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Showing posts from August 8, 2017

Rouhani’s challenge (.hindu )

Iran’s President begins his second term in daunting circumstances at home and abroad

Hassan Rouhani has formally begun his second term as Iran’s President in especially challenging circumstances. Conservatives at home are pushing for a hard-line agenda, Sunni states in the Gulf are consolidating a regional alliance against Shia-majority Iran, and the U.S. is turning up the heat on the country’s missile programme. Mr. Rouhani, who won the election on a moderate platform, had drawn hope during his campaign that he would build on the momentum his first term had generated and initiate social reform. It was never going to be easy, given the resolve of the clerical establishment to push back any major attempt to change the status quo. In Iran’s complex, multipolar political system, the President runs the government with a popular mandate but the security establishment reports directly to the Supreme Leader, who can override the government on critical issues. What Mohammad Khatami tried and…

Food for action: on food security in India (hindu)

The Supreme Court directive should lead to better access under the Food Security Act

The National Food Security Act, 2013, has met with prolonged political indifference, but there is some hope now since the Centre has been asked by the Supreme Court to ensure that States implement key aspects of the progressive law. The directives in the Swaraj Abhiyan case underscore the depressing reality that several State governments have not met key requirements in the legislation which empower the common person in securing subsidised food. Sections 14, 15 and 16, which require the setting up of a grievance redress mechanism and a State Food Commission with responsibility to monitor the implementation of the law, have been heeded only in name, as in Haryana, or not at all. Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s claim last November that the Act covers the entire country is, therefore, not consistent with the facts. As the court has pointed out, Article 256, which casts a responsibility on the Sta…