The recently concluded 20th summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has not only consolidated associations aim and objectives, but also paved way for its future development prospects. ASEAN has established itself not only as a regional groups for cooperation and stability but also as a forum to interact with world bodies for greater inclusive growth of the Asian countries. The forum has been successful in incentivising the trade and political cooperation which is visible from the outcome of the recent elections in Mayanmar and resolution of South China sea which India has persuaded to declare it as a common asset for the south Asian nations. The forum can play more robust role in fighting hunger and terrorism. A strong trade and commerce can pave path for greater cooperation in the field of education, health and infrastructure development in the Asian countries. We have good amount of resource and capabilities which must be harnessed for mutual development.
The BRICS, association of five major economies of the world i.e., Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is a clear signal for the re-odering of the world economy and the geo-political power balance in the modern world. The dominance of the western countries must be checked and an internationally accepted monetary regime free from the clutch of a country-specific currency like dollar must be developed. The charter of the UN must implemented in true spirit of term. The long delaying of the reforms in UN can be compensated by BRICS. The sovereignty of many small Asian and African countries are at stake at the hand of the two-century-old hegemony of the West over the modern world.
Indian aviation industry in undergoing a drastic loss due to unforeseen impacts of the measures taken in last few years. The multiplicity of taxes in aviation industry, merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, rise in crude oil (petroleum), acquisition of air carriers by the private and public airlines etc has made the aviation industry think of new avenues for bringing back the industry on right track. The private and public sectors players in this aviation industry must sit together to work out strategies to tide over the crisis. It government should come forward with innovative solution and other air carriers must learn from Indigo which is still making profit in spite of the looming crisis in the aviation sector. One suggested measures can be the opening up the sector for foreign direct investment and adopting open sky policy to give way to the foreign airways services. Direct import of petroleum by the domestic carriers may not be so easy as loosening the taxation mechanism.
India can hope that the Rajapaksa government takes up seriously the issue of a political settlement and do some substantial homework and further implements the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. The country is undeniably under watch of the International Community and there will be enough follow up for tracking the actions taken in the direction of devolution of power to the provinces. Unless and until the Sri Lankan government makes a genuine attempt to reach out to the Tamil political leadership and people, the international community will continue gear pressure which may increase overtime if no action is taken. India can try to make sure that the Tamil leadership play an important and constructive role in helping Sri Lanka. The government should take up reforms on its own rather than under the pressure of the international community for the benefit of the nation and all ethnic and lingual groups. The government cannot deny the plurality of society there.
It is really an irony of Indian judicial system to treat very citizen with an equal amount of offence and defense but when it comes to the punishment to the erring politicians and VVIPs, the judicial system become ignorant of the practices prevalent in the various jails of the country. There should be special drive to bring justice and equality of status and treatment to the offenders of the laws. What is meaning of jail if the person imprisoned is getting all the benefits he or she used to get outside the jail. The legal system should be amended to incorporated heavy fine and penalties as per the capacity and nature of crimes done by the politicians and VVIPs who get such relaxed privileges in the jails. There must be some sort of rationalization of punishments. The time has come when the nation should look into the matters related to the privileges enjoyed by the politicians during the term of imprisonment so that the faith of public in the Indian Judiciary and Executive is intact
The election of a member of the parliament who is of opposition party can be seen as a mark of dawn of the democracy shining on the western horizon of the country. The victory for Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, in the by-elections recently held in Myanmar has confirmed deep faith of people in the institution of democracy. The military rule has done more harm than benefits to the people and country as a whole. The world community is strongly in the support of the democratisation of the governance world over which aims to give supremacy of public in the affairs of the governance and an outcome of which will be free and open economy which the western economies are trying hard to achieve in disguise of democracy. The world will welcome every step in the direction of democratisation of the society. The western countries will surely loosen the sanctions if they feel that the government is ready to adopt changes and modifications in the present governance.
The High Level Expert Group (HLEG) of the Planning Commission on Universal Health Coverage has given very good reasoning how the availability of free medicines will relieve the general public. The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) should be integrated in the existing National Rural Health Mission and such other health related drives and mission. An expanded National Essential Drug List is badly needed for the elimination of irrational drugs from prescriptions by government doctors, priority for generic medicines and, crucially, a good centralised procurement system should be developed at national level. Government should promote indigenous drugs and medicine companies should be given incentive so that we can become self dependent for medicines as a good percentage of high quality drugs are imported from other countries or the foreign companies deliver in India. The percentage of GDP expenditure on medicine need a review. Creating a healthy environment is also necessary for all citizens.
The whole process seems to be a political drama taking place in the name of appointing enquiry committee to silence the uproar and media’s criticism and comments. It is sad that instead of doing justice the committee has proved to a tool in the hand of the politician to supress matters. The recommendations of the committee in the case of ‘viewing of pornography by three prominent Bharatiya Janata Party Ministers during a session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on February 7’ is not a rational and seems highly inluenced by the political powers. The recommendation for penalising the media for such coverage and banning the private channels from recording and publishing Legislative Assembly proceeding is a clear violation of the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’. The recommendations of the committee has opended up new avenues for media attention and criticism which will further expose their nature and intentions of protecting the erring politician. People and press must come forward
The tobacco products production and marking is a big business in today’s world. In spite of strong legal provisions and general consent of public for banning such products, menace of the tobacco products is going on unabated in the world. From various studies conducted so far it is well proved that consumption of tobacco products in any form is injurious to health. Sometimes the written warnings are misinterpreted by youths e.g., on Gutkha (packed in tobacco product in small pouches) have a warning like ‘Tobacco is injurious to health. Not for young’. When we combine the two statements the message get distorted and reversed. It has been seen that the advertisement of bad effects of tobacco like oral and lung cancers deter youths and more to the rural people as the visual messages have strong effects on the mind of the people. Many tobacco products manufacturer don’t follow the guidelines provided in the Tobacco Product (Control and Regulatory) Act, 2011 enacted by Government of India
— Shashikant Nishant Sharma School of Planning and Architecture,* (under the Ministry of HR&D, Govt. of India), New Delhi-110002
Our Election Commission(EC) has been doing a good job in upholding the values of democracy in India. We have seen the commendable jobs done by the Election Commission in past during the assembly elections in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It is another praiseworthy step taken by the EC to countermand an election to the Rajya Sabha: in Jharkhand, following ‘incidents of horse-trading’ and attempts to influence the electors – Members of the Legislative Assembly – by offering cash for votes. This will surely go a long way in paving the smooth way for the future of Indian Democracy. Our society is blessed to have a rational and educated middle class and well trained civil servants who are heading such esteemed positions as the secretaries and commissioners and steering the governance in the right direction. Corruption and malpractices are prevalent in our society and it is our responsibility not to accept then and whatever,however and wherever we must oppose them and with due rationality.