about technology and hacking. and home users were slowly logging on.5 million years.in. who worked with him at PC Quest .Professor David Archer. but you can bet your last rupee they will be considerable. 217-31).‖ The entire project. [leading climate scientist] James Hansen and others wrote that ―if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted. for most Indians. Chitnis witnessed a time when India was still finding its way in the digital space. His passing in Bangalore. As CO{-2}levels fell further. insisted that Open Source was not ―philosophy. His lasting achievement was to convince PC Quest magazine to carry the first ever Linux distribution in India on its cover CD in 1996. Roy. In its first articulation in 2008. was their first introduction to Linux. The Linux distribution was put out there. headed by the organisation. pp. He put India on the open software map Atul Chitnis. He also wrote passionately about it — from operating systems to setting up mail servers. That‘s why Arctic ice is now the first to go. We don‘t want to go much beyond 400 ppm. who works on the global carbon cycle at the University of Chicago. and the cover story offered a detailed guide on installing it. writes: ―The similarity between CO{-2}and temperature in [the] Antarctica is jawdropping. at 51. A significant portion of CO{-2}emitted remains in the atmosphere for several millennia. was driven by him. temperatures fell in their wake sufficiently for ice to form in the Arctic.‖ The Open Atmospheric Science Journal . and pushed beyond the realms of human experience. but likely less than that‖ (―Target Atmospheric CO{-2}: Where Should Humanity Aim?. Prasanto K. I have not come across any work on the potential impact of ice-free Arctic summers on India‘s climate. as we reach 400 ppm and beyond. for people to use. 2008. and inspired scores of Linux enthusiasts. on Monday of intestinal cancer brought tributes for his role in making Linux popular for a range of users: from the military to the small entrepreneur. The Berlin-born technologist. His biggest contribution was that he was keen on .‖ said Kiran Jonalagadda. Albeit a minority view.S. There is no more room for manoeuvre 4. Karnataka. This was the first time users got to know about Linux. ―kind of a gold standard in the medical world. The Earth is now in uncharted territory as atmospheric carbon dioxide has shot past the 400 ppm mark. … CO{-2}will need to be reduced … to at most 350 ppm. 2. As a columnist and consulting editor with PC Quest through the 1990s. mountaintop and polar species have suffered contractions in their range or ―been the first groups in which whole species have gone extinct due to recent climate change. CO{-2}has one quality of the other great batsman of the last 25 years — longevity. safe has been deemed as 350 ppm or lower. to roughly 240 ppm three million years ago. was a passionate advocate of open source software. technology expert and founder of one of India‘s earliest Linux technology conferences.

―Talk is cheap. the regulated financial services business will cease to be a financial services company and it can set up a NOFHC provided the public shareholding in it is not less than 51 per cent. The RBI further said that NOFHC is to be wholly-owned by the promoters or promoter group and it cannot be a listed company. this norm has been extended to the . These passionately organised events laid the foundation for Linux Bangalore in 2001 — later renamed FOSS. In a 2009 interview. The queries received from applicants brought out several complex issues pertaining to the re-organisation of the existing corporate structure. RBI also said that if a housing finance company plans to have an NOFHC. which organised offline meets in early 1999. If the promoter group.‖ said RBI. on Monday. said that it had decided to extend the validity period of the in-principle approval for setting up of the Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) from one year to 18 months. amateur musician and a part of a Bangalore-based internet radio station. In his last Tweet. A lot of it became the biggest source of information and reference material for those who were trying to set up anything in that era..presenting technology and technology literature in as simple and user-friendly a manner as possible. Therefore. RBI said ―the housing finance activity of the HFC should be transferred to the bank under the NOFHC. The RBI had released guidelines forlicensing of new banks in the private sector last February . enthusing professional and amateur users 5.in (for Free and Open Source Software) was that it was able to change India‘s image from being a mere consumer of software to a producer. posted two days ago. wishes to set up a bank. FOSS.‖ a tribute song written by the band members to their former mate Syd Barret. restructuring of businesses and meeting the regulatory requirements. The financial sector regulated entity which holds the HFC substantially will have to come under the NOFHC. Show me the code.in founder ensured that Linux reached a wide audience. he told The Hindu that the biggest achievement of FOSS.in What he wrote on Linux.‖ On rural branches PTI reports: The RBI sought to allay apprehensions over the lack of level playing field on issues such as rural branch presence and foreign holdings between the existing lenders and the new ones who are to be granted licences. Bank aspirants get more time to set up holding company Will provide sufficient time for promoters to comply with various stipulations The Reserve Bank of India (RBI). ―it must transfer all its regulated financial services business to a separate company and transfer the shareholding in such companies to the NOFHC.in — a well-attended technology conference which turned 10 in 2010.. FOSS.‖ was Chitnis‘ refrain to friends and adversaries. the lending activities must be conducted from inside the bank. Music lover. ―It is expected that this would provide sufficient time for the promoters/promoter group to comply with the various stipulations in the guidelines and the terms and conditions that would be set out while granting the inprinciple approvals to successful applicants.‖ said RBI while issuingclarifications to queries on new banking licenses. the RBI said all the incremental branches by the existing players are opened in the same proportion. Chitnis leaves behind a young legacy of software activism. Chitnis was a key member of the Bangalore Linux Users Group. he randomly mentions Pink Floyd‘s ―Shine on you crazy diamond. Replying to a specific query on the lack of level playing due to the insistence on having 25 per cent presence in rural areas. which has the financial services company listed or otherwise. ―With a view to enhancing financial inclusion. He was quoting Linus Torvalds. the conditions relating to the branch network are specifically prescribed at 25 per cent for unbanked rural centres.‖ ―After it was transferred. on modems and BBS (bulletin board system) was very popular.

In reality. and it should be abolished immediately. To a query on ceiling of 49 per cent equity for the first five years on foreign holding. The architect of the Constitution.‖ it said. Professor Shibbanlal Saxena. one of the biggest concerns about the death penalty. The RBI added that the branches of NBFCs and the bank should be ‗distinct and separate. but would be deducted from the particular applicant NBFCs (non bank finance company) quota of Tier-I branches. However. several members of the ConstituentAssembly were firmly opposed to the death penalty. Miscarriage of justice is.‖ On June 3. Many think that there could be nothing wrong with the death penalty as the Indian Constitution allows for capital punishment. ―the proper thing for this country to do is to abolish the death sentence altogether. admitted in the Constituent Assembly that people may not follow non-violence in practice but ―they certainly adhere to the principle of non-violence as a moral mandate which they ought to observe as far as they possibly can. but the common people who have no money and who are poor will not be able to availthemselves‖ of it. There will no regulatory forbearance in any of the matters. who can move heaven and earth. The central bank also clarified that the new banks will have to abide by the existing requirements on the cash reserve ratio or the ratio deposits to be parked with the RBI. The death penalty is unjust and inhuman. he said. 1949. the conversion can be done. the RBI said it has been done to encourage more domestic investors getting in. which means that the founding fathers of this country must have also fully approved of it. spoke in the Constituent Assembly of how he had seen innocent people being hanged for murder during his days in prison. Is it possible that someone could be wrongly hanged in 21st century India? The answer. . CURRENT AFFAIRS (05. for lucrative Tier-I cities. ―All NBFC branches in Tier-1 centres which would carry out banking business may be permitted to be converted into bank branches and the excess over the entitled number of Tier-1 branches would be adjusted against the future entitlements of the new bank within a maximum three years from the date of commencement of business by the bank. he said that the avenue of appealing to the Supreme Court ―will be open to people who are wealthy.‘ Additionally.‖ the regulator said. the government bond holding or statutory liquidity ratio and the priority sector lending requirements. The Reserve Bank explained that the new entrants have been disallowed getting into newer areas for three years because it wants them to get on ―sound footing‖ before diversification.06. it added. which have been kept at par with an existing lender. it cannot conduct business of the NBFC. a freedom fighter who had been on death row for his involvement in the Quit India Movement. the aggregate foreign shareholding in the bank would be allowed as per the extant FDI policy. Proposing the abolition of the death penalty. The Supreme Court has itself admitted on several occasions that there is confusion and contradiction in the application of the death penalty. is yes. It said non-bank lenders (NBFCs) can convert their presence in tier-II to tier-VI cities into bank branches once they are selected to enter the fray. Babasaheb Ambedkar.‖ said Mahatma Gandhi.existing banks also and they are required to comply with this stipulation while opening new branches. Its continued use is a stain on a society built on humanitarian values.‖ With this in mind. it said. in fact. once a NBFC branch is converted into a bank branch. the Reserve Bank said. ―After expiry of five years.2013) 1. Why the death penalty must end ―An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Studies conducted by Amnesty International and the People‘s Union for Civil Liberties have shown that the process of deciding who should be on death row is arbitrary and biased.‖ the RBI said in the over 160-pages clarifications it issued on Monday. unfortunately.

Thomas. Justice K. India needs to recognise this global trend. but seem to forget that certainty of punishment. pointing out that the Supreme Court had erroneously given the death penalty to 15 people since 1996. including seven from Tamil Nadu. a study by Columbia Law School students brought to light the wrongful conviction of Carlos DeLuna. It is a fallacy to think that one killing can be avenged with another. convicted and sentenced to death in the case.Instances of innocence Last year. In 2004. is the real deterrent 2. reinvestigation of the case raised serious doubts in the appreciation of forensic evidence in the case and the judge concluded that Willingham was wrongfully convicted. Rest of the world The world is moving away from using the death penalty. The European Union has made ―abolition of death penalty‖ a prerequisite for membership. who headed the three member bench in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. has said that executing Perarivalan. When the government is trying to create a just society where there is less violence and murder. Rajiv Gandhi case The death penalty is little more than judicially sanctioned murder. The certainty of punishment. the equivalent of life imprisonment. as they had already spent 22 years in jail. reiterated the party‘s stand last month when he called upon the Government of India to commute the death sentences of the 16 men. for the third time. which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity of the actual perpetrator of the murder. This has been the party‘s consistent position against this inhumane practice. and act in step with it. One such case is that of Cameron Todd Willingham.‖ Some argue that the death penalty is the only way to deter heinous crime. 14 eminent retired judges wrote to the President. the Government of India has shown an alarming tendency to implement the death penalty. would amount to punishing them twice for the same offence. is the real deterrent. and choose to ignore more difficult but more effective solutions like social education and police or judicial reform. For. The ―Innocence Project‖ in the United States [a national litigation and public policy organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system] has found. Amnesty International reports that 140 countries — more than two-thirds of the world — do not use the death penalty any more. several cases where innocent people were given the death sentence. Lawmakers are eager to appear resolute in the fight against crime. it cannot be allowed to commit the same crime against its citizens in the name of justice. In 2009. Another case is that of Carlos DeLuna who was executed in 1989 for the murder of a young woman some years before. The 65th United Nations General Assembly voted in December 2010. Murugan and Santhan. Lawmakers in India find it convenient to hold up the death penalty as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime. especially violence against women and children. The DMK president. follow green norms and share royalty . who was executed in 2004 for the deaths of his three young daughters. capital punishment is merely revenge masquerading as justice. Kalaignar Karunanidhi. The DMK president had made similar pleas to the Centre in August 2011 and October 2006. who are on death row. not severity. Shale gas policy should attract best companies. on the other hand. The judges called this ―the gravest known miscarriage of justice in the history of crime and punishment in independent India. in favour of abolishing the death penalty and called for a global moratorium on executions. not severity. In recent months. of whom two were hanged.T. But a comprehensive study done last year in the United States found that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty has any deterrent effect on crime.

US natural gas costs onethird the Asian level of $12 per unit. We Shale Overcome The new shale policy needs to attract the best companies in the world. from foreign companies with the best technology. the government owns the oil and gas. with profit oil being shared with the government according to a complex formula. These are serious issues. and to high-rainfall areas prone to floods and waterlogging: eastern Uttar Pradesh. contaminate drinking water. lead to dumping of dangerous chemicals. The ONGC has a poor track record. States get royalties. India must not fall behind. US shale gas became a big story five years ago. a lose-lose situation. Second. North America will become energyindependent in 10 years. In India. tapping a wide area of shale to make production profitable. However. Come Rain or Seawater Environmentalists fear that fracking will use up scarce water. If this is politically impossible. This injects water and sand at high pressure into wells drilled horizontally from a single drill pad in multiple directions. The productivity of shale wells has skyrocketed. leaving the balance (maybe 30%) to the government. Bihar. and is. fracking must be limited to coastal areas that can use seawater. This will give locals a stake in the enterprise. Solution: a sum equal to the royalty must be paid directly into a local panchayat account.The government aims to finalise an exploration policy for shale gas and oil in the next few months. In the US. which also allots gas to priority users like fertiliser and power producers. so. Allegations flew of corruption to approve inflated budgets. India has taken too long to get its act together. This created perverse incentives for companies to exaggerate drilling costs. and come up with the right mix. All minerals underground belong to landowners. but this disappears to state capitals and is not seen by locals. landowners get nothing. Shale gas and oil have transformed the US economy. Environmental fears have delayed or halted fracking in some countries. in turn. Speciality chemicals are added to water before fracking. leaving only small players like CairnBSE -0. companies in India bid for productionsharing contracts. the US has 20 years of experience in fracking. and cause methane leakage and earthquakes. Private participation is vital. explorers pay landowners for drilling. and take care of the needs of the environment and affected communities. from whom oil companies buy drilling rights. and then auction shale blocks. For conventional oil and gas. This freedom to drill enabled companies and state governments to experiment with many sorts of drilling in many conditions. In India. India has a market price. and used solely for local benefits. global practice avoids all price and distribution controls. policy has been so restrictive and arbitrary that the multinationals have mostly steered clear of India. . The government can always sell its own share of gas cheap to fertiliser and power companies. In theory. and China is going ahead with its own shale programme. The companies. These allow companies to first recover drilling costs through "cost oil". It has widespread shale deposits in all sedimentary basins ringing the Deccan plateau. Lack of free pricing has discouraged production. West Bengal and the north-east. Initially. based on a cocktail of global prices. but lacks the funds or expertise to develop shale gas. but it is fixed by the government. We must move to a revenue-sharing system.88 % and Hardy. and led to accusations (not proven) that Reliance is underproducing gas till prices go up in 2014. Unfortunately. The US has no federal shale gas policy. gold-plating and corruption. a second-best solution is the Rangarajan Committee formula. It was. Free pricing will end disputes and corruption. Shale gas and oil are produced from rock formations using "fracking" technology. complained of long delays in approving drilling budgets. This will end delays. the government owns all oil and gas. where companies bid for a share of oil and gas produced.

Green safeguards are essential from the start. resorting to the presidential power to promulgate an ordinance to bring it on the statute book will not only amount to a grievous injury to the parliamentary system of democracy but also have far-reaching implications for the Indian economy. scheduled to start in July. Build consensus. the law ministry is reported to have drafted an ordinance and sent it the cabinet secretary. New technologies are being tested that use natural gas fluids instead of water. If these succeed. mobilising requisite support for its passage should not be difficult for the government. scheduled to start in July. Disposing of waste water deep underground has sometimes caused tremors. This must be faced squarely. the Congress is driven by its political insecurity in the run-up to elections.Every company must specify what chemicals it is using. This will conserve water while avoiding contamination. Under the Constitution. Under the Constitution. Since most political parties. have agreed to advance the Monsoon Session of Parliament. The Supreme Court has clarified that the legislative power to issue ordinances is ―in the nature of an emergency power‖ given to the executive only ―to meet an emergent situation‖. resorting to the presidential power to promulgate an ordinance to bring it on the statute book will not only amount to a grievous injury to the parliamentary system of democracy but also have far-reaching implications for the Indian economy. including the principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. and local villagers must be made stakeholders with a share in royalties. The legislative powers to promulgate an ordinance have been vested in the president to meet . so this should be done in controlled fashion. the law ministry is reported to have drafted an ordinance and sent it the cabinet secretary. including the principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. If the Congress-led UPA government is really serious about providing food security to India‘s poor. Green activists will try to get fracking banned. most environmental problems will disappear. Parliament is the sole repository of legislative powers of the Union. 3. After Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath‘s remarks that all options to push through the controversial Food Security Bill were open. Parliament is the sole repository of legislative powers of the Union. it must avoid playing politics on the issue and make a sincere effort to build a consensus. Go Shale. not dumped anywhere. New techniques of double-sealing to check gas leaks should be mandated. All water that flows back after fracking must be recycled into fresh fracking. and eliminate dangerous ones. shun politics on Food Bill After Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath‘s remarks that all options to push through the controversial Food Security Bill were open. Though the Left parties have dubbed the bill in its present form ―defective and unacceptable‖ and Samajwadi party is opposing it as ―anti-farmer‖. It is now for the government to decide whether it should adopt the ordinance route or opt for the conventional procedure of legislation through Parliament. have agreed to advance the Monsoon Session of Parliament. but Go Green too Gas drilling should be permitted only in deep formations far below acquifers used for irrigation and drinking. Since most political parties. It is now for the government to decide whether it should adopt the ordinance route or opt for the conventional procedure of legislation through Parliament. BJP president Rajnath Singh has publicly said that his party wants the Food Security and Land Acquisition Bills passed in Parliament with some amendments. Adopting short cuts to steamroll the legislation will prove that instead of being concerned for the poor. The legislative powers to promulgate an ordinance have been vested in the president to meet extraordinary situations demanding immediate enactment of a law when Parliament is not in session.

Hyderabad. It is both symbolic and substantial. The authorities charged with the task of controlling air and water pollution turn a blind eye to industries in these cities and their peripheries diverting all their effluents to the rivers. is comparable to that of a sewer. the government and banks have been encouraging the common man to have his own motor vehicle for which loans on liberal terms are made available. Delhi. Instead of promoting public transport. trade and industry should join hands with the government to ensure that air is breathable and water drinkable. described by the poets of yore as the most beautiful river. The little achievement the national capital made when all public transport vehicles like buses. If the Congress-led UPA government is really serious about providing food security to India‘s poor. Indian and Japanese prime ministerial summits are held every year alternately in New Delhi and Tokyo. mobilising requisite support for its passage should not be difficult for the government. the Congress is driven by its political insecurity in the run-up to elections. for which there are not enough roads. Wake-up call to control pollution in cities The findings of a survey conducted by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have confirmed the fears that pollution has reached dangerous levels in six major cities — Bangalore. The state of the Yamuna. The quality of air and water in these cities has been plummeting lower and lower causing serious concern to the citizens. The summits are one of the few mechanisms to carry on bilateral relations that have become multi-dimensional over years. The Supreme Court has clarified that the legislative power to issue ordinances is ―in the nature of an emergency power‖ given to the executive only ―to meet an emergent situation‖. It is said that a countr y‘s development is gauged not by the fact that the poor have their own cars but that even the rich use public transport. Many vehicles do not conform to international standards of engine quality and they run on substandard fuels. BJP president Rajnath Singh has publicly said that his party wants the Food Security and Land Acquisition Bills passed in Parliament with some amendments. 5. strength. .extraordinary situations demanding immediate enactment of a law when Parliament is not in session. Chennai. Adopting short cuts to steamroll the legislation will prove that instead of being concerned for the poor. Thrust to India-Japan relations Set up in 2006.‖ Prime minister Manmohan Singh visit to Japan primarily focused on firming up bilateral economic ties and co-operation in other areas. Kolkata and Mumbai. 4. The rising trend of pollution-related diseases in these cities is a grim reminder of the tragic consequences of neglect. While steps topromote public transport and to shift polluting industries from these cities and their suburbs are necessary. it must avoid playing politics on the issue and make a sincere effort to build a consensus. has been offset by the constant addition of thousands of vehicles every day to the capital‘s vehicle fleet. ―Sharing a strong strategic interest in expanding co-operation on maritime security and promoting regional stability. The growing number of motor vehicles. The joint statement issued every time indicates the depth. The root cause of the problem is the unplanned growth of the cities. Though the Left parties have dubbed the bill in its present form ―defective and unacceptable‖ and Samajwadi party is opposing it as ―anti-farmer‖. the government alone cannot do much. both India and Japan realise that ensuring sea lanes remain open and free as vital for the regional prosperity because of its dependence on oil imports from the Middle East. and now stand qualitatively improved. autos and taxis were forced to go in for compressed natural gas (CNG)-based engines. dimensions and potentials. The civil society. is mainly responsible for the worsening quality of air.

its continued leadership in enterprise.‖ India and Japan have long expressed concern over potential threats to energy supplies due to sea lanes vulnerable to piracy and blockades. The world has huge stakes in Japan returning to sustained economic growth. Recent Japan and India agreements on economic co-operation and investment include continued assistance to 100 billion dollar plans for industrial corridors between New Delhi and Mumbai. Joint research will be conducted for the construction of a high-speed railway connecting Mumbai and Ahmedabad to enable introduction of bullet trains. Japanese firms are holding back investment waiting for further reforms relating to problems such as law. Trade between Japan and India had never been impressive. India and Japan also will reinforce bilateral co-operation for massive infrastructure projects. land acquisition.7 billion yen for the IITHyderabad. . Besides. The worth of India‘s nuclear power market is estimated at $150 billion. India is certainly on the cards but not priority since development opportunities in Africa and Myanmar commands Japan‘s investment attention.2 billion for 2012-13. Imports were worth $5. massive stimulus — the yen has fallen by about 25% and Japan is looking for attractive investment propositions abroad. technology and innovation and ability to remain the locomotive in Asian development. the India-Japan summit was a good chance to promote sale of infrastructure like railways and other facilities. as Tokyo tries to boost exports of atomic technology and other infrastructure to help revive its economy. Though the former project has begun. India offers increasing opportunities for growth and internationalisation of Japanese corporations.25 billion. higher trade with Japan has led India to register higher deficit of $ 6. In spite of sustained complementarities between India and Japan.5% in 2011 and 5% in 2012-13 and hence Japanese investment could be a catalyst. Japan‘s exports to India in the fiscal year ending March 2013 were worth $8. Japanese premier Abe Shinzo is eager to promote sales of Japanese nuclear technology as part of its push to expand exports. labour. tax and the like. face similar challenges to energy securities‖. Indian bilateral trade with Japan for 2012-13 worth $14 billion is dwarfed by Japan-China trade ($68 billion). Aided by ―Abenomics‖ — monetary easing and huge public expenditure policy. Though the civil nuclear pact could not come through this time. Japan has a goal of 30 trillion yen in infrastructure exports in its growth strategy to be compiled in June. Such a pact is problematic because India is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Since India‘s plan is toinvest $1 trillion (for five years). and a huge bulging bag of development assistance. Both ―have shared interests in maritime security. it is moving slowly and may not meet the 2017 deadline due to cost escalation and other problems. targeting an achievable 2% domestic inflation. India‘s economic growth declined to 6. India and Japan have agreed to accelerate talks to conclude a pact to facilitate Japanese firms to export nuclear power generation technologies and equipment to India. and between Chennai and Bangalore.7 billion. Despite Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that envisages abolition of tariffs in 10 years. Armed with a trillion dollar foreign exchange reserve. especially in emerging markets in Asia and the Middle East that have better growth potential than within Japan.―India‘s relations with Japan are important not only for its economic development but also because India considers Japan as a natural and indispensable partner in our quest for stability and peace in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific. the strong anti-nuclear lobby in Japan can create trouble even if the Abe administration gains confidence to move forward politically. Abe announced 71 billion yen in loans for the construction of Mumbai metro and 17. Japan and India are working toward a deal on nuclear energy co-operation. India plans to build about 20 nuclear power plants to increase the share of nuclear power in supply from the current 4% to 25% by 2050.

Mr. they had to necessarily be seated on either side of the Prime Minister. Murthy wanted to host in his honour after the function at the Taj Mahal Hotel. telling a thing or two to the political . there is something called protocol and the dignity of constitutional offices. ensure safe sea lanes and strengthen coast guard authorities. could continue to be a point of difference. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh allowed himself to be persuaded to accept N. A few days before the event.2013) Part 1 1. had decided to allow exports of nuclear power technologies and equipment to India. Japan has now offered the US-2 amphibious aircraft. Narayana Murthy‘s invitation to travel to Mumbai to preside over a function to give away the Infosys Social Science Prizes. he sought to convert the evening into a grand intellectual conversation and proceeded to invite his son to open the bowling. If the Governor and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra were to be at the dinner. The joint statement has also mentioned India and Japan would regularly hold exercises between the Maritime Self-Defence Force and the Indian Navy and begin talks for the export of MSDF‘s US-2 amphibious planes to India. who in turn has allowed himself to be persuaded to take charge of Infosys again. Such exports to India need to pay attention to the danger of nuclear power generation and need to thwart nuclear weapons proliferation. Nepotism. And the young son wanted to know from the Prime Minister what the government proposed to do so that young men like him could come back to India. So far so good. They will co-operate to improve counter-cyber attacks. Murthy. minding his own business. As soon as the first course was served. The Prime Minister even agreed to attend a dinner that Mr. The Murthys and the Maoists In the first week of 2011. Under pressure from the Bush administration. Murthy. the summit was symbolic and gains were substantial. as executive assistant to his father. there was a massive behind-the-scenes dust up between the Prime Minister‘s staff and Mr. including the US. Fair enough.Abe has already signed agreements with the UAE and Turkey to enable the export of Japan‘s nuclear power technologies and equipment. In turn India pledged unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear weapons tests. but not exactly. Murthy is not just a private businessman. Germany and Japan. The rub was that Mr. Britain. All this is recalled because the young man is now back in India. besides right to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from Japanese generation equipment. France. the Nuclear Suppliers Group. However. The statement was obviously drafted with China‘s increasing maritime presence in mind. The Indian call for insertion of a clause in a JapanIndia nuclear pact to ensure it would not hamper India‘s nuclear weapons programme. Murthy thought that since he was paying for the dinner. he had a right to dictate not only the guest list but even the seating arrangement. Singh. was not one to be so easily rebuffed. whereas the host thought he ought to be sitting next to Dr. Thus.R. did you say? No. however. CURRENT AFFAIRS (06.06. no sir. A private company is free to hire anyone. He has often sought to inject himself into the public domain. Mr.

He has been serenaded as an ―iconic‖ entrepreneur. It was a commendable journey of political solidarity. If a government is slow to give them the policy breaks that they demand. There is an unwillingness to acknowledge the basic nature of power: irrespective of its political arrangement. including that of the poor and adivasis. the Murthys. Rahul Gandhi. represent an unrepentant ideological approach to the Indian state. From one side. manners and policies and purpose. that the Indian state is caught in a pincer movement. the democratic space and its anarchic habits will be creatively used to unleash civil unrest on this or that pretext. The prevailing orthodoxy insists that the Indian state has one and only one business: to get out of the businessman‘s way. both are unforgiving. or. the young Gandhi had proclaimed that development meant that ―every voice. For good measure. They have finessed their tactics. The UPA‘s approach neither mollifies the corporate buccaneers nor satisfies the poor and the disadvantaged. one can always rely on an auditor or a judge to step in to divert attention away from corporate misdemeanours of the most serious kind. have sized up the divided political leadership across the spectrum. Good politics in a democratic idiom can go a long way in ameliorating the alienation and anger. every society plays host to a ceaseless struggle over who gains what at whose expense. There is always the age old anger against ―corruption‖ to be tapped. That was the time when India‘s corporate leaders th ought they had the ethical credentials to write open letters to the Prime Minister and preach virtues of good governance. however. Like other corporate leaders. Murthy be made President of India. from the other direction. but they are not the only ones to do so. should be heard. the Central government had pointedly withdrawn environmental permission to the Vedanta Group to mine the area for bauxite. the state is confronted by a vast underclass that is unwilling to see any . there was even a suggestion that Mr. Violence makes a demand on all stakeholders. Pincer movement No wonder. Growth and development invariably produce dislocation and dispossession. The May 25 attack was the boldest ideological challenge that the Maoists have posed to the country‘s political leadership. its morals. the party‘s vice-president. Gandhi has resolved his ideological equivocations in the aftermath of the Chhattisgarh violence. The Maoists — who once again made their presence felt last month when they massacred the Congress top political leadership in Chhattisgarh — too have a list of ideological claims of their own on the Indian state. the country has periodically been treated to a mock controversy over whether Sonia Gandhi‘s National Advisory Council was usurping the government‘s space and prerogatives. as it were.‖ It would be nice to know if Mr. for the past nine years. In the process. Let it be recalled that this is the same Mr. The corporates. aam aadmi -centric initiatives. Gandhi re-set his ideological compass. when this or that NAC member walks out in a huff. that as soon as news trickled in of the attack on the Congress convoy in Bastar.‖ or soldier in Delhi. Pro-poor initiatives The UPA‘s approach has been to let the corporate marauders run amok while salving its democratic conscience with a slew of pro-poor. the ideologues and practitioners of ―growth‖ are unrelenting in their insistence that the country‘s natural resources and citizens‘ savings be made available to them for exploitation.class about how to behave. whether the government is not being sufficiently pro-poor. and. Only two days before that visit. Gandhi who had allowed himself to be persuaded in August 2010 to travel to the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa. Both groups are relentless. And. During the heyday of civil society triumphalism two years ago. father and son. It was no surprise. then. where he told the adivasis that he was their ―sipahi. For two decades the Indian political class has gone about believing that ―development‖ and ―growth‖ are innocuous and painless. should have taken off for Raipur. then. It would be interesting to find out if the bloody massacre in Sukma has helped Mr.

For one. nor is it likely to be able to lure the Naxalites into a democratic engagement without a demonstrable capacity to stand up to corporate greed. The pebble discovery confirms the March 12 find of a non-acidic. and based on estimates for the riverbed‘s gradient at the site of discovery. the final landing site was decided based on the presence of Mount Sharp. Second. water-bearing minerals in veins do not tell us about surface water flow. Curiosity‘s discovery of subrounded or rounded pebbles provides definitive proof that the red planet once had a river. A kind of alternative arrangement is already on the drawing board: the Gujarat model of no dissent. the amount of water flowing in the river was indeed considerable. First. no protests. India needs a vision for itself that is morally defensible 2. varying in size from 2 mm to 40 mm in diameter. the minimum force required to move pebbles of that size. the mere presence of rounded pebbles indicates that Mars‘s atmospheric conditions at some point in the past were so very different from today that they permitted liquid water to flow on the surface. Since only water transportation can abrade pebbles as big as 40 mm. are particularly significant as they provide indisputable evidence of a palaeo-river. Edward Shils.90 m.‖ Perhaps we should be thankful that both the Murthys and the Maoists are inviting us to find a vision for India that is morally defensible. no Medha Patkar. the very presence of big. the possibility of discovering prized fossils and pieces of evidence such as this lies in careful selection of the study area. once and for all. they do not reveal if the water body was moving. no tribal resistance. Discovering the Holy Grail of space science — a planet capable of supporting life in the past — is no longer a distant dream. whom does the state seek to reward and whom does it strive to protect against whom. A river ran through it From finding a trail of evidence supporting the presence of water on Mars a few billion years ago. the Indian political leadership has refused to confront the Grand Conundrum: for whom does the state exist.‖ Just as the corporates have served sufficient notice that they have no qualms in taking the state on and causing misery to its political functionaries. multiple exposures of a sedimentary rock (conglomerate) containing densely-packed rounded pebbles. In fact. According to a May 31 paper in Science . too. it should have flowed at a velocity of up to 0. no civil society. a layered mound within the Gale crater and its proximity to the alluvial fan. In all. no trade unions. The UPA leadership has neither the appetite for a brutal repression of the angry tribal. scientists have been able to postulate several characteristics about the river. the Peace Vallis fan. the underclass. Both the Murthys and the Maoists are forcing the Indian state to take a stand. freshwater environment based on the finding of smectite clay from a John Klein rock specimen drilled by the rover.reason to sacrifice its land and forests so that some others can enjoy the benefit of ―progress. in order to initiate motion. The great sociologist. is willing to match the state‘s capacity for violence. For too long. the political and intellectual leadership is obliged to prod society to its own historical ideals — ―elements which must be recurrently realized without even being definitively realizable.Between the relentless demands of corporate leaders and the capacity of the underclass to match the state‘s violence. the river should have had a flow depth of less than 0. Finally. once observed that every society needs grandiose visions and austere standards. Hence. bullet for bullet. rounded pebbles that lie overlapping along with coarse sand in the rock tell a completely different and definitive tale of Mars‘s palaeo-environment. On the other hand. .75 metres per second. While other discoveries such as water-bearing minerals in veins at the Yellowknife Bay area in Gale crater and smectite clay in John Klein rock samples are in themselves noteworthy. In geology. the pebbles not only prove the presence of water but also shed light on the nature and quantum of moving water. the fact that the pebbles have been abraded to produce subrounded or rounded edges despite having varying characteristics in terms of composition and shape strongly suggest that the river flowed for several kilometres. In the present case.

The PMEAC pruned the NAC‘s recommendations drastically. the Bill will only meet part of the need. or provide for cash in the hands of the beneficiary. This they have to do by meeting half the cost of transportation and decentralised procurement. plugging leakages and pilferage. As such. 1 a kg to identified beneficiaries. The pie has been spread thin. Economists lament the outgo as subsidy of Rs.3 a kg. Declaring the Bill as ―anti farmer. The day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the Rangarajan panel to study the NAC‘s recommendations on the Bill. She has also questioned how a government whose majority is in doubt can legislate on such an important issue. wheat at Rs. The Parliamentary Standing Committee to which the Bill was referred in December 2011. therefore. wheat or coarse cereals per person per month at subsidised rates under the Public Distribution System. Nodal ministries are apprehensive of maintaining deliveries without first streamlining the PDS. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa has said she does not want to be a part of the scheme of the Bill and wants to move an amendment when it comes up in Parliament. the Bill has taken some shape. nobody is happy with this Bill. creating storage facilities. Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are already providing subsidised grain at Re. Odisha. And now. West Bengal.1. Karnataka. Now. and this is the model the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to follow in States where it is in power. and from what activists are fighting for universal coverage with 25 kg per household.000 crore a year to supply rice at Rs. Rangarajan-led Prime Minister‘s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC).3. States have been asked to identify 75 per cent beneficiaries in rural areas and 50 per cent in urban areas based on parameters set. rid India of malnutrition and hunger. it is looking at the Bill as a mantra to see it through. Tamil Nadu. Some welfare categories of beneficiaries have not been included. Obviously. the annual requirement of grain under the Bill is 60 million tonnes as against about 56 million tonnes now.24. did away with the division of BPL and APL categories and recommended the exclusion of 33 per cent of the population. Beneficiaries have to be identified all over again. Chhattisgarh has passed a Bill that provides for cheap grain to 90 per cent of its population. Five kg of grain does not meet an individual‘s requirement. it was clear the government was finding it difficult to deliver on the Congress‘s ambitious election promise. also utilising the Empowered Group of Ministers headed by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the C. But it is truncated and is a far cry from the promise of near-universal coverage that the NAC initially projected.2 a kg.‖ the Samajwadi Party has opposed the Bill. creation of storage spaces and storage. getting the railways on board and taking care of the producers and the produce. To do all this. identification of beneficiaries. Opposition Already. By no stretch of the imagination can a Bill that seeks to provide 5 kg of rice or wheat to each individual. For four and a half years. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI plan to move . Andhra Pradesh. Cereals alone do not meet nutrition requirements. Food Bill in a political quagmire The nation is watching with trepidation the play of politics over the National Food Security Bill.1 or Rs. West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has accused the Congress of politicising the law in Parliament. the UPA will have to take political parties and State governments on board. Tamil Nadu has universal subsidised PDS. The UPA‘s Bill thrusts upon States the responsibility for delivery. Egged on by the Congress president. Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar wants the Centre to bear the implementation cost. which is assessed at 10 to 14 kg a month. the United Progressive Alliance government tossed the Bill between Sonia Gandhi‘s National Advisory Council (NAC) and itself. Frankly. which envisages food security for 67 per cent of the population by providing 5 kg of rice. as a beleaguered UPA braces itself for elections.2 a kg and coarse cereals at Re.

amendments pertaining to what they see as promotion of the two-child norm through the Bill, and the curtailment of entitlements from 35 kg a household to 5 kg per person a month. Unless it is pure posturing, the UPA‘s latest move to promulgate an ordinance to fast -track the legislation makes its intentions suspect. Such an ordinance will have to be ratified within six weeks of the convening of the next session — in this case the monsoon session — of Parliament. And if the principal Opposition party, the BJP, which has opposed an Ordinance, continues to stall Parliament on this count, then this may become an excuse for early elections. The BJP, keen to show it is not responsible for delaying the Bill, has suggested advancing the monsoon session. Some parties have sought a special session. The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry has not responded. Instead, the Ministry nudged the Law Ministry and the Food Ministry to move a Cabinet Note for the promulgation of an ordinance. This was done on June 4, but it was not taken up. Food Minister K.V. Thomas‘s opposition to an ordinance is known. He wants a discussion and debate in the Lok Sabha, where he has moved 81 amendments to the revised Bill. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has reservations on the ordinance route. He has said it would be difficult to implement any mandatory provision of grain in case of a bad monsoon. Even Congressmen agree that the Bill should have been preceded by efforts to streamline the PDS and plug leakages that bring an approximate 40 per cent of PDS-allocated grain into the open market. It is therefore odd that the UPA is going ahead with the Bill without taking its own allies and parties on board, and perceiving their objections as efforts to defeat its intentions. The promise of near-universal coverage is now nowhere in sight. And the UPA‘s seemingly fretful efforts to get the measure through do not appear to be convincing 4. Syrian Army captures Qusair After two months of heavy fighting, Syrian troops, backed by the Lebanese Hizbollah, have recaptured the strategic town of Qusair, opening the doors for government consolidation over vast swathes of territory in country‘s centre and the coastline to the west. This strate gic defeat of the armed opposition could turn out to be defining the moment of a conflict that has lasted more than two bloodstained years. Speaking to Beirut-based Mayadeen television, Brigadier General Yahya Suleiman of the army said: ―Whoever controls Qusair controls the centre of the country, and whoever controls the centre of the country controls all of Syria‖. The victory was symbolised by riveting images on Lebanon‘s Al Manar television of a man planting the Syrian flag on top of the town‘s bullet-riddled clock tower. ―Our heroic armed forces have returned security and stability to all of the town of Qusair,‖ said a triumphant statement carried by state television. The rebels have acknowledged defeat. In a statement quoted by Reuters, they said: ―In [the] face of this huge arsenal and lack of supplies and the blatant intervention of Hizbollah... tens of fighters stayed behind and ensured the withdrawal of their comrades along with the civilians.‖ Analysts point out that Qusair‘s fall means the routes from northern Lebanon, used for funnelling weapons, supplies and personnel to the rebels, have been blocked. The cutting of supply lines in turn implies that the city of Homs — the hotbed of the anti-government revolt — has been successfully isolated. Vital implications The taking of Qusair has vital implications on two other counts: Damascus will now be easily connected to the coastal areas such as Tartus where the Russians have established a military base and, according to some observers, the army will be free to target the opposition in its other strongholds, such as Aleppo. The army‘s success can be attributed to its two-phased plan. For 46 days, it battled for control over the surrounding countryside before attacking the town. The combined forces of the army and Hizbollah took a fortnight to overrun Qusair, where hardline Salafi groups from neighbouring Lebanon had reinforced the opposition. The

turnaround was likely to influence Wednesday‘s meeting of officials from Russia and the U.S. in Geneva to arrange an international conference to resolve the crisis. 5. Sharif sworn in, economy top priority Power crisis could be the top problem he faces Nawaz Sharif, elected Pakistan‘s Prime Minister to an unprecedented third term, took office on Wednesday, vowing to fix the ailing economy and end electricity blackouts while also calling for an end to American drone strikes in the tribal areas. Speaking to Parliament after he was elected, Mr. Sharif (63) vowed action. ―I will do my best to change the fate of the people and Pakistan,‖ he said. He had received 244 votes in the 342-seat Parliamentand was later sworn in by President Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Sharif emphasised that fixing the economy was his top priority. He listed the problems facing Pakistan, including unpaid loans, unemployment, a disillusioned youth, extremism and lawlessness, and widespread corruption. As the new Premier, Mr. Sharif will face a mountain of problems, including an unprecedented power crisis. Over the last five years of the previous administration, power outages — some as long as 20 hours — have plagued the country. Mr. Sharif and his team of advisers have been meeting continuously officials from the power-related industries and interim government officials from affected ministries. Drone strikes Mr. Sharif touched on the country‘s often-tenuous relationship with the U.S. when he called for an end to the drone strikes used by the U.S. to kill militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to the west. ―This daily routine of drone attacks, this chapter shall now be closed,‖ Mr. Sharif said to widespread applause in the Parliament hall. ―We do respect others‘ sovereignty. It is mandatory on others that they respect our sovereignty.‖ But he gave few details on how he might end them. Pakistan will need American support for the likely economic bailout it will need from the International Monetary Fund . China‘s new Premier Li Keqiang had met Mr. Sharif during a visit to Islamabad a fortnight ago, and linked growth in his country‘s restive western region to that in Pakistan. On Wednesday Mr. Sharif said they had agreed to develop a road and rail network connecting the western Chinese city of Kashgar to Gwadar, the port in southwest Pakistan recently taken over by China. ―This plan will greatly economically benefit Pakistan‘s northern areas as well as all the four provinces,‖ he said. 6. PMO moots fresh round of consultation on gas pricing Proposal to double prices had raised stiff opposition The Prime Minister‘s Office (PMO) and the Cabinet Secretariat have returned to the Petroleum Ministry the Cabinet note on gas pricing, asking it to seek inter-Ministerial consultations again in view of the divergent opinions on the issue. Highly placed government sources said the PMO and Cabinet Secretariat were of the view that as the implications of a gas price hike were huge and that the views given by the Power and Fertilizer Ministries were strongly against doubling of gas prices as recommended by the Rangarajan panel, it would be most appropriate to seek inter-Ministerial views on the issue once again. ―We will again float the CCEA note for views of the various Ministries on the issue, and then go back to the Cabinet. The Petroleum Ministry has not by any means recommended doubling of natural gas prices. We are for a rationale approach to the whole issue so that it does not harm the interests of the consumers or the investors,‖ a senior Petroleum Ministry official said. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry had floated a Cabinet note for effecting a hike in the prices of domestically produced natural gas . The proposal had faced stiff opposition from the Power and Fertilizer Ministries who had alleged that it would impose a huge financial burden on the government and would lead to hike in fertilizer prices and power tariffs. The Left parties had also raised serious concerns over the move by the Petroleum Ministry to dramatically hike natural gas prices and charged the Ministry with allegedly working to

benefit Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The price reportedly recommended by the Ministry in the CCEA note comes to around $6.775 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) as against the current rate of $4.2 per mmBtu. RIL is seeking a price of around $12 to $14 mmbtu at par with the landing cost of imported LNG. The Power Ministry had argued that the move by the Petroleum Ministry to raise natural gas prices by almost 60 to 100 per cent would result in a whopping Rs. 46,360 crore per annum impact on power plants. The variable cost of generating electricity at the 2014 gas prices would be around Rs. 5.40 per kilowatt hour (per unit), taking the total cost of generation to around Rs. 6.40 per unit. The Power Ministry has opined that base price of domestic gas beyond $5 per mmBtu was unviable for power sector. Subsidy increase On the other hand, the Fertilizer Ministry has argued that higher gas price would result in a Rs.10,000 crore per annum increase in urea subsidy burden. It said every dollar increase in gas price would lead to cost of urea production going up by over Rs. 2,466 crore. At $8.8 per mBtu gas price, the enhanced cost of production would result in Rs. 10,000-crore additional subsidy outgo 7. India, Australia raise the pitch on maritime cooperation Both nations agree to hold joint Naval exercise in 2015 India and Australia have agreed to hold a joint Naval exercise in 2015 to raise their defence cooperation initiatives to a higher level and strengthen their strategic partnership. Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is on a two-day visit to Australia, met his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith in Perth on Tuesday. They travelled together to Canberra on Wednesday to discuss shared strategic and security interests, including maritime security and bilateral defence cooperation. A joint statement issued at the conclusion of Mr. Antony‘s visit, the first by an Indian Defence Minister, stressed that both countries had agreed to continue Naval exchanges to build confidence and familiarity between the two Navies and work towards a bilateral maritime exercise in 2015. India and Australia had participated together in multilateral maritime exercises in Malabar in 2007 and in Milan in 2012. Both sides acknowledged that maritime security and freedom of navigation in accordance with principles of international law were critical for the growth and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Taking note of the growing cooperation between the two Navies, Mr. Antony accepted Mr. Smith‘s invitation for Indian naval ships‘ participation in the prestigious International Fleet Review (IFR) to be held in Sydney this October. The Indian Navy will get an opportunity to showcase its growing military capability at the IFR, where when mighty navies are expected to line up about 40 top-end warships. The Indian Navy‘s participation is being seen as part of a big strategy unfolding in the Indian Ocean region to contain the ever-growing presence of China‘s People‘s Liberation Army Navy. The Ministers took note of the progress made in defence cooperation in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation concluded in 2006, the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation issued during the former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd‘s visit to India in 2009 and the Joint Statement issued during the visit of Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012. ―They [the Defence Ministers] agreed that interactions held between the defence establishments of both sides in a variety of fields and at various levels have been mutually beneficial. Both sides were pleased with the bilateral architecture established for pursuing defence cooperation and agreed that consultations had helped deepen mutual trust and understanding between the defence establishments,‖ the joint statement said. They agreed to continue consultations and cooperation on issues concerning the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions bilaterally as well as multilaterally, including through the East Asia Summit, the Asean Regional Forum, the Asean Defence Ministers‘ Meeting-Plus, Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim — Association for Regional

Cooperation (IOR-ARC). The Ministers noted that both countries were already cooperating through the IONS — which Australia will chair next year before hosting the IONS Conclave of Chiefs in Perth in March 2014 — and the IOR-ARC, of which India is the current chair and Australia the next chair. The Ministers also agreed to maintain regular ministerial meetings; promote exchanges between the defence establishments and both the Armed Forces, including regularly holding the Defence Policy Dialogue, Armed Forces Staff Talks and professional military exchanges; and to promote the sharing and exchange of professional knowledge and experiences through participation in training courses in each other‘s military training institutions. Mr. Antony invited Mr. Smith to visit India. 8. Energy sector will be focus of India‘s investment plans for Myanmar Anand Sharma to meet top Myanmar ministers to boost ties India will push for greater participation in the abundant oil and gas sector in Myanmar, so far dominated by China, with majors like ONGC Videsh Ltd and Oil India Ltd already in the race for on-shore blocks in the country. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is leading an official and business delegation to Myanmar this week, is scheduled to meet Myanmar‘s Energy Minister U Than Htay and extensively discuss the country‘s interest in the energy sector. India is likely to request for positive consideration to be given to Indian companies for allocation of some of the blocks. Sharma will also meet Myanmar‘s Industry Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister and Minister for Information and Technology to discuss ways to intensify cooperation in bilateral trade and economy. India, which had mostly distanced itself from the country during the military rule despite strong economic interests, has now jumped in to make the most of its geographical proximity. Reflecting the changed political situation in the country, the Minister will start his series of meetings with Chairperson of the National League for Democracy Aung San Su Kyi who was a political prisoner under house arrest less than three years ago. India has strong interests in the energy sector, IT and telecom, agriculture and manufactured items. ―China has maintained business relations with the country for a long time now and has a head start in most areas, especially energy. But we plan to catch up soon,‖ an official said. Myanmar‘s largely untapped economic potential makes it an attractive destination for other countries. According to a report released recently by global management consultancy firm McKinsey, ―managed well, Myanmar could conceivably quadruple the size of its economy, from $45 billion in 2010 to more than $200 billion in 2030s.‘‘ Recently, Myanmar put on offer 30 offshore oil and gas blocks, on a production-sharing basis, and there are seven Indian companies that are reported to be in the short list that includes OIL, OVL, Cairn India and Jubilant Energy. In the telecom sector, India‘s Bharti Airtel, along with its consortium partners, is one of the 11 final bidders for a telecom licence in Myanmar. Border trade India is also in talks with Myanmar to open more border trade points to increase trade through the land route. India‘s imports from Myanmar stood at $1.4 billion in 2012 while its exports to the country were just $542 million. ―The turnaround in Myanmar is one big positive message from the region. We are seriously looking at the country. The fact that the World Economic Forum is taking place in Myanmar is in itself a statement of global interest in the country,‖ Sharma told Business Line. The Minister will address the World Economic Forum for East Asia on Thursday in NayPyiTaw that will be attended by leaders from other East Asian countries as well. With the recent spate of political and economic reforms in the country that started in 2010 when the military declared elections after 20 years, its isolation from the world is slowly coming to an end. 9. Open up the accounts But RTI is not the tool to impose transparency on parties

There is no doubt that much is wrong with how elections in India are financed. In India, as in most democratic countries, the need forpolitical funding is often what causes cronyism and outright corruption - in fact, more than one politician, cutting across party lines, is on record making this argument. It is necessary, certainly, to introduce greater transparency and even a degree of regulation to the financing of party politics. But that eminently common-sense intuition should not lead to judgments such as that from the Central Information Commission (CIC), which ruled on Monday that political parties were "public authorities" and thus were subject to the Right to Information Act. The CIC argued that since parties had received public benefits - such as land at concessional rates and airtime on television - they should be treated as public authorities. If so, then the RTI applies to all organisations that have received concessions of one kind or another - in other words, almost every school in India's cities, most private hospitals, and even corporate beneficiaries of public support. It seems clear that the CIC is extending the RTI beyond what Parliament intended the law to be. But the question is whether there is any need for such an extension of the RTI - since, after all, there are already institutions that could be doing the job. Candidates, for example, are supposed to divulge their income and wealth details to the Election Commission of India, or ECI; why not ensure that parties, too, make transparent all sources of funding? Errors or omissions should be penalised by the ECI. For penalties short of deregistration, Parliament can step in - parliamentary committees can be set up to investigate apparent deviations from the truth about political funding; and the data submitted by results, as well as the committee's investigation, should be made public on Parliament's website. Some such investigations will be needed: after all, it beggars belief that only 643 named donors contributed to the Congress between 2009 and 2011. The RTI cannot be seen as a replacement for all other alternative forms of regulation. Naturally, this transparency should only be limited to questions of financing - an artificial divide as far as the RTI Act is concerned, which is why the Act is not the appropriate instrument. Parties have as much of a right to privacy in their strategic deliberations as does any private sector company. After all, parties are responsible only to their members, not to citizens as a whole - they are literally partisan, not responsible for some all-encompassing public interest. The RTI is meant to investigate those entities, namely organs of the state, that are supposed to act in the overall public interest - and are, therefore, responsible to all. Political parties, simply put, are not responsible to all. And that is why using the RTI to examine parties is not just opening it up to further abuse for political ends, but is also a perversion of the purpose of the law itself. The CIC's judgment deserves to be reviewed. 10. Dropping the green ball India is not working hard enough on climate change Shortly before World Environment Day on Wednesday, it was reported that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had soared to its highest level in three million years. Data captured by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed that environmental incidence of the gas mostly responsible for trapping heat had crossed 400 parts per million - a level that last prevailed in the Pliocene Age 2.5 million to 5.3 million years ago, when the global sea level was 60 to 80 feet higher than it is today. Sadly, there was little response to this news, which is symbolic of the waning global commitment towards arresting and reversing global warming. Regrettably, most governments, including India's, have in these years of economic slowdown taken environmental protection off their priority list. This subtle policy shift has dashed whatever little hope there was of minimising the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Funding for the green agenda, which dropped considerably since the recession began in 2007-08, might dip further now that the Kyoto protocol expires. Should this trend endure, which seems likely considering the current

Following the national action plan more closely will at least help domestic industry. The Green India mission. which has allowed it to ignore emission standards even as it has gained in output. which attracts hordes of migratory birds from the Arctic region and central Asia. however. Its expansion will enable the government to restore the ecologically sensitive region which is a site of mudflats. sandpipers. the revenue department held the vast tracts of swamp areas and very little could be done for the migratory birds. Spot-billed Pelican.407 hectares of the Great Vedaranyam swamp in Tiruvarur. Spoonbill. is also likely to miss its target . adding 12. gulls and terns. thanks to its sheer size. The Tamil Nadu government has shown good sense in managing the sanctuary so far. India's responsibility regarding global warming increases too. grasslands and tropical dry evergreen forest. The national solar mission. for example. In this regard. Grey Heron and a variety of plovers. agriculture and other economic sectors adapt to the emerging climate trends and build their capacity to withstand the potential adverse impacts of these changes. exceeding four lakh. the government has formulated a comprehensive and well-crafted national action plan on climate change. This is an encouraging sign. and push the global community towards renewing efforts to thrash out a worthy and legally binding successor to the Kyoto protocol . is a right move toward restoring the ecologically sensitive wetland. especially Greater Flamingos. Painted Stork. didn't get off the ground. White Ibis. 11. A large number of migratory land birds also visit the sanctuary while migrating to places further south such as Sri Lanka. mangroves.policies of most countries. aimed at improving water use efficiency 20 per cent through pricing and other measures. Nor can India work on this problem alone. Progress in implementing the plan. As more factories come up. It will have to tread cautiously in maintaining the ecological . The sanctuary‘s feature is the large variety of migratory waterbirds that visit every year for winter feeding. Point Calimere wetland complex is the only one in south India given Ramsar site status in 2002 because of the significant role it plays in attracting migratory birds from even Siberia. Meeting the ecological test in Point Calimere The Tamil Nadu government‘s decision to expand the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary. Other visiting waterbirds include species such as the Lesser Flamingo. backwaters. India is growing fast and is seeking to abandon its sole dependence on services-led growth.one that binds China as well as the rest of the polluting world. The national water mission. So far. will miss targets too. The most prominent is the Greater Flamingo which comes mostly from the Rann of Kutch. Nagapattinam and Thanjavur districts. Avocet. Its negotiators and policy makers should break their wrongheaded emphasis on a unified front with China at climate change negotiations. India's contribution to total GHG emissions is low per capita even by the standards of developing countries . scaled-down. global target of keeping the surge in temperature below 2 degrees Celsius may be out of reach. Yet it nevertheless has much to do in the field. aimed at bringing 10 million hectares under green cover.thanks to policy deficiencies and especially a stubborn closed-mindedness about renewable energy in the infrastructure sector. although pursued with some seriousness. hasn't matched its drafting. Ornithologists say the site has registered the largest congregation of migratory birds. Few of the eight national missions unveiled in 2008 really got going. Some come from faraway places such as the Caspian Sea and Northern Russia. even the new. As many as 236 species were spotted after the onset of the north-east monsoon.a tiny fraction of China's.

"The agenda has been set more by immediate concerns.. the misuse of the ordinance is not beyond the realm of possibility for several reasons. a financial consultant and a visiting faculty at the Indian Institute of Management. FSDC must limit itself to coordination. sometimes justifying its decision on the ground that it was stepping in to smoothen the rift between regulators. Rubbishing the idea of a statutory role for the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) headed by the finance ministerinstead of its present role as a coordinator among regulators." said Subbarao.2013) 1. the remit of the central bank now extends to micro managing systemically important financial institutions. 12. Subbarao said this would achieve little. Bird flu viruses — mutations to watch out for . Instead." Srikrishna had said in his report. the responsibility for maintaining macroeconomic stability should largely be with RBI. These countries are empowering the central banks to regulate financial entities much beyond setting interest rates. Says RBI Governor D Subbarao Reserve Bank of India GovernorDuvvuri Subbarao spoke straight from the shoulder against a bigger role for the government in financial stability and regulation when world over lawmakers are empowering regulators with more autonomy. "We need to think through whether the responsibility of the FSDC board should be extended from being a coordination body to one having authority for executive decisions. are bringing in tough legislation to avoid the repeat of such an event. it is now being proposed to be made permanent with statutory powers. That is no mean task but it seems to know what it is doing.This despite occasional prodding by the government to tailor rules to suit its needs." Subbarao told a conference at the Indian Merchants Chamber. "You need something that is drastic. The governor had opposed the plan three years ago. "While FSDC is best suited for coordination. and there has been no explicit attempt to define what constitutes a 'financial stability' issue that falls within the domain of the FSDC."We are all aware that both the prime minister and you have strong and impeccable commitment to regulatory autonomy. in a long-term perspective when personalities change. In India. The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) headed by Justice BN Srikrishna has also recommended that decisions on interest rates should be taken by a monetary policy committee instead of being the sole prerogative of the RBI governor.. "The recommendation that the executive responsibility for safeguarding systemic risk should vest with the FSDC board runs counter to the post-crisis trend around the world of giving the collegial bodies responsibility only for coordination and for making recommendations." In the US and the UK. not much has moved. Indian regulators such as RBI. "The way forward from here in India is still uncertain. "But we must evaluate the regulatory arrangement. something that is a total overhaul of the existing financial system. Securities & Exchange Board of India and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority have been reasonably autonomous." said Vinod Kothari. where light-touch regulation led to the 2008 global credit crisis. While an informal panel of regulators called FSDC was formed when Pranab Mukherjee was the finance minister.06.balance so that it continues to attract a huge number of migratory birds. in advanced countries." The UPA government has appeared to be wanting to acquire more power in the field of regulation." CURRENT AFFAIRS (07. Kolkata. But some believe that total implementation of the Srikrishna committee recommendations will erode the authority of the regulators and expose the markets to the whims and fancies of the ruler of the day." Subbarao wrote to Mukherjee in mid-2010 when the plan became public for the first time.

To become similarly transmissible. Flu viruses. said in an e-mail: ―This work is important because it defines structural features in the receptor binding site of H5 HA that are critical for switching from avian to human receptor binding.‖ all fingers would have pointed to the tiny Indian contingent in the room.‖ In the case of the H7N9 virus. become capable of infecting cells along the human upper airway and thereby take a step towards turning into pandemic-causing strains. Some of the recent H5 HAs required as few as one or two amino acid mutations to switch to human receptors. Professor Sasisekharan and his colleagues found that introducing those amino acid changes into the HA of currentstrains of H5N1 would not improve their binding to human receptors.All they need is a change to their HA that switches its binding from avian to human receptors Bird flu viruses H5N1 and H7N9 that have sporadically infected humans. which spread easily among humans.‖ Professor Racaniello said 2. professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A team led by Ram Sasisekharan. it does not follow that such a virus would be able to transmit by aerosol among humans. an animal model for what happens in humans. Union Minister for Environment and Forests. what other changes are needed. modelled the key structural features that the HA of H5N1 and H7N9 viruses need to bind well to human receptors. do so through fine droplets that spew out when infected individuals cough or sneeze. the team noted that the H7N9 bird flu virus currently bound poorly to human receptors. a bird flu virus must be able to enter and infect cells in the upper respiratory tract. However. With lack of any pre-existing immunity to the two viruses.‖ Ms Natarajan would herself acknowledge. experts are concerned that if either gains the ability to pass readily from human to human. However. ―However. in which genes and how many is anyone‘s guess. with a higher fatality rate. bird flu viruses need changes to their HA that switches its binding from avian to human receptors. holding the fort against attempts bydeveloped countries to impose binding emission cuts on the global South.‖ he said in an email. and there has been little evidence of person-to-person transmission. this would result instructural changes within the receptor binding site that allow for extensive binding to human receptors present in the upper respiratory tract. it can set off a dangerous flu pandemic. There.Vincent Racaniello. a property which the H7N9 viruses infecting humans currently do not possess. However. haemagglutinin (HA). For that. Change the climate for India‘s poor If the great Scott Fitzgerald were to have walked into the grand plenary hall of the Durban climate conference in 2011 to announce once again. the study had shown that its HA might be only one amino acid change away from higher binding to human receptors. to bind strongly to a receptor molecule found on cells lining the human airway.‖ said Professor Sasisekharan in a press release. However. with a few mutations to a key protein on their surface. ―It is the network of amino acids in the HA and how they interact with the receptors that become key in the switch from avian to human receptors. People have typically caught these viruses from infected poultry. ―show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. would be for negotiators to abandon the principles of equity and . The first step in that entry process is for a viral surface protein. The ―greatest tragedy of all time.‖―Our findings can be put to use to monitor the evolution of H5N1 and H7N9 viruses in the field as well as in the clinic if and when there is an outbreak. switching of H5 HA to human receptor specificity is not sufficient to gain human-to-human transmissibility. professor of virology at Columbia University. according to research that has just been published in the scientific journal Cell . Fitzgerald would have caught a glimpse of the feisty Jayanthi Natarajan.In the second Cell paper. ―should a single amino acid mutation occur. than human-adapted flu viruses. both have caused a more severe disease among infected individuals. could. thescientists reported in one of two papers …Netherlands — examined what changes to important viral proteins would make H5N1 easily transmissible among ferrets.

a peer review mechanism could be put in place formonitoring and compliance. offers little to address climate change.S. emission cuts by 2015.S. is the international community‘s surprisingly warm reaction to the U. whose very existence hinges on the outcome of these negotiations. has proposed a mechanism by which countries define their own ―contribution‖ to emission cuts. is a perfect storm of international and domestic politics that threatens not only to produce an agreement which fails the imperative to tackle climate change. but also derail India‘s core concerns in the process.S. this tragedy is imminent — only India‘s heroism remains. saying it is for . China and the U. inter alia . Throw in a vacuous institution like the Green Climate Fund to save face.‖ What is worrisome.S. As Sebastian Duyck. Negotiators in Bonn were well aware that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had neared a staggering 400 parts per million (ppm). which emphasises national autonomy over multilaterally negotiated commitments.‘ equity and CBDR principles struggled to find relevance. which takes off from the Durban consensus.S.‘ Over the next two weeks. In fact. In its submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change‘s Ad Hoc Working Group. this threshold was crossed. we have stubbornly held up the ‗sovereignty‘ card. To some extent. Negotiators from the European Union. differences between the BASIC group and developed countries will be thrown into sharp relief. India and China) countries simply huddled together and struck a deal to negotiate an international agreement with legal force on. has audaciously called for an agreement that lends ―flexibility‖ to countries to ―update their contributions. South Africa. climate negotiators met last month to flesh out details of the 2015 agreement. What is. though. In this arrangement.‘s ―bottom-up‖ proposal.‖ The U. clear: commitments should be comprehensive and legally binding. is not reassuring. ‗U. intransigence' The news from Bonn. the EU calls for a ‗spectrum of commitments‘ that is fair and equitable to countries at different levels of growth. observes: ―negotiators of many countries have begun to consider how to accommodate U. If the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS). and India‘s message was clear: we will live to fight another day. known now as the ‗Durban Platform. That said.N. the narrative of ―contributions‖ takes two steps backward from the language of ―commitments‖ that the Durban platform recognises. submission. however. the European Union‘s position.S. the United States and the BASIC (Brazil. Even within this minimalist framework. a week after their meeting. Yet.Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). while discussing the issue of binding commitments. an analyst and blogger at the ‗Adopt a Negotiator Project‘. That day is nowhere near the horizon. The first signs of this tragic denouement were visible a few minutes after the Durban plenary closed. The U. comes too little and too late to achieve any measurable progress in setting the climate clockbackwards. The jury is still out on the fate of equity and CBDR principles — what India refers to as ‗nonnegotiables. Two years later. proposal this time round. The U. has evolved to be more accommodative. however. we have rightly argued. which Washington claims is driven by ‗realistic‘ expectations. is nothing new. Its bottom line is. where U. Once such contributions have been agreed upon nationally.S. the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) too have joined the chorus. as negotiators who have returned to Bonn discuss contentious issues relating to reduction targets and technology transfer. this was inevitable. intransigence. India somehow claimed victory in helping resuscitate the Kyoto Protocol — a treaty rendered worthless without its engagement with the world‘s largest carbon emitters. ‗Sovereignty‘ card India is reluctant to accept either a bottom-up or a top-down model — the former. the U.S. had already thrown in the towel for the sake of an(y) agreement.

none to dictate what India should do to mitigate carbon emissions. This is a fair contention, but New Delhi has set no qualitative or quantitative parameters for the equitable distribution it would take to agree on a legal framework. Taken in sum, the U.S. and EU proposals — along with India‘s established position — set the stage for a head-on collision in Paris two years from now, the result of which has only been too frequently visible at previous Conferences of the Parties (COPs). The emerging strategic framework between India and the U.S. is also likely to prove decisive in future climate change talks. The Obama administration could present a possible deal on shale gas exports to India as a carrot in return for a flexible negotiating posture. Unlike the nuclear deal which served a largely symbolic purpose, shale gas exports — which India has sought desperately, given its rapidly depleting fossil fuel sources — are an effective bargaining chip. What lends credence to this theory is the U.S.‘s recent courting of China (India‘s Man Friday and de facto negotiating partner at COPs) and Japan (which refused to extend its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol after 2012) on climate change. If the U.S.China Joint Statement on Climate Change, issued during Secretary Kerry‘s visit to Beijing in April, is any indication, the U.S. is likely to work with major carbon emitters on a bilateral basis than go through the rigours of multilateral agenda-setting. After all, China, Japan and the U.S. have a mutual interest in seeing the Kyoto Protocol off. Arguably, the biggest obstacle that stands in India‘s way of articulating and achieving its goals at climate change talks is internal politics itself. Much has been said and written about India‘s lack of a ‗coherent‘ negotiating strategy — there is little doubt that between the COPs at Copenhagen (2009) and Durban (2011), India did a volte face on the issue of emission cuts. That neither Jairam Ramesh, then Environment Minister, nor Ms Natarajan sought to ‗tie‘ India to legally binding commitments is moot. In 2009, we presented a radically different vision of equity — one that departed from the age-old claim that India has had historically low emissions per capita, and thus shouldered little responsibility vis-a-vis developed countries for the damage caused by greenhouse gases. By 2011, we reverted to square one, pretending that the stance at Copenhagen was a result of ‗personality politics.‘ Without commenting on the merits of Mr. Ramesh‘s views, one must ask why India‘s climate change negotiations have lent themselves to internal turf battles between diplomats, bureaucrats and ministers. This question assumes importance as India prepares to elect a new government next year. Thus far, the United Progressive Alliance could have afforded not to institutionalise internal deliberations in India‘s climate diplomacy. Ultimately, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Union Cabinet were able to paper over differences between negotiators. Since 2007, when the Bali Roadmap was announced, the same handful of policymakers has decided India‘s negotiating strategy on an ad hoc basis. But the luxury of continuity is short-lived: it is far from certain whether the incumbent will remain in power after 2014. In particular, a fractured mandate, prone to federalist compulsions, can have serious consequences on India‘s emptyshell position on climate change. Two years stand between the Bonn Conference and COP 21 in Paris, where negotiators are expected to churn out a legal instrument. For now, India‘s stance runs contradictory to its desire to confront climate change. If our future per capita emissions are likely to be small compared to other industrial economies, of what use are voluntary ‗green initiatives‘ without having major emitters on board? A new report by the International Displacement Monitoring Center has put a number on people displaced by climate-induced disasters in 2012. The tally reads thus: India 8.9 million, European Union 0. Yet India continues to press, almost unconscionably, for ―incentives‖ to be part of a climate deal. We will be one of the worstaffected when the effects of global warming precipitate; our reactive climate diplomacy conveniently ignores this truth.

New Delhi would do well to reassess its notion of equity, as other developing nations have rightfully done. When, in 2011, Ethiopia announced its intentions to be ‗carbon neutral‘ by 2025, it effectively abandoned the premise that low emitters can forever point fingers at industrialised countries. Just as developed nations bear responsibility to assume more ambitious commitments, India should treat its differentially positioned population in equitable terms. The pernicious effects of climate change will be most acute among India‘s vulnerable sections. If the West owes a historic obligation to the rest in confronting climate change, so too does India towards its impoverished. New Delhi should stop its flip-flops and adopt a coherent policy in its negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions 3. In Indian Ocean, threat is from U.S., not China, says Gayoom ―U.S. setting up base in Maldives could upset balance of power‖ Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years and is today a sprightly76year-old, feels that it is the U.S. rather than China that could upset the balance of power in the Indian Ocean by seeking to set up a base in his nation. ―I am not happy. I didn‘t want that to happen,‖ he said, reacting to reports of the U.S. and the Maldives discussing a Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) that envisages a foothold forAmerican forces in the heart of the Indian Ocean. ―There are no such moves from China,‖ Mr. Gayoom said, when he was asked about reports from think tanks from Australia to Europe predicting a Chinese Navy presence now that Beijing has opened an embassy in the Maldives. The leaked draft SOFA being discussed by Male and Washington ―incorporates the principal provisions and necessary authorisations for the temporary presence and activities of the U.S. forces in the Republic of Maldives and, in the specific situations indicated herein, the presence and activities of United States contractors in the Maldives.‖ Acknowledging that the discussion had taken place, the U.S. embassy in Colombo has, however, clarified that there are no immediate plans for a permanent military base in the Maldives. ―SOFAs are normal practice wherever the U.S. cooperates closely with a country‘s national security forces. SOFAs generally establish the framework under which the U.S. personnel operate in a country when supporting securityrelated activities and the United States is currently party to more than 100 agreements that may be considered a SOFA,‖ it said. Mr. Gayoom appreciated the role played by India, third major player in the region. ―I am happy with India‘s role in my 30 years of presidency. There is no threat from the Indian side. I appreciate what it has done in the social and economic sectors,‖ he said in an exclusive interview to The Hindu on the last day of his three-day visit during which he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. But on cancellation of the GMR-led consortium‘s contract for modernising and running the airport at Male — the biggest single-ticket FDI proposal in the Maldives — Mr. Gayoom blamed Muhammad Nasheed, former President who had defeated Mr. Gayoom in the archipelago‘s first multiparty polls in 2008. The multibillion-dollar contract was scrapped by Mr. Nasheed‘s successor, Mohammad Waheed Hasan. But Mr. Gayoom says it was Mr. Nasheed who inked the deal without taking Parliament into confidence. ―This was a mistake. Had he consulted all political parties, the public would not have formed the impression that corruption had taken place. Then we told the next President Mr. Waheed that he should hold discussions with the GMR Group and the Indian government to arrive at an acceptable solution, after which the government was free to act on its own. Unfortunately, this was not done and suddenly there was this unhappy ending.‖ But he declined to predict what a happy ending would look like on the grounds that case was up for arbitration. As for the presidential elections, Mr. Gayoom once entertained thoughts of Mr. Waheed joining hands with his Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). That did not happen and it is now a three-horse race, likely to be held in September. Besides Mr. Gayoom‘s brother Yameen Abdulla and Mr. Nasheed, Mr. Waheed has thrown his hat into the ring. That could complicate matters for the

PPM, which has Cabinet Ministers in the government and which till late last year entertained thoughts of the incumbent President becoming a force multiplier by supporting Mr. Abdulla. 4. India can help build Myanmar‘s infrastructure, says Suu Kyi Myanmar's Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called for meaningful contribution from India in development assistance and infrastructure upgradation of the country slowly embracing political and economic reforms. In a meeting with Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday, the National League for Democracy Chief discussed cooperation in a number of areas including education, upgradation of hospitals, textiles, handloom and infrastructure. ―We discussed development related economic and social issues. She (Suu Kyi) talked about her concerns, particularly those related to people's progress and empowerment, and how India can make meaningful contribution in development assistance and infrastructure upgradation,‖ Sharma told Business Line. Sharma assured Suu Kyi that India stands ready to extend all necessary assistance to the people of Myanmar in their developmental efforts as Myanmar is a vitally important neighbour. Suu Kyi, who along with 43 members of her party is part of the country's Opposition, was critical of what the country had achieved since the military made way for a democratically elected Government in 2010. ―This is the third year of reforms and it is time that we see real change in the lives of common people,‖ she said speaking at the World Economic Forum for East Asia on Thursday. The pro-democracy leader, who was under house arrest for several years under the military's five decades long rule over the country, reiterated her wish to be President. ―If I pretended I did not want to be President, I would be dishonest,‖ she said. The country's Constitution, however, would not allow her to contest for the post as her spouse is an overseas citizen. Her party is hopeful that the Constitution would be amended and she would be allowed to contest in the Presidential polls in 2015. In her meeting with Sharma, Suu Kyi expressed keen interest in building linkages with the textiles sector of India. Stressing the preference of the people of Myanmar for natural fiber, Suu Kyi said that the handloom sector of India had immense potential for the country. 5. Steady supply lifts coal-fired power output to new high in 2012-13 Coal-fired power generation in the country grew by 12.73 per cent in 2012-13. This is the highest ever growth, say industry watchers.Electricity generation (from all sources) rose 4 per cent in the period compared to the previous year. Coal-based power generation grew from 584.787 billion units in 2011-12 to 659.231 billion units in 2012-13, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data show. ―Last year, the capacity addition as well as generation was higher. Generation was higher because Coal India nearly met its commitment. It was in the last few days that some problems happened, otherwise Coal India would have over-achieved its dispatch to power companies,‖ Power Secretary P. Uma Shankar told Business Line. At present, Coal India supplies fuel to 92 of the 99coal-fired power stations in the country that sustains 1,02,438 MW of installed electricity generation capacity. India had a total of 1,30,370.89 MW of coal-fired capacity as on April 30. The public sector miner could achieve 32.10 million tonnes of incremental coal off-take in 2012-13. This is the highest ever jump in a single year for Coal India. Thermal power utilities of the country were major beneficiaries of this increase as coal supplies to them rose by additional 33.36 million tonnes compared to the previous year. Capacity addition Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman and Managing Director of NTPC, said that increase in generation is attributable to capacity addition. Coal generation capacity grew 16.25 per cent to 1,30,221 MW in 2012-13 from 1,12,022 MW in the previous year. ―Yes, Coal India supply has marginally helped in more generation. Coal supply to NTPC from Coal India grew 14 per cent in 2012-13. At the same time, the capacity growth of NTPC was around 11 per cent,‖

Choudhury told Business Line. Coal India supplies to all power utilities during 2012-13 grew by 10.7 per cent at 345.43 million tonnes in 2012-13 against 312.07 million tonnes in the previous year. The increase in coal dispatch was primarilydue to almost 13 million tonnes of ground stocks being liquidated and better coordination with the Railways, resulting in more rakes being loaded. During the last financial year, Coal India‘s average loading per day increased by 18.7 rakes. On average, 186.4 rakes were loaded per day against 167.7 rakes/day in the previous year. For 2013-14, Coal India has set an off-take target of 492 million tonnes, which is 27 million tonnes higher than last year. The miner is looking to supply 377 million tonnes to power utilities in the current fiscal. To achieve the target, the Maharatna firm would liquidate 18 million tonnes of pithead stock and has sought 212.2 rakes a day. 6. Fiscal deficit, a black hole Open market operations are meant to stabilise money supply, and not provide credit to the Government. Monetisation of the deficit continues through the backdoor. Newspapers are carrying reports on the ‗progress‘ made in cutting down fiscal and revenue deficits from their previous levels. They do not tell the whole story. Certainconceptual issues are glossed over in the attempt to create a favourable public opinion on the Government‘s fiscal management. One of the reasons for the so-called stringency of liquidity in the banking system in the last quarter of 2012-13 was the accumulation of Government‘s cash balances in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to bring down fiscal deficit by restraining planned expenditure. The Government says that such constraints amounted to only around Rs 15,000 crore. However, there was also a further restriction like delaying tax refunds, settlements of government bills, and so on. Pernicious practice This pernicious practice is an annual feature that is facilitated by the cash flow accounting in Government under which only actual inflows and outflows are recognised. The ideal is the accrual system under which transactions are recorded at the time when economic value is created, exchanged, transferred or impaired, irrespective of whether cash is actually exchanged or not. Following the recommendation by theTwelfth and Thirteenth Finance Commissions for a gradual shift to accrual-based accounting, operational guidelines were issued more than two years ago for the transition to the new system in the interests of greater transparency and accountability of departments. The real extent of fiscal deficit can be known only if the liabilities due to be discharged during the year but not done are revealed along with the revenue receipts (not under litigation) expected but not realised. There is no information available on the progress of the transition to the new system in the Budget papers. There is another aspect of fiscal deficit about which I wrote in this daily (‗The Fiscal Deficit Conundrum‘, February 7, 2002). While the central bank lending to Government is considered as deficit financing, the interest paid by the latter and returned to it by the RBI at the end of the year as part of a transfer of the surplus of income over expenditure is treated as revenue receipt. No doubt, the interest paid and the corresponding annual transfer together have a neutraleffect in their consolidated balance sheet. However, the impact on the economy is substantial because while the payment of interest is mere book entry, the year-end transfer is a real transaction generating funds for the Government. Substantial underwriting In the past, before the central bank was prohibited from entering the primary market for Government securities, there was a substantial underwriting by the former although there evolved a practice of unloading them later on the market when conditions were favourable. Still, the interest paid by Government when the securities were held by the RBI should have been substantial. When I wrote my article in 2002, at one point of time, the RBI was holding Rs 1.4 trillion worth of securities. As on May 24, 2013, the holdings of rupee securities

(including treasury bills) add up to Rs 6.3 trillion. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act prohibiting the central bank from purchases in primary market has made little difference to the monetisation of fiscal deficit. Substantial volumes of the securities have been added to the portfolio through the debt buyback operations in the secondary market. The Government does not get the money to finance the current year‘s deficit as there is only a change in the ownership of the gilt-edged paper from the seller to the RBI. This led to a former Finance Secretary claiming that buybacks were not monetising fiscal deficit. However, it does imply a retroactive monetisation of fiscal deficit, since the net RBI credit to Government goes up as a consequence. One may even take the view that the current year‘s deficit is also financed by RBI credit through the medium of banks and other institutions participating in the buyback scheme – a case of backdoor financing. Time to come clean Elsewhere I have called the so-called Open Market Operations (OMO) as Debt Management Operations (DMO). It is important for the Government and the RBI to come clean and become transparent on the matter and reveal the total interest paid by the former to the latter, including the amount paid on Ways and Means Advances, which is now treated as revenue receipt. In reality the RBI is financing the interest payment and it should be included in fiscal deficit. Monetary experts may argue that what I say may be true of all OMOs, in which case the rationale for its being an instrument for the implementation of monetary policy is compromised. But the distinction between OMOs and DMOs is clear. The former has a monetary objective of regulating money supply; the latter has the fiscal objective of helping the Government in its borrowing programme. Interestingly, whether outright monetary transaction, i.e., open market purchases of sovereign debt, is compatible with the Treaty on the European Central Bank, which prohibits its lending to governments but allows open market operations, has been a subject of intense debate in academic circles in the US and Europe. I came to know of this during an interaction with Martin Hellwig, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, consequent to my review of his book entitled The Bankers‘ New Clothes co-authored jointly with Anat Admati of Stanford. 7. Golden tangle Govt raises import duties again, misses the point Given the extreme stress that India's current account is under, it came as a great relief when international gold prices declined sharply over the past several weeks. Gold imports have been a huge contributor to the widening of the current account deficit. It was believed that lower prices would dampen the enthusiasm of buyers who were lured by the prospect of endless appreciation. But, unfortunately, this didn't happen; lower prices apparently induced even more buying, as people presumably felt that this was atemporary decline and it was a good time to build up holdings. As a result, the total value of imports shot up. An extremely worried policy establishment has responded with several measures, essentially imposing quantitative restrictions on imports. These come on the back of a series of increases in import duties on gold, taking them from 0 to 6 per cent over the past year - and further up to 8 per cent on Wednesday. Unfortunately, while the government needs to be seen to be responding and has done so in some measure, its latest actions are virtually guaranteed to fail. The compulsion to act may justify the steps taken, but it must be recognised that these will in no way address the fundamental reasons why people are flocking to gold. India's long experience with quantitative restrictions on imports suggests that parallel channels will rapidly emerge; indications are that this has already happened after the imposition of duties. The case is not helped by the fact that Bangladesh and Nepal, both with extremely porous borders with India, impose no duties on gold imports. As more demand is satisfied through these channels,

but the true picture will be revealed by the hawala rate on foreign currencies. however. In the name of combating extremism.000 tonnes (annual imports are around 1. and often this is on account of the zeal of the law-enforcement agencies to give a commensurate response to the terrorist. which will now begin to deviate from the rate in the organised market. the measures adopted by states to counter terrorism have themselves sometimes been found wanting in terms of compliance with human rights norms. Thus. imports. this is a good beginning and should be reinforced with larger volumes and the resultant market liquidity.estimated at 20. Although 9/11 has become a significant force in justifying . advocates. Several such products are available globally and have been proposed in a recent report by a working group set up by the Reserve Bank of India. Third. not just in name but in substance. since these should logically be linked to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).2013) 1. indigenous groups. Both product design and marketing have important roles to play in thisprocess. which will give savers the financial returns from gold but not require physical ownership and. promote the development and offering of gold-linked financial products. minorities.06. Terrorism has not only affected our lives directly. Although their linkage to the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) dilutes their attraction as retail instruments somewhat. The state cannot legitimately respond by resorting to mechanisms that overstep the limits of the law. There are three components to a robust solution. increase access and real returns on basic bank deposits. There is another dimension: by being able to build up a perception of threat. First. thereby fomenting further unrest and erosion of faith in the Constitution. As Professor Simon Bronitt of Australian National University has summed up ―…there is almost a new genus of law: post 9/11 law. journalists and civil society. consequently. but has also allowed the state to intrude in our lives like never before. the state may be able to get away with channelling the funds normally allocated to social programmes towards strengthening the police force and the army. Fundamental obligation Since the security of the individual is a basic human right (and a fundamental condition of the social contract underpinning society). Absent these initiatives. This implies both bringing down inflation and expanding the reach of banking services. Second. a reason why it is important for the state to ensure that none of its measures transgresses the limits of the law is any transgression may have the effect of eroding both its legitimacy and the rule of law. Repression is no solution Perhaps no other chain of events in the recent past has had a more direct and substantial impact on the life of human beings across the world than acts of terror.should be brought into the market by encouraging these households to convert them into financial products. In recent years. which werelaunched this week. repressive measures are also used to stifle the voice of human rights activists. the protection of individuals is a fundamental obligation of the state.000 tonnes) . the very large stock of gold already in the hands of Indian households .the visible current account deficit may narrow. The talked-up threat perception of terrorism (and a few ‗encounters‘) may well be used to justify the acquisition of more weapons. CURRENT AFFAIRS (08. it won't be very long before the gold smuggler as arch-villain makes a comeback in Bollywood. The means and methods adopted by the state have posed serious challenges to human rights and the rule of law. as also proposed by the working group. A significant move in this direction is the introduction of inflation-indexed bonds.

many of which are fundamental. for example. And yet. one can safely say that it does not seem to be aware of the abysmal conditions in which the tribals of Chhattisgarh live. logical and commonsensical. This feeling of bein g ‗parentless‘ makes people vulnerable to anti-state ideologies.these laws. It is evident that the state has misplaced priorities. which results in irreversible psychological damage. It is cynically said that on the path of ‗maldevelopment‘ almost every step that we take seems to give rise to insurgency and political extremism [which along with terrorism are supposed to be the three gravest threats to India's integrity and sovereignty] … The resistance with which the state‘s well meaning efforts at development and economic growth are met makes one think about the reasons for such opposition to the state‘s endeavours for development. national and religious discrimination. From their perspective. (d) . which must include (a) strengthening the rule of law. development is a dreadful and hateful word that is aimed at denying them even the source of their sustenance. (b) fostering respect for human rights and provision for reparation for violations. In fact. Therefore. There are grim realities of existence as tribals in this country. the truth is that there is an element of opportunism [by some law-enforcement and state agencies] behind these claims ofnecessity for new powers and offences. and private actors in connivance with state actors. in fact. to millions of Indians. and the unfortunate aspect is that their unheard voices fail to make a din in the power corridors. I am only suggesting that oppression is one of the reasons of unrest which manifests in the resort to violence against the state and insignias of the state. which used to be considered a grave intrusion upon one‘s privacy at one point of time. come down heavily on peaceful protesters as they did at India Gate when they relentlessly beat up women protesting in the aftermath of last December‘s gang rape in Delhi. Existential realities Little or no attention is paid to the true causes of resort to violent methods. The state does not seem to be aware that tribals in Madhya Pradesh eat the poisonouskesari dal which is reported to have a paralytic impact. The state also does not seem to be aware that tribal women and other villagers in Maharashtra have to walk miles before they can get drinking water. and I believe it is quite perceptive of the reality. Having said this. Since there is little that the state seems to have done. violence and terrorism become a means to attract the attention of the state. The state turns a blind eye to the violence committed by state actors. Studies establish that absolute deprivation by the state has a psychological impact on its people. 20 years after dispossessing them. I am not legitimising violence against innocentsby invocation of oppression. the Supreme Court took strong exception to the manner in which the Central government and the Mahanadi Coal Fields Limited had acquired the lands of tribals in the Sundargarh district of Odisha and not compensated them even 23 years later. (c) reversing ethnic. is today normalised and we are all fine with being frisked everywhere. it is equally necessary to understand the genuineness of the ‗security reasons‘ presented by the state as a ground for abridgment of human rights. and socio-economic marginalisation. political exclusion. Frisking. Why is the state‘s perception and vision of development at such great odds with the people it purports to develop? And why are their rights so dispensable?‖ Listen to people The Supreme Court‘s identification of the issue is not off the mark. In the Mahanadi Coal Fields Case (2010). extremism. It is as if the deafening sound of explosions and landmines is used to attract the attention of the state to existential realities. the government noted that the land was actually not required! The Supreme Court observed: ―the whole issue of development appears to be so simple. Governments have been non-responsive to peaceful protests and have. any attempt to combat violence by the state must have within its fold the measures to eliminate the conditions conducive to the spread of extremism.‖ While militarisation and the strengthening of police forces are important in their own right.

‖ she told the Asian edition of the World Economic Forum held at Naypyitaw on Thursday. key to determining monetary policy: Subbarao ‗The central bank is keeping track of growth and inflation‘ The monsoon outlook is going to be an important factor in determining Reserve Bank of India‘s monetary policy in the next three months. Delivering the Institute of Public Enterprise‘s (IPE) golden jubilee lecture on ‗India‘s macro-economic challenges: Reserve Bank perspectives‖ here on Friday. Daw Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy know full well that the present Constitution specifically disqualifies her from contesting an election for the post of president. or House of Representatives. Article 59(f) says any candidate who is married to a foreign citizen or has children who are foreign citizens is barred from becoming president or vicepresident of Myanmar. are held by the pro-military Union Solidarity andDevelopment Party and other military nominees. Michael Aris. working on the ground for the uplift of the poor. It has already gone further than anyone had imagined in opening up the system to change. as are her two children. and I am quite frank about it. One wishes ardently that new mechanisms of review — with deep and meaningful engagement with the local communities suggested in the Verma Committee on crimes against women — be quickly operationalised and deployed. But unless a section of the military party is willing to work for a political settlement and reconciliation. Only an inclusive approach that respects human rights can eliminate extremism 2. 3. By declaring her intent despite this prohibition. and must work with an attitude of inclusiveness.listening to the people and (e) becoming more responsive to society. hung up his uniform and became President. Daw Suu Kyi had planned the announcement for the first such gathering of business and political leaders from around the world to be held in Myanmar since the recent thaw. who died in 1999. we must devise innovative systems of engagement. Daw Suu Kyi‘s husband. he said the RBI was keeping track of growth. Political structures need to build confidence by dialogue. Violence against the state is tragic but it contains the seeds of rejection. Monsoon. ―I want to run for President. Obviously. Now that the international community has become fully engaged with the government in Myanmar — President Thein Sein recently visited Washington and was welcomed by Barack Obama in the White House — the work can begin to effect a smooth and negotiated transition to real civilian rule. The arbitrary exclusion of Daw Suu Kyi from the 2015 presidential contest does the Myanmar military no credit. the NLD and the various ethnic groups represented in parliament will have to work towards amending the rigid constitution. Two years ago. according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D. The recent events of violence are tragic without a doubt but they contain the seeds of rejection of political structures. Subbarao. such a major challenge cannot be met. If Daw Suu Kyi wants to be president. including India. It mustn‘t stop half-way now. The NLD won the 2012 parliamentary by-elections decisively but can do little to drive the process of political change in parliament because 312 of the 440 seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw. was a British citizen. While mourning the loss of human life. Thein Sein.‖ Daw Suu Kyi has prepared the military and the wider world for the changes and challenges that lie ahead. need to play a constructive role. This is where Myanmar‘s neighbours. And . By going public with her plan at the World Economic Forum and stating that she wishes to be ―honest to my people. based not on power or hierarchical administration but equality. she has raised the expectations of her supporters and also put the country‘s military rulers on the defensive. Nobel laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi hasannounced her intention to contest. No stopping her now Well before the non-uniformed generals ruling Myanmar can start planning for the 2015 presidential election. the Senior General who ruled Myanmar. Of course. inflation and balance of payments.

demographic dividend. he said it was not fair to say that tight monetary policy had not reined in inflation. The council. mitigating vulnerability of the external factor. he said the story was promising and credible as the pre-crisis drivers were still there. and demand pressures. Subbarao said there were three macro-economic policy challenges — managing growth-inflation. and managing the political economy of fiscal consolidation. He pointed out that inflation had come down from double digits. Referring to India‘s growth story. In the current macro-economic situation. The promise of increased productivity.7 per cent. He said the average growth during pre-crisis period was 8. GTI Group board member Madhav Dhar. Panel to assess competitiveness of financial sector The government on Friday constituted a Standing Council of Experts under thechairmanship of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Secretary to assess the international competitiveness of the Indian financial sector. and V. balance of payments was under stress and investments had decelerated. decent legal system. the council will examine related policy and operating frameworks and the performance of various segments of the Indian capital and financial markets. other members of the council include Prime Database ChairmanPrithvi Haldea. He said that inflation. and inhibited supply response to inflation by crowding out the private sector.importantly. the council will . the Chairperson may also invite any such person for any of the meetings of the council ―whose presence is deemed necessary for achieving the objectives of the council. global commodity prices. impeded monetary transmission. which was in double digits in 2010-11. applicable tax rates and documentation requirements as compared to other competing destinations and accordingly make recommendations aimed at achieving competitiveness. he said the growth had significantly moderated. Inflation was driven by food inflation (both cyclical and structural). will examine various pecuniary and non-pecuniary transaction costs and burdens of doing business in the Indian market and make recommendations for enhancing its competitiveness. and the enormous depth of capacity would be the big growth drivers. VSG Capital Advisors CEO Vikram Gandhi. set up in accordance with the announcement made by Finance Minister P. NSE Vice-Chairman Ravi Narain. he stressed the need for controlling fiscal deficit. inflation came off from the peak but there were several upside risk factors. Describing as ―disturbing‖ the deceleration in investments. Besides. it was chasing the monsoon. Emphasising the need to reduce current account deficit (CAD) to sustainable levels. Shubhashis Gangopadhyay of India Development Foundation. These include transactions costs such as brokerage fee. as also the completeness of these markets in terms of fully meeting client needs as per global standards through provision of requisite services and financial instruments. Apart from the Economic Affairs Secretary as Chairperson. came down to below 5 per cent in 2012. According to a Finance Ministry statement here. He said fiscal deficit exacerbated inflation pressures. Dr. and DEA Joint Secretary (Capital Markets) as Convener-Member Secretary. depreciation.‖ As for the terms of reference of the council. Alongside. CARE India Chairman Nachiket Mor. and it was inevitable to sacrifice growth to manage inflation. the standing panel of experts will analyse the international competitiveness of the domestic financial sector and comprehensively examine various pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of doing business through Indian capital/financial markets. Jahangir Aziz of JP Morgan. Susan Thomas of IGIDR. Ravi Anshuman of IIM Bangalore. Booz and Company ex-CEO Shumeet Banerji. Chidambaram in his Budget speech for this fiscal. Referring to criticism of RBI‘s management of growth-inflation dynamics. growth had moderated. He said the growth-inflation dynamics of pre-crisis growth was quite different from post-crisis. the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) in the Finance Ministry as member and alternate chair. and make its recommendations aimed at improving competitiveness and efficiency. he attributed the slowdown to external and domestic factors. and it started fraying beginning with the global financial crisis of 2008-09. 4. Admittedly. he added.

India is also the largest market for project exports from China with current execution orders estimated at over $55 billion. there are bottlenecks that need to be tackled and issues that need to be addressed. totalled $75 billion in 2011-12. promoting development of and strengthening governance in the Indian capital markets and the financial sector while ensuring that risks are contained and investor interests are protected. There are complementarities of size and strength between the two economies which make India and China natural partners. Bilateral trade See it as Premier Li Keqiang‘s response to changing global economic dynamics or simply a desire to bring the two countries closer. Most importantly. There was a lot of nostalgia as he recalled the Chinese youth delegation that he had led to India 27 years ago and the ―warmth and friendship of the Indian people‖. This is no mean achievement considering that just 11 years back. India is enthused by the encouraging statements from the Chinese leadership. the government ―would have the right to reconstitute/discontinue the council at any time. is projected to touch $100 billion by 2015.5 billion and a growing middle class. Li Keqiang promised. the fact is that the economic engagement between India and China is one of the most rapidly evolving bilateral relationships today.also suggest reform measures aimed at enhancing transparency. was playing an increasingly notable role in the global arena and there was applause for India‘s enormous achievements. India has also become an attractive destination for about 100 Chinese companies across a wide range of sectors. Between us. banking and pharmaceuticals. Over the years. However. India mainly exports raw materials to China and imports a large quantum of finished goods which has led to a swelling trade deficit — from $17 billion in 2007-08 to $39 billion in 2011-12. Both sides willing. ―the relationship between our two countries is of growing significance and essential for our peaceful development and sustained economic growth. on the ground. auto components. India and China are the fastest growing major economies offering a huge market and rich human resources. There was appreciation of how India. Issues to be addressed No doubt. while Indian investments into China are marked by the presence of companies in areas such as IT. According to the statement. there was a strong underlining of India‘s priority today in China‘s foreign policy with Premier Li Keqiang making New Delhi the first stop of his maiden official trip after assuming office.‖ The council will examine pecuniary and non-pecuniary transaction costs 5. This must change. as well as for stability and prosperity in our region and the world‖. Bilateral trade. The Premier has quite rightly indicated that ―linkages between our vast markets‖ could be a game changer for the world. trade between the two countries was merely $3 billion. As India‘s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also pointed out. The recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India was not business as usual. ―one of the fastest growing economies of the world‖. we have the finest and most efficient manufacturing and services companies and these should work together. New chapter in Sino-Indian ties The Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has rightly indicated that ―linkages between our vast markets‖ could be a game changer for the world. China today is our largest trade partner. With a combined population of 2. The Chinese Premier has assured us that he understands our concerns over the trade deficit and has promised greater . Foremost among these is the growing trade asymmetry that has become unsustainable for India since it has implications for our current account. ―Sino-Indian ties would be the most important bilateral partnership of the century‖. India needs to shift its export profile towards finished and value-added products and see a sizable jump in shipments to bridge the growing trade gap. without any notice or attribution of any reasons. while the council is expected to hold meetings at least once in two months to meet the stated objectives.

The upcoming National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs). the hawks are insisting on bringing QE to an end. In the United States. of which FICCI is the secretariat from India. Indian companies are large customers for Chinese firms in ICT/telecom and power sectors. against a backdrop of government reluctance to force debt write-downs. The first meeting of the CEOs‘ forum which was held on the sidelines of the Premier‘s visit. In the energy sector. based on research underlying my 2009 book with Carmen M Reinhart. social. But the world's major central banks seem not to have noticed. but. This is . and economic risks of continued slow growth after a once-in-a-century financial crisis. the Federal Reserve has sent bond markets into a tizzy by signalling that quantitative easing (QE) might be coming to an end. also present a good opportunity for Chinese companies to evaluate. The Indian side urged its Chinese counterpart to consider investing in our Special Economic Zones (SEZs) from where they can export to third countries as well. There was also a suggestion to enable banks on both sides to open more branches in each other‘s countries to facilitate trade and investment.market access to Indian products. of course. 4-6 per cent annually) is not so compelling as it was at the outset of the crisis. A proper assessment of the medium-term risks would have helped to justify my conclusion in December 2008 that "It will take every tool in the box to fix today's once-in-a-century financial crisis. On the contrary. Back then. has already identified the opportunities. That is a mistake. along with massively over-valued real housing prices and excessive real wages in some sectors. is an important initiative that will play a key role in stepping up engagement between the two countries. public. These are all interesting ideas to be pursued and will add a new facet to our relationship that has long gone beyond bilateral scope and has acquired regional. The consensus at the time. companies from both sides agreed to work together and laid particular emphasis on sharing technologies in the renewable areas. and external debt are at record levels in many countries. moderate inflation would have been extremely helpful. The formation of the India-China CEOs‘ forum. India would be watching to see how the Chinese Government acts on its promise related to market access. which will be the pivot for us to enhance the share of manufacturing in overall GDP. it should be embraced. The doves got massive liquidity. I thought otherwise. a sustained burst of moderate inflation is not something to worry about. Examining previous deep financial crises. private. Perhaps it is time that the Chinese side looks at indigenising production of some of the products exported to India by way of setting up manufacturing plants in India. global and strategic dimensions. in most regions. 6. Weighed against the political. when I first raised the issue. Perhaps the case for moderate inflation (say. There is still a need for huge relative wage adjustments between Europe's periphery and its core. Inflation is still the lesser evil Central banks worldwide should continue to focus on growth. China would like to see more competitive Indian products enter its market and stands ready to provide facilitation. with the economy now strengthening. was that a robust "V-shaped" recovery was around the corner. The proposed exit seems to reflect a truce accord among the Fed's hawks and doves. there was every reason to be concerned that the employment decline would be catastrophically deep and the recovery extraordinarily slow. This Time is Different." Five years on. Another important suggestion that came up was to consider giving a fillip to the rupeerenminbi trade as this would help minimise the exchange risk and give a further boost to trade. and it was foolish to embrace inflation heterodoxy. CEOs‘ forum While we welcome these views and would work towards opening up a new chapter in bilateral relations. not on inflation orthodoxy The world's major central banks continue to express concern about inflationary spillover from their recession-fighting efforts.

The rupee is falling because India's current account deficit is at a historic high: 6. 7. sustained recovery from the financial crisis. even if employment has not fully recovered. The risk premium could rise. As William McChesney Martin.a modern-day variant of the classic prescription to start tightening before inflation sets in too deeply. A falling rupee could translate into higher inflation. and unambiguous communication strategy. Japan faces a different conundrum. it has been cautious in its approach to monetary easing. there are legitimate technical concerns that QE is distorting asset prices. after years of near-zero price growth. People who were hoping that the RBI could now start softeninginterest rates to prime growth could. has sent a clear signal to markets that the BOJ is targeting 2 per cent annual inflation. The European Central Bank is in a different place entirely. consistent. down 5% since January. The depreciation could take some edge off the external deficit by making relatively inessential imports dearer and exports more competitive. . It would also provide a backdrop against which wages in Germany could rise without necessarily having to fall in the periphery. But. forcing some foreign institutional investors to head for the exit. Because the ECB has already been using its balance sheet to help bring down borrowing costs in the euro zone's periphery. But higher inflation would help to accelerate desperately needed adjustment in Europe's commercial banks. dumping around $50 million worth of stock in the first four trading days of June. What did Kuroda and his colleagues expect? If the BOJ were to succeed in raising inflation expectations. if interest rates were rising because of a growing risk premium. the increase is part of the solution. The BOJ would be right to worry. as always with monetary policy. once quipped. Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao pointed to this number to say that the high deficit makes it tougher to implement monetary policy. who served as Fed chairman in the 1950s and 1960s. much as some central banks were excessively devoted to the gold standard during the 1920s and 1930s. As long as nominal interest rates are rising because of inflation expectations. In Hyderabad on Friday. with longer-term interest rates now creeping up slightly. the central bank's job is "to take away the punch bowl just as the party gets going. as they see dollar returns erode. long-term interest rates would necessarily have to reflect a correspondingly higher inflation premium. therefore. Right now is the US' best chance yet for a real. The government should give them the diplomatic heft they need in these new markets. be in for a nasty surprise: rates could stay at the same level or go up marginally to offset the anticipated rise in inflation. unfortunately. The weak rupee is denting debt and equity markets. And it would be a catastrophe if the recovery were derailed by excessive devotion to anti-inflation shibboleths. of course. the BOJ seems to be pausing. and a lot of people have not had any punch yet. let alone too much. How to really stem the rupee‘s slide One dollar is now worth Rs 57. if investors became uncertain about whether Kuroda would adhere to his commitment. They should be spiking the punch bowl more. After being net purchasers of Indian stocks for 12 months in a row.7% of GDPin the third quarter of the last fiscal and an estimated 5% for the year as a whole. Yes. rather than because of higher inflation expectations. But. Exporters need to diversify into fast-growing markets such as those in Africa. but bursting bubbles simply is not the main risk now. where many loans remain on the books at far above market value. Haruhiko Kuroda. Each of the world's major central banks can make plausible arguments for caution. because India imports most of its fuel and higher pump prices could filter through as higher transport costs. He is correct. The solution. the Bank of Japan's new governor. is a clear. we are nowhere near the point at which policymakers should be getting cold feet about inflation risks. not part of the problem. not taking it away. for example. FIIs turned net sellers." The trouble is that this is no ordinary recession. And central bankers are right to insist on structural reforms and credible plans for balancing budgets in the long term.

as recommended by theMahapatra panel. 8. The government must keep a watch on gold banks which can be used to convert black money. the country‘s long experience with quantitative restrictions on imports suggests this would only lead to a spurt in smuggling. which will give savers the financial returns from gold but not require physical ownership and. imports. RBI norms for corporate debt recasts must not stifle enterprise The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened the prudential guidelines for corporate debt recasts. the government must start clearing projects. A more robust strategy would be to bring the large stock of gold in the hands of Indian households — estimated at 20. True.This summer will see several large inflows of foreign exchange to India. 9. the RBI says that stipulating a personal guarantee will ensure promoters "skin in the game" or commitment to the restructuring package. Non-performing assets too have grown dramatically due to a host of factors: aggressive lending during the time of easy money. Speedy procedures must also be in place to foreclose sticky loans. This is welcome. Gold shouldn‘t be allowed to become another source of tax evasion. people are finding it cheaper and easy to hoard gold in these banks and get loans. The point is not to stifle enterprise. lift investment ceilings in most sectors and move decisively into reform mode. So. curb black money In a knee-jerk reaction to the surging demand for gold that threatened to widen the country‘s current account deficit. Issuing of inflation-linked bonds by the RBI this month is a right move in this direction though linking it to the wholesale price index does not fully neutralise the impact of inflation. must crystallise without delay. especially for state-owned banks. the eurozone wobbles and the US alone grows. where the yen is being talked down. For that to change. But investment inflows are a function of economic vigour and policy clarity. reversal in interest rates and the economic slowdown. the RBI's move to dispense with it. So. only loans restructured after 2015 will be called non-performing assets. Regulatory forbearance on asset classification and provisioning on restructured loans is a huge problem. This is pragmatic. that are often arm-twisted by promoters who have clout with the political class. consequently. What is not welcome is the norm that promoters should furnish personal guarantees for a loan to be recast. However. The government should promote the development and offering of gold-linked financial products.29 lakh crore as of March 2013. Linking such products to consumer price index may indeed be a better option. State-sponsored investment. higher provisioning — 5% in 2016 from 2. Also. But it is fair to ask the promoter to bring in additional funds as a condition for restructuring the loan. With strict vigilance on creation ofunaccounted money through other means. Indications are that this is already happening through India‘s porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh. given that banks may need to infuse more capital to meet these new norms that are on par with developed market standards. such as from Unilever into its India arm and from McGraw Hill into Crisil. banks have to set aside more money to cover restructured assets. What India can do is to get its own act together. Bring gold to market. However. . after two years makes sense. the government has for the second time this year raised the import duty on the metal by a third to 8 per cent. such as in railway projects and the Mumbai-Delhi Infrastructure Corridor.75% — will be phased in. Both remain works in progress. The world outside remains an uncertain place. While it is true that India cannot afford to spend so much foreign exchange to import gold. it is concerned over the surge in corporate debt recasts to over Rs 2. This militates against the principle of limited liability: shareholder liability is limited to what they have invested by way of fullypaid-up shares. They should have the ability to assess risks and lend only to viable projects.000 tonnes — into the market by encouraging people to convert it into financial products. But bankers cannot just do book-keeping.

which cost only a fraction of branded drugs. Kashyap. reservations and quotas. many Other Backward Class (OBC) castes wish to acquire Scheduled Caste (SC) status. Machuwa. India is the world‘s largest producer of generic drugs. Now. to say the least. True. many ―middle‖ and ―most backward castes‖ in Uttar Pradesh are struggling to move down the ladder of caste in order to rise up from the accumulated disadvantages that centuries of social oppression have saddled them with.06. Again. Given the chilling statistics. as the plan was one of the cornerstones of the 12th Five Year Plan.A crucial element of the solution is to increase access and real returns on bank deposits. Studies have shown that the cost of medicine accounts for 50 to 80 per cent of the out-of-pocket expenditure patients incur.000 crore every year through government hospitals is unfortunate. some state governments have been asking its doctors to prescribe only generic drugs.2013) 1. Kumhar. nearly 40 per cent of those needing hospital care have to borrow money or sell assets to afford the cost. Gond and Tairaha castes. over 20 per cent of the sick do not seek medical help because the cost of medicines is unaffordable to them. it would have reduced corruption inherent in decentralised procurement and distribution. after they had been aroused. The party accused the previous Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati of depriving these castes of their rights in order to protect her own political . It implies both bringing down inflation and expanding the reach of banking services. 2014 a factor The Samajwadi Party (SP) government in Uttar Pradesh is in the process of sending its recommendations to the Centre for including 17 OBC castes in the SC category. Bind. 10. The plan to link the Gold Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) with gold deposit schemes holds promise as it will enable mutual funds to unlock their physical gold held in ETF and invest in golddeposit schemes of banks. Moving down the ladder to go up Like someone forced to negotiate the stairs in one of those impossible Escher sketches. This amounts to an admission of the Centre‘s failure to meet the expectations of the people. The reasons advanced for the decision — financial constraints and inability to procure drugs during the last 18 months — are unbelievable. Manjhi. Because of the benefits that the lowest social categories enjoy now in terms of State policies.000-crore plan had fructified. which will go a long way in making treatment affordable to the common man. Dheevar. also supplied free of cost. Nishad. It is also heartening that a RBI-instituted panel is looking into devising some alternative routes. Besides. The campaign would certainly have got a fillip if the Centre‘s Rs 6. Had the Centre succeeded in organising a national generic drug procurement programme. Rajbhar. These are the Kahar. The SP had included them in the SC category by managing to intrude in the Centre‘s right to change quotas and categories. Biyar. it is tragic that the Government of India is unable to popularise such drugs. Batham. it will be cruel if the Centre abandons its plan and leaves the patients to fend for themselves. Don‘t leave poor patients to fend for themselves The Centre‘s decision to shelve the plan to supply free of cost generic medicines worth Rs 6. Mallah. Prajapati. CURRENT AFFAIRS (10. Better late than never. the Centre expects the states to do what it could not and use the funds at the disposal of the National Health Mission for the purpose. the Centre should revive the plan. At a time efforts are made to popularise prescription and use of generic drugs worldwide. Illness is one of the main causes of pauperisation in India. Kewat. while some SCs want to be included as Scheduled Tribes (ST) since they are not getting the desired benefits of the SC quota. Bhar.

P. Ms Mayawati quashed the GO on June 6. They have not been able to use their identity or their aspirations for ―politics‖ and thus use these as resources of growth. subdivisional magistrates and block development officers are hardly aware of them. and her Dalit Bahujan party. Bansphor and Dharikaar. Nat. accounts for less than two lakh people. Not only are their numbers small. Bamboo is now being sold by middlemen. 2007 soon after she returned to power. such as Dushad.interests. Their problem is one of invisibility. literacy among them is also very low. The Mushahars number around 10 lakh in U. had issued a government order (GO) in October 2005 providing these 17 OBCs the same entitlements as Scheduled Castes. what they need is not a shift in category.. the bazaar and modernity have made their traditional vocations redundant. Their demand was heard at a recent conference held at Varanasi. are capable of tilting the forthcoming Lok Sabha election results in favour of the SP. Second. In such a situation it is doubtful that people from these castes would get any benefits even by changing reservation categories. The benefits of government schemes do not reach them because they are not educated. Bansphor. Plastic plates are steadily replacing the tradition pattal (leaf plates) in the markets. Threat to vocations State government benefits meant for them do not reach them. Issue of numbers This problem is not unique just to the castes that wish to move into the ST category now. etc from pre-modern times. But each of the other castes. constituting 15 per cent of the total population of U. This move was stayed by the Allahabad High Court following a writ filed by the BSP. Conscious of the advantages the lowest social categories in the State enjoy. middle and most backward castes are pushing for change in their reservation categories. In and of itself. which adds to their woes. Kanjar. Having failed to develop their identity. They reasoned that some big and influential castes within the Scheduled Caste category had usurped all the benefits meant for the entire section.P. these castes have not reached a stage where they can give adequate voice to their political and developmental aspirations. Many of these castes are engaged in traditional vocations. They are hardly engaged in any jobs.‖ And that can come only with community leadership and education. remain threatened as their traditional vocation faces extinction. etc — are demanding to be included in the ST category. but one that faces 62 of the 66 Dalit castes in U. and this is why Mayawati was against it. she also asked the Centre to increase the Scheduled Caste reservation quota by another eight per cent before these 17 castes could be included. Bansphor. Few among them have passed intermediate exams. led by Mulayam Singh Yadav. winnows. engaged in making bamboo-based articles of daily use like baskets. Political parties are keen to cash in 2. Bamboo forests have shrunk. Castes like Bansor. State government officials. Furthermore. these castes are largely invisible.P. but a ―politics of presence. the Syrian civil war has already claimed close to 80. They lack political leadership. In such a situation. which has only increased over the last decade. these 17 OBCs are eager to be notified as SCs. while some that are included as SCs — such as Musahar. and that they had been left empty-handed. A previous SP government. this should have been sufficient to stir the conscience of the international . even during the reign of Ms Mayawati. they have neither diversified nor modernised their caste-basedprofessions. Independent of the impact of quotas on the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Unable to make their presence felt in the discourses and debates within their communities. Kanjar.000 lives. A Syrian fire that could consume all Under way for over two years. like district magistrates. The view in Samajawadi circles is that these 17 castes. Kharbar.

Militias The just concluded battle for Qusayr shows that this is now a full-fledged war in which the Lebanon-based Shiite group. Saudi Arabia favours Salafist groups. they all agree that al-Qaeda does not qualify for assistance. the possibility of the present compact that has ruled Syria comprising 12 per cent Alawites. Turkey and Qatar. the Security Council failed to oblige. the Al-Nusra Front. the actions of the international community‘s major stakeholders are continuing to exacerbate the crisis.‖ Clearly. Given the brutality of the violence on both sides. tensions . With sectarian fault lines within Syria now opened threadbare. a negotiated settlement would appear less likely than at any time in the last two years. How does one ensure that arms go only to the good rebels? Even the description of ―good‖ is subjective.community to redouble efforts to persuade the Assad regime and anassortment of rebels armed to the teeth. That is the easiest part. demanding their democratic rights as part of the Arab Spring. In fact. have no hesitation in supporting rebels drawing inspiration from the Islamic Brotherhood. Unilateral military action by NATO or Coalition of the Willing did not materialise either. Hopefully. is to ―send the Alawites to their graves and the Christians to Lebanon. they will have to confront pan-Arab sentiment. mostlySunnis with varying degrees of radicalisation. Turkey and the Gulf states. 10 per cent Christians and some Sunni business class continuing to exercise power in any post-Assad dispensation. Hezbollah. should be invited. explicitly so announced on May 25. Qatar and Saudi Arabia and sections of the political class in the West not fully educated in the sectarian tensionsof the region. In the process.000 Hezbollah fighters now reportedly fighting along with Assad‘s troops and paramilitary militias drawn from his Alawite sect against an assortment of rebels. some time in the second half of June. is openly and fully involved. arming of rebels and NATO military action. Any residual doubts were removed when the Hezbollah leader. Unfortunately. has to be predicated on all parties to the conflict agreeing to participate. there are increasing doubts on whether arming the rebels was such a good idea given the proliferation of extremists groups. needs to be shed in favour of more clinical assessments. is a non-starter. Apart from fighting the Syrian rebels. one of which. Now comes the more difficult part. the rebels. if it has to have better luck than Geneva 1. however. maximalist positions of the two sides — President Assad‘s exit demanded by the West. Agreement can also perhaps be reached that both Saudi Arabia and Iran. had to be banned by the U. With 12. who were armed quite openly by Qatar and covertly by Saudi Arabia and clandestinely by others — the West and Gulf states expected the same in Syria. to walk back from the violence and commence a Syrian-led negotiating process for an acceptable outcome. no post-Assad dispensation in Syria will be viable unless effective security guarantees can be provided for the safety of nearly 20 per cent of the population. Nasrullah. given their stake in the civil war. Drawing inspiration from the three easy steps for regime change in Libya — a Security Council Resolution. More important still. the facts on the ground clearly suggest that the initiative is unlikely to succeed. established to fight Israel. this is clearly a gamble. For Hezbollah. The simplistic fig leaf that this was a brutal and repressive regime targeting innocent and helpless civilians. Who will provide these? The ―top down‖ model for a negotiated settlement on which Geneva 1 was based last year and on which Geneva 2. it would appear. the prevailing sentiment among the Sunnis backed by Turkey. Geneva 2 Despite agreement between the United States and Russia to convene Geneva 2. and treating the crisis as a security issue by the Assad regime — has prevented any serious attempt at reconciliation. Given the Libyan experience and strategic interests of Russia.S. Russia and China vetoed three draft resolutions in 2011-12.

Israeli strikes in Syria. By the time this goes out we‘ll be married and on a short honeymoon. A desire to weaken the Irandominated crescent cannot but open the sectarian fault lines throughout the region. The continuing paralysis and helplessness of the Security Council constitutes. the internal boundaries of which will be determined by the prevailing military balance on the ground. Banksophilia. Banks. The European Union announced on May 27 that it has decided not to renew the embargo on supply of lethal arms to the Syrian rebels. he wrote that he was greatly moved by the public support. Shortly after being told by doctors that it was ―unlikely‖ he would live ―beyond a year.‖ The book. an insurance just in case the U. to be released next month. barely two months after revealing that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the gall bladder and had only a few months to live. rather the timing of the announcement coincides with Russia‘s decision to supply the Assad regime with more sophisticated weaponries. In a recent post on his website. Sectarian war will not only continue. A prolific populist Well-known Scottish writer Iain Banks died on Sunday. covering Iraq. The assessment that while Libya imploded. ―It describes the final weeks of the life of a man in his 40s who has terminal cancer. and they obliged. was rated as one of the best 100 books of the 20th Century in a 1997 poll. Even the fall of President Assad‘s regime is now unlikely to restore peace and security in Syria. Internal divisions The humanitarian tragedy unfolding for Syria‘s 22 million people. Banks also wrote science fiction under the name Iain M. his debut novel published in 1984.between the Shia crescent from Iran. The simplistic assessment of the crisis being only about a repressive regime needs to change 3. describing him as ―one of the country‘s best-loved novelists‖ and ―an irreplaceable part of the literary world. Brown said. is persuaded by the British and the French to consider the imposition of a no-fly zone and aerial action.‖ Banks also requested his publishers to bring forward the publication of his last novel. The Wasp Factory . he was presented with finished copies and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world. is said to detail the physical and emotional strain of cancer. The Russian decision constitutes. The Crow Road and Complicity .S. The Quarry . as he put it in a poignant statement. also the most comprehensive statement of its irrelevance. in a sense. ―I‘ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry — but we find ghoulish humour helps). The unfolding scenario constitutes the biggest threat to international peace and security in recent times. Hezbollah‘s more direct involvement. with close to four million internally displaced and the increasing brutality of the sectarian violence would appear to point towards a prolongation of the civil war.‖ the 59-year-old writer asked his long-term partner Adele to marry him.‖ the publishers Little. Syria will explode with unimaginable consequences will prove to be right. The Wasp Factory . Kurds and Sunnis. want to prevent the sophisticated weapons falling in to the hands of Hezbollah for use against Israel. in turn. Syria and the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Gulf states and their western backers can only increase. ―Just three weeks ago. or. in a sense. but result in the country‘s de facto division into three largely autonomous regions dominated by the Alawites.‖ the BBC said. Best-known for his novels. .

It warns that the Indian Ocean could end up ―as an ocean of conflict and trouble‖ if countries like India. it remains to be seen whether the Election Commission decides to hold byelections to these seats. which have expanded from Tawang to entire Arunachal Pradesh and its activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. all of you. The development is a virtual replay of the political drama enacted in March 2012 when 17 Congress and TDP MLAs were disqualified in similar circumstances. China is trying to establish posts in countries like Sri Lanka and Seychelles and emerge as a patron of smaller nations like Maldives. India would be well advised to provide Vietnam the ability to protect its maritime interests. on the South China Sea issue and such other matters. With less than a year left for Andhra state Assembly elections. Under the anti-defection law. They have invited the punishment when they voted for the no-confidence motion moved against the Kiran Kumar Reddy government by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti. the TDP wanted its members to abstain from the voting. India should recalibrate its strategy towards China. India‘s foreign policy indeed is up against a major challenge. this country must also reach out to countries in South-East Asia which are being sought to be bullied by China. even if these are held. The blue book published by the official Social Sciences Academic Press laments that while India has its own ―Look East policy‖ and the US has put in place its ―pivot‖ or ―rebalancing‖ in Asia policy. Apart from acquiring berthing facilities for the navy in Vietnam. It is time New Delhi took serious note of China‘s ominous intentions. The incident should also be seen as a measure of the popularity enjoyed by the YSR Congress led by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. Under the circumstances. the results will not radically alter the political situation. the MLAs cannot be blamed for the revolt. facing trial in a disproportionate assets case. It is very clear that a political polarisation on the issue of Telangana has been in the making in the state.particularly in forums like the East Asia Summit. spelt out the contours of its strategy to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean. China has no ―Indian Ocean strategy‖. it has not mentioned Japan though it is difficult to believe that the recent axis developing between Japan. the US and China failed to engage more constructively as their interests begin to overlap. the Congress has not been able to take a decision. thank you. No room for vacillation on Telangana issue The disqualification of 15 MLAs — nine of the Congress and six of the Telugu Desam Party — in Andhra Pradesh for violating their party whips has not surprised anyone. Significantly. the Speaker could not have taken any other decision. either in favour ofcreating a separate Telangana or keeping Andhra Pradesh united. It is time the prime minister and the external affairs minister summoned the courage to speak. Unfortunately. particularly when the MLAs had admitted to violating the whip. The attempt to camouflage its own deviousness is hardly surprising.‖ 4. Given China‘s territorial claims. What it does not realise is that a vacillator does not . While the Congress leadership wanted its MLAs to vote against the motion. much like China provides Pakistan ballistic and cruise missiles. The Congress is scared of taking a forthright stand as it does not want to lose ground in the Andhra region by supporting the Telangana demand. for the first time. 5. The Speaker‘s decision is a setback for both the ruling Congress and the opposition TDP. the US and India had nothing to do with its new prognosis. They have a bearing on our national security. by the supply of BrahMos cruise missiles. While making common cause with Japan. Time to recalibrate India's China policy That China has sinister designs on controlling the seas was being speculated for long but a blue book released on the region on Saturday has.―Still knocked out by the love and the depth of feeling coming from so many people. However.

"Decisions are not being taken as bureaucrats are concerned about the environment. notes a research paper called "Smoke and Mirrors" issued by Barclays last week. as a problem area. the CCI clearance. calling its investment plans "an expression of the faith of Reliance in India and in her potential" at a time when manufacturing growth had hit the lowest point in a decade.at least on the surface. But Ambani implicitly raised the very same concerns the finance minister was seeking to allay. through which the government claims to have cleared investments of over $27 billion. The HDFC chief. the chief economic advisor in the ministry of finance. "We believe that activity/investment related to such projects could remain subdued. with a mandate to fast-track projects over Rs 1. PER SE The Cabinet Committee on Investment or CCI was the government's big idea to revive the investment cycle. Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Raghuram Rajan. "The CCI has cleared a few projects in oil and gas and other sectors and issued an ultimatum to a couple of ministries like defence (to ease project hurdles). the CCI has just met five times and its diktats have pertained largely to public sector investments. couldn't have been more contrasting . It does not redound to the credit of the Congress not to take a stand on Telangana and allow such political dramas to play out." HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh told ET. which clearly indicates it has the will and intent to act. is not the "game changer" the government see it as being. 6. there is no clear uptick in activity related to such projects. The RIL chief announced the largest capex plan by any enterprise in India's history to invest Rs 1. given the weak momentum and sentiment in the economy.5 lakh crore held up in red tape for almost historic periods. Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani and finance minister P Chidambaram were talking about lakhs of crores of investments. While the CCI has cleared projects. we would like to see some major steps on the infrastructure front that will help kick-start the growth momentum." said Parekh. CCI: Government's big idea to revive investment cycle is yet to hit the ground running At two separate venues in Mumbai last Thursday. The global bank's conclusions assume significance since they are based on interactions last week with telecom and law minister Kapil Sibal. while Chidambaram outlined the government's latest action plan to resuscitate 341 investment projects worth Rs 10. A lot more needs to be done if the country wants to dispel the sentiment of doom and gloom. But few other captains of India Inc have either RIL's faith or the cash reserves to dream as big in an economy crashlanding after years of high growth.command respect." said Uday Kotak. "The committee should meet more often than once a month and have a process to review projects that it had cleared earlier and check if they have gotten off the ground." he stressed. NOT GAME CHANGER. who heads the Centre's high-level committee on Infrastructure Financing.5 lakh crore in three years. But the contexts they spoke in." Barclays said. . but how much of this has translated into actual investments needs to be assessed. In its six months of existence. founder and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank. India's biggest industrialist. However.. also referred to the policy paralysis induced by the flurry of damaging CAG reports and CBI actions on retired babus. per se. India Inc is far from impressed by the CCI's performance.. though a few processes have been tightened for expediting public private partnerships (PPPs) in ports (by streamlining security clearances of bidders) and highways. industry bigwigs say.000 crore running behind schedule for want of some statutory approval or another. "The government has already taken some steps such as the diesel price hike.

The new panel is to be steered by indefatigable bureaucrat Anil Swarup." she said. of creating a non-corrupt way of funding politics. where banks have already disbursed over Rs 53. the official added. and the "resolution of unresolved bottlenecks" in the road sector. but executive orders. but more of an implementation problem. State Bank of India. The finance ministry is doing the prepartaory work so that the CCI can clear these issues in a single meeting or two. who has been implementing one of the world's most effective health insurance schemes . popular protest) are maturing. institutions of transparency (RTI) and accountability (the Courts.000 crore. a senior Congress politician told the Barclays' research team. Creating a maze of clearances in the path of any project is part of political funding: every hurdle is a rentseeking opportunity. Chidambaram said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved the creation of a new panel in the cabinet secretariat to identify and help restart 241 stalled projects worth Rs 7 lakh crore. not committees Projects remain stalled essentially because of a crisis in politics."If the government wants to build an infrastructure asset under PPP mode. So projects.The slowdown in investment is not a policy issue. For example." The head of India's largest lender. there are some projects where 90% financial closure is done. Kidwai has some hopes from the new panel led by Swarup. or permissions from a single body are pending." said SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri. "The idea is to first pick up those projects where there are minor issues and can be quickly resolved. which she said filled the need for "some kind of dedicated institutional mechanism" to track and follow-up on the progress of delayed projects with individual departments.the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. CII president and Infosys Technologies CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan called for a special focus on PPP projects that are running into a lot of problems. where 90% of the land has been acquired. the CCI has set up three committees in its short tenure. Apart from this panel. but the babus . "Most of the projects which are stuck are in the domain of private sector and it is important that they are also considered on priority by the CCI. Last Thursday. which said that investments are unlikely to look up anytime soon as the "slow-moving bureaucratic machinery" would combine with "the normal preelection slowdown in both private and public investment spending. roads and special economic zones. In India. Former space scientist and Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan heads the other two committees — to review the environmental impact assessment norms for buildings. the hurdles remain. starting with one to recommend improvements in the environmental clearance process for mining brick earth and ordinary soil from areas less than 5 hectares. At the same time. "Many of these projects are very large and have the potential to stimulate economic activity and generate employment." a seniorfinance ministry official said. All interested players including banks are working towards resolving these issues. So. ET VIEW: What counts is politics. But the logical extension is not. why can't it get all clearances in advance and then invite bids so that they are focusing on execution rather than running around for paperwork?" he asked. TASK CUT OUT FOR NEW PANEL Industry believes salvaging bigticket projects can be the best driver for growth in the short as it doesn't require legislative action. would be taken up on a priority basis. to penalise the corrupt. one that transcends the UPA. "There's no single solution to get all projects going. and there are some minor issues which can be easily resolved by the banks. politics is funded almost exclusively by the proceeds of corruption. Some course correction has begun. adding that the industry body recently urged Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth to help push forward private sector projects." said FICCI president and HSBC country head Naina Lal Kidwai. said that there's no silver bullet as each stalled project has its own unique problems.

7 billion from the Indian debt market since the end of May. information submitted and documents furnished. including for sale of third-party products. Afterconsidering the facts of each case and individual bank‘s reply. on Monday.14 a dollar. the RBI said. However. After opening at Rs 57.32 per dollar on June 22 last year. Rupee hits record low. as foreign institutional investors (FIIs) withdrew from the country and the outlook on India‘s current account deficit continued to be bleak. On Monday‘s closing level beat the Indian currency‘s previous worst of 57. Reserve Bank slaps fine on three banks The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed fine on three private sector banks — Axis Bank. The RBI. the rupee touched an intra-day high of Rs 57.4. A systemic solution is to fund politics transparently. the RBI issued a show-cause notice to each of these banks.87 per cent from Friday‘s close of 57. The scrutiny revealed violation of certain regulations and instructions issued by the RBI which includes non-observance of certain safeguards in respect of arrangement of ―at par‖ payment of cheques drawn by co-operative banks. Based on the findings of the scrutiny. calling the panic among investors unwarranted.06.2013) 1. The fear that the US Federal Reserve might lower the pace of quantitative easing also weighed. it added. non-verification of source of funds credited to a few non-resident ordinary accounts. non-adherence to certain aspects of KYC norms and anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines such as risk categorisation and periodical review of risk profiling of account holders. and sale of gold coins for cash beyond Rs. non-submission of proper information called for by the RBI.are too scared to help projects cross them. 2.1 crore on ICICI Bank for violating its instructions on KYC norms. and non-adherence of KYC for walk-in customers. as also personalsubmissions. tried to play down the rupee‘s depreciation. makes it difficult for RBI to cut rate In toay's opening trade the partially convertible rupee was at 58. This was also the sharpest single-day fall of the rupee since September 22.14 — down 1. a life low The rupee on Monday hit a record low to close at 58. when it had weakened 2. and processes of these three banks at their corporate offices and some branches during March and April 2013 to investigate into the allegations of contravention of KYC/AML guidelines against them. FIIs have withdrawn $ 2. The government. 2011.07. Rs. omission in filing of cash transaction reports in respect of some cash transactions. internal control. Stasis results.35 per dollar.50.16 before closing at Rs 58. however.‖ the RBI said in a statement.26 a dollar on Monday. CURRENT AFFAIRS (11. The RBI had carried out a scrutiny of books of accounts. the RBI came to the conclusion that some of the violations were substantiated. The banks had also violated RBI‘s norms by not-obtaining of permanent account number card details or form 60/61 as required.57 per cent (124 paise) against the dollar.5 crore on Axis Bank. imposed monetary penalty of Rs. any conclusive inference in this regard can be drawn only by an end-to-end investigation of the transactions by tax and enforcement agencies. and failure to re-designate a few accounts as NRO accounts though required. . in response to which the individual banks submitted written replies. compliance systems. ―The investigation did not reveal any prima facie evidence of money laundering.000.5 crore on HDFC Bank and Rs. after investigation into the matter. HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank – for violation of KYC (know your customer) norms.

a leader in this category and looks like it will remain so for a while.‖ said Indranil Sen Gupta. When the downward trend first began in August 2011 and then intensified later that year.‖ said JPMorgan India Economist Sajjid Chinoy. Despite all the public handwringing about the size of the current account deficit. companies that had borrowed large sums abroad. deter FII equity inflows and delay re-accumulation of forex reserves. It complicates nearterm macro management — pushing up inflation. India is. After India‘s economy grew at the slowest rate in a decade last financial year. So. Market participants see the rupee weakening further on dollar demand from importers and as FIIs continue to withdraw from India. that they would have to start thinking of rolling back liquidity now that macroeconomic conditions were showing signs of improving. even though there are global forces at work here. But there is a panic in the market that is unwarranted. prominently. While all currencies are depreciating against the dollar. Many stakeholders. is affected. it was only a matter of time before the rupee fell below its previous low. the rupee. to revive growth. In a global marketplace buoyed by successive infusions of liquidity over the past four years. probably not as high as the costs imposed by a failed defence of the currency.―There is weakening of all currencies vis-à-vis the dollar. The trigger for the recent bout of depreciation was the statement by the chairman of the US Federal Reserve. 3. All currencies were devalued by the markets as a consequence. including. as articulated by RBI Governor D Subbaraorecently. This started off with a misinterpretation of what the Fed chairman spoke of in terms of quantitative easing. ―The sharp and sustained weakening of the rupee will make it difficult for RBI to cut rates in June. However. There is absolutely no case for any country to draw down its foreign exchange reserves to defend its currency against the dollar in these circumstances. the ones that have declined the most are from countries with large current account deficits. And it is a legitimate one. the central bank has cut the repo rate by 75 bps this year. were taking a beating because they had not hedged their foreign currency exposures. the contribution of domestic factors should not be underplayed. too. and putting pressure on unhedged corporate balance sheets. Keeping rates high will only defer recovery. unfortunately.‖ said Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram. ―The rupee will continue to trade weak till RBI is able to recoup the $60 -billion forex (including forwards) sold since 2008. According to bankers. there was a strong opinion that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should take on the responsibility of containing the decline. touched a little under a year ago. very little . The costs of a large depreciation are unquestionably high . the rupee‘s weakness will make decision-making difficult forRBI. which expected to further ease its stance in its mid-quarter review of monetary policy on June 17. this statement signalled a return to normalcy in the US monetary policy stance and a consequent revaluation of the dollar. They have now more than clarified that this (early withdrawal of quantitative easing) is not imminent. Rupee responses Address the current account deficit with concrete steps Given recent tendencies. Ben Bernanke.but. as the experience of several countries teaches. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. This would simply add to the vulnerability of the currency to persistent pressure. This was the RBI's position during that episode and remains its stance during the current one. increasing fuel subsidies. And stakeholders seem to have accepted this: there is far less clamour to resist the depreciation. India economist.

2013) Part 1 1. and the violence of the police crackdown. which in turn would make them public. and must compulsorily deposit 70 per cent of the amount collected from buyers in a separate bank account. Some may argue that new regulations would increase the time and costs of projects. This objection is invalid since the bill is about presale checking. Regulatory measures are common even in mature property markets. with three people killed and .06. India has been sliding steadily. For instance. Even the most vigilant among them find home buying an agonisingly risky venture. While many countries have improved their regulations and climbed up the global real estate transparency ladder. with the inevitable downward pressure on the rupee. which started in Istanbul‘s Gezi Park but spread to several other cities. The risks of a spiral between currency depreciation. Penalties for non-compliance include imprisonment. From a poor 41st position in 2010. is applicable only to residential projects. the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 in Britain makes it a criminal offence to provide misleading or false information. but these are widely perceived to be misdirected and unlikely to have any real impact. first conceptualised in 2011. a widening current account deficit due to more expensive critical imports and declining capital inflows due to lower dollar returns are tangible. 2. Realising the urgent need to protect home buyers. Second. the Union Cabinet has recentlyapproved the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill. While domestic fuel prices are gradually being corrected. Benami holdings abound in the real estate sector and clean up measures must address these. And on the mineral front. the gains clearly outweigh the costs. and developers will have to disclose all the details of their projects and submit approvals obtained to the authority. The full text of the updated bill has not yet been released. Rather than trying futilely to talk the rupee up. and projects cannot commence without clearance. This legislation. The risks involved in property transactions would further reduce when land record management. little has been done to revive the once substantial iron ore exports. This would help prevent misuse of funds. projects on plots larger than 1000 square metres in size will be covered by the new rules. Self-regulation has clearly failed. information asymmetry and a maze of transactions have put consumers in an unfairly disadvantageous position. The proposed legislation has also improved on the previous version in terms of applicability. From park to nation The continuing public protests in Turkey. but the details circulated by the government indicate that it has largely retained the original objectives. CURRENT AFFAIRS (12. The state of real estate The principle of buyer beware has never been an adequate protective measure in real estate. A State-level regulatory authority will be set up. Lack of transparency. while the country's power sector will remain dependent on imported coal for some time to come. Even if they take some time to have an impact. it has slipped further to reach 48th among the 97 countries reviewed. The new draft includes the activities of real estate agents. All of these will combine to keep the current account deficit at dangerous levels. the government needs to take credible actions to address each of the threats of the current account deficit. Now. consumers are yet to pay the full rupee price of diesel andliquefied petroleum gas for domestic use. Perhaps the use of UID numbers — which is insisted upon even in disbursements of subsidies for the poor — should be made mandatory for property deals to track the money trail. this reduced threshold will help bring a greater number of projects under monitoring. the signalling effect will be worth something. building approval systems and enforcement mechanisms are also improved.has actually been done to rein it in. Developers can advertise projects only after getting clearance. Measures have been taken to dampen demand for gold. and burden buyers.

They have. We intend to seek information and details during consultations between interlocutors on both sides on this matter. for a shopping mall. 11 malls have already closed in Istanbul alone. India ‗surprised‘ by U. politically and socially conservative. have exposed domestic fragilities that have surprised many around the world. ―We will take it as it evolves and have a better understanding and a clearer paradigm of how to tackle this issue once broader parameters in its entirety are available for us. nevertheless confirms how much the Prime Minister stands to gain by it and by continuing tointimidate the Turkish press.‘ National Security Agency‘s data-mining tool. the spokesperson said India was also wooing the $ 700 billion sovereign wealth fund of Norway. with Mr.S. and will ignore EU opinion.about 5000 injured. when small groups of people gathered to protest against plans to bulldoze the park. surely we will find it unacceptable. with AKP seniors expressing doubts about the repression and the police pulling back from occupied squares and streets. The building boom. Furthermore. Yet the country‘s long democratic traditions are now resurfacing. He does not need the support of secularists while the AKP‘s funding base and vote banks are secure. Secondly. He said the Minister would take forward discussions that Fund officials had here with senior government officials. and rapidly snowballed as scenes of police violence went viral on the internet. The rapid urbanisation of Turkey‘s main cities. Erdoðan cannot and must not maintain his intransigence indefinitely. one of Istanbul‘s few remaining green spaces.‖ External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said. The protests started on May 27. the party won half the vote in the last election. in addition. ―We feel that the Cyber Security Dialogue coordinated by the National Security Councils on both sides is the appropriate forum to discuss such issues. Turkey‘s geopolitical situation favours his authoritarianism.3 billionpieces of information being collected from the country‘s computer and data networks in one month alone. According to the Guardian newspaper. ―Yes. may be more of an AKP political strategy than good business. Mr. The daily claims to have acquired top secret documents about the U. Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in . Such unchecked expansion has also given rise to a new elite in the construction business. India was the fifth most tracked country with 6.S.‖ he said noting that reports about the spy programme was an evolving situation. the influx into Turkish cities of substantial numbers of building labourers from rural areas has caused tensions between the socially conservative labourers and longer-established urban residents. Erdoðan dismissing the protests as ―anarchy‖. which reportedly used a secret datamining programme to monitor worldwide Internet data. In addition. who for the most part strongly defend Turkey‘s strict constitutional separation of faith and the state. even if the protests are currently hitting tourism revenues. If Indian laws relating to privacy of information about ordinary Indian citizens have been violated. many of which were installed by Turkish military dictators in the Cold War and which the west may now see as a possible front against Iran. many of the owners are natural supporters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan‘s Freedom and Justice Party (AKP). Thirdly. P. includingFinance Minister.‖ he said. benefited from the lax implementation of building regulations. moreover. with the construction of huge and ill-served residential complexes on the outer edges of urban sprawls. He is very bitter about the European Union‘s message that Turkish accession is on indefinite hold. Turkey is too profitable for western businesses to stay away from. spy programme reports India on Tuesday voiced its concern at and surprise over reports that it was the fifth most tracked country by the American intelligence apparatus. The crackdown. called Boundless Informant. Khurshid‘s Norway visit On External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid‘s current visit to Norway as India embraces the Arctic Council. Ankara can rattle Nato by even hinting at the closure of Nato bases. we are concerned and surprised over it. 3. is one cause of discontent. allegations of corruption abound.

But the IARI did not inform the ICAR. a known actor in the pre-Partition Hindi film industry. Asif.‖ says IARI Director H. and his father Rafay Nazir Khan.April. IARI and ICAR went to the United Kingdom to meet lawyers and work out modalities to bring the national heritage back home. who was brother-in-law of filmmaker K. reportedly one of the richest in the world. Talking to The Hindu . Mr. cropped up and was used by Zahid Nazir to bolster his claim that the late actor had gifted Roerich‘s two outstanding artistic impressions to his grandfather Nazir Ahmed Khan. Gupta. 4. ―We cannot take Nazir‘s claim that Roerich‘s paintings had been lying at his Lahore house in seriousness because they were our property till they were stolen. including in the infrastructure sector. a team comprising the CBI. including the Prime Minister. daughter-in-law of Nicholas Roerich.S. Devika Rani was married to the famous Russian painter‘s son Svetoslav Roerich and naturally as daughter-in-law of the famous artist she must have inherited his prized possessions – art works. Roerich Museum (St. ―The Minister will see how to facilitate investments in to the country. Nazir Ahmed Khan worked in a number of Indian and Pakistani films. was a governmentpension fund. Each of the priceless treasure trove costs over £2 million. 5. conflicts and corruption . the IARI came to know about the disappearance of the two paintings when Sotheby‘s sent a letter ―either in 2010 or 2011 informing that it had verified from the Roerich Museum of New York that the two paintings indeed belonged to the IARI.K. After the matter came to the notice of Indian authorities. The sovereign wealth fund. During the visit. There are interesting twists and turns in this whole drama. the two paintings titled ―Himalaya Kanchenjunga‖ and ―Sunset Kashmir‖ were the prized possessions of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute(IARI) on Pusa Road before they were stolen in 2009. In fact. 2011. Home Department to allow the CBI to probe the case of Roerich‘s paintings being stolen from the IARI and presented to a London auction house by a Pakistani and a British resident. Khurshid would also have a bilateral meeting with the Norwegian Foreign Minister and other senior officials. He was one of the first successful heroes in pre-PartitionIndia and later migrated to the then newly formed Islamic country after his studio in Bombay was burnt down during the Partition riots. the work of art landed up at auction house Sotheby‘s. The name of actor Devika Rani. even lower than Sri Lanka India‘s ranking was brought down by militarisation.‖ the spokesman said.‖ To pursue the matter in all seriousness. Subsequently. the attorney of Zahid Nazir and Rafay Nazir Khan wrote to the IARI Director on May 16. India ranks 141 of 162 countries in peace index. While there is a possibility that she may have gifted the two artistic impressions to actor Nazir Ahmed Khan. a former Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Secretary rubbished the Pakistani‘s claim. And the paintings have been in the family ownership since at least late 1960s or early 1970s and were kept at their family home in Lahore until they were shifted to Sotheby‘s in 2010. When we came to know through informal sources we jumped into action. Indeed. Petersburg) director Krylov had seen the paintings at IARI in 1999 and Roerich Museum New York curator Tepsa had also testified that the paintings were the property of IARI. who claims matinee idol Devika Rani gifted them to his grandfather Nazir Ahmed Khan. a resident of Pakistan. and the Indian government in a British court of law.‖ However. claiming that they were the owners and consignees of the two paintings. It came to the IARI‘s notice that the two paintings were presented to Sotheby‘s for auction by Zahid Nazir. a Delhi court recently asked the U. ―The matter is in the British court even now. We are fighting the case. India disputes Pakistani‘s claim on Roerich paintings Legendary Russian artist Nicholas Roerich could not have imagined that two of his precious paintings would one day become a bone of contention between a Pakistani. who lives in London.

according to the 7th edition of the annual GPI released on Tuesday. Globally. addressing police corruption would be a first important step. Additionally. This year‘s findings underline a sixyear trend showing a deterioration of five per cent in global peace. Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. which shows that countries that suffer from recession decrease in peace at a greater rate than the rest of the world. for example.98 per dollar intra-day on Tuesday at the foreign exchange market. The major indicators that bring down India‘s ranking are militarisation. Sri Lanka is one notch above India at rank four while Bhutan is the most peaceful country.‖ The overall deterioration of the military spending indicator in the GPI is primarily due to a large number of low-middle income countries. with improvements in countries such as Kenya. North Africa also had more to celebrate as Sudan and Chad experienced the second and third most substantial gains as their respective conflicts eased. Rupee sinks to a new low. and corruption. a dramatic rise in the number of homicides and 59 more countries increasing their military expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product were the key drivers in making the world a less peaceful place. many Middle Eastern and North African countries continue to be affected by the fallout from the Arab Spring with violent demonstrations and further political instability. 6. . However. France and Portugal experienced less peaceful conditions amid challenging economic circumstances during the last year. in that order. Rise in homicides The sharp increase in the number of homicides — up eight per cent over the last year — can be almost entirely attributed to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with. It is essential for the police to gain the trust of those living in city slums. and Tunisia. The economic impact of this five per cent loss in peace came at a cost to the global economy of $473 billion last year. Greece. the homicide rate in Honduras further increasing by almost 10 per 100. Libya. Sri Lanka.000 people — becoming the highest in the world at 92 homicides per 100.15/16 Breaking all barriers. according to the 2013 GPI.000 people. to achieve this. Bangladesh. Pakistan and Afghanistan. according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators of the absence and fear of violence. Iraq. It is followed by Nepal. for example. Cote d‘Ivoire and Democratic Republic of the Congo having increased their expenditure to more than seven per cent of GDP. India made positive gains in its level of peace after reductions in deaths from internal conflict and the level of perceived criminality in society. Oman. including Iceland.39/40 per dollar against 58. In the South Asian region. India. The data also revealed evidence of countries being able to make significant gains in peace. banks step in to stem slide It recovered to close at 58. typically authoritarian regimes like Iran. However. founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Zambia. Steve Killelea. In contrast. However. In this time. the rupee fell to an all-time low of 58. This has also led to an increase in violent crime. Europe remains the most peaceful region comprising 13 of the top 20 countries. dollar selling by public sector banks and . a measure of State-sponsored terror.India ranks low at 141in this year‘s Global Peace Index (GPI) that measured peace in 162 countries. Syria‘s descent into civil war recorded the greatest score deterioration in the history of the Index. some slight improvements were evident over the last year on the indicators of the likelihood of violent demonstrations and the Political Terror Scale. which continues to rank first. domestic and international conflicts. experienced the greatest rise in peace as its newly elected government and recovering institutions were established following the turmoil of the recent revolution and civil war. despite an increase in military expenditure. said: ―The migration of populations to urban areas in developing countries has been a key driver in the rise of homicides worldwide. 110 countries have seen their score deteriorate while only 48 became more peaceful. Kyrgyz Republic. This also reflects the six-year trend data. several high debt countries including Spain.

07 per cent and PSUs 2. Kotak Securities. RECENT STEPS Spiralling gold imports this fiscal had added pressure to the widening current account deficit. respectively. realty 3.‖ said Mr. in few short days.S. is that in the past few months India‘s fundamentals have improved.39/40 per dollar compared to its previous close of 58. from six per cent earlier.80 with a fall of 89. potentially impacting FII flows to emerging markets. said here on Tuesday. This has rekindled concerns about taperingof bond purchases by the U. ―In June itself. A weak rupee does not augur well for corporates who have un-hedged foreign currency loans or large concentration of net imports. The average has been $41 million. ―Steps….00.56 per cent. ―Markets were weak largely because of the weakness in rupee and also the weak opening of European markets. Thakkar.‖ Mayaram said. ―The rupee‘s sudden depreciation has led to some outflows and correction in the equity markets as well. the Reserve Bank of India extended certain existing . Economic Affairs Secretary.60 per cent and 1.82 per cent.04 per cent. in the coming weeks the market is likely to reverse its losses. ―In my view. The fall was led by consumer durables. With India‘s massive dependence on fickle FII flows to bridge its large CAD. The fact.07 points or 1. we could see a range bound action in rupee / dollar between 57.24 per cent.S. All sectoral indices ended in the negative territory.‖ said Mr. power 2.‖ said Mr.‖ Stocks close lower A weak rupee and also a strong yen have triggered a sell-off in the domestic equity market. which is estimated to have touched five per cent of gross domestic product as on March 2013.13 per cent. he added. economy is on the firmest footing among developed markets. Bodke. however. which tumbled by 6.Institution .20 or 1. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) 30-Share Sensitive Index (Sensex) lost 298. the Indian rupee has depreciated over 4 per cent against the dollar. The midcap and smallcap stocks lost 1. Curbs on gold imports showing results: Mayaram The Government‘s recent measures to curb gold imports have started showing results.‖ he added. To tackle this situation.taken on gold. Fed meeting on June 19. BSE 100 lost 1.‖ said Mr.S. Angel Broking.50 and 59.36 per cent. Other broader indices too were down. Banerjee. markets have not yet factored in the domestic positives. 7.59 per cent each. Head ofInvestment Strategy & Advisory at Prabhudas Lilladher. BSE 200 and BSE 500 lost 1. They have started showing results. with inflation declining from 8 -9 per cent in the last few years to about 5 per cent levels. A broader National Stock Exchange (NSE) Nifty ended at 5788. followed by metals 4. banks 2. ―Fear of QE (quantitative easing) unwinding by the U. The rupee recovered to close at 58.52 per cent. and a consolidation is warranted ahead of the U. he said that ``over the near-term. Fed sooner rather than later.68 per cent.S.‖ said Anindya Banerjee. On its part. India remained particularly vulnerable to this potential development. ―Because of temporary surge in gold buying as well as global jitters regarding QE. with the demand for foreign exchange for gold purchase going down significantly in the past fiveseven days. the Centre had on June 5 hiked import duty on gold to eight per cent.53 per cent. ``Re-surfacing of concerns on widening trade and current account deficit (CAD) has lead to a sharp fall in the rupee.‖ he added. Currency Analyst.‖ said Ajay Bodke. ―Dollar is continuing to strengthen against other currencies due to the belief that the U. and more so against the other currencies such as Euro and Pound.15/16.exporters prevented the Indian currency from dipping below the 59 per dollar mark. Banerjee. We expect normal monsoons further to which fiscal reforms from Government of India on the core sector will provide support to the markets going ahead. Arvind Mayaram. as recent spate of depreciation has been too fast. ―It (the demand for foreign exchange for gold purchase) has come down from a peak of $227 million to $7 million in a particular day. However.‖ said Lalit Thakkar MD. central bank and overly short positioning in dollar could have been the reason behind the movement of rupee.

India‘s gold import bill in the first two months of the current fiscal was earlier estimated at $15 billion. ―We are not contemplating any additional restrictive measures on gold and there is no reason for speculating on this basis.restrictions on gold imports by banks to nominated agencies and premier trading houses. the Rupee balance could be used up substantially. India put in place a rupee payment mechanism last year to continue trading with the country. Iran still has a trade surplus of about $8 billion with India. The average quantum of monthly gold imports so far this fiscal was 150 tonnes. While India‘s oil purchase from Iran went down to 13. Indian exporters have welcomed the move but cautioned that there should be limits placed on the re-exports.4 per cent to $3. Iran is facingeconomic sanctions from the US and the EU for its alleged nuclear activities. it is much more than what can be paid to our exporters for the merchandise exports being made to Iran. He said gold imports for the first 13 business days.‖ FIEO President Rafeeque Ahmed said.41 billion in 2011-12. 8. NO NEW MEASURES Meanwhile. . The mechanism allows payments for Iranian oil to be deposited in India‘s UCO Bank in Indian rupees. However. The central bank had stipulated that gold imports onconsignment basis by banks and nominated agencies shall be permissible only to meet the needs of exporters of gold jewellery.5 billion in April. the average was only $36 million. Since foreign banks refused to handle payments to and from Iran fearing crackdown by the US. India‘s exports to Iran in 2012-13 increased 39. the opening of Letter of Credit from Iran under the rupee payment mechanism has been impressive touching about $400 million on a monthly basis. ―The move will benefit Indian exports and we can look forward to sizeable growth in the country‘s exports to Iran in the current fiscal. India allows exports of imported products to Iran against rupee payment India has allowed export of imported products to sanction-hit Iran under the rupeepayment mechanism provided 15 per cent value addition takes place in the country. averaged $135 million a day. till May 20. The RBI had also stipulated that all letters of credit to be opened by nominated banks/agencies for import of gold under all categories will be only on 100 per cent cash margin basis. ―Now that the entire payment to Iran for its oil is being made by India in rupee. This is almost double the monthly average of about 70 tonnes last fiscal. we can look for exports close to $6 billion in 2013-14. Raghuram Rajan. in the 14 subsequent days till Friday of last week. Chief Economic Advisor to the Finance Ministry. ―With the new provision being put into place.3 million tonnes in 2012-13 from 18. It was about $7. subject to at least 15 per cent value addition. The money is then used to make payments to Indian exporters to Iran thereby avoiding payments in dollars and through foreign banks.36 billion from $2.‖ Ahmed added.1 million tonnes the previous year because of the Western sanctions. However.‖ Rajan said here on Tuesday. mainly due to the joint efforts of the Government and RBI. ―Exports of such goods to Iran which have been imported against payment in freely convertible currency would be permitted against payment in Indian Rupees also. It appears all these steps seem to have cumulatively helped moderate demand for foreign exchange to buy gold. said heexpected a significant drop in gold imports in June. By allowing imported items to be re-exported. and has been boycotted by most companies in the West.‖ a Commerce Department official told Business Line. The move is aimed at fuller utilisation of the rupee payments accumulated in India‘s UCO Bank for oil purchased from Iran. According to FIEO.‖ a notification by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said. the Government should put a cap on such exports so that the basic idea of promoting manufactured exports remains the focus. mainly due to the concerted efforts made by both countries to increase India‘s exports. There is a substantial amount of rupee balance in Iran‘s account lying idle which the Government hopes would be used up now that it has relaxed the condition of origin of goods for exports.

but could not read. he asked. think of all the books you wanted to . The most high-profile. ignored the limitations of the assumptions underlying their models and made predictions with beguiling precision. use of quantitative techniques in finance has come for a lot of harsh criticism. These days. it feels like a big accomplishment. (Printed? Yes. my prospective manager took me out to the best Italian restaurant in town and marketed the job to me all through the dinner.‖ That‘s exactly what I did – for all of two years until I moved to Washington and all its distractions. indeed much more. get into the kindlemode). So. says the author. Not sure whether I will. The history that Weatherall tells starts much before Black-Scholes. Plunge into them. and his 1900 paper which argued that stock prices capture all available information and move randomly. I keep telling myself that I must read for at least half an hour every day. and now an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the University of California at Irvine. Weatherall. But. even ridicule. We all know that post-crisis. Forgotten in this euphoria was the fact that finance deals with people. the reality is much less flattering. The Black-Scholes options pricing model. was more than a piece of geeky mathematics. The mechanics of money Can ideas from the realm of science be applied in financial markets? A recent book puts the issue in perspective. my family stayed back in India. But there is another side to this debate. In a just world. It‘s also comforting because I am at least trying to live up to the hype that the RBI Governor is a well-read person. But the book is more. .9. But the time that I get is irregular – not the most conducive for book reading. The charge is that the so-called quants brought in sophisticated mathematical modelling to finance. if also the most strident of such critics. I lived in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for two years when I was in the World Bank. It is an engrossing history of several mathematicians and physicists who made a foray into finance with their different mental constructs and tool-kits. what do I do over the weekends?‖ His reply was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received: ―Subba. Fred. than a spirited defence of the value that quantitative frameworks brought to the financial sector. or indeed will ever want to. Some of these transitions were serendipitous. demonstrated that a more scientific approach to speculation is possible and converted financial markets from bull rings to quantitative power houses. has been Nassim Taleb (Black Swans. it was transformational. all of which encouraged excessive risk-taking and brought on the eventual meltdown. I read much less than I should or I need to. I do. Let me start with an admission which is that I don‘t read as much as is commonly believed. That is guff. The use of quantitative techniques contributed enormously to the growth of the financial sector. The laws governing financial markets are not immutable like the laws of physics. After the job offer was made to me. others were more deliberate and structured – but all of them were interesting and fascinating. Best advice As we were finishing. ―All that you said about the job is very good. Finance is people I‘ve just finished reading The Physics of Wall Street by James O. It ended the anti-intellectualism of American finance. not physical objects. a PhD in physics. Antifragility) who argues that the world is just too random and any attempt to find a structure is futile. It‘s just that I refer to books in my speeches whichconveys the impression that I am reading almost every book that is being printed. and any claim to finding one is hubris. It is not that as Governor I don‘t get the time to read. actually with the French mathematician Louis Bachelier. This was in essence what later came to be formulated by the Chicago School as the efficient market hypothesis except that Bachelier didn‘t call it that. for example. when I finish reading a book. Engrossing history That story needed to be told and The Physics of Wall Street does that. but have failed so far. ―Do you have any concerns?‖ I said.

where the supply-chain argument applies most strongly. But in the financial world. After taking us through the history of several other scientists who brought fresh thinking. the clarifications make it appear to most observers that wholesale companies won't be able to sell their products to retailers from the same group.and the new definition of "group companies" appears to rule out that possibility. actual foreign investors choose to enter the sector. And. to invest intellectual and financial resources in an inter-disciplinary project with a lofty goal of generating ideas for making the financial sector an aid to real sector growth. The DIPP has set out several restrictions. anunnecessary restriction if the ends of the policy are to ensure that corporate investment flows into the entire supply chain.which means that franchises won't be permitted. is that physicists are trained to ask: ‗When do the assumptions of my model fail and what happens then?‘ The post-crisis response should then be not to shun quantitative modelling but to be conscious of the limitations of quantitative models. rather than freeing it to go elsewhere in investmentstarved India. Some retail business models would also require the operation of the back-end to be outsourced to more local operators . It is puzzling. For one. The difference between physicists and finance professionals. In addition. particularly America. The law also stated that 30 per cent of goods had to be sourced from small and medium enterprises. Indeed. 50 per cent of the total investment has to go towards back-end infrastructure . if any. concepts and techniques to finance. The point then made was that FDI would help the modernisation of India's leaky farm-to-plate chain for produce and empower local producers at the expense of middlemen. however poorly used. On the one hand. Making things happen The use of quantitative techniques in finance has perforce to reckon with the quirks of human behaviour. to improve them to approximate reality as closely as possible. that common sense does not hold. 10. The government then went out of its way to ensure that 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail faced no more hurdles. won't go towards that total. But those solutions are valid only as long as the assumptions underlying the model hold. therefore. As The Economist asked some years ago. The more financial insurance is written. the more likely that the insured event will occur because people who benefit from that contingency can make it happen. but still seems essentially sound. that the same dedication does not seem to be in evidence when it comes to FDI in multi-brand retail . all structures need to be owned by the company . the DIPP has further insisted that these sourced goods should not be agricultural and must be sold in newly constructed stores.but buying existing infrastructure. according to the author. with the issue of recent "clarifications" by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. Can mathematical models replicate complex human behaviour? If they can‘t. is a hurricane more likely to hit because more hurricane insurance has been written? Common sense says no. or DIPP. not through the acquisition of existing stores or through exports. Further. the government seems to have decided to ensure that few. This logic has been assailed by many. it can be argued that these are merely attempts at closing the loopholes in . making concessions to Swedish household goods giant IKEA in particular. of course. Micromanaging the chain Is government serious about FDI in retail or not? It was not so long ago that the United Progressive Alliance staked its survival on allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector.Bachelier would be to finance what Newton is to physics. the book ends with a rallying cry by the author for an ‗Economics Manhattan Project‘ calling on the advanced economies. This will tie up capital uselessly in unprofitable enterprises. are they any good at all? The book‘s answer is that making simplifying assumptions in building models leads to solutions to problems that are otherwise intractable.

the law and ensuring that retailers invest their money where the government intends them to. Projects like these must work if India is to undergo an orderly migration of population.land and clearances . transport. The DMICDC projects that break-even should occur around year 13. The government has grandiose plans to set up such cities across 28 states. transport and logistics. have certain common concepts. with extant villages integrated into the master plan. If the point of higher FDI in retail was to trust capital to get to work at declogging India's supply pipe to its cities and towns. Instead. thereby reducing personal vehicle use. planned to provide employment and high-quality services to residents. Wastewater and solid waste will be recycled. Dr Singh should now ask if it is his own administration's statist instincts. smartly Clearances will be key to new towns on Delhi-Mumbai corridor The concept of the smart city. Each city will be governedfrom a command centre where information technology will be used for the real-time monitoring of energy. had addressed Indians on television. The Dedicated Freight Corridor project will provide capacity to move goods at much higher speeds. is attractive. required investments in infrastructure are proposed to come through the publicprivate partnership mode. Instead of the usual pattern of haphazard growth. sustainable use of natural resources. By 2030. railway connectivity and so on. water. especially private investments. his party president spoke with him at a rally called on that very issue in Delhi. the government should get out of the way and not micromanage things. Planned cities could provide an . running some 1.could be the make-or-break factors. As far as possible. which are causing this forward-looking reform to face unnecessary hurdles.The sheer scale of India's internal migration dwarfs anything outside much better prepared China. Renewable energy capacities will be integrated to ensure power self-sufficiency.000 crore.500 kilometres across seven states. they pay due attention to energy efficiency. power. water and sanitation. The proof of that concept depends on seven clusters along the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor. All this will cost upwards of Rs 55.These two issues . Mixed land use is encouraged. and not reluctant state parties. Unsurprisingly. or DMICDC. Urbanise. Water demands will be met by a combination of river water. Besides. over 40 per cent of Indians will live in urban clusters and contribute about 70 per cent of GDP. land acquisition will take place through different modes in each node.3 million and 2. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Industrial production in the DMIC is projected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 per cent by 2020 and lead to massive employment generation.25 million. or DMIC. Otherwise India's urban infrastructure will be overwhelmed. Given differences in state laws and differential levels of administrative efficiency in the seven states. The DMIC connects the industrial heartland to ports on the Arabian Sea. The seven smart nodes are planned to cater to populations of between 1. with multiple industrial zones and city business districts. Environmental and other statutory clearances would have to come from the Centre. Financing. Existing urban infrastructure is already stretched beyond its limit. desalination and water harvesting. that isn't a market-oriented way of going about things. with commensurate employment. both domestic and foreign retailers are extremely unenthusiastic about the DIPP's actions. However.and they must. This region contributes 43 per cent of GDP and over half of industrial production and exports. The plans are polycentric. will come only if these two elements fall in place . new aquifers. 11. at the time the Congress decided to make an issue of FDI in retail.which defeats the entire purpose of the legislation. public safety. it seems to have decided to allow bureaucrats excessive power over where and what companies decide to buy and invest . smart cities provide for adequate housing. reservoirs. Housing will be located near industrial zones with high-access mass transit corridors. What of the cities themselves? The master plans of the DMIC Development Corporation. Environmental damage will be minimised and agricultural land conserved.

This mission will be the longest time Chinese astronauts have spent in space. the craft will dock with the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1. CURRENT AFFAIRS (12. Still. lamented that the country could not even launch a potato into space. China's space programme has come a long way since late leader Mao Zedong. amilestone in an effort to acquire the technological and logistical skills to run a full space station that can house people for long periods.2013) Part 2 12. and was accompanied by the usual outpouring of national pride and Communist Party propaganda. it is time to translate the resolve into action on the ground. Scientists have raised the possibility of sending a man to the moon. President Xi Jinping oversaw Tuesday's launch personally. founder of Communist China in 1949. a Pentagon report last month highlighted China's increasing space capabilities and said Beijing was pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis. It is China's fifth manned space mission since 2003. However. the Shenzhou 10 mission will be the latest show of China's growing prowess in space and comes while budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U. and the 10. a trial space laboratory module. and the two male and one female astronauts will carry out various experiments and test the module's systems. under-provisioned urban clusters that are fast becoming the norm in India. and marks the second mission for lead astronaut Nie Haisheng. the United States and Russia. but not before 2020. from food safety and pollution to the prevalence of workplace fire disasters. China's latest "sacred" manned space mission blasts off A Chinese manned spacecraft blasted off with three astronauts on board on Tuesday on a 15day mission to an experimental space lab in the latest step towards the development of a space station. Chinasuccessfully carried out its first manned docking exercise with Tiangong 1 last June.5 metre-long Tiangong 1 is a trial module. Sina Weibo. saying he was "enormously happy" to be there. (0938 GMT) under warm. Rendezvous and docking techniques such as those which China is only testing now were mastered by the United States and the former Soviet Union decades ago. They will also give a lecture to students back on Earth." Xi said. addressing the astronauts before they blasted off to wish them success.06. The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft was launched from a remote site in the Gobi desert in China's far west at 5:38 p. 13. Concerted war only answer to Maoists Shocked over the recent audacious Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh. China also plans an unmanned moon landing and deployment of a moon rover. This line had found support from the chief ministers of the states affected by Maoist depredations during the CMs‘ conference also. Now that there is a political consensus. not a fully fledged space station.S. sustained and unified operation against them without any compromise. clear blue skies. some wondered why China was spending so much money exploring space when it was still a developing country with a plethora of more pressing issues. Fears of a space arms race with the United States and other powers mounted after China blew up one of its own weather satellites with a ground-based missile in January 2007. While Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful purposes. Joint operations by security forces of the different states and the Centre have been . Once in orbit.m. in images carried live on state television. "Why don't they spend this money solving China's real problems instead of wasting it like this?" wrote one user on China's popular Twitter-like service.alternative to the miserable. political parties on Monday unanimously rejected the ―pernicious Maoist doctrine‖ and endorsed a stronger. and this mission is both glorious and sacred. "You are the pride of the Chinese people. including children dressed as happy ethnic minorities waving off the three at the space centre. But China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers. according to state media. manned space launches.

With the porous borders between states. it is necessary to ensure all agencies involved in surveillance are governed by mechanisms that consider citizens‘ right to privacy sacrosanct. 14. To prevent US-style scandals in India. a biotech company that has patented two genes. or intellectual property rights. when momentum was lost after similar brainstorming sessions. It will strike at the roots of the right to privacy. which are natural. are not negated by other researchers. the secrecy of co-ordinated operations must be protected. which seeks to answer the question if human genes can be patented. If a comparatively free society with strong privacy laws like the US can have a security agency apparently running amok. Normally. in a typical reflection of poor secrecy. claim that it has disrupted plots and prevented terrorist attacks. however. based on leaked government documents. based on the tapping of their phone calls. While the recent arrest of cricketers. the rights relate to an invention that is totally new. their right to privacy was being throttled. which are responsible for breast cancer. any agency which can monitor such activities will be privy to data that can compromise the Internet users‘ interests. News suggesting a major operation will soon be launched in Chhattisgarh has been doing the rounds for days. fall in . 15. it is also a pointer to the eavesdropping capabilities of police. its critics debunk the argument that a programme to collect huge amounts of information about Americans‘ phone calls and Internet activity has led to foiling any terrorist plot. In the present case. The case relates to theclaims of Myriad Genetics. On test in the coming weeks would be the sincerity of state governments to work in unison. the question is whether the genes. there is no guarantee that the right to privacy will be respected in any other country. As a result. that revealed details about the surveillance programmes run by the National Security Agency. authorised by the questionable Patriot Act. While the defenders of surveillance. thus. With the use of Internet by individuals. this ―monopoly‖ has prevented the use of bettertechnologies and pushed up costs. Patents must balance profit with social cost The US Supreme Court‘s verdict on a rather unique case. outfits and companies increasing by leaps and bounds for professional. might have been justified. a coordinated attack against Maoists is stepped up. The Centre and the states must ensure that unlike earlier occasions. Until the leaks. Apart from training and equipping security forces with the latest weapons. will soon be available. the political resolve should not be allowed to weaken. it would be foolhardy not to fall back on this if the coordination of police forces proves illusory. the Myriad‘s ―monopoly on the BRCA genes makes it impossible for women to access other tests‖. it is not difficult for Maoist leaders to shift from a state where an operation is on way tocomparatively safer hideouts in the jungles of a neighbouring state. business and entertainment purposes. enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution and fundamental to the wellbeing of a nation. While the Union home secretary has time and again ruled out an army operation. Americans had no clue that their telephone calls were being monitored and. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2.on for quite some time. Security should not compromise privacy The United States is engaged in a debate over the right balance between security and privacy in the light of news reports. According to a plaintiff in the case. The rationale for patents is to ensure that the inventor‘s discoveries. Such thoughts have arisen over reports that India is in the process of creating a multi-agency body called the National Cyber Co-ordination Centre. While it is crucial that intelligence on the movement of top Maoists must be strengthened by winning the confidence of tribals and village folk. The unfortunate tendency of some states has been to pay lip service to co-ordination but to neither share intelligence nor come to the rescue of another state. which will monitor all aspects of Internet use. The Supreme Court has said that the right to privacy is part of the right to protection of life and personal liberty. but what has been missing is a total collaborative exercise where each of the Naxal-affected states becomes a stakeholder in any anti-Naxal programme anywhere.

not ―normal‖ genes but mutations that cause the ailment. which faced strongopposition from non-Congress Chief Ministers. 16. Investors have started putting their money in mutual funds and insurance. Irda sees a 19 per cent increase in the first-year premium collections of life . We need to evolve a consensus on it. However.‖ he said. Jayalalithaa (Tamil Nadu). The Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had earlier said his Ministry was not exploring the option of bringing a Bill in Parliament for the purpose. 17. resurgent investor interest in financial instruments is good news. Besides. Chief Ministers like Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal). ―When such opposition is there we will think over it and then decide. the anti-terror body was given ‗power‘ to carry out operations.which resulted in the revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) being incorporated in the NCTC draft. Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh). the CMs‘ objection that it should not be under the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Hence. We cannot do it alone. search and seizure. This is welcome diversion of savings from gold. Shinde said there were certain issues that needed to be resolvedand he would soon consult all the opposing states in order to evolve a consensus.06 lakh crore into mutual fund schemes during April. I have said many a time that both the Centre and the states need to work together. Sebi's data shows net inflows of Rs 1. investments in genetic research will be discouraged. safer rupee With anxiety growing in proportion to the rupee's fall. the publicly funded human genome project would have made the Myriad‘s discovery possible any way. Shinde said the MHA had received several inputs from the opposing states. which were being looked into. However. Lower courts have been unable to decide if the process of isolating a mutated gene is creative enough to be patented since nature itself cannot patented. Narendra Modi (Gujarat). Rise in financial savings signal lower gold imports. including arrest. Myriad has a point when it says that firms which develop a process to identify the mutations have the right to patent it. for the mutations are a natural process which may or may not take place. Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have opposed even a watered-down proposal for NCTC during a recent meeting on internal security here. to claim that the company has ―discovered‖ them is stretching the point. I will only say that we tried to have a Central intelligence agency but they said a multi-agency centre is there. The BRCAs are. says the latest data from markets regulator Sebi and insuranceregulator Irda. Independently. After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Nitish Kumar (Bihar). of course. ―First. while keeping the state police concerned in the loop. since not everyone who is prone to cancer is a celebrity. They also said its operationalisation should not be under the IB and that also we did. Otherwise. ―As of now there is no question of taking the NCTC to the CCS. 2012 executive order.‖ the minister said. NCTC will work as an ‗integral‘ part of Intelligence Bureau and its director will report to the IB chief. According to the February.this category. NCTC only after consensus: Shinde Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday made it clear that the Centrewould not take any unilateral decision regarding the setting up of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). a balance has to be achieved between the commercialisation of research and its social purpose. So we took it off.‖ he said. Even then. The judgment will be known in a few weeks even as film star Angelina Jolie‘s mastectomy operations followed the discovery that she carried the ―faulty‖ BRCA-1 gene. The minister also mentioned several vexed issues that were resolved following consultations between the Centre and the state governments. Also. On whether the Centre was planning to take the NCTC to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). a decision on whether to take the issue to the CCS will be taken only after the due process. the highest in two years. the then Home Minister P Chidambaram had announced the government‘s intention to set up NCTC. Speaking at the Union Ministry of Home Affairs‘ (MHA) monthly media briefing.

a database on the financial system. But this would be transient. the Raghuram Rajan Committee recommended the creation of a statutory Financial Sector Oversight Agency (FSOA). systemic risk. the government needs to come out with more products like inflationindexed bonds (IIBs) and raise the foreign direct investment ( FDI) limit in insurance. Hence. When investors regain confidence in the ability of financial instruments to yield returns at least on par with what gold offers. in 2009. As the world discovered during the global crisis. making gold cheaper in the process. 18. The question of the appropriate regulatory mechanism for systemic risk and the role of government in it have been debated in the last five years. FSDC will run a "financial data management centre". The rupee's slide might seem to refurbish gold's sheen. He focused on one aspect of the draft financial code. to work on systemic risk. As a result. . A different agency and approach is required to think about the financial system as a whole. RBI governor D Subbarao spoke for the first time on the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) report. This is a welcome sign that investors are regaining confidence in financial savings.insurers in April at Rs 1. systemic risk-thinking in India is quite weak. the Advisory Panel on Financial Stability and Stress Testing. Later. This comprehensive data does not exist in a single place. A lower rupee would make imports in general more expensive. "systemic risk" is the soundest phrase technically. FSLRC's positions are spelt out in the FSLRC report and in the draft Indian Financial Code. Microprudential regulation requires thinking about one financial firm at a time. will have statutory status and the responsibility for safeguarding systemic risk. The government has been battling to curb the demand for gold. to see the woods and not the trees. The RBI has disallowed import of gold on credit and directed banks not to import gold on a consignment basis for domestic use. say. A careful reading of the two reveals the following. It has raised import duty to 8 per cent from 2 per cent. chaired by the finance minister. And the rupee's slide could well reverse. three phrases are used: systemic risk. recommended formalising the existing multiagency arrangement. Prior to FSLRC. IIBs. chaired by the FM. so that private insurers can continue to grow their business — prudential norms call for growing capitalisation of insurance companies as their premium collections grow. The April data suggest early signs of that happening. The global consensus is that microprudential and systemic risk work should not be within the same organisation. the RBI as the central bank and lender of last resort is best placed to do systemic risk regulation and the FSDC should only coordinate. Household financial savings must return to double digits. leading to a lower current account deficit. In the field of regulation.334 crore against Rs 1. they would ditch gold. The current RBI Act does not envisage the central bank doing systemic risk regulation. > This runs counter to the post-crisis trend around the world. Gold imports have been a major factor in widening the current account deficit and weakening the rupee. constituted by the RBI as part of the Committee on Financial Sector Assessment. Of these. The reforms will enable FSDC to detect sources of systemic risk. macroprudential regulation and financial stability. Gold remains a riskier option as compared to. To keep the momentum going. there are good reasons why the RBI should not be the primary systemic risk management agency: (a) RBI would do microprudential regulation for banking and payments. this perspective blinds microprudential regulators to the system perspective. similar to what is being done in Canada (by their central bank) and the US (by a Treasury agency). The weakening of the global price of gold has already seen an erosion in gold's appeal as an investment option. and made three points: > The Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC).125 crore in the same month last year. > In a bank-dominated financial sector like India. Why the RBI Governor D Subbarao is wrong on regulating risk Last week.

while Bangladesh competes with it for a share of Europe's readymade garments market. the benefits have been nullified. So. Designation of Sifis is the only executive function envisaged for FSDC in the IFC. which looks neutrally at all sectors. compared with India. the FSDC board is primarily made up of the regulatory agencies. Indian exporters are facing intense competition for new orders from rivals in these countries as they too enjoyed cost advantage due to their currency depreciation. Similarly. and the FSDC chief executive. According to Sahai. These can be issued once they are approved by the FSDC board. Unified Financial Authority (UFA) and Resolution Corporation. given how little is known about the field. the rupee touched a lifetime low of 58. The Bangladeshi tacca has appreciated 5% against the dollar over the last one month that will give some competitive advantage to Indian garment makers. Director-General. the plunge in the Indian rupee is not translating into gains for Indian exporters. that systemic risk regulation requires a super-regulator.6% in value against the dollar this calender. IFC is deliberately tentative in this field. Systemic risk regulation is an evolving field and. electronics and chemicals. The legal powers come from microprudential law. as in most countries. In fact. Rupee fall: Indian exporters fret as counterparts in emerging economies gain currency Indian exporters are facing stiff competition from their counterparts in emerging economies such as Indonesia and South Africa. which is witnessing volatility like the rupee. Once the regulators and the FM discuss and decide at the FSDC board. South Africa's rand has depreciated by about 10% against the greenback during the period. Indonesia's rupiah. finance ministry and FSDC. This is a healthy departure from the vague idea that some have. RBI chairpersons. Under the draft code. Thus. director-general and CEO of Federation of Indian Exports Organisation. UFA. hence.98 against the dollar. Resolution Corporation. It can be more cost competitive compared to us". 19. Thailand is India's biggest rival in the field of gems and jewellery exports. In contrast. FSDC does no microprudential regulation. if one asks.Most South East Asian countries dealing with China could switch to India looking to cut their sourcing dependence on China. .Experts say Indian exporters had the competitive edge and should be able to translate it to their benefit. This humility is appropriate." said Ajay Sahai. The FSDC board comprises the FM. It will be acollegial effort. agri-products.. which makes it gain much more in stainless steel and also engineering components to some extent. "South African rand has depreciated as much as the rupee. the answer is: RBI. "who would safeguard systemic risk under IFC". Appreciation in China's yuan has brought some joy. recording a more than 7% fall since May." said Biswajit Dhar. said Pankaj Chadha of Jyoti Steel industries. individual regulators would implement the decisions.and (b) RBI is a sectoral regulator for these two sectors and would generally favour them. "India could take the advantage of China's yuan appreciating. Indonesia and South Africa compete with India in its main export markets— the US and Europe—in textiles. engineering goods. with powers to override all financial regulators. for sectors involving high imports. Hence. but its import dependence is less in terms of steel. and looks at the full financial system without sectoral biases. recorded a 1. "With the rupiah and rand depreciating more. one that is a data and research exercise. Chinese currency has gained 0. the FSDC is not a regulator in the standard sense and has no other executive power.. though.988% drop on Monday. while Thailand's baht has slipped by about 7% since April. as a sharper fall in their currencies has erased the cost advantage of a lifetime-low rupee. On Tuesday. Under the FSLRC proposal. unlike a field like consumer protection where the IFC is specific. not systemic risk law. Research and Information System for Developing Countries. the FSDC secretariat will draft regulations for designating some financial firms as systematically-important financial institutions (Sifis).

In last June. 10 gm of gold would cost Rs 29. On June 5. "But the full impact of this drop cannot be passed on to the consumer as the rupee has weakened against the dollar. He added that importers were working on a margin of 2% -3% and if the rupee devaluates further. with a reviving US economy pushing the Federal Reserve to taper quantitative easing earlier than planned.53 as against the dollar. Rupee's decline: Commodity imports turn costlier in local market Indian consumers have not been able to take advantage of a fall in global commodity prices due to a weak rupee.700 per 10 gm even though international prices have come down by $290 per ounce." said CP Krishnan. Turkey and Australia. the rupee closed at 56. it is expected that India will need to import nearly 107 lakh tonne oil. 21. And that has come true with the rupee devaluating further.800 even though the rupee was at 53. Nemichand Bamalwa and Sons. Solvent Extractors Association of India. Pulses are generally imported from the US. Globally.CURRENT AFFAIRS (12. So the government must abandon its business-as-usual attitude and actually create conditions to . Gold traders and dealers said the government's move to curb imports to strengthen the rupee and bring down the current account deficit has not worked well. India imported 864 tonne of gold last year." said BV Mehta. said importers were not placing any orders now. "We had told the government that a check on the supply side will not arrest the current account deficit. Internationally. Geojit Comtrade. crude palm oil.39. India imports around 3-4 million tonne of pulses to meet its annual domestic demand. the rupee was at 55. that there is no cause for panic.500 per tonne. India needs 175 lakh tonne edible oil to meet its annual domestic demand. chairman emeritus of All India Pulses & Grain Association. said movements in domestic commodity markets have largely been due to the volatility in the rupee and global markets are showing signs of nervousness before the German Constitutional Court hearing on the legality of the Outright Monetary Transactions." said Bachhraj Bamalwa. The government should come up with measures to make the rupee strong.20 level. Crude palm oil.98 against dollar in early trade to close finally at 58.200 and $1.70 against dollar.660 per ounce in January. In the last one week. executive director. the price is around Rs 27. On Tuesday. the rupee devalued to 58. the volatility in currency markets will drive commodities. After all almost all developing country currencies have been experiencing downward pressure because the dollar is gaining. In the current oil year (November 2012 . Myanmar. now costs $840 per tonne. In January. director. Internationally. But the fact is that the rupee is the most battered of the Asian currencies. the rupee has devalued by 4%. head (commodity & currency).2013) Part 3 20. thus pushing up the landed price of edible oil. which cost $973 per tonne in June last year. which is somewhat less than last year. Kishore Narne. its broader weakness attributable to India's significantly larger current account deficit. "They are on a wait-and-watch mode for the time being.October 2013).06. Today. Edible oil is one of the important commodities imported for meeting a growing demand in the domestic market. The government should immediately take steps to stop the usage of gold as an investment product. rupee depreciation has made imports of these commodities costlier in the domestic market. "European peripheral yields inch higher and with no major data releases. director." he said.370 per ounce from $1. Though prices of gold. But a depreciated rupee will make pulses costlier. gold prices have climbed down to $1. soya oil and pulses have dropped in the global market. Motilal Oswal Commodity Broker. pulses price is hovering between $1. "It is an unusual thing that we are seeing now. there may even be a price hike. A weak rupee has forced pulses importers to stay away from the market for a while. Arrest that fall: Unleash a new round of reforms to reverse the rupee's slide The official view on the sharp depreciation of the rupee is that this is a temporary phenomenon." he said. commodity prices have fallen but prices are ruling high in India. KC Bhartia.

Big Data will encompass all spheres of activity. which would organically strengthen investor sentiment. energy and other sectors. Big Data. remote sensing equipment. the kind that has us so agitated today because of its potential misuse. And it is getting bigger every day. will form only a small part of Big Data. instead of just talking about this. In the age of unlimited bytes. Eventually. glean sense from it. instantly and constantly crunching data it gathers from around it. The falling rupee is emblematic of our economy's troubles where dollar payments exceed dollar inflows. radio-frequency identification readers. and suggest information that speakers may want to see or pursue — even as they are conversing. the scale of the rupee market now makes it increasingly unfeasible for the RBI to influence the exchange rate sustainably. human and beyond. Data also comes from scientific research — from astronomy and atmospheric sciences to genomics and particle physics. Data. embedded and overheaded. Across the US and other digital-savvy parts of the world. to oversimplify its expertise. tons of it. pension funds. when 100 exabytes of data (equivalent to 30 billion DVDs) will be generated every month.commerce. But the RBI must desist from intervening to prop up the rupee. This has largely been on account of growing trade imbalances. Already. Further depreciation may lie ahead.narrow the deficit. a young entrepreneur of Indian origin co-founded a company that. microphones. Bills for oil and other imported raw materials will also go up unfortunately. The current downward spiral of the rupee indicates either that trade imbalances continue to widen or that dollar inflows have further softened. growth has slowed and inflation grown. India must exploit the erosion of its currency to regain competitive advantage in manufacturing and exports. First. Jheeta. That's a billion DVDs a day. calls it "anticipatory computing". It is estimated that internet traffic will move up from the current Age of Exabyte (10 raised to 18) bytes to the Zettabyte Age (10 followed by 21 zeroes) in 2015. tracking technologies. including the spoken word or conversations. this could work in India's favour. Next up is the yottabyte. much of it generated by private companies aiming to . are everywhere — in your face and behind your back. and other modes. In time. helping correct trade imbalances by making exports more competitive and imports costlier. is coming from computers. Government should focus on controlling its runaway current account deficit. It could buoy exports by pushing up investments in infrastructure and utilities as well as expediting project clearances. Government could begin by easing foreign investment restraints in retail. a virtual babble. Uncle Sam shapes up as Big Brother Some months back. 22. the app can reside in devices ranging from your cell phone to your refrigerator to your car. they are gathering and generating vast amounts of data. security surveillance etc. defence. The world's per capita capacity to store such data has roughly doubled every three years since the 1980s. with exports slowing sharply while imports remain shored up by oil and gold. There is an innocuous sounding term for all this. insurance. forcing the currency to lose almost a third of its value against the dollar. Moninder Jheeta's Silicon Valley-based Expect Labs has introduced an app that can listen to an eight-person conversation. But pushing growth rather than imports has to be the priority when fighting back a serious imbalance on the trade front. to provide a stream of contextual information. the same way website analytics track your online footsteps when you browse the internet. Social data relating to humans. Second. From airport lounges to theme parks to movie theaters. the economy and the rupee. who is the chief technology officer of Expect. including medical records. reads your mind. Thefalling rupee has been a sustained phenomenon for more than two years now. many US stores and corporations are using such breakthrough technologies to anticipate or capitalise on consumer behaviour. Several large US retailers use a service called Euclid that lets them track individuals' in-store movements through their smartphones' in-store connections. A number of policy options are available for this. And these are early days yet in the saga of Big Data.

So let the Americans know: No data grab. were just starting to get the hang of big data analytics. 23.7 percent. once reserved for military use. it wasn't too long ago that cellphone numbers were jealously guarded. So what does the US government do amid such promise? Shoot itself in the foot with an ominous overreach that. From spotting outbreaks of disease and infections to better delivery of services. contributing tens of billions of dollars in annual value to the American economy. an analyst with Aforex. nuclear power. however. The intrusive US enterprise — even if legal under domestic law — potentially has a more sinister end-use. especially from government generated data. and which has a well-chronicled record of marching to folly. has sent tremors across the free world. people lay out their life on Facebook without fear. The growing access of government data to entrepreneurs and innovators. However. and India has been purchasing Russian-made defence products for years. a commitment Washington renewed this year under an open data policy. for problem solving. it appears the biggest purveyor of this data is government. and none more than the US government. Not on our watch. Two familiar examples cited by Big Data gurus: public release of weather data from government satellites and ground stations generated an entire economic sector that today includes the Weather Channel. particularly at a time when privacy is not really prized by GenX. There is a general decline in business activity in Southeast and South Asia. believe that the two countries are on the right track and have the potential to reach the $40 billion in the next few years. from code enforcement to combating crime. The first four months of 2013 witnessed a fall in bilateral trade between Russia and India with the Russian Ministry of Economic Development putting the number at $3. metals and precious stones. Bilateral trade slows in 2013. and Indian purchases of Russian-made weapons are effectively drying up. despite expanding the data pie. including the Obama administration. a decline of about 27 percent from the previous year. Exports from Russia to India fell by 37 percent in from January to April 2013. while imports actually rose by 12. even accounting for the hyperbole of privacy advocates. identified as areas with high potential for bilateral trade. Russian military products are some of the most . where there is long and healthy distrust of big government. Big Data is enabling things that could not be grasped using smaller packets of information. There are two factors that explain the downturn in bilateral trade. gave rise to GPS-powered innovations ranging from aircraft navigation systems to precision farming to location-based apps. After all. available for civilian and commercial access. Now. Lost in the rising crescendo of suspicion and disquiet is the fact that governments. Looking for terrorist activity in big data is clearly a needle-haystack situation. is way over the top.2 billion. News that Uncle Sam is playing Big Brother. the US is also in a unique position to monitor all data passing through it. simply by virtue of its role in engendering the internet and many related technologies. particularly when the principle actor is a government that is not particularly known for wise decision-making in matters of war and peace. has already shown spectacular results. But to what purpose Big Brother will use all the information he is vacuuming into his vast data farms is something that ought to engage the rest of the world. commercial agricultural advisory services.monetise it. according to Narek Avakyan. Financial analysts. aviation. The two countries have a long history of military cooperation. and new insurance options. analysts optimistic about long run Mechanical engineering. including in the US itself. How to extract the benefits from Big Data while not succumbing to overwrought paranoia will be a challenge in the days and weeks ahead. ―I am somewhat perplexed by the failures of Russian arms on the Indian market. As the principal host to the world's internet architecture and infrastructure. Similarly. and has indeed established a lock over digital data passing through the American gateway. the US government's decision to make the GPS.

even outstripping the United States.competitive in the world. India increased exports of chemicals. Current state of bilateral trade Russian exports to India currently sit at around $8 billion per year. ―In return. ―We actually suggested that our Indian colleagues modernise our current agreement to some extent. are currently under review by the Ministry of Finance. including nuclear power plant construction and the supply of technical and aviation equipment. ―The fact that we have a long trade history with India is certainly important. while decreases were recorded in the supply of chemicals (from 18. and provided fewer automobiles. Russian exports are suffering because of poor trade routes and reduced economic activity. Moscow has requested New Delhi to amend the agreement with clear safeguards to protect large scale Russian investments.2 percent to 5.‖ RBS President and investment expert Timofey Sholtes told RIR. which will have a production capacity of 100. for example.‖ India‘s Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said in May. Exports of pearl and precious stones and metals also increased (from 8. They can also help set up joint enterprises (investment) in various fields including oil production enterprises such as Sakhalin-1. tea and coffee. textile and footwear to Russia. Away from the defence industry. ―All the same. which was signed in 1994. ―Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with various countries.‖ Mayorova added. which opened in February 2010 and the under-construction butyl rubber plant (jointly owned by SIBUR Holding and Reliance Industries). and pearl and precious stones and metals. a senior official of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development told RIR. machinery and technical equipment. with ONGC Videsh Ltd owning the rights to 20 percent of the production. assuming a favourable macroeconomic climate in both countries. ―There is room for increased cooperation in the military-industrial complex as well as in mechanical engineering. and the standard text with which we start negotiations has changed too. including Russia.‖ Ekaterina Mayorova.‖ Voronin said. India can supply medicines (one of the biggest areas). and this should happen within the next three to four years.9 percent). It could have something to do with the desire to cut costs (it‘s well known that European manufacturers are lowering their prices because of the crisis).8 percent to 4. One important factor in bilateral trade is the Indo-Russian Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA).‖ Sholtes said. with imports in the region of $3 billion per year.1 percent to 12. $15–16 billion in bilateral trade is hardly through the roof for such large economies. ―This agreement was signed in 1994.000 . while the other is not exactly transparent with its business processes. In spite of all the difficulties. I believe that trade between Russia and India has the potential to reach $40 billion. giving the impression that bilateral cooperation between the two countries is far less favourable than is actually the case.‖ Sakhalin-1 remains the main Russian-Indian joint investment project on Russian soil. but we can‘t ignore the fact that each country has its own specific ways of doing business – one country has a high level of corruption.‖ Avakyan said. The main Russian projects in India are the Kamaz truck assembly plant. Sholtes believes that trade relations continue to develop at a high rate thanks to active dialogue and coordinated activities. the main Russian exports over the first four months of this year were automobiles.4 percent). According to the Ministry of Economic Development. as it is largely connected to the fact that India made substantial payments for Russian military goods and services in the first quarter (of last year). This creates some serious obstacles and hinders the development of joint business. ―The fall in trade is nothing more than an illusion.9 percent) and metals and metal-based products (from 7. their share of the export market increased from 53 percent in 2012 to 57. Analysts like FIBO Group‘s Anatoly Voronin share the general optimism about Indo-Russian bilateral trade. and since that time our approaches towards concluding agreements on protecting investments have changed several times. machinery and technical equipment. Significantly.‖ Avakyan said.9 percent in 2013.

Most certainly. It is time our pundits reworked their trade and learned to view the paradigm shift in world politics through the Indian prism. K. Boundless Informant challenges the very foundations of the US-India security partnership. That works out to around 7 percent of all information being tapped worldwide by the US‘ ace spy agency. We‘re going to have to make choices as a society. India happens to be one of the principal targets in the Boundless Informant‘s ―global heat map‖ where countries are graded in colours – green (for the least amount of surveillance). L. the US also has a deplorable record of double speak when it comes to ―counter-terrorism‖. Without doubt. There are trade-offs involved. President Barack Obama rationalizes the US‘ cybercrime on the world community. Simply put. India is coded orange and out of the total 97 billion pieces of information culled out by the Boundless Informant in March alone. India accounts for 6.‖ Pray. Director of the NIA knows everything that is needed to know about our political class. The Russian side has also expressed interest in cooperating in the production of individual components for the Irkut MS-21. He says. 24. the US factors in India‘s future potential to become at least half a superpower. Chidambaram. we‘ve [US] struck the right balance. In fact. they do social networking. India is a key target country for the US‘ surveillance. Yet. it transpires that we are being spied on by the US‘s top intelligence agency as a nation of naked apes.tonnes a year. our top intelligence czars and army commanders use cellphones. Aviation is another area of strong potential between the countries. A. as evident from the reluctance of the world powers to admit it as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council – or from the Pentagon project to establish . it has the prerogative to invade the privacy of the world community. India and the Boundless Informant It transpires Indians are being spied on by the US‘s top intelligence agency as a nation of naked apes.‖ Obama thinks it is fine that for the US‘ absolute security.3 billion. The Big Brother used the information carefully. yellow. what is the ―right balance‖? In Obama‘s own words. Conceivably. discreetly and selectively to the extent that it impacted on the US‘ national secu rity interests. orange and red. Clearly. but when you actually look at the details. the government has freely distributed iPads to our parliamentarians to improve their efficiency at work. ―You can‘t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. US knows more about Maoist leader Muppala Lakshmana Rao‘s daily routine than Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde does. what does it all add up to? Clearly. etc. The Guardian newspaper‘s startling disclosures regarding United States National Security Agency‘s top-secret data-mining tool called Boundless Informant pose a big intellectual challenge for Indian strategists and political class. with the end users assumed to be Air India and Go Air. Didn‘t Headley use a cell phone? Didn‘t he use email? There can be no beating around the bush now that the US didn‘t know anything about what David Headley spoke and did during his numerous covert missions to India for planning the horrendous terrorist strike in Mumbai in November 2008. going up the greasy pole is not going to be easy for India. Just consider that James Clapper. Narendra Modi. ―In the abstract you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential programme run amok. They are focused on China‘s rise – rightly so – but they blithely assume the US and India are ―natural allies. they converse over ―Skype‖. But then.‖ Yet. Suffice to say. So. – all depend on the US-based internet servers. the damage to national security and our dignity and self-respect as a sovereign nation is incalculable. they ―google‖. Advani. A preliminary agreement has been reached with Aviotech on the delivery of ten Sukhoi Superjets to India.K Antony. Period. Conceivably. the movers and shakers of India‘s power calculus – be it Rahul Gandhi. Our senior politicians – and the elites as a whole – almost without exception use Blackberry. P.

according to a major review of .amilitary base in the Maldives so as to replace India as that island‘s provider of security. Mr.06. CURRENT AFFAIRS (13. The Americans may tell the Sheikhs the ABM will ―contain‖ Iran. The government has justified an ordinance on the ground that the Opposition had thwarted all its attempts to bring the Bill in Parliament (although the revised Bill was brought on the last day of the budget session) and that the rollout would take at least six months. Pawar. The Food Bill seeks to provide rice at Rs. There is also a view that in case the principal Opposition party. indicating his willingness to go along with whatever the Cabinet decides. has opposed the Bill terming it ―anti-farmer. Some of the allies have also let it be known that the proposal for an ordinance was moved during the previous Cabinet meeting without prior consultation. Make no mistake that the West hopes to perpetuate the flow of modern history since the Industrial Revolution. About 34 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 are stunted in the country. 3 per kg. The revised Bill along with Food Ministry‘s 81 amendments will be tabled for approval in the Union Cabinet meeting on Thursday. the United Progressive Alliance government is all set to push for an ordinance on the Food Security Bill. does not allow Parliament to function and the ordinance cannot be ratified by Parliament. Already some of the States have enacted rights-based food Bill and several others are providing foodgrain through the public distribution system. Therefore. the BJP wants to show its support for the Bill by seeking an early monsoon session or a special session to debate it. particularly the Congress. The Boundless Informant comes as a wake-up call to the effect that what are Beijing‘s woes today from the US‘s containment strategy might as well be Delhi‘s tomorrow if and when India begins to get its act together as a booming economy and world power. Biju Janata Dal and AllIndia Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will also move amendments. which supports the UPA from outside. this being an election promise. That is at the core of the struggle for the control of cyber space. The Boundless Informant reminds us that history has not ended. Thomas met Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week after which he spoke to UPA allies.V.2013) Part 1 1. 1 per kg per month to 67 per cent of the population to be identified by the State governments. Both Mr. including Mr. The Trinamool Congress. It is learnt that Mr. Thomas and key ally and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are known to have expressed concern over taking the ordinance route. the Bharatiya Janata Party. it appears that the UPA. Stunting a country India‘s paradox of fast economic growth across several years and chronic malnutrition in a significant section of the population is well known. which Washington consistently disapproved. then the UPA will go to the polls with the claim that the BJP did not allow a rights-based bill to be passed. wheat at Rs. did not take it up. Food Minister K. don‘t ask against whom is the US‘s missile defence system being deployed in the Persian Gulf. 2 per kg and millets at Re. Pawar and Mr. but its radars and interceptors will also monitor India‘s rapidly growing missile capabilities. Ajit Singh have made it a point to attend Thursday‘s Cabinet meeting. UPA all set to push for ordinance on Food Bill today Ignoring concerns expressed by allies and civil society groups. Each beneficiary will be entitled to 5 kg per month as against 35 kg per household at present. wants to go it alone. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference to get them on board.‖ However. Despite his reservations. 2. The Samajwadi Party. The Cabinet however. Parties‘ stand On its part. It has vast numbers of stunted children whose nutritional status is so poor that infectious diseases increase the danger of death. The Left parties will move amendments mainly for a universal public distribution system. Pawar stated recently that he was not against the Bill.

000 days — for life-long health. although India‘s literacy level was an abysmal 16 per cent in 1947.R. continuing the distressing cycle. The broader task would be to improve universal access to nutrients through a basket of commodities — including pulses. These are communication challenges that theNational Rural Health Mission must pursue vigorously. part of the post-liberalisation generation. Ambedkar and the other founding fathers believed universal suffrage was a necessary pre-condition. India is a caste-based society with deeply rooted socialhierarchies. From the first election itself. which was also its first marker of equality. Dr.global undernutrition by The Lancet . India achieved the status of theworld‘s largest liberal democracy. Regrettably. constantly striving to widen the inclusive and egalitarian framework. It is now for civil society to press the agenda 3. A quarter of all maternal deaths occur due to anaemia. the young women are bound to face complications during pregnancy and many are certain to deliver stunted babies. both of which cause often-fatal complications at childbirth. and such legislation should have received wide support across the political spectrum. What these insights underscore is the need for the political class to make the struggle against malnutrition a national priority. the Public Distribution System and community-run not-for-profit institutionswould form the backbone of such an effort. Largest liberal democracy By virtue of holding its first national election in 1951-52. Democratic elections have enabled the traditionally marginalised groups to take the democratic route towards empowerment. the first 1. The success of that election. Both political parties and individual candidates have had to accept a policy of reconciliation rather than confrontation. as The Lancetdata confirm. fruits and vegetables — that can be supplied through a variety of channels. this worked wonders in levelling the playing field. this constitutional body has developed new skills almost with each general election. India cannot really reap the so-called demographic dividend of a large young population. to remain not static but evolutionary. Without active intervention to improve their access to appropriate food. Supplemental nutrition efforts are also hampered by superstition and rumour about effects on unborn children. and 19 per cent due to calcium deficiency. which in turn led India to witness the growth of major leaders from the erstwhile marginalised sections occupying key elected positions in many States. belied the many sceptics who felt that the electoral exercise was doomed to . An innovation that changed the poll landscape The Election Commission of India has emerged. most politicians have failed to grasp the importance of this social investment. over the last 63 years. have benefited the least from economic growth. and to provide opportunities for education and skill-building. The constitutional provision reserving seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes has given them a minimum guarantee of participation in governance. Given this causality. aiming thus for the widening of the voting processes. as one of our most respected institutions. attributable in good measure to lack of nutrients in the diet. Clearly. Neither can it substantially reduce its shameful levels of maternal and childmortality. and latterly even with each election to the State Assemblies. for each vote carries equal value. Indeed. These adolescents. It is evident that in the absence of scaled-up programmes to build the health of the child and the teenager. However. there is evidence to suggest that this has not been scaled up in rural areas. universal adult franchise proved to be a game-changer. the process of democratisation of castes has turned out to be the most significant social development of 20th century India. Although India has some intervention programmes in place to provide iron supplements to women. B. What is often forgotten in the discussion is the importance of early childhood nutrition — crucially. the UPA government should have come up with a Food Security law that provides universal access to nutritious food. Over these six decades.

April 12.‖ Associated Press. A natural extension of this basic approach was the inclusion of universal adult franchise with the raison d‘etre that man or woman. the voter was brought through the electoral roll on to a common platform. On the forenoon of the poll day. I met several Dalit voters who showed me their I cards issued by the Election Commission and complained they had been unable to vote because the dominant castes had warned them not to proceed to the polling booths. Our preparation began with a bye-election to the Aurai Assembly in December 2005. This was the observer‘s report: ―Towards end of the polling. mature and significantly bold vision. rich or poor. Accordingly. Any voluntary interference or attempt at interfering with the free exercise of any electoral right constitutes the crime of undue influence at an election. The observer brought this to the notice of R.. on election day. The age-old inequalities were.. Taking the help of the local police. particularly if we recall that in many countries different groups. hired thugs prevent many voters from reaching polling stations. The same situation would be faced even if a repoll were to be ordered in such areas. There appears to be some truth in such allegations. the lawmakers made specificprovisions in law. Other voters arrive to find their ballots have already been cast‖ (Arthur Max. the Commission used technology and its now computerised rolls to find out which areas (townships. I visited a few villages where there had been complaints of stopping of Dalit voters. had to struggle long and hard to obtain franchise. since it is not possible for the electoral officers or police to patrol the villages so intensively as to provide security/escort to every voter from his doorstep to the polling booth. Notwithstanding these legal provisions. voters from the weaker sections had not come to vote. Reporting on the Indian elections a journalist of Associated Press was to write: ―Armies formed by local politicians have intimidated villages during every election in the underdeveloped farmland of northern India .‖ . This amongst other measures reflected a very enlightened. villages and tolas) had not voted for long periods in previous elections. 1989. The observer went to the particular village and saw a few hundred voters being prevented by a handful of armed men from casting their votes. voters from the weaker sections complained to the Election Observer that in the past they had difficulties in accessing the polling stations due to intimidation by local musclemen. especially women. then Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of Uttar Pradesh. There was no intimidation in or near the polling booths as such . Uttar Pradesh.failure. undue influence at elections is an electoral offence under Section 171C of the Indian Penal Code. threats and intimidation of SC voters. sought to be eliminated or at least substantially diminished by conferring political equality. at one stroke. ―Private Armies.. 1996) The conduct of elections in India‘s largest state. While preparing for the 2007 Assembly elections. upper caste or lower.. irrespective of creed or religion. Special provisions were also made to safeguard the interests of voters belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. almost every election after Independence witnessed violence. During the campaign period. the observer noticed that in one particular polling station. This gave us many valuable insights on how to approach this mammoth problem. No immediate remedy in this regard suggests itself. given its size and social complexities. Anticipating that the caste based social hierarchy would play a restricting role in ensuring the equality of citizenship rights in the elections. forcing or intimidating a member of a Scheduled Caste or Tribe not to vote or to vote (for) a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law is an offence under Section (3) (1) (v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Thus. the voters were enabled to proceed to the polling station. has always been one of the Commission‘s biggest challenges. Section 123 (2) of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951 defines any direct or indirect interference with the free exercise of any electoral right as a corrupt practice. Balakrishnan.

It was attended by around 900 participants from over 50 countries. and Zin Mar Aung preferred ―Burma. where I start my journey.‖ while Minister Soe Thein and the majority of questioners from the audience used ―Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi.000 habitats were identified as especially vulnerable.DEC Balakrishnan submitted the details of these incidents to the Commission. They tracked every vulnerable location. We then created auxiliary polling stations and parked them in at the vulnerable pockets themselves. including political and business leaders.Besides other issues.‘ they say. elections. A watershed In the process of mapping vulnerability. and various preventive measures were initiated under preventive section of law. ex-poli tical prisoner and activist. we found that a ―vulnerable‖ voter had to walk through areas of intimidation to cast a vote. On the sidelines of the forum. Here then lay the genesis of a search for an institutional method to identify the areas likely to be affected by such threats as also to track the people who are likely to create such disturbances. there was no threat or intimidation on the poll day. Minister of the President‘s Office. writing in Frontline on May 19. local journalists breathlessly talk about an election that has not been this free and fair in decades. for the first time in years. some used Burma and others used Myanmar. Proper accountability was created within the security system to monitor them. The U. summed it up thus: ―In Lucknow. the BBC moderator.‖ The impact was clearly visible on poll day. the debate was divided on the very name of the country. The politics of Myanmar versus Burma A three-day conference of the World Economic Forum for East Asia concluded last week in Naypyitaw. election a ―watershed.‖ Does .831 polling stations (out of 1. Now there was no need to walk through hostile territory. Several hundred new auxiliary polling stations proved to be a game-changer which is why I termed the 2007 U. the election managers during the mammoth 2007 U. give visibility to institutional intervention and send a nononsense message about the seriousness of elections. It proved to be an effective confidence building measure. From this was born a new methodology which we named ―Vulnerability Mapping. As the electoral administration had identified the potential trouble makers by name and forewarned them there against violence. Clearly. ‗This is a miracle. U Soe Thein. Though they all refer to the same country. The ECI observers did a marvellous job.P.763 polling stations spread over 403 constituencies) as ―vulnerable‖ on the basis of past incidents and current feedback. elections identified as many as 27. with a view to taking advance measures to prevent the commission of such offences. This meant stepping out of the traditional crease to address the problem at source. and sent a no-nonsense message to trouble makers 4. For example. It was the first time Myanmar had hosted an international gathering of such magnitude. As many as 15. gave visibility to the Election Commission‘s work. They eulogise the Election Commission of India for making this possible and speak of Dalits in the remotest villages trooping out to cast their votes — in many cases for the first time since Independence.P.‖ borrowing the term from Disaster Management. 2007. a great interest in the socio-economic reforms of the host country was quite evident. Though the forum‘s objective was to discuss the issues facing developingeconomies in the region. Vidya Subrahmaniam. the traditional approach of safeguarding only the 100-metre periphery around a polling station would no longer suffice. Myanmar President Thein Sein opened the forum.10. and Zin Mar Aung. Typically. More than one lakh people were identified as potential trouble makers. were violencefree. This method brought a new focus to ensure clear accountability. Now we aimed at the identification of habitats and segments of voters vulnerable to intimidation in the past.‖Vulnerability mapping ensured accountability. A detailed concept paper emerged which the Commission endorsed.P. a globally televised BBC debate was held on the subject. ―Myanmar: What Future?‖ Panellists included Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On past and people There are two basic arguments about the name change. On the other hand. First. the old name may not easily be forgotten or abandoned by some in Myanmar society. the country‘s independence could have been either delayed or only territories occupied by the Burman ethnic group may have been recognised as Burma by the British. there is no difference. At the 1947 Panglong conference. most democracy activists and some Western countries. This also implies that using a different name symbolises freedom from the legacy of colonial administration. The second argument is that the term Burma refers to only one group of people and the usage of Myanmar is inclusive of all ethnic nationalities of the country. continue to use the old name. the military leaders argue that as the name Burma was given or used by the colonial rulers.S. to join the Union. Though the name was changed in 1989. Democracy and name If the current pattern of democratic transition continues and the international community establishes normal diplomatic relations with the country.the name matter in Myanmar politics? Is there any significance of using one over the other? And why does this issue still linger 13 years after the country was renamed in 1989? Circumstances First of all. Burma is known as either Myanma or Bama. However. it should be replaced with an indigenous name. argue that it was an undemocratic government that changed the country‘s name without the consent or mandate of the people. Since the issue is historical as well as political. literary name of the country. the majority Burman group led by General Aung San made several attempts to convince the frontier people. particularly the United States and Great Britain. Both names still refer to the majority group of people in the country. Since British colonial administration. the Myanmar government and its supporters and sympathisers. use the new name. the name change should only happen if a democratically elected government decides to do so with majority approval in Parliament.. the usage of one name over the other still carries political significance although both names basically refer to one . while Bama is the spoken name of the country. especially among the older generation and within the expatriate community. including the U. and the United Kingdom. They also argue that the term Burma is easier to pronounce and remember. it is likely that the new name will eventually be used for all official diplomatic dealings. and a vast majority of the international community. Until a democratically elected government officially mandates and recognises the name change permanently. Similarly. the issue is historical as well as political.N. who are also referred to as Burmans. During British rule. the name of the capital city was changed from Rangoon to Yangon. who are today designated as the country‘s ethnic minorities. They also argue that there is no fundamental difference between the two names. To them. Had the frontier people not agreed to join the Union of Burma. the name of the country was Burma. there has been deep mistrust toward the majority Burman group by other ethnic nationalities. It was the State Law and Order Restoration Council military government that renamed the country from Union of Burma to Union of Myanmar. In Burmese or Myanmar language. The controversy surrounding the name started with the political circumstances under which it was renamed. since both still refer to one group of people. Myanma is the written. the country‘s old name will still linger in Myanmar politics in the foreseeable future. It was under such circumstances that the term Union of Burma was coined in an attempt to give a sense of unity and belonging to the diverse ethnic groups under a new independent Burma. the people of Myanmar and the international community continue to use two different names. including by the U. and in the preceding months. For example. with the gradual democratic reforms in the country. Those who prefer Burma. In terms of meaning. Nevertheless. the new name has become more popular than ever before and the international community has gradually recognised it.

Where a case has been assigned to the SFIO. Its powers are largely restricted to examination of documents and it does not have the powers of search.particular group of people. information technology. the inspection of books. Under the Companies Bill Despite the tough remit set for the SFIO and the complex nature of the cases handled by it. the Bill attempts to pre-empt the confusion caused by multiple agencies investigating the same case. the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau. the SFIO is to investigate those cases that are complex in nature and involve inter-departmental and multi-disciplinary ramifications. the SFIO will be a statutory body with the ability to initiate prosecution when directed by the Central government.1. Giving teeth to the serious fraud office The recent scam involving the Saradha group of companies has once again brought into sharp focus the need for effective investigation and prosecution of corporate fraud. the Central government has announced a probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). forensicauditing. This measure will avoid duplication of duties and delay. State government. as a body of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. police or income tax authority . taxation. The director of the SFIO will have the power to arrest persons if he has reason to believe that such persons are guilty of certain offences. Burmans continue to be divided over how to call their country 5. on the basis of the recommendations in the Naresh Chandra Committee Report on Corporate Audit and Governance. but is able to direct and supervise prosecutions under various economic legislations through appropriate agencies. registers and other documents and the summoning of and enforcing of attendance of persons. Even 13 years after its renaming. The SFIO also operates within an elaborate matrixof investigating bodies with overlapping authority over such cases. the staff of the SFIO includes experts in varied fields such as accountancy. the functioning of this non-statutory body is hemmed in on many sides. the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) being some of the other bodies which have also been granted investigative roles and powers. Accordingly. It has also spearheaded the investigation into Sesa Goa‘s alleged over and under invoicing of exports and imports worth over Rs. law. Further. In an attempt to rein in the operations of such companies. The genesis The SFIO was established in 2003. will be deemed to be a report filed by the police under the Code of Criminal Procedure. the CBI. Among the high profile cases investigated by the SFIO. In addition to the Saradha group.‖ As per its charter. it is suspected that several companies are currently running fraudulent chit fund schemes in West Bengal. In its newavatar . The scheme was touted as a realty business and there were frequent changes in its operational strategy in an attempt to avoid scrutiny by regulatory authorities. the Companies Bill 2012 (which was passed in Parliament in December last year) has attempted to strengthen the SFIO. for framing of charges. The committee felt that there was a need to establish ―a multi -disciplinary team that not only uncovers the fraud. any other investigating agency. the Satyam scandal is perhaps the most notorious. Keeping these shortcomings in mind.000 crore. including fraud under the Companies Bill. investigation. seizure and arrest. Significantly.870 crore fraud in Reebok India. The SFIO has also probed the alleged Rs. no other investigating agency of the Central or the State government is to proceed with investigation. capital markets and financial transactions. The investigation report filed by the SFIO with the criminal court. The Saradha group allegedly utilised a consortium of companies with multiple cross linkagesto set in motion an elaborate Ponzi scheme. An investigator of the SFIO will have the powers vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure with respect to discovery and production of books of accounts and other documents.

quite easily thwart the new SFIO. allegedly avoided providing pertinent information to SEBI by doing a ―document dump‖ of cartons of irrelevant information. the SFIO may initiate prosecution only when the Central government directs it to do so. An SFIO investigation may be based on a Registrar‘s report that a company‘s affairs are being carried out in an unsatisfactory manner. nevertheless. Statistics also revealed that women seeking ante-natal care and those who were alerted for any pregnancy complications were more likely to undergo USG test. The absence of adequate resources and manpower could. The Saradha group. sharply highlights the danger of such dependence. its dependence on the Central government to initiate action is cause for concern 6. The allegedinvolvement of politicos in the Saradha scam. Adequate? While the new framework is a definite step forward. on the other hand.” . Effective corporate governance is. Additionally. thus. the Central government must be of the opinion that such investigation is necessary.having information or documents with respect to an offence being investigated by the SFIO is required to make such documents available to the SFIO. One must also keep in mind that the changes contemplated by the Companies Bill are of import only after a scandal breaks out. spontaneous abortion and induced abortion. Women who were alerted for any complications were significantly more likely to have undergone an ultrasound test. the dependence on the Central government to institute investigations is of some concern. predicated on coordinated action of the various enforcement agencies. the efficacy of the SFIO will also be determined largely by the adequacy of resources and manpower devoted to it by the Central government. therefore. Women seeking ante-natal care more likely to go in for ultrasound scan: study Ultrasonography is not done only for sex selection Contrary to the general belief that a majority of pregnant women undergo ultrasonography (USG) only for sex selection. an imperative need to strengthen scrutiny at the level of the Registrar of Companies — the first level of detecting the problem. a study shows that 80 per cent of them have given live birth and the remaining had either undergone a pregnancy loss or both live births and abortion. Only 5.4 per cent women who had reported at least one pregnancy loss including still birth. thus. and investigative bodies such as the SFIO. These measures are not pre-emptive in nature and they are not likely to have a significant effect on the stage at which the government becomes aware of a fraudulent scheme in motion. There is. as well as the recent uproar over the government‘s interference with the CBI investigation into Coalgate. on the one hand. In a paper “Understanding the role of ultrasound in improving maternal care in India. Under the Companies Bill. A company is required to submit various documents to the Registrar as a part of the compliance requirements under law. While recent attempts to strengthen the investigation agency probing major fraud are welcome. It is also essential to create linkages between complaints made at the first instance by private individuals with the police and other regulatory bodies. had also undergone an ultrasound test during the reference period. The analysis has also shown a higher likelihood of use of ultrasound among women with only one daughter compared to those having only one son. Further. It is interesting to note that SEBI also has the powers of a civil court with respect to production of documents — powers which have been granted to the SFIO under the Companies Bill. It remains to be seen whether SFIO‘s authority to arrest will act as a sufficient deterrent to such attempts to cloud the investigation. in order for the SFIO to investigate a company.

Similarly. The study is based on 41. In fact.376 women who were pregnant anytime during the past five years. Banerjee of Ipas-India and Sanjay K.000 women also found that among those who were alerted for pregnancy complications like vaginal bleeding. 9 per cent had one live birth and one loss. These women were not seeking USG for identification of sex of the foetus but were possibly interested in its progress based on a medical practitioner’s advice. Not surprisingly. 71. around 15 million children work as paid or unpaid domestic workers. according to an International Labour Organization (ILO) report titled Ending Child Labour in Domestic Work . Among them. 80 per cent had one (51 per cent) or more (29 per cent) live births without any pregnancy loss. 64 per cent of them were likely to go for USG compared to 38 per cent who were not alerted. No pregnancy loss Of those who had at least one USG for any of their pregnancies during the reference period. convulsions but not due to fever and prolonged labour). another five per cent had one or more loss and no birth and one had two or more losses and one or two more births. In other words. However. mental and sexual abuse is rampant — the report establishes through individual case studies from across the world — girls far outnumber boys. 80 per cent had given one or more births in the given period without any pregnancy loss while 20 per cent had at least one pregnancy loss. spontaneous or still birth.Sushanta K. On doctor’s advice Results also show that among women who had given live birth and did not have any loss. 7. and concluded that increased use in USG is predominantly due to increase in prenatal care and to identify pregnancy complications. An analysis of 16. 60 per cent had undergone USG compared to 37 per cent of their counterparts who were not alerted for any complications. Child domestic work suffers from ―statistical invisibility‖: ILO The world over. of which at least 10. those who were alerted to any kind of three complications (vaginal bleeding. These children work under conditions either hazardous or ―tantamount to slavery‖ says the report.3 per cent of children employed between the ages of five and 17 in domestic work are girls (2008 statistics). Mohanty of International Institute for Population Sciences have examined the linkages between pregnancy loss (including induced abortions.5 million are below the legal minimum age. the majority of the women who had undergone at least one USG had at least one live birth in the reference period. a significantly higher proportion (45 per cent) of them availed the USG test. the analysis based on NFHS data has some limitations as it cannot be identified whether the loss is due to induced abortion. 29 per cent had a USG done compared to 36 per cent among those who had at least one loss or both live births and loss. spontaneous abortions and still births) using the data of the third round of National Family Health Survey. Among women who had only a live birth. The report looks at the many factors that . released on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour. in these slavery-like conditions where physical. 5 per cent had one loss and two or more live births.

Collection of data Significantly. WIND POWER The MNRE would move a proposal to the Cabinet to re-instate accelerated depreciation benefit to wind power generators. the subsidiary of Paris-based Solairedirect Group. it notes. The report notes that worldwide only 10 per cent of all domestic workers are covered by general labourlegislation.‖ The report states: ―Measures to improve education and make it more accessible range from building schools to the reduction or elimination of direct and indirect costs.2013) Part 2 8. This is the first project of the European company in India. Solar Mission-II projects to have 75% local content Bidding for 750 MW to start next month The Government has decided that 75 per cent of 750 MW solar projects. while a fourth are completely excluded from national labour legislations.contribute to the abusive situation around domestic child labour. This. with a focus on those at the bottom rung. The ILO recommends stepping up research efforts — particularly by public institutions — to improve methodologies to capture and monitor the number of child domestic workers and working conditions.‖ and emphasises the need to work toward collecting data on child labour. France‘s Solairedirect unit Solairedirect Energy India Private Ltd. will be built with local content. Generation Based Incentive Scheme would continue for a longer period. it will go to the Cabinet. and punitive action. more labour laws that deal with legal working age and working conditions. Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE). As a policy instrument. it suggests that ―the inclusion of domestic workers in labour law can make a substantial contribution to the creation of decent work opportunities and the professionalisation of the growing domestic workers sector. The scrapping of accelerated depreciation benefit to wind power generators has hit the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises sector. the ILO calls for increasedregulation through inspections. The bidding would start in the coming month. how they move far from their homes and families leading to isolation and discrimination. according to the Indian Wind Power Association. ―We hope in the next couple of weeks.‖ Education key The ILO reiterates the role of governments in providing more accessible and quality education. on Wednesday announced the commissioning of its 5-MW solar park in Rajasthan. The US has dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over mandating of domestic sourcing in the first phase of the Mission. an imperative to policy-making. the impact on health. CURRENT AFFAIRS (13. ―We want to encourage domestic industry also. has hindered action in this sector. the vulnerability to physical and sexual abuse. This has put to rest all uncertainties pertaining to the use of local content in the Mission because of US pressure. At the same time. to be offered under the second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. the ILO observes that this sector in general suffers from ―statistical invisibility. the largest investors in captive wind power projects.‖ said Abdullah.‖ said Farooq Abdullah.06. In its recommendations.‖ It adds that a common theme among all interventions to date has been linking trade union child labour efforts to broader national and international initiatives to ensure education for all and improve education quality. improved teacher training and curriculum reform. ―We have bid under Punjab policy for 20 . We want to give accelerated depreciation for two years. and ―ensuring this is a realistic and attractive option for those at risk of labour situations and their families.

The company bagged the Rajasthan project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in December 2011 at Rs 7. which reported annual revenues of €9. Patnaik also invoked the cause of the poor tribals living in and around mining areas and blamed the Centre for their neglect. Should the money paid by crores of taxpayers be used for a narrow interest of a political party?‖ he said.‖ he said. but how many.900 MW of power. Richier said that the reactors that are supposed to be supplied to Jaitapur nuclear power plant are ‗Fukushima resistant. Areva will supply China two reactors that are under construction.‖ said Gaurav Sood.‖ Speaking in Odiya. The Areva Group. Pegging his demand for special status with ―Oriya dignity‖ and aspirations of the four crore people of the State. Addressing a rally of thousands of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) workers here. he said. Patnaik attacked both the Congress and the BJP in Odisha for describing the Delhi gathering as an ―amusement rally. ―The UPA Government is following different policies for different States. ―However. slams Centre‘s ‗politicaldiscrimination‘ After Bihar Chief Minister‘s show of strength in Delhi‘s Ramlila Grounds in March. This will come in the future but is still in the concept stage. brought his demand for ‗special status‘ for the State at the Centre‘s doors on Wednesday.MW.‖ he added. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too.342 billion for 2012. Negotiations on supply of reactors for the Jaitapur plant are going on as several issues are stake. Patnaik seeks special status for Odisha. alleging that the ―self-interest‖ of the Congress party had become the ―sole criteria‖ for Central assistance ignoring the ―just demands‖ of States like Odisha that fulfil all the criteria required for grant of special status. France is also going to build similar reactors in Jaitapur. The Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in Maharashtra comprises 6X1. ―We are also looking to sign power purchase agreements with private developers. The bids are likely to open on Friday and we expect our bid to be competitive.49 per kWh. Patnaik accused the Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government of following a policy of ―political discrimination‖ in grant of Central assistance and reiterated his demand for ―special category status‖.‖ Patnaik said. which he said to be not too comfortable with. Each mode of power generation comes with its own risks but nuclear power is the safest in the world. It (deal) should be finalised in a matter of months. And after the Fukushima incident in Japan.3 billion for the project. Areva and Nuclear Power Corporation of India have signed a multi-billion contract worth around $9. He was speaking to members of the CII here in an interactive session. This will lead to joint collaboration in future in nuclear energy. the French government has decided to audit all its reactors on safety. If built.650 MW light water reactors to be built in cooperation with France to generate 9. ―The Central Government has been giving funds to different States on political considerations. ―You will see for yourself how safe the reactors are when they work in China. it will be one of the largest nuclear power generating stations in the world by net electrical power rating.‖ he said. we can root out poverty from Odisha in less than a decade. has delivered 98 nuclear reactors worldwide. in which the reactors were damaged due to a Tsunami. 9. There is no French nuclear equipment or reactor in India. and . Maharashtra is in need of more electricity and nuclear reactors will provide it in bulk and cheap.‘ provided some things are modified. ―I strongly believe if Odisha is given special category status. ―It takes time. he told newspersons on the sidelines of the meeting. this no big deal. But they (officials) are working hard. French nuclear reactors to be tested in China prior to supply for Jaitapur The nuclear reactors of French company Areva will go into production first in China before being supplied to Jaitapur in Maharashtra. he said. he insisted. 10. said French Ambassador to India Francois Richier. I do not know.‖ Sood told mediapersons. This includes the price of equipment and financial details of the project that is valued at close to $10 billion. which will be critical forIndia‘s power needs.‖ he said to clear apprehensions on safety. this will fly. but we are confident that at the end. France gets nearly 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power. Managing Director for the Indian unit.

four of its EPR reactors are under construction at Olkiluoto 3 (Finland). and the other by the states (SGST)." This is how Sushil Kumar Modi. parts. refining or distribution of petroleum.. taxable at the concessional rate. GST won't be a game-changer.9 to 1. On Tamil Nadu. The current base for the service tax levied by the Centre will be adopted for both CGST and SGST. Petroleum will come within the scope of GST under the Constitution. railways. he said. Richier said that the State was a ‗hot spot‘ for French companies to set up their operations. The Central Sales Tax (CST) and the entry tax are other major sources of cascading under the current system. GST has been estimated to provide a boost to the gross domestic product of 0. This status quo for the base would mean no tangible reduction in tax-cascading that occurs through taxation of raw materials. 11. Both of these were to be subsumed under GST.. movie admissions). He might succeed in making GST inevitable. i. only a "name changer". only a name changer The Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers' design squeezes out the politics from the new tax but makes it unacceptable as an alternative to the existing structure "There is no politics in GST. It will not fetch any votes to any political party. and international shipping. summarised his description of the designof the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at a recent meeting with national chambers and tax professionals. and one is planned at Hinkley Point in the UK. GST will have two components: one levied by the Centre (CGST). no credit or offset allowed for the building materials and equipment acquired for use in commercial and industrial construction. Taishan 1 and 2 (China). The base for goods. as well. Both will apply to a common base of goods and services.e. This means no offset for the taxes that get embedded in the cost of highways. and taxable at the standard rate. It is not something that will set the Indian economy free from the cage of the Hindu rate of growth. The states also remain . The status quo will also prevail for the base for services. France has a total investment worth $18 billion of which nearly 25 per cent is in Tamil Nadu. There are nearly 75 CEOs of French companies located in the State. Goods will be classified in four baskets: exempt from tax. taxable at a nominal rate (mainly precious metals taxable at one to two per cent). for any entry tax in lieu of Octroi levied by the state. thus. as well as their division into the four baskets. but it will not be a "game-changer". The most notable is the exemption for virtually the entire infrastructure sector. but the amount of cascading in these sectors is relatively small. The price he had to pay to win consensus of the foot-dragging states was to make it so banal and insipid that it would largely preserve the status quo of the taxes that they levy. There is speculation that electricity generation and distribution may also meet the same fate. development. Bihar's finance minister and chair of the Empowered Committee (EC) of State Finance Ministers. except for an entry tax levied and collected by municipalities. Health and education sectors are also exempted. will be the same as what it is under the value-added tax (VAT) currently levied by the states. In India. There will be no GST on real property and. and capital goods acquired for use in production and distribution in exempt sectors. Exemptions are rampant in the service sector. Flamanville 3 (France).. but is kept outside the GST law at least initially. bridges. but all of this is critically dependent on a substantial reduction in cascading. There will be no credit for the taxes on exploration. The alcohol industry will continue to suffer the pain of cascading in perpetuity since it will be excluded (exempted) from the GST domain within the Constitution itself. except that it will be broadened to include those services currently under the exclusive domain of the states (for example.7 per cent. The states have now sought a broader exception for the entry tax. Under the EC model.

A tax at this rate would be bad economics and bad politics. and be susceptible to leakages and intense pressures for further exemptions. They are Naveen Jindal. On the one hand. through an intermediary company. for example. Lok Sabha members. GST will remain a mirage .if not their actual interests. Interests in conflict Coal probe shows business in politics needs to be tackled The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday raided. the CGST revenue-neutral rate could also be in the 10 per cent-plus range. Nor are they alone. consumers would find GST twice as painful. who owns Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) and is a member of the Lok Sabha. On the other hand. and the Andhra film maker-turnedRajya Sabha member Dasari Narayana Rao. shares in Mr Rao's Saubhagya Media at prices more than three times the market rate.36 per cent. but few would be enthralled by the model the EC has developed. with conversion of the invisible central excise into a visible CGST. It would erode compliance. However. but it is far from exhaustive. which would experience a near doubling of the tax burden from the current rate of 12. which is approximately 12. The difference.5 per cent. it is worth noting that Mr Jindal and Mr Rao were both men of business and both were from the same party. are expected to declare their assets and liabilities . . It would be a drag on the service tax.5 per cent-plus. For goods. State governments would be well advised to go back to the drawing board and put some politics back into the GST design by broadening its base and lowering the rates. Yet India's thinking on conflict-of-interest issues remains sadly backward. Little wonder that Modi is soliciting advice from the national chambers on creative ways of hiding the tax from the consumers. or senior politicians who have extensive business interests in either their own names or in those of close associates and family members. Before joining a debate. it throws up further knotty questions. the House ethics committee is expected to investigate any declarations of conflict. was the payment for allowingthe allocation of several captive coal mines to JSPL's operations. Ministers are forbidden to have any connections with businesses that are related to the work they conduct for the government. Assuming full harmonisation of CGST and SGST tax bases. and registered a first information report against. After all. it is being argued. if it is proved. Matters can get even worse when the direct pay-offs are replaced with more complex transactions perhaps business favours of one sort or another. or crucial information. With neither a pruning of the exemptions nor any change in the composition of the concessional rate basket. Essentially. The primary check on any overlap between business and political interests of an MP is his or her fellow parliamentarians . the combined CGST+SGST rate would remain approximately the same as the current VAT plus the central excise rate.a squandered opportunity for visionary reform of our tax system. In this case. two Congress politicians. once minister of state for coal. It is not made public. This is not to say that India has no regulations on the books.apprehensive of revenue loss from the elimination of CST. there exist laws to deal with it. 12. yielding a combined rate of 22. if an attempt was indeed made to pay off Mr Rao. the revenue-neutral rate for SGST is being worked out to be close to the current rate. Without it. an increasing number of members of Parliament (MPs) are businessmen who have entered politics.Lok Sabha members' votes can be "challenged" by another member if a conflict of interest is perceived. a company in Mr Jindal's group is alleged to have bought. this is a fairly straightforward accusation of corruption and bribery. an MP is expected to declare all personal or pecuniary interests in the matter at hand. it was thought possible to try and conceal it under the cloak of regular business transactions. The Rajya Sabha maintains a register of members' interests. GST may be inevitable. which includes lists of consultancies and majority shareholdings. which vastly helped that company's bottom line. They are actively considering options to continue it at two or four per cent.

where will the "youth bulge" find low-skill employment? In sum. With the stagnation of labour-intensive manufacturing. Little wonder that formal sector wage employment has stagnated. Meanwhile. where a substantial ethics staff examines declared interests of Congress members and federal employees to discover conflicts and require divestiture of officials' holdings. Today. Politicians and bureaucrats need to realise public opinion will not sit by while the regulatory system rusts. but it seems they do so only on paper. unemployment and underemployment. garments. Of course. which have strong sociopolitical roots that render them especially intractable. toys and electronics. The huge disincentives to employ workers in large and medium-sized industrial units have also seriously stunted the growth of our manufacturing sector. In India. the Election Commission is supposed to take up complaints of unethical behaviour by ministers. our labour laws continue to grievously weaken the most effective mechanism forassuring "inclusiveness" in the development process for our most abundant resource of low-skill labour. Anti-employment laws Twenty years after a draft Cabinet note was readied to loosen our exceptionally restrictive labour laws (one of Indira Gandhi's most damaging. and "Early exit from economic stress?". however. The outlook does not look too promising if one examines the array of unattended constraints that are getting sharper by the year. over 90 per cent of our 500million strong labour force ekes out its living in "informal sector" occupations with scant job security and low incomes. other factors have also mattered but probably less than our exceptionally restrictive labour laws. The mechanisms exist. March 14. they need to be plugged. The much-touted "demographic dividend" of a youth bulge is being frittered away by our benighted labour policies and could easily morph into a massive. total employment has grown little in the most recent period (2004-05 to 2009-10) for which reasonable data are available and the share of agriculture in total employment has remained unusually high (around 50 per cent) despite the sharp drop in the sector's share in GDP (to 15 per cent). anti-poor economic legacies). regarding insider trading. loopholes are regularly discovered . May 9). it has long failed to do so.The sad truth. As I wrote recently. To keep it manageable.most recently. leather products. let us lift our gaze beyond these short-run exigencies and assess theprospects for reverting to a high (and inclusive) growth trajectory in the medium term. let me focus on just four such constraints. Even in theUnited States. or even to make the Rajya Sabha's book of interests public . If there are loopholes in the current regulatory system. no declarations or challenges have been issued in many years. which were the hallmark of hugely successful employment-intensive industrialisation in East Asia since 1970. is these genteel systems have not evolved enough to match the rapidly changing ways in which administrative processes can be subverted. no progress has been achieved. Sixty-five years after Independence. . neither of these is going to be easy ("BoP: Zero Dark Thirteen?".which might have made Mr Jindal and Mr Rao more cautious. The consequences continue to be profoundly (and increasingly) negative. intractable problem of job scarcity. 13. Industrial employers have every reason to avoid taking on new "regular" employees and to shy away from large-scale operations in labour-intensive sectors like textiles. Tightening constraints to inclusive development Rapid and inclusive growth in the medium term does not look too likely if one examines the array of unattended constraints The current economic discussion focuses on managing the ongoing stresses on our external finances and an almost desperate search to revive economic growth from itsmeagre five per cent annual rate. compared to 30 per cent plus in most East Asian nations including China. which has stagnated at 15 to 16 per cent of GDP for many years.

say. conditional cash transfers or voucher systems). has a longer history and continues to undermine the economic viability of key sectors. the increasing "politicisation" of public administration at all levels and the growing spread of bribery and corruption in government-citizen transactions. "Crony capitalism" has increased greatly. short-horizon politics at all levels of government. there are clear signs that governance has been deteriorating over time. without first undertaking the reforms necessary to make these programmes effective and efficient. and a widespread "subsidy culture". They clearly affect all dimensions of economic and social life. The growing subsidy on urea fertiliser has seriously weakened soil fertility. it is generally agreed that the quality and probity of civil services have worsened over time for many reasons. Huge sums are raised and spent on campaigning for office and "politicking" between elections (mostly under the table). Taken together. property rights. There are at least two broad reasons for this. The second. The challenge of urbanization Normally. fuelled by competitive. estimated at 50 per cent and higher in the public food distribution system). politics has become more of a "business" and less about public service and ideological commitment. large external imbalances and high interest rates and debt. the entropy in governance is likely to hurt future development. legal rights to work. food and so on). But old habits die hard. However. especially in resource sectors. Weaknesses in governance and administration Governance and administration are huge subjects. the ramping up of caste-based reservations or quotas since 1990. This means continuation of massive leakages (for example. Worryingly. this association may be diluted by the well-known weakness of governance institutions in our cities and towns. The "third tier" was missing. development experience worldwide suggests that urbanisation is associated with higher productivity and growth. Can anyone recall the name of a prominent mayor? Until the early 1990s the Indian Constitution did not recognise sub-national governments below the level of state governments. such as mining. They have also led to over-pumping and falling water tables in much of North and West India. which have then to be paid off by various subversions of public policies and decisions. Both types of fiscal populism spawn high fiscal deficits with their attendant growth-retarding dangers of high inflation. over time. This has at least two dimensions: a propensity for premature launching of ill-designed entitlement programmes (for example. the second major constraint on rapid. The passage of the 73rd and 74th Amendments in 1993 corrected this lacuna . Secondly. especially for poorer segments of society. They determine the quality of personal safety. First. rampant corruption and rent-seeking and strong vested interests against reform (to. The massive dieselsubsidy (now declining) has weakened energy security and hurt the environment. Foodgrain subsidies have distorted the agricultural economy and retarded the development of non-food crops. land allocation/use. broad-based growth is the penchant for fiscal populism. justice. The explosive growth of mobile telephony in the last 15 years has demonstrated that subsidies are unnecessary for high growth and inclusive reach of a sector. "the subsidy culture". telecom spectrum and large government contracts. which has severely diluted the meritocracy principle. contract enforcement and the delivery of publicly provided goods and services. in India. including: the quality of entrants (for decades. education.Fiscal populism Broadly defined. Electricity subsidies (especially for agriculture) have contributed majorly to the parlous situation of our electric power sector. many of the best people have opted for the growing opportunities outside government services). amplifying the looming crisis in water availability. The first has been massively strengthened during the last nine years of the United Progressive Alliance government.

25 crore into Rao's company to get the coal mines allocated to them. creating one state-owned behemoth Coal IndiaBSE -2. Dasari Narayana Rao. They are charged with fraud and corruption: the CBI alleges that Jindal's firms misrepresented facts and paid an amount of Rs 2. the return to high growth with inclusion poses arduous challenges in the years ahead. 14. the government decided that to speed up growth. A trojan horse at the judiciary‘s door ―Even so. the company that quotes the highest revenue share should get to exploit it. Although this was a major step forward. . worth about Rs 1. the Court must ‗do or die‘‖ — Justice Krishna Iyer A recent proposal for a Judicial Appointments Commission as structured by the government poses a grave threat to the independence of the judiciary. two eminent jurists nominated by the President.09 % (CIL) to mine and sell coal. Coal mining was nationalised by law in 1973. which impede the reaping of the economies of agglomeration associated with wellfunctioning cities and towns.06. It should then allow qualified mining companies from India and overseas to mine coal in the country. the creed of judicial independence is our constitutional ‗religion‘ and. over 15.2013) Part 1 1. and the Leader of the Opposition. Stem coal scams by scrapping captive mining The CBI has filed a first information report (FIR). The government's auditor reckons that between 2005 and 2009. the general outlook is far from reassuring. the Commission is likely to consist of seven members — the ChiefJustice of India and two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. But the fact remains that unless India overhauls its entire policy governing coal. Without a much more serious effort at urban institution building by the central and state governments.350 million tonnes of coal under the ground. In the past. Against this background. many coal mines have been allocated in fairly dubious circumstances by the government to private players. This policy will bring dividends for all stakeholders in society and eliminate graft. captive coal mines could be allocated for companies generating power or making metals or cement. all things considered. municipalities and other ULCs remain largely fledgling institutions with limited powers for mobilising and allocating resources. So. This valuation may not be accurate. CILBSE -2. inclusive developmentin the long term.09 %is a listed company but is plagued by inefficiencies and being probed by the Competition Commission of India for abuse of its monopoly powers. in the coal mines allocation case. According to media reports. A dedicated portion of the governments' share of revenues should be used to compensate locals affected by mining. CURRENT AFFAIRS (14. rehabilitate them to lead a dignified life. if the executive use Article 222 to imperil this basic tenet. such instances of arbitrary allocation will continue. the expected increase in India's urban population by over 200 million between 2010 and 2030 poses a daunting challenge for urban governance. This policy must change. For each mine. The most transparent way of deciding who will get these licences would be to auction the revenue share — or royalty — that will go to the Centre and states.and accorded a role to panchayati raj rural elected institutions and urban local bodies (ULCs). the Law Minister. the realistic prospect is for rapid expansion of ill-governed and under-financed urban habitations.86 lakh crore. formally charging Congress MP industrialist Naveen Jindal and the former junior minister for coal. While there are some signs of hope. Such inchoate urbanisation may prove less an asset and more a drag on rapid. have been allocated. Meanwhile. The government must first scrap the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act of 1973. Thus was born the flawed policy of arbitrary allocation of coal mines. Today.

Gupta vs. UOI(seven against two). The present proposal will require a constitutional amendment. The principal criticism against the collegium system is that it is nontransparent. Supreme Court judgment The current appointment mechanism is the result of two judgments of the Supreme Court viz Presidential Reference No. the government has an equal stake. 1 of 1998 (unanimous) and SCAORA vs.‖ The judgments laid down a mandatory consultation process between the constitutional authorities. Since both of us have stakes in the appointments of members of the higher judiciary. The vigorous judicial scrutiny and oversight of executive misdemeanours in the 2G scam and Coalgate litigations (apart from many others) has rattled the executive.N. Current scenario The government is upset because the executive does not now have the primacy it enjoyed earlier. since the provisions for securing his independence after appointment were alone not sufficient for an independent judiciary.K. The government must have a say. The present administration is smarting under these decisions and has been consistently attacking all . Shanti Bhushan. In the first week of June. 2013) The collegium system This article deals only with the government proposal. Rao. the mandatory effective consultation process is wholly opaque and unknown to the public. a letter signed by many senior lawyers (including Fali Nariman. is reported to have said: ―Just as judges have enormous stake in the appointment of judicial officers in the higher judiciary [the Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts]. Venugopal. eminent jurists enjoying or aspiring to enjoy political power. 2013. Draft Bill In April 2013. and meritorious candidates from the Bar and the High Courts are overlooked for undisclosed reasons. informed and critical debate. M. have displayed little warmth and much hostility to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. K. the new Law Minister. requesting him to make available to the public and the Bar the draft of the proposed Bill to ensure a robust.If past experience is a guide. UOI by holding that in case of a difference of opinion. or beguiled by official patronage. A draft Bill by the Law Ministry then headed by Ashwani Kumar was to submit the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to the Cabinet by April 22. Krishnamani. It must be highlighted that the collegium system has not attracted any significant criticism that political favourites or pliant judges have been appointed. June 2. Ashok Desai. the CJI‘s view as reflected through the collegium would have primacy over the view of the Central government. Kabil Sibal. The plea fell on deaf ears and the draft Bill remains a well-guarded secret. Mukul Rohtagi and the author) was sent to the Law Minister. The complaint that the Central government is not consulted or has no say in the matter is misleading and incorrect. K. including the Central government which has inputs from various intelligence agencies. It does not deal with how to reform the collegium system. personal likes and dislikes and prejudices weigh with individual judges in the collegium. The court observed that ―it was obvious that the provision of consultation with the Chief Justice of India … was introduced … to eliminate political influence even at the stage of the initial appointment of a judge.‖ ( The Hindu . The two judgments overruled in part the majority view in S. media reports indicated that the government was contemplating reform proposals regarding appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. P. the consultation of both of them is absolutely necessary. Bhat.N. On April 15.P.P. The concern of the judgments was to eliminate political interference at the stage of appointment.

After the declaration of Internal Emergency in June 1975 (as a sequel to the disqualification of Indira Gandhi who lost her election petition and could not obtain a complete stay from the Supreme Court). Historical background For the new generation of citizens. This led to the famous case of S. Failed system The collegium system is now current since 1993 (a span of about 20 years) and several criticisms and shortcomings have surfaced as mentioned above. (former judge of the Bombay High Court). Mukhi. Post-1980 (till the evolution of the collegium mechanism). a calibrated.N. Dapthary (two former Attorney-Generals) M.P. Palkhivala condemned the supersession as a grave threat to judicial independence. C. Setalvad. Sen. Congress administrations have been in power for over 52 of the last 63 years of constitutional governance. Chagla (former Chief Justice of Bombay).constitutional authorities such as the Comptroller and Auditor-General. Consistent attempts have been made to undermine and subvert the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.C. it is necessary to recall the experience of the past resulting in the collegium mechanism.‖ It was widely believed that the executive was blocking appointments recommended by the CJI unless its nominees were cleared by a trade-off. many quipped: ―Better to know the Law Minister than the law. Ray as Chief Justice of India. This led to vigorous public protests all over India. V. Justice S. Gupta vs. Aggarwal who concurred was reverted as a Sessions Judge (after four years in the Delhi High Court). K. Lalit was not confirmed. Tarkunde.J. Additional Judge U. Desai (former Chief Justice of Gujarat) and N. J. the Supreme Court held that in case of a difference of opinion. Mass transfers of 16 independent High Court judges. M. On April 25.M. UOI in which. The Judicial Appointments Commission is so structured as to revive the dominant voice of the political class by . predetermined attack on judicial independence was organised and implemented. Vimadalal and P. Shah (former CJI). including A.R. B. it was the perception of many that favourable orders could be obtained by the executive from compliant judges for dubious considerations. Law Minister Shiv Shankar issued a circular claiming power to transfer High Court judges and attempted to transfer some existing judges and refused to confirm some additional judges. the Indira Gandhi government.R.K. the Privy Purse case and the Kesavananda Bharati case. Divan. Chinnappa Reddy.N. Judicial review was almost eliminated and a two-third majority of judges was mandated for invalidating legislation.P.A. by a majority. a day after the delivery of the judgment in the Fundamental Rights case ( Kesavananda Bharati ). The press was censored and Opposition leaders were preventively detained without trial. J.C. During the Emergency. the Constitution was extensively amended.T. Reform of the above system is necessary but that should not be brought about by restoring a failed system which posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.C. After the fall of the Janata government. 1973. superseded three of the senior-most judges (who had decided against the government) and appointed A. Further. These were all punitive measures to intimidate independent and fearless judges and undermine their morale. Indira Gandhi came back to power in 1980. The government stand was to appoint ―forward looking‖ judges who shared its philosophy — a euphemism for compliant judges. the Chief Election Commission and the judiciary which acts as a check on executive power. departing from earlier conventions. Rangarajan was transferred to Sikkim because he delivered a judgment in favour of Kuldip Nayar (preventively detained) and a Service Judge R. the government view would have primacy over the view of the Chief Justice of India on appointments and transfers.M. Justice Ray had decided three major cases in favour of the Central government — though in the minority — namely the Bank Nationalisation case. from their parent High Courts were made. Sankalchand Sheth.

marks a triumph for ―gay‖ cinema. provide a lasting lesson on the virtues of stimulus-oriented policies for the current times. 3. Sustaining whatever modest progress has been made will depend critically on governments preventing such a huge segment from slipping back into the less than $2 a day income level. which have expanded from 263 million at the turn of the century to 694 million a decade later. India‘s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has come in for particular mention for ensuring minimum wages for unskilled labour in rural areas. an ill-concealed wolf in sheep‘s clothing.including the Law Minister. sex and joy between two young women. The challenge for the developing world. since the 2007-08 meltdown. India would be better placed to take advantage of the demographic transition of the industrialised world marked by manpower shortages. While over 14 million jobs are needed to return global employment rates to pre-crisis levels. Steven Soderbergh‘s film. Extraordinarily. With some 25 per cent of the population under 25 years of age. could open up a win-win scenario for both Berlin and New Delhi. a logical next step would be for the UPA government to give additional thrust to augmenting the skills set of the population in the working age. illustrated. for example. The government‘s attempt to restore the predominant voice of the political class through the Judicial Appointments Commission is a recipe for disaster 2. Each one of us must strongly resist this attempt. says the International Labour Organisation‘s World of Work Report 2013. The retreating global divide on same sex bonding The stunning victory of Blue is the Warmest Colour. the film‘s Tunisian born French director. But the region has registered rising employment and narrowing income inequalities. The present proposal is a poisoned chalice. especially in the Eurozone countries. Bringing megastars Michael Douglas and Matt . Indeed. I quote the venerable Justice Krishna Iyer — ‗hands off judges‘ is too sacred to be sacrificed. the present collegium system is definitely superior to the earlier one. The backbone of this promising story are the middle income groups in these countries. also took on a gay theme. In stark contrast is the shrinking middle class of the advanced world. thus enabling a narrowing of income inequality. however. winning this year‘s Palme d‘Or Cannes prize. Behind the Candelabra .925 million. Germany‘s readiness to train Indians in engineering and other technologies. Dealing with inequalities Developing and emerging economies may not exactly be dazzling in the current overall grim global economic climate of joblessness and sluggish growth. relative to their richcounterparts. Thus the case to put jobs uppermost on the reform agenda cannot be over-stated. the closest competitor to Kechiche‘s film. with all its shortcomings. two eminent jurists nominated by the government and the Leader of the Opposition. The Steven Spielberg-led jury selection of an extremely intimateportrayal of love. as well as in the German language. The attempt to restore the predominant voice of the political class in judicial appointments and transfers will amount to subverting the basic structure of the Constitution and will be a recipe for disaster. is presented by the sections just above the poverty line. With elementary education a legally enforceable universal right now. a little more than that number are said to have attained working age in 2013. Noteworthy in this context is the ILO‘s emphasis on entrenched negative perceptions that public intervention in questions of redistribution and workers‘ rights are somehow antithetical to growth. by a 4 percentage point drop in Spain‘s middle-income group to 46 per cent between 2007 and 2010. A highlight in the report is a 20 percentage point rise in the proportion of workers receiving minimum wages between 2004-5 and 2009-10. and also for Adellatif Kechiche. reflects the sea change in the attitudes around sexuality and same sexrelationships globally. To conclude. In sum. The catastrophic consequences of the post-2008 policies of economic austerity. Their numbers have nearly doubled in the span of a decade to 1.

such as Amazon. Nothing in the American Constitution explicitly requires invalidation of a law denying gay marriages. The court‘s position becomes all the more significant given that the subject of sex and sexuality continues to be addressed in separate registers. whether by the Spielberg committee at Cannes or Hollande culminated in the performance of the first same-sex . vice-chairperson of KPMG (U. but Chief Justice John Roberts. as witnessed in the parliamentary debates on the reform of the rape law in March. There will always be resistance to change. In India. including same-sex marriage. reflecting a more gender and homo-friendly environment in corporate culture. which will have significant ramifications on gay citizens and their fundamental rights in India. Microsoft and Google have made public statements in favour of lesbian. and his much younger lover in the 1980s. a senior counsel argued in support of a Delhi High Court decision to read down the scope of the sodomy provision in the Indian Penal Code. argues that women must take leadership positions in today‘s global economic structures. will not want to deliver a decision that will look retrograde in two years. The courage to do the right thing. global vice-chair at Ernst and Young. or Ashley Steel. In the U. Supreme Court. These very workers may end up stationed in the new emerging economies. Sheryl Sandberg. and a younger generation that is already exhibiting public displays of affection. a Conservative. Discriminatory practices and laws in countries like India will be forced to change if investment is at stake. It rests in doing the right thing. Several global companies. a flamboyant over the top diva and pianist. gays and lesbians has come to be regarded as a ―good business practice‖ by corporations everywhere. his decision will be analysed for his views on gay marriage and currenttrends.S. which demands that men step up to their duties at home as equal domestic partners. Changes in the workplace must reflect the changes in wider public attitudes. Beth Brooke. the film leaves one wondering whether the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor could pull off such a pairing in a manner that helps to build respect for gay relationships in India. and demonstrating a healthy level of comfort with its sexuality and sexual preferences.S. A decision is expected soon.K. including by a far-right essayist. then it must play by global standards. which recently heard a challenge to two laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman. and the increasing culture of openness of a Facebook generation of young people. bisexual. in protest against the ―vile‖ law legalising same-sex marriage. Attention now turns to the U. former chief executive of BP.Damon into a lip-locking embrace in the representation of a six-year affair between Liberace. gay. and transgender (LGBT) rights. to apply only to non-consensual sexual conduct (whether straight or gay) more than a year ago. On issues of sexuality. Facebook‘s chief operating officer in her recent book Lean In : Women. Whether he votes to uphold either or both laws. If India continues to toot its horn as a global player. have all spoken openly about their same sex relationships. And the courage of the politician is clearly not found in sycophancy and vote bank politics that characterises today‘s political environment. including representation of women. Dominique Venner. This year‘s award is even more poignant as it was given on the same day as thousands in France protested against the country‘s recently enacted same-sex marriage law that also protects the rights of gay couples to adopt. France became the 14th country to legalise same sex marriage. who shot himself dead at the altar of Paris‘s famous Notre-Dame. Global standards Responding more openly to these global cultural shifts is critical if neo-liberal India seeks to be taken seriously. and the Will to Lead . Work.) and Lord Browne. The Supreme Court has yet to deliver its decision. with an out of touch generation of politicians expressing prejudices openly and shamelessly. as French President François Hollande has done in the face of some of the largest protests seen in France since the 1960s. Diversity in the workplace.

The Finance Ministry had identified 215 projects where nearly Rs. ―Push will be given to these projects.‘‘ astatement issued by the Prime Minister‘s Office said. so that they can quickly take off the ground. India needs to re-examine its discriminatory laws and practices on the subject 4. While some of the bottlenecks being faced were in the domain of regulatory authorities at the Central level. We will push that in the remaining period of June and I am sure by July.1000 crore. a tumbling rupee and falling investor interest. P. both public and private and would pro-actively pursue them so that these investment projects are commissioned on time. Similarly. Chidambaram listed out the time and cost overruns being faced by these projects as well as an action plan to remove implementation bottlenecks. The Cabinet Secretary apprised that the Cabinet Secretariat has prepared an ―Online CCI Projects Tracking System‖ portal for tracking projects of over Rs. a large number of impediments lay in the domain of State governments and local bodies. Action plan to unlock Rs. ―The Prime Minister directed that a special cell be created immediately in the Cabinet Secretariat. In his wedding speech. said a list of projects of the public sector from various Ministries such as Coal. He also emphasised need to sensitise the State governments in order to elicit their cooperation.quoted Martin Luther King: ―The law may not be able to make a man love me. what we call low hanging fruits among 215 projects. the Administrative Ministries. which were delayed due to various bottlenecks. Mr. Briefing journalists about the status of these projects. 7 lakh crore of bank money was stuck. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday directed the fasttracking of infrastructure projects and unlocking of Rs. The government had identified nearly 40 such projects and all hurdles in the shape of approvals and clearances would be completed by next month to kickstart the process of giving a big boost to infrastructure projects.wedding in France on May 29. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said his Ministry had done a compilation of projects in the manufacturing sector that were stalled due to various inter-agency bottlenecks. in consultation with the Finance Ministry. and Shipping had been compiled. Pulok Chatterjee. Cabinet clears Mental Health Care Bill . Singh. Power. FICCI had also submitted a list of 52 projects in the private sector with an investment greater than Rs.1000 crore. Finance Minister. one of the grooms recognising his marriage as a political act as well as of love. Chidambaram said the cell to be set up in the Cabinet Secretariat would fast-track all the stalled projects. but it can keep him from lynching me. Chidambaram stressed need to have an institutional mechanism that has sufficient authority to coordinate with the authorities concerned and get these projects moving on the ground. we will tell you which are the projects we pushed.‖ His spouse added: ―After the hatred. it‘s time to talk of love. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. 5.‘‘ Mr. directed the constitution of a Project Monitoring Group within the Cabinet Secretariat for monitoring all such projects whose total number comes to around 215. ―The Prime Minister has directed that suitable officers be identified at the earliest and priority projects quickly identified to be taken for tracking. The Cabinet Secretariat was directed to hold a meeting with Chief Secretaries of States to have State governments on board with this new mechanism.‘‘ the PMO statement said. Dr.‖ With several countries becoming more receptive to the idea. We have identified around 30 to 40 such projects. 7 lakh crore investments stuck in projects Manmohan sets up Project Monitoring Group Faced with prospects of a continued decline in economic activity. who chaired a meeting on the issue. and the Finance Ministry on its own also were tasked with the identification of such priority projects. 7 lakh crore worth bank funded projects stuck for various reasons and lack of clearances at the Central and State level in a bid to investment sentiment. This cell would be in the nature of a Project Monitoring Group for all large projects.

the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health reported that 10-12 million or one to two per cent of the population suffered from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. while the Mental Health Review Commission would be a quasijudicial body to oversee the functioning of mental health facilities and protect the rights of persons with mental illness in mental health facilities. He said the Bill tries to address the needs of the families and caregivers. The 1450-kg IRNSS-1A was earlier set to be sent up on June 12. it said. No person who has recorded an Advance Directive to State that he or she should not be admitted to a facilityy without consent can be so admitted. It forms the country‘s new and third category of multi-use spacecraft-navigation along with the older communication and remotesensing (or earth observation) satellites. This has been planned under the District Mental Health Programme in the 12th Plan. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told The Hindu . In 2005. and the needs of the homeless mentally ill. 1987. Mr. the official added. yielding an overall estimate of 6. A rights-based Bill also has a provision wherein a person with mental illness can appoint a nominated representative to take decisions for him or her. details of the problem with the actuator would be . The scientists have resumed integrating the vehicle. Under the provisions of the Bill.5 per cent of the population. They noticed the problem with the actuator — which helps in the motion of the launcher — late last month during routine electric checks while assembling the second stage at the Sriharikota launch site. It will offer motion and location information over the sub-continent just as the popular US Global Positioning System. inhuman and degrading treatment. which would act as administrative bodies. government has an obligation to provide half way homes. Indigenous navigation satellite set to fly on July 1 It is the Indian equivalent of the GPS satellite Indian Space Research Organisation has replaced a faulty component in the PSLV-C22 rocket and rescheduled the flight of the IRNSS-1A satellite. On June 1. an actuator that helps in the motion of the launcher. ISRO says data from the indigenous system will be superior to information coming from GPS. It provides for setting up Central and State Mental Health Authorities. 2013 that makes access to mental health care a right of all persons. There was enough evidence of misuse and unscrupulous families collaborating with psychiatrists in addition to badly functional or non-functional Central and Mental Health Authorities primarily because of lack of funds. which will also review all admission beyond 30 days and free care for all homeless. in the last few days. in consonance with international laws. and nearly 50 million or five per cent from common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. which had vested extraordinary power in the hands of the treating psychiatrists. will repeal the Mental Health Act. community caring centres and other shelters for mentally ill people. in addition to right to live in a community and legal aid. or GPS. destitute and poor people suffering from mental disorder. those who were homeless. The prevalence of mental disorders was higher among women. It bans the electric-convulsive therapy without anaesthesia and restricts psychosurgery. The ISRO official told The Hindu that scientists replaced the defective part. The new Bill. 6. once approved by Parliament. The Bill. has the provision of Advance Directives — described as a progressive and far-sighted step. according to an informed ISRO official. The proposed lawdecriminalises suicide.m. there is provision for voluntary admission with supported admission limited to specific circumstances.The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the Mental Health Care Bill. has done across the world for several years. A catastrophe has been averted for the tried and tested PSLV. Azad said. of good quality and available without discrimination. Such services should be affordable. India‘s first regional navigation satellite. appeals can be made to the Mental Health Review Commission. poor and living in urban areas. on it for 11:43 p. ISRO said it would be late by a fortnight. on July 1. Under the proposed new law. The Bill provides right to confidentiality and protection from cruel.

Taking the cue from Fitch Ratings‘ prescription advocating ―an acceleration in economic reforms that leads to a material improvement in potential growth rate consistent with stable consumer price inflation and external balance‖ as one of the main factors that could trigger positive rating action. subsidy bill. IRNSS-1B. and it is quite possible that it will regain some of the losses suffered in the last few days. Among them is the government‘s intent to give a push to 30-40 ―low hanging fruits‖ out of the 250 private sector projects that can quickly take off the ground and. Chidambaram held out an assurance to investors that there was no need for panic over the rupee depreciation. Mr. He pointed out that what was happening was not unusual to India as countries with large current account deficits (CADs) such as South Africa. Brazil. ―I could not agree more with Fitch when it said more reforms are needed. 7. ―It does put pressure on inflation. I think steps are being taken to ensure that there is no volatility…The rupee will find its level. ―We are concerned about the volatility. thereby. ―We think the Chandrasekhar committee report is extremely positive.‖ said Mr. the official said. Chidambaram said. ‖ Mr. gas pricing. on Thursday. ―I am looking forward to more reforms. especially on imported commodities. Over the next days the four stages of the vehicle will be put together. I don‘t think we need to panic about what is happening in the rupee. according to ISRO officials. Finance Minister P. the Finance Minister ruled out any further increase in import duty on gold saying ―I don‘t want to become too unpopular. IRNSS-1A is one of the seven regional navigation satellites that will guide civil and military services on position of people or objects in the coming years. The next one.. provided a curtainraiser on a host of reform measures and policy decisions that were in the pipeline aimed at spurring investment and growth. and fourthly. Chidambaram hints at more reform measures Coal as well as gas pricing and FDI limit on various sectors will be resolved before this month end. Chidambaram. I expect a number of decisions in the next few days and weeks. on coal pricing and coal allocation to power plants. Secondly. of course.known in subsequent days. Mexico and Turkey had taken hits on their currencies. Chidambaram agreed that banks should pass on the rate cut to . on FDI limit. which was submitted on Wednesday. We will see and appeal to the nation to stop buying gold as each ounce of the yellow metal has to be paid for in dollars while the customers buy it in rupees. Thirdly. to accelerate the process of investment and growth. and they deserved to be accepted. you can expect a number of decisions taken and implemented that will accelerate reforms and spur investments in critical sectors. ―I would think the following issues will be resolved before the end of June: Firstly.. Chidambaram at a press conference the day after Fitch revised India‘s credit rating outlook from ‗negative‘ to ‗stable‘ and went on to present the government‘s assessment of the state of the economy and the number of policy decisions that are to be taken during this month and the next on coal and gas pricing... the spacecraft mated with it at the top bay and finally fuel will be filled in the system a couple of days before flight. review of FDI (foreign direct investment) caps on various sectors. The Finance Minister indicated that the government was in favour of the panel‘s recommendations on which the market regulator‘s board was to take a view on June 25. In June. on a number of steps that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is contemplating based on the Chandrasekhar Committee report.‖ he said. boost economic growth. Despite the pressure on CAD. after discussion. The services cannot begin until the other navigation spacecraft are also up in orbit. including defence. is due in early 2014 and the full constellation is planned to be completed in 2015. No need for panic over rupee fall On the more immediate concern in stock and exchange markets.‖ he said.‖ he said. Mr.‘‘ On the issue of interest rates on loans.

Chidambaram said the process of decision-making was on the last lap as the report of the committee headed by DEA Secretary Arvind Mayaram would be available early next week.20. an inter-ministerial panel had last month had approved a 10 per cent offloading of the government‘s holding. the balance of payments current account deficit (CAD) rose to 5 per cent of GDP. ―CIL disinvestment is on the list of companies that we have to disinvest in.borrowers and stated that he would call a meeting with bank chiefs to discuss the issue. Let the rupee slide. effective revival of the economy has been through a step up in public sector investment which. with the constraints on fiscal expansion. fiscal consolidation will be on track to around 3 per cent of GDP and that the balance of payments current account deficit (CAD) would be down to the safe level of 2. but it was soon hurt by lower and lower growth rates till ultimately in 2012-13. for many years. November 7). An article of faith appears to be that lower interest rates are a panacea for all the problems. maintained that the government would go ahead with the proposed divestment in Coal India Ltd. 8. Chidambaram said at a press conference here.Historically. While the RBI till date had eased rates by 130 basis points. A corollary of lower bank lending rates is lower interest rates on deposits and other forms of financial savings. 9. the Ministry is talking to the union. Chidambaram. the authorities lay great store by offering lower interest rates to stimulate private investment.000 crore to the exchequer. . While theCentre currently has a 90 per cent stake in the coal major. triggered private sector investment and a revival of industrial growth. we would take comfort from green shoots in the global economy recovery which should raise alllifeboats. ―There are some voices of protest. and fast The rupee is overvalued. given the high CAD and relatively high inflation rate. The exchange rate is clearly unsustainable. But. A stake sale of 10 per cent of the Centre‘s equity is expected to fetch Rs. on Thursday. that inflation will come down and that the large CAD will shrink. To go ahead with CIL disinvestment Finance Minister P. (CIL) after the ‗voices of protest‘ in the trade union is sorted out through discussions with the Ministry of Coal. India was enjoying a 8-9 per cent growth rate. Global Situation What would global economic policymakers do if it ultimately dawns on them that the world is in the midst of a long cycle of low growth? This view was brilliantly articulated in a pathbreaking work by a Russian economist Nickolai Kondratieff entitled ‗‗Long Waves in Economic Life‘‘ (1926) with each cycle lasting 50-60 years. written on the possibility of the long cycle of low growth ( Business Line. then. the growth rate fell to 5 per cent and consumer price inflation was in double-digits.‖ Mr. With the Indian policy of lower and lower interest rates and a widening of the gap between savings and investments. and the matter would then be taken to the Prime Minister. The RBI should allow it to fall rapidly to about 70 to the dollar.5 per cent of GDP. On easing of caps on FDI. as an effective solution to the current account deficit. In the current context. It is the duty of policy helmsmen to build confidence in the macroeconomic policy to say that there would soon be a return to the halcyon days of 8 per cent growth. it is not very comforting to recall that poor Nickolai was shot for what was considered as a veiled attack on Stalin‘s policies! Domestic impasse When the financial crisis hit the world economy in 2008. Added to this. the banks have passed on a mere 30 basis points to customers. in India. Mr. It is an article of faith that capital inflows will continue uninterrupted. the rupee was kept relatively strong. inflation will be back to acceptable levels of less than 5 per cent. Furthermore. We will explain to them. While I have.

bond markets. After the stimulus phase-out Govt errs in focusing only on financing current account deficit The US Federal Reserve has dropped clear hints that its long phase of quantitative easing. were long buoyed by one-wayinputs. the cost of such an instrument would also come down.000. The question that many should now ask is: what will be the medium-term fallout of the shift in the Fed's stance? In particular. than warranted by inflation rate differentials. Disequilibrium trap There is a strong possibility that if we persist with the present macroeconomic policy. which flushed global markets withliquidity. The policymakers‘ focus on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is one of convenience as it shows a rate below 5 per cent. To curb gold imports and correct the CAD. in its recent rapid depreciation to close to 59 against the dollar. However.000 points to around 19. as all that happens is that gold comes through the unofficial channel financed by lower invisible inflows such as remittances. The rupee. While most observers are arguing how soon the rate will move to $1 = Rs 60. Tackling CAD A premature intervention would halt the depreciation for a while. what is required is very attractive instruments which would be better than the return on gold. the Government took comfort that the decline in international gold prices would reduce payments on account of gold. Essential to tackling the domestic side of the problem would be to provide for sufficiently attractive interest rates to encourage savings. which indeed is the appropriate rate given the inflation rate differentials. but still leave a disequilibrium. There is irrefutable evidence to show that bans on gold and raising import duties do not help reduce the CAD. in which it bought bonds in an "open-ended" manner. 9 per cent would yield a nominal return of 12 per cent plus inflation adjustment for the capital — such an instrument would knock cold the demand for gold. all that happened was that more quantities of gold were imported and there was no reduction in the amount spent on gold imports. with well over $3 billion of foreign money flowing out of Indian government bonds in the last two weeks. The authorities should not be unnerved by the depreciation of the rupee during the past few days. how will it affect emerging markets . A very slow depreciation encourages large capital outflows.especially India? So far. The Government seems to erroneously believe that low interest rates and ample liquidity will step up investment. Again. close to double-digit consumer price inflation. a 10 per cent consumer price inflation and a 5 per cent CAD — a situation which would sooner or later explode. say.which is why it is now being called a "tapering". will come to an end. A 3 per cent real rate plus the consumer price inflation of. It will not cease abruptly .A gloomy possibility is low growth around 5 per cent. the RBI would not be too enthusiastic about the early break of the monsoon and refrain from cutting policy interest rates on June 17. the correct question is how soon it will move to Rs 70. It is only when the rupee correction goes too far out of alignment. even theprospect that the end of the Fed's massive stimulus. As the CAD and inflation come down. The present rate of Rs 5859 is still heavily overvalued and intervention at this stage would be premature. should the RBI intervene. a 5 per cent fiscal deficit and a CAD of 5 per cent of GDP. the stock market index in India has run up 4. has suffered a fate similar to the . It is best to allow the rupee to depreciate quickly rather than periodically support the rupee by forex sales by the RBI. Hopefully. the more relevant index for the masses is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is slightly below double-digits. 10. But it's the debt market that has seen the real action. The Sensex has taken a few losses. we could end up with a disequilibrium trap of a 5 per cent growth. Large capital outflows could put the economy into a tailspin. is on the horizon has been enough to cause jitters among investors. The effective solution for the CAD would be to allow a depreciation of the rupee. Early corrective action is imperative. under the influence of easy money. too.

currencies of other growth-challenged emerging market countries - both Brazil and South Africa have seen their currencies hit a four-year low against the dollar. India, however, has a particularly large current account deficit, around five per cent of GDP, making it particularly dependent on foreign investors being willing to take on emerging market risk so that their inflowsfinance India's imports. On Thursday, Finance Minister P Chidambaram spoke obliquely about this situation when he called for a "long-term view" on the part of investors, and promised more reform that would address the problem. There weren't too many details on offer, but even the broad hints that Mr Chidambaram dropped suggest the government is looking at the problem primarily from a limited perspective of financing the current account gap, without addressing the fundamental cause of the deficit. He referenced, in particular, the reviewing of caps on foreign direct investment (FDI) in various sectors. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Board of India on Wednesday raised investment limits for long-term foreign investors in government debt by another $5 billion to $30 billion. These two measures are, broadly, more of the same approach that the government has tried so far. They are not in and of themselves a problem, and should even be welcomed. But measures to promote FDI and FII holding of debt merely paper over the current account deficit problem - they do not solve it. As long as there is an imbalance on India's books with the rest of the world, these steps will never be enough. The focus on financing the current account deficit is, thus, the wrong focus. What is needed instead is to boost exports, and to improve India's macroeconomic fundamentals. The latter is complicated by the fact that the effects of the end of quantitative easing elsewhere may well upset India's monetary schedule, making the Reserve Bank of India less likely to reduce interest rates. The space to do so has to be provided from somewhere, however, and thus fiscal correction must accelerate - allowing borrowing rates to come down and investment to rise. Without that, investment-led growth - as well as consumption in rate-sensitive sectors like automobiles, real estate and so on - will not recover. Meanwhile, the lopsided balance of trade shows the need for fundamental reform. A good proportion of the current account deficit, for example, is due to imports of pulses and cooking oil. Pushing foodgrain-specific food security will make this problem worse, not better. And promoting exports will need basic labour law reform. This is where the government should be looking. 11. Turkish treatment The message from Taksim Square: religion and politics don't mix well In many ways, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been good for Turkey. Ever since it came to power in 2002, the Turkish economy has grown quickly: average per capita income increased from $2,800 in 2001 to $10,000 in 2011; foreign direct investment expanded; and access to healthcare and housing improved. Far from being the "sick man of Europe" of the early 20th century, Turkey is among the healthiest countries in the region. The AKP has won three consecutive victories, the last one with nearly 50 per cent of the vote. It remained immune to the brief Arab Spring of popular protest that spread through North Africa and West Asia. Indeed, Turkey was hailed a beacon of "moderate Islamist" governance in a turbulent sea of religious and military autocracies. Now, ironically, Mr Erdogan and his government are being branded a civilian dictatorship by their domestic opponents. Popular feeling on this issue is running so high that overblown similarities with the Arab Spring are being made. A local protest against the demolition of an Istanbul park to make way for an "Ottoman style" shopping centre has expanded into a countrywide protest against Mr Erdogan's government. Judging from the violence of the crackdown in Taksim Square - reports say over 1,000 people were injured in Tuesday's police operations involving tear gas and rubber bullets - the government is clearly worried. And

worse, questions are now being asked whether the modern form of political Islam that Mr Erdogan was trying to establish can be as successful as earlier claimed. Despite his impressive economic performance, there has in fact been festering discomfort within liberal opinion at the growing de-secularisation with each electoral victory. From 2006 onwards, for instance, the AKP sought to lift the ban on wearing headscarves in schools and colleges, end discrimination against graduates from Islamic schools, criminalise adultery and restrict alcohol sale. All this was compounded by appointing conservative bureaucrats and then the notably devout Abdullah Gul as president, a ceremonial post considered a bastion of secularism. This precipitated a face-off with the powerful and aggressively secular military that ended with the AKP returning with a bigger mandate. A narrow constitutional victory has strengthened Mr Erdogan's hands - and, many think, his Islamic agenda. That is the real message from Taksim Square: a battle between religion and modernisation familiar from Turkey's post-1830s history. Kemal Ataturk's radical programme of westernisation dragged the truncated Ottoman Empire into the 20th century but since it benefited a minority (the business community and the army), he left a legacy of conservative discontent. The AKP's project is caught between these same forces. The lessons are universal, though: religious identity may bring in the votes, but it can never be a proxy for enlightened governance. 12. Assert political will to clear stalled projects Six months after setting up the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to remove hurdles in clearance of long-stalled mega projects, the UPA government has now announced formation of yet another panel under a senior official of the PMO to help the former restart 215 infrastructure projects where 90 per cent of the land has been acquired, or permissions from a single body are pending. This will be yet another committee to resolve a deadlock the government has failed to break even as 341 projects with a total investment of Rs 10.5 lakh crore are waiting clearance. The CCI has met only five times during the last six months without making much headway except appointing three committees to review the environmental clearance process for mining, the environmental impact assessment norms for buildings, roads and special economic zones, and ―unresolved bottlenecks‖ in the road sector. How the formation of yet another panel will help is anybody‘s guess. Instead of appointing more committees, the CCI should meet more often than once a month and have a process to review projects that it had cleared earlier. There is need to put in place systems and processes with limited or no discretion at the hands of ministers and bureaucrats. The CCI must ensure that its decisions have gotten off the ground. It is not merely the bureaucracy that is holding back projects but also the politics behind it. Projects like Vedanta and Posco, for example, are caught in the political crossfire between a Congress-led Centre and an opposition-ruled state. What we need is minimum governance agreement between the major parties, not new laws, new ministers and new committees. This is something the National Investment Board (NIB) mooted by P Chidambaram sought to achieve before it was shot down due to interministry turf war. The NIB had powers to overrule ministries which the CCI does not have. It is now for the prime minister to assert his political authority and get things going. 13. Agency to probe Ponzi frauds is toothless Better late than never, the government has asked the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to inquire into the charges that some companies in West Bengal have been running fraudulent chit fund and Ponzi schemes, cheating tens of thousands of ordinary people. The office is a multi-disciplinary agency that not only investigates cases which have ―substantial involvement of public interest‖ but also suggests ―improvement in systems, laws or procedures‖. Given the objective of reining in companies like Saradha, which enjoyed political patronage and ran its operations for several years until it collapsed like a house of cards, the Centre could not have entrusted the job to a better agency. Set up 10 years ago, the

SFIO suffers from several legal and structural inadequacies. For instance, it was constituted on the basis of the recommendations made by the Naresh Chandra committee report on corporate audit and governance. However, instead of giving it a statutory status as recommended, the government had made it an appendage of the ministry of corporate affairs. What‘s more, its powers were restricted to examination of documents and lacked the powers of search, seizure and arrest. Though a half-hearted attempt was made to strengthen the SFIO when the Companies Bill, 2012, was passed by Parliament, it still can launch probe and prosecution only on the directions of the government. Unless the SFIO is given powers to start investigations, politicians in power can always prevent it from doing its duty. Those running fraudulent money schemes take advantage of the loopholes in the banking and company laws and that is why agencies like the Reserve Bank of India are unable to take preventive action. Even the Central Bureau of Investigation does not actually have the expertise to handle cases of the nature of Saradha scam and Coalgate. There is, therefore, an urgent need to give the SFIO teeth and greater functional autonomy. 14. World Bank sees India's growth touching 6.7% in two years The World Bank, on Thursday, lowered India's growth outlook for the current fiscal to 5.7% from 6.1% estimated earlier and also lowered the growth projection for the world economy to 2.2% from 2.4% that it estimated in January this year. Citing slower-than-expected expansion in China, India and Brazil, and a stubborn contraction in Europe as reasons for the slower growth, the bank said that India's gross domestic product in factor cost terms is projected to grow 5.7% in the current fiscal (ending March 2014), and then accelerate to 6.5% and 6.7%, respectively, in the subsequent two financial years. In its latest 'Global Economic Prospects' report, which comes twice a year and had last come in January, the World Bank has predicted developing countries would collectively expand by 5.1%, less than the 5.5% it estimated in January. This will be on the back of lower growth in China at 7.7% now vis-avis the 8.4% projected in January while Brazil's economic growth has been cut to 2.9% from 3.4% estimated earlier. Exports and private investment, which slowed sharply in 2012, are projected to strengthen between 2013 and 2015 and boost growth. However, how robust that recovery will be, will depend on the pace of policy and fiscal reforms, and remains subject to significant uncertainty and downside risks, it said, adding that some upside risks to the outlook include a faster-thanprojected pick up in global demand and a larger than expected decline in commodity prices. According to the report, India's greater dependence on foreign investment inflows to finance its significantly larger current account deficit compared to the past has increased its vulnerability to a sudden reversal of investor sentiment. "Several factors could result in a slowing or reversal of investment inflows -- an unanticipated monetary tightening in some high income countries; resurgence of debt tensions; escalation of geopolitical conflict; and even disenchantment with the pace or nature of domestic reforms," it said. The bank, however, feels that the continued progress in implementing reforms that relieve supplyside constraints, such as reducing energy supply bottlenecks, labour market reforms, improving the business climate, and investing in education, health and infrastructure would be the key to growth. Slower Growth the New Normal The Indian economy is expected to grow at 5.7% this year, according to World Bank's twiceyearly Global Economic Prospects report that had pegged the country's growth rate at 6.1% in January. The report also cut its outlook for global growth, citing a deeper-than-expected recession in Europe and a recent slowdown in some emerging markets. 15. The Food Bill will not serve the purpose, even for Congress The Congress-led UPA wants to make the right to food into law. Its strategists feel that this will send a powerful message that the Congress cares for the poor. They are wrong. Most

states already provide heavily subsidised food grain to the poor; some likeChhattisgarh and Punjab also distribute discounted pulses as a protein supplement to the poor. At last count, 14 states distribute subsidised food in some form or the other to the poor. This includes all four southern states. In fact, rice at Re 1 has been a staple of Tamil politics since 1967, when the DMK stormed to power on this simple, but effective, slogan, besides its opposition to imposition of Hindi. If the food security Billis finally implemented, all it will do is to supplement part of what these states spend on food subsidy with money from New Delhi. In the states, this could free up funds to spend on other projects, like subsidising edible oil. Where will the credit for that go to? To state governments, not to the Centre or the Congress party. The food procurement, storage and distribution system, operated by state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI), is inefficient and riddled with corruption. India now has 77 million tonnes of grain in storage, more than double the required buffer stock for July 1. Much of this food mountain could be fiction: pilferage, spoilage, wastage and diversion to the open market are rife. The distribution system is expensive and inefficient. So, it might be a good idea to rethink the physical delivery and storage of food grain. The UPA's most ambitious scheme is to transfer most subsidies directly into bank accounts of the poor. Include the food subsidy in this scheme and revamp the FCI completely. It could have a limited role of trading in grain futures and options to ensure command over a minimum quantity of grain at any point of time. 16. Foreigners seem to be more upbeat on India Ratings agency Fitch has upgraded India from negative to stable. This development comes as the latest episode in what has become a trend. Foreign observers and investors continue to see India as a positive growth story, even as domestic players cower in the shadow of their own pessimism. Finance minister P Chidambaram has promised more reforms, is keeping the fiscal deficit on track and is optimistic that things will turn around. The World Bank is even more optimistic about the long term. The Bank's latest Country Strategic Partnership envisions India sustaining growth in excess of 8 per cent over the next 17 years to reduce its absolute poverty rate to a little over 5 per cent. Sure, the Bank wants happy scenarios on poverty, to meet its ownMillennium Development Goals, of which only one, halving global poverty by 2015, has actually been achieved in totality. India has the largest pool of the world's remaining poor and only by growing fast can the target of eliminating poverty by 2030 be achieved. The Bank observes a close correlation between, on the one hand, reducing both poverty and vulnerability to relapsing into poverty, and, on the other, growth of secondary towns. It wants to focus on urban development: the physical planning of efficient urbanisation and governance to make it participative and efficient. The Bank also wants to relocate its resources deployed in India to favour the least developed states. Both are sound initiatives. New Delhi can do a couple of things toleverage the Bank's strengths. The Bank can right now raise 10-year money at close to 2 per cent. India should present credible projects to utilise this window and lock in commitments vastly larger than the current $5 billion. Two, the Bank's expertise can be tapped to identify key challenges in the use of information technology and communications to address assorted problems in governance, financial inclusion, cyber security and privacy. Once the right questions are asked, it is easy to work on the answers. Addressing these long-term issues would serve to boost confidence in political commitment to stable growth.

CURRENT AFFAIRS (15.06.2013)

1. Rain will be copious in current monsoon, says IMD

Country to get 98 per cent of long period average for the season as a whole In what should come as a big relief to policymakers who are grappling with a slowdown of the economy, monsoon forecast models of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) have indicated that rainfall during the current monsoon would continue to be copious in the coming months, with a fairly uniform distribution across the country. Releasing an update of the long range forecast, IMD Director-General L.S. Rathore said the re-run of the models with fresh data obtained since the last forecast of April had reconfirmed the prediction that the country could get 98 per cent of the long period average for the season as a whole. In addition, they have shown that rainfall in July would be 101 per cent of the normal and that for August 96 per cent of the normal. The southern peninsular region — Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands — is likely to top the table with a rainfall of 103 per cent for the season as a whole, followed by central and north-east India with a rainfall of 98 per cent each and north-west 94 per cent. Central India comprises Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh and the north-east region includes West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram. The north-west region includes Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. At a press conference, Dr. Rathore emphasised that though compared to south India, north-west India is likely to get lesser rains in absolute terms, it will certainly not be insignificant. Meanwhile, with the monsoon steadily progressing northward, the country as a whole has so far received 28 per cent more rainfall than normal. 2. The persisting problem of malnourishment India has higher rates of malnourished children than in sub-Saharan Africa One of the most significant critiques of the Indian economic growth model is that it has failed to encourage social development in its wake. It is well known that the country has higher rates of malnourished children than in sub-Saharan Africa. Malnutrition remains an enormously pervasive across the States. However, data put out by the Integrated Childhood Development Services (ICDS) that were compiled by the State governments reveals that there has been a significant improvement in the normal category of childnutrition. The proportion has gone up from 48 per cent in 2009-10 to 65 per cent in 2012-13, an increase of 16.6 percentage points over the four-year period. ―Severalinterventions have been made by the government, including the restructured ICDS that been rolled out in 200 districts,‖ said Sayeeda Hameed, member, Planning Commission, in-charge of malnutrition. Ms. Hameed noted that these findings were preliminary and well be subject to more refinements. However, she maintained that this was certainly an encouraging step forward. Except the government‘s main effort to tackle child malnutrition, the ICDS has faltered for rather different reasons. An evaluation report on the ICDS, prepared by Program Evaluation Organisation of the Planning Commission (2011), observed a wide divergence between official statistics on nutritional status, registered beneficiaries and grass roots reality regarding core indicators. The study also revealed that ‗official statistics on nutritional status of children generated departmentally do not represent grass-roots reality.‘ Additionally, the inter-State comparison of child malnutrition throws up some perplexing findings. Only 18 per cent of Bihar‘s children fall in the ‗normal‘ category, against the all -India average of 65 per cent. Surprisingly, only 53 per cent of Delhi‘s children fall in the ‗normal‘ category — a score that is third from the bottom. While Bihar‘s growth story has received much attention, less known is the fact Bihar reports the highest proportion (26 per cent) of ―severely undernourished‖ children, the highest proportion ( 56 per cent) of ―mild to moderately‖ undernourished children and the lowest proportion (18 per cent) of children who fall in the ―normal‖ category. ―Bihar is making a lot of effort in the social sector. Even after heroic efforts, it is lagging behind. The State has a lot

It reducedby half in East Asia and the Pacific by 2008. if any. As policy buffers against the food price surge and financial crisis that followed in quick succession are far from adequate. for example. So while such shocks will continue to occur with the frequencies observed in the past. extreme poverty is likely to be about three per cent while the combination of low growth and high inequality yields a much higher incidence of extreme poverty (nine per cent).e. 970 million people will remain poor in 2015. recent estimates point to a . however. while in Sub-Saharan Africa. Andhra Pradesh. Interestingly. many high income States also report relatively high proportions of severely undernourished children. the World Bank. Global poverty remains a rural problem with more than three-fourths of the extremely poor located in rural areas. Average of 15 poorest countries Extreme poverty is measured with reference to a threshold of $1.‖ Ms. 2010 to 2030). Ad hoc assumptions about income inequality widen the range of projected poverty in 2030. With high growth and low income inequality. brutish and short existence. Projections differ but various scenarios suggest that poverty estimates in 2030 will range between three and nine per cent.of catching up to do. with 84 per cent of them concentrated in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides. including public provision of primary healthcare. In fact. reports a higher proportion of ―mild to moderately‖ undernourished children at 38 per cent than Jharkhand (35 per cent) and Rajasthan (34 per cent). The Kashmir earthquake in 2005. Latin America and the Caribbean.7 per cent). the proportion of severely malnourished children in Haryana (5. Most projections. It is indeed odd that while last year‘s Global Monitoring Report (GMR 2012). The latter is also the only region that will not achieve this MDG by 2015. vulnerability to such shocks remains a major concern. Yet. Those below it are condemned to a wretched. 47 per cent of Delhi‘s children are ―mild to moderately‖ undernourished despite being one of the richest States in terms of per capita income. as global poverty fell. to market and natural catastrophic risks. those associated with natural catastrophes may rise as global warming rises. and South Asia.2 per cent) is much higher than in Odisha (3. Much greater attention needs to be paid to a host of other factors. Paradoxically. This poverty line is the average of the 15 poorest countries. there was less progress. Rates of GDP growth observed in recent years are extrapolated withad hoc assumptions about changes in income inequality to arrive at poverty estimates in 2030. These findings confirm that high income alone is not a sufficient measure for ensuring that children are well nourished. despite having a much higher per capita income. more than offset the gains from three years of development assistance. Brookings Institution and others can be forgiven for their euphoria over the accomplishment of a key Millennium Development Goal (MDG) — of halving extreme poverty in the developing world — five years ahead of the 2015 deadline. drew pointed attention to vulnerability to food price and related shocks — specifically the dire consequences for undernourished women and children — the MDG projections in GMR 2013 gloss over this issue and paint a rosy picture of banishing extreme poverty and other deprivations in the next two decades (i.25 per capita per day (in terms of 2005 dollars adjusted for purchasing power differences). pay lip service. Moreover. Additionally. However. Even States like Gujarat are better off. Hameed said. prepared by World Bank researchers. high growth rates do not necessarily translate automatically into improvements of the nutritional status of children. Neither the GMR 2013 nor studies by Brookings offer a definitive account of how growth and inequality interact. so did the gap between rural-urban poverty. A case of misplaced euphoria In a protracted period of gloom and persistent recession with feeble signs of recovery in a large part of the developed world. For example. the havoc wreaked by natural disasters and conflicts often wipes out years of development. 3. water and sanitation and food security.

and the historic growth rate of agricultural income. Since institutional improvements evolve over time. Arguably. and an aggregate index of institutional quality). But gender disparities continue from birth to adulthood. it is argued that these could also result in speedier rural poverty reduction. consequently. The fast growing economies of East and South-East Asia had the advantage of low asset inequality compared to other Asian and Pacific economies. rule of law. Bangladesh. especially land. tends to perpetuate poverty over generations: a vicious cycle of low investment in women and in girls. So. But there is considerable variation in this ratio across different States. For example. control of corruption. An important link in the chain are small cities (somewhat misleadingly referred to as ―the missing middle‖ given their rapid growth). The cycle of maternal and child malnutrition. and poor hygiene and .‖ It is intuitive and appealing as it captures women‘s multiple deprivations over a life span. Comparison of census results for India in 2001 and 2011 points to a slight increase in the sex ratio — a rise from 933 to 940 females per 1. Important ones include inequality in the distribution of assets. this followed land reforms and a better distribution of educational services.000 males) while Kerala has the highest (1. on poverty. A key issue is institutional ―triggers‖ that induce institutional quality improvements. A case in point is the right to information that has had remarkable effects in terms of transparency and accountability in India. Female foeticide and infanticide are stark illustrations of discrimination that begins in the womb and continues thereafter lowering female/male sex ratio. Sri Lanka and Indonesia. some forms of inequality matter more than others. financial capital and access to public assets such as rural infrastructure. morbidity and mortality. relative to the base line. human capital. ‗Missing women‘ Gender inequity is given short shrift in the MDGs and the focus is confined to differences in primary and secondary education enrolments. nutrition. none of the recent studies (including GMR 2013) examines these links critically despite easy access to World Bank‘s rich and up-to-date database on key governance/institutional quality indicators (voice and accountability. a more appropriate indicator of gender inequity is Amartya Sen‘s measure of ―missing women. the poverty head-count index (or the proportion of poor) shows marked reductions in China. Recent studies have drawn attention to the important role of institutions in growth acceleration and poverty reduction. It rests on efficient rural-urban migration and better utilisation of agglomeration economies. The actual may well be outside the range projected. Indeed. education and security exacerbates this process further. Haryana has the lowest sex ratio (877 females per 1. political stability and absence of violence. India. Unfortunately. Gender discrimination in access to health facilities. ad hoc assumptions about inequality undermine the plausibility of projected poverty in 2030. Small cities The GMR 2013 (as well as a series of recent papers by World Bank researchers) make(s) a powerful case for rapid and well-managed urbanisation as key to overall poverty reduction. It is one of the two States (Puducherry being the second) where the number of women exceeds that of men while a few others (Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) show higher sex ratios in 2011 relative to 2001.084).worsening of income inequality in many countries (China and India) and improvement in a few (like Brazil). The important point is that if growth widens income inequality. Even modest improvements in institutional quality are associated with significant effects on income and. in complex ways. Their weak infrastructure.000 males. moderation of current income inequality while facilitating access to income-generating assets and the promotion of employment opportunities for the poor are imperative. In some countries. extensive experiments were carried out in a study that one of us did. For poverty reduction. with the voice and accountability index assumed to take on the average value of this index among the top 30 performers.

neither the process of poverty reduction nor the projections for 2030 are plausible. and financial assistance in the form of pension and other payouts. an increase of 29.sanitation are likely to turn them into slums with growing rural-urban migration. The government has a responsibility to protect the elderly and must take this job seriously. In Delhi city. 5. comes in from different parts of India. According priority to the needs of senior citizens in development plans. A premise is that more rural-urban migration will have a substantial pay-off in terms of higher wages in rural areas and greater diversification of rural economies. Overall. often by their own family members. the prospect of eliminating extreme poverty remains distant 4. the number of seniors in India is expected to reach 177 million in the next 25 years and 324 million by 2050 — and women will constitute a majority of that cohort. from silence to justice Recently. Elders need a fair deal Another World Elder Abuse Awareness Day comes up today. the absence of detailed data on crimes against the elderly in official compilations is striking. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. Perhaps they will report that Delhi remains the rape capital of India. especially to widows. even as a steady stream of reports of elders being denied care and aid. The problems of the elderly are primarily economic. abandonment. Fine. consequently. 2007. the increase was much sharper: there were 585 reported rapes. The Act also has provisions to ensure the state takes care of them. Pan-Indiasurveys have revealed that almost 30 per cent of the elderly are subjected to some form of abuse or neglect. The tribunal may initiate the process suo motu . discourage rural-urban migration. headlines will exclaim a rise in rape across India. placed a legal obligation on children and relatives to enable the elderly to live a normal and dignified life. Programmes to enhance skills and knowledge in geriatric care are needed.923 police-registered rape cases across India. financial or emotional abuse. indeed abused and attacked. especially in Delhi. free healthcare. This dynamic overturns the World Bank thesis. is essential. especially in urban settings. With improvement in life expectancy. except that if this premise is turned on its head. this legislation is too narrow and ineffective to serve as the primary legal channel for guaranteeing the rights of the elderly. have to be provided for. India now needs to set new priorities as its demographic profile undergoes a rapid change. No doubt in the coming days. It reported 24. So the refrain is that investment must be directed to such cities to better exploit their growth potential. While this may or may not be true. more efficient land. Senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves financially shall have the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal for an allowance from their children and relatives. other kinds of affordable housing.1 per cent from last year. the global population of seniors above 60 is set to exceed the number of younger people. So the prospects of eliminating extreme poverty remain fragile. Meanwhile. Health-related problems typically dog them too. a slight increase of three per cent compared to last year. these . and points to inadequate focus on the issue. grim and distant. It ought to put in place a comprehensive policy and programme interventions for older persons. including in infrastructure facilities. On rape. Yet. and physical. Lack of safety and security are added perils. In spite of the rosy picture painted by the World Bank. In conclusion. but in practical terms these are hardly of any help. By 2050. Many are left lonely. the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released its annual Crime in India report for 2012. labour and credit markets and better infrastructure in rural areas would not only help raise agricultural productivity but also enable diversification of rural economies and. The right of an elderly citizen to live a life of dignity must be made justiciable. The challenges posed by an ageing population are clearly upon us. more old age homes. It is time separate ministries at the Central and State levels were set up to deal with issues concerning senior citizens. marked by the loss of independent incomes.

Children as victims Frankly speaking. you begin to understand the tremendous gap between reported and actual incidents of sexual assault across all sectors of society. Generally speaking. increases protection for rape victims and makes punishments harsher. the NCRB‘s statistic on reported rape cases is a very low number.2 billion people. In fact. Keeping this in mind. elopement cases become apparent soon after they are reported to police. the government enacted the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. if the media responsibly highlights the wrongs of sexual assault and the importance of acknowledging that it occurred. the media‘s focused coverage on the rape and eventual murder of the 23 year -old physiotherapy student on December 16. Interestingly. as is the case across the world. That way. extensive media coverage and strong laws do not mean much if victims who report sexual assault have no faith in the system that delivers justice.447 children across 13 States in India. which results in weak police investigation. 2012 keyed massive public outcries. the media can pressure the government to ensure that the criminal justice system works for victims who have the courage to report sexual assault . nearly onethird of the cases it analysed were elopement cases. Yes. these cases had a less than an eight per cent conviction rate. 2013. making a child exhibit private body parts and being photographed in the nude. there is a more hopeful way to look at the higher reported rapes in 2012: more victims and their families overcame the pressure to keep quiet about sexual abuse. destroying the case. For example. the stories to which the statistics point. The media should look more deeply into the NCRB statistics and report on stories that prevent justice. in a country with 1.3 per cent conviction rate for rape cases in India. The study revealed that 20. Ultimately. in 2012 there was only a 23. An organisation called Counsel to Secure Justice conducted an informal study on rape cases in Delhi that analysed over 350 rape trial judgments from 2011. rapes reported to police have increased. But this leads to another problem. The average case took approximately 32 months to wind its way through the criminal justice system and reach judgment. police track down the wayward couple. according to the NCRB. Making matters worse. who is the key witness in the case. The girl‘s unhappy parents file kidnapping charges. that sexual assault has occurred. As a result. Given that children comprise more than one-third of India‘s population. would often recant her story when she testified. But it is wrong to assume that more reported rapes mean actual rapes have increased too. and the parents compel their daughter to claim she was raped. making a child fondle private parts. which includes sexual assault. The media plays a powerful role in changing this culture of silence towards sexual abuse. Not surprisingly. The victim girl. This gap points to a culture of silence that resists reporting. low conviction rates and insensitive treatment of victims.9 per cent of the children surveyed had suffered severe forms of sexual abuse. sexual assaults reported to police reflect ―the tip of the iceberg‖ of the reality of sexual assault beneath society‘s cold. Overburdened One fact safely drawn from the NCRB‘s statistic on reported rapes is that more rape cases are entering India‘s criminal justice system. which pressured the government to strengthen sexual assault laws. a large number of ―elopement cases‖ clogs the criminal justice system: cases where a young girl and boy fall in love and run away together. which broadens the definition of rape. long delays for courts to complete trials. It is a system overburdened and ill -equipped to effectively investigate and adjudicate its cases. murky waters. They preferred justice to silence.types of headlines do not tell the full story. In India. or even acknowledging. more victims will be encouraged to demand justice. In contrast. a 2007 Ministry of Women and Child Development study surveyed 12. In the same way.

Historical evidence abounds that Katchatheevu was the zamindari of the Raja of Ramnad. Simply put. our fishermen can legally fish in Sri Lankan waters but they can be arrested for the same under Sri Lankan laws.‖ The words of the agreement sow the seeds of legal confusion. In 1921. once again leaving us to wonder whether there is a bona fide intention by the government in giving any legal effect to the agreements. Apart from this. the government‘s failure to table the 1974 and 1976 agreements in Parliament has raised questions about its intention. Raju has committed two serious omissions in his analysis. as Mr. The 1974 agreement between the Prime Ministers of India and Sri Lanka allows the ―vessels of India and Sri Lanka to enjoy in each others waters such rights as they have traditionally enjoyed‖ but that ―each country shall have sovereignty and jurisdiction and control over the waters. While it is wrong to assume that more reported rapes mean an increase in assault. Raju has said. In his article in The Hindu. ―Chasing a boat we missed long ago‖ (Op-Ed. Historical evidence Interestingly. Raju has pointed out. Karunanidhi (former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) specifically lists as respondents the Union of India. According to Article 14(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention. Also. 2013). Legal net can secure Katchatheevu claim There is no doubt an order issued by the Supreme Court of India is not binding on Sri Lanka. Raju has said. he raises the question of whether the island was comprised in the Province of Madras as central to the claims on Katchatheevu. but it must not be forgotten that the court‘s jurisdiction extends up to the contiguous zone (up to 24 nautical miles) of India. Raju points out that the treaties state that they are subject to ratification. and subsequently became a part of the State of Tamil Nadu. The Memoirs of the Governor of Ceylon from 1757 to 1762 clearly establishes the control of the Raja of Ramnad over the island. the petition filed recently by M. May 27. in accordance with the judgment in the landmark Berubari Union case. After independence. a meeting of British officials in Colombo to discuss maritime boundary issues has referred to India‘s territorial claim on Katchatheevu. They can play an invaluable role in breaking down the culture of silence that shrouds sexual abuse. the media must examine national crime data in greater detail and expose events that prevent justice 6. as Mr. Section 5 of the Maritime Zones Act specifically provides Indian courts with powers in the contiguous zone in matters where the ―security of India‖ is involved. the Government of India has to amend the First Schedule of the Constitution to confirm the cession of territory. he has failed to explain the contents of the agreements. which is important to understanding their constitutional maintainability. But. On the 1976 agreement . Mr. There is no doubt an order issued by the Supreme Court of India is not binding on Sri Lanka. fishing in the waters around it and the safety of fishermen could be argued to be well within the ambit of Indian courts. First. As Mr. the island was listed as a part of Ramanathapuram district in the 1972 Gazetteers: Ramanathapuramby the Government of Tamil Nadu. as per this agreement. all of whom are accountable to the courts of the country. Also. matters pertaining to Katchatheevu — which is 18 nautical miles off the Indian coast.crimes. Deepak Raju has criticised the futility of the pending litigation on Katchatheevu island and has described claims to retrieve the island as weak in international law. ratification of a treaty is necessary when negotiating states have agreed that ratification is required. Therefore. through its Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Secretary. but it must not be forgotten that the court‘s jurisdiction extends up to the contiguous zone (up to 24 nautical miles) of India. But there is no indication that the India-Sri Lanka agreements have beenratified by the President of India. Mr.

created in the background of political upheaval and uncertainty. .‖ but it made no mention of the traditional fishing rights guaranteed in the previous agreement. The Wall Street Journal reported that U. and its allies. promising rebels weapons for the first time. If the Government chooses to do so.N. officials it did not identifyas saying shipments to the rebels would include small arms and ammunition.S.. 7. a charge Damascus dismissedon Friday as ―lies‖. While there was no parliamentary or legislative functioning or civil society activism possible. Rhodes said the increased involvement of Lebanese Shia militant group Hizbollah in the conflict had ―added an element of urgency‖ to calls for a tougher response from the U.-backed preparations for the proposed peace conference. But Damascus asked how Washington could continue to be regarded as an honest broker in U. and said they would provide backing to the rebel Syrian Military Council. Britain and France. neutral countries such as Sweden. and anti-tank but not anti-aircraft weapons. in attacks that killed up to 150 people. an estimated 500 fishermen have been killed in India-Sri Lanka waters over the past 30 years. authorisation. It is not disputed that India must be bound by her international commitments. but the violations of international maritime and humanitarian laws by Sri Lanka and its navy have left India with no other choice but to review the agreements of 1974 and 1976.‖ deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said. expressed concern. saying it had evidence the regime had used chemical weapons. have caused immense hardship to Tamil Nadu‘s fishermen. which had already said publicly that they believed the Syrian government had resorted to use of its chemical weapons stockpiles. It was agreed that ―fishing vessels and fishermen of India shall not engage in fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Sri Lanka.S.S. officials refused to rule out moving toward arming rebels or imposing a no-fly zone. the Exchange of Letters on March 23.S. which would not be forthcoming given Russia‘s strong opposition. The contradictory and conflicting positions espoused by the two agreements. announcement. Gaza‘s Hamas Prime Minist er Ismail Haniya denied reports the Palestinian Islamist movement too had fighters taking part in the conflict. U.Second.S. That includes military support. it would be well within the purview of the Supreme Court to adjudicate the way forward. Policymakers. which are organising a national seminar. to provide weapons to Syria rebels The U. the Tamil Nadu Government was dismissed in January 1976. U. In June 1975.‖ state news agency SANA quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying. Emergency was imposed all over India.S. ―The President has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition. According to reports. Mr. However. which warned of the risks of an arms race between the rival foreign supporters of the regime and the rebels.. But France said such a plan would not be viable without U. Consequently. several regulators in the financial sector and stock exchange representatives will debate the proposed Indian Financial Code in Patna on Saturday. 1976 between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Sri Lanka constituted the 1976 agreement. military proposals also include a limited no-fly zone over rebel training camps that could stretch up to 40 km into Syria from neighbouring Jordan. The ongoing debate on the proposed code is being taken to the Eastern region by The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) and BSE Ltd. ―The American decision to arm armed terrorist groups demonstrates. regulators to discuss Indian Financial Code in Patna today Top policymakers. The New York Times cited U. welcomed the U. President Barack Obama‘s administration announced late on Thursday that it had reviewed intelligence reports and concluded that Syrian regime forces had used banned weapons. the direct involvement of the United States in the Syrian bloodbath. he has neglected to cover the historical events leading up to the 1976 agreement. including sarin. That will involve providing direct support to the SMC. 8.N. toughened its line on Syria.S.

The Indian Financial Code was drafted by the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) headed by Justice (retd) B. When a farmer breaks new ground. These strikes must be rebuffed. even after an upward revision in electricity output.2 per cent in electricity. shunted off to new settlements to lead uprooted. The Finance Ministry has now sought comments/suggestions on the report from various stakeholders by July 15. which grew 1 per cent after recording 9 per cent growth in the preceding two months. Such a change in development thinking is essential. Ananthasubramanian. And that has to cover the most vulnerable ones as well.‖ S. It . iron ore. vermin and weeds he kills in the process. attacking a train in Bihar and killing kidnapped corporate executives in Maharashtra. But it must be done in the spirit not of expropriation that is dominant today but of accommodation and partnership prescribed by law and policy. cries for the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) to ease monetary policy will grow louder. he rarely worries about the rodents. miners do not bother about tribal people who occupy the surface of the land they intend to mine. To feed India's growth. which was set up in March 2011. to undercut the Maoist support base. after similar sessions in Hyderabad. This often entails encroaching on tribal lands. coal.N. The village council must be consulted. Volatile capital goods production.7 per cent for May. especially as the wholesale priceinflation has climbed down to 4. so be it. poverty. in large quantities.This is the fourth in the series of seminars being organised by the institute as part of its efforts to spread awareness on the proposed Indian Financial Code. ICSI President.N. The jungles offer Maoists cover. submitted the report to Finance Minister P. a sizeable share of the revenue of the mine must be shared with the displaced community. Similarly. growth in the index of industrial production remains tepid: 2. The figures also reveal a decline in the growth of consumer durables — bad news in a slowing economy.0 per cent in mining and 4. He said ICSI had also offered to conduct focused workshops on the Indian Financial Code to generate and distil views across the regulatory spectrum. However. In any case. Forest dwelling tribes are their recruitment pools and reservoirs of tacit support. alcoholism and exploitation of multiple kinds. repression of Maoists would amount to a bloody war on some of the most vulnerable. -3. 10. If this means reduced profits for the miner or higher mineral costs or both. perforce with the use of force. tribal youth must be trained for jobs that offer decent work and their collective sense of dignity left intact. Government must take up the responsibility to spur growth If only reviving economic growth were as simple as revising statistical numbers! TheCentral Statistical Office has corrected the figures for industrial output in April twice. But it would be intellectual dishonesty and abdication of democratic imperatives for the state to act as if force alone can destroy the Maoist threat and provide industry with the security it needs to operate in areas close to forest lands. shelter and refuge. tills the soil and readies it for planting a fresh crop. ―This seminar at Patna is being organised in keeping with the exhortation by the Union Finance Minister to hold more such seminars and discussions on the Indian Financial Code.8 per cent in manufacturing. They are swept aside. said.3 per cent overall. Unless this changes. 9. defencelesssections of Indian society. The Panel. To defeat Maoism. leaning on the RBI alone to revive investment is not a good idea. with food prices acting up and the rupee weak. But. Srikrishna. this rage has to be pre-empted. Mumbai and Delhi. has pushed down the index. Chidambaram in March. purposeless lives amidst squalor. the only sustainable growth possible is inclusive growth. They will continue to strike. Not force but inclusive growth can undercut the Maoist support base The Maoists have struck again. Their bitterness often wells into rage that makes them easy converts to Maoism. The government should act to end dither on clearances and clarify policy. For the diverse country thatIndia is. bauxite and other minerals have to be mined. 2. the RBI would think twice about cutting its policy rates further. So.

the National Innovation Council. with and without prefixes.the only effective manager who improved performance dramatically was M S Gujral. In Daulat Beg Oldie. He has the benefit of wisdom from the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. Subsidies should be trimmed to remove macroeconomic imbalances that deter investors. In the history of the railways . Individual babus and departments that fail to materialise clearances accorded by the Cabinet Committee on Investment must be penalised. the National Knowledge Commission. Looking today at the government struggling to get projects off the ground. some by decades. was yet to be completed 10 years later. Now the same leading lights complain that the programme has been poorly implemented. Or take defence. the less said the better. Where are the doers? A multitude of advisors is no substitute I've ruminated once before about Lee Kuan Yew's dismissive comment on the India-China comparison: "Chinese do. The sagas surrounding the indigenous development and/or manufacture of tanks. The point is to cut red tape and fix responsibility for project clearances. the system neutralises them. while China has built tens of thousands of kilometres of high-speed track . and the National Security Advisory Board. state-owned enterprises must spend their reserves to create infrastructure. the doers were always a mere handful in a sea of mediocre nonperformers.is not enough to create fresh monitoring mechanisms. all of them behind schedule by many years. And as for the National Advisory Council. the National Skill Development Council. in general. and lies in a competitiveness gap. its leading lights ignored warnings that the national roll-out of a rural unemployment guarantee programme would lead to largescale diversion of funds. State monopoly in coal should end to enhance supplies for power production.whose maximum speed today is the same as it was in 1969. sanctioned in 2003. The prime minister has plenty of advisors. Has the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council delivered a more competitive manufacturing sector? Negative. if the people exist. add to the story. the Chinese had superior mobilising capability because a road from Ladakh's capital of Leh to DBO. where the effort has been to make up for past deficiencies in preparedness. you wouldn't think so. The Delhi Metro's E Sreedharan stands out as a rareexception. the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council.or. the skill development initiative has not worked out as hoped. writing reports and occupying sundry "bhavans" and multi-acre homes in Lutyens' Delhi. and they are scarce. but is desperately short of doers. we should invent one. perhaps alongside Nandan Nilekani. light combat aircraft. Allocation of natural resources must cease to be opaque. Yet the fact is that the defence posture is undermined by delays and poor execution. The Centre must intercede with the courts to liberate iron ore mining from judicial bans. That's a lot of people giving advice. railway board . It was never very different.contrasts poorly with the pace at which transport infrastructure is being built on the other side of the Line of Actual Control. Indians talk". That means the problem with the current account deficit goes beyond gold. As for the rest. Has India's knowledge sector improved? If you look at how Indian universities score in the international rankings. it is hard to disagree. But look for the doers in the system. the entire border roads programme admittedly sought to be put into higher gear . By common consent. besides plenty of individual advisors. 11. There must be a Chinese saying that good intentions are not good enough. nuclear and conventional submarines and aircraft carriers. Indeed. the National Advisory Council. There is a desperate scarcity of people who can deliver what is promised . Further. The rupee has fallen substantially in value against virtually any currency of substance over the last decade. yet the country has a record current account deficit and most Indian companies have a deteriorating balance sheet when it comes to net foreign exchange earned or spent. The government also needs to hire bright young number crunchers to make official statistics accurate. if there isn't.

Of them.ground missions — it remains the mainstay of the . fast acceleration and a high degree of flexibility in terms of role employment for both air-to-air and air-to. As things stand today. Mr. The MiG-21bis‘ super Kopyo multimode radar system and French-made Totem 221G ring-laser gyro aiming-navigation system were sufficient for the Air Force to keep using the MiG-2bis until 2019. Antony had stated that both ―human error and technical defects‖ were responsible for the crashes. V Krishnamurthy did well at the Steel Authority of India before he took to the advisor's role. the IAF lost more than half of its MiG-21s. The Defence Ministry had stated that the Mig-21bis would be decommissioned in 2017. is likely to remain operational in its upgraded version until 2019 — two years later than they were originally scheduled to be decommissioned. and finding some doers instead . These fighters will be fitted with the new Klimov RD-33 KM engine.with its sleek frontal profile.K. the government wants to avoid getting swamped by the hype about a certain doer in the Bharatiya Janata Party? CURRENT AFFAIRS (17. which in the 1971 war emerged as a clear winner against the American F-104 Starfighter in air combat. So how about getting rid of many of the advisors. Defence Minister A. At that time. Till April last year. there has been nearly three-year delay in Tejas programme and the Air Force is yet to give operational clearance to it.K. The induction of the first MiG-21s into 28 squadrons began in 1963 but in the years to come the Russian fighter came to be the mainstay of the IAF. three more are scheduled to be delivered to India later this year.if. Browne. The MiG-21 again proved its capability and prowess during the Kargil war in 1998. 39 civilians and eight persons from other services lost their lives in these accidents. The remaining jets will be modernised at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Nashik. As many as 482 MiG-21s had been involved in accidents and as many as 171 pilots. According to IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N.chairman in the early 1980s. ―In its long operational service. India purchased 874 MiG-21s of various modifications since 1964. so did D V Kapur as the founder of a National Thermal Power Corporation that set new benchmarks in performance. he told the Rajya Sabha. After a number of accidents and its eventual two-year grounding. along with kudos it also attracted a fair share of criticism and avoidable media scrutiny….Several former ace fighter pilots swear by the versatility and safety of the MiG-21. 264 are still flying. that is. While three out of the 69 Indian MiG-29 B/S fighters have been modernised in Russia as part of a $964 million contract inked in 2009.2013) 1. Antony had said plans to phase out equipment approaching redundancy were in place and non-upgraded MiG-27s and MiG-21s were being phased out progressively by 2016 and 2018 respectively. the Zhuk-ME phased array radar and the Vympel R-77 beyond visual range air-to-air missile.A. MiG-21s account for nearly 10 squadrons of the IAF and the upgraded fighters present a cost-effective option to the Air Force as compared to other fighters. MiG-21 fleet‘s upgraded Bison variant still forms a major chunk of the IAF fighter strength. The Air Force took the decision owing to the delay in the commissioning of India‘s own Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the purchase of 126 Rafale fighters from France for which the official contract is yet to be finalised. However.06. MiG-21bis likely to serve IAF until 2019 Decommissioning of fighter will be two years later than scheduled The first supersonic fighter jet of the Indian Air Force — Russian MiG-21bis —which completed 50 years in service this April despite facing criticism following a substantialnumber of accidents. Even now.

which has been quite contentin raising symbolic and emotional issues so far. Islam may be normatively egalitarian but actual-existing Islam in Indian conditions is deeply hierarchical. Consequently. The pasmanda counter-discourse takes issue with both these formulations. etc).‖ refers to Muslims belonging to the shudra (backward) and ati-shudra (Dalit) castes. the so-called ‗minority politics‘. is really the politics of dominant caste Muslims that secures their interests at the expense of pasmanda Muslims. Masood Falahi‘s work Hindustan mein Zaat Paat aur Musalman (2006) has convincingly demonstrated how the notion of kufu (rules about possible marriage relations between groups) was read through the lens of caste by the ‗manuwadi‘ ulema and how a parallel system of ―graded inequality‖ was put into place in Indian Islam.316 sorties with the MiG-21.‖ recalled Air Chief Marshal Browne in the foreword which he wrote for the commemorative book to mark 50 years of the MiG-21s with the IAF. a Persian term meaning ―those who have fallen behind. a group which mainly worked in Bihar. representative institutions (Parliament and State Assemblies) and departments. Thus. Similarly.‖ Then. In this sense. however. The notion of ‗minority‘ and ‗majority‘ communities in India — read primarily in terms of religious identity — is of modern origin and linked with the emergence and consolidation of a hegemonic secular nation-state project. The dominant perception is that Islam is an egalitarian religion and that Indian Muslims on the whole. this aircraft ―continues to shoulder an important share of the IAF‘s operational responsibilities. The book also underlines stories of humiliation.IAF‘s combat fleet for a long time. the MiG-21 is a very demanding aircraft that can help a pilot exalt his capabilities to the end of the skies but even a transitory lapse could be disastrous. written by Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar (Retd. at least in northern parts of India. AMU.) and Pushpindar Singh. the former station commander of the IAF bases in Naliya and Jamnagar. with dominant (ashraf) and subordinated (pasmanda) sections. ministries and institutions that claim to work for Muslims (minority affairs. According to him. Ali Anwar‘s Masawat ki Jung (2000) has documented caste-based disenfranchisement of Dalit and backward caste Muslims at the hands of self-styled ashraf leaders in community organisations like madrasas and personal law boards. Since then. Muslims that ‗minority politics‘ left behind ‗Pasmanda‘. something which we expect to continue for some more time in the future. who constitute about 85 per cent of the Indian Muslim population and come primarily from occupational and service biradaris . who has done 6. In terms ofreligious interpretation. Waqf boards. especially in the post-Sachar scenario. It was adopted as an oppositional identity to that of the dominant ashraf Muslims (forward castes) in 1998 by the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz. or not to the same degree. at any rate: Muslims are a differentiated community in terms of power. are a marginalised community. Tyagi. 2. there is Air Commodore (Retd.S.) S. Caste-based disenfranchisement As far as the social sphere is concerned. more so during hard manoeuvring. all Muslims are not oppressed. The IAF chief noted that post its upgrade to MiG-21 Bison in 2000. while ‗secular‘ nationalism becomes . Urdu academies. pasmanda commentators contest the two key elements of mainstream ‗Muslim‘ or ‗minority‘ discourse —Islam as an egalitarian religion and Indian Muslims on the whole as an oppressed community. the pasmanda discourse has found resonance elsewhere too. the maximum by any Air Force pilot. Jamia Millia Islamia. disrespect and violence on caste grounds that various pasmanda communities have to undergo on a daily basis. Not surprisingly. a recurrent theme in pasmanda narratives is that minority politics has singularly failed to address the bread-and-butter concerns of the pasmanda Muslims.

Rather.‖ It is in the midst of such complex negotiations. As Ali Anwar. it may speedily antagonise the Dvija without as speedily influencing the Sudras. Our movement is not directed against them. says: ―There is a bond of pain between pasmanda Muslims and the pasmanda sections of other religions. as Rammanohar Lohia said: ―The policy of uplift of downgraded castes and groups is capable of yielding much poison. Hindu and Islamic nationalisms become the sites of illegitimate power. internal power conflicts. Both of them are responsible. whether they be Hindu or Muslim). with multiple resources and potentialities possible: in various ways they exceed the ‗Brahminism‘ and ‗Ashrafism‘ that have come to over-determine them over time. Also. etc. A first poison may come out of its immediate effects on men‘s minds. a solidarity which is often parochialised by internal caste and maslak based (sectarian) contradictions. In this sense. This bond of pain is the supreme bond … That is why we have to shake hands with the pasmanda sections of other religions. As Waqar Hawari. that the pasmanda emerges as a political factor.‖ Faith and ethnicity The structures of social solidarity that pasmanda activists work with are deeply influenced by the entangled relation between faith and ethnicity. The seemingly epic battles that are constantly fought within this conceptual framework — around communal riots or ‗Hindu‘/‗Islamic‘ terror more recently in the post-9/11 world — have been instrumental in denying a voice to subordinated caste communities across religions and in securing the interests of ‗secular. we seek to strengthen and empower our own people. With his undoubted alertness . the founder of Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz. says: ―While Muslim politicians like Imam Bukhari and Syed Shahabuddin add the jodan[starter yoghurt]. a solidarity which is equally interrupted by the discourse around religious difference incessantly reproduced by upper caste institutions. Overall. pasmanda politics has relied on transformative constitutionalism and democratic symbolism to attain its social justice goals — the deepening of existing affirmative action policies. the pasmanda Muslims share a widespread feeling of ‗Muslimness‘ with the upper-caste Muslims. a pasmanda activist.‘ Hindu or Muslim elites respectively. On the one hand. it has stressed on castebased solidarity across religions. and so on. the punctuated nature of faith and caste-based solidarities. On the other hand. it confronts all the challenges that any counter-hegemonic identity movement faces in its formative phases: lack of resources and appropriate institutions.‖ This counter-hegemonic solidarity on caste lines is effectively encapsulated in the pasmanda slogan ‗ Dalit-Pichda ek saman. Hindu ho ya Musalman ‘ (All Dalit-backward castes are alike. it is left to the Hindu fundamentalists to prepare the yoghurt of communalism. the pasmanda articulation has highlighted the symbiotic nature of majoritarian and minoritarian fundamentalism and has sought to contest the latter from within in order to wage a decisive battle against the former. The domains of Hinduism and Islam are quite complex. birth-based caste distinctions are sought to be transcended from the vantage point of an egalitarian faith: ―We are not setting the Dalit/Backward Caste Muslims against the so-called ashraf Muslims. state support for cottage and small-scale industries. We oppose the politics of both Hindu and Muslim fanaticism. Obviously.the locus of legitimate power and violence. At the same time. lack of relevant movement literature. pasmanda Muslims share an experience of caste-based humiliation and disrespect with subordinated caste Hindus. cooption of its leaders by state and other dominant ideological apparatuses. to enable them to speak for themselves and to secure their rights and justice … We welcome well-meaning people of the so-called ashraf background … who are concerned about the plight of our people to join us in our struggle. democratisation of religious institutions and interpretative traditions. Since the express object of the pasmanda movement has been to raise the issue of caste-based exclusion of subordinate caste Muslims. adequate representation of pasmanda Muslims in political parties.

Rouhani‘s victory following an electoral landslide. Rouhani‘s emergence as President offers a unique opportunity for the establishment of a mutually beneficial relationship between Iran and the West. Mr. The pasmanda critique of the majority-minority or the secular-communal dyad will also contribute to a democratic deepening that will benefit all of India‘s subaltern communities in the long run. The meeting may be crucial in deciding whether they can build a constructive partnership after the much-vaunted ―reset‖ launched when Mr. Moscow struck a hard tone on U. The pasmanda‘s quest for empowerment will help democratise Indian Islam and deepen democracy in the country 3. in the end. the Islamic Republic appears more politically unified and ready to engage with the rest of the world.S. At G-8 meet. Above all. Obama entered the White House in 2009 ran aground towards the end of his first term. brushing aside his supposedly favoured conservative rivals.to developments and his capacity to mislead. The mantra of regime change will have to be replaced by a doctrine of pervasive engagement if meaningful progress is to be achieved. as well as the former President. competitive dynamics that the ‗managed‘ pluralism of the Iranian political system sometimes generates. criticism of its crackdown on the opposition after Mr.S. The Guardian Council overseeing the elections disqualified Mr. President Barack Obama on the margins of the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland for their first bilateral since Mr. Mr. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei‘s appeal to the people to come out and vote irrespective of their electoral choice seems to have played a significant part in generating voter participation on an astounding scale. Rafsanjani and another former President. Mr. Obama embarked on his second term six months ago. which had triggered unprecedented street protests after many Iranians suspected those polls had been rigged to give Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term. deserve special applause for their nimble footwork in forming this unprecedented coalition which. The U. 4. Rouhani‘s victory is the product of the complex. For India.-Russia relations Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet U. Putin reclaimed presidency in May 2012.S. especially the United States. the big test for U. Rouhani as their sole candidate. Iran‘s golden moment The vibrant elections that have unexpectedly thrown up Hassan Rouhani — a moderatecleric — as Iran‘s next President have once again exposed those quick to label Iranian democracy a sham. These elections are also important for another reason: they impart a sense of closure by healing the wounds left behind by the 2009 presidential elections.‖ These are the challenges that the pasmanda activists face while confronting the ashrafiyadominated minority politics. Ali Akbar Rafsanjani. Ahmadinejad‘s nominee. when the relationship between the two countries was at its peak. the latter‘s centrist supporters promptly joined the reformists in rallying behind Mr. the Dvija may succeed in heaping direct and indirect discredit on the practitioners of this policy long before the Sudra wakes up to it. the Iranian people deserve credit for not allowing their hopes to extinguish and keeping faith in the capacity of their political class to carry out a critically important course correction. While Mashaei supporters had no one place to turn to. However.S. Rohani‘s rise rekindles hopes of revival of the Khatami era. Esfandiar Mashaei. Mr. Mohammad Khatami. their struggle for a post-minority politics is on and one hopes it will democratise Indian Islam in the long run by triggering a process of internal reform. has to understand that the moderates in Iran can consolidate themselves only if they deliver on the economy — a question that is inextricably linked to the lifting of sanctions and progress on the nuclear table. Four years on. unlocked a surge of youthful energy that energised the polls. relations between the two countries dipped to a low . Mr. has demonstrated that the expression of popular will and its capacity to breathe fresh life into the system is far from extinguished.

point at the turn of the year when they adopted legislation penalising each other for alleged human rights abuses. Missile defence In the past few months, Moscow and Washington have since sought to rebuild ties focussing on strategic issues. Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin have recently exchanged confidential letters formulating their proposals for enhancing bilateral cooperation. Experts have identified two key issues that may help revive the spirit of the ―reset.‖ One is U.S. plans for a global missile shield, which remains a sticking point in bilateral ties. ―If we find common language [on missile defence], we could speak of a beginning of new positive dynamics in U.S.-Russian relations,‖ said Alexei Pushkov, head of international affairs at the State Duma, lower house of the Russian Parliament. Two years ago, Mr. Obama told then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have ―greater flexibility‖ on issues of discord with Russia, ―particularly missile defence,‖ after winning a second term ticket. Following Mr. Obama‘s re-election, the Pentagon announced a shift in its missile defence plans from Europe to Asia that would involve scrapping deployment of more powerful missile interceptors near Russia‘s borders from 2018. Mr. Obama reportedly also offered to give Moscow political assurances that the U.S. missile defence would not target Russia. The pledge would come in the form of an ―executive agreement,‖ which does not require congressional approval. The Kremlin however rejected the offer reiterating its demand for legally binding security guarantees. ―Russia‘s position [on missile defence] differs in many respects from the U.S. vision,‖ said Yuri Ushakov, Mr. Putin‘s foreign policy aide. ―I do not think agreement can be reached o n the missile defence issue in Lough Erne.‖ Syria The other key issue where Russia and the U.S. are struggling to find common ground is Syria. Moscow and Washington have backed opposite sides in the conflict, but last month they agreed to co-sponsor an international peace conference to stop the bloodshed in Syria. ―It is for the first time in recent years that Russia and the U.S. have come up with a joint initiative that may have a lasting effect on international relations globally,‖ said Prof. Veniamin Popov of the Institute of International Relations, Russia‘s premier diplomatic school. However, the idea of bringing the warring sides in the Syrian conflict to the negotiating table has run into serious disagreements over the list of participants and the terms of peaceful settlement in Syria. Moscow wants all main opposition groups, and not just the West-backed National Coalition Council to attend the proposed forum. It is also pushing for Iran‘s participation, which is opposed by the U.S. Moscow and Washington also differ on whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can be part of a peaceful transition in Syria. Some experts have called these differences insurmountable, but Mr. Putin expressed optimism that positions can be bridged. ―I hope very much that… our joint work will give a chance for settlement in that country [Syria],‖ he said earlier this week. In an interview to the Russia Today TV channel, the Russian leader also set out his overriding task in dealing with the U.S. – help it climb down from its grandstanding as the world‘s master. ―The collapse of the Soviet Union left America as the world‘s single leader. But there was a catch associated with it in that it began to view itself as an empire… An empire cannot afford to display weakness, and any attempt to strike an agreement on equitable terms is often seen domestically as weakness.

―I think that the current [U.S.] administration realises that it cannot solve the world‘s major issues on its own. But first, they still want to do it, and second, they can only take steps that are fit for an empire … Otherwise they would be accused of weakness… It certainly takes time to change those patterns of thinking,‖ Mr. Putin went on to say. ―I don‘t think that it‘s impossible. I think we‘ve almost come to that point. I very much hope we will reach it soon.‖ In their search for a constructive partnership, Washington and Moscow will have to overcome differences on the global missile shield issue and Syria 5. A Kao-boy till the end B. Raman, one of India‘s first external intelligence agents, died here on Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 77. Raman served for 26 years in the Research and Analysis wing, right from the day it was carved out of the Intelligence Bureau in September 1968 on Indira Gandhi‘s orders, until his retirement in 1994. An IPS officer of the 1961 Madhya Pradesh cadre, Raman was on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau when he was handpicked by Rameshwar Nath Kao to join R&AW, set up in the aftermath of the wars with China and Pakistan. He retired as Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat. In the last six years of his career, he headed R&AW‘s counter-terrorism unit. Throughout his career, he was, in his own words, known ―as a man with a poker face. As someone who showed no emotion or passion on his face.‖ The first assignment that Kao, who headed R&AW, gave him was to be in charge of the agency‘s Burma branch. He was there for five years handling analysis as well as clandestine operations, an early phase in his career that earned him the sobriquet ‗BurmaRaman‘. In his book, The Kao-boys of R&AW – Down Memory Lane (2007), Raman gave a detailed account of the external intelligence agency‘s work that contributed to the liberation of Bangladesh. Kao had given the agency‘s operatives two priority tasks — ―to strengthen its capability for the collection of intelligence about Pakistan and China and for covert action in East Pakistan.‖ In a rare foray by a ―spook‖ into writing about field operations, Raman disclosed that providing intelligence to policy makers and the armed forces, to train Bengali freedom fighters in clandestine camps, to network with Bengali public servants from East Pakistan posted in West Pakistan and in Pakistan‘s diplomatic missions abroad to persuade them to cooperate with the freedom fighters and mount a special operation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts where Naga and Mizo hostiles had sanctuaries and trainingcamps. He recorded the secret negotiations Rajiv Gandhi had on behalf of Indira Gandhi with Sikh leaders before Operation Bluestar in 1984. Indira Gandhi was keen that these be recorded so that posterity would know how she tried in vain for a negotiated solution before she sent the Army into the Golden Temple. Raman was entrusted with this task. He says he had the negotiations secretly recorded and spent endless hours transcribing them. These records were handed over to the organisation‘s archives, but nobody knows where these are now. Raman strongly believed that covert capability was an indispensable tool for any state that had external adversaries. He served as the head of RAW‘s counter-terrorism division from 1988 to 1994. He declined an offer by the Narasimha Rao government to be the intelligence coordinator for the north-east after his retirement, preferring to return Chennai. He was a member of the special task force appointed by the government in 2000 to revamp the intelligence apparatus and a member of the National Security Advisory Board. He was also a member of the committee set up to examine the intelligence failure that led to the Kargil incursion. In his retirement, especially in the last 10 years, he was active in writing about strategic affairs, touching on a range of internal and external issues. He spoke with precision and clarity. He was quick to respond to sudden and developing events such as terror attacks,

posting his perspective and preliminary views on anti-terrorism portals and social media sites. He believed that all strategic thinking and discussion should have the national interests in mind, even though his analysis always took into account the political and social underpinnings of conflicts and crises. He was active on Twitter as @sorbonne75, and despite his illness, continued to post messages on his timeline on issues of current national interest. In the last week of May, he tweeted that ―Ind-Japan shd make China‘s seeming strengths into strategic vulnerabilities.‖ He also talked about his illness on Twitter, saying he wanted to create awareness of cancer and its treatment. In his very last tweet, on May 31, he spoke optimistically about returning from hospital soon. Raman was associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and was a regular contributor to the South Asia Analysis Group. He was also Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. 6. Iran verdict boost for India's trade prospects The decisive victory of moderate cleric Hasan Rouhani over conservative hardliners in Iran‘s presidential elections without the need of a second round run-off is promising news for India and the world. The outcome may not immediately transform Iran‘s long tense ties with the West as the matters of national security remain the domain of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the president runs the economy and wields important influence in decisionmaking. Besides, Rouhani‘s meteoric rise could offerlatitude for a thaw in Iran‘s foreign relations and more social freedoms at home after eight years of confrontation and repression under hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Coming a week after the US announcement of a 180-day exemption to India and eight other countries from sanctions, the development could help India boost its exports to Iran. The election result reflects the broad public desire to correct the insular, right-wing trajectory of Iranian political discourse and bring the country out of the severe economic and diplomatic isolation imposed by world powers due to Iran‘s nuclear programme. Rouhani, who has pledged greater engagement with Western powers, said: ―This victory is a victory for wisdom, moderation and maturity... over extremism.‖ But he also urged the world to ―acknowledge the rights‖ of Iran. Iran has been battered by economic sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over its nuclear activities, resulting in soaring inflation and unemployment. While Iran maintains it will not develop nuclear arms, it has refused to curb what it says is its rights to nuclear power. There will be hope tinged with caution that Rouhani can progress nuclear talks. But with Ali Khamenei deciding state policy, Rouhani will face hurdles. Besides, Iranians may have to wait for change because of the country‘s multi-tiered power structure under which the office of the president has worn away over the last two decades.
CURRENT AFFAIRS (18.06.2013)

1. Monetary policy and rupee volatility The Reserve Bank of India in its mid-quarter monetary policy review on Monday effected no changes in either the repo rate or the Cash Reserve Ratio. This was entirely anticipated by the market participants. The sharp rupee depreciation in relation to the dollar over the past one month has loomed large in the RBI‘s calculations. Traditional policy dilemmas relating to growth and inflation do exist but they acquire a new edge in the light of the rupee‘s fall. Between April 1 and June 14 the rupee declined by 5.8 per cent. It fell by 6.6 per cent between May 22 and June 11 and is threatening to race downwards towards new lows. What is particularly worrying is that the rupee‘s aggravated decline has been caused by a sell-off by foreign institutional investors who were reacting to as yet unconfirmed news of a possible tapering off of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve. At a very basic level, this has

exposed the serious vulnerabilities of India‘s balance of payments, especially in the context of a persistently high current account deficit. Even the most optimistic predictions do not place the CAD significantly below 5 per cent of GDP at the end of March 2013. Adding to the government‘s woes, the trade deficit is expected to remain high in the foreseeable future. Higher tariffs and administrative measures to curtail its demand have not significantly reduced gold imports. Fortunately, there has been some good news on the inflation front. Having eased for three months in a row, headline WPI inflation is down to 4.7 per cent in May and is considerably below the 7.4 per cent average of 2012-13. All constituent categories, with the major exception of food, have moderated. While the closely watched non-foodmanufactured inflation too has ebbed, the inflation outlook going forward is by no means benign. The rupee depreciation is a major reason: dearer dollars mean higher prices for imported fuel and edible oil. Other factors dampening the outlook are possible revisions in administered prices, including minimum support prices of various commodities. Retail inflation remains high at 9.3 per cent in May. In the RBI‘s view ―it is only a durable receding of inflation that will open the space for monetary policy to address growth risks.‖ Therefore, despite the obvious evidence of a slowdown that would normally invite supportive measures, it believes prudence lies in pausing and not continuing with the monetary easing that appeared to have taken hold over the past few policy statements. Framed in the shadow of the rupee‘s sharp depreciation, the mid-quarter monetary policy review is a dissertation that transcends more conventional arguments for or against monetary measures. 2. What Rouhani‘s election should mean for Washington Friday‘s presidential and local council elections in Iran show that the Islamic Republic is far more stable and politically dynamic than western conventional wisdom commonly acknowledges. Moreover, the election of Hassan Rouhani — who headed the Islamic Republic‘s Supreme National Security Council for 16 years and was Tehran‘s chief nuclear negotiator with the West for much of that period — presents Washington with an opportunity, for Mr. Rouhani understands the U.S.-Iranian diplomatic agenda in an existential, granular way. If, though, the Obama administration wants to engage a new Rouhani administration effectively, and to put the U.S.-Iranian relations on a more positive trajectory, it will need to overhaul U.S. policy in four fundamental ways: Accept it First, Washington must accept the Islamic Republic as an enduring political entity representing legitimate national interests. Virtually since the Islamic Republic‘s creation out of the Iranian Revolution, American elites have declared it is an illegitimate order, so dysfunctional and despised by its own population as to be at imminent risk of overthrow. In reality, the Islamic Republic is a legitimate order for most Iranians living in Iran. Its animating idea — the ongoing project of integrating Islamist governance and participatory politics — appeals not just in Iran, but to Muslim societies across the Middle East. Despite decades of military, clandestine, and international economic pressure, it has achieved more progressive developmental outcomes — e.g., in alleviating poverty, delivering health care, expanding educational access, and (yes) improving opportunities for women — than the Shah‘s regime ever did, and has done better in these areas than its neighbours (including U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey). The Islamic Republic isn‘t going anywhere. Even among those Iranians who want it to evolve significantly, most of them still want it to be, at the end of the day, an Islamic Republic of Iran. Washington needs to accept this reality if it wants to negotiate productively with Tehran. Among other things, acceptance would mean calling off the ―dirty war‖ America is conducting against the Islamic Republic — including economic warfare against civilians,

threatening secondary sanctions against third countries in violation of U.S. WTO commitments, cyber-attacks, and support for groups doing things inside Iran that Washington elsewhere condemns as ―terrorism.‖ When President Richard Nixon took office in 1969, believing it was strategically vital for America to realign relations with the People‘s Republic of China, he ordered the CIA to stand down from covert operations in Tibet, and ordered the Seventh Fleet to stop aggressive patrolling in the Taiwan Strait. Nixon did these things so that when he reached out diplomatically to the Chinese leadership, it would know he was serious. The Iranian leadership needs to see comparable steps from President Obama, rather than the farce of Mr. Obama‘s ―dual track‖ policy, whereby Iran is threatened with the ―stick‖ of open-ended intensification in America‘s dirty war if it won‘t surrender its internationallysafeguarded nuclear programme for the ―carrot‖ of perhaps beingallowed to buy airplane spare parts from the West. Second, Washington must deal with the Islamic Republic as a system, and stop trying to play Iran‘s public against its government. On a positive note, the White House press statement about the Iranian presidential election refers to Iran by its official name — ―Islamic Republic,‖ something the Obama administration has refused to do since 2009. But the statement does not congratulate Mr. Rouhani; it congratulates the Iranian people ―for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard … against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment.‖ Such a posture will not facilitate productive diplomacy after Mr. Rouhani takes office. A failing tactic Similarly, Washington should stop looking for Iranian ―moderates‖ who, by U.S. definition, are moderate only because American officials believe they might be willing to subordinate some of Iran‘s sovereign prerogatives for more economic ties to the West. The Clinton administration tried working around Ayatollah Khamenei and dealing only with reformist President Mohammad Khatami during Mr. Khatami‘s first term. A decade later, the Obama administration tried working around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and dealing directly with Mr. Khamenei. Every time, the tactic fails — and will fail again if Mr. Obama repeats it on a newly inaugurated President Rouhani. The Islamic Republic was designed to encompass multiple, competitive power centres — e.g., the Supreme Leader, the presidency, parliament. As Leader, Mr. Khamenei has allowed three Presidents — Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, and Ahmadinejad — to pursue very different, self-defined agendas, but has also restrained them when he judged their agendas might weaken the Islamic Republic‘s identity and long-term security. Mr. Khamenei‘s relationship with President Rouhani is likely to play out in similar fashion. Washington does not help its cause by trying to manipulate one power centre against another. In Tehran, deciding to realign relations with America will take a consensus — a consensus encompassing both Leader and President. Third, Washington must recognise Iran‘s legal right, as a sovereign state and as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium under international safeguards. As we wrote in The Hindu last month, ―If Washington recognised Iran‘s right to enrich, a nuclear deal with Tehran could be reached in a matter of weeks‖; but ―as long as Washington refuses to acknowledge Tehran‘s nuclear rights, no substantial agreement will be possible‖ (http://thne.ws/106Lx5V). This will be no less true under President Rouhani than it has been previously. There is a strong consensus in Iran — cutting across the factional spectrum, ratified by Ayatollah Khamenei, and supported by public opinion — that the Islamic Republic should not surrender its nuclear rights. In this year‘s election campaign, Mr. Rouhani was criticised for his approach to nuclear diplomacy with the West; in 2003-2005, during Mr. Rouhani‘s

Rouhani‘s election. This strategy is currently on display in Syria. in Afghanistan and Libya) — incubate a long-term security threat to itself and to all countries with an interest in Middle Eastern stability. administrative and fiscal powers to local governments elected by the communities. the course is clear. he explicitly committed himself to defending the Islamic Republic‘s right to enrich. the Obama administration has sought to use an opposition increasingly manned and supported by foreigners to overthrow the Assad government and damage Tehran‘s position. Washington must stop cooperating with Saudi Arabia and others to spread violent. The only way out of the Syrian conflict is serious diplomacy that facilitates a political settlement between the Assad government and its opponents. Meghalaya. . Rouhani — who holds advanced degrees in both Islamic law and civil law — vigorously defended his record. The mandate towards Devolution. al Qaeda-like Sunni extremism across the Middle East as part of an ill-conceived strategy for containing Iran. while the Sixth Schedule covers areas that are settled in the northeastern States bordering China and Myanmar. it will also — as it has done before (e.tenure as nuclear negotiator. The Fifth Schedule on the other hand fails because it has never been applied. The administration is now stepping up support for the opposition — saying explicitly this is intended to prevent Tehran and its allies from ―winning‖ in Syria. from the onset of unrest in 2011. arguing that his approach helped Iran avoid sanctions while laying the ground for subsequent expansion of its enrichment infrastructure. needs to accept the reality that the Islamic Republic is a political entity that represents legitimate national interests 3. enable the deaths of tens of thousands more Syrians.S.g. roads and regulatory powers to state control. Right place.. acknowledgement of that right. but it wants to move into the Sixth Schedule.S. receiving grants-in-aids from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the costs of schemes for development. the U. Mr. where. If Washington really wants better relations with Tehran following Mr. education. possibility on the various legislative subjects. The Fifth Schedule applies to an overwhelming majority of India‘s tribes in nine States. and got nothing from the West in return. Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment for nearly two years. If it wants to negotiate productively with Iran. However. Shukla. wrong arrangement The targeted attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh against the State Congress leadership in which V. Tripura. and Mizoram are autonomous regions under the Sixth Schedule. Bastar district in Chhattisgarh is governed by the Fifth Schedule. The role of the Governor and the State are subject to significant limitations. The Islamic Republic has demonstrated that it can be a constructive partner in fighting the spread of violent Sunni extremism. Iran is critical to achieving this. The 1996 PESA or Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act should have been a landmark for the tribal communities. Recent parliamentary moves to provide greater autonomy within the Fifth Schedule have not had the desired results. better economic development and most importantly ethnic security. Washington will.C. By escalating the conflict in Syria. with greater powers devolved locally. The Sixth Schedule gives tribal communities considerable autonomy. There will be no nuclear deal absent U. India‘s population consists of 100 million tribal people who have constitutionally been addressed via two distinct avenues. the continuing cycle of violence in the State underscores the need for a closer examination of the social and political impact of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution through which the tribal areas of peninsular India are governed. Mahendra Karma and the party‘s other top leaders were killed has rekindled a familiar debate on the military aspects of counterinsurgency. It mandates the state to devolve certain political. health care. The States of Assam. Looking forward. deconcentration and divestment determines the protection of their customs. Ill-conceived strategy Fourth. first of all. The District Council and the Regional Council under the Sixth Schedule have real power to make laws.

Tribal communities have progressively been denied self-government and rights to their communities‘ natural resources that should have been provided under the legislation. and may even have the negative consequence of legitimising theinstitution. and. This judgment however. many communities are evicted without a proper channel of rehabilitation. rather than empowerment there is exclusion that fails to provide much-needed protection to tribes in the absence of political will. led to an opposite reaction from the Ministry of Mines. On the Tamil side there are those who hold that the existing 13th amendment to the Constitution under which the Northern Provincial Council was established. to promote tribal self-government. elections not being contested. In response. including the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Rights Act of December 2006. the Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Schedule enjoined Governors to bar purchase of tribal land for mining activity by any entity that was not state-owned. An autonomous district council will give greater role in directing administrative requirements without depending on the Central State structure. In its 1997 Samatha decision. the Sixth Schedule has certain features that can be implanted in any governance model for tribal areas. inconsistent in addressing issues regarding tribal rights and the propensity of failure justifies serious debates on the existing endeavours. PESA was meant to benefit not only the majority of tribals but also extended to cover minority nontribal communities. the working of a system is always different from the Idea of it. The other position occupied within the Tamil political spectrum is of those who regard the 13th amendment to . altering the balance of power and undermining the stated goal of tribal autonomy. But in spite of the negatives underlying the Sixth Schedule. is looming in Sri Lanka this year and is being preceded by a debate amounting to a battle of ideas. which ostensibly recognises the right of communities to protect and manage their forests (as does PESA). but only if the state decides whether a certain region is denoted as Village Forest or Reserved Forest. the Governors were then given unfettered authority in the transfer of Scheduled Tribe land to the government and allotment to non-tribals. it is evident that PESA and the Fifth Schedule have been counterproductive. Samatha judgment PESA was considered the most logical step in the Fifth Schedule areas to ensure tribal welfare and accountability. From devolution to the deep blue sea A political battle of major proportions. particularly concepts of constitutional and legislative subjects that are exclusive to local governments. Political forces are arrayed in four positions on the battlefield. Bastar district envisages a true form of local bodies like the District Council and Regional Council that have provided a fair degree of autonomy. In this process.This became exclusive to the Fifth Schedule areas. Other examples abound. alas. was inadequate from the start and that therefore. The matter at hand is the much delayed and deferred election to the Northern Provincial Council. It guarantees tribes half of the seats in the elected local governments and the seat of the chairperson at all hierarchical levels of the Panchayat system. perhaps the most portentous in years. which would give them a special status to participate directly in governance as in the North East States currently under the Sixth Schedule. The Sixth Schedule that embodies autonomy has its own shortcomings. However. Many tribal voices are therefore demanding introduction of the Sixth Schedule in Chhattisgarh‘s Bastar district. it has not been properly implemented. live by the mercy of government funds. contesting the election and holding office would be of no positiveconsequence. Furthermore. Moving governance of tribal areas in central India from the Fifth to the Sixth Schedule will help address the demand for autonomy 4. breakdown of laws. But. For these reasons. and subsequent appeals from the Andhra Pradesh government claiming that Samatha would have an adverse effect not only on the mining sector but also on non-agricultural activities especially industrial activity and hence would impact the economic development throughout the country.

and that it should be defended doggedly against attempts by the triumphant Sinhala hawks in Colombo to roll it back. Abba Eban. the leader of the main Tamil parliamentary party (TNA) at the 14th Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) [the main constituent of the TNA] in May 2012 was in many respects a landmark event. but more fatally by the conservative United National Party (UNP) Opposition headed by Mr. When the liberal administration of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sought perhaps imprudently to range well beyond the 13th amendment in the form of three political packages in 1995. of the parties and personalities (most prominently at the time. discredit and undermine any solution proposed or arrived at within a united Sri Lanka. remained the goal. the predominance on the Tamil side is of the more pragmatic mainstream politicians who would like to occupy whatever political space that opens up. one in which they enjoy absolute rather than shared or devolved authority. It proved the best deal achievable even with a far more overtly. but those deals were no longer on the table. the Tamil politicians having proved that what was once said so famously by the liberal intellectual Israeli Foreign Minister. balance was far less in Colombo‘s favour. 1997 and 2000 be taken up for discussion. On the Sinhala side are those who wish to abolish the system of provincial autonomy. but also provided considerable evidence to the Sri Lankan political leadership that the goal of a sovereign state of and for the Tamils. bringing the bilateral talks to an abrupt halt. Absolute authority Mr. especially a solution within a . those who do not and support the system of limited provincial autonomy. the TULF) currently grouped in the Tamil National Alliance. It played into the hands of the neoconservative hardliners within Colombo‘s power elite and ruling troika. the TNA not only declined to take the 13th amendment as the explicit basis of negotiations. President Kumaratunga‘s risky. Affected talks In its sporadic and ultimately abortive discussions with the administration of President Rajapaksa. or more accurately politico-military. Ranil Wickremesinghe. The keynote speech by Mr. R. it initially rejected that structural reform as the starting line. the effortswere opposed as expected by Sinhala hardliners. politically ambitious quasi-federal initiatives did not have the acceptance. and occupying the political real estate that remains.be flawed and deeply unsatisfactory. 1997 and 2000. it is logically inevitable that Tamil nationalism will reject. robust Indian role and power projection.‖ Colombo seems to believe that with such a strategic obj ective in mind. the Tamil nationalist politicians might have been expected to realise that the 13th amendment was the only fall back available. namely that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The ITAK/TNA leader‘s speech said ―we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka. still less the support. of those unhappy with provincial autonomy but seek to dilute rather than dismantle it in its entirety. but grasp the value of contesting and winning the election. Sampanthan. the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) urged that these drafts of 1995. Lost opportunity At the moment. However. and on the Sinhala side. The major error on the Tamil side was and remains the failure to grasp that the 13th amendment was the best that could be achieved even when the political. Most crucially. Sampanthan‘s convention address not only stated clearly that the political project lay outside the parameters of both the 13th amendment as well as the structural form of a unitary state. while gutting the provinces of any real measure of autonomy. Having failed to put sufficient daylight between themselves and the LTTE before the war ended with a decisive disaster for the latter. and those who seek to retain the bare bones of the system for fear of the external repercussions of abolition. of the Palestinian political leaders was also true of them.

had achieved a performance of 17. a unilateralism based on the assumption that the Tamil question in Sri Lanka is a purely internal matter for a sovereign state. the Government had commenced the siege and attrition of the 13th amendment. the most prominent local leader of the Northern Tamil community. and oblivious to the Kissingerian category of ―intermestic‖ issues. the former chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). On the Sinhala side. the survey said.‖ Talking to The Hindu . will have farreaching ramifications in the cyber world and is sure to break the U. Tamil nationalists have played into the hands of Sinhalese hardliners 5. In a rich irony of future history. while the hardliners within and outside were campaigning for outright abolition. the survey said.S. Saraswat said China had mounted efforts to develop such a machine long .S. problematic talks with the TNA and the reinvention of the wheel). says survey Development of a Chinese supercomputer. reported to be fastest in the world. Five of the world‘s 10 fastest computers are installed in the U. that wave of agitation which rises higher during election year and its aftermath in India may well be exactly what sweeps away his UNP competitor and gifts President Rajapaksa all he needs for re-election to a third term.S. this cannot but have decisive repercussions on Delhi‘s protracted efforts to secure a modest if authentic measure of provincial self-rule for the Tamils.‖ He said it would greatly augment the Chinese capabilities in the field of ―very advanced cyber systems development. it was persuaded into echoing President Rajapaksa‘s promise of 13 Plus. monopoly in the field of strategic technology. which failed to militarily support an unambiguously pro-devolution President Kumaratunga during the Tigers‘ siege of Jaffna in 2000. No wonder it finds itself in a dilemma on the next steps. with the two in China. fails to grasp the possible blowback of such unilateralism. agency reports said. did not extend the requested and requisite degree of military support to Mahinda Rajapaksa in an equation that would have linked such support to political progress in lockstep as it were.. Instead of simply insisting on the implementation of Sri Lanka‘s own constitutional provisions (obviating the need for protracted. By the time the TNA collected its collective wits. The anti-Sri Lankan hysteria in Tamil Nadu is reminiscent of the foaming at the mouth in Florida for decades at any mention of Castro‘s Cuba. the same ―soaring aspirations‖ that could not be achieved through armed struggle. Tianhe-2.Saraswat described it as ―a big breakthrough. Dr. a supercomputerdeveloped by China‘s National University of Defense Technology. What takes Tamil Nadu beyond Florida is the ubiquity of Tiger symbolism including portraits of Velupillai Prabhakaran. By pitching their political ambitions higher than the Sri Lankan constitution‘s existing provisions on provincial autonomy under the 13th amendment. two inGermany and one in Japan. According to a survey results announced on Monday. in the pan-Tamilian agitation. China‘s Tianhe-2 ‗is fastest supercomputer‘ The machine is set to break U. Mr.K. the drive for rollback of provincial autonomy or crippling by means of the removal of any powers with regard to land and its utilisation. reiterated at his party‘s annual convention its commitment to achieving with the support of the international community. Given that he is increasingly a human shield for the Sinhala hawks in his ranks or a George Dubya to their Cheney-Rumsfeld. Its main rival. those at the interface of the internal and the international. The tests show the machine is by far the fastest computer ever constructed. Rajapaksa factor New Delhi.-designed Titan. monopolyin strategic technology. It earned the supercomputer the number one spot in the Top 500 survey of supercomputers.unitary state such as is the 13th amendment.86 petaflops (1000 trillion calculations) per second on a benchmarking test.59 petaflops per second. the U. V. achieved processing speeds of 33.S. Sampanthan. Responding to reports of Chinese supercomputer.

S. The moderate cleric pledged greater transparency in the long-running talks.‖ he said. Saraswat said India needed huge investments in research in this field as the world was moving to new technologies such as silicon and photonic systems. such supercomputers are meant for use in defence and scientific areas and are not commercially available. culture. this is the beginning of a move that will bring the change demanded by the people in the fields of economy.S. Earlier. 7. Asked about India‘s efforts in this direction. However. Agency reports said that unlike some of its Chinese predecessors.-Russian relations. giving it access to high bandwidth. ―Generally. while inAnkara the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the British Ambassador for a dressing down. cautioning that could not happen ―overnight‖.S. But the U.S. sanctions against Iran‘s oil and banking sectors that have sent the economy into freefall were unjust but promised transparent talks to try to resolve the underlying issues.S. and the U. Mr. which are designed by the U. firm Intel.S. he said there would be no change in Iran‘s longstanding alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Guardian revealed that world leaders who attended G20 conferences in London in April and . Ties with U.S.‖ he said. Rouhani said there could be no return to the moratorium on uranium enrichment that Iran accepted at the time. Addressing his first press conference since winning the vote.‖ he added. The leader of the nuclearnegotiating team under reformist former President Mohammad Khatami from 2003-05. He told supporters on Monday that he would do all in his power to bring about ―the change‖ they desired after eight years of conservative domination under outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.N. Ireland with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to demand an explanation from his host. The disclosure is likely to cause tensions at the summit of G8 leaders which got under way in N. Russia.ago with the help of IT companies there and achieving such high speed in a supercomputer would boost its capabilities in both scientific and defence fields. who is also attending the conference. Dr. China is likely to use it for both offence and defensive purposes.‖ Dr.. He has repeatedly promised to restore diplomatic relations with the U. the former DRDO chief said the country suffered from a handicap in the area of all high-end computing systems which had to be imported and that was where ―our vulnerability lies. at G20 Moscow and Istanbul protest. He said the EU and U. the British Premier David Cameron. still dominates the overall supercomputer rankings. Saraswat said such a supercomputer could also be used for communication purposes. Turkey snooped on by U. Rouhani won‘t halt nuclear activity but promises transparency Iran‘s newly-elected president Hassan Rouhani ruled out on Monday any halt to the nuclear activity that has drawn U. most of the Tianhe-2‘s parts are developed in China. He has also expressed readiness for bilateral talks — without preconditions — with Washington. ―God willing. sanctions but said he hoped an early deal could be reached to allay the concerns of major powers. Assad‘s regime for more than two years. It would not be easy for the rest of the world to get to share such highly advanced computing technology from China. social and politics. President Barack Obama. 6. ―This period is over. except for its main processors. Russian officials were reported as saying the surveillance claims would strain the already tense U. with 252 systems making the top 500. a source of additional Western concern. he said he would seek to thaw relations with the key Gulf Arab backers of the rebels fighting to oust Mr.S. demand explanation Britain was on Monday embroiled in a growing diplomatic row with Russia and Turkey following revelations that their leaders were ―spied on and bugged‖ by British and American intelligence agencies during the 2009 London summit of G20 countries. embassy in Tehran by Islamist students.K. broken off more than three decades ago after the storming of the U.

‖ it said. Gordon Brown .7 per cent. After cutting the repo rate by 50 basis points in April 2012. ―upside pressures on the way forward from the pass-through of rupee depreciation. Tactics The tactics included setting up internet cafes where they used an e-mail interceptionprogramme and key-logging software to spy on delegates‘ use of computers. CRR is the portion of the total deposits that banks must keep with the central bank. The Turkish Finance Minister and possibly 15 others in his party were among those targeted while in a separate operation U.8 per cent against the dollar during the current financial year up to June 14. The repo rate. the rate at which banks borrow funds from the central bank. the rupee touched its historic low of 58.‖ the apex bank said On the domestic front. whistleblower Edward Snowden. the central bank said the macro-economic conditions remained weak.98 a dollar. As recent experience had shown.K. India is not an exception. swiftly amplifying risks to the outlook. penetrating the security on delegates‘ BlackBerrys. down from an average of 7. Last week. particularly in respect of cereals and vegetables. ―The documents suggest that the operation was sanctioned in principle at a senior level in the government of the then Prime Minister. The RBI had cut the CRR in the last one-and-a-half years by 200 basis points from a peak of 6 per cent.‖ The Reserve Bank‘s monetary policy stance would be determined by how growth and inflation . lacklustre domestic demand and subdued investment sentiment. and it was the hardest hit currency among the emerging markets. was passed to British ministers. Though the wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation eased for three months in succession with the May reading at 4. recent increases in administered prices and persisting imbalances. Reserve Bank leaves rates unchanged. the Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and delegates from South Africa with the aim of getting an advantage in negotiations over dealing with the international financial crisis.4 per cent in 2012-13. Medvedev. American intelligence agencies also reportedly planned to spy on delegates to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad in 2009. The rupee depreciatedby 5.September 2009 had their top secret communications intercepted ―on the instructions of their British government hosts‖ with delegates being ―tricked‖ into using internet cafes set up by GCHQ. and that intelligence. and supplying intelligence analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit. the central bank cut it by 25 basis points each since last January. pose risks ofsecond-round effects. on Monday.‘s intelligence hub.25 per cent. which witnessed a sudden sell-off. adding that the GCHQ used what one document described as ―ground-breaking intelligence capabilities‖ to intercept the communications of visiting delegations. The central bank decided to keep the cash reserve ratio (CRR) unchanged at four per cent. in the last one year. U. supply constraints. hamstrung by infrastructure bottlenecks.too is unchanged at 7. including briefings for visiting delegates. Among those specifically targeted were the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.-based American spies intercepted top-secret communication of Mr. 8.‖ said the RBI in its first midquarter policy review. sustained upside pressures on overall inflation. Australia. kept its policy rates unchanged. ―The details of the intercept were set out in a briefing paper prepared by the National Security Agency… and shared with high-ranking officials from Britain. the RBI said ―elevated food inflation. from a high of 8. Even though wholesale inflation had moderated. Canada and New Zealand. It fell by 6. warns of inflation risk The Reserve Bank of India (RBI). and it had cut the repo rate by 125 basis points till May 3. The Guardian claims were based on documents leaked by the U.6 per cent during May 22-June 11 due to sell-off by foreign institutional investors (FIIs).‖ it said. ―shifts in global market sentiment can trigger sudden stop and reversal of capital from a broad swath of emerging economies. especially relating to food.S.50 per cent.K.

―The main challenge is to reduce the CAD to a sustainable level. going forward.‖ Banks were quick to point out that they would not cut lending rates immediately. and its impact on capital flows. The central bank declined to give any indication on possible future rate cuts. India Inc also expressed its disappointment over the status quo. the near-term challenge is to finance it through stable flows. At a time when both growth and inflation dynamics call for an accommodative monetary policy.especially relating to food.―Upside pressure on the way forward from the pass-through of the rupee‘s depreciation and recent increases in administered prices and persisting imbalances. RBI has taken a cautious approach of attending to the prospect of a possible resurgence in inflation over reviving growth in the economy. RBI maintained the repo rate at 7. moderated in June.5 per cent against the dollar since May. ―While several measures have been taken to contain the current account deficit (CAD).trajectories and the balance of payments situation evolved in the months ahead.‖ the RBI noted. The cost of funds has yet to come down… certificate of deposit (CD) rates are still above eight per cent. The Indian currency has depreciated more than 7. A weak rupee holds RBI from cutting key rate Future cuts to depend on durable receding of inflation. due to heavy sell-off by foreign institutional investors on concerns the US Fed might lower the pace of its quantitative easing. It said: ―Only a durable receding of inflation will open the space for monetary policy to continue to address growth risks. It observed capital flows. explaining why lending rate cut was not possible at this juncture. The RBI said that CAD continued to be a concern. Softer global commodity prices and recent measures to dampen gold imports were expected to moderate the CAD in 2013-14 from its level last year.25 per cent. we need to be vigilant about the global uncertainty. Wait for lower EMI gets longer Despite the rate of headline inflation falling within its comfort zone in May.‖ State Bank of India MD & CFO Diwakar Gupta told Business Standard. however. it said. ―It is only a durable receding of inflation that will open up the space for monetary policy to continue to address risks to growth. The cash reserve ratio — the proportion of deposits banks have to mandatorily park with the central bank in cash — was also left untouched at four per cent. including the minimum support prices (MSP) as well as the recent depreciation of the rupee. RBI. The inflation outlook. at 4. pose risks of second-round effects. The trade deficit in May sharply rose to $20 billion. mainly because of the rupee‘s recent fall against the dollar. the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday decided to keep the key policy rate unchanged. The apex bank said that key to reinvigorating growth was accelerating investment by creating a conducive environment for private investment.‖ it added. More than Rs 3 lakh crore worth of CDs will be rolled over at this rate. The most recent number on the Centre‘s fiscal deficit.8 per cent. as the import duty on the yellow metal had been raised by two percentage points to eight per cent.‖ said the RBI. ―Perseverance with this consolidation should help in mitigating the twin deficit risks to the outlook. acknowledged that gold imports might moderate soon. mainly on account of a 90 per cent increase in imports of gold and silver. the rapid shift in risk perceptions.‖ it said. would be determined by suppressed inflation being released through revisions in administered prices. had turned out better than expected and instilled confidence in the government‘s commitment to contain the fiscal deficit for 2013-14 at 4. improving project clearance and implementation and leveraging on the crowding-in role of public investment. 9.‖ RBI said while explaining Monday‘s policy decision.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2012-13. ―RBI‘s decision to hold policy rate is disappointing. which met the external financing requirement in April and May. In the mid-quarter review of itsmonetary policy. as the cost of funds had yet to come down. ―Net interest margins are already under pressure.‖ said CII . The biggest concern for RBI came from the external front.

For the central bank. Should potential borrowers and investors.Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee. after having surprised observers with a reduction of 50 basis points in the repo rate in April 2012. The question that obviously arises is: what next? Over the past three years. this has two significant implications. However. the RBI paused before resuming its tightening cycle in January 2011. the RBI has observed that. much hyped. the monetary policy cycle has witnessed pauses on two occasions. there was a relatively long pause until January 2013. then. the reduction of 25 basis point in the repo rate on May 3 might well have been the last one in this cycle. Would these induce the RBI to increase the repo rate. when the rate reductions resumed. when there are so many other constraints at work. After this depreciation. End of the cycle? RBI decides inflation concerns trump growth payoffs The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) essentially lived up to the market's expectations. the Cabinet Committee on Investment. ―We still believe the possibility of 50-75-bp rate cuts over the rest of the year remains.‖ said HDFC Bank Chief Economist Abheek Barua. The guidance provided in yesterday's review indicated that the RBI would look for a "durable receding of inflation" to justify further rate reductions. there was little comfort on the retail inflation front. don't suggest that there will be a durable receding. Finally. yesterday's pause does not in and of itself signal that the rate cutting cycle has ended. RBI‘s decision to hold policy rate is disappointing. This was implicitly admitted to last week when the setting up of yet another special cell to monitor progress on large projects was announced. Two. build up expectations of a resumption in the cycle in the quarterly review due on July 30? Putting the inflation projections made in the annual policy statement of May 3 together with the guidance provided in yesterday's mid-quarter review. In December 2010. has so far been a disappointment. this expectation may be unwarranted. At a time when both growth and inflation dynamics call for an accommodative monetary policy. One. In this regard. the RBI obviously continues to believe that it is unclear how much stimulus a small reduction in the policy rate can provide for demand. at least. as a consequence of the movements in the rupee over the past few weeks. 10. become less significant. by reducing neither the repo rate nor the cash reserve ratio. if not the government's. which precipitate relatively quick and large depreciation. further shocks to the currency. The decision could be viewed as being somewhat contrarian. the RBI indicated that it expected inflation to firm up in the second half of the year. inflation risks that appeared to be abating have reappeared. the responsibility of reviving growth now rests exclusively on the government. Since its own projections. particularly investment. Going by these two precedents. particularly after the recent rupee depreciation. that projection can only be reinforced. We also wouldn‘t rule out the possibility of a couple of cuts in CRR as liquidity tightens sometime in the second half of the financial year. Also. inflation risks clearly trumped growth payoffs. In the annual statement. Market participants. which preceded the recent decline in the rupee. given that the latest inflationreading was within the RBI's comfort zone. . Subsequently. further cuts could be in the offing. will aggravate inflationary pressures. presumably when some of the factors that contributed to this decision reverse or. RBI has taken a cautious approach of attending to the prospect of a possible resurgence in inflation over reviving growth in the economy. notwithstanding the sluggishness in growth? The already limited room for monetary stimulus may have become even smaller. providing it some basis for shifting its emphasis towards the rather worrisome growth situation. expect RBI will cut rate as factors turn more favourable. which must then focus on de-clogging the investment pipeline. If so. however.‖ said CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee.

On Tuesday. will likely meet with the Taliban in Doha on Thursday. Representatives of the U. marking a milestone ahead of the pull-out of NATO forces next year. officials likely to meet the group in Doha on Thursday After years of conflict.‖ Mr. stressed that. Karzai seemed to be on the same page as the Taliban on starting talks. hopes of negotiations as the way forward to end the fighting inAfghanistan were kindled on Tuesday when the Taliban announced that it was ready to hold peace negotiations with the Afghan government. official was quoted as saying. official said on Tuesday. 2. Yet. and a lengthy process of negotiations was in the offing. in the end.S. however.CURRENT AFFAIRS (19. Senior officials in the Obama administration were quick to pronounce that the U. Khullar plans to recommend a special organisational structure in which the corporate owner — who may have multifarious business interests — would have only a financial interest in the company. will meet Taliban officials in Doha. the capital of Qatar. He announced that his government would be sending a delegation to Qatar for talks with the militant group. There is conflict of interest here.S. restricted to owning of shares.06. will also suggest ways to restrict cross-media ownership in line with practices in ‗most other established democracies.-led NATO forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.S. a senior U. The dramatic turnaround in the position of the Afghan militant group coincided with the opening of its office in Doha. Once talks start in Qatar the process should be transferred to Afghanistan immediately. and the nationwide takeover of security duties by the Afghan forces from NATO. Afghan forces were on the eve of assuming full responsibility for providing security cover to the entire country. announced over television that his group‘s political and military goals were confined to Afghanistan alone. a Taliban spokesman. talks with the Taliban must be Afghan-controlled. as ―the media serves public interest‖.‖ one U.‘ TRAI chairman Rahul Khullar told The Hindu his recommendations would be based on the principle that corporate ownership of media must be separated from editorial management. TRAI set to regulate corporate control of media Restrictions on cross-media ownership in offing too Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is all set to recommend the creation of an ‗institutional buffer between corporate owners and newspaper management‘ to the government. The High Peace Council was set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2010 to find a negotiated end to the conflict.S. In Doha.2013) 1. TRAI has earlier flagged the issue of a ―growing number of . Reuters is quoting a senior Taliban official as saying that peace talks ―will certainly take place between the Taliban and the High Peace Council‖. Calibrated enthusiasm The Taliban‘s declaration appeared to generate calibrated enthusiasm in Washington.S. disparaging the Karzai government as a ―stooge‖ of the Americans and the West. and would not cover other countries. The Taliban‘s declaration was apparently timed to bring about internal reconciliation ahead of the withdrawal of U. The editorial operations would be done under a different structure where the corporate owner would have little say. which is also the regulator for the broadcasting industry.In Kabul.‖ he observed at a news conference.S. Mohammed Naim. Taliban ready for peace talks with Karzai government U. ―But the problem arises when the corporate wants to abuse the media it controls to project a coloured point of view for vested interests. Mr. TRAI. ―With the opening of office the peace negotiations between High Peace Council and Taliban must start soon. He. Khullar said he had no problem with corporates investing in or owning media houses for profits. they warned that there were no quick-fixes to resolve the crisis. The Taliban‘s announcement breaks fresh ground after more than a decade of fighting as the group had so far rejected talks with Kabul. Mr. ―This is but the first step in what will be a long road.

‖ said Mr. the Madras High Court‘s view that pre-marital sex between an unmarried man and woman. that any sex ought to be marital to emancipate it from its baser connotation. For both these . Khullar pointed out that even Vice President Hamid Ansari had spoken out about the ―paid news menace‖ recently. however. 4. Also. the desire of the two major political parties to use the tribunal to further their own political ends has created unexpected consequences. including builders and politicians‖ acquiring media interests. the ‗husband‘ cannot marry anyone without getting a divorce from the ‗wife‘.undesirables.S. It may even be seen as progressive that the Court takes note of the essence of a relationship — which resulted in sustained co-habitation and the birth of children — rather than its technical or legal status in granting maintenance. Law. he adds a strange observation that when a couple seek to separate after being in a sexual relationship. The remarks of Justice C. ―The idea is to create an institutionalised buffer between the corporate owner and newspaper management to ensure the independence of TV channels and the print media to articulate impartial. Or for concluding that there was enough in the man‘s conduct to say that he can no more disavow his relationship. In Bangladesh. None would disagree with the judge for placing co-habitation above customary or religious rites when it comes to assessing the status of a relationship. 2005. The Bangladeshi people are struggling to choose between two ―quarrelling Begums‖ who head parties that have between them ruled the country for the past two decades. although a Supreme Court verdict in 2010 was available for support: the Court had then specifically recognised a live-in relationship as one akin to a marriage in the context of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. and assumes. Khullar categorically rejected objections from media houses that any such restriction would violate the right to freedom of speech under Article 19 of the Constitution: ―All robust democracies have some restrictions on cross-media ownership. However. The ―creative challenge‖ for TRAI was evolving the precise design. arising out of ―sexual cravings‖ would be considered a ―valid marriage‖ and they become ―husband and wife‖. Yet. Such an approach limits the legal notion of marriage to just sexual union.‖ 3. He. for some of the judges in our superior judiciary do tend to pontificate and sermonise when required only to reason. he argues. or seek refuge in social mores when law. a year of living dangerously Bangladesh‘s War Crimes Tribunal (WCT). Secondly. as it were. Physical consummation between a man above 21 and a woman above 18. precedent or practice is available to fall back upon. none of what the judge has said has any basis in law. Khullar. sex and dicta It is not rare in the Indian judicial oeuvre to see sound justice being mixed up with irrelevant obiter dicta . the problem with Mr. amounts to marriage is truly outrageous. Justice Karnan‘s assertions is two-fold: they seek to incorporate a highly personalised view of sexual behaviour into the concept of marriage. Nor is it based on any precedent. otherwise unencumbered by any third party interest. Mr. even with some allowance for superfluous observation. Though everyone more or less agrees that the perpetrators must be brought to book. Karnan cannot be ignored as mere obiter dicta . Let us see what form it takes. a concept that is based on law and practice and not on social or personal opinion.Mr. free and fair editorial policy. has reopened unhealed wounds. Also. as much of what he says is in some way related to his ultimate decision — allowing monthly maintenance to a woman sought to be disowned by a man with whom she had lived and begotten two children. each successive government worse than the one it replaced. set up to try Bengalis who committed war crimes along with the Pakistan Army during the 1971 war. This is absolutely necessary to maintain the plurality and diversity of media. either modern and codified or customary. admitted that the process was still ―in the works‖. marriage involves specific rights and responsibilities and these cannot be lightly conferred based on mere sexual behaviour.

keeping up the division between pro. But the Awami League displayed great political acumen in eventually appropriating the Shahbag movement. and a counter-Shahbag movement brewed. The subsequent turn of events included the arrest of Mahmudur Rahman. do not have the ―anti liberation force‖ stigma attached to them.and anti-liberation forces is critical for sustaining its political grip. the anger over the defamation of the Prophet. meanwhile. Mahmudur Rahman. Outrage over the verdict led urban youth to gather in Shahbag square in Dhaka. Barring this superficial debate. These articles were photocopied and distributed in villages. When Jamaat member Kader Molla. The opportunity came with the discovery that a murdered member of the Shahbag movement was an ―atheist blogger‖ writing as ―Thaba Baba. the arrest of a few bloggers to appease the Islamists. the share market collapse. For its protest against the Shahbag movement — during which it also presented an Islamist wishlist — the group was able to gather huge numbers of supporters.‖ Rahman was successful in getting religious scholars all worked up by reprinting Thaba Baba‘s blogs. In the midst of this came the rumour that the government was making a secret pact with the Jamaat to wean them away from their electoral alliance with the BNP. countrywide protests erupted. against Delowar Hossain Sayedee. sustaining an ideological division among people is critical for diverting attention from other issues such as corruption. After the death sentence was given to Sayedee. Islamists would never gain grassroot popularity. was given a life sentence instead of the death penalty. Thus was a potential revolution hijacked by the ruling party. the suspicions of a back door deal grew. editor of the daily Amar Desh . Though Sayedee is a member of the Jamaate-Islami. More unrest Bangladesh was poised for a showdown and the occasion was provided by the next verdict at the tribunal. But the Hefajat-e-Islam. In traditional Bangla style. and the closure of his paper. which consists of the students of the Kawmi Madrasa. which started off well.parties. had begun to look vulnerable from its fourth year in office. There was a midnight crackdown by the police and paramilitary forces on the Hefazat‘s protest. In the first few days water bottles were hurled at government ministers who tried to get on the central podium. he has a huge personal following as a cleric who regularly criss-crosses the country to address mass congregations. the killing of policemen. there are analysts who claim that the Hefajat is just a front for the Jamaat. convicted in one of the most notorious cases before the WCT. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). took over the role of portraying the Shahbag Movement as an ―anti Islamic‖ movement. The Awami League government under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. when the Awami League appropriated Shahbag. The Jamaat-e-Islami especially would always have to depend on either the BNP or the Awami League for survival. claims to be the one that will ―save Islam‖ and rides the tide of nationalist sentiment. Influential members of the intellectual elite worked to channel Shahbag‘s message in ways that the government‘s own narrative was not disrupted. The movement had all the elements of an anti-establishment revolution. However. Two television channels were shut down by removing their transmission . For the Awami League. and firing by the police that took many lives. It is a generally held belief that due to their association with the 1971 war crimes and its perpetrators. and bank loan scandals have all rocked the government. the BNP took on the role of delegitimising it. the two parties are practically two sides of the same coin. demanding nothing less than the hanging of convicted war criminals. They are also known to have ideological differences with the Jamaat-e-Islami. or the Jamaat taking advantage of the situation to create anarchy. which had sentences and words directly insulting the Prophet and his family. People across the country were agitated that the Prophet had been insulted. The World Bank-Padma Bridge fiasco. and the rise of a new Islamist movement under the banner of Hefazat-e-Islam. which led to the burning of government offices. But it was difficult to discern what had set it off — his popularity.

‖ the note adds. the people of Bangladesh have worked hard to maintain a GDP growth rate of over six per cent even during a global recession. specialists from various universities. the government also demolished the podium of the Shahbag protesters.000 workers. research institutes and states enterprises (60. the Department of Telecom (DoT). IB (565). ―China‘s cyber workforce is composed of various components of military. which includes Indian-Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC).446 experts to be deployed in six organisations that would take care of India‘s cyber security infrastructure.machinery. But. the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). Of the 4. No one in Bangladesh is sure how things will unfold from now on. the Ministry of Defence. Waking up from a deep slumber. or Pakistan. DoT (459) and DRDO (250). ―The existing combined strength of cyber security experts in all organisations in the government domain is 556.S. followed by NTRO (695). in 2010. Interestingly. the Intelligence Bureau (IB).25 lakh experts. in these uncertain times. Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank. China‘s Central Military Commission approved ―Information Support and Safeguarding Base‖ to serve as People‘s Liberation Army cyber command to address potential cyber threats and safeguard national security.000). It now has an estimated strength of 1. propaganda militia and academia. which is engaged in creating an elaborate ‗cyber security architecture‘. DEITy (590). national security. on the same night. .25-lakh personnel which includes regular troops (30. China makes little distinction between hackers who work for the government and those who undertake cyber adventures on its behalf. backed by America. India to step up cyber security India to step up cyber security The world may acknowledge India as an information technology superpower. How ―grossly inadequate‖ is India‘s cyber security manpower can be gauged by the fact that China has 1.446 posts. which is grossly inadequate to handle cyber security activities in a meaningful and effective manner. and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). the armed forces will get a majority of the experts (1. the U. The experts will take care of traffic scanning and mitigation.300. the government has decided to recruit 4. it is the strong undertow of election year politics that lies beneath these chaotic events — especially the wrangling between the Awami League and BNP over the appointment of a neutral caretaker government to oversee the elections that should be held at the end of 2013. Interestingly. assurance and certification. system audit and forensics. public security.000). Beneath the chaotic events that have convulsed the country in recent months is the unmistakeable undertow of election year politics 5. 91.An internal study conducted by the NSCS revealed that all major countries have established mechanism and organisations dedicated to cyber security. research and development. China shows the way For instance. These are the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITy). All that the people have is a deep sense of insecurity and the fear of the unknown.080 and Russia 7. and orders in the key export sector of garments are dwindling after the collapse of the Savar building that killed more than 1. or a select civil society group preferred by India.‖ says a secret note prepared by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). imports have seen a drop of 25 per cent.000). But in reality. Despite runaway capitalism and a feudal democracy. a field where India has fared poorly. or even Dr. and militia (35. and coordination. Insecurity The volatile environment has given rise to all kinds of rumours about a ―third force‖ — that could be the military. but its very own official cyber security workforce comprises a mere 556 experts deployed in various government agencies.887).

For instance.S. which will now take over the remaining 95 districts from the western military alliance.S. companies and organisations in power. execute or lead those operations‖. are already suffering heavy casualties in their combat with the Taliban. The U. of whom 88. Afghans take over security from NATO Taliban opens office in Doha as venue for talks Afghan forces have assumed responsibility for providing security cover to the entire country. 6. Mohaqeq survived the attack. Pentagon set up the U. Air evacuation of casualties is becoming difficult because foreign commanders have decided that barring exceptional circumstances.‖ the note adds.-led NATO forces at the end of next year.080 experts in its cyber security workforce.S. Mr. Mr. Rasmussen said that NATO forces would assist Afghan troops ―if needed‖.S. all security responsibilities and all security leadership will be taken over by our brave forces. because foreign forces havedrastically scaled down back-up support.S. Afghanistan‘s President Hamid Karzai announced that the fifth and final phase of security transition from NATOtroops to Afghan forces was about to commence.169 are in the Department of Defense alone. A reminder that Afghanistan contained a vast reservoir of violence came on Tuesday when a roadside bomb targeted senior Afghan parliamentarian Mohammad Mohaqeq.S. and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) under the NTRO for providing cover to ‗critical information infrastructure‘. Security architecture Now. With the security situation far from certain. Afghan troops must learn to fend for themselves. Significantly. From here. and telecom sectors. marking a major milestone ahead of the pull-out of U. but their intervention in direct combat has already receded substantially. These include the civil aviation sector (Air Traffic Control or ATC). has 91. India is also setting up its own ‗cyber security architecture‘ that will comprise the National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) for threat assessment and information sharing among stakeholders. ―During a cyber or communications incident. port management. our defence forces will be in the lead. At a ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday. intelligence and law enforcement communities and the private sector. ―From tomorrow.U. state and local governments. the U. has also set up a 24x7 National Cyber Security and Communications Integration Centre (NCCIC) that is responsible for generating a common operating picture for cyber and communications across the federal. the Cyber Operation Centre that will be jointly run by the NTRO and the armed forces for threat management and mitigation for identified critical sectors and defence. Railways‘ passenger reservation system and communication network.-led forces are showing considerable reluctance in providing air support to Afghan troops in the heat of battle. oil and natural gas sectors. cyber command Similarly. present during the ceremony. The NSCS has identified over a dozen ‗critical information infrastructure‘ sectors/facilities requiring protection. but would ―no longer plan. The government is also coming up with a legal framework to deal with cyber security.‖ Analysts say around 65. Afghan officials say 276 Afghan soldiers have been killed over the last three months — the flow of casualties keeping pace with last year‘s record of 1.000 American troops alone within the ranks of NATO are still present in Afghanistan. clarified that ―the main effort of our forces is shifting from combat to support‖. the NCCIC serves as the national response centre able to bring to bear the full capabilities of the federal government in a coordinated manner. the Taliban is moving . the U. in May 2010. banking and finance. which was recently in the news for clandestine Internet snooping operations in various countries.170 killed. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. including India. but the explosion killed three civilians and injured dozens. Cyber Command (Cybercom) headed by the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA). Observers say Afghan forces.

Russia blocks call for Assad ouster at G8 President Vladimir Putin blocked any mention of the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a final G8 summit communique. otherwise it makes no sense to even start it.Moscow‘s stance on resolving the Syrian crisis was completely in line with other G8 members. Mr. but all three have chosen not to reveal the contents. said a top Russian official.Ryabkov lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. in Paris on Tuesday for talks with his French counterpart. Ethiopia is the source of the Blue Nile. In a joint statement issued in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the Doha office would support a peaceful solution to the crisis and bring stability to Afghanistan. adopting a ―comprehensive. we get about 86 per cent of our water from the Blue Nile. says Mathai on Nuclear Liability Act Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai. told The Hindu that there had been good progress in discussion between Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on the contract to purchase 126 Rafale multi-role combat aircraft from France. Earlier this month. ―[We agreed] to further studies to ascertain the effects of the dam. Northern Ireland on Tuesday that Russia had insisted no demands for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be included in the G8 final document on the Syrian conflict. Amr said. Mr . British sources at the summit said Prime Minister DavidCameron had sought to isolate Russia suggesting that seven Western members of the G8 could sign a communique calling for the ouster of the Syrian leader if Mr. ―We are for the development efforts of Ethiopia. who called the Group of Eight ―G7 plus one‖. Putinrefused to join in. meaning that Russia‘s positions were too far apart from the other members. Earlier. In a statement. 9. ―In the meantime we are sure that Ethiopia is also very determined not to hurt Egypt in anyway.com has reported that the Taliban has announced the opening of its office during a press conference.―We cannot dictate to participants of the future [Geneva-2] conference… how it is going to end. this would be deeply wrong. serious and concrete document‖. It would also become a venue for the group‘s meetings with Afghan officials as well as ―the international community. an international panel of experts delivered a report on the effects of the dam for Ethiopia and lower riparian countries Sudan and Egypt.‖ Mr. He said progress had been made at the G8 summit toward convening the Syria peace conference.‖ said Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. said Mr. ―Apart from being completely unacceptable for Russia. Ryabkov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.7 billion hydroelectric project near the source of the Blue Nile is crucial for development. Ryabkov. Ethiopia to resolve Nile dispute The Foreign Ministers of Egypt and Ethiopia sought to defuse a brewing diplomatic row over the construction of a dam on the Nile. Discussion on the multi-billion dollar deal (an estimated $15 billion) had reportedly run into heavy weather with Dassault expressing doubts over HAL‘s ability to . Ryabkov. by promising to ―swim‖ rather than ―sink together‖. local organisations and non-governmental organisations‖.‖ said Mr.‖ Ethiopia insists that the 6000 MW $4. We have only the river Nile. social and down stream impacts of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Afghanistan‘s Tolonews. we are ready to help them out. 8. Ethiopian officials expect the dam to begin producing electricity as early as next year. while Egypt has expressed fears over the potential loss of fresh water. Our law is a fact. 7. a tributary that accounts for nearly 60 per cent of Nile water. adding the Egyptian private sector had invested nearly $2 billion in the Ethiopian economy. Egypt. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters in Lough Erne.the diplomatic pieces by opening an office on Tuesday in the Qatari capital Doha. harmful and wouldtotally destroy the political balance that is being established so painstakingly‖ to bring the warring sides to the negotiating table. they agreed to further consultations on the environmental.

Mathai. According to the sources. Mathai replied: ―In the civil nuclear area we discussed the current state of play in the Jaitapur project [to build six EPR nuclear reactors. Dassault had said it was prepared to take outright responsibility for the 18 aircrafts it would deliver but had expressed doubts about its liability for the remaining jets that are to be produced assembled and delivered in India under the stewardship of HAL. who met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during his short halt in Paris. The development. the FDI limit may be raised for joint ventures in defence. The committee was constituted after Finance Minister P. thereby doing away with the need for government approval. are anything to go by. The committee has submitted its report to the Finance Minister. Mayaram said that the report can only give recommendations. The exceptions are sectors where the cap is statutorily fixed and can be increased only with a Parliamentary nod. he said India has had fairly intensive dialogues with other countries and will have similar discussions bilaterally with France. 10. delivery is a joint project and HAL has to be the partner that takes it forward. Mayaram is the Union Economic AffairsSecretary. the Government is not willing to make the report public at this time. the FDI limit in the defence sector is likely to be raised to 49 per cent from 26 per cent now. Last week. As the contractor they are liable for the aircraft but HAL is the agent who will work with them in India to deliver it. There is also a move to axe the requirement for approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion .‖ On the issue of Civil Nuclear Liability Act. if the recommendations of the Arvind Mayaram Committee. Under the RFP [Request for Proposal]. The feeling now is that they have discussed these issues and they are much closer to an understanding of where each of them stands. Asked about talks between AREVA and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) .avoid delays and other glitches. are the courts and that is true anywhere in the world. the responsibility is that of Dassault but HAL has to do the next batch of 108 aircraft after the outright delivery of the first 18 planes. Mr. Among the three partners we have in the civil nuclear field the French asked the least number of questions when the issue seemed very much alive for the others. According to sources. Mr. But irrespective of who the partner is. Dassault is entitled to have partners but they have to work with HAL. Mr. However. which was given the task of examining the issue. According to the sources. Mathai said: ―Our own consultations showed that both Dassault and HAL had not thought through what their working together would mean. telecom and private banking could see FDI up to 100 per cent against the current 74 per cent. Mathai said. The Americans sent a team of lawyers last year to go into the legal aspects and similar steps can be taken with France. Print and broadcasting media might have FDI limit up to 49 per cent from 26 per cent now. each with a capacity to produce 1650 Megawatts of energy]. telecom Mayaram committee suggests major changes to investment regime A sweeping relaxation in foreign direct investment limits could be round the corner. he will meet the Commerce and Industries Minister (under whom the DIPP falls). Asked if there was progress on this. said he had also talked to his counterpart about the SR-Sam (Maitri) contract for the purchase of surface-to-air missiles and the civil nuclear project in Jaitapur. the Indian students‘ hostel in the French capital. Mathailaid the foundation stone for the new building of the Maison de l‘Inde. the fact of the matter is that the people who will judge the law. a government panel has also recommended allowing FDI in most sectors under the ‗automatic route‘. broadcasting. ―Our law is a fact. it will be up to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to take action. Chidambaram announced in his Budget speech that steps will be taken to remove ambiguity in the definition of foreign investment. whatever explanations we might give. Chidambaram had said that after the submission of the report. Govt panel for hiking FDI limits in defence. followed by a final meeting with the Prime Minister. telecom and private banks.‖ Mr.‖ the Foreign Secretary said. Similarly. Mr. production.

Recently. Starbucks and other US multinationals operating in Britain for exploitingaccounting rules by registering their profits in neighbouring countries such as Ireland. To understand the overall problems in their right perspective. "Of course Britain's got to put its own house in order. Canada and Japan. Many of the world's leading companies. Italy. Flaws in Koodankulam plant The Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu is owned and will be operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). while the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) also have well-defined regulatory roles to play in non-nuclear safety aspects. FIPB approval could be retained for sensitive sectors so that strategic interests are not compromised. British lawmakers have sharply criticisedGoogle. host of the two-day G-8 summit at a remote lakeside golf resort in Northern Ireland. the SC directed AERB.Board (FIPB) for FDI of up to 49 per cent in various sectors. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. then to a Dutch company and finally to a second nominally Irish company that is headquartered in a usually British tax haven. Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands serve as shelters and funnel billions each week through the City of London. 12. including safety of the plant. its impact on environment and the quality of various components and systems in the plant. the Supreme Court (SC) reviewed previous lower court judgements and heard fresh affidavits on issues of KKNPP safety. ranging from Apple to the management company of U2. Germany. limit in various sectors (excluding public sector banks) is 24 per cent. Merging FDI. Several of the UK's own island territories including Jersey. who was invited to address the G-8 meeting on corporate tax reform. one has to see how the total project responsibility at KKNPP is shared . Russia." said Ben Rhodes. President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser. Currently. called the "double Irish with a Dutch sandwich" allows foreign companies to send profits through one Irish company. But Britain itself stands accused of being one of the world'spremier links in the tax-avoidance chain. FII cap One key proposal is also setting a single cap of 49 per cent merging Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Institutional Investment. employ complex corporate structures involving multiple subsidiaries in several countries to minimise the tax bills in their home nation. or paying no tax at all by employing offshore shell companies. In its final judgment on May 6. One such manoeuvre. However. The SC has also directed that a (joint) report to that effect be filed before it prior to commissioning of the plant. Britain announced a provisional agreement with the finance chiefs of nine of its offshore dependencies to improve their sharing of information on individuals and companies banking cash there. the FII. MoEF and TNPCB to (collectively) oversee each and every aspect. the world's second-largest financial market." said Britain's treasury chief. bringing greater transparency to it. before commissioning it. promised "significant developments on tax" in a tweet before heading into amorning discussion on the subject with the leaders of the United States. 2013. Before the summit. France. British Prime Minister David Cameron. this is something we've pursued in the United States. NPCIL. G-8 summit turns focus to clampdown on tax-dodging Leaders from eight of the world's wealthiest countries spent the final hours of their summit today focusing on how to make sure that multinational companies can no longer rely on shelters and loopholes to avoid paying the tax they owe. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) is to oversee and regulate nuclear safety. "The goal of cracking down on tax avoidance. and we agree with Prime Minister Cameron that we can work together multilaterally to promote approaches that achieve those objectives. which charges half the rate of corporate tax. The US said it was committed to reforming the global accounting rules and collecting more of US companies' profits banked outside American shores. or portfolio investment. 11.

therebysending erroneous control inputs to a variety of crucial safety systems. The Russian ―advisers‖ on site seem to have earlier indicated to the Indians that most of the VVERs which they have commissioned have used strict Russian standards like GOST 50746-2000. until NPCIL takes over. A very rudimentary example of EMI. KKNPP reactors are pressurised water reactors (PWRs) of the Russian VVER type. Glimpses of this can be seen from the past annual reports of the AERB. obtaining a sound. possibly leading to unpredictable and serious malfunctions or accidents. The 2009-2010 AERB report states the regulators were ―informed (by NPCIL) that new cable routes have been created to take care of additional cables required for normal operation of the plant. and requires that specific rules in this regard are strictly followed. This spurious input can add to or subtract from the ―real‖ signals. for example. as these were not accounted for in the earlier design‖. The past Indian experience is entirely on pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs). The experience gained over the years by Indian contractors who have steadily worked with NPCIL is also limited to PHWRs. The cable problems at Koodankulam have a long history. wiring of the safety and shut-off rod control systems. The problem. like the reactor neutron chamber output lines. it is certainly foolhardy for India to insist that KKNPP Units 1 & 2 shall be built under the above division of responsibilities. interference -free transmission of electrical signals between various parts of a nuclear system demands careful attention to cable laying and routing as well as earthing. to put it simply. EMI in nuclear plants can be totally avoided by following modern I&C system design and installation norms. that in turn could induce a voltage/current in a nearby instrumentation or control cable. the sequential history of KNPP events do not show that such care was taken in implementation of I&C systems by NPCIL and their contractors. etc. of 1000 MWe rating. Therefore. The NPCIL and its Indian contractors would build the reactors. In particular. 1999). but a small team of Russian specialists (―advisers‖) would stay at the site to render technical assistance at all stages of construction. The PHWRs are technologically very different from the VVER-1000 reactors. AERB‘s 2010-2011 annual report states that ―NPCIL was asked to submit . which is available at: http://files.stroyinf. Besides the probable installation of substandard parts in KKNPP reactors due to laxity of quality control. The instrumentation and control (I&C) design package. in the installation of reactor equipment and in the commissioning and operation of the reactors. appears to be the inability to eliminate spurious signals of untraced origin appearing in many of the instrumentation cables of paramount importance to safety. is that of a powercarrying.ru/Data1/41/41348/. combined with a lack of appreciation of the technological finesse required to build a large and complicated PWR for the first time. ―Modern I&C for Nuclear Power Plants‖. called the National Standard of the Russian Federation for Electro-magnetic Compatibility (EMC) of equipment for nuclear power plants (Requirements and Test Methods). including installation details. Such phenomena belong to a broad class of problems known as Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI). it is now evident that another major safety issue related to the I&C systems is worrying the KKNPP management and the AERB. However. and the Russians have designed and built more than 20 of them. (See. the Russians are to provide the reactor designs and supply the major equipment. The problems described in this article can be primarily attributed to this fatal error in project formulation. unshielded cable that would generate a surrounding electro-magnetic field. This inference is reached by piecing together information now available in the public domain.between India and Russia. for instance. Thereasons for doing so have been the minimisation of cost and an overconfident estimation of NPCIL‘s capabilities. were also to come from Russia. because of which the Unit 1 start-up is now postponed to July 2013. India having built only a very small PWR for a submarine which is yet to be started. IAEA. Under the 1998 inter-governmental supplementary agreement.

EMI shielding.frontline. The designers discovered that several kilometres of power and control cables in the reactor were ‗missed‘ after the completion of the double containment of the reactor. and they rigidly follow the rules and expect others also to do so.org/info/CountryProfiles/Countries-G-N/India/#. to be incorporated by designers in the reactor almost towards completion of the plant (2009-2010). or layout as per Russian. One wonders how such a serious error was committed by the NPCIL engineers and their contractors! This exposes a serious difference in the ethics of doing project site work between the Russians and Indians. As directed by the SC. Interestingly. The World Nuclear Association has reported that KKNPP control system documentation was delivered late by the Russians and.‖ It is this daredevil approach of the NPCIL site engineers and their contractors which has landed the KKNPP in the present mess. while waiting for details to arrive from Russia. RBI can't substitute sloppy government . the NPCIL team is unlikely to have come close to meeting the Russian design intent or conformed to the installation documents received from them. but this must be done in the interest of public safety. in the interest of performance and safety. agreeable also to the Russians. have rules and regulations on paper. which they expected the Indian installers to follow diligently.‖ He went on to say. 2011.. you have to assume those data and go ahead. In part it said(http://ibnlive. could not be explained.htm) that ―difficulty arose with working documentation. they would not hesitate to bend or break rules. 13. ―But the observation that several cables were missing.in. While Indians. the NPCIL team had proceeded on with the I&C work based on their PHWR experience. as completed today. the then KKNPP station director told Frontline (http://www. A year ago. No wonder the EMI problem is persisting. The origin of the present problem lies in this massive installation error of the NPCIL. has not conformed to the norms and standards of cable selection. This may take several more months and extensive re-working. Around the same time. there was pressure on them to advance their drawings and documents. Indian or any other standards.in/navigation/?type=static&page=flonnet&rdurl=fl2108/fl210800. In 2004. it showed up the need for significant refining and even reworking of some aspects. because there is no other short-cut solution other than re-doing a sizeable part of the I&C cabling and its layout in accordance with a set of modern standards. As a designer and an engineer. AERB. the group consisting of NPCIL.html). when reviewed (http://www. a telling PTI report on the KKNPP cable problem appeared on July 20. little realising that the PWR/VVER requirements contained in the Russian documents would be significantly different. a major operation had to be undertaken to incorporate the ‗missing‘ cables by making new opening in the containment domes (breaking open the concrete walls and its steel liner) and sealing it again after bringing the cables from the switch yard to inside‖.you have to take certain decisions even if the input data are not available. Russians are very well-organised and systematic. In doing re-work and rectification of the PHWR-based work. MoEF and TNPCB must certainly find an acceptable resolution of this problem and include it in their report to the apex court.. to expedite work or to minimise cost. ―When you want to speed up. too.Ub7fWPkzjAs) by NPCIL.com/news/tn-kudankulam-nplant-to-achieve-criticality/168957-3.world-nuclear.. It is most likely that the KKNPP cable system. But I shall not blame the Russians. This was necessitated because. the Russians had prepared detailed documentation including hundreds of drawings. which was to arrive from the Russ ian designers. the 2011-2012 annual report is totally silent about the followup actions taken in this matter. in Indian newspapers.detailed response to various observations made on cable layout — along with justifications for deviations from established methods of laying of cables and alternative measures to meet any exigencies‖.... In case of the I&C design and installation details.

S.2013) 1. lip service to reforms will not prop up investor confidence. but for one reason: how well have we really learned to know each other. The decisions to ease caps on retail and civil aviation sectors last September had given some momentum to the reform process.06.S. improving project clearance and implementation and leveraging on the crowding-in role of public investment.‖ Only the government and not the RBI can de-clog the investment pipeline and remove clearance hurdles.S. Finance minister P Chidambaram has desperately tried to maintain that momentum by promising that caps in other sectors would also be eased soon. when so many other constraints are at work. but after its opening. so much has developed between our two countries. It is imperative that the government machinery works in tandem by keeping the reform momentum going. CURRENT AFFAIRS (20. This would not matter had they matured into a mutual understanding that allows two countries to be satisfied with nothing striking happening between them as welcome normalcy. The responsibility of reviving growth now rests exclusively on the government. But Monday‘s cabinet reshuffle shows that the UPA government seems to have given up even the pretence of governing. 2. government says and what it does regarding peace talks.S. A furious Afghan government has signalled to Americans that they can no longer take for granted the positioning of U. that we should not be at all bothered by the present situation. The Afghan governmentreinforced its protest by backing out of talks with the Taliban scheduled in Doha for Thursday. This should include actual implementation of liberalisation measures and streamlining the process of clearances for projects. forces in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO forces from the country at the end of 2014. particularly investment. or shed earlier misgivings? Policymaking and specific measures of cooperation are still subject to deep doubts about just how good they are for either country. if not in the doldrums. The RBI policy document said: ―Key to reinvigorating growth is accelerating investment by creating a conducive environment for private investment. Apparently.The Reserve Bank of India‘s (RBI) decision not to cut any of its policy rates might be viewed as being somewhat contrarian by policy makers in the government who expected it to blink after wholesale inflation fell to a 43-month low. Kabul suspends security talks with U. Despite policy announcements. The art of managing differences The impression is now widespread that India-America relations are on a plateau. A statement released by Afghanistan‘s National Security Council on Wednesday said the ―fourth round of talks on security agreement between Afghanistan and the U. Convincing each other in these respects will continue to require .‖ Analysts say that Afghans feel let down by the Americans on the opening of the Taliban office on Tuesday in Doha. the central bank is right in factoring in the movements in the rupee over the past few weeks. which could trigger it again. Without the participation of the Afghan government. proposals for FDI infusion in retail and civil aviation are yet to take off due to bureaucratic delays. Since the days when we hardly knew. which is currently underway in Kabul has been suspended as there is a contradiction between what the U. it had made it clear that the scope of monetary policy in reviving the economic slowdown is limited. the Afghan government was under the impression that the Taliban office in the Qatari capital would be an unostentatious venue to advance peace talks. and especially peoples. it does not believe that a small doze of interest cut can provide much stimulus for demand. Clearly. and gravely suspected or even mistrusted each other. While going for a modest rate cut during its last mid-quarter policy review. they were surprised that it has the trappings of a quasi-embassy. However. Yet. a peace process on Afghanistan can hardly be expected to take off.

With America it has been the opposite: leave alone friendship. for instance. Respected pollsters may find that Indians as a whole have the best feelings toward America. India faces no such cruel choices today. and looming over everything is the universal ambivalence about dealing with China. bureaucrat or professional without a sibling or offspring settled there (or an innate longing to follow suit) but berating America remains more than an intellectual fashion. The view that we are too inclined towards abstract considerations. There are many other issues on which our interest and views will differ basically from America‘s. deliberate misdeeds. so entrenched in our Panchsheel. although one might take it in its stride. we surely need partners for all this. the security of the Gulf. like the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan apropos Central Asia. This is what makes the coming Strategic Dialogue important. There are only two foreseeable challenges to our territorial integrity. There may hardly be a politician. but we have ignored it to our cost — often going overboard supporting others to show our friendship. it spills over into a lack of cooperation. Our capabilities being limited. Mutual benefit. would involve obvious differences on how to deal with Iran. . tranquillity in the Indian Ocean. even bitter ones. We also have vital interests beyond our immediate neighbourhood. to speak favourably about America was considered virtually unpatriotic and. behaviour andpurposes that offend — all are there to make a formidable case for criticism and distancing. This is so obvious as to be almost banal. Their peoples may have friendly feelings. it is what it can do for or against you. definitely including some we call friends. and are willing to help us become so. including those with whom we could have conflict. too many of us fondly imagine. Need for objectivity We in India need to approach international relations with hard-headed. In any case. unfortunately. that must determine your handling of it. dispassionateobjectivity. Not that America has not done wrong: mistakes. nobody would help us: we would be alone. that we know what our objectives are). Particularly damaging has been our illusion about friendship in international relations. but howsoever horrible a regime. But that can be done against every state. nor any overnight external threat. If either difference ever erupted in violent conflict. and nowhere are there more forces at work for self-correction. but there are enough issues with manifest commonalities calling for anintensified dialogue. States are often enemies but cannot be friends. not its nature. the legacy prevails.periodic boosts by leaders for some years to come. but they affect us excessively. beyond their expectations or our benefit. Nobody does such things for ‗friendship. and two states to which a strong India is unwelcome. on ways of getting there: Gulf security. but oddly enough such an approach towards America remains suspect. means mutual trade-offs. you must of course treat it as such. But ourstrength is surely the best hope of preventing any eruptions. but states can only develop greater or lesser closeness of views and cooperation. and some states see their interests served by a strong India.‘ much less because we are so great or good that they ought to help — as. for decades. concentrating on national interest. curiously. We must consider which powers have congruence with our objectives (assuming. There are no lack of advocates for seeking closeness with other countries. unrealistic world views and outdated thinking is not unjustified. Nobody has criticised America more sharply than Americans. perhaps too hopefully. the power balance to our East. international interactions have to be determined regardless of the virtues and vices of individual countries: if you find a state innately harmful to you. Emotional attitudes and downright prejudices affect public opinion and state policies everywhere. Commonality of objectives never precludes disagreements. stability of Central Asia (especially after America‘s cut-down in Afghanistan).

but it will most likely involve direct engagement between the Taliban and the United States before the group talks to the High Peace Council.S. but really seek to replace the West. if ever. whereas much of what we want is perpetually blocked in Washington. Interest in partnership While we should adopt a more purposeful approach. But the Taliban are signalling . and President Hamid Karzai seem to be hoping that the Taliban will accept the country‘s new Constitution. though we objected to all the unfair old dominating machinations which were so vitiating it. and a political role in accordance with it. fuelling doubts and hesitations on both sides. based on equity and the sovereign equality of nations. Power politics is not going to give way to the ideal world order soon. but the problem remains: the working machinery on which delivery depends is obstructed by such faultfinding. Both sides could exchange complaints forever.‖ accordingly. It is a thought to bear in mind for the future. if both sides focus on them. safeguard intellectual property our way. at least initially. enact our climate change urgings. and we continue to fight hard against them. also opposed to western control of what currently passes for ―order. Process without promise There is not much to celebrate in the Taliban‘s announcement finally that it is prepared to hold talks with the Afghan government. truly based on equity. India remains the one genuine believer in making the existing system conform to the ideals that it professed to embody. reform your investment rules. Nothing of the sort actually happened. The U. with a truly fair deal for the underprivileged states. host the talks. Top-down guidance has helped. In the forthcoming Strategic Dialogue.S. using the new ―systems. are perhaps its strongest critics)) but it is also there that the ideas for betterment are most actively discussed. the great powers continued trying to impose their will. and plenty to be wary about.. All this points to marking time — a perfectly normal situation in most relationships but potentially retrogressive in this instance because of the persistent negativisms.. The announcement came with the opening of a Taliban office in the Qatar capital Doha. There is no clarity yet on the process. and America‘s so-called ―transactional‖ attitudes: buy our planes. and accept common rules of behaviour. they will be one day. but won‘t be risked for appearing as bowing while scepticism — ―what has India ever done for us-or ever will‖ — never left the beltway. the negotiating body set up by the Karzai government. to little effect. What these talks will be about. Many decisions badly needed by New Delhi in their own right are long overdue. should focus on their long-term interests to take the bilateral relationship forward 3. India and the U. but the search for it finds more supporters in either country than in some one could name. Two World Wars initiated idealistic efforts to make states settle differences and develop cooperation through multilateral institutions and international law. Ideas for making sovereign states abandon the brute dominance of power which persist in the intrinsic anarchy of international relations.Another important commonality is hardly noticed. etc. The Strategic Dialogue will doubtless avoid that. and manage interim differences instead of throwing them at each other. America might seem the last country from which to expect cooperation to that end. Everyone talks about the need for a world order with little idea as to its meaning or content. developing this relationship is not exactly a priority for either leadership. which will. as the leading unilateralist in the multilateral institutions (the Indian representatives who have had to endure its arm-twisting in the U.N. recasting the order with themselves in control. the other side should have a real interest in partnership. is a question to which there are no clear or optimistic answers. but how much of that is to be expected today? Both countries are so heavily preoccupied with domestic and other concerns. and Washington‘s focus is elsewhere. Delhi is heading for national elections. Other states. There are major long-term interests to be served. have long been proposed. however. India was perhaps the leading sincere believer in the ideal. Much Indian dubiousness about better ties flows from resentment about being pressurised.‖ want another one.

Collegiums have ignored this perspective and the most relevant question today in a democracy with a socialistic pattern of society concerns the inclusion in the Constitution of a chapter on the judiciary that would seek to ensure the right orientation of the judicial structure.something entirely different. for a long-term security pact after coalition troops leave in 2014.C. all on an equal footing. which has no part in the process.S. it is difficult to say how much of his outrage is real and how much smoke and mirrors. they deserve and command the respect and admiration of all classes of the community. Pakistan‘s role — especially with Nawaz Sharif. 1911 (26 H. the time to speak up is now. the law and the lawyer by and large tend to support the haves. it is impossible to pretend that the courts command the same degree of general confidence. for instance. but it does make the process expensive and rather exclusive. Never has a peace process held so little promise. has remained a silent observer. therefore. who has consequently ‗suspended‘ negotiations with the U. inevitably tends to have an inherent predisposition towards those with a good bank balance. the mountain and the valley.S. The members of the Bar compete in a commercial economy. The poor man is often rudely shut out of a money-driven market.S. The judiciary itself is largely chosen from among the members of the Bar. The Bar is integral to the administration of justice. India has adopted an adversarial legal system and it cannot function without the Bar. The Doha office. But if India wants its concerns to be taken into account by those who are driving this process. willingness to release Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo. and a very large number of our population have been led to the opinion that they are. They were not reticent in declaring that their Qatari base would help them ―improve […] relations with countries around the world through understanding and talks‖. who naturally vie with one another in terms of their remuneration. a sticking point on which the process collapsed in 2011. the road ahead for this ―reconciliation‖ process is a minefield. The only sliver of hope that the Taliban have offered the U. an old friend of the Taliban. Page 173) Representatives of the poor Under the circumstances. W. socialism will remain a mirage unless the process of selection offers an opportunity for the representatives of the poor to sit on the Bench. nothing was unreal about the Taliban attack on a U.S is the declaration that they ―would not allow anyone to threaten the security of other countries from the soil of Afghanistan‖. no doubt. New Delhi.S. angering President Karzai. Going to court involves hiring advocates. biased. 4. is audaciously named the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The Secretary of State for the Home Department. Deb. The name has already cast a shadow on the process. Justice has civil and criminal dimensions. In the immediate term. and both require substantial mutations which ensure that the voice of the weaker sections is reflected in . the man and the woman. accusing the Americans of playing a double game with him. and in civil cases between man and man. but where class issues are involved. and. unequalled pre-eminence in the respect of the world in criminal cases. just hours after its public relations exercise in the Gulf city. and I think. col. no doubt. In a world where the havenots have no clout. recalling their rule over the country between 1996 and 2001.1022) put it powerfully thus: ―The courts hold justly a high. Churchill on the second reading of the Trade Unions (No.‖ ( The Politics of the Judiciary . The all-important issue where social and economic justice is a matter of state policy is the instrumentality of the selection of the members of the judiciary. Appointments and some disappointments The law treats the rich and the poor. which is being read as a sign of its readiness to jettison Al Qaeda. now in power — will also be crucial to how the process unfolds. convoy outside Bagram that killed four soldiers.2) Bill. But the legal system can be operated only if lawyers are able to argue. Certainly. the process could turn on U. unconsciously. Even so. On the contrary. Given his limited choices and the inevitability of talking to the Taliban. they do not.

Chadian and French soldiers who have fallen in combat. The United Nations Force. At a time when the international community is mobilising its resources towards these ends. It will replace the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) forces in July. class character. The international community united to ensure security and stability. we had outlined the strategy of military intervention against the terrorists in Mali. in The Hindu (Op-Ed. The Supreme Court has interpreted the method of choosing the higher judiciary in a judgment that sets down that with a majority of one it could create the collegium.judicial verdicts. and naturally the perfunctory selection has come up for criticism. they retain a limited but real capacity for action and harm. This operation will end once the Malian army is in a position to secure Mali‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity. pursued and defeated in Mali. no national symposium but a single vote that makes a majority in a single judgment. and buried inside an enigmatic docket of the Law Ministry. It is better to hasten slowly than to rush into law a secretive proposal of the government. the highest price: the blood of Malian. antecedents. it is time to ensure the maintenance of law and order and prevent the return of jihadists . We require a public discussion of a well-thought-out draft proposal where the Bar will get to express its views and the higher judiciary too will give its views. But it shall be the product of national debates. The whole process is arbitrary. Neither Parliament nor the Union Cabinet has chosen to vocalise its views on the subject. while the French forces will be scaled down to 1. 2013. I advocate publicity on the above lines. the government and a former Law Minister have claimed that the government has a draft alternative to the collegium. What it is. the President of India may appoint a commission.000 men by the end of this year.000 men and a solid mandate. performance or position in the social milieu hardly considered. parliamentary discussions and expression of views by academics. It is a pity that despite the Constitution. This ad hoc accident is what governs the choice of the members of the higher judiciary. After defeating terror. The seniormost three or five judges of the High Court or the Supreme Court comprise the collegiums. If necessary. Today. ―United against the terrorist threat‖). the African forces of the neighbouring countries and the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) thwarted the attempt of terrorist groups to launch an attack on Bamako and transform Mali into a sanctuary for crime. Ideology. France. we found it important to present the efforts being undertaken to stabilise Mali durably. as the May 23 attacks in Niger tragically show. To attain . We have paid the price for it. Mali‘s territorial integrity has been restored and the terrorists have been defeated. This action will continue. Now that the terrorists have been held in check. At the request of the Malian authorities. It is wrapped in a mystery of Secretariat files. with over 11. Although diminished. We had underscored the coordination between the military aspect. aimed at wiping out terrorist groups. whose verdict is final and binding on the nation. no one except the government knows. This is the mandate that the Security Council unanimously approved for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) on April 25. no parliamentary debate. many of its appointments have been disappointments. The threat of terrorist groups in the Sahel and North Africa is a long-standing one. A great number of them have been neutralised and their outfits destroyed along with a significant part of their resources. and a development policy for Mali and its political transition. Now. Such an authority needs considerable maturity. symposia. winning the peace together On January 23. 2013. and the concept of infallibility of the Supreme Court. No plan. The subject concerns India‘s highest-level judiciary. intellectuals and other enlightened sections of humanity. no commission. The system of choosing judges should be preceded by a national debate and discussion 5. with the support of French forces in the event of serious. will have the means to defend itself. impending threats.

and the President of the European Commission. political dialogue. José Manuel Barroso.this goal. in Mali. All of Mali is concerned. The President of Mali and the Malian government have therefore decided. Useful frameworks have already been put in place. A Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission has also been set up and commenced its work to promote the reconciliation of all the political elements of Mali. it is crucial that the international community and Mali unite in their efforts to promote development. We would like this to be an exemplary process. more than 13 heads of State and 107 delegations — including India‘s — spread over all the continents. co-chaired by Algeria and Canada. which reins in the ideologies of hate and intolerance advocated by radical groups. but the whole of Mali. In all. the President of France. A global answer Development. The EU will extend its technical and financial assistance to this process in close coordination with the United Nations. Parallel to the uncompromising fight against terrorist groups. democracy and efforts from all for Mali‘s stability: we wish to mobilise all energies and show terrorist groups. ―Together for a New Mali. Presidential elections Development. no matter where they are. we must complete this fight by winning peace in Mali together. such as illegal trafficking or piracy. India. We must all focus all the more to counter terrorism together as it is a scourge with increasing interactions: interactions between different regions of the world where terrorism manifests itself. To win peace in Mali. More generally. India pledged 100 million dollars. to hold the presidential elections on July 28. in . a great democratic nation that has herself been the victim of heinous terrorist acts. participated in the donor conference. especially in the North. 2013. With the aid of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. not just the North. which stood up against terrorist violence both in the South and the North. brings together all the countries of North Africa and the Sahel. However. Counterterrorism is a goal of prime importance for the international community and one of the cornerstones of the strategic partnership between France and India. democracy and governance.35 billion.2 billion in aid were confirmed. public services and administration. with the help of which terrorism subsists and is reinforced. interactions with other threats. which will be in charge. almost 600 European trainers have been deployed as part of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM Mali) to help rebuild the Malian Army. French and European aid will contribute towards consolidating the reinstatement of the State. that the international community will not take matters lying down.‖ which was held in Brussels on May 15. this endeavour concerns the entire region. with the National Assembly. pledges for a total of €3. India‘s role At the joint invitation of the President of Mali. insufficient governance and lack of coordination of international aid. It will support the evolution of the political process that should help foster national reconciliation. with Europeans alone contributing 1. We are conducting this global fight against terrorism together. it is also necessary to promote development and remedy the problems of the past: fragile institutions. is on our side and we thank her once again for her unflagging support. François Hollande. The Global Counterterrorism Forum. build inclusive institutions and establish legitimate democratic authorities. democracy and governance are at the core of today‘s efforts. as this is a phenomenon without borders. 2013. This is a good starting point for working in the long term. the Malian authorities have themselves defined their reconstruction and development road map 2013-2014 for Mali‘s sustainable economic recovery.‖ which helps reinforce the security capabilities of the States of the region as part of a global approach. To confront the terrorist threat. so that polls may take place all across Mali. there must be an active democracy. The European Union has formulated a ―Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel. political dialogue. Dioncounda Traore.

Extortion charge Isacc Isanga Musumba. the rebels should withdraw to U. Their right to liberty could not be restrained by the police due to a business dispute. ―I think we can say that the biggest task is finished. Mali set for polls as peace deal is signed Rebels in north Mali have signed a peace deal with the government to hold presidential elections on July 28 and pave the way for billions of dollars of western aid to rebuild the wartorn west African nation. including an Advisor to the President of Uganda. the Malian capital. they submitted that from April 19 they were restrained by the police from leaving the country without a formal order of arrest. Prior to the elections. Member of Parliament. dismisses the possibility of a separate Tuareg nation by reaffirming the territorial integrity of Mali. including the MNLA.the Sahel. aided by French and U. whether Indian or foreign nationals. troops. prejudicing thereby their fundamental rights. It directed the police to release their passports immediately. Since then. a businessman. international donors have been pushing Mali to hold general elections as a pre-condition to channelling aid for reconstruction. The Bench said the action of the Mumbai police in registering the FIR had brought bad name to India. Our country gets a bad name because of acts of a few police officers and it is unfortunate that the Mumbai police. lawyer and senior Advisor to the President of Uganda (equivalent to the post of a Minister). ill will and was grossly spiteful. monitored garrisons. rebel fighters continue to hold Kidal. Mawanda Michael Maranga. liberty available even to foreign nationals. Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi slammed the State government for filing a criminal case of cheating based on a complaint given by Videocon.N. and everywhere where it is necessary. ―Article 21 of the Constitution [right to life and liberty] applies to all citizens. re-enter the town of Kidal. The lookout notice issued against them was a colourable exercise of police powers smeared with malice. and Magoola Mathias. enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. a copy of which was seen by The Hindu . the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday and quashed an FIR registered by the Maharashtra government against three Ugandan citizens. instead of protecting the rights of these foreign nationals.‖ The Bench said no offence had been made out against them. The agreement was signed in Burkina Faso on Tuesday night after months of wrangling between the Malian government and the Tuareg-led National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). 7. Tuesday‘s agreement. followedby a peace agreement to be negotiated between the newly-elected government and the rebels. filed an FIR against them and the charges are baseless.N. Stopped from leaving In their petition. is availableeven to foreign nationals. says Supreme Court Videocon case against three Ugandan citizens quashed The right to life and liberty. While the intervention succeeded in driving the rebels from many strongholds including the historic city of Timbuktu. Counsel for the petitioners told the court that they came to India in April to settle a business dispute with Videocon. Right to life. There is an international . They said the high handed and illegal restraints put up by the police on them required to be looked into seriously in the context of friendly relations between two countries. In January. political dialogue and democracy 6. We have agreed on the essentials. a Tuareg stronghold near the Algerian border. threatened to overrun Bamako.K. The deal envisages a two-stage process beginning with an immediate ceasefire to allow for the elections. The international community and Mali must focus on the gains made at the Brussels meet to push for development. in Africa. even as the Malian Army and civil administration. A vacation Bench of Justices A. France deployed troops in its former colony after a coalition of secessionist forces. were charged with extortion by the police on a complaint by Videocon officials and their passports were impounded.

―These demands have not been conceded. warns a study published today (June 20) in the journal PLoS ONE. But the global average yield increase was only 1. . At these rates. says that shifting rainfall patterns in India would leave some areas under water.1 per cent and 0. while others.‖ they noted in the paper.3 per cent for soybean. amounted to only 1. 9. says World Bank study South Asia. global production of the four crops would be ―far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050. they also pointed out that opportunities did exist to increase production through more efficient use of arable land and boost yields by spreading best management practices. The researchers used a newly-developed crop yield and area harvested database to examine yield changes across the globe in maize. Several studies had shown that global crop production needed to double by the middle of this century to meet demands from an increasing human population. which include the integrity of our territory. particularly changing to more plant-based diets and reducing food waste. but decline steeply in Indonesia. Rice yields had improved in China by only 0.S. national unity. A portion of the production shortfall could be met by expanding croplands. Additional strategies. we found that yield driven production growth in India and China could result in nearly unchanged percapita rice harvests. 1. Climate change can hit India hard. the ceasefire will be enforced by a Joint Technical and Security Commission comprising four representatives each from the Malian defence forces and the rebels. deprived of adequate rain.‖ Under the agreement. ―At these rates. focusing on trends in the recent two decades. However. the global trends masked significant variations in the rates of yield change among and within countries. Indians may very well have to get used to extreme summers. The two sides have also agreed to set up an international commission of inquiry to examine accusations of war crimes levelled at both. rice. as well as South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are likely to face the worst heat from climate change. Yields of these crops needed to grow at about 2. could reduce the large expected demand growth in food. the world faces a looming and growing agricultural crisis.6 per cent a year for maize. 0. observed Deepak K. and the secular and republican nature of our state.‖ said an official briefed on the negotiation process. Ray and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment in the U. more meat and dairy consumption driven by growing affluence and more biofuels use as well to provide food security to millions who were chronically undernourished. they pointed out. mission.consensus as well as a Malian consensus on the fundamental questions. a study released by the World Bank predicts.. Yields were growing slowly in the top three rice and wheat producing nations. in India by one per cent and in Indonesia by 0. regional impacts and the case for resilience‘.4 per cent annually to double production by 2050. increased drought as well as increased flooding as precipitation patterns change dramatically. was the preferred solution to meet this goal. Boosting crop yields.9 per cent for wheat and 1. wheat and soybean. ―The two big sticking points in the earlier draft were concerning the timing of the arrival of the Malian army in Kidal and the rebel demand for general amnesty for all fighters.S.‖ The yearly wheat yield increases in China.‖ Malian politician and negotiator Tiebile Drame told the Associated Press. one representative from the U. 8. The World Bank study.7 per cent. they remarked.8 per cent. but at a high environmental cost.N. ‗Turn Down the Heat: Climate extremes. These four crops together produce nearly two-thirds of the global agricultural calories. India and the U. Crop yields will not meet 2050 global demand: study Yields of four major crops were not rising fast enough to meet projected global demand in 2050. rather than clearing more land for agriculture.7 per cent a year. ―Clearly. would suffer severe water crisis. which could impact irrigation.4 per cent. Ray and his colleagues in their paper. one from the French forces. with India right in the centre. and a representative each from the regional body Ecowas and the African Union.‖ said Dr. one per cent for rice. Moreover.

But to answer the question as to why things could not have been better.from 75. The policy prescription is obvious. ―For India the key is to grow in a way that can be sustained. the kind seen in Uttarakhand recently. at which level the population should level out.1 projected in 2001 to 1.5. In the 2005-10 period.from its 2001 projection of 1. Kerala. can lead to a population ageing too fast with the attendant downside. World Bank.92 in the latest projection. as has happened in the case of China. tend to look at short-term gains in favour of long-term benefits while making policy decisions. but it is not clear from related figures what the change can be attributed to. the fertility rate went down from 2. Fixing fertility Keep focus on mother and child care The United Nations has revised upwards by 48 million its projection of India's population in 2050 . but that's actually gone down from 2.from 1. Progress on this front has been reasonable. Since almost 60 per cent of India‘s crop area is rain-fed. Similarly. States like Bihar. it is necessary to look at the huge variation between states . are likely to be hit by extreme floods. Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.1. Similarly. such as floods. it has to be remembered that an excessively sharp fall in the fertility rate to below the replacement level. as shown by Rajasthan. will not lose this lead even by 2050.5 degree Celsius is likely (compared to pre-industrialisation). a higher life expectancy at birth (people living longer) can raise total numbers. This could result is several heavily populated portions of land going under water. which at 2.power generation and even drinking water availability in some cases. Regardless. This makes a compelling case for re-looking policies to ensure sustainable development as the economic implications of the scenario drawn by the study can be critical. Things can improve quickly. is India going in the right direction? Has it adopted the right policies for that? India's aim is to reach the replacement rate in fertility of 2.7 for Kerala. droughts. equivalent to Canada's. Overall. 10. more intense cyclones and rising sea levels. In the case of certain African countries. A poor country has much to gain by having its population grow slowly .572 billion to the 2012 revised figure of 1. which would reduce water availability for food production and 63 million people in India may not be able to meet their daily calorific requirement.‖ he said.9 years (2012). The study predicts by 2050s. as Odisha does at 2. Country Director (India). Two metros. could increasingly become frequent occurrences. importantly.4 years (2001) to 72.3 . emphasised that Governments across the world. a temperature increase of 2-2. equivalent to Pakistan's. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have to get their act together and aspire to be like Tamil Nadu. So the change can be attributed to two possible factors: a higher figure for net inward migration. change in precipitation would impact food production.620 billion (both assuming a moderate change in fertility). Kolkata and Mumbai.which is better than 2. that is by 14 per cent. It may not look like much. cyclones and others. to 3. Onno Ruhl. the report suggests that sea levels may rise by 50 cm as early as 2050 and by 100 cm by 2100. So India must keep its primary focus on improving mother and child care and hope better educated and healthier young women will lead the country in the right direction. or a change in methodology and data quality. A rise in the total fertility rate (births per woman) can lead to a rise in numbers.2 has a better fertility rate than India and. The report predicts that destructive natural disasters. or a state can punch above its weight.4 for Bihar. but even here the projections are in the opposite direction . including India.5 of Narendra Modi's Gujarat! But any notion that India is doing well has to be rejected by looking at the remarkable progress made by Bangladesh. a sharp rise in fertility has been attributed to under-reporting earlier. the population in the 0-4 age group in India's 2001 census was under-reported. In a grim finding.9 to 2. Uttar Pradesh.

In addition. he also was Iran‘s chief nuclear negotiator. the National Security Council. he did hold out the possibility of stepby-step measures to reassure the West over Iran‘s nuclear ambitions. Stop messing with Himalayan ecology Flash floods and landslips triggered by the monsoon fury have left a stunning trail of death and devastation in the Himalayan hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. 12. The Centre must draw up a long-term plan for sustainable development of the region in consultation with the states and get it off the ground. Those that are likely to increase the disaster and damage potential should be scrapped and a well-defined disaster management plan should be in place so that it can kick in whenever disaster strikes. While rescue and relief should be the first priority of the central and state governments.but steadily. for instance. the existing sanctions should be reduced. Rouhani‘smoderation. In this context. leaving a clear message that messing up with the Himalayas‘ eco-sensitive zone is fraught with dangers. 11. Video clips telecast by new channels give only a glimpse of the scale of devastation that is ghastly to behold. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists from across the country are stranded. is a welcome development. while categorically asserting that Iran would not cease uranium enrichment and that the ―Iranian nation has done nothing to deserve sanctions‖. Flash floods and landslides are not ―natural‖ calamities but manmade disasters caused by deforestation and environmental degradation. On the nuclear issue. Over 150 persons have died and the toll is mounting. There is no regulation of development activities in the Himlayan region to ensure that these do not damage its fragile eco-system. A moderate cleric. maturity and pragmatism but also a matchless wealth of expertise derived from having served on one or another of Iran‘s leading institutions. and that this was the beginning of a move ―that will bring the change demanded by the people‖ in the socioeconomic. There must be a review of ongoing development works. New hope for Indo-Iran ties Hasan Rouhani‘s stunning victory in the recently held Iranian presidential elections. and the Expediency Council. the 64-year-old Rouhani is likely to bring to the presidency not only wisdom. The National Disaster Management Authority had recommended a proactive prevention mechanism instead of the usual post-event ad hocism five years ago but these are yet to be implemented. The international sanctions regime which has imposed much suffering in Iran as evidenced by over 30 per cent inflation and massive unemployment also compelled him to underline that the economy would be his top priority. . he indicated that Iran would be ready ―to show greater transparency‖ and make clear that its ―actions are totally within international frameworks‖. the Assembly of Experts. should be necessary for all existing and under-construction projects. More than 220 power and mining projects are running in 14 river valleys in Uttarakhand alone. cultural and political fields. in which he secured close to 51 per cent of the votes cast and in which he led the nearestof his five rivals by a large margin. it is clear that the authorities have been caught totally unprepared. A credible cumulative impact assessment. Several rivers are being diverted through tunnels for these projects. He has. as that keeps the number of people in the working age high without the overall number going up too far or fast. been a member of the Iranian Parliament. including carrying capacity study for each river basin. maturity and sense of balance were on full display at his recent press conference during which he made a number of important points. But he also argued that to promote confidence as a first step no new sanctions should be imposed and subsequently. Patchy relief and rescue operations are impeded by roads and bridges that have been washed away by the swirling waters. Their frequency has increased alarmingly of late. Describing his election as the opening of a new era he underlined that he would follow a ―path of moderation and justice and not extremism‖.

They should.‖ While asserting that there would be no change in Iran‘s longstanding alliance with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Such instability has also fostered the rise of a myriad of Al Qaeda-like outfits which breed terrorism and extremism. The classic example of this is the support of Syrian rebels for overthrowing Assad which has plunged the country into a bloody civil war that has dangerous possibilities of spillover. we need to impress on the Arab world that efforts to contain Iran by attempting regime change in countries allied to it through violence will ultimately backfire on them by breeding instability and terrorism. These differences have seriously affected our ties with Iran. balanced and independent position in attempting to broker an accommodation between Iran and the international community. Here the US and the West erred. not expect too much of Rouhani as it is the supreme leader who ultimately calls the shots. There was no logic in so d oing as the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) had not found the smoking gun of Iran embarking on weaponisation. as a critical source of energy. and in part due to our voting quite unnecessarily under US pressure in support of the IAEA resolutions against Iran on the nuclear issue. however. It may also be mentioned that the West and Sunni Arab states ganging up against Iran is also not in our interest because it is a factor of instability in the Middle East which is the major source of India‘s energy imports. In case the US does not adopt a more accommodative stance the nuclear imbroglio is unlikely to be resolved. provided the latter meets him halfway. by failing to recognise Iran‘s right to enrich. At the same time we need to press the West to meet Iran halfway. he indicated that he would seek improved ties with the Gulf states. employment of Indian nationals and Indian project exports. The single most important issue in this regard is unquestionably the nuclear issue. as indeed it has not be able to do till date. recognising its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and getting the latter to provide the necessary transparency to satisfy the former that it will not go nuclear. Colombo must honour promises to Tamils . We need to follow this up with measures calibrated to bypass the sanctions regime and designed to bring about an intensification of our bilateral ties with Iran with the objective of demonstrating that India values this and will not be influenced by any other party in this regard. in part because the US and international sanctions regime have inevitably impeded our economic and commercial ties with it as reflected in our declining oil imports which in May alone were down 12 per cent from the year ago levels and the closure of the Irano-Hind joint shipping company. Another critical imperative is the need for the USA to drop its policy of seeking to contain Iran by working through Sunni Arab regimes like Saudi Arabia which is resulting in the spread of violence and extremism in the region. as a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Nevertheless. it would be in the fitness of things if India adopted a much more proactive. Clearly Rouhani‘s assumption of the Iranian presidency provides a new opportunity to mend fences with Iran and the ball is now in the US court. 13. which have been backing the Syrian rebels. Given Iran‘s importance to India as a major regional player. The warm message of goodwill sent by Manmohan Singh to Rouhani is a good first step.On Syria. and as a country with a huge potential for our project exports it is essential for us that its differences with the international community and particularly the West are resolved at the earliest. Similarly. Accordingly. as well as with the US and the West. the former on account of his impressive victory. The initial US and Western reaction to Rouhani‘s election has been one of cautious welcome. We hope peace and tranquility will return to Syria through co-operation with countries of the region and world. he said: ―We are opposed to foreign intervention. when Rouhani had been Iran‘s chief nuclear negotiator and had actually suspended Iran‘s uranium enrichment programme. a rapport with the supreme leader and his own more moderate stance as compared to his predecessor coupled with Iran‘s economic imperatives may be expected to work towards détente with the West.

when he met six Sri Lankan Tamil MPs on Tuesday. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. had also recommended decentralisation of power to maintain the nation‘s integrity. without the assurance of a matching legal and procedural framework to protect privacy.‖ will no longer be in the picture. and International Long Distance service provider. India‘s surveillance project may be as lethal as PRISM Central Monitoring System covers all calls. government‘s controversial PRISM project. They want the law nullified before northern provincial council elections are held in September. incorporated in the constitution following the India-Sri Lanka accord of 1987. voters in the province will be thoroughly disappointed. SMSs. This .It is one thing to express dismay and quite another to do something about it. has also made such a demand. videoconferencing. If the elected council ends up as an ornamental body with all the real powers vested in Colombo.S. web browsing. The CMS will have unfettered access to the existing Lawful Interception Systems (LIS). has been far from satisfactory. hitherto under wraps. not implementing them. The documents in the possession of The Hindu indicate that the CMS project now has abudgeted commitment nearly double that of the Rs. If the Tamils‘ fears of betrayal are allowed to fester.06. ISP.2013) Part 1 1. With CMS. CURRENT AFFAIRS (21. the CMS will enhance the government‘s surveillance and interception capabilities far beyond ‗meta-data. 400-crore estimate that senior officials mentioned in a recent briefing to the media. decimation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the killing of its chief. In fact. Mobile and long distance operators. Once implemented. it will have dangerous consequences for Sri Lanka‘s body politic. who were required to ensure interception only after they were in receipt of the ―authorisation. currently installed in the network of every fixed and mobile operator. India and the world. multi-media streaming and even video games Project documents relating to the new Centralized Monitoring System (CMS) reveal the government‘s lethal and all-encompassing surveillance capabilities. The interception flow diagram. Some of the constituents of Sri Lanka‘s ruling alliance had. V Prabhakaran. Any tampering with the constitutional provision will be a setback to the peace process. which. demanded scrapping of the amendment. Apart from expressing concern. These capabilities are being built even as a debate rages on the extent to which the privacy of Indian Internet and social media users was compromised by the PRISM project. Any infringement of the law will be a dishonour of the commitment the Rajapaksa government had made to the Tamils. who is the president‘s brother. set up by Colombo. threaten to be as intrusive as the U. Prime minister Manmohan Singh could not have but expressed concern over moves to water down the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. there is a strong case for devolving more powers than are mandated by the amendment in the long-term interest of the island nation. which promises devolution of powers to the provincial councils. in fact. The progress in rehabilitating the Tamils. all authorisations remain secret within government departments. reveals that the CMS being set up by C-DoT — an obscure government enterprise located on theoutskirts of New Delhi — will have the capability to monitor and deliver Intercept Relating Information (IRI) across 900 million mobile (GSM and CDMA) and fixed (PSTN) lines as well as 160 million Internet users. on a ‗real time‘ basis through secure ethernet leased lines. Its defence secretary. The government has already proved that it is good atmaking promises. A PIL petition on the subject has already been admitted by the Supreme Court. who had been displaced by the ethnic crisis that led to the war. emails.‘ data mining. India should persuade president Rajapaksa to implement the 13th Amendment in letter and spirit. and the original expectation of ―instant‖ and secure interception of phone conversations.

Internet search and email. for what purpose and for how long. relating to call duration. Kerala. it will disclose mobile numbers and email IDs. Contrary to reports about it being active nationwide. stretches of roads and communication links have been effaced. instant messaging. of ―targeted numbers. Military Intelligence of Assam and JK and Home Ministry — are authorised to intercept and monitor citizens‘ calls and emails. including pinpointing the target‘s physical location by revealing cellphone tower information. Even where data mining and ‗meta-data‘ access through call data records (CDRs) and session initiation protocol data records (SDRs) — used for Internet protocol-related Even where data mining and ‗meta-data‘ access through call data records (CDRs) and session initiation protocol data records (SDRs) — used for Internet protocol-related communications including video conferencing. 2. Thousands. CBDT (tax authority). The Indian Telegraph Act 1985. plus the multiple ISP and international gateways — alongside the national rollout of CMS. DRI. coupled with the change in procedure which mandates the interception authorization to be kept secret between two government departments with no scope of a transparent public disclosure of who is being monitored. privacy and free speech activists are protesting and raising many questions. two surveillance and interception systems will run in parallel — the existing State-wise. including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). presence information. including those from other parts of the country who were . Nationwide surveillance The Hindu‘s investigation has also unveiled the mystery relating to the CMS‘s national rollout. the government told Parliament that CMS‘s implementation would overcome ―the existing system‘s secrecy which can be easily compromised due to manual interventions at many stages. is proceeding undeterred. streaming multi-media. Given the major technological advancements in monitoring and enhanced forensic capabilities in surveillance. the government had admitted to intercepting over 1 lakh phones and communication devices over a year. SMS. including partially written emails in draft folders. Whole villages.‖ In January 2012. social media usage. These servers will reveal user information to the accuracy of milliseconds. On November 26. fax. 200-odd Lawful Intercept and Monitoring (LIM) Systems. video games and voice & fax over IP is concerned — the CMS will have unmatched capabilities of deep search surveillance and monitoring. The CMS is designed to have access to call content (CC) on multiple E1 leased lines through operators ‗billing/ mediation servers‘. file transfer. under the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court. and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — plus seven others. Rule 419(A) and other related legislation.000 per month. at a rate of 7.means that government agencies can access in real time any mobile and fixed line phone conversation. Karnataka and Kolkata are the next three destinations for CMS‘s implementation. the Narcotics Control Bureau. The government. The aim is to cover approximately one dozen States by the end of 2013-14. 2009. security Currently two government spy agencies — the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Additionally.‖ This is because. set up by 7 to 8 mobile operators in each of the 22 circles. contrary to the impression that the CMS was replacing the existing surveillance equipment deployed by mobile operators and ISPs. only Delhi and Haryana have tested ―proof of concept‖ (POC) successfully. web-site visit. A Himalayan tragedy Excessive rainfall provides only a partial explanation for why the ‗abode of the Gods‘ — the Himalayan hill States of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh — has been battered beyond measure in recent days. it would actually combine the strength of two — expanding the CMS‘s forensic capabilities multiple times. meanwhile. National Intelligence Agency. identification and call history of those under surveillance.500–9. Till 2015. For man‘s excesses and follies have also been a factor in the destruction that nature has wrought. Privacy vs.

and muscular dystrophy. Alzheimer's disease. odious claims by Myriad and others should be roundly condemned. Over the past weekend. Supreme Court‘s landmark ruling that DNA segments are a product of nature and hence not patent-eligible has worldwide significance because it settles the controversial issue of patenting human genes in the one jurisdiction where it has come to matter the most. 3. The judgment effectively invalidates other patents granted for genes associated with diseases such as colon cancer. a 2011 notification to declare as eco-sensitive a zone extending to a distance of 130 km from Gomukh where the Alaknanda begins. A mighty task of evacuation. Though the ruling said that the mere act of isolating genes ―is not an act of invention. relief and reconstruction lies ahead. However. By possessing the exclusive right to isolate the two genes for identifying the deleterious mutations that cause breast cancer. the Ganga.S. That a patent was awarded even though the process of isolating genes was widely used at that time shows little application of mind. observations by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2010 expressing concern over disturbance to the natural ecology and destabilisation of hill slopes causedby the construction of hydel projects along the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda. By walking a tightrope. . need to be re-examined in an informed manner. considering the uncharacteristically highprecipitation levels that were recorded since. Towns and villages in such terrain ought to be better planned. have a fresh resonance at this point.undertaking pilgrimages to religiously significant temples in the region. genetic testing has graduated to a different plane. Yet. Better systems of forecasting and dissemination of weather-relatedinformation are also essential.‖ it ruled. patents granted to companies such as Myriad prevented new techniques from being used. based on the argument that it would impede development. the ruling has ensured that research on genetic testing is encouraged. that complementary DNA (cDNA) does not occur in nature and is therefore patent-eligible. by the same yardstick. There should be a comprehensive renewal and relook at construction techniques and methodsemployed. up to Uttarkashi. Hence the unanimous decision by the nine judges to summarily reject patent protection to isolated genes has saved science and scientific research from the morass it had sunk into in recent times. posing difficulties even in Delhi. But it is not clear if this ruling would invalidate patents granted to genes removed from plants and animals. but these were not sufficiently stern. remain stranded. Downstream. This tragedy truly has the makings of anational calamity. It is evident that the problem of poor soil stability on the steep slopes in this fragile region has been compounded by man-made factors like indiscriminate deforestation and mindless construction. the India Meteorological Department did issue routine warnings about the possibility of heavy to very heavy rains. Yamuna and other rivers have reached levels not seen in years. Hundreds of buildings along the banks of the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi have been swept away in Rudraprayag district alone. Strategies to ensure better overall management of water resources in the region are needed. the company prevented the entry of cheaper and better techniques of identifying the mutations. While there can be no debate on whether scientific research should be rewarded. The judgment strikes at the very foundation on which Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation have effectively monopolised BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene testing since 1994. The longer term lessons are many. It is also unclear if the warnings were acted upon with alacrity and disseminated promptly by the State authorities. Patent justice The U. Crucially. remains unenforced to this day. and over the failure of the administration to plant enough trees to mitigate risks arising out of soildegradation. The Uttarakhand government‘s misgivings on this move. The ruling has spelled out in no uncertain terms that such an irrational grant of patents for laws and products of nature would end up ―inhibiting future innovation‖ and is at odds with providing protection. With the advent of whole genome sequencing.

Repeating Enron in Jaitapur More than a decade after Enron‘s collapse. In 2006. 9. by some estimates. the number of those who need to undergo genetic testing is high.‖ except for small escalations because of the delay in operationalising the project. Lauvergeon said that ―I am not going to give you the details … it is not for me to give the price if thecustomer does not want to give it. because no EPR has been commissioned anywhere in the world. its legacy continues to haunt Maharashtra. the company‘s greed had effectively prevented many women from getting tested. the then CEO of Areva. Anne Lauvergeon. The figure of Rs. with a promise to complete the reactor by 2009. The reactors will be set up in Jaitapur. where it has fallen back on the story that the final price is still under negotiation.S. Both Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) have doggedly refused to explain the origins of this number. In the same 2010 interview.V. and greater awareness about genetic testing created recently by Angelina Jolie.000 crore. 4 per unit comes from a combination of unrealistic assumptions and a revenue model that provides massive public subsidies to the project. 10. and research labs throughout the country. in a paper for the Economic and Political Weekly . the Dabhol power project was restructured into the Ratnagiri power project with public subsidies that. at a price of just over €3 billion. a team from the Indian atomic energy establishment left for France last week to repeat the same mistakes. amounted to Rs. No one knows the exact extent of this give-way. told this newspaper that the tariff would be ―below the Rs. bypassing a competitive bidding process. 4 figure.The prohibitive cost for a far inferior test had precluded many women from getting tested. 4. nuclear deal. The government claims that the Indian . Thanks to the court‘sdecision. However. Areva has various excuses. Problem with design The French company Areva. So.5 billion —almost thrice the original figure. Areva suggested that this ―tariff holds true. the price of the two reactors that the government hopes to commence in the Twelfth Plan period will equal the total plan outlay on science and technology including the departments of Space. which is also in Ratnagiri. What does this imply for consumers? In 2010. but similar delays and cost increases in the second EPR under construction in its own country point to a more fundamental problem with the EPR design. who had a double mastectomy as she had a harmful mutation in BRCA1. Areva started construction on its first EPR in Finland in 2005. Science and Technology. the reactor is still incomplete but cost estimates have ballooned to €8. Ramana and I applied this framework to the Jaitapur reactors. Yet.‖ The government has also refused to divulge information in meetings with local activists or even in response to parliamentaryquestions.000 crore. has been promised a contract for six European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs) by executive fiat. After eight years. 60. it is possible to independently estimate the cost of electricity using a study on the economics of imported reactors that the government produced inpreparation for the India-U.‖ More recently. The single most important factor in determining the tariff is the capital cost of the reactor. The project has led a troubled existence and in March this year it announced that it may have to stop servicing its outstanding debt of Rs.000 crore because of a problem with its fuel supply. With breast cancer being the leading cancer affecting women and about 10 per cent of breast cancer cases being hereditary in nature. In spite of this reminder of the continuing long-term costs of sweetheart deals to attract foreign investment in the power sector. more lives will be saved. Biotechnology. And that‘s what medical science is all about. When M. There is little public data about the EPRs being built in China. but these prices are consistent with those proposed for EPRs in Britain and indicate that each Indian reactor may cost as much as Rs. we concluded that the true cost of electricity is likely to be almost four times as high as what the government claims. just like Enron. This was later updated and published by NPCIL.

Moreover. the ―venture is significant not just from an energy generation but also from a strategic point of view. If the next dispensation does not have the same ideological commitment to imported nuclear reactors. and found it to be once in 1. 4 will require a subsidy of Rs. Why should the country return this self-centred help by paying through its nose? There is a simple but significant political aspect to this entire issue. the government will have to arm-twist public sector banks or itself provide a long-term loan to the project at this throwaway rate.‖ Estimates suggest that construction costs in India are about 60 per cent lower than Europe. However. but literally 25 per cent of the figure for European reactors! It is this assumption of an unrealistic capital cost that underpins the Rs. just because the . since the yield on 10-year Indian Government bonds has been consistently higher than 7 per cent. Even the nuclear establishment accepts. that the EPRs are constructed as fast as the Kudankulam reactors. This ―Areva-subsidy‖ is a quarter of India‘s entire food subsidy bill. that the ―NPCIL [has] paid a ‗high‘ price‖. However. 4 figure. Jairam Ramesh admitted that for the government. under best case conditions. There are other serious questions about the project. Assuming. The justification for the project cannot be Maharashtra‘s electricity shortage either since at this price it is possible to find several alternative solutions to that problem. these deals may flounder. In the government‘s revenue model. So. Back-room deal This is an admission of an unsavoury back-room deal. The study also reveals how the government plans to set out an exceedingly generous revenue model for the project. However. For example. France supported India‘s efforts because it wanted to sell reactors to India. the government could hope for about a 25 per cent reduction in the total cost. this cannot be passed on to consumers.000 crore each year for the first two reactors. this money will sit idle for more than a decade until the reactor becomes operational. Our system concentrates enormous financial powers in the hands of the executive.7 per cent. For example. as WikiLeaks revealed. and so the state will have to subsidise the electricity. this delay will bring the government‘s return on equity down from the advertised rate of 14 per cent to an effective rate of only 7. Another subsidy is built into the government‘s plan to inject equity during the first few years of construction.15 per unit. the capital cost assumed in the government‘s study is not 25 per cent lower. former chairperson of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission.6 million years. Further delays. Obviously. even the full backing of the government will not bring the rate down to this level in the open market. it assumes that the project will have access to long-term debt at an interest rate of only 6 per cent. When these parameters are corrected. It is clear that this deal and the concomitant negotiations to purchase reactors from American companies are being driven by pressure from the Prime Minister‘s Office. will reduce this further. a moment‘s reflection also brings out the circularity of this argument. the government‘s own methodology leads to a first year tariff of Rs. and combined with a realistic estimate of the cost of fuel.EPRs will be cheaper because construction forms ―about 40 per cent of the total cost. To bring the tariff down to Rs. Areva‘s reluctance to accept even a small amount of liability is in sharp contrast to its unscientific claims that it has precisely computed the probability of a serious accident in an EPR.‖ Anil Kakodkar. 22. But the economics of this project are so appalling that it is possible to separate these issues and even the broader question of the role of nuclear energy in India. explained that India had to ―nurture‖ French ―business interests‖ because France helped India when it wanted access to international nuclear markets. which are likely. So. even without including transmission and distribution costs. This is inconsistent with the serious concerns about the project‘s viability. The reason that negotiations with Areva have taken on an urgent note is because the government‘s prospects in the next elections are uncertain. optimistically.

8 per cent in 2100. Massive infrastructure development such as hydropower construction and road building has taken place. would decline from 75. cars and trucks. Harsil was biting cold and the rain incessant. deforestation brings about slope destabilisation. There is little doubt that the present Himalayan disaster has been triggered by natural events. 4 per unit of electricity is unrealistic unless the government subsidises the cost of the first two Areva reactors by Rs. but the catastrophe is man-made. Global warming Vegetative cover slows the speed of falling rain and prevents soil erosion and gully formation — the precursors to landslides and floods. which is estimated to result in the extinction of 23. Let us address the various man-induced drivers.government has the power does not mean that it has the right to rush into a deal that could bleed the country for years to come. In the late 1980s. As a result. Deforestation as a commercial activity began during the British Raj and has continued unabated after independence. Fortunately. but couldn‘t go beyond Maneri village because a massive landslide had washed away the road about six to eight kilometres upstream. there is ample scientific evidence that the Himalayan watersheds have witnessed unprecedented deforestation over a long period. human settlements and urbanisation. Therefore. photographed only the previous day. During a just-concluded 10-day visit to the Bhagirathi valley. Scientific studies indicate that at the current rates of deforestation. on which many forest taxa (groups of species) critically depend. there is mounting evidence that global warming is fast catching up with the Himalaya. landslides and floods. The fact is that forests have been diverted for a host of land use activities such as agriculture. Two. Dense forest areas. Deforestation On the television. by evapotranspiration. We returned to Uttarkashi the same evening and to the safer Dun valley the next day. We noticed the river‘s waters flow strongly against a number of houses and cheap hotel buildings. the total forest cover in the Indian Himalaya will be reduced from 84. I visited Arunachal Pradesh as a young researcher. 22.4 per cent of the total forest area in 2000 to just 34 per cent in 2100. forests and soil soak water from the rain. being washed away like toys by the Bhagirathi. the Garrison Reserve Engineer Force (GREF). He smiled and said. it makes the area vulnerable to erosion and instability. Dense vegetation. these mountain rivers are like daughters. So. you never know how quickly they grow up. hop skipping over boulders. it is all the more necessary to take land use change more seriously. Besides holding the soil together. While official estimates say forest cover has increased in the Himalaya. In a recent study. ―Sir.000 crore 5. I walked into the middle of the Dibang river. At Uttarkashi. Back to the present. with a keen interest in photography. thereby significantly reducing run-off. a number of credible independent studies have found significant discrepancies in this claim. until my local tribal guide ordered me to return immediately. our research team witnessed telltale signs of a catastrophe ready to strike. Given that the Himalayan range is geologically young and still rising. One. The tariff of Rs. also stops nearly 30-40 per cent of rainwater from falling to theground. release it slowly and prevent water flowing as run-off. an arm of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the police worked overtime and made sure there was little chaos on the road as it opened. we reported that Himalayan ecosystems have experienced faster rates of warming in the last 100 years and . there was a long line of stranded buses. Nature avenges its exploitation A week is a long time in the Himalaya. precariously perched on its weak banks.6 per cent of taxa restricted to the dense Himalayan forests.9 per cent (of the value in 1970) in 2000 to no more than 52.‖ I was humbled by his knowledge and haven‘t forgotten the lesson. It was painful to see the buildings. news of the devastation in Uttarkashi had started pouring in. we viewed the destruction caused by the Assi Nadi (a tributary of the Bhagirathi) a couple of years ago. The next day we left for Gangotri.

Independent and serious monitoring of the catchment area treatment plans proposed by Forest Departments with funds from hydropower companies needs to be carried out and reported to the Green Tribunal. there cannot be a lack of enforcement of land use control laws on the part of local governments and officials. particularly during summer and monsoon months. Most downstream damage in otherwise flood-free areas is caused by dams and barrages. Gangotri and Hemkund in Uttarakhand. are responsible for significant human movement into the Himalaya beyond the region‘s carrying capacity. which only needs to be put together and looked at in a cohesive manner. The catastrophe in the Himalaya is the result of deforestation. Himalayan State governments need to consider imposing high environmental tax on visitors. Enough information is available in the public domain. unchecked construction of dwellings and large-scale building of big dams 6. cheap accommodation and numerous ramshackle buildings along river banks. In fact. Huge building construction. Hydropower policy must consider building fewer dams and prioritise those that have the least environmental and social costs. Four. Dam operators often release more water during rains than the carrying capacity of downstream areas. whether it is Amarnath in Jammu & Kashmir. neo-religious movements. Hydropower and allied construction activities are potential sources of slope weakening and destabilisation. Heavily sizing down pilgrim numbers in fragile areas must begin.7 per mbtu for the April-June quarter The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is understood to have recommended $6. on the banks of the Assi and Bhagirathi rivers have been allowed. linked to changing socio-political developments in India. Kedarnath. While it is important to appreciate the aspirations of the local people and their economic activities. Expanding settlements Three. the Cabinet Secretariat had advised the Petroleum Ministry to move the CCEA note. Cabinet may take up hike in natural gas price today Petroleum Ministry proposes $6. large-scale dam building in recent years has caused massive land use changes with ensuing problems in the Himalayan watersheds. Badrinath. There is little buffer between the river and the human settlements. is linked to what we are witnessing today. we expect faster melting of glaciers causing higher water discharges in the Himalayan rivers. Massive intervention in the Himalayan ecosystems through manipulation of rivers and their hydrology. The earlier CCEA note was also returned back by the Prime Minister‘s Office (PMO). which release large volumes of water to safeguard engineering structures. as the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) did not have the mandate to decide price hike.more than the European Alps or other mountain ranges of the world. The heavy pilgrim population has also resulted in the mushrooming of shanty towns. The latest recommendations contained in a CCEA note follow hectic inter-ministerial consultations and strong positions taken by the Power and Fertilizer Ministries. asking the Petroleum Ministry to hold wider . Governments must impose penalties on building structures within 200 metres of river banks. The gas price hike issue has been listed in the additional agenda for the CCEA meeting scheduled for Friday. All vulnerable buildings need to be either secured or relocated away from rivers. which is expected to impact the power and fertilizer sectors hard. cheap hotels and individual dwellings at Uttarkashi. besides bringing about land use changes offer themselves as easy targets to the fury of natural forces.2 per mbtu. causing floods. In such a scenario.775 per million British thermal unit (mbtu) for all domestically produced natural gas as against the present rate of $4. What is the road ahead? There needs to be an integrated policy on the Himalayan environment and development. Pilgrims Five. expanding human settlements and urbanisation which. a hike of nearly 60 per cent.

If thesuggestions are accepted by the Cabinet. Itar-Tass news agency quoting sources close to the negotiating process reported the postponement of the talks. These two signs of Taliban‘s attempt at usurping Afghan sovereignty had been removed overnight following intervention by the Qatari government on the insistence of the Americans. and the actual cost at which India imports LNG. Karzai on Wednesday. The $6. The new rates will also apply to the public sector companies.K. pointing out that talks ―will be possible when only Afghan parties will take part and the country will put an end to violence‖. 7. this suggestion was rejected by the Petroleum Ministry. and on condition that the Taliban severed ties with al-Qaeda. it had become clear that the Karzai government was in no mood to be placated by the removal of the Taliban flag and the plaque which said the facility belonged to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from its new office. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins has been delayed. the Karzai administration had retaliated strongly by suspending security talks with Americans over stationing of U. By Thursday. However. then the price will come to $6. The CCEA note states that the price will be revised on the quarterly basis and for the April-June quarter. The .S. Russia throws its weight behind Karzai Moscow says Taliban should accept the Constitution Afghanistan‘s President Hamid Karzai‘s refusal to participate in peace talks with Taliban on grounds of contested sovereignty has led to an indefinite postponement of the dialogue in Doha that the Americans were keen to steer. but his exertions have not yielded any visible results so far. the Russians. The U. ended the violence and accepted Afghanistan‘s constitution.29 in 2014-15 and $10. it comes to $6. National Balancing Point of the U. including its protections of women and minorities.775 mbtu is lower than the $8 to $. It would rise to $10. troops in Afghanistan after the 2014 NATO withdrawal from the country. State Department said on Wednesday that the visit to Qatar by the U. The U.775 per mbtu. However. Upholding the principle of sovereignty.S.93 by the end of current fiscal. Secretary of State John Kerry had thrice called Mr. Talks halted Apprehending that the Americans and the Taliban had taken custody of the Doha peace talks.consultations on the issue and then come before the Cabinet with a revised note. the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it fully supported Mr. expressed their stance on the rapidly mutating situation in the heart of the Hindu Kush. He also signalled the necessity of ceasefire. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that a peace dialogue in Afghanistan could have a positive outcome only if the government in Kabul led the process.92 in the subsequent year.79 in theimmediate future and $8. Price of gas as per the Petroleum Ministry formula in the CCEA note will be close to $12 in 2014-15 and $14 in the next year. The Finance Ministry had suggested changes in the pricing methodology by excluding international hub rates and pricing domestic gas at rate equivalent at the actual cost of LNG to India on a long-term contract. instead of the U. Karzai also asserted that members of the High Peace Council — the body entrusted with peace talks with the Taliban — would ―neither attend nor participate in the talks‖ until the process was ―completely‖ in the hands of Afghans.S. After following closely the open spat between the Americans and the Afghans. On Wednesday.S.S. 2014 for the new prices to take effect. Till the last minute. and well-head prices of supplies into Japan. Mr. Karzai‘s position that peace efforts in the war-torn country should be led by the government of Afghanistan. which had suggested pricing domestic gas at an average of rates at three key international hubs — U.S. already at odds with Washington over the situation in Syria and Iran.5 mbtu suggested by the Rangarajan panel. Reliance Industries Limited will have to wait till April 1. Henry Hub. the Power Ministry has pitched for a gas price of not more than $5 and no change in rates of gas produced by State-owned firms like the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited and Oil India Limited.

if women are coming into a fracture clinic or a pre-natal clinic.‖ the website quoted a senior government official as saying.S. West Asia and Southeast Asia are at the greatest risk of suffering domestic violence. ―Violence against women is a global health problem of epidemic proportions. The Associated Press quoting a senior spokesman reported that Afghan Taliban are ready to free a U. The website said that the Afghan government has now refused to talk with the Taliban in Qatar and made it clear that it will not be participate unless it is allowed to lead the peace process without foreign meddling. Margaret Chan warned as theorganisation called for health workers to be trained to recognize signs of domestic violence. choked or being attacked with a weapon while sexual violence was defined as being physically forced to have sex — or having sex because a woman is afraid of what her partner might do if she refuses. Women in Africa. without specifically mentioning the Afghan government by name. held captive since 2009. seemed to be mounting a fresh charm offensive to engage with the Americans. researchers said. released on Thursday. . Some 37 per cent of women in these regions experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner at some point in their lifetime. ―They cannot kill people in Afghanistan every day and at the same time tour the world to represent the Islamic Emirate and establish relationships. such violence resulted in death.Afghan website TOLO news is reporting that Kabul has expressed serious reservations about the U. ―Violence against women is a global health problem ofepidemic proportions.‖ WHO‘s Director-General Dr. ―Over time. It defined physical violence as being slapped. soldier. pushed. Results of a series of studies. according to the World Health Organisation. as a conciliatory gesture. It crosses the redline. meanwhile. in their statement at the opening of their office. Domestic violence at epidemic proportions: WHO Domestic violence against women worldwide has assumed ―epidemic proportions‘‘ with one in three suffering physical or sexual assault at the hands of a man they know — a current or former partner. ‗Crosses the redline‘ ―The Taliban cannot get through political means what they have been fighting for in the last 12 years. choked or being attacked with a weapon while sexual violence was defined as being physically forced to have sex — or having sex because a woman is afraid of what her partner might do if she refuses. In many cases. In many cases. Some 37 per cent of women in these regions experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner at some point in their lifetime. 8. Domestic violence at epidemic proportions: WHO Domestic violence against women worldwide has assumed ―epidemic proportions‘‘ with one in three suffering physical or sexual assault at the hands of a man they know — a current or former partner. they may tell you they are suffering abuse if you ask. researchers said. according to the World Health Organisation. punched. in exchange for five of their senior operatives. Experts suggested that screening for domestic violence should be added to all levels of health care. Results of aseries of studies. He added that Taliban.‖ WHO‘s Director-General Dr. such violence resulted in death. Margaret Chan warned as the organisation called for health workers to be trained to recognize signs of domestic violence.S. Nearly 40 per cent of women killed worldwide were victims of intimate partners. that they would generally engage with Afghans ―if necessary‖. pushed. 9. had said. Women in Africa. punched. showed that being assaulted by a partner was the most common form of violence suffered by women. initiative. The Taliban. Nearly 40 per cent of women killed worldwide were victims of intimate partners. imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay. released on Thursday. It defined physical violence as being slapped.‖ the official observed.‖ said Sheila Sprague of McMaster University in Canada. West Asia and Southeast Asia are at the greatest risk of suffering domestic violence. showed that being assaulted by a partner was the most common form of violence suffered by women.

the official view is that growth prospects of the U. Some of this has already been happening recently. 11.S economy ought to be a positive factor for India and its markets. Altogether. The fear in India and other emerging market countries has been that with the phasing out of the stimulus. and equities of an estimated value of Rs. In the past month. 10. Quitesignificantly. In fact. The point is that a strengthening U. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced a gradual withdrawal of the extraordinary monetary stimulus programme.1374 crore. other commodities such as silver. already displaying a weak trend. some of which found its way to India and other emerging markets in search of higher return than available at home. The possibility of these flows reversing might have been the trigger for the sharp declines in the markets. Global uncertainty. But the exactly opposite reaction is most certainly due to the fear — partly materialised — of short-term flows fleeing the markets. The Indian economy has been slowing down perceptibly. dragging down the rupee and stock indices. .S. came very close to breaching the 60-mark in inter-bank trading during the day on Thursday. which no amount of explanations from government spokespersons will help mollify. Commodity transaction tax to be levied from July 1 It will be charged on the seller in futures trading Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) will come into effect from July 1 with a levy of 0. its termination will again depend on domestic factors. they may tell you they are suffering abuse if you ask. will flow back to the U.S. After a two-day review. respectively. which brings us to the serious weakness of India‘s external sector and its abject dependence on short-term flows to fund the balance of payments. but closed just a shade above at the end. Apart from gold. slumped on Thursday.S. Short-term flows from the U.S. sugar and edible oils.Experts suggested that screening for domestic violence should be added to all levels of health care. much of the money. But even a quick glance at the U. like their counterparts in many developing countries.‖ said Sheila Sprague of McMaster University in Canada. The Sensex and the Nifty ended the day sharply lower by 526 and 166 points. has been cited as the principal reason. which has been under relentless pressure over the past few weeks. Indian stock markets. Federal Reserve on the future course of the of the monetary policy. The Fed has been addressing domestic concerns — the stimulus (quantitative easing as it is called) was meant to revive the U. but in a gradual fashion. if women are coming into a fracture clinic or a pre-natal clinic.18. A breach of the 60-mark would — for lay people and some professionals alike — be a major psychological blow. Neither will the significant decline in the exchange rates of practically all emerging market currencies be taken as a mitigating factor. which in recent times has invariably been attributed to the likely posturing by the U. foreign investors sold debt worth Rs. economy have improved. The withdrawal of the stimulus would be linked to the U. The hazards of reliance on hot money The rupee.01 per cent of the transactional value being applicable on the seller in futures trading of a host of items such as gold.S authorities.345 crore. ―Over time. the authorities appeared increasingly confident in the durability of economic growth.S Fed announcement raises the question as whether the fears of the financial sector have become self-fulfilling. Stimulus programme Behind the extreme financial market volatility across the globe has been a much anticipated announcement on Wednesday by the U.S economy reaching definite sign posts such as the unemployment rate coming down to 7 per cent (which is expected by the middle of next year). which has been invested in the equity and debt markets. the Wednesday announcement was by no means pessimistic.S economy. It is this confidence that is behind the decision to pull back the stimulus later this year. which ensured extremely low interest rates in America but simultaneously released very large sums of money.compared to the previous day closing rates. might have camouflaged the weaknesses.

2012. education. entertainment and durable goods. According to a Finance Ministry notification here on Thursday. top five per cent of the population had an MPCE of Rs 4.46. Indian families‘ non-food bill was almost 37 per cent in rural areas and about 45 per cent in urban areas.9 million by January 1. This is true for rural as well as urban households.4. however. however. had tilted over the decade. C.481 in rural areas and Rs 10. Non-food bills overtake food spend: NSSO Families are spending more than half of their monthly spend on non-food items on an average. Unemployment rate was 2 per cent at the all-India level and rural areas. as part of the overall household bill.10 on a deal worth Rs. families bought over 51 per cent of non-food items in their monthly bills worth Rs. light.263 urban blocks except some remote areas. clothing. 2010 to 472. cotton and potatoes would be exempted from the levy. six per cent lower as compared to the previous fiscal. five per cent population on the bottom rung had an average monthly per capita expenditure (MCPE) of Rs 521. 23 pure agricultural commodities such as wheat. 13.282 in urban areas. the turnover from futures trade accounts for about 15 per cent of the total trade 12. The household consumer expenditure break-up is part of two sets of data (―key indicators‖) that Chief Statistician of India and Secretary. got delayed owing to detailed consultations between the Ministry and various stakeholders on the list of non-farm commodities to be brought under the levy.630.840 crore. Anant. At 0. Officials of the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) explained that although the percentage of food to non-food expense. fuel. barley. of the total turnover. According to the data.National level :Out of the 22 commodity bourses in the country. . the consumption pattern of food sub-groups such as cereals had somewhat changed. the combined turnover of these exchanges stood at Rs. He earlier addressed a two-day seminar for statisticians and policy-makers organised by the Bangalore outfit of the NSSO. which relates to 2011-12 (July—June). Also in the exempted category are some other farm produces such as coriander. Non-food categories span tobacco/cigarettes and ‗pan‘.610.50 in urban areas. As per the household spending data. medical bills. data from the National Sample Survey for 2011-12 show. The implementation of CTT. T. Anant said the country had added almost 14 million to its workforce between 2009 and 2011-12.1 lakh. people‘s absolute consumption of food had increased over the years. the CTT — as proposed in the Budget for the current fiscal — will primarily be applicable on nearly a dozen processed agricultural commodities at the rate of 0. released here on Thursday. It increased from about 459 million in January 1. bedding. mentha oil and guar gum will also come under CTT.44 in rural areas and Rs 700. soya oil. Poorest of poor survive on Rs 17 a day in villages: NSSO Poorest of poor in the country survive on barely Rs 17 a day in villages and Rs 23 a day in cities.01 per cent of the transaction value. chana (gram). Chidambaram had stated that CTT — on the lines of theSecurities Transaction Tax (STT) in the capital market — would be levied on nonfarm items to be paid by the seller only in futures trading. the levy would work out to Rs.1. In 2012-13. Back in 1993-94. On the other end of the spectrum.170. footwear. cardamom and guar seeds.01 per cent of the transaction value. The National Sample Survey Office‘s (NSSO) 68th round of survey is based on samples consisting of 7. Dr. only about 10 per cent of the urban population reported an MPCE (monthly per capita expenditure) above Rs. while over 80 per cent comes from non-agricultural commodities. In effect. Also. as per the latest data released by the National Sample Survey Office today.crude oil and base metals and processed farm items such as sugar. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. and 3 per cent in urban regions. only six of them operate at the national level.2. In his 2013-14 Budget speech. Finance Minister P.430 in rural areas and about 62 per cent out of an urban monthly spend of Rs.496 villages in rural India and 5. A.

We have condensed them into one scheme. During the 11th Plan. conveyance 4.8 per cent for cereals and cereal substitutes. the Union Government would facilitate loans of Rs 50. This included 10. The Union Cabinet.630 for urban India. medical expenses 6. projects worth Rs 5.000 crore to States.5 per cent. The first part includes projects for establishment of baseline data and implementing IT applications. the Cabinet has also approved that a scheme may have State specific guidelines which may be recommended by an Inter-Ministerial Committee constituted for this purpose. 8 per cent for milk and milk products. education. Among non-food item categories.9 per cent on beverages. If extended. the release said.7 per cent. refreshments and processed food. The Government launched this programme in the 11th Plan with an objective of reducing distribution losses. Rs 31.000 crore to States.830 cr for power reforms scheme in 12th Plan To implement the programme. The approved schemes include 17 flagship programmes with significant outlays for major interventions required in health. the scheme would cost Rs 10.897 crore in the 13th Plan. There are many different schemes in one area (like horticulture).2 per cent. Of this. ―Thus average urban MPCE was about 84 per cent higher than average rural MPCE for the country as a whole.9 per cent of the value of consumption during 2011—12. which approved merging of over 140 CSS into 66 schemes on Thursday. and 6. education 3. the release said. among others. 7. The R-APDRP programme is divided into two parts. The Centre has decided to reduce the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) in the country by more than half by merging similar schemes for better implementation and monitoring. For the average rural Indian. merging of Centrally sponsored schemes States given flexibility to use part of fund.during July 2011—June 2012. MPCE was around Rs 1.401 villages in 29 States and Union Territories have been sanctioned. fuel and light for household purposes (excluding transportation) accounted for 8 per cent. The second part includes projects that strengthen the distribution network. the Government will facilitate loans of Rs 50. He said innovation was very important while using the funds under CSS so that it can serve the broad purpose of the programme.830 crore in the 12th Plan and Rs 11.‖ Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. other consumer services (excluding conveyance) 4 per cent.5 per cent. The Power Ministry is seeking an extension of Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme for the 12th and 13th Five-Year Plan period to strengthen the distribution sector. The Government has also decided to alter the scheme guidelines to suit the requirements of the States and give them greater flexibility to spend up to 10 per cent of the allocated funds. 14.‖ it said. billing and customer care services. On an average on the all—India basis. 16. clothing and footwear 7 per cent. a Power Ministry official told Business Line. also agreed to give more operational flexibility to States. 15. The financial assistance to the States in these schemes would be provided through the Consolidated Funds of the States. food accounted for 52. irrigation. Ahluwalia explained that States would have flexibility to incur expenditure under any scheme (up to 10 per cent of the allocation) as long as the project is within the broad guideline of a scheme. urban development. Trade winds from the West .64 crore covering 1. In order to implement the programme.6 per cent on vegetables.242. and consumer durables 4.430 for rural India and about Rs 2. ―We have now reduced CSS to 66.577 crore would be converted to grant. Cabinet okays weeding. though there were wide variations in this differential across states.‖ it said. and infrastructure sectors. Ministry seeks Rs 10. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is likely to discuss the issue on Friday. ―To suit the requirements of the States.

Its policy of ‗quantitative easing‘ — simply put. where Development (8 per cent- . In the globalised world of today. political scientists or sociologists have posed. isn‘t extraordinary. The CAD has to be brought down below $50 billion. the Indian economy grew by an average of 8.A sustainable level of current account deficit requires the full pass-through of global fuel and fertiliser prices into the domestic economy. Democracy and Demography. The fact that the Fed‘s proposed actions are subject to the unemployment rate in the US falling below seven per cent — not easy if growth falters — has not really been factored in by the markets. Ben Bernanke. Taiwan). especially of the US Fed.5 per cent a year. It cannot announce grand reform measures to open up retail or aviation to foreign players one day.What happens when an underdeveloped country with a young population and a vibrant democracy to boot grows at unprecedented rates for a sustained period of time? And what happens when that growth engine suddenly stalls? These are questions few economists. The end-result is that the rupee has fallen from under 55 to almost 60 to the dollar in the space of a month. huge implications for the rupee. it is natural that actions of western central banks are watched no less keenly in emerging economies as they undoubtedly are. including in India. Whether or not loose monetary policies by western central banks are coming to an end. only to come out with complicated regulations and ‗clarifications‘ that make investors think twice about doing any business in the country. for many countries have recorded such high growth rates over extended periods. by itself. There was a good reason for that. Mexico) or outright military dictatorships (South Korea). while freezing it in the case of urea. Yet. on May 22. Wednesday‘s announcement by Bernanke. printing of money through $85 billiona-month purchases of US treasuries and mortgage-backed securities — and maintaining a ‗near-zero‘ interest rate regime created conditions for investors to channelise the resultant dollar deluge into emerging markets offering higher yields. The rupee has. hinted at cutting back on its current bond buying operations. even without any significant drain in the RBI‘s foreign currency reserves. But the difference is that most of them did so either underformal single-party rule (China. During 2012-13. Democracy and Demography. does little to align domestic demand for these products to their actual cost of imports. the Government should stop sending conflicting signals on attracting foreign capital flows. Simultaneously. The prospect of any reversal of capital flows post the US Fed reining in its ‗quantitative easing‘ programme has. has seemingly only reconfirmed these fears. that the Fed could start tapering its monthly purchases from later this year and end the programme by mid-2014. It is fair to say that the US decision attracted far more attention than the Reserve Bank of India‘s monetary policy review announced earlier in the week. The existing policy of only gradually raising diesel prices. therefore. During 2003-04 to 2010-11. which can well be understood when viewed through the lens of three ‗Ds‘: Development. This was made possible only because of the flood of global liquidity unleashed by loose monetary policies. India is an exceptional case. The new 3D reality New India can be well understood through the lens of three ‗Ds‘: Development. but they capture the story of New India. nearer home. India‘s current account deficit (CAD) in its external transactions crossed a record $90 billion. in fact. the rupee remained stable at 53-54 to the dollar for much of the year. been under pressure ever since the Fed Chairman. which requires allowing full pass-through of global fuel and fertiliser prices. 17. That. de facto single-party regimes (Japan. This was never more apparent than in the reverberations felt in the Indian market following the Wednesday meeting of the US Federal Reserve‘s open market committee. it is clear that India cannot depend on these to run an unsustainably high CAD. Singapore. It is the flow of these monies that helped finance India‘s CAD and support the rupee in the past year or more.

000 per acre or less. .000 at current prices.500-6. has seen the forces of competitive electoral politics and free media (especially 24-hour television) gain strength. The above transformation is again a result of growth (generating new demand for a resource whose supply is inherently limited). newspapers and internet). The average (median) age of India‘s population in 2010 was 25. with no restrictions on labour mobility (a la China‘s Hukou registration system) and politicians even obliged to seek the votes of agricultural workers. creating new employment opportunities outside of agriculture. both at the national and regional levels.9 for Japan or 34.3 for Western Europe. 44. forget 100.000 acres. The expression of aspirations and the pressures on governments to respond to them are. and greater exposure to the culture of towns and cities.000 acres is beyond anyone‘s capacity — including the State with all its eminent domain powers — just as no land is available for less than Rs 4-5 lakh an acre. Sanjoy Chakravorty has shown how the Government in the 1950s could acquire some 130. The Price of Land: Acquisition. be it Dalit. This crowd cannot be compared with the youth of the previous generations. It is fair to say that the wage increases in recent years have been a product of both high growth and MGNREGA — apart from the presence of a young rural labour force more willing to exercise migration options and not as keen to work on the farms as its predecessor generations. Since the early 2000s. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was. it unleashes similar desires to raise their own living standards. and ‗unfair acquisition‘ becoming part of mainstream political discourse (Singur. 42. Even after adjusting for inflation.5 per cent over the last plan period from 2007-08 to 2011-12. In a brilliant recent work. 42 per cent of Indians were aged between 15 to 40 years — those whom we can call the young and aspirational population. if anything. despite all the organised efforts at belittling the country‘s politicians and its electoral system.1 for the US. One of its effects has been on labour costs. When things slow Since 2011-12. When people see Development and the incomes of others rising. Muslim or upper-caste Hindu. When they converge The three ‗Ds‘ are mutually reinforcing.5 years. the increase was 6. only a response to such pressures. too.000 acres of land for the Hirakud Dam project in Orissa by paying Rs 50200 an acre — a paltry Rs 1. The current century.plus growth for nearly a decade) and Democracy (every adult citizen. Even till the early 2000s. India has been witness to aconvergence of the three ‗Ds‘. having the right to vote) have both gone together. Voter turnouts. which clearly had to do with accelerated growth in the wider economy and urbanisation. The transmission of these expectations takes place faster in a Demographic structure with a significant young and aspirational component. as against 37. POSCO. one could buy a few thousand acres of land in many parts of India for Rs 50. Consequence(Oxford University Press). Nandigram. moreover. Farm wages in India rose annually by 17. Further. But rural wages wouldn‘t possibly have risen that much had India not been a democracy. increased access to information from multiple media sources (television.8 per cent in real terms. even 10. and not as tolerant to harsh working conditions.6 for even China. Conflict. greater awareness among farmers (especially the younger generation) of the ‗real‘ value that their lands can command. The additional ‗aspirational‘ element has to do with the spread of education. after all. have been on the rise. Yamuna Expressway). having far higher expectations in employment and consumption standards. But today. The land question The impact of the convergence of the three ‗Ds‘ has been felt not just in the labour market. higher in a Democracy where parties have to face voters at least once in five years. GDP growth has dipped sharply to 5-6 per cent. That brings us to the third D: Demography.

a rise in living standards during this period. Rupee nears the 60-a-$ mark.‖ said India Infoline Chairman Nirmal Jain. while they have net-bought worth Rs 80. it is directed at the Congress. Ironically. is Narendra Modi.6 per cent to $23. the highest single-day fall since September 2011.99 and Tata Motors‘ declined 2. This caught the market off guard. The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex fell 526.719. ―The Indian market is highly vulnerable to foreign investor sentiment. Whether or not he succeeds.09.41 points. Democracy and Demography will mean India‘s growth story is going to be different. One of it is certainly the fact that the Indian polity is more democratic now than before. 18. to end the day at 5. In 2005. The interaction between Development. Foreign institutional investors today net-sold stocks worth Rs 2. Domestic institutions net-bought shares worth Rs 1. the decade of the three ‗Ds‘ has left behind some enduring legacies. there is an overwhelming sentiment of disappointment and frustration amongst the youth today. while the Infosys ADRs retreated 2. Upbeat Fed spoils market mood Sensex falls the most in 21 months.29.655. Indian ADRs drop to lowest since Sept. imposing projects on unwilling locals or showing labour its place. ―The market was hopeful that the quantitative easing (QE) would continue but that didn‘t happen. at 59.86 per cent. The rupee. the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 1. Governments no longer can take lands with impunity and pay whatever compensation they deem to be fair. This is the highest selling by foreign investors in a single day since August 2011. Much of what India Inc terms as ‗policy paralysis‘ stems precisely from the State‘s increasing inability to ‗manage‘ things for it — whether in acquiring large swathes of land. if not experienced.Yet. Fresh fears about China‘s manufacturing sector and liquidity squeeze also weighed on market sentiment.92.3 per cent to $7. Bhupinder Singh Hooda‘s administration in Haryana could get away with the most violent police crackdown on striking workers at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter. according to provisional data.09 per cent. He expects the markets to decline by 5-10 per cent in the near term. while hard-selling his own so-called Gujarat development model. FIIs have sold to the tune of Rs 2. too. ADRs of Wipro fell 2. The man hoping to tap into this discontent. under whose reign the India Growth Story happened. The Indian currency. to close at 18.58 a dollar. closes at record low Indian indices today saw their steepest fall in a day in 21 months. NSE‘s Nifty declined 166. But such strong-arm methods were simply ruled out when it came to dealing with the labour unrest at Maruti only six years later in the same Gurgaon-Manesar belt.7 per cent. or 2. what they perhaps don‘t realise is the new 3D reality of India. or 2. At the time of going to press.90.96 per cent from its previous close. The US stock markets. the aspirations fuelled by the extended economic boom of the last decade haven‘t faded away. closed 1. opened in the red. the lowest since October. Fed Chairman Ben S Bernanke yesterday said the central bank would cut back on its monthly bond-buying later this year if the economic outlook continued to improve.4 per cent to the lowest since September in early New York trade.890 crore. We only saw a glimpse of that in the last decade.094 crore. While it is possible that many corporates expect Modi to restore order.96 a dollar in intra-day trade and would have easily slipped below the 60-a-dollar mark if the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had not sold dollars to support the rupee‘s slide. Asia‘s worst-performing currency. especially in Asia. . dropped to a record low of 59. Having seen.35 points. while the rupee tumbled to a new record low. while the Nasdaq was down 2. In June so far.000 crore since January.‖ Jain said. stoking fears of portfolio outflows. tracking the weakness in global markets and currencies after the US Federal Reserve signalled a tapering of its monetary stimulus. (BERNANKE SPOOKS MARKETS).46 per cent lower than its previous close.332 crore today.3 per cent to $39. The Bank of New York Mellon India American Depository Receipts (ADR) Index dropped 3.

Much of it is on a rapidly increasing road system. which is situated in a stunningly beautiful mountain valley at the end of a 14-kilometre hike from Gaurikund in Garhwal. if the mandated water management and reforestation are properly carried out. there is a possibility that even equity will be reallocated from the emerging markets to developed nations. in India. The spectre of the impact of the rupee‘s weakening further against the dollar is weighing on the minds of FIIs and the government alike. such as that of the United States. particularly due to flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. for example. Of course. but also perhaps because of substantial in-migration to Garhwal's towns. This is a tragic reminder of the importance of regulation of new projects. However. Standard Chartered Bank. the currency has weakened 11 per cent against the dollar. Even as the government today put up a brave face. given that between 60. Rescue activity has been fitful. the market‘s reaction is also on account of the dollar strengthening. Some are people moving from work. and it is once again revealed how little capacity the Indian state has to deal with catastrophic events. Questions are legitimately being asked now whether successive governments in the Himalayan regions have allowed the area to become more susceptible to flooding and landslides. but it seems clear that.―The US Fed‘s stance was more hawkish than the market expected. Some environmental activists estimate that vehicular traffic has increased a staggering 1.perhaps because the latter has fewer large rivers. investors remain worried that the dollar‘s strengthening might not end anytime soon. In general. In a poll conducted by Business Standard. And those missing and killed were primarily those visiting the area in its brief tourist and pilgrimage season. We have seen bond outflows on fears of QE tapering. but a large part is tourist traffic.000 and 70. the number of fatalities will almost certainly increase considerably. currency market participants said they expected the rupee to fall below 60 a dollar soon and stabilise below that level in a month. but that is purely on the basis of body count. The gravest damage is reportedly in the vicinity of the temple town of Kedarnath. But it is equally true that the required infrastructure would itself stress this . ―Apart from the talks of withdrawal of QE3. Not all the accusations being levelled at the moment are backed with empirical data. surely natural disaster mitigation should be. not an argument against hydropower itself. remains standing even as much of its surrounding construction has been washed away. the infrastructure to support such a large number of visitors has not been built. Bond market participants said further weakness in the currency would reduce the chances of RBI cutting rates in its policy review in July (after it kept rates untouched earlier this week). 19.‖ said Samiran Chakrabarty. Indeed. An estimated 200 people have been declared dead so far. No easy answers How to minimise disasters in Garhwal The scale of the devastation in the Himalayas following the heavy onset of themonsoon.‖ said JPMorgan Managing Director (Equity Capital & Derivative Markets) Vinay Menon. there is no reason to suppose that low-intensity hydropower projects are in and of themselves more likely to cause floods or landslides. Clearly. Since the start of May. with Chief Economic Advisor Raghuram Rajan saying India was not short of options to tackle the rupee‘s fall. have struggled to deal with natural disasters of any magnitude. even far more capable state machines. Garhwal seems much more prone to disasters and fatalities than neighbouring Kumaon . managing director and head of research (India). then quite the opposite will happen. Now. This poses the risk of further depreciation. Kedarnath Temple. the focus of much pilgrimage activity.000 per cent in Uttarakhand over the past eight years. is staggering.000 are still unaccounted for. disaster preparation is not a major consideration for an already overburdened state.

which marks a milestone in the economy's structural diversification and moving people out of low-value agriculture and under-employment. dependent population coming down. This has fallen to 49% by 2011-12. delivering faster growth through two routes: one. the economy has moresavings at its disposal to invest. 21. which has to be established independently. But progress is being achieved. The demographic dividend is a shortcut for the phenomenon in which the working age population as a proportion of the population goes up. This is an extremely regressive tendency. and our own confidence in better negotiating floods has gone up. where rich soils were deposited year after year on a land now considered to be among the most fertile in the world.2% in the three reference years. for example.4% to 22. If the proportion of the population entering the labour force comes down. Cramping the Rivers But there is one difference. faced with a difficult decision. unless they are withdrawing to spend more time in education. It could be that more people are postponing their work life to stay back longer in education. A third major finding is thatwomen are withdrawing from the workforce. What happened in the past is happening again. even with strict environmental regulation. Over time. therefore. it was always a crucial characteristic of the holy places of the hills for centuries that they were remote. it has fallen. 68th Round survey of the National Sample Survey Organisation. For the pilgrim. if we go by the employment figures garnered by the latest. incomes have gone up. for the first time. 2% and 2. a lower labour force participation rate helps keep the unemployment rate down. Here's why. While this ratio has been more or less steady for men at over 55. population has increased. Floods: Smart.5%. and overall greater incomes and wealth is generated closer tothe river floodplains . for the Mansarovar pilgrimage. While this would postpone the demographic dividend. this is still way too high.environmentally fragile region beyond bearing. in any case. what other equitable measures can be used to minimise the summer visitor pressure . A laissez-faire market-based approach. Demographic dividend gets postponed as agriculture workforce falls India's demographic dividend stands postponed. Reforms to encourage and facilitate women workers are called for. After all. The proportion of the workforce living off agriculture has fallen below half. great engineering feats and large and small dams notwithstanding. Of course. Nor can things continue as they are. with the share of nonworking.5% in 2011-12. India is.3%. The richness of the Gangetic basin is a result of periodic flooding occurring over eons. the journey meant as much as the destination .not an idea aided by today's overbuilt temple towns and ecologically dangerous roads. 20. And precisely that has been happening.5%. Mountain roads themselves. If investment and growth pick up. The combined result is that people today live much closer to rivers. in the case of women. for example. The government must seriously consider. and two. with the ratio coming down from 43% in 2004-05 to 40% in 2009-10 to 39. may lead to pilgrimages being priced out of reach of most people. Either the state can accept that such fatalities will happen as a region unable to cope with vast numbers of people is forced to deal with them. or it must choose to fairly regulate access. a more skilled workforce would increase productivity and boost growth further. small policy changes can contain the fallout The Uttarakhand-centred floods in north India and already-terrible devastation should provoke a vigorous national policy debate: what is the best way to control floods? The answer is: the humble way. 63% of workers toiled in agriculture. these benefits would not accrue. 2. from 29. thus. Let's first remind ourselves that floods have always happened and will happen. Right now. total output goes up. with more people working. Even in 2009-10.the methods used. can destabilise young ranges and increase the frequency of landslides. even without any increase in productivity per worker. and in larger numbers. the change would be dramatic. build more infrastructure closer to it.

The first is what some refer to as the Chinese way — build a range of dams. In a sense. First. flooding creates more harm if there is no place for the waters to drain into. Our netas would love that. And what is more. And flooding may be eliminated. such flood containment mechanisms are extremely destructive themselves in terms of their environmental impact. but also temples and ashrams. Give nature its due space. Its dams. So would. But we must also recognise that there will be some extreme events when we will not be able control the rivers. And . Postscript: For once.than before. The Kosi floods in Bihar a few years ago are only one such example. they themselves are prone to human errors. given that we have hundreds of rivers that are potentially prone to flooding. Combine this with a range of bunds and strong protective walls. A system of canals and drains exists in a few cities. we cannot blame the UPA and Manmohan Singh for a problem faced by India. India needs foreign inflow of capital. in all likelihood most extreme showers would be better handled. And three. this will be a big mistake. For the record. Two. thankfully. large and small. totally control the course of the river. Open up for more foreign investment A committee headed by economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram has pitched for a dramatic opening up of foreign direct investment (FDI) in many sectors. as we saw in Rishikesh. the impact on morbidity and mortality is more after the flood waters recede — disaster management is not rocket science and India has some experience in this. perhaps the most important lesson for India is this: do not venture too close to the rivers. over all tributaries and at various points on the rivers. The ability of downstream dams to withstand the force if the upstream dams give way is limited. the inflow of new funds for reconstruction will strengthen local economies harmed by flooding. The last will ensure that destruction is followed rapidly by new public construction. Third. both the government and public sector need to insure their assets against damage from flooding. We will need to have a few check-dams and bunds to contain flooding due to moderately high rains which occur relatively frequently. For one. Second. And if it's the Ganga and Yamuna. Dam it All What should we do? There are two broad routes. this will be extremely expensive to put up. But when we build successive dams as the river flows downstream. while they reduce the possibility of extreme flooding. but within the floodplains. We have taken away the Ganga's personal space. and will obviously suffer when once in a while she does decide to do what she has always done. As long as rains are moderately high and spread over a longer timespan. India can better contain the power of its mighty rivers today than in the past. And one that makes more sense for India. or sometimes in the river itself. To that add a good and integrated water management system. Fourth. the possibility of the domino effect increases. as we see in Delhi. 22. certainly lesser than required to prevent flooding totally. Destruction and creation are a natural part of any economy as they are a part of nature. But the government has a job to do: post-flood disaster management and reconstruction. Moreover. and needs to be built where it doesn't. we hope. each dam and bund can only hold so much water. sometimes venturing not just in the vicinity. This preparation will not require much. the group of ministers being set up on the subject. it is not just residential areas and schools and colleges that one sees. canals and bunds can hold and direct the excess water providing a modicum of safety to those who live around rivers. If we do this. Prevent & Reconstruct The second route is a more humble one. And we must be prepared for such events even if they are infrequent. The success of these efforts has resulted in an overconfidence that has contributed to the large amount of construction that one sees around rivers and floodplains.

The committee's recommendations need to be adopted by the government. This could allow the entry of global giants like Verizon and AT&T into India. It is also a good idea to allow FDI to go up in areas like supermarkets. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has confirmed that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has stepped up efforts to revive militancy in Punjab and Kashmir. has doled out 60 millionrupees to Jamaat-ud-Dawa. it is not a good idea to allow more FDI in crucial sectors like the media. So. Part of this was the result of Sharif‘s own pre-poll promises and part rooted in his previous efforts such as the Lahore initiative to improve bilateral ties. defence and stateowned banks. HULBSE 0. and the Pakistan army‘s violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control has increased. 1. Pakistan must expedite the trial of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused and ensure that the terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are closed down. US Congressman and chairman of the sub-committee on counter-terrorism and intelligence. the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved on Friday a proposal to allow companies to pass on the higher cost of imported coal to buyers. The 49% cap on security agencies is incomprehensible and raising it to 100% makes sense. Intelecom and private security agencies. for this can be used by the Pakistan army and ISI to their advantage. New Delhi had believed that Nawaz Sharif will take some concrete steps to curb anti-India activities from and on Pakistani soil. which is led by Mumbai terror attacks mastermind HafeezSaeed. In a recent disclosure. He has hiked the country‘s defence budget. This will help push financial inclusion. Decision to pass on coal import cost may hike power tariff Cabinet clears pass through system for coal import In an effort to boost power generation and unlock investments in idling plants. can buy absolute control. but according to the government and power producers. India should act tough and stop dialogue with Pakistan. power tariff could rise. who are already present with Indian partners. The decision is likely to ignite nearly 38.27 %.overseas investors are more bullish than ever on India's prospects of long term growth. Vodafone and DoCoMo. Peter King. the committee wants no caps on FDI. However. Others like Singtel.37 % and Unilever's $5. Sharif‘s recent actions belie this hope.5 billion takeover of its Indian subsidiary. Press for sanctions against Pakistan The actions of Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif during the first month in office in his new stint should cause concern to India. the government should gradually move towards a regime that allows unlimited overseas capital in most sectors barring a few that are crucial to national interest. the time is ripe for raising the caps that restrict FDI in certain sectors. exact calculations are yet to be made and it would depend on case-to-case basis. More FDI in the latter will allow them to expand their capital base and grow their operations using new technologies like mobile banking. because this can skew the public discourse in unpredictable patterns and directions. 23. It will be foolhardy for India to adopt a business-as-usual approach with Pakistan without any tangible progress on India‘s core concerns on terrorism. With the exception of a few such critical sectors. Evidence of this comes from a couple of recent transactions: Standard & Poors acquisition of CrisilBSE -0. Consequently. India should push for economic sanctions against Pakistan for financing terror activities. Despite evidence of his dalliance with Islamists. Preliminary estimates put the hike at 15 to 17 paise a unit. India should pause unilateral gestures or concessions. headed by his brother. The provincial government of Punjab. The latter is the largest inbound chunk of FDI in India's history. In view of this irrefutable evidence.000 MW of new capacity that . The issue of combating money laundering and financing of terror is currently being discussed at aconference of the Financial Action Taken Force in Norway. has said that ―ISI provides Lashkar-e-Taiba with a safe haven and funding to train and prepare for terrorist attacks‖.

and demands by privacy.‖ Independent Power Producers (IPPs) could import coal themselves. We are guaranteeing 65 per cent this year to 75 per cent by the end of 12th Plan by CIL for the 78. for ensuring higher privacy for citizens in view of CMS. text-decoration:underline !important. Meanwhile.technical capabilities and privacy safeguards in the public domain. will stand impacted by the decision.000 MW capacity. on the one hand. Lethal surveillance versus privacy The tussle between government agencies‘ need for a better. important. Talking to journalists. real time and deep search‖ surveillance. owing to sharp opposition to the scheme from some big States. 160 million Internet users and close to 85 million citizens on social media. ―There will be a small increase in power tariff. obviously.‖ he said. There has been no debatein Parliament or outside about the level of surveillance citizens should be put through or . More coal mines Interestingly. ―We are very happy. It will depend upon power plant to power plant and where it is located. For every MW today. successive governments in India have fared no better. Imported coal is costlier than domestic coal. So far. which are capable of ―instant. It is …better to have power and pay a few paise more or not have power at all.‖ he said.. ―This additional price which we pay for imported coal. Chidambaram said. including terrorism. Key unanswered issues include the uncontrolled use of technical capability and intrusive technologies. It will be a very marginal increase on unit cost of power depending upon the cost of import of coal.color:#0000FF !important">Chidambaram indicated that by July first week certain other decisions will be taken to open more coal mines. faster and real-timeinterception.000 MW of capacity.‖ he said. I think the capital cost is between Rs. if true. has to be passed through in the power tariff. on the other. 5-6 crore. Earlier. very little real information is available about the CMS working procedure. the government buried a proposal to pool the prices of imported and domestic coal to make the fuel affordable to new plants. may have meant that the privacy of millions of Indian Internet users could have been compromised. The government also issued a Presidential Directive to CIL to sign FSAs with producers assuring them of at least 80 per cent of the committed coal delivery. It is better to have our power plants working and producing power or keep them shut down after investing thousands of crores. 62 FSAs had been executed. Internet and social media users are expected to double by 2015. 2. Power sector players hailed the decision. post 2009. has also raised serious privacy issues.‘‘ he said. Otherwise Coal India Limited (CIL) would do the job. India today has nearly 900 million mobile subscribers. A total of 78. Of the 69 plants that are yet to enter into fuel supply pacts with CIL. and its joint ventures. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said the Cabinet decision would not affect the signing of fuel supply agreements (FSAs) by CIL with producers. Significant power capacities stood stranded due to lack of coal and gas. there is no option but to import some coal. civil rights and free speech activists. in varying degrees. is gaining ground. The discussions have been coloured by the startling revelation relating to the PRISM project which. ―In the interim period. Finance Mi nister P. ―We can't today estimate what will be the increase in cost of power and certainly it will not be uniform.has either been put on hold or stalled due to uncertainty over the issue of bearing the additional cost of imported coal. surveillance and monitoring mechanism through the Central Monitoring System (CMS). closer home. Associated Power Producers (APP) director-general AshokKhurana said their two years of hard work had finally paid off. the CMS project. aimed at improving the capability of security agencies to protect national security and fight crime. Mr. Shrouded in secrecy First. While governments worldwide remain reluctant to share information about their surveillance and monitoring systems. 29 cases belong to NTPC Ltd.

in turn. interception under CMS can be done instantly and. for seven days. and may be renewed. regulators. and monitoring under Section 5(2) of the Act through its order dated December 18. it subsequently laid down guidelines narrowing the scope of interception down to five instances — ―national sovereignty and integrity. opposition leaders. Special Rapporteur on Promotion and Protection of Right to Freedom. public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence‖.N. editors.‖ While the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of interceptions. of potential ―targets‖ carrying out sensitive assignments such as judges. These border on what is now recognised as a human rights issue. Should there be? How far should the spy agencies take lethal technological capability against their own citizens? Can all technological prowesses be used against any category of citizen. questions about the mismatch between the privacy legislation and the lethal forensic surveillance capabilities arise. friendly relations with foreign states. ―The Right to Privacy. Further. Further that ―surveillance techniques . as well as Section 69 of the Information Technology Act 2000. States must ―regulate the commercialization of surveillance technology‖. 2013. Provisions for authorisation of interception are contained in Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885. transfer and retention of CDRs is weakly defined under the existing laws. in his report of April 17. In effect. after issue. Rapporteur in the recent report on surveillance. recommended that surveillance must occur under. getting permission to monitor any citizen without adequate burden of proof? Since the authorities giving approval are not judges. Rule 419(A) of the Indian Telegraph Rules 1951. Are ―public order‖ or ―preventing incitement to the commission of an offence‖ sufficiently vague or broad for the security agencies to practically put through any authorisation request for interception. Is this period too long. especially since these are approved by bureaucrats who. 1996. will they have the judicial expertise to make legally valid decisions? Worse still — if the surveillance is extra-judicial. should this procedure be reviewed under CMS? Should a lower level officer‘s approval be sufficient to begin surveillance? The law also says ―the directions for interception shall remain in force. ―unless it is permitted under procedure established by law. is protected under Article 21—– Right to Life — and Article 19(1)(a) — Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression — under the Constitution of India. regardless of the level of security clearance they are entitled to? Who decides the correctness and propriety of such authorisations. since existing laws allow government agencies to intercept any phone conversation without the Home Secretary‘s mandatory permission. has concluded that apart from increasing public awareness of threats to privacy. the U. for a period not exceeding 60 days. while the existing law primarily relates to interception of calls. there is no information about whether there are additional safeguards against interception by political authorities. ―the most exceptional circumstances and exclusively under the supervision of an independent judicial authority‖. state security. vigilance officials. under these two heads? Can prevention of crime leave the door open to any agency. how will it be uncovered? Further. monitoring can continue for half the year.whether there should be red lines when using intrusive surveillance mechanisms. CMS expands surveillance across Meta-Data which includes CDRs and SDRs.‖ on the other hand. unless revoked earlier. without a periodic review? If there is a review. report to political authorities? The U. but same shall not remain in force beyond a total period of 180 days‖. corporate CEOs. read with Information Technology (Directions for Interception or Monitoring or Decryption of Information) Rules 2009. Legal infirmities Secondly.N. even when technology presents an option. With CMS. advocates. is it sufficiently independent and robust? Here again. however weak. etc. Access.

one government official will authorise interception. be acted upon since everything remains secret within the government? The identity of targets or duration of monitoring cannot be revealed publicly. Is there a new safeguard? Potential misuse Under CMS. by arguing that CMS. this means that the checks-and-balance system provided by the nodal officers in mobile networks — which discovered the illegal request for BJP leader Arun Jaitley‘s CDRs. What is the guarantee that such permission will be subject to the rigorous due diligence that it deserves? Will every government officer follow the laid down procedure. leading to the arrest of three persons including a Delhi police constable — will no longer exist. However. The government has justified CMS in Parliament. Equally it may be time for the Supreme Court to review its guidelines which were written at a time when there were less than a million mobile subscribers and no Internet users. bureaucrats authorise interception without any need to pass judicial muster by securing a prior valid court order. especially if he knows that all authorisations are covered under absolute secrecy with no chance of public disclosure or scrutiny? What happens if the procedure is violated? Will violations. For it has been established that 50 per cent of fatalities could be averted through intervention in the so-called golden hour immediately after a traffic collision. Call Content (CC) and CDRs? How long can intercept information be kept with the government and what is the procedure for its safe keeping — especially given a track record of leaked tapes — without a single official being found guilty in such instances? Are there any circumstances under which ―targets‖. there is no consensus on the opposing views between DoPT. and seven months after the Justice A. Shah Committee submitted its Report on ‗Privacy. This is no longer the case. the mobile operator who gave access to the target‘s phone calls for interception was required to ensure that the interception order received had been duly authorised by the persons identified under the Act. the government can present the Privacy Bill early for Parliament to debate it. inter-operable with international standards. circumvents manual intervention by mobile operators. Ironically.and practices that are applied outside the rule of law must be brought under legislative control‖. two-and-a-half years after a ‗privacy‘ group was set up under Secretary. the latest draft of the privacy legislation itself remains a mystery.‘ suggesting a privacy legislation which was ―technologically neutral. Who all within the government can have access to the Intercept Related Information (IRI). will be informed that they were under surveillance? The privacy issues are sufficiently serious — both outside India and within. Hopefully. Before CMS. when discovered. as it falls under specific exemptions granted in Section 8 of the RTI Act. This will be reviewed and executed by other fellow officers in different agencies — but all within the government. and on what the red lines should be while using intrusive mechanisms 3. Meanwhile. Lastly. This is a cause the courts and quasi-judicial bodies have consistently championed. and is therefore more secure.P. to avoid the recordings from being leaked. There has been no public debate on the level of watch citizens can be put through. Making use of the golden hour The case for instantaneous. protected multi-dimensional privacy. But it has taken the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways nearly 25. allowing instant access. even under the RTI. ensured horizontal applicability and conformity with privacy principles in a co-regulatory enforcement regime‖. How will mistakes be corrected and misuse prevented? There are other questions that remain unanswered in law. The surveillance is not subject to any ongoing bipartisan Parliamentary oversight either. especially when found innocent. distressingly long years to announce that accident victims on the Delhi-Jaipur National Highway would be covered up to . treatment to thousands of road accident victims is self-evident. DoPT. and hence cashless. the Home Ministry and civil rights activists.

as small groups began to vandalise. the lack of any organisation or concrete demands behind the protests has made a unified government response nearly impossible. where an estimated 300. A sequel to this ruling was the amendment of the Motor Vehicles Act. and laws of procedure and regulations will have to give way so as to ensure the survival of an injured person. running clashes played out between riot police and clusters of mostly young men. with clusters clashing violently with police during anti-government demonstrations. irrespective of whether there is a legal-criminal dimension to the vehicular accident. The Supreme Court‘s 1989 ruling is categorical that there is no bar on doctors in private hospitals giving emergency care to a victim. It also comes one month before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Brazil. The unrest is hitting the nation as it hosts the Confederations Cup soccer tournament.000 for their treatment. police struggled to keep hundreds of protesters from invading the Foreign Ministry and the crowd set a small fire outside. accent on expandingpublic transport network and safe pedestrian passages would all go a long way to reduce the number of mishaps. President Dilma Rousseff called a meeting with top Cabinet members on Friday.In Rio de Janeiro. In Brasilia. A 1996 SC judgment alluded to a law in the United States obliging hospitals to stabilise victims in an emergency regardless of insurance cover. The Law Commission‘s draft bill of 2006 on the medical treatment of victims of different kinds of accidents. and ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 . Standardisation of treatment procedures would ensure that arbitrary caps on cost do not jeopardise the full extent of intervention necessary. To be sure. irreversibly disabling many. Drawing on these pronouncements. the violence begins. One million on Brazil‘s streets President calls crisis meeting over anti-government protests Brazil awoke on Friday to city centres still smouldering after a night that shocked the nation —one million protesters took to the streets in scores of cities.000demonstrators poured into the seaside city‘s central area. as per official figures. crowds would often turn and start to chant. including natural disasters. 4. The government should ensure that hospitals participating in the cashless treatment project comply with the recently adopted National Ambulance Code. A doctor‘s professional obligation to protect life is absolute. the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2005 declared that neither payment of fee.42 lakh deaths and injured more than 5 lakh persons. In massive demonstrations through this week. 30. and prevent profiteering already rampant in other areas of insurance-based healthcare provision. At least 40 people were injured.98 lakh road accidents caused 1. could be adduced as grounds to deny treatment. Several cities have cancelled the transit fare hikes that had originally sparked the demonstrations a week ago.a maximum of Rs. deserves urgent consideration. Such an approach would be in keeping with the spirit of the recommendations of the High Level ExpertGroup on Universal Health Coverage. Investment in state of the art technology to regulate road traffic. Peaceful protesters Despite the violence. People in the protests have held up signs asking for everything from education reforms to free bus fares while denouncing the billions of public dollars spent on stadiums in advance of the World Cup and the Olympics. AIS:125 (Automobile Industry Standard) stipulates minimumprovisions and guidelines for ambulances in keeping with global best practices. She faced sharp criticism in Brazil‘s media for what many called lack of leadership. strict law enforcement. the majority of protesters have been peaceful. There were growing calls on social media and in emails for a general strike next week. In 2011. ―No violence! No violence!‖ But the pattern in has been that once night falls. some 4. nor the absence of consent from the nearest of kin. but the outrage has only grown more intense. the national capital. Other government buildings were attacked around the city‘s central esplanade.

This is also why many countries are treading cautiously on GM crops.2. evidence shows that open field . One should take a closer look at this technology and the concerns around it. or impudently say that GM crops can cause no harm.1. This is also the time biotech seed companies push and prod the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).4 per cent of the total global cultivated area. These include GM versions of staple crops.677. Cabinet nod for 5 % stake sale in NLC The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). earlier this month. Given the proven cases of impact of GM crops. informed the CCEA that there was no option to disinvestment as that was the only route open for making Neyveli Lignite compliant with SEBI‘s minimum public shareholding norm. raising concerns about how Brazilian officials will provide security. 5. Contamination impact One might wonder what is wrong with experimenting with novel technologies.Olympics. Centre‘s holding According to an official statement here. or 5 per cent of the Centre‘s holding in the Tamil Nadu-based integrated mining-cum-power generating company through OFS. Research on transgenic crop development has been taking place for three decades. however. to open up the country for their reckless experiments of GM crops. A recent compilation of peer reviewed papers on the above themes published by the coalition for GM-Free India showed more than 400 of such studies. the Centre‘s holding in the company will down to 88. 6. approved disinvestment of 5 per cent of the Centre‘s equity stake in Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) through the OFS (Offer For Sale) route in accordance with Securities andExchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations.At current market prices. the nodal agency for any environmental release of controversial Genetically Modified (GM) crops. Even after all these years. the total GM cultivated area is just 3. Of this. SEBI norm The Department of Disinvestment (DoD) had moved the CCEA seeking to offload over 7.71 crore comprising 167. It may be recalled that. the issued and subscribed equity capital as at the end of March 2012 is Rs. We are no lab rats for GM crops We are sitting on a mountain of food grain and wasting it. The DoD.466 crore to the exchequerand also enable compliance of SEBI‘s norm stipulating 10 per cent minimum public holding in public sector undertakings (PSUs).8 crore shares. and the mushrooming demonstrations of the past week caught Brazilian government officials by surprise while delighting many citizens. the stake sale in NLC is expected to fetch about Rs. Jayalalithaa had conveyedto Prime Minister Manmohan Singh her government‘s opposition to the divestment in view of the likely labour unrest and consequent disruption in power supply from Neyveli. After the disinvestment. rice and wheat. along with maize. The GEAC has bowed to pressure from the biotech seed industry and approved 25 applications for field trials in a single meeting. on Friday. But still the promoters of GM crops either feign ignorance. cotton and castor. NLC‘s authorised capital stands at Rs.771 crore equity shares of the face value of Rs. the next thing one should look for is what is wrong with experimental trials. Where is the need for GM field trials? It‘s another kharif season. The market regulator has set August this year as the deadline for all listed PSUs to adhere to the minimum public shareholding stipulation. Mass protests have been rare in this country of 190 million people in recent years. the CCEA had deferred a decision on the stake sale of NLC as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.000 crore. the environment and farm livelihoods.56 per cent.10 each. Here again. But what has also happened over this time is growing scientific evidence of their potential impact to human health.

―Cotton Advisory Board data show cotton yield increased by about 60 per cent in three years between 2002 and 2004 when the area under Bt cotton was a meagre 5. set up by the Supreme Court. There is also the familiar refrain. Besides health concerns. one of the big farmer cooperatives which lost customers due to this contamination. a jury ordered Bayer to pay $136. when we are sitting on a mountain of foodgrain and wasting it? GM crops are risky and the country cannot be made a laboratory and all of us ‗lab rats‘. We need to remember that these are novel organisms that have not been proven safe.trials lead to contamination of regular food and seed supply. both of which are mostly selfpollinated crops. A 10-year review by the Central Institute for Cotton Research notes. in the US. 7. One wonders why. biodiversity. While Monsanto and USDA are still trying to explain the possible reason for such contamination from field trials that happened almost eight years ago. on overriding concerns raised by various segments of society and the State governments to give these approvals. the Philippines and EU stopping wheat imports. Bayer Liberty link GM rice wreaked havoc among US rice cultivators when grains of this GM rice. Our own Bt cotton case has proved that contamination with transgenes is unavoidable if we let them into the open. and not one of production. Yet again. about 66. No one could explain how this happened. molecular biology etc. with Japan. making the current stock 2. Two myths The GEAC seems to be in a hurry to approve these field trials before the report of the TEC is made available and the Supreme Court takes a considered view. the committee also recommended a precautionary principle-based approach towards GM crops.5 times more than the Government‘s benchmark for buffer stocks. which was unapproved. How is it that the promoters of GM crops continue to insist on more production in the name of food security. Going by past experience one can only say it‘s only for benefiting GM crop developers.7 million tonnes as of January 1. Ultimately after five years of a legal battle. Imported coal to now make power costlier Power firms can pass on burden to consumers. farmers were at the receiving end.8 million to Riceland. This promotes two myths — that GM crops yield more and more output can solve problems of hunger. stocks rise up to 2% . Classic cases are that of contamination from field trials of GM rice and GM wheat. The distressing fact is that 21 million tonnes of wheat go bad every year due to lack of storage and distribution facilities. But spin doctors in the media seem to be at work. They have started congratulating the Environment Ministry. GM field trials should stop. The Indian Government is sitting on one of the world‘s biggest hoards of food grains. ‖ So where is the big yield that spokespersons of GM seeds talk about? Malnutrition and hunger in our country are a failure of distribution and lack of purchasing power. Looking at the abysmal levels of regulation of field trials in the country and the irreversible nature of contamination. A similar contaminationscandal rocked the US last month when Monsanto‘s herbicide tolerant genetically modified RR wheat was found contaminating wheat supplies from Oregon in the US. American wheat supply has been badly hit. The expert committee is expected to give its final report before the next hearing of the case in the Supreme Court in the first week of July. ―if GM crops are not permitted how can we provide food security to a growing population‖. South Korea. It‘s this reality that led the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) comprising experts from the fields of toxicology. 2013.6 per cent and non-Bt area was 94.4 per cent. to say that no genetic modification of crops for which India is a centre of origin should be allowed. there is also the huge impact on biodiversity that this could have. under which comes the GEAC. contamination is irreversible. started appearing in the supply chains.

74 per cent. and 11.‖ the company said in a statement. The Cabinet decision covers 78. calling the pass-through only an interim measure. (STREAMLINING SUPPLY) The finance minister. Over 36. Reacting to the government move. ―This import quantity would vary every year. If cleared. Tata Power.11 per cent over its previous close to Rs 143.05. It was later increased to 78. More than Rs 1 lakh crore has already been invested in setting up around the 25. ―The Cabinet decision breaks the fuel impasse that was threatening the viability of the generation segment in the power sector and creating systemic risk for the banking sector. announcing the decision.18 per cent and 0. The government had originally asked CIL to meet supply obligations for projects with 60. ―Such projects have been impacted due to extraneous factors beyond the control of developers. CIL will supply imported coal and supply on a cost-plus basis.‖ Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. it will increase the electricity price in the country by an average 20-25 paise per unit.000 Mw after taking into account the 7. called for a similar mechanism for imported coal-based projects. while those of PowerGrid and Tata Power climbed 1. the stocks of power companies rose by up to two per cent on BSE. Actual supplies would begin only after power purchase agreements (PPAs) are signed.‖ CIL Chairman S Narsing Rao told Business Standard. However. depending on how many FSAs (fuel supply agreements) materialise. today‘s decision might lead to legal complications.000-Mw projects with valid letters of assurance (LoAs) and likely to be commissioned by March 2015. as it would vary from one power plant to another. The scrip of NTPC rose 2.‖ said Ashok Khurana. given the growth in our coal production. According to the . to ensure power investments remain viable. respectively. The choice is between paying more for electricity or having no electricity at all. referring to its 4.660 Mw of capacity would be left without assured coal supply even after today‘s decision. ―We have advised the electricity regulator (CERC) to allow the increased cost of imported coal as a pass-through on a case-to-case basis. Coal India Ltd (CIL). corresponding to at least 80 per cent of their annual contracted quantity (ACQ).Ending a year-long drama surrounding supply of coal to power plants.000 Mw of this has already come on stream since March 2009. the UnionCabinet today allowed power companies to pass on to consumers the extra cost of importing coal to bridge the domestic fuel shortage. To meet the balance supply obligation. The Cabinet has now decided CIL would meet 65 per cent of ACQ through domestic linkages in the current financial year.000 Mw of capacity that has been granted tapering linkages. said it was difficult to work out the exact quantum of increase in power rates.‖ Chidambaram said.000-Mw capacity stranded at present. The approval for pass-through cheered the power industry. CIL will have to import six mt coal in the current financial year to meet the shortfall. director-general. owing to assurance of supply and competitive prices. ―Costly power is better than no power. The government had last year asked state-run miner. as a sizeable chunk of this capacity has been set up through competitive bidding for tariffs. The decision will need regulatory goahead. The country‘s largest private power generator.000-Mw Mudra project in Gujarat. The power firms would have the choice of importing coal on their own. He added power plants with more than 4. there would not be any need for imports in the terminal year (2016-17) at 80 per cent commitment level. The power regulator had recently allowed a compensatory tariff increase for the project after costly imported coal jacked up costs. However.000 Mw capacity. He added implementing the decision would require modifications to the coal distribution policy and tariff guidelines. who was accompanied by Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal. He also said power firms were likely to opt for sourcing imported coal through CIL.000 Mw of power capacity commissioned in six years through March 2015. Association of Power Producers. to meet power companies‘ coal demand.

would take the currency to levels significantly lower than Rs 60.which totalled $54 billion last year ($48 billion. Only then will Indian producers be able to compete effectively in world markets . 8. But the bull run is over. Last year. leaving a shortfall of 120 mt. and averaged $25 billion in the four years before that. Remember that India has one of the largest trade deficits in the world. for instance. non-gold deficit. and how. people would take comfort as they did briefly last year. Instead of getting alarmed about where the rupee has fallen.the Reserve Bank of India takes the wholesale price index for India and consumer price indices for other countries. Even without getting into larger systemic issues about what hampers exports. Import quantities surged too. Few remember that in 11 out of 14 years since reforms got kicked off in 1991-92. these along with lower gold imports can bring the trade picture under control. if the rupee were to suddenly appreciate. its supply commitment would increase gradually from 65 per cent this year to 75 per cent in the terminal year of the current Plan period. 9.and also in the domestic market against imported competition. But the fact is that. people start thinking that things are going wrong with the economy. but even the same level of imports will now cost less. people would buy less gold if financial savings instruments were made more attractive. For those commissioned after 2009. So a properly inflation-adjusted value for the rupee. which can fire up idle power stations. trade in goods was in deficit by $82 billion . of which oil accounted for $109 billion. Don't fret about the rupee It needs to fall some more before trade gets balanced When the rupee takes a tumble. Some people may still rush to buy gold. and economic growth. Since then the currency has fallen 10 per cent. Imports have fallen back. in relation to its GDP. when everyone knows that consumer prices have been rising faster. What should the government do? It should shift focus. the country actually had a non-oil trade surplus. Till about 2004-05. Raise the output of exportable iron ore. at the end of March. or three times the level five years earlier. which is met through imports. Last month. Also.which has a three times bigger economy.5 per cent of GDP. thus giving a powerful boost to domestic output.900 per ounce in August 2011 to under $1. Increase the production of coal.decision. So offer a deaf ear to the clamour for lower interest rates. which has been $34 billion in each of the last two years. That picture has changed. when the rupee could be traded at 54 to the dollar. whose imports have multiplied five-fold in the last decade. the deficit in goods trade was twice Japan's . net of exports). there has been the additional factor of gold imports . This should help turn attention to the underlying problem . Conversely. we should be looking for it to fall some more. reaching 950 tonnes each year in 2010 and 2011.the non-oil. expecting prices to revert to higher levels. therefore. Because trade deficits that are at historically high levels and which stay at those levels carry a simple message: lost competitiveness. using the consumer price index for India too. therefore. from financing the deficit to tackling the deficit. the trade deficit was a record $191 billion. We will head into a macroeconomic crisis only if there is continued managerial failure. and which nevertheless is pushing to weaken the yen. Even without oil.a very high 4. That is not enough. it was overvalued by about six per cent ininflation-adjusted terms. CIL will continue supplies for the plants commissioned before 2009 at 90 per cent of ACQ.300. Rupee fall: Need to focus on the doable . In the last couple of years. compared to an average of barely 600 tonnes in the previous four years. the trade deficit was mostly explained by net oil imports and. Get out more gas. because the calculations on the inflation-adjusted value of the rupee are deceptive . CIL produces 452 mt coal annually. as gold prices have dropped from $1. was a resource endowment issue.

when anything above 150 mm is classified as heavy rain — is global warming. saying that would impede development. Public investment in state-run infrastructure projects must be accelerated. undertake afforestation programmes and enforce rules that declare the region as ecologically sensitive. Bumbling busybodies who do not deliver should be relieved from key projects and replaced with young. thanks to sustained recovery in the US. influence. these governments have not implemented any such curbs. Open currency derivatives trading till midnight. Engineer a diversion of these funds to the New Pension System. another 60. Sure. So far. Warm air holds more moisture and contributes to extreme weather events and higher unpredictability of these events. The signalling would improve. which does invest in stock markets. The EPF can be offered government-backed special deposits it will happily invest in. to make way for construction and timber. while the funds are then handed over for professional management to the NPS. It is perverse that markets should tank at news of real strength in the economy. Indians must be allowed to use market instruments to hedge against currency volatility to the fullest extent possible. Allow more contracts for longer time horizons. stop logging. Because when man modifies nature. The government must keep its word on meeting its fiscal deficit target. blocking roads and sweeping vehicles off the hills. boosting its wrecking power. till the markets price in what they expect the Fed's policy change to bring about. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation keeps a vital chunk of India's longtermsavings away. 11. Bring the market for the rupee home to India. 10. empowered executives. it should allow that. from the stock market. quite a bit.000 people. The rupee is holding out below 60 to the dollar. Emergency operations continue. India has no control over that. leaving it wholly vulnerable to tiny ebbs and flows of foreign institutional investments. But why did the disaster occur? And can similar calamities be prevented in future? Experts say one of the reasons for the unusually high rainfall — Dehradun got 380 mm of rain on Monday morning. In the intense rain. the government must invest in new technologies to monitor and predict weather.The markets have come out of their panic reaction on Thursday to the US Federal Reserve's hint that it might ease off on unconventional stimulus as early as September. The hills of both the states have been denuded by largescale cutting of trees. but will remain an adverse influence on Indian markets and the value of the rupee for some time. These will moderate towards sense. The volume of silt and boulders carried by mountain streams has gone up. Now.000 remain stranded. there have been many such slides. military rescuers said that though they had evacuated over 30. Given that. The governments of both states must curb construction activity. he also takes on the risks that such modification brings. in totality. they must act. There is a price to pay for this: mountain soil is now loose and ripe for massive landslides. If that calls for a sharper rise in diesel prices. in the place of easy-moneyfuelled artificial growth. sooner rather than later. Governments must curb activity that increases these risks manifold. It has to focus on what it can. evaporation of surplus liquidity would drive up bond yields and call for reallocation of funds across financial instruments and geographies. Do four Delhi think tanks matter disproportionately in India? . unblock clearances and land acquisition for large projects that await foreign investment. Many local conditions were primed for disaster. besides emaciating returns for workers. Simultaneously. indeed. especially in dangerous areas like mountains and coasts. Uttarakhand tragedy shows need for tighter regulation to preserve ecological balance The flash floods and landslides that destroyed parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are a national tragedy: many hundreds are feared dead and on Friday.

Third. budget-making should happen at the institution only. Finally. when a think tank renders policy advice. there should be a reduced government role in core funding. there is an emerging consensus about the six principles which are required for achieving intellectual excellence. The modifications of process design in the four Delhi think tanks matters for other academic institutions in India. ICRIER is headed by Rajat Kathuria andNIPFP is headed by Rathin Roy. This was relatively simple work. the role of think tanks in the policy process will go up. It is reminiscent of CEO recruitment in the private sector. As India veers into middle income. this should be grounded in high quality and state of the art knowledge. The ultimate objective of a think tank is to exercise leadership in ideas on public policy. Alongside this. the capacity constraints of the Indian government have worsened. However. In the days to come. it was about finding the rule that was holding the economy back and repealing it. and will exert a positive influence upon the organisation of research in India more broadly. This handover represents an important generation chang in the intellectual life of economics and economic policy in India. The think tanks are facing a surge of requests for work and are scrambling to strengthen their HR and other processes in order to achieve commensurate ability. While these four institutions are good by Indian standards.Liberal democracy requires an interplay between ideas and action in shaping policy. In the international discourse. Both these factors have led to an increased role for think tanks. which requires much more knowledge. Four think tanks in Delhi matter disproportionately: National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The four key think tanks of Delhi have finished a generation change in leadership. With the problems of universities in India. Institutions across . achieving progress was relatively straightforward. not just in envisioning the future but also in operationalising it. RepEc has a ranking of the top institutions of Asia (http://goo. there should be no government approval required for budget. In April 2013. we have a striking change in scenery with an average age of the four directors of 50. and to participate in policy reform. they are weak by global standards. and the low impact of think tanks outside Delhi. for two reasons. (Disclosure: The columnist is a professor at NIPFP. As an example. which is significantly measured by the RepEc rank. In previous decades. the failures of the universities have brought think tanks to prominence in public policy. making progress requires a constructive agenda of designing laws and institutions. NCAER is headed by Shekhar Shah. Centre for Policy Research (CPR). In India. where the sweet spot is the age from 40 to 50. there should be complete flexibility in recruitment of students. The impact of the four leaders will be primarily about the extent to which they are able to push further in these six directions. In recent years.gl/fqT8Q) by academic output. there should be a big role for competitive processes for gaining funding for research. but the views are personal). the complexity of economic policy has risen sharply. Their process innovations will matter for the quality of economic policy reform.CPR is headed by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. these four institutions loom large in shaping the climate of opinion. In a country which ordinarily reveres the old. NIPFP was at rank 41 and NCAER was at rank 87. it helps if the head of the institution has strong intellectual accomplishments. Now. Second. Fifth. First. Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and National Institute for Public Financeand Policy (NIPFP). and the technical capabilities in Indian economic policy. The disproportionate impact of the four think tanks of Delhi stems from their greater compliance with these rules. all four major Delhi think tanks have finished one major task: handing over to the next generation. Fourth. One challenge for the four leaders will be to modify internal policies and procedures so as to improve this rank. there should be high inequality of wages: two staffpersons of the same seniority and rank should get different wages. and are now a lab where new processes for academic institutions will arise.

Universities in India have floundered under the burden of awful constraints and process deficiencies. India is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. While working out and implementing a plan for sustainable development of the eco-sensitive area is a long-term solution. New Delhi should help reconstruction in Iraq External affairs minister Salman Khurshid‘s just-concluded two-day visit to Baghdad marks a thaw in India-Iraq relations. a national disaster management plan is yet to be in place. In addition. the CAG found that the government seemed unconcerned about these deficiencies. equipment and training. a recent CAG report found that National Disaster Response Force was yet to be established ―as a well-equipped. set up in 2006. A large segment of its population lives in areas vulnerable to natural hazards.2 billion. while 59 per cent of the country is vulnerable to earthquakes. the tragedy played out in the Himalayas has once again exposed a callous and criminal neglect of the Union and state governments to prepare for dealing with such calamities. What is worse. Consequently. has reduced parts of Iraq to a . India needs a more normal arrangement of society where universities are the crucible of new thinking. which is now engaged in a huge reconstruction activity. It has also invested heavily in Iraq‘s oil i ndustry. Around 76 per cent of India‘s coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis. cloudbursts and landslides in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand are yet to emerge as rescue workers are trying to reach cut-off areas and evacuate thousands stranded without much relief. the disproportionate impact of the four Delhi think tanks will continue. As head of the national disaster management mechanism. Based on findings across nine states from 2007-08 to 2011-12. accounting for import of nearly 50 per cent of Iraqi oil. The National Disaster Management Authority. well-trained specialised force‖. India importscrude oil worth $20 billion from Iraq but exports only $1 billion worth of goods to Iraq. With a bulging population of 1. then. 13. Yet despite the passage of the Disaster Management Act in 2005. particularly its public and private sector firms. it is still a democracy with which the world‘s largest democracy can engage in a long-term relationship based on many commonalities. given the political instability that still prevails there. India. China has already established a huge presence in Iraq. However flawed Iraqi democracy may be. theirs is a purely commercial relationship. especially in terms of deployment or suitable manpower. The importance of the visit can be gauged by the fact that no Indian foreign minister had visited Iraq since the late I K Gujral in 1990. He and his Iraqi counterpart have expressed a desire to take the bilateral ties to a new level. For instance. with the US-led allied forces. has neither information nor control over response to disasters and has failed to execute most of its projects. It observed: ―The reaction of the NDRF was an essential element of our tests. can play a major role in Iraq‘s reconstruction. prime minister Manmohan Singh must himself take the lead. 10 per cent to floods and river erosion and 68 per cent to droughts. taking heavy risks. which many Western nations are scared of providing. We noted that the deficiencies in this regard were not recognised and remedied. India must overhaul its disaster preparedness The true dimensions of the death and devastation caused by flash floods. What prompted South Block to think about Iraq may have been the need to reduce India‘s dependence on Iran from where it imports the largest quantity of oil after Saudi Arabia but the thought has a lot to commend itself.‖ The Himalayan tragedy underlines the urgency of immediate action. Iraq badly needs technology in various sectors.India that seek to improve themselves look at process design that is used at the four Delhi think tanks. 12. In the long run. But till then. improvements in the four will help kick off competitive dynamics. The war. even the full potential of their bilateral trade is not being exploited. first with Iran and. Distressingly. This must change.

―Everyone rushed to the top of the building we were staying in. while there are food. These comprise people waiting for their family members to return. and Chamoli districts. Phata and other areas. I somehow survived as the river hit the lower part of the building. a confluence of very heavy rainfall. Radhamohan lost connection with the rest of his crew. money is flooding the Uttarakhand Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre.m. A woman was simply swept away. there is also politics Uttarakhand is abuzz with helicopters whirring in the skies. the Disaster Mitigation Centre and hospitals in the city. approached our building. even as Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde asked VIPs not to visit the area lest relief operations be hampered. she couldn‘t even cry [out] for help. cloudbursts. in search of his wife Prabha Tapadia.‖ Prabha‘s daughter Ankita Tapadia said as she waited in Dehradun with her brother for news. carrying boulders and debris. thanks to its oil resources. are burdened by anxiety. Every day.‖ said Radhamohan Soni as he waited to catch a flight back to Rajasthan from Jolly Grant Airport here. Disaster Mitigation Centre. floods. the women had gone to the river to freshen up when a humongous wave of water. government . Infrastructure has to be rebuilt and defence forces trained and equipped to meet Iraq‘s challenges. have also to be rebuilt. it looked as though she got dissolved in the water. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas on Saturday. Unlike many war-torn nations. L. Last Sunday (June 15) and the day after.N. and landslips devastated Rudraprayag. Uttarkashi. Similar was the case with many who stood in front of the airport. however. on Monday. Section Officer. Ankita is restless but hopes to find her mother. Survivors. Ministers from all over the country are chipping in with aid. including museums and libraries. ―Disaster management is a new concept. water and biscuits. The BJP called for declaring the event a national calamity.‖ said Radhamohan. including some foreigners. Baghdad is in a position to finance its reconstruction. recalling the horror of floods that hit Kedarnath.2013) 1.06. a throng gathers in front of the airport. CURRENT AFFAIRS (23. Having no information from theauthorities. having found no safe place to drop them. Politics too reared its ugly head in the time of crisis. it can contribute significantly to Iraq‘s reconstruction. which is why it will take some time for the authorities to understand how to work in this field. In several places.rubble. Many institutions of culture. who has been missing since June 17. with enlarged printouts of photographs of missing friends and relatives. had converged. Many copters returned with the food packets. While different States announced aid.‖ said Pradeep Shukla. where Char Dham pilgrims from all over the country. Disaster management in disarray In this time of adversity. If India plays its cards well. sweeping it away and filling it with debris. While officials have declared that the rescue operations in Kedarnath are over.‖ he said. ―My mother was on her way back from Kedarnath. ―The water swept [everything] away in front of my eyes. food packets dropped by helicopters were swept away in the river. other States have lent a helping hand. All this has happened this past week after massive rains and floods ravaged the Himalayan State. Tapadia has moved between Guptkashi. While the ineffectiveness of the Uttarakhand government has come to the fore. ―Around 7 a. the authorities in Uttarakhand seemed clueless about how to handle the situation. he was sitting forlorn in front of the airport gates.

Snowden said the NSA had hacked into Chinese mobile phone companies and even targeted the elite Tsinghua University in Beijing.S. The former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee.‖ the commentary said.S. however. published acommentary on Sunday strongly attacking the U.S. Ecuador‘s Foreign Minister confirmed on Sunday evening that Mr. Xinhua. amid recent tensions on cyber security — the decision by the authorities in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) to let the whistleblower leave was seen by analysts as underscoring Beijing‘s keenness to prevent the issue from derailing its overall ties with Washington. had asked for a provisional warrant to be issued to arrest the 29-year-old. whose revelations have embarrassed Washington by detailing a vast domestic and overseas surveillance programme being run by the National Security Agency (NSA). Hong Kong‘s decision to allow Mr. Beijing will no longer have to grapple with the tricky challenge of deciding his fate. The banner of one of the well-maintained pandal reads ‗BJP Rahat Shivir [BJP relief camp]. may have led the Chinese leadership to have been seen as weak by a domestic audience that has closely followed the case. The SAR. The government said in a statement on Sunday that documents provided by the U. has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age. was ―bound for Ecuador via a safe route‖ for the purposes of asylum and was accompanied by diplomats from the country.2013) Part 1 1.‘ In this time of adversity. were quoted as saying they were puzzled by how Mr.S. Snowden‘s apparent usefulness to China as an intelligence asset — at the very least.S. which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks.S. water and biscuits. Yet despite Mr.S. was alsoaccompanying Mr. Snowden‘s arrest ―did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law‖ although it did not specify what those requirements were. and fruits to the needy. Snowden and had helped arrange his ―safe exit‖ from Hong Kong.S. has its . biscuits. Reacting to the report. for his extradition. which is under Chinese sovereignty. to score a point over the U. ―requesting clarification‖ on Mr.S. U. In a fresh exposé on Sunday published by the South China Morning Post. U. enjoys autonomy on a number of issues. While the Hong Kong government said he had left ―through a lawful and normal channel. the Hong Kong government said there was ―no legal basis‖ for it to prevent him from travelling. Snowden had put in a request for asylum.‖ U. according to a statement issued by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.S. wants him handed over The Hong Kong government on Sunday allowed American whistleblower EdwardSnowden to board a flight to Moscow. Snowden had been allowed to travel to Moscow as they had revoked his passport last week. Snowden‘s earlier revelations regarding hacking attacks targeting computers in Hong Kong. rebuffed as Hong Kong lets Snowden leave NSA whistleblower to go to Ecuador via Moscow. seeking Mr. Explaining its decision to allow Mr. Sarah Harrison. CURRENT AFFAIRS (24. by allowing the whistleblower to leave for another country. adding that Washington needed to ―come clean about its record first‖ with ―the drama around Snowden [supporting] China‘s stand on the issue of cyber security‖. ―They demonstrate that the United States. a member of the WikiLeaks legal team and close aide of its chief Julian Assange. there is also politics. the official Chinese news agency. Snowden to leave.authorities and journalists and groups distributing water.06. cold drinks. who arrived in Moscow on Sunday evening. While extraditing Mr. Snowden to the U. rejecting requests from the U. The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement backed the decision made by Hong Kong. while there is food. The Hong Kong government said in its statement it had formally written to the U. Snowden to leave came after the U. officials. Mr.

and as input for further statistical exercises. But when juxtaposed with the fact that the UPA government. The fact that nearly 14 million jobs were created in two years till January 2012 may be interpreted as a remarkable achievement. First.724 households (59.2 per cent in 2011-12. said that he was ―thankful to the countries that have been doing the right thing in these matters‖. ―What is being done to Mr.01.‖ he said. it exposes itself to the Opposition flak of jobless growth. including his right to free communication‖. Coming as it does ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 — and the detailed reports of the sample survey are likely to be available when the elections are round the corner — the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) may well go to town highlighting the marked increase in the number of jobs created in its second term.‖ Be that as it may. ―In line with the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR and the principle of ‗one country. a former Spanish judge. In fact. who is himself fighting extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. what was the type of 13. ―WikiLeaks hopes that Ed Snowden‘s rights will be protected. there is nothing much to crow about in inferences that can be drawn from the data collected in the 68th round of survey conducted during the period July 2011 to June 2012.700 in rural areas and 42. the NSSO indicators are aimed at doing just that. the central government has always respected the Hong Kong SAR government in handling issues in accordance with the law‖. 2. has thrown up a slew of disconcerting facts. Assange.‖ added Baltasar Garzon. the overall rate of . Especially so when the BJP-led regime of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which sought to hail its five-year stint as ‗India shining‘ — another matter that the slogan bombed at the hustings — actually added over 60 million jobs. While releasing the survey pointers on June 20. instead of starting a competitive debate to score brownie points on who did what — as has been witnessed many times earlier on GDP growth rate comparisons — it is high time that political parties indulge in the more constructive and serious business of taking the economy on a higher growth path and quality job creation to meet the aspirations of the educated youth while providing gainful employment opportunities to the rural folks.024 in urban areas) surveyed from 7. two systems‘. the NSSO has released the key indicators. the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said: ―The detailed results of surveys on employment and unemployment are usually brought out by the NSSO through a number of reports. for use in planning. well in advance of the release of its reports. Snowden‘s rights and protecting him as a person. decision support. In order to make available the salient results of the surveys. based on the central sample of 1. he said.own Constitution and an independent judiciary. Mr. which has been swearing by its motto of inclusive growth and job creation. more so when the sharp increase in additional jobs came about at a time when the Indian economy was experiencing a downturn with the GDP growth slipping from 9. ―The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. but defers to Beijing on foreign policy and defence matters. ―Hong Kong SAR is a society ruled by law. policy formulation.‖ spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing.268 urban blocks spread over all the States and Union Territories. saw the creation of a mere one million additional jobs during its five-year tenure from 2004-05 to 2009-10. 2012) especially at a time of growth deceleration? How is it that alongside.3 per cent in 2010-11 to 6. legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Mr Assange. the survey indicators. So. Julian Assange — for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest — is an assault against the people. NSSO data analysis: High time for political parties to take the economy toward higher growth Whichever way one looks at the key indicators of employment and unemployment released by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) recently. Snowden and to Mr.469 villages in rural areas and 5.9 million jobs added in two years (that ended on June 30.

Significantly. or simply opting out of the job market.5 per cent in 2011-12. while manufacturing and services made up for 24 per cent and 27 per cent of the workforce.7 in 2012 as against 3. the percentage was higher at 3. with that for males at nearly 56 per cent and for females at 23 per cent . back to the future Notwithstanding President Hamid Karzai‘s anger and the deep resentment in Kabul at the Taliban conduct during the opening of their Doha office on June 18 and the statement issued by them on that occasion. which is clear from the percentage of women taking up self-employment rising to 59 per cent in 2011-12 from 56 per cent in 2009-10. respectively. rural women are shifting towards self-help groups and self-employment. . As if the fall in the labour force participation rate (LFPR) is not worrying enough. which revealed that 54 per cent of the respondents were more pessimistic about landing jobs in India in 2012 as compared to the previous year. the male workforce may be moving to urban areas for comparatively more stable wages and finding its way to the construction industry.8 per cent. the labour moving out of the farm sector must be provided avenues of employment and this can be made possible by increasing manufacturing activity and raising t he sector‘s share in the GDP from about 15 per cent to 25 per cent. if nothing else. In the unemployed male category.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent in 2012.unemployment during the period also rose and was more pronounced among women? If only primary work is taken into account. as per the programme under implementation.3 in 2010. as their activity may be designated as family household chores. or 9. With agriculture providing only seasonal employment. Perhaps owing to shrinking job opportunities at certain levels of education and consequent longer study periods for achieving higher qualification.S.1 per cent to 24.S. the task before the government is laid out while its policy direction is on the right track. In Afghanistan.4. However. declining from 26. Ostensibly. Also for the first time. especially among urban males and females. where will he turn for funds. Mr. Also. the percentage rose from 2.4 per cent. a steeper decline is witnessed among rural females as is evident from the workers‘ population ratio (WPR) in that segment.-based Gallup. another disconcerting datum is the fall in this indicator among women. which includes other work apart from the primary area of employment. it could also be that a large segment of rural women are not being categorised in the employable workforce in the WPR. to keep the administration such as it is and the Afghan security forces going? In any event. respectively. this category includes work under the national rural employment guarantee programme.4 million in 2012. Karzai will also realise that he cannot defy the U. 3. Clearly.2 million jobless persons in 2010. the overall employment in the farm sector. beyond a point for. which accounts for about a quarter of GDP growth. while among women.7 per cent.5 per cent. When tempers cool. According to National Statistical Commission Chairman Pronab Sen. there is little doubt that talks between the United States and the Taliban will take place sooner rather than later. In the second category. which also goes on to reflect the quality of casual work on offer. This perhaps explains why there is an overall increase in the number of self-employed with this category growing from 51 per cent to 52 per cent of the employed workforce. or 10.2 to 3. fell from 50 per cent to 49 per cent.4 per cent to 103 million from 106 million. while for women it was 2. This is also corroborated by a survey by U. A shift from agriculture labour is welcome in terms of higher farm productivity. to 3. the unemployment rate went up from 2. along with the number actually employed falling 2. as formal jobs are not available for the asking. the initiative is now with the Taliban and itsfriend and mentor Pakistan and they stand to gain even if the talks do not get off the ground for some unforeseen reason. the LFPR fell from 40 per cent in 2009-10 to 39. the jobless rate for men went up marginally from two per cent in 2010 to 2.

Also. its ire was not against the Taliban per se but against their connection with the al Qaeda. Karzai. even with severe social restrictions. Pakistan got strategic space and more than $11billion. He was completely unfazed by the nature of the Taliban. and clearly felt that only the Taliban could create stable conditions in Afghanistan to make this possible. The Pakistanis obliged and hundreds of low level al Qaeda operatives were given by them to the U. the U. In 1998. Assistant Secretary of State.S. even then. officials at that time were particularly focussed on evacuating Central Asian hydrocarbons through pipelines across Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U. they are indigenous. Two months later. U.S. It was allowed to .S. to tacitly trade the unending fighting and chaos for a measure of peace and security. Notwithstanding the disquiet expressed by many influential U. Such is the measure of its strategic desperation that contrary to its earlier position. she said.S. 1996. He wasobviously following the success of the Taliban in Kabul with a sense of satisfaction. it would be instructive to turn to its approaches towards the Taliban in the 1990s.. Robin Raphel.S. This was at a time when they were hosting training camps where members of terrorist groups operating against India were also being trained. called the Taliban ―a significant factor in the Afghan equation and one that will not disappear anytime soon. began to be unhappy with the Taliban and.‖ It is especially noteworthy that the Taliban record on human rights was characterised thus. has already gone to great lengths to accommodate the Taliban and Pakistan.N. Human rights then as now have never come in the way of hard national interest. at a dinner hosted by our High Commissioner. a senior U. That evening in Islamabad. No statement or comment since June 18 mentions the political process as mandated by the Afghan Constitution at all. Why? Osama-bin-Laden reached Afghanistan from Sudan a few months before the Taliban captured Kabul. Why? U. gave the Taliban every opportunity to give up the al Qaeda and make peace.S. to receive the Taliban team. By 2004 the Taliban. the U. the U. The State Department strongly lobbied with many embassies. women groups on Taliban attitudes on gender issues Ms Raphel sta ted ―the real source of their power has been the willingness of many Afghans. oil company. with Pakistani assistance.S.. The Taliban effectively captured Kabul on September 26. including its theological orientations. could take on the Taliban insurgency. He developed a close nexus with the Taliban leadership. it has accepted the Taliban‘s vague assurances regarding Afghan territory not being used tofoment violence outside the country. approach In order to assess how far the U. Ms Raphel also advised all countries to engage with the Taliban and put that suggestion in practice a month later when a Taliban team led by Mullah Muttawakil visited Washington ostensibly at the invitation of a U. attitude towards the Taliban changed in 1998.S. Secretary General called a meeting of countries with ―interest and influence in Afghanistan‖ in New York. They also said that they were not against India. will go in this direction and how much pressure it will bring to bear on Mr. In return. they have demonstrated staying power‖. especially Mullah Omar.S. including our own. the al Qaeda attacked U. The Taliban team was received by a middle level diplomat. Following 9/11. they are Afghan.‖ In a pointed message to those who considered the Taliban creatures of Pakistan. ―.S.S. Prior to 9/11. It was only then that the U. post-2014 and post-Karzai .S. at which this writer was present. They said that they should be considered Afghans. for many months the U. At that meeting the U. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and it became apparent that Osama was using Afghanistan as a base to plan his attackson western targets. and its European partners had almost given up on the reconciliation process and the focus was on a credible Afghan presidential election so that an effective and cohesive political leadership. particularly Pashtuns. diplomat was one of the guests.The U. allowed the Pakistanis to virtually nurture the Taliban provided they handed over members of the al Qaeda.S.S.S. had gained sufficient strength to begin operations in Afghanistan and the Taliban insurgency had begun.

especially to Pashtun areas to warn against the long-term dangers the Taliban represent to Afghanistan‘s future. Kerry of India‘s misgivings about the Taliban and that India will act to protect its interests in Afghanistan.. if not defeat. It must forthrightly inform Mr. one intelligence officer. the same officer meticulously followed up on every small clue that became available and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) was ultimately able to acquire the names of those involved and the details of their activities prior to and immediately after the incident.S. Abdullah and Qanooni. Amrullah Saleh. policymakers will have to ponder over the reasons for the strategic reverses. a list of groups that could have carried out the attack. and the tenacity of the Uzbek leader. More than ever.S. Kao. Karzai is no Massoud but he can meet the current challenge even now if he abandons the narrow politics he has pursued since 2001. he was soon noticed by India‘s legendary spymaster. 1993. From very early on in his career. It included among other things. In the days that followed.N. Mr. Perhaps this is too much to ask of Mr. There. in fact. the courage of the Hazara leader. Remembering a perfect spy On March 12. The officer was B. Mumbai was hit by a series of bomb blasts. Raman displayed an unwavering commitment to his work. had drafted a detailed note for the Prime Minister. not inclusive of Afghanistan‘s diversities. Following the Kerry visit. with remarkable candour and occasional humour in his blog. By that evening. Is it because of a continuing ambivalence on Pakistan and the lack of a clear. Raman was an IPS officer of the 1961 batch who served for a time in the Madhya Pradesh cadre before deputation to the Intelligence Bureau in New Delhi. He wrote about this battle. Our diplomacy while remaining realistic and flexible must not be oblivious of this basic aspect. and similar incidents that had occurred previously in various other countries. who passed away on June 16 to cancer that he described as the last terrorist in his life. Along with them he needs to travel. Mohaqiq. after the elimination of Osama. We must especially underline that India will not allow itself to be excluded from international diplomacy over Afghanistan. On their part.: Faustian bargains cost lives and much more.S. tell you the . But that is mainly for the U. The Taliban are part of the Afghan landscape but their vision of the country‘s future is flawed for it is exclusionary. Karzai‘s challenge In the 1990s. An exhausted U. specific and sustained Pakistan policy or are the reasons Afghanistan specific? The Af-Pak concept has clearly failed. This. with all its risks. who took him to the Research and Analysis Wing when it was formed in 1968. along with like-minded countries. Iran and the Central Asian states on developments in Afghanistan. As for the U. India must urgently hold consultations with Russia.gain strength because deep down some influential sections in Washington subscribed to the Raphel Taliban Doctrine. is essentially attempting to revert to that doctrine. he needs the skills of the Panjsheri leaders. as was his wont. Dostum. Karzai. the analytical capacities of the former Intelligence Chief. of their country in Afghanistan. Meanwhile the Taliban are out of the shadows and Pakistan is back at the centre of international diplomacy on Afghanistan. public to consider. The Indian leadership cannot confine itself to the pious principles contained in the government‘s statement of June 21. R. U. so different from the others he had fought in his eventful career. Such is the measure of America‘s strategic desperation that it has accepted the Taliban‘s vague assurances and gone to great lengths to accommodate the outfit 4. Raman. an assessment of likely motives. working hard and fast. The Afghan situation will certainly figure prominently in Secretary of State Kerry‘s discussions in Delhi. along with his vast knowledge and the ability to recall details of events even after the passage of decades (he could. the Taliban and Pakistan could not fully achieve their objectives largely because of Ahmed Shah Massoud.S. as was the case in the 1990s.

Raman never backed down and insisted that the information we were sharing had been doublechecked and. India. a rare role model. a bilateral investment protection agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterpart Salman Khurshid.S. That is why Indian diplomats discounted the possibility of an early works agreement with Westinghouse on the sidelines of the dialogue. with the design cleared by the regulator (one could cost over Rs. His detailed study in the 1970s on the various ethnic groups of Burma is widely considered as one of the best of that time. We don‘t agree on quick-fix solutions. 5. when Sikh militancy was a major security problem. During the 1980s and early 1990s. will seek to narrow down their divergences on a host of issues ranging from civil nuclear.S. Having done most of the heavy lifting for India at the Nuclear Suppliers‘ Group. His standing in the international strategic community was evident when Stephen Cohen asked him to write a chapter for his book. less punitive visa rules for Indian IT professionals. it is still discussing two crucial aspects. Another company. Kerry has been soft on terrorism because of his close ties with Pakistan‘s political and military leadership. nuclear reactors in India. He started writing prolifically on strategic issues after his retirement in 1994 and was much in demand at conferences and workshops not only in India but also abroad. Some western intelligence agencies were initially sceptical about our claim that these groups were receiving assistance from Pakistan. a staple of Hillary Clinton‘s observations at the previous three editions of India-U. ―We are on a different trajectory though the broad strategy of b oth countries is similar. he was given charge of the desk handling this issue. keenly seeks a breakthrough in the nuclear energy field. Strategy in Afghanistan They are also at odds over the strategy for ending violence in Afghanistan and in an atypical gesture India officially staked out its position on integrating the Taliban which was different from the U. External Affairs Ministry sources said. hence. will seek to narrow down differences Both sides have a long wish list In their 46th but most awaited bilateral dialogue this year. immigration reform and trade to Afghanistan besides taking stock of progress made by their 30 Plus dialogue mechanisms. India‘s major concern is about tough immigration laws imposing stiff upfront visa fee payments for software professionals. In his passing. he was made the pointperson to brief representatives of foreign intelligence agencies about the threat India faced from terrorism and more particularly about the help being provided to these groups from across the border.000 crore). both sides would be sizing up each other especially with South Block feeling that Mr.S.S. His speech on Sunday did little to assuage that feeling as he did not mention terrorism and Pakistan in one breadth. and the country‘s intelligence world.contents of notes recorded by him many years ago) made him a near ideal intelligence officer These rare qualities prompted Kao and many of his successors to entrust Raman with some of the very sensitive tasks that the R&AWundertook. Strategic Dialogue. Raman was heading the counter-terrorism unit of R&AW. and Indian officials here caution against the visit producing a breakthrough in any of the major areas such as export of U. the U. Both sides have a long wish list. reliable. In the first meeting between U.S. He quickly familiarised himself with all aspects of this problem and acquired extensive knowledge of militant groups operating abroad. shale gas.‖ said Indian diplomatic sources. U. But the reactor design of one company promised six reactors is yet to be cleared by the American regulatory authority. preferential marketing arrangement and higher foreign direct investment limits in defence and insurance. India‘s strategic community has lost one of its finest minds. New Delhi says this is non tariff barrier impeding . both at the bilateral and regional level.S.S. line. 40. India and the U. At the time of the Mumbai blasts. setting up U.S. However. As expected.The Future of Pakistan.

wants an early bilateral investment protection agreement but New Delhi says some of its crucial bits are still being formulated by the Finance Ministry. for long. and its friends in the Middle East have helped New Delhi make up for the cut back in oil imports from Iran and defence imports from the U. sought the repeal of the 13th Amendment that followed the July 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka signed between Rajiv Gandhi and J. President Rajapaksa had said: ―I have asked my party and others topropose a Parliamentary Select Committee to look into a political solution. while the JVP has. Basil Rajapaksa and Douglas Devananda. The TNA and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Lack of progress on all these issues does not mean a faltering relationship as compared to the Bush era. which devolves certain powers for the provinces. While parties such as the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) demand its abrogation. It also reliably learnt that External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is likely to visit Sri Lanka soon for high-level deliberations.‖ The appointment comes just two months ahead of the Northern Provincial Council elections scheduled for September. which has 19 members. President Rajapaksa said Mr. has said it will not nominate a representative to the parliamentary panel until the government announces its stance regarding the understanding with the TNA. Key PSC members include Foreign Minister and legal expert G. have boycotted the PSC for different reasons. There were also reports of Dr. Singh expressing concern over certain sections seeking dilution of the Constitutional Amendment. a political rival of the TNA. all drawn from the SLFP-led United People‘s Freedom Alliance. National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon will visit Sri Lanka early next month to hold meetings with senior government leaders here.S. I will accept — and ultimately it has to go to Parliament.000 crore in three years. Panel formed to study 13th Amendment Amid a raging debate on the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka‘s constitution. The UPFA is divided on the 13th Amendment. TNA sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told them that the Indian government had sent a message to the Sri Lankan government at ―the high-level‖. In an interview to The Hindu in July 2011. the Marxist Janatha Vimukti Peramuna. Whatever the Parliamentary Committee recommends to me. headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. the U. Jayawardene. 6. the U. as it is dominated by ruling party members. Parliament Speaker ChamalRajapaksa on Friday appointed Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) veteran and senior Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva as chairman of the committee. On the other side of the fence. 50.S. According to a report in Daily News here. assure Government officials. a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has been formed to study and suggest possible changes to the landmark amendment that created a provincial council system within the unitary state based on a 1987 agreement with India. Menon was here only on a ―regular visit‖ for discussions on regional defence arrangements. The two are in step over improving political and trade ties among India and the U. allies in Southeast and East Asia.R. Peiris. The UNP. The Speaker wants various parties in Parliament to name representatives. The TNA says it has little faith in the PSC. A TNA delegation was in India recently to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and seek his help in ensuring that the amendment was not diluted and Sri Lanka honoured its commitment on finding a political solution. A stronger relationship in the field of education in the coming days would maintain people-to-people ties even if the flow of Indian professionals is likely to ebb. and that it would do all it can to ensure the 13th Amendment was implemented.L.legitimate business activity than an attempt to streamline immigration laws. crossed Rs. too.S. any amendments to the Constitution.S. The main opposition United National Party (UNP). for now. some socialist allies have opposed proposals to dilute the 13th Amendment. Speaking to The Hindu on Friday. the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress are not part of it now for different reasons. .

as the latter believed some numbers given out by the former on exports. 8. But what makes the pass-through problematic is that it undermines the sanctity of public procurement contracts. Govt may scrap SEZ policy Existing units stay operational. these plants face the danger of operating at sub-optimal capacities. Chidambaram that the choice today is between paying slightly more for electricity and not having it at all. If projects are rebid. This is what the Government has now enabled. Ministry officials told Business Standard this had been done to end the turf war between the commerce and finance ministries. especially by the state utilities which would argue that the tariffs fixed in the PPAs were discovered through a process of competitive bidding. which is a risk any entrepreneur should be prepared for making wrong judgment calls on parameters affecting the viability of a project. While the existing SEZs will continue to remain operational. there can be no justification for any renegotiation of the original PPAs. Given that the existing domestic production cannot meet the fuel requirements of many projects that have already been or will shortly be commissioned. is faulty. as far as existing projects go. The Government‘s decision to allow power producers to ‗passthrough‘ the higher cost of coal imported by them. specifically in cases where power purchase agreements (PPA) signed with state utilities do not permit producers to pass through their higher fuel costs to consumers. That would mean taking losses on their books. But thisargument does not justify a violation of tendering norms. If power producers — including those whose plants were entirely fired by imported coal — did not exercise that option. Such provisions can be permitted in projects that are freshly bid. it is probably a result of their determination to bag projects at any cost. "There has always been some tension between the two ministries over the success of SEZs. we are doing a . The above pass-though mechanism is bound to be challenged. which can decide the extent of pass-through to be granted on a ―case-to-case‖ basis. the new competitively discovered tariffs are likely to reflect the ‗real‘ economics of running the plant on imported coal. investments and jobs in SEZs were exaggerated. in the tariff for electricity generated. If power producers bagged projects by quoting aggressive ‗levelised‘ (flat) tariffs that did not factor in fuel price risks. the government is finallyplanning to do away with the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) programme it had launched in 2006 with much fanfare. the only rational and legallytenable solution is for the promoters to exit. power producers will find it uneconomical to import coal. Paying the price Entrepreneurs should be made to pay the price for making wrong calls on parameters affecting project viability. which is what renegotiation of PPAs to incorporate fuel pass-through amounts to.7. The Power Ministry will issue advisories to the Central/State electricity regulatory commissions. those approved may not be notified. The bidding documents clearly provided the option for quoting fuel charges that could be escalated based on some verifiable benchmark. This is not because it may lead to an increase in prices for consumers. The Government will undoubtedly claim that in the absence of a pass-through mechanism. So. One cannot agree more with the Finance Minister P. land could be used for other purposes Plagued by a series of controversies and scams. This is something neither they nor their banks and financial institutions — leave alone powerstarved consumers — can afford. The commerce ministry has asked the Export Promotion Council for EoUs and SEZs (EPCES) to commission a study to Icrier to find if SEZs have met the economic objectives for which the programme was rolled out. it seems. It has been given six months for the study. those approved might not be notified and developers be allowed to utilise the land for other purposes. something that is most certainly going to open a legal can of worms. Giving the same producers the benefit of ‗pass-through‘ for the higher cost of imported coal implies a renegotiation of PPAs signed on the basis of competitive tendering.

we will remain directionless. crisscrossed by the Himalayas that separate the Indiansubcontinent from the Tibetan plateau. officials indicated. compared with $58 billion a year before. has come to the fore. the founder of Hesco." said a senior commerce department official. of which 389 are notified. the then Union minister of state for agriculture. But thereafter. For the past few years. . the report proposed the separation of regulatory and policy making functions of the state and integrating environment considerations into the development policy process. as well as a separate environment policy. given that the country's total exports fell 1. In 2011. in order to become truly responsive to people's needs. safeguarding the interests of local people and enhancing the quality of eco-systems. "The finance ministry feels those have not been met. The Parliamentary standing committees on both commerce and finance have been opposing the policy. "Neither the Centre nor the state government showed any enthusiasm for a separate Himalayan policy. said C V S Negi.76 per cent to $300. 170 operate across India. These are quite impressive numbers. and the chairman of EPCES. nothing was heard on the issue. prepared the "state of the environment report" that dealt with the most important environmental issues such as state planning. It seemed the commerce ministry was also keen to do away with the policy so that it could promote the National Manufacturing and Investment Zones (NMIZ). we see no point in continuing with this scheme and giving them tax subsidies. These were up 17 per cent in 2011-12. The objective of the study was to find if the economic goals had been met. The document said the state would shortly develop its environment policy. compared with $43 billion the previous year. existing SEZs were reported to be doing quite well. At present. said P C Nambiar. Else. under the National Manufacturing Policy. Total investments in SEZs rose to $44 billion in 2012-13. had announced the Centre was preparing an action plan for Jammu & Kashmir. director of the Pune-based Serum Biopharma Park (the country's first biotech SEZ).study by a neutral organisation on whether it has been able to measure up to its objectives. Additionally. the demand has come to the fore once again. offering developers the opportunity to make quick money while enjoying tax exemption. SEZs had generated 1. It has often been said that SEZs have led to large-scale realty scams.074. while preserving the environment. imposed on both developers and units from 2011-12 onwards. It means exports from SEZs accounted for 29 per cent of total exports in 2012-13. The government has so far formally approved 577 SEZs. from $68 billion the previous year. With nature playing truant with the hill state. Demand for a Himalayan policy gathers pace In the wake of killer floods striking Uttarakhand. in 2004. However. social activists and environmentalists in Uttarakhand have been advocating such a policy. 9. former member-secretary of UEPPCB. exports from SEZs rose almost 30 per cent to $88 billion in 2012-13. report for which is now gathering dust. during whose tenure.904 jobs. Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. the "state of the environment report" was prepared. Unless you have a concrete policy. Now. Harish Rawat." he said. As of March 31. that took away the interest of companies in SEZs. This raised the finance ministry's apprehensions." said social activist Anil Prakash Joshi. a dividend distribution tax (DDT) was imposed on developers.6 billion in 2012-13. According to the latest data. The development planning processes need to integrate environmental considerations and concepts of sustainability. Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB). It was the Minimum Alternate Tax. the demand for a separate Himalayan policy dealing with natural calamities. a Dehradun-based non-governmental organisation working in the Himalayan region.

more education." said Bahuguna. why worry? Well. looking at the gender divide. DNA of the future US gene judgment opens up biotech industry . it turns out that the symmetry may not always hold. the unemployment rate was two per cent in 2010 and it increased to 2. the unemployment rate by principal activity was 2. for at least two reasons. the government could take some comfort from the fact that rapidly rising unemployment in response to slowing growth does not pose the same political threat that it does in many of the advanced economies. If members of low-income households stop looking for jobs. rapid migration. which focused on household employment patterns.2 per cent in 2012. offering far less prospects for socio-economic mobility than more traditional salaried jobs. About 57 per cent of rural workers and 42 per cent of urban workers fall into this category. In short. which are apparently in such short supply. the relatively comfortable picture on unemployment masks the somewhat more concerningsituation on workforce participation. "Our main concern is through the new Himalayan policy. the latter reveals a higher unemployment rate in both years.they have almost doubled over the past five years . But is this argument valid? Looking at the unemployment numbers alone. then it would be logical to expect that slower growth would not result in anincrease in unemployment.but if it is otherwise. 11. unemployment should be taken into account into the future policy. if not booming. In January 2010. a relatively large proportion of the workforce is self-employed. Some of this may be for good reasons . It is obvious that the overwhelming majority of these "jobs" are of lowproductivity and high risk. One. it is generally believed that the longer someone has been without a job. in reality.female workers show higher unemployment rates than males but there isn't a significant difference in the increase in unemployment over this period. it hardly suggests astrong relationship between slower growth and rising unemployment. the less likely he or she is to get one. saying big dams were destroying the rich biodiversity of the region. people appear to be finding employment even when growth is sluggish. seem to have opted out of the workforce. Growth and job creation are. Other factors like haphazard growth. water shortage.5 per cent. mutually reinforcing.7 per cent in January 2012. so the increase is not dramatic. The results of the 68th round of sample surveys by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). it rose to 2. Well. 10. Two. Going by these numbers. a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan. So. it is tempting to infer that the two are correlated and that the even slower growth during 2012-13 will only exacerbate the problem. do suggest that unemployment rose between June 2010 and June 2012. while commenting on the separate Himalayan policy. Growthless and jobless? There is indeed a link between growth and employment If all the criticisms of India's high economic growth being essentially jobless in nature are valid. Since 2011-12 was a year ofrelatively slow growth.the job market is robust. Although in absolute terms this translates into about one million people more. perhaps it isn't. what does this do to their families' long-term livelihood prospects? Understanding why these two tendencies are manifesting and directly addressing them must be a priority for the government. for example . supported the idea of a separate policy. Dividing up the workforce between rural and urban areas.The report said UEPPCB should be solely vested with the regulatory role of environment management in the state. particularly women. said a top government official. Again. In fact. with the proportion having risen slightly over the two years. If subsidiary activities were to be taken into account. Chipko leader Sunderlal Bahuguan. A lot of people. we will be able to protect our forests and vast biodiversity of the region. if the growth in wages commanded by unskilled workers across the country is any indication .

The ruling was in a high-profile case filed against the biotechnology company Myriad Genetics by the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP). In a unanimous ruling.000. Myriad was awarded nine patents in 1996 on the related BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Limited DNA mapping kits are available off the shelf for $100.) By comparison. thus giving the patent holder a 20-year monopoly on all research into that gene. or cDNA. a process patent.300 for gene-screening tests for those two genes. synthetic form is called complementary DNA. or gene. which is why it was targeted. the entire human genome can now be sequenced for around $1. However. a patent can be granted for isolated forms of genes. In all three scenarios. the NCAER has found that the Twelfth Plan would see slower growth than the . Policy paralysis could numb 12th five year plan growth: Planning Commission study A study commissioned by the Planning Commission to validate the growth estimates of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan has thrown up a rather depressing outlook for the economy. Those patents are now "half-invalid". An independent think tank. Earlier US practice allowed patenting of both the cDNA and the gDNA. 12. Researchers in John Hopkins and Yale claim they can provide free tests for mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 now that the patent is annulled. The court ruling held: "A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patenteligible merely because it has been isolated. On balance.8%. sending alarm bells ringing in the government. That moat has been lowered. Mutations in these two genes trigger breast cancer. The earlier practice offered greater incentive for research because the patent holder could recoup profits over a long period. A different process that isolates the same gene can work around the patent. has pegged average annual growth for the Twelfth Plan at a mere 4. genes are "mixed" together. The NCAER had been entrusted by the Planning Commission to use econometric models to derive key macroeconomic indicators for this five-year plan. or gDNA. About 40 per cent of these have already been patented. as well as a declaration from the US Department of Justice that it does not support the patenting of naturally occurring genes. in effect. a not-for-profit scientific association. Apart from holding to the basic premise that patents should not cover natural substances or natural laws.000 existing American patents.000 genes. It will trigger a review of over 100. and most importantly. (Actress Angelina Jolie took those tests before opting for her mastectomies. healthcare and medicine. for patients". if the present logjam in policymaking continues." A patent covering cDNA is thus. The AMP and the majority of the academic establishment argue that sweeping patents effectively halt further research into a specific gene and allow patent holders to make exorbitant profits. cannot be patented. Myriad charges $4. "Rollbacks" on existing gDNA patents may have several effects. the ruling should provide for a more rational development of the biotechnology industry and lead to lower healthcare costs as well as faster medical breakthroughs. for genomic science. The NCAER analysis uses three different scenarios for growth based on the extent of reforms that can be pushed through. The human genome contains over 20. Separating a gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention. the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The isolated. In the natural condition. The AMP declared the ruling was "a great step forward for the field of molecular pathology. They may be isolated and synthesised by various processes. The natural form is known as genetic DNA.A recent ruling by the US Supreme Court on gene patenting has huge implications for the biotechnology industry. Myriad Genetics' charges were considered particularly egregious. a nine-member bench has declared that a naturally occurring DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) segment. but that cDNA is patent-eligible because it is not naturally occurring. the court's decision may have been influenced by academic opinion.

the NCAER study says growth would slip to below 5%.8% recorded over the Eleventh Plan period. the NCAER sees growth at 7. But the NCAER expects it to be just 5.9%." states the plan's macro-economic framework. "Strong inclusive growth is the only way for the country to go and the policy agenda laid out in the plan is designed to achieve the objective. "What is more critical is the trajectory of growth and the trends beyond the headline growth. stressing that an average growth of 7. hover in the range of 4.the worst-case scenario. the Confederation of Indian Industry said the industrial slowdown has not bottomed out and sluggish private and government capital expenditure is hurting investment in industry and the economy. in which the policy logjam would persist .7%. Since the first year of the plan saw slower-than-anticipated growth. Its per capita income.Unless there's a dramatic shifting of gears by the economy's managers. the slowest pace in a decade. the chairperson of the National Statistical Commission. Reviewed by ET. which saw 7. 13. A slower economy would also mean only a marginal improvement in poverty numbers from the 28% recorded in 2011-12. NCAER has estimated.9% expansion between 2007 and 2012. Even under the 'insufficient action' scenario. Assuming a 'business as usual' approach . such as the current account and fiscal deficits.6-4. This means the intervening three years. including this financial year. there are .2% assuming a best-case scenario of strong.000.3% of GDP and the fixed investment rate may plummet to 28. growth won't meet the government's expectations.7% from the 31.8% over the fiveyear plan that is already in its second year. Stiff wage laws hold India from tackling high unemployment and low manufacturing base A recent visit to South Africa has provided me the opportunity to study its economy.5%. The real question is if the public policy approach outlined in the plan document is consistent with the high-growth scenario it envisions. the NCAER models are based on "more recent data till 2011-12 and 201213" while the plan document's growth simulations for each scenario were carried out last year using data up to 2011-12. investment rate. based on the Planning Commission's contentious poverty line. the first year of the plan. Despite these differences. In contrast." Sen said. Without coherent and big-ticket policy action. The current account deficit. the economy expanded only 5%. Though the NCAER presented its findings to the Plan panel in April. poverty ratio and inflation. The NCAER's assessment matches the sentiment among industry captains that the worst is yet to come. The Twelfth Plan document had pegged average growth at 8. said Pronab Sen.8% in the worst-case scenario.the slowest pace in a decade.of course. overall expansion is likely to be lower.which envisages a piecemeal approach to reforms . The government expects that under the 'insufficient action' scenario . With a population of just 51 million.8% in the Twelfth Plan would mean growth could soar to 8-9% by 2016-17. the assessment carried out by the NCAER expects growth in 2016-17 to be just 5%. inclusive growth delivered by all-round government action. they have been kept under wraps.7% averaged between 2007 and 2012.growth will be 6-6. is more than five times that of India. also logged 5% growth . to 26. But even in this scenario.2%.8% . fiscal deficit could be at an average 5. in key economic indicators such as the investment rate.5%. Last week. average inflation is expected to be 7. could see much more pain for the economy as the NCAER expects average annual growth over the five-year period at just 4. In 2012-13. South Africa is smaller than 10 Indian states.Eleventh Plan. Back-of-the-envelope calculations based on this fresh projection indicate that average growth from this year till 2015-16 would. when the Indian economy grew by 6. at $8. therefore. The first year of the plan period. 2012-13.the Plan panel had assumed growth of 5-5.9% through this plan period.8% of GDP compared to the 2. Such a slow pace of growth would have a deleterious effect on all key economic indicators. would soar to 3.

Both outcomes can be traced to labour-market inflexibilities.striking similarities between the two economies. ship repair. metalworking. They include mining. With no unions and bargaining councils. engineering goods. textiles. in many sectors. The flourishing sectors in both countries are either capital-or skilled-labour intensive. petroleum products. automobile assembly. the rising political power of the unions and more vigorous enforcement of sector-specific minimum wages in the post-apartheid era have pushed up open unemployment from 17% of the workforce in 1995 to 25% today. The key difference between the two countries relates to the employment status of low-skilled workers. making golden handshakes to layoff workers financially feasible. accounting for 65% or more of the GDP. in principle. The labour-market rigidities in India and South Africa. Services are the dominant sector in both countries. finance and business services in South Africa and automobiles. Given that small and medium firms do not enjoy the same economies of scale as large companies and must borrow capital at higher interest rates. fertiliser. Manufacturing has lagged in both countries. This has resulted in a vast unorganised sector that has absorbed unskilled workers even if in low-productivity jobs at relatively low wages — preventing the low and stagnant levels of employment in the organised sector from translating into large. expectations generate a similar wage effect. Ever-rising wages negotiated by strong labour unions have pushed South African firms toward capitalintensive technologies and sectors. have led to similar structures of the economy. machinery. Alternatively. the bargaining councils extend that wage to small and medium-size companies that are not even a part of the process. Layoff costs are high in South Africa too. The minimum wage exceeds the wage at which sectors such as clothing could compete with imports and create employment opportunities. So. South Africa suffers from 25%unemployment. New Apartheid for Workers In South Africa. these sectors could. open unemployment. their competitiveness crucially depends on the ability to hire workers at lower wages. software and pharmaceuticals in India. though of different types. accounting for just 15% of the GDP. Formal-sector manufacturing firms predominantly produce capital-intensive products such as automobiles in which labour costs per unit of output are tiny. Wages of Threshold Salary Minimum wages that labour ministry periodically announces for unskilled labour-intensive sectors such as apparel and agriculture complement the barriers to employment growth. So. chemicals. While India has 90% or more of its labour force in the informal sector. iron and steel. strict enforcement of the relatively high minimum wage in sectors that could potential provide employment to unskilled workers and the extension of the wages negotiated between unions and large companies to small and medium firms in many sectors have led to large-scale open unemployment. India has allowed the informal sector to operate under largely unregulated conditions. In India. Even greater impediment to employment is the ultrahigh wage. But the existence of ultrahigh minimum wages kills the option. hire unskilled workers at the market-clearing wage and substantially reduce unskilled-worker unemployment. In sectors in which bargaining councils do not exist. the wage hikes discourage the entry of small and medium firms. discouraging firms from hiring workers. once the unions and large companies have negotiated the wage. two-wheelers. formal-sector firms are in skilled-labourintensive services in which laws against layoffs do not have the same bite as in industry. ultra-high restrictions on worker layoffs in the organised sector encourage firms to operate in the unorganised sector. These sectors generate limited employment opportunities for the unskilled workers who then predominantly end up in the informal sector. The Book of Jobs: One for All . Moreover.

15. This is because a patient paying out of her pocket is pricesensitive. For one public sector insurer. less than 25% poor: NSSO Survey Poverty level in the country may have declined significantly between 2009-10 and 2011-12. The fall in the urban areas was flatter. Adjusted for price rise. Meanwhile. Applying these cut offs to the expenditure estimates released by the National Sample Survey Organization last week shows percentage of rural poor is likely to have fallen to 24. implying that for every Rs 100 of premium income. Unemployment and low-wage employment are at the heart of poverty that India and South Africa are combating. the solution to this key economic problem in the two countries is same: greater labour-market flexibility. based on the Tendulkar committee calculations for 2009-10. The hospital seeks to maximise its take whereas the incentive of the insurance company is to minimise the outgo. scientific pricing may help the business turn around. Align incentives in heath insurance Health covers offered by the four public sector non-life companies are set become more expensive. the apartheid-era policies have left a large adult population with limited education and skills.comes to 803 per capita per month for rural areas and 1038. Insurers say a revision is overdue as the pricing is below that justified by the claims experience. Also.6 for urban areas. the claims ratio is 110%. from 16% in 2009-10 to 15. where prices are computed after providing for a markup over costs. Back of the envelope calculations by ET suggest that poverty levels have fallen to less than 25% of population because of a sharp rise in rural incomes and decent performance by the agricultural sector. but the hefty cost of in-hospital treatment. the problem is not inadequate premia. depending on the age of the insured.5% in 2011-12 from 29% estimated for 2009-10. unlike one covered by insurance who may not be worried about the cost of treatment. Despite different levels of per-capita income and country size. giving something to the beleaguered UPA government to hard sell ahead of elections next year. "Yes. poverty has declined. A model where premia are paid to the healthcare provider to keep the patient healthy is also worth experimenting here. chief statistician and secretary of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Making insurance claimants pay a portion of the bill would make them more price-sensitive and vigilant about investigations and treatment procedures. 14. This would help correct the basic misalignment of incentives for hospitals and insurers. making the portfolio unviable.It is tempting to say that as an upper middle-income country. True." said TCA Anant. However. This is bad news for underinsured India. The purchasing power of people has gone up which shows in the consumption story. the latest government survey on household consumer expenditure indicates. Poverty levels decline significantly between 2009-12. The new nation that has emerged post-revolution will take time to educate and skill the future generations. Treatment costs are far higher when an insurancecompany foots the bill than when a patient pays out of her pocket. those with low or no skills must be offered employment and a life with dignity. the poverty line for 2011-12. the company has to pay Rs 110 as claim. Whether doctors benefit from the investigations they ask for at the hospital must be monitored. Despite high average income.5% in 2011-12. reportedly by 20-30%. Insurers must strike tougher bargains with hospitals. Hospitals lack regulatory supervision. South Africa has no comparative advantage in unskilled labour-intensive sectors such as apparel and light consumer goods. The decline is largely because agriculture sector performed well during . But that would be wrong. health insurance should not be just a cost-plus business. But to say by how much I would wait for the Planning Commission figures for that. Greater competition and an efficient public healthcare delivery system will also help bring down insurance premia.

in relative terms there will be a decline in these years because of the rise in incomes. In rural areas. Boost exports. 16." said Pronab Sen. rural demand was very robust. As the experience in retail and civil aviation shows. down from about 290 million in 2009-10. mere easing of caps on foreign direct investment will not help. In absolute numbers. natural fibres and garment sectors. Agriculture sector expanded by 7.5 times that of the bottom-most decile. The reduction in poverty also explains the reduction in share of expenditure on food and a similar rise in non-food expenditure. India could emerge as a regional hub for sourcing components for global automakers by utilising its vast engineering . Sen added. still the average urban monthly per capital expenditure was 84% higher than average rural MPCE for 2011-12. too. It has made progress in information technology and generic pharmaceutical exports. State Bank of IndiaBSE -2. rural wages have risen faster than urban wages.7% to 38. apart from its traditional gems and jewellery. according to the latest estimates. Whereas 2011 was a normal year. Poverty in rural areas is closely linked to agriculture.73 %. National Statistical Commission. there were about 260 million poor in India in 2011-12. due to NREGA. Also. The cumulative effect was that overall wages rose by 29% in rural areas between 2009-10 and 2011-12 against 23% in urban areas. Since recent steps to curb gold imports have failed and there is little scope for easing subsidies on petroleum products in an election year. chief economic adviser. the only way out for the government is to boost exports and investments.9% in 2010 -11 and 3." said Soumya Kanti Ghosh. But the number of poor could rise as the Tendulkar Committeepoverty line has come under criticism for being too low at 28 a day for urban areas and 22 a day for rural areas. Even if the poverty line is set higher. The share of expenditure on food declined substantially from 53. India cannot depend on them to run an unsustainably high current account deficit.8% in 2009-10.5% in the urban areas.6% in 2011-12. Similar was the case with rural women. "In 2011-12. Export of auto and auto components is on the rise and with supportive policy initiatives. It should also try to finance the current account deficit through capital inflows. Despite the drastic fall in poverty in rural areas. A panel chaired by C Rangarajan has been asked to review the poverty line. "During 2009-10. The expenditure of the top 10% in rural areas was 6 times that of the bottom 10%. we experienced high food inflation. Amitabh Kundu. Regardless of whether loose monetary policies by western central banks are ending or not. There is a dire need to expand India‘s export pie. which saw many corporates draw up strategies for the rural areas to tap that growing demand. More people moving out of agriculture may also be a factor in the depleting poverty in rural areas. which explains high purchasing power with the rural population and hence increase in consumption expenditure. And income disparities in rural areas have risen. higher than 2009-10. JNU suggested. 59% of the men were engaged in agriculture as against 63% in 2009-10. when the expenditure of the top-most decile was only 5. investment to arrest fall of rupee The Indian rupee‘s slide to a record low against the dollar exposes the deteriorating fundamentals on the current account side of India‘s external transactions.fiscal year 2011 and 2012 against a drought situation in 2009. economics professor. agriculture performed poorly as it was a drought year. The share in secondary activities like manufacturing went up to 22% instead of 19% among rural men.6% to 48. But its share of merchandise export in global trade is still below 2 per cent. Agriculture sector expanded only by 0. Share of population engaged in agriculture came down to 49% in 2011-12. It should be accompanied by simplifying the procedures and regulation that complicate doing business with India for foreign investors.6% in rural areas and from 40. chairman. The government should immediately implement the recent recommendation of the RBI technical committee to include exportcredit under the Priority Sector Lending and take steps to diversify trade towards emerging markets.

maintained that India greatly valued its relationship with Iran and would prefer to judge and test the intentions of the new leadership before considering such a plunge. civil nuclear agreement by drawing attention to the enormous domestic political capital invested by Democrats and Republicans to ensure New Delhi was given a special exemption by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India was handed an assurance for importing shale gas from the U.S. Navy probe report which put the blame on the three Tamil fishermen. Government policy towards enhancing trade with partner countries and establishing new ties with developing nations in Asia. there is much to do to bridge the current account deficit. Of the large number of joint fact sheets released on every conceivable subject discussed by the two sides. on Monday agreed to set a timeline for operationalising the civil nuclear agreement. Unhappy with compensation India did not raise the killing of one fisherman and the injuries caused to two others by a U. But Mr. warship off the coast of Abu Dhabi in July last year.talent pool. While Washington was able to make India agree on a deadline for clearing Westinghouse‘s mega civil energy project. Officials had earlier expressed concern over double standards followed by Internet companies — denying India access to emails while happily opening their vaults to U. even telling a correspondent that concern was not the right word to use. Mr.S. Apart from Afghanistan.S.‖ He hoped New Delhi would step in to convince the new leadership in Tehran to fall in line with the West. India had promised these multi-billion bonanzas in exchange for supporting its case at the NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency. CURRENT AFFAIRS (25. The Fourth Strategic Dialogue co-chaired by U. Another company GE will set up an equal number in Andhra Pradesh but its reactor design has not yet been cleared by the U. Africa and Latin America will also help promote exports.2013) 1.S. nuclear regulator. Kerry spent nearly half of his 45-minute lecture in convincing India to adopt clean technologies. Differing viewpoints on Iran cropped up during the press meet. Vice President Joe Biden scheduled for mid-July. . Secretary of State John Kerry and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid here reviewed several issues ranging from the status of civil nuclear ties between the two countries through defence trade to education and cultural exchanges — through some 30 bilateral panels. Kerry was strident on Iran‘s refusal to fall in line with the West‘s intentions and lauded India for being ―very cooperative in holding them [Iran] accountable for proliferation. Khurshid sought to play down the controversy. The U. Khurshid. also continued to press India on adopting clean energy technologies.S. The search for alternatives to oil must be speeded up and there should be no let-up inefforts to curb gold purchase. Mr.S. access by its intelligence agencies to emails and other electronic messaging was meant to track patterns and not to read the content. intelligence agencies. The two ministers felt further highlevel meetings should be held to achieve convergence and progress. Mr..S.S.S. recently back from Tehran. In the past. Kerry almost let slip America‘s chagrin at not having tasted the fruits of the India-U. Mr. Mr. At the press conference.S.06. An example of such meetings will be the visit of U. On Sunday. which is likely to accrue by 2016-17. Clearly. India had expressed dissatisfaction with the paltry compensation given to the injured as well as with a heavily crossed out U. The Kerry-Khurshid meeting set September as a possible timeline for resolving two issues that have thwarted Westinghouse from setting up six reactors in Gujarat. especially in strategic issues. Kerry told newspersons that notwithstanding vigorous American efforts to arrest the whistleblower. India assures U. the one on this was the most comprehensive. share of nuclear pie India and the U. another sore issue was cyber-snooping by American intelligence agencies.S.

00 per minute for local calls and from Rs. is a fraction of a voice call.1. though. Eyewitness accounts being gathered by official agencies and voluntary organisations have reported devastation from more than 200 villages so far and more affected villages are being reported every day. including the cost of storage and forwarding facility.1. In nearly all cases. It has not reported on the fate of the thousands — almost all male — who come from the villages in these valleys (and elsewhere) to earn a . the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India‘s move last week to reduce and reorganise national roaming charges fails to go the full distance. thousands of people. bridges. non-roamers. Operators have been mandated to offer special plans where heavy roamers can avail of free national roaming for an additional fixed charge. which had allowed service providers to take unsuspecting roaming users for a ride. The new SMS tariffs are also inconsistent with the recent reduction in 2G data tariffs by operators.40 to Re. This will certainly slow down the roaming SMS gravy train. unlike speech. operators will not be able to recover costs from the roughly 13 per cent of the 860 million subscribers who roam nationally. dams. they would be forced to hike call rates for the 600 million-odd.000 crore revenue loss on account of free roaming. TRAI‘s press release and accompanying documentation fail to explain this anomaly. What doesn‘t add up is the fact that the cost of sending an SMS. To recover an approximately Rs. they are unlikely to do so. While Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal and the National Telecom Policy 2012 had both spoken of ―removing the roaming charge. TRAI would be well advised to review its data-related techno-economic process to acknowledge the importance and convenience of SMSs in today‘s times. roaming costs have fallen from what they used to be but have not vanished. An SMS does not use voice channels.40 to Rs. Even where local SMSs are concerned. the regulator has dispensed with its forbearance policy and placed a ceiling for outgoing local SMS at Re. Gangotri. For telecom operators.00 and STD SMS at Rs. roads. operators are free to charge less. If roaming charges become free for subscribers. TRAI harder on roaming While a step in the right direction. and buildings — anything that stood in the way.13.2.50 per minute for STD calls. which is hardly fair. The catchments of many smaller rivers also witnessed flash floods but the media has yet to report on the destruction there. Consumers ought to pay much less than what TRAI has recommended. lands and animals have been swept away by the floods are in a state of shock trying to imagine dayto-day survival without their basic livelihood assets. the termination charge regime being pursued by operators makes the price exorbitant. villages and towns. In reality.‖ TRAI decided abolition was not feasible. A week later.1. Since this is a cap. and costs just a few paise to send. Kedarnath and Badrinath — to cover the entire State. Distorted coverage The national media‘s focus on the plight of tourists has grossly distorted the true nature of t he tragedy even in the Char Dham area.50/SMS. While keeping incoming SMSs free. Moreover. The problem begins when TRAI approaches data — specifically SMSs — with a mindset trapped in voice telephony-related network costs.1.1. this would mean the poor subsidising the rich. The telecom regulator has reduced the ceiling for outgoing voice charges for a roaming subscriber from Rs. ceiling tariffs for incoming calls for a roaming user have been cut from Rs. domestic watersources.75 to 75 paise per minute. Similarly.1. agricultural fields. animals. Villagers whose homes. The untold story from Uttarakhand It is one week since Uttarakhand‘s worst disaster in living memory.2. 3. Flash floods resulting from extremely intense rainfall swept away mountainsides. But the deluge spread far beyond the Char Dhams — Yamunotri. TRAI has retained the element of choice. irrigation canals. media attention remains riveted on the efforts to rescue tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists visiting the shrines in the uppermost reaches of Uttarakhand‘s sacred rivers.

is scheduled. Consciousness created by the pioneering Chipko Andolan raised the hopes of village women that their new State would pursue a green development path. where community ownership of these forests would provide their men with forest products-based employment near their villages instead of forcing them to migrate to the plains. soft drinks. Odisha‘s super cyclone in 1999. canes. These can hardly be called ‗freak‘ events. new policies for the revival of tourism in Uttarakhand must follow an open debate. it is important to understand the nature of the rainfall that deluged the State. a oncein-12-years event. Uttarakhandi people repeatedly described the special character of the region. The abject failure of the State government. They help run the dhabas that line the entire 14 km trek route from GauriKund to Kedarnath. Local residents tell of village after village in the Mandakini valley below Kedarnath resounding with wails from homes whose boys and men have not yet returned and are now feared de