UPSC IAS The Hindu Current Affairs 8 Feb 2018 highlights are:
- They allow for flexibility to continue political engagement and economic cooperation with their common adversary.
- They avoid entrapment of being dragged in to a partners dispute and potentially in to a conflict.
- At the same time, strategic partnership provides for regular political and military interactions for a collaborative approach to strategic policies.
India and Japan relations perfectly figure in to the above relationship.
- India will not get deep in to Japan disputes and the same is the case with Japan. A mutual cooperation exists on the wider issues where win win situation exists.
Important developments of India – Japan special strategic and global partnership are
- Japan is the only country India allowed to invest in infrastructure in North east.
- There is a joint infrastructure project development – Asia – Africa Growth corridor.
- Japan and India agreed to have annual summits and 2+ 2 format for defence and foreign ministers meeting.
- India is buying ShinMaywa Amphibious ships from Japan.
- Japan is investing in infrastructure development in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Nuclear deal in danger
Trump’s continuous tirade against Iran nuclear deal appears to be an end to Obama era pragmatism. Nuclear deal was successfully able to stop Iran form developing a nuclear weapon. Added to this, Iran never violated the deal. In these circumstances USA imposing sanctions against Iran, will set a dangerous precedent in international agreements. Iran nuclear deal being multilateral agreement, President shall end his rhetoric.
A big broom
Government effort to release names of shell companies, Name and shame its directors may not yield sufficient results to fight unaccounted money. In the process, there is a possibility of harassing genuine companies or directors.
The best way forward is to arrest systemic shortcomings.
Tax payer rights and obligations
Indian tax administration system shall move from an enforcement to a service based model. Intentions of reforms are good but they are reactive. DTAA, GAAR, transfer price mechanism, implementation of GST all have challenges.
improvement in taxpayers’ service, enhanced use of information and communication technology, exchange of information with other agencies, expansion of tax base, compliance management, etc. Need to be improved to make tax administration Service oriented.
Beyond social Media
In India Geographical indications (Registration and protection) act 1999 has provided for registration of Geographical indications. There is no effective monitoring mechanism for quality compliance of the same. Unlike this in the European regulation clearly provides for monitoring at multiple levels. India also shall have the same.
8th February 2018
Congress carved up nation, ruined democracy, says Prime Minister
India has a democratic tradition form the past. In ancient India, lichhavi, buddhist sangha, gan rajas all accepted conformity and dissent.
Art 356 is the most misused in Indian constitution. It was used more than 90 times to dismiss state governments.
Whats’s wrong with one identity
One nation, one identity through Aadhar can ease or simplify functioning of government. but, it also reduces a life to a number. If Aadhar is not there it can lead to civic death.
Call for democracy
India as a democracy is committed to pluralism, rule of law political and civil liberties. Is India is interested to export the same to other countries is a major question. Other major democracies like USA are actively interested in promoting democratic values and spirit. If necessary, even by force. but, there are many inconsistencies in Indian policy on this front.
In 2000, India joined community of democracies and Prime Minister Vajpayee has stated that advancing democracy as one of the possibilities of India-USA cooperation. later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 launched UN democracy fund which aimed to strengthen democratic institutions across the world.
At the same time, in 2007in reaction to situation in Myanmar foreign minister Pranab mukharjee stated that though India values democracy, it is not interested in exporting ideology.
Indian policy evolution on democracy as an international project can be seen through lens of cold era and China.
The traditional Nehruvian approach prescribed a light Indian foot print in to sovereign realms of other states and minimising interference and coercion. But, 1970’s and 1980’s are the periods of active intervention. Indian military assistance to srilankan regime to fend off radical left wing rebellion in 1971, assistance o emergence of Bangladesh and interference in srilanka against LTTE, operation cactus in Myanmar are few examples.
After 1990’s there is a clear policy of non interference in neighbourhood. 1997 Gujral doctrine specifically spoke of accepting internal problems of neighbouring countries, non exporting of democracy and developing friendships though positive inducements. It has paved way for strong Indian relationship with military regimes. Ex – Myanmar.
Today, home land security and geo economic considerations dominate our thinking on the issue.
Biologics, patents and drug prices
Indian patent act has many inventions to stop the ever greening of patents. Any patent if needed to be extended
- It has to show improved therapeutic efficacy
- There shall be a technical advancement over the previous drug.
- Patents for combinations can only be allowed if they show synergistic effects
- No exclusivity can be claimed on methods of treatment.
In inflation’s shadow
Monetary policy committee has kept the monetary policy rates unchanged. But the fear of inflation is coming large for the following reasons.
- Commodity prices are increasing
- Fiscal deficit is wide like never before
- HRA are increased by Government for its employees,
- Raised MSP can increase demand on rural side
- Increase in customs duties.
The formal-informal divide
Formal and informal divide coincides with divide between private no finance corporations and household sector. Here house hold sector includes 6.34cr unincorporated non agricultural enterprises in the country.
Decrease in private investments is actually due to decrease in household investment growth. It is majorly due to crowding out of capital from fiscal deficit and decreased credit growth. so, macro economic stimulus may not be the best policy choice. Urgent fiscal deficit reduction, quick clean up of bad loan mess, restoration of banks health are more likely to revive private investments.