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Showing posts from March 20, 2015

Unlocking growth through labour reforms(hindu)

The Hindu “Women have difficulty participating in the industrial labour force.” Photo shows women workers involved in clearing silt under MNREGS at a tank in Kumular. Photo: A.Muralitharan TOPICS labourlabour disputelabour legislationwork relations The primary policy challenge is to increase employability and help shift labour from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs Over 25 per cent of the world’s workers are Indian. And 300 million young people are set to enter the labour force by 2025. With an average age of 29, India’s population is in the middle of a demographic boom. By 2020, when the global economy is expected to run short of 56 million young people, India, with a youth surplus of 47 million, could fill the gap. It is in this context that labour reformsare often cited as the way to unlock double-digit growth in India. Why reforms? Because India still does not use its vast labour force productively or judiciously. In 2014, India’s labour force was estimated to be about 490 mil…

National policy for Upper Houses? (Hindu Editorial)

The desirability of a bicameral legislature at the State level has been debated since the days of the Constituent Assembly, and recent developments may revive the debate. Assam and Rajasthan want to join the small seven-member club of States (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh) with a Legislative Council in the country and Odisha is also examining the creation of one. A second chamber has always been attractive to those who believe in

It’s time for India to join the Mine Ban Treaty

Left over from a previous phase of conflict, India’s landmines are no longer useful,instead producing severe hardship on border communities India, since its independence, has been a passionate advocate of disarmament measures in the United Nations system. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, “India has a long-standing commitment to the goal of general and complete disarmament based on the principles of universality, non-discrimination and verification...” In 1996, India voted in favour of a UN General Assembly Resolution urging states to vigorously pursue an international agreement banning anti-personnel mines. However, in 1997 when the Mine Ban Treaty came into existence, India chose to remain outside it. This key contemporary disarmament measure has saved thousands of lives. Eighty per cent of governments in the world have joined this treaty, and the UN Secretary General has acknowledged it as a ‘near universal’ convention. But India is still waiting and watching from out…

The long road to growth (Hindu Editorial)

As power lines and roads slice up forest cover, it becomes clear that a knowledge economy must tackle development with a wider perspective than that of mere short-term gains In just two meetings in August 2014 and January 2015, the National Board for Wildlife considered projects involving over 2,300 hectares of land in and around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. In four meetings between September and December 2014, the Forest Advisory Committee considered diversion of over 3,300 hectares of forests for 28 projects. All the proposals were for linear projects and most of them are likely to be cleared. Linear infrastructure projects — roads, trains and power lines that make long intrusions into forests and stretch ribbonlike over thousands of kilometres — are the new threat to our forests, in addition to submergence by dams or clearing for mining and agriculture. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been gradually diluting the norms for such projects. It h…

Status quo in Israel(Hindu Editorial)

The re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu after his Likud Party secured the first place with 30 out of the 120 seats in the 2015 Israeli legislative elections came as a bit of a surprise. Exit polls pointing to a better showing by the centrist-moderate coalition, the Zionist Union including the Labour Party, turned out to be wrong as the Likud emerged with far more votes than what was expected. While the Likud lacks a majority of its own, it now gets the right to form the government in coalition with other parties, and it is clear that Mr. Netanyahu will be Prime Minister for a fourth term. The Likud victory, belying expectations, can be attributed to the polarising campaign led by Mr. Netanyahu who took a hyper-racist position denouncing Israeli Arabs and rejecting, in the run-up to the polls, the statehood demand by Palestinians. The triumph of the right wing also reflects the sharp change in attitudes in Israeli society that has become militantly opposed to any g…

Hitting all the wrong notes in J&K(Hindu Editorial)

The Central government headed by the BJP does not possess the kind of levers needed to deal with the ground realities in Kashmir. It needs to do more than merely making strong statements from time to time in the belief that this would check the profligacy of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and his cabinet on matters of security Events in Jammu and Kashmir seemingly appear more surreal than real, making it difficult to separate the truth from perceptions. The 2014 elections in Jammu and Kashmir had raised expectations of a significant shift in a progressive direction as far as the State was concerned. The national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had between them secured over 45 per cent of the vote, an increase of more than 14 per cent when compared to the 2008 elections. Thus, the perception was that this would herald closer cooperation between Srinagar and New Delhi. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be happening — at least not yet. Skewed mandate

A…

Highlights of the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015 Introduced in Lok Sabha

The Finance Minister, in his budget speech, while acknowledging the limitations under the existing law, had conveyed the considered decision of the Government to enact a comprehensive new law on black money to specifically deal with black money stashed away abroad. He also promised to introduce the new Bill in the current Session of the Parliament.

Rajya Sabha passes bill to auction mines

(Reuters) - The Rajya Sabha passed a bill on Friday to auction mines that supply minerals like iron ore and bauxite for the first time, in a thumbs up for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bid to kickstart an industry that has languished for years. The passage of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation bill by the Rajya Sabha was crucial for Modi because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lacks a majority in the second chamber. The bill will now be taken up by the Lok Sabha, where BJP enjoys an overwhelming majority. A bill to auction coal mines is also likely to be passed later on Friday by both houses. The mining sector in Asia's third largest economy has been mired in controversy over the illegal allocation of resources, causing a near standstill in granting permits to open new mines for firms including South Korean steel giant POSCO. India was once the world's third-largest exporter of iron ore but is importing heavily now due to court action on illegal mi…