Indian government has lodged a strong protest with the US regarding the latest snooping controversy and made it absolutely clear that such acts are not to be expected from a country that is looking to establish friendly relations. The US, meanwhile, made an effort to assuage India’s worries and professed its commitment to be a partner with India in its aim to guarantee all round development. John Kerry, who is presently visiting India, has stated that the developmental goals of Narendra Modi are similar to ones held dear by Barack Obama, the US president. He has also stated that the privately held companies of the US are eager to play a major role in India’s development.
This stance of the US shows the strides made by India, supposedly the lesser partner in the relation in the last few years. For a global superpower like the US a promise to be a partner in development could be interpreted as a way of apologizing for what is surely an unsavory act. Kerry has already had a high level meeting with Sushma Swaraj, the union external affairs minister. It is expected that this meeting will prepare the ground for the meeting between Modi and Obama during September this year.
Government’s amendments to labour laws face sharp criticism from labour union
The Indian government has changed a number of labour related laws that have been in existence since almost time immemorial. It has increased the overtime hours in a financial quarter from 50 to 100 hours and also permitted women to work in night shifts. These changes are part of the national government’s initiatives to change the labour laws and have already drawn sharp criticism from the labour unions in the country. The said amendments have been made to Factories Act, Labour Laws, and Apprentices Act. In case of labour law amendments certain establishments have been exempted from maintaining registers on a regular basis and providing information on returns.
While labour unions around the world are known to be against government dictums, in this case, it needs to be said that the objections are justifiable. If certain establishments are allowed to get away without furnishing information on their returns it will allow them to accumulate untold riches and freedom from maintaining registers will give them the right to exploit their workers as they see fit. The decision to allow women to work in night shifts is even more baffling given the condition of their security all around the country. Perhaps, the government needs to do a rethink on this one and if the need be recall them.
Government looking for more inclusive Financial Inclusion Mission
The Indian government is looking to bring about a new Financial Inclusion Mission that is expected to be more inclusive than its predecessor. It is supposed to cover both urban and rural areas. As per this plan, fixed point business correspondents are going to be set up in each and every sub-service area, which is supposed to take into account 3-4 villages at a time. The programme is also supposed to focus on areas such as financial literacy, which is going to be especially useful in the rural areas as far as the misappropriation of these people in monetary areas like investment and income is concerned.
It is being expected that this program will be properly monitored at various levels like the centre, states and districts. As per this plan, online accounts are expected to be set up for the beneficiaries and all the accountholders are supposed to be given RuPay cards, which they will be able to use anywhere they wish to. The previous regime, UPA, had envisaged a comparatively limited version of the said plan with the basic aim to cover people without bank accounts.
Indian government set to bring about National MNP plan in 2015
The national government is expected to bring about the plan for national mobile number portability or MNP in 2015. It is being stated that the plan will be implemented by the first quarter of the next year. This is going to be an exciting prospect for the mobile users as it will give them the leeway to change operators as and when they please anywhere in India. As of now there are not more than a couple of companies that offer such services.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has stated that the two companies have only around 5 years before their licenses come to an end and this may necessitate the issuance of more licenses so that more service providers can operate in this domain. The service has been there in India from January 2011 onwards and it has been used almost 100 million times till then. As of now, consumers can only use this service within the circle that they are part of. This is expected to a great boost to people who move around the country on a frequent basis.
India now a space partner with 33 countries
India has entered into partnership with 33 countries as far as peaceful usage of outer space is concerned. The list includes the following names – a mixture of some major economies and some up-and-comers:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- The Netherlands
As part of the cooperation India will be working in areas such as remote sensing of the planet, space exploration, satellite communication, space law, launch services, capacity building, and tracking support and telemetry. Of late, India has taken some strides in the domain of space research under the aegis of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and these co-operations will allow India show some of the progress. In fact, ISRO is already looking to add to its capabilities such as communication support and deep space navigation.