One of the major criticisms leveled at the recently brought out budget for the 2014-15 fiscal is that it did not have much in store for the economically depressed classes such as the farmers. It was also being implied by some that the party’s pre-poll promise of good days for all was basically a farce since it had no good news for the predominant socio-economic class of the people in India. However, it seems now that the government is looking to make amends and trying to improve such an image by providing 50 per cent subsidy in seeds and diesel to farmers in areas where sufficient rainfall has been absent.
Diesel, seed subsidy to farmers affected by scanty rainfall
The monsoon so far has been weak in most places in the country and this is why the Union government has seen it fit to provide the farmers with much-needed relief in terms of diesel and seeds. The main purpose is to save the crops of the kharif season from the effects of paucity of monsoon. This benefit will also be applicable to states whenever they are declared to have been hit by a drought. The subsidy ceiling has been raised to provide relief in case the seeds have to be sown again.
Lack of definite policy on English raises questions
The Indian government may have done away with marks secured in English in the Civil Services Aptitude Test in order to appease the protestors who have been saying that since English is a foreign language it should not be regarded as a marker for inclusion in important areas like employment and society at large. The main argument of the students who have been opposing the preference granted to English in civil service examinations is that it is a significant disadvantage for students who have never studied in the English medium.
Now it needs to be remembered that India is a country with 22 languages and at least 350 dialects. So, it is impossible for any one of these languages to be declared as the lingua franca of India since that could give rise to protests in other provinces. English is an international language and capable of solving this conundrum. However, for that to happen it needs to be spread to the grass-roots level which is unlikely.
Committee set up to look into Parliament House security
The Indian Parliament House came under siege from terrorists 13 years ago and ever since that fateful day there has been much speculation as to how could the miscreants breach the security of what is supposed to be one of the most important buildings of a country. However, the government is now taking steps to ensure that such an incident does not repeat itself. A committee has been appointed to look into the critical matter of strengthening the security of the Parliament House . The committee has been give a month’s time to do research and submit a report on methods that will be useful in making Parliament House more secure.
Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, has formed the committee. It is will be led by RK Singh, who had served as the Home Secretary. It will also have Harish Chandra Meena, former DGP of Rajasthan, and Satyapal Singh, erstwhile Commissioner of Mumbai Police, as members. The Joint Secretary (security) of the Lok Sabha Secretariat is also expected to be included in the said committee. As of now, the panel is supposed to function on an ad hoc basis.
40% of India’s coasts have eroded: Study
The government has revealed that on an average 40% of the country’s coasts have been eroded as revealed in a recent study. The study has also stated that the degree of erosion is not uniform, however, and ranges from low to very high. Prakash Javadekar has provided a written reply to the Lok Sabha on this issue where he has stated that 46.30 per cent of Gujarat’s coastline has suffered erosion, which perhaps makes it the number one in this regard.
It remains to be seen what steps are taken by the government in order to control the erosion. Erosion of coastline could have a detrimental effect on the way the common people, who live in these areas or near them, spend their lives as well as their earnings. It is also important to safeguard the interests of the wildlife that depends on the sea for their food and study the effects that erosion of coastline could have on the same. As of now, one can only wait and watch.
Government plans to launch vaccination against rotavirus
The Indian government is looking to bring about a vaccine for countering rotavirus. This will be part of its universal Immunization programme. However, it has divided the opinions of health researchers. One group has welcomed this decision only to be countered by the other group that has raised questions regarding the efficiency and levels of safety of this decision. Rotavirus has been cited as the commonest reason as far as death of children from diarrhoea is concerned. In India every year 8 lakh children are hospitalized with such diseases and unfortunately 80,ooo of them lose their battle against this deadly virus.
Upon the insistence of the Prime Minister’s office the Union health ministry has decided to introduce the vaccine by this year itself. In the initial phase, the government will be procuring 10 million doses that will be used in certain districts – ostensibly the ones where cases of this disease are reported the most. The national technical advisory group has also made a similar suggestion in this regard. The vaccine is supposed to be a low cost one, which perhaps will make it affordable for most.