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My Notes- 14JAN2016 14-01-2016

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Talks with Pakistan – To Talk or not to Talk

 

Indian policy towards Pakistan seems to be a lack of coherence with oscillations between talks and no talks. After Pathankot incidents again the choice between talks and no talks is discussed. In this context, it shall be said that the only way forward to achieve progress is dialogue. The past experience proves the same.

If history is observed, during VP Singh era, foreign secy level talks were first initiated on confidence building measures. Prime Minister IK Gujral, kept it in a eight point framework composite dialogue. Since then, by and large India Pakistan talks are guided by this framework. Incremental progress was also made on many issues but the outcomes of one matter is linked to progress on others. Typically to Kashmir by Pakistan.

Since 2008, changes in Pakistan domestic policy against terrorism, Prime minister Modis Neighborhood first policy, USA withdrawal from Afghanistan, Robust Chinese investments in Pakistan created a new environment and hope for progress on talks. The major challenge in this scenario is managing the rising expectations. So, new round of talks between NSA and Foreign Secy are initiated away front the media lens.

 

India =s excessive focus on Pakistan is distracting it from healthy economic engagement, limiting it to south Asia and restricting its wider diplomatic engagement. So, the way forward is to maintain tranquil at the borders and to continue talks without arbitrary redlines. It shall be a win win situation for both the nations. Stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest.

 

Canada India FTA – Challenges

Trade between India – Canada stands around $6bn and investments from Canada to India are around $586 mn way below their potential.

The FTA that intends to take forward is temporarily halted due to disagreements. These include

1)      BIPA – Bilateral Foreign investment promotion and protection agreement – Canada want India to ensure the rights of their investors first before moving forward for FTA.

2)      Investor-state dispute settlement mechanism – In case of a dispute, India wants investors to exhaust all remedies domestically available before approaching international tribunals. Canada is skeptical in the light of judicial delays in India.

3)      Retrogressive Tax laws – In case of a change in Taxation policy, Canada wants India to protect the investments from these changes.

4)      MFN forward and ratchet – According this, any benefit offered to any other country through FTA shall automatically apply to Canada and similarly any liberalization of policy shall be extended to Canada and vice versa. India believes that it will decrease its policy space.

 

India -China – Pakistan  

India can leverage its relationships with China on issues of terrorism involving non state actors from Pakistan. Visible influence of china on Pakistan in particular and South Asia in general is clearly visible. $46bn CPEC, China in Afghanistan talks, Kashmir connection between the countries makes China involvement in control of terror elements to bear fruits.

 

On the other hand, growing India-Japan- USA relations are seen as a containment by China. US-India Joint vision statement on Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region with the USA categorically mentioned Freedom of Navigation and overflight on South China Sea. For the first time, it also extended their engagement outside south Asia.

 

At this moment, Indias toughest challenge is to balance the both and to appeal to China to use its good offices in Pakistan for peace in the region.

 

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

The program changes the present NAIS and modified NAIS to increase the reach of agricultural insurance for the Farmers.

The scheme will have a uniform premium of only 2%  to be paid by all farmers for Kharif and 1.5% for Rabi crops. It is 5% in the case of horticultural and cotton crops.

Government expects the scheme to increase insurance coverage to 50% of total crop area.

 

DPP – Issues

Make in India - Defence procurement

Government made changes to the defence procurement procedures to boost Make in India. These include

1)     DPP 2016 will have a new category indigenously designed, developed and manufactured category. Mandatory 40% domestic content for a domestic design or a mandatory local content of 60% if design is not Indian.

2)     Department of defence production will fund private R&D

3)     Offset policy is amended and the bar is raised from 300cr to 2000cr  ( 30% of  contracts value shall be manufactured in India)

4)     In the bidding process, additional weightage is given to the performance rather than relying only on lowest bidder.

5)     MSME will be encouraged in defence procurement

India is the second largest importer of Weapons and is bund to grow to $100bn by next decade and the country has no strong military industry complex. It is very critical for local employment generation, strategic purpose and provide for a research base for the country.

The present procurement policy though made some superficial changes, it failed to address the systemic weakness

1)     In India, domestic military industry is dominated by the PSU and are a drag on an economy.

2)     The duty exemptions, self-certification benefits offered to foreign vendors are not offered to Indian companies.

Free Basics

The ongoing discussion on free basics raised some fundamental questions and solutions on use of internet in India. These include

1)     Internet as a right – state shall take the responsibility to provide the connectivity to all.

2)     The public consciousness today recognizes Internet not just in pure market terms but also a social phenomenon that require regulation in public interest.

3)     The net neutrality discussion is further extended in to platform neutrality to disallow the manipulative practices by social media giants like Facebook.

WDR – 2015 – update e gov notes on digital divide

The highlights of the report are

1)     Automation of jobs in some cases leading to inequalities in labour markets between high skill and low skill workers.

2)     Big data can violate laws and rights of the people.

3)     NGO are very active in digital citizen engagement in partnership with Government. Ex – I change my city, I paid a Bribe and Karnataka BVS.

4)     A poor business environment and vested interests often holdback digital adoption.

5)     A new under class is created due to digital under literacy.

Obama s final state of the Union address and achievements as a president

1)     Shift of USA diplomacy from Unilateralism to multilateralism

2)     Iran nuclear deal and diplomatic engagement with Cuba

3)     Successful economic turnaround from crisis

4 point formula for future

1)     Economy shall secure the oppourtunities for all

2)     US shall harness the power of technology to tackle climate change

3)     Safety of Americans in and outside the country without involving in military conflict

4)     American leadership shall foster a less hateful national politics.

 

 

 

 question of the day

digital equality and inclusiveness are the determinig factors of development in this centuary. Discuss the challenges before it?

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