Indian fishing boats to be released by Pakistan
Upon becoming the prime minister, Narendra Modi had stated that one of his major aims will be to improve the relations between India and Pakistan. To this end he invited Nawaz Sharif, his Pakistani counterpart to his swearing-in ceremony and the Pakistani prime minister was also gracious enough to accept the invitation. As a sign of improving relations between the two countries, Pakistan freed 150 fishermen belonging to India during May and now is slated to release 57 boats that had been seized from them. In fact, it is Nawaz Sharif who has instructed that the boats be released.
From July 18 to 20, a delegation comprising 9 members visited Karachi from India in order to check the condition the boats were in. They also discussed with the officials of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), the various procedures that needed to be followed in order to secure the fishermen’s release. As per the official statement of the release, the PMSA has made every effort that the boats are in fine fettle, but some small changes need to be made before they can be declared to be completely fit for handing over to India. This indeed is a commendable step on part of Pakistani authorities and shows their willingness to improve relations with India.
Opposition alleges late reaction of government on Gaza genocide
Of late, the genocide in Gaza has been the talking point of the world with protests all around but the Indian government seems to be immune to all of it. The opposition parties have claimed at the Rajya Sabha that the national government has not reacted at the right time to the ongoing spate of violence at Gaza and, as is usual, the government has also rejected the same. Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of opposition at Rajya Sabha, brought the topic up for discussion at the Rajya Sabha on July 21 when the short duration discussion started. Sushma Swaraj, the union external affairs minister, however retorted that the debate had been placed on the House’s list on July 16.
Swaraj said that India had provided a careful response to the same on July 15 through a combined statement by the members of BRICS. Swaraj also indicated the diplomatic relations established between India and Israel that took place during 1992 when PV Narasimha Rao was the prime minister of India. D Raja of CPI meanwhile asked the Indian government to send across a firm message on its stance on Israel and enquired about the reasons behind maintaining a distance from both Israel and Palestine.
Arun Jaitley asks income tax officials to up the ante to track black money
Arun Jaitley has asked the income tax officers to make concerted efforts in order to track the amount of black money in India. Black money is one of the major menaces faced by India, one that has been dragging the country down with it. Jaitley has pointed out that there is a huge reserve of black money within the country. He has also asked the officers to deal with the offenders in a firm and polite way. Many would remember that during the UPA regime a list was brought out that supposedly contained the names of dignitaries from India who had accounts at Swiss banks.
However, the said report is yet to see the light of the day and no one knows the names of people whose money has been stashed away from the country. So, this step can be viewed in a positive way and one can hope that rampant acts of economic crime such as tax evasion and financial mismanagement that can help in amassing a lot of black money.
Sanskrit week condemned by M Karunanidhi
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had decided to celebrate Sanskrit week in all its schools but the said decision has attracted a lot of criticism in Tamil Nadu with prominent names like M Karunanidhi, the president of DMK, joining the voices of denunciation. He has in fact asked that the said proposal be only applied to states where Hindi is spoken. The senior politician has also implored the government to issue a new circular on the issue.
In order to defend his statement, Karunanidhi has also cited the dictum of Indian government whereby it was stated that Hindi should be used in social media in only those states where the language was spoken. He has urged the government to take a similar viewpoint on this particular issue as well. Karunanidhi has also asked the Indian prime minister to look into the livelihood problems being faced by the common people, as according to him, it is the only factor that can prevent a clash of ideas. It needs to be said that this suggestion from Karunanidhi is an extremely practical and thus a really thoughtful one.
Health minister calls for nationwide opinion on euthanasia
Many would remember the film Guzaarish by Sanjay Leela Bhansali where the main protagonist, upon being crippled, asked for legal permission to end his life and when his request was denied he contested the law in order to fight for the same. Euthanasia has always been a highly debated topic in India – on one hand, Indian laws do not permit the same and on the other, there is also the question of morality and righteousness in prolonging a life of agony. Now, the issue has received some much-needed impetus with the union health minister supporting countrywide consensus on the same.
Harsh Vardhan, while speaking on the issue, has stated that there should be no hurry in taking a decision on the same. Euthanasia primarily involves mercy killing of patients who are terminally ill and have no chances of coming back to any semblance of health whatsoever. He has reasoned that since this is a highly important issue and one that also involves a significant amount of emotion there should not be any rush to take a decision as such. The importance of this issue can be judged from the fact that prominent media houses are calling for active euthanasia but with stern security measures.