For any peace process to be successful, the first step is to take all conflicting parties into confidence.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan is a failure from the start as the Palestinians rejected it even before the proposals were unveiled.
2017: Trump administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Israel can annex the Jordan Valley as well as the Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
Palestinians’ negotiation powers are at their weakest point.
The support they once enjoyed in Arab nations is also eroding.
Final borders/solutions should be resolved through talks, not by dictating terms to one party.
A mindset problem
MGNREGS is like an insurance for landless labourers
15 States have already overshot budgets for the scheme’s implementation and many have not been able to pay wage dues should be a cause for concern.
The Centre is on the verge of running out of funds.
Research: 18-30 age group people are predominant in availing the scheme.
MGNREGS has improved agricultural productivity where it has been implemented properly.
It could also involve rural workers in skilled work and pay them more wages for asset creation beyond just roads, wells and check-dams.
A road map for robust trade ties
Soft power rather than hard economics has traditionally been the driving force behind India Australia relations.
Cricket is a dominant theme that connects the two countries.
The Indian diaspora in Australia is a vibrant community that plays a robust role in connecting their country of adoption with their country of origin.
The challenge before the two nations is transforming these people-to-people contacts into a trade relationship.
Bilateral trade: modest $31 billion
composed of resources like coal and other minerals
India Economic Strategy 2035 Report: no single market over the next 20 years will offer more growth opportunities for Australia than India.
About 80% of the Australian small and medium sized enterprises are managed by young professionals.
Young Australians, like young Indians, carry the compelling vision of 21st century globalisation, multiculturism and quality education. Peter Varghese: a diplomat and former
Australian High Commissioner to India
Australia is a laboratory of ideas, innovation, technology-led growth and university-industry partnerships.
India is a large and demographically young market with a love for innovation and an appetite for new products and services.
The weakest link in India’s exports to Australia is in merchandise.
Markets are country-specific and culturally sensitive
Australia is a brand-conscious market
Innovation is emerging as the single-most important factor for sustained success in every sphere
Time to prioritise education and health
The government’s macroeconomic policy has acquired a new salience in the context of reversing the current slowdown.
making large-scale concessions to the corporate sector: ₹1.40 lakh crore
limitations on foreign investment are being relaxed or removed
Despite all these measure, there is little evidence of any significant increase in investment by the private sector.
Economists: labour market liberalisation and removal of constraints on acquisition of land for industrial purposes
Acceleration of investment in infrastructure
They hold no brief for investment in human infrastructure, particularly in education and health.
Abhijit Banerjee: transferring income to the poor who are likely to spend the additional income to buy goods and services
But, even he has not mentioned the potential of investment in social sectors.
No mainstream economist or policymaker has come out with a suggestion for enhancing expenditures in these sectors.
On the contrary, they have made expenditure in social sectors conditional upon higher rate of growth.
Most main stream economists and policymakers also believe that public expenditure in social sectors can only have a long- term impact on growth, and what is now needed is macroeconomic policies which can have immediate or very shortterm impact.
This belief is deeply flawed.
The Right to Education Act (RTE) sets out the objective of universalising elementary education in five years.
The National Education Policy, 2020 states that the Act “will be reviewed... to ensure that all students... shall have free and compulsory access to high quality and equitable schooling from early childhood education (age three onwards) through higher education (i.e. until Grade 12)”.
So far 5.7 million teachers are recruited.
The recruitment of 5.7 million additional teachers over a period of, say, 5 years, can create huge scale demand.
According to government data, only 12.5% of the schools covered by the RTE Act were compliant with RTE norms, most of which are related to infrastructure.
Meeting these norms has the potential of creating employment on a large scale.
Similarly, in the health field, there is a vast number of vacant posts for professionals
Middle-level health workers
The fact that health and education are of instrumental value in driving growth, creating employment and improving people’s well-being is widely recognised but often forgotten when it comes to making investment in these sectors.
Education has a crucial role to play for an individual in gaining employment and retaining employability.
Health and education have been widely recognised as public goods.
The gestation period of projects in social sectors is not long.
Compromising scientific curiosity for marketability
107th Science Congress was held in _________ city?
Prime Minister: young researchers should “innovate, patent, produce, prosper”.
2015 ‘Dehradun declaration’: decided to market patents as a means to self-finance research.
In the 1990s, CSIR director general R.A. Mashelkar mandated labs to generate intellectual property and file patents.
There is a genuine concern among the researchers and academics that this transformation will have serious repercussions for India’s competence in research.
Basic vs Applied Sciences
British physicist John D. Bernal in the early 1940s said that science should serve the nation and the material needs of its citizens.
Society for Freedom in Science: zoologist John R. Baker emphasised that scientific life should be autonomous and workers should be given enough freedom to choose their own problems.
1945, Vannevar Bush, Director, Office of Research and Development, published his vision of research freedom in a publication titled “Science, the Endless Frontier”.
Research institutes and universities in course of time will transform into something like service centres that will be more equipped to address the economic growth and social needs.
Government spending in R&D has continued to remain static for about a decade, at a paltry 0.9% of the GDP, as compared to China, whose spending during the 2000-2017 period grew at an average of 17%, its growth being more than that of the U.S.
Indian Institutes of Technology, are reaching out to their alumni for funds.
It will be counterproductive to implement a onesize-fits-all solution in a hasty manner.
Gandhi, the dissident
Future generations will remember 2019 as a Gandhian year.
The year 2019 was also marked by unprecedented action to combat climate change, especially by the young.
Gandhi was a non-conformist person who lived and thought in a way that was different from other individuals.
As a non-conformist, Gandhi was someone who had the desire to excel.
For the ancient Greeks, excellence was considered as a moral virtue.
Unjust laws of a state or a community are contrary to the higher law of moral conscience.
Gandhi has been an inspiration to several generations of non-violent freedom fighters.
From Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama to the young activists of the Tahrir Square in Egypt and Otpor in Serbia, and for all those fighting against all forms of injustice, Gandhi has been the most celebrated political thinker of the 20th century.
Gandhi remains our contemporary, mainly because his dissident act of questioning continues to be different from our habitual practices of asking questions.
Centre advises against travel to China; IndiGo, AI cut services
Time limit on advance bail violates personal liberty: SC
The protection of anticipatory or pre-arrest bail cannot be limited to any time frame or “fixed period” as denial of bail amounts to deprivation of the fundamental right to personal liberty in a free and democratic country, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
MEPs defer vote on CAA motion to March
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) began a discussion on a joint motion criticising India’s Citizenship Act on Wednesday night. In partial relief for the government, however, the MEPs decided not to hold a vote on the motion until the second half of March this year.
Cabinet nod for raising abortion limit to 24 weeks
The proposed amendment seeks to enhance the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women that will be defined in the amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules and will include “vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest” and others like differently abled women and minors.
Probe must to slap three-month flying ban
Islam does not bar women from mosques, says Board
The All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) clarified to the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Islamic doctrine, tenets and beliefs do not prohibit Muslim women from entering mosques to offer prayer.
India urges direct talks between Israel, Palestine