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Showing posts from December 19, 2016

Demonetisation has hit arrival of tourists’( the hindu)

The figurehead of foreign diplomats in India has warned that the demonetisation process is likely to hit people-to-people contact between India and the world.

Speaking to The Hindu on Monday, Dean of Diplomatic Corps in India, Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, said that tourist flow to India has reduced since demonetisation was announced on November 8 and the government’s plan continues to prevent diplomats from carrying out duties.

“Iranian and Sudanese medical tourists are facing trouble due to demonetisation as they mostly do not have bank cards due to sanctions on their countries. Similar is the case with the Cubans and Afghans who are complaining about the currency exchange limit,” said Mr. Castellanos, elaborating that the tourists who chose India months ago as their winter destination have been cancelling travel plans.

Mr. Castellanos, as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps first approached the government on November 11 complaining about the h…

Do not kill man-eating tigers, leopards: HC( the hindu)

Three months after a tigress was declared a ‘man-eater’ and killed in Uttarakhand’s Ramnagar area, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday ordered that no wild animals in the State, including tigers, leopards, and panthers, should be killed or declared ‘man-eater’.

“No wild animals including tigers, leopards and panthers shall be declared man-eater or rogue and killed in entire State of Uttarakhand,” the Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma stated.

The Court further ordered that the wild animals who posed a threat to human life must be “captured alive by using a tranquilliser gun in the presence of a veterinary doctor. The captured animal shall be thereafter released in the nearby forest or kept in a zoo temporarily and thereafter released in its own habitat”.

Since most of the killings of man-eating leopards and tigers are done by the State forest department, which hires professional hunters for the task, the High Court stated that no private hunters c…

States need to buck up(the hindu )

Policies for water, sanitation and hygiene need to be strengthened, particularly at the State level.

Policy priorities evolve or change with time. As we transition from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are taking policy centre stage in most emerging and developing countries. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is, for instance, a manifestation of this importance. One vexing situation has been the large disparities in access to WASH services across different segments of the population. Worldwide, 663 million people lack access to safe water and 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. In India, 128 million lack safe water services and about 840 million people don’t have sanitation services. How can this be improved?

Our search for answers began with an analysis of the various WASH policies formulated by the Central and State governments. Specifically, we analysed the robustness of WASH policies that were formulate…

The world according to Trump( tthehindu)

The pronouncements and appointments of the U.S. President-elect suggest the balance of outcomes may be positive for New Delhi, but it is early days yet.

It is now a month since the U.S. presidential elections and the surprise win of Donald Trump, a rank outsider. His political predilections were ambiguous and it was not clear whether, once coming into office, he would continue to adhere to the many apparently improbable and even outrageous campaign promises he had been making — such as building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out, deporting illegal immigrants, penalising China for currency manipulation and unfair trade, and making U.S. allies pay more for their own defence. For the past month, Mr. Trump has been busy announcing several senior-level appointments in his incoming administration, and these give some indication of the likely changes one should expect in U.S. policies, both domestic as well as external. There have also been some statements from Mr. Trump himself which on…

Risks of Trump’s China policy ( thehindu )

The seizure of an American underwater drone in the international waters of the South China Sea by the Chinese Navy marks the latest flashpoint in bilateral relations that have entered uncharted territory with the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. Though it is not clear if the capture of the drone, which China agreed to return later, was a junior-level act by sailors or a strategic move directed by Beijing, Mr. Trump has seized the moment to step up his anti-China rhetoric. Interestingly, the incident comes days after he broke diplomatic protocol and accepted a congratulatory call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that invited an angry response from China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. Despite repeated assurances from the White House that the basic building blocks of U.S.-China ties have not been altered, Mr. Trump escalated matters by questioning the One- China policy. Throughout the election campaign he had maintained that he would renegotiate the t…

Grappling with water disputes(thehindu)

Apermanent tribunal to adjudicate river water disputes between States will undoubtedly be a vast improvement over the present system of setting up ad hoc tribunals. The Union Cabinet’s proposal to have a permanent tribunal that will subsume existing tribunals is expected to provide for speedier adjudication. But whether this will resolve the problem of protracted proceedings is doubtful. Given the number of ongoing inter-State disputes and those likely to arise in future, it may be difficult for a single institution with a former Supreme Court judge as its chairperson to give its ruling within three years. Secondly, its interlocutory orders as well as final award are likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court. This month, in a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court said it had unfettered power to hear an appeal arising from a river water dispute tribunal under Article 136 of the Constitution. It has interpreted the ouster clause in the Inter-State Water Disputes Act as one that merely…

Juniors lift hockey world cup( thehindu/)

With 25,000 people cheering the boys in a stadium that could accommodate just 15,000, the Indian junior hockey team was crowned the world champions, dominating and dismantling Belgium 2-1 in the final of the Junior World Cup here on Sunday. It was a clinical performance that had both Indian flair upfront and European stubbornness in defence as the host came close to the ‘perfect game’ the team management had hoped for. Belgium tried to defend like it always does but for once, the Indians, instead of trying to break their structure, simply slid past the defence and created gaps. This was Indian hockey’s first-ever world-level title in 15 years, the last being its maiden win in the same competition in 2001. It was also the first time that a host has won this title.

SC wants woman pilot to get permanent wings (thehindu)

Court rejects Centre’s view that Air Force officer has no entitlement to a commission “Let her fly... let her be airborne all the time,” the Supreme Court told the government, taking Air Force woman pilot Sandeep Kaur under its protective wing. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur offered relief to Ms. Kaur in her fight against the rules of the “Establishment,” under which her time as a pilot was over. The Union, represented by Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, had appealed against a December 13, 2016 order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), directing the government to reconsider her application for permanent commission and let her continue to serve the country. Ms. Kaur’s application for a permanent commission was rejected in March 2016. The establishment said she was not “entitled” to seek one. The AFT told the Union to allow Ms. Kaur to stay on if she qualified and was found suitable. The AFT asked the authorities to decide her application in two months. But the Union …

Questions from a washout ( The Hindu.)

That the winter session would be washed out had been clear for a while. With the Opposition parties mustering all their disruptive tactics to stall the functioning of both Houses, insisting on maximalist demands on just how the debate on demonetisation should be structured, hopes for any substantive work had diminished. In the event, the session also left a hysterical afterglow, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling a gathering in Gujarat that he had to speak his mind in a “jan sabha” (people’s meet) as the Opposition wouldn’t let him do so in Parliament; and Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of the Congress party, complaining that he was not allowed to make earth-shattering disclosures on the floor of the House, but then keeping them close to his chest outside. With theatrics such as these, both the Government and the Opposition have left a question hanging in the politically charged air: what was the point? What did either side gain by bringing Indian parliamentary democracy’s most …

Bridging the learning deficit(thehindu)

Almost five decades after India first formulated its National Education Policy, the Ministry for Human Resource Development appears to be gearing up for another revision to this policy document, and not a moment too soon. The state of education, particularly in the critical primary and pre-primary years, is far from satisfactory. Since the early 2000s, successive governments kept up momentum on a sustained investment push into schools in a bid to resolve what was viewed as a supply-side problem. AsThe Hindu’s recent series on primary education, Learning Deficit, highlighted, it was hoped that through this effort children in elementary education would be provided with classrooms, uniforms, textbooks and other teaching materials, and a larger contingent of teachers. Thus, this approach hoped to tackle low enrolment rates. Led by government schools, public investment in education helped raise the gross enrolment ratio from 81.6 per cent of children in the 6-14 age group in 2000 to 96 pe…