Sri Lanka is one country with which India has had a mixed bag of a relationship. Of late the arrest of fishermen from Tamil Nadu has been a frequently disturbing issue even as India is playing an important role in the reconstruction of the island following the civil war. Now India has decided to re-affirm its commitment to its southern neighbour, especially with regard to the process of settlement and rehabilitation after the 30-year long ethnic strife.
India expresses commitment to help Sri Lanka
YK Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, has stated that Sri Lanka is now making efforts to attain a future without the hiccups of the past. As per the data provided by the High Commission, India is spending more than 1.3 billion US dollars in various developmental projects going on around the country. In fact, in this regard India has been one of the major difference-makers.
Modi treading a dangerous political path
Narendra Modi is riding a crest of popular adulation these days having completed more than 2 months as the Prime Minister of India. However, chinks are appearing in the package of promises. Like, before he became PM Modi had promised that there would be wide-ranging reforms that would change the very fabric of Indian economy. However, there is no indication of any reform of such magnitude happening. Even economists who had been supporting him prior to the elections are now disappointed over the promised reforms.
One of the major problems that have been holding back India’s growth has been corruption and too much regulation. In fact, many people within India as well as investors from outside the country had been disenchanted by these situations and ventured elsewhere. This had left the economy in a perilous state as well. However, with Modi’s agenda things were expected to look up. But that is not happening. Till now the Modi administration has not been able to take a single step, as per the analysts, that could bring the economy back on the rails. In fact, some have gone to the extent of saying that Modi’s has been merely an extension of the UPA regime. The talk of reforms is no more convincing.
The first budget has been the subject of maximum criticism from almost all quarters. As it is, the Left wing thinkers and economists, as well as opponents, have found it to be a faulty one since it virtually contains no sops for the economically depressed classes. Now, even the industrial sector is terming it to be a unsatisfactory one. The budget has been unable to streamline the welfare schemes introduced by the previous government. Experts are saying that lack of action in the matter represents a major missed opportunity.
The goods and services tax, in order to be implemented, needs to be agreed to by the states. The NDA also lacks a majority in the Rajya Sabha and this has created a big-time constitutional problem as far as smooth passage of critical reforms is concerned. However, there have been some bright areas such as the decision to allow FDI in railways and the steps taken to make sure that the bureaucracy is more streamlined than before.
One of the major problems in the economic reforms undertaken by Modi has been the preference shown to the service sector, which is evident from the way it has been provided several economic benefits in terms of taxation and investment opportunities. He has also vowed to modernize the armed forces and in an attempt to do that critical sectors such as education and health have not received the requisite amount of attention. There has also been lack of clarity on important issues such as changes in the UPSC examination pattern and changes to labour laws.
It is high time that the national government looks at these areas and finds ways to address the issues as quickly as possible.
Bill to change collegium system for judges’ appointments passed in Lok Sabha
The Lower House of Indian Parliament passed a couple of Bills (the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill) on Wednesday that are supposed to bring to an end the collegium system for appointing judges. The system, which has been in vogue for a long time, a couple of decades, has been used for employing judges at Supreme Court and the various high courts of India.
Before the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill was passed, the Congress raised a minor objection and once the NDA accepted to implement the suggestion the whole process became a piece of cake. In fact, the provision, which Congress objected to, was being regarded as an important part of the Bill. The Congress stated that it was going to curb the independence of judiciary and also make the executive more important in this case.
It is expected that the Rajya Sabha will clear the Bill before Parliament’s monsoon session ends.
After the Rajya Sabha too passes the Bill, it shall be provided to the states so that they can ratify it. As per laws, the Bill should be approved by at least 15 states. This needs to be done before it is sent to the President for his signature.
BJP leader stirs trouble with controversial speech
An inalienable aspect of the BJP from its earliest days has been its unflinching adherence to the ideals of Hindutva. Today Yogi Adityanath, a lawmaker from the BJP, started a controversy by stating that Hindus need to be organized so that they can retaliate in case they come under attack.
States such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been suffering from communal disharmony of late and it is in such a context that Adityanath’s comments appear to be even more problematic.
In fact, the 42-year old MP, who hails from Gorakhpur, has also been charged with cases where his role in sparking tension has been called into question.
It only remains to be seen how the national party tackles this particular issue.