TIME BOUND TRIALS FOR LEGISLATORS ( Hindu Editorial http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/timebound-trials-for-legislators/article5781573.ece )
After 65 years of Independence, Supreme court of India has passed a order which strictly directs the lower courts for a speedy disposal & hearing of Mp's and MLA's which may be criminal or corruption cases, within 1 year of the filing of case. This act comes under article 21 of the constitution. last years judgement which says criminal cases against MLA's ANd MP's will disqualify them for a seat in the legislation and cannot contest for 10 years hence. So, this law to prove cases against them within 1 year or not give an explanation to chief justice of H.C. is a welcome decision and may change the face of Indian Politics.
India and climate talks imperatives
By all accounts, no dramatic developments are to be expected from the 19th edition of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that started in Warsaw last week. But it is generally acknowledged that the key issue at Warsaw, even if there are many other significant subjects on the agenda, centres around moving forward the negotiations on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (DPA) initiated at COP 17 two years ago. It is widely understood that the Durban Platform was a game-changer, setting the stage for decisive climate action based on clear commitments to emissions reduction from all nations. Subsequently, the discussions in the Ad-Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) have resulted in demanding timeline for achieving its aims, including a draft text to be produced by the COP in 2014, a global meeting of heads of states of all nations to be convened by the United Nations Secretary General to push forward such an agreement, and a final agreement to be reached by COP 21 in 2015. While it is not a foregone conclusion that the DPA will achieve its stated goals by 2015, there are now additional factors conducive to reaching a global agreement. Even if no individual extreme climate event can be attributed exclusively to increased global warming, increasing awareness of the impact of climate-driven disasters, such as Typhoon Haiyan and the Uttarakhand flash floods, is contributing to a global recognition of the urgency of a climate deal, among governments as well as civil society. Significantly, the release of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the next several months, culminating in the release of the final synthesis report of all its findings next year, will add to the sense of urgency. At the UNFCCC, the European Union has been the most active in pushing forward the agenda of the Durban Platform, laying out in increasing detail the framework and broad outlines of its content and a methodology for securing commitments that would ensure an effective treaty. It has been joined in this effort by many African nations, especially South Africa, and have the strong support of the island-states of the world — support that was vociferously expressed at Durban in 2011. The United States has pursued a two-track policy with respect to the DPA. On the one hand, the U.S. insists that it would undertake only such emissions reductions as it deems feasible, a strategy that is referred to as the “bottom up” approach in the global climate discourse. On the other hand, it has not hesitated to support the European Union, the Africa Group and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in their efforts to have a binding climate agreement with assigned commitments to all nations, especially when such commitments are to be imposed on China and India. India's interests Where do India's interests lie in the matter of a global climate agreement? There can be no doubt that India needs an early climate agreement, for two reasons. On the one hand, there is increasing evidence that unchecked global warming would lead to increasingly severe effects in several sectors, especially agriculture and water, apart from the increased frequency of extreme climate events.
The enhanced climate variability that accompanies global warming will have serious impacts on Indian farmers, the bulk of whom are small-holders who even today suffer the consequences of weather and climate shocks, before the effects of global warming have risen to more alarming levels. An early climate agreement with the potential to restrict global average temperature rise to at least 2 degrees Centigrade, if not lower, is certainly a necessity. An early and effective limit on greenhouse gas emissions will also contribute to lowering the need, and associated costs, for climate change adaptation, which otherwise could be considerable. At the same time, India needs adequate atmospheric “space” in terms of allowed carbon emissions to pursue its development. Even in a highly optimistic scenario in which renewable energy rapidly takes up the bulk of the requirements for sectors such as domestic lighting and heating, agriculture, and all energy needs of small-scale establishments, India will still need fossil fuels for a considerable time until reliable sources of clean energy become available for large-scale use in the expansion of industry, transportation and the like, all of which are needed for development. Even infrastructure needs for adaptation will require such emissions. The IPCC's AR5 report has brought to the centre-stage of discussion the notion of a global carbon budget, referring to the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, from the beginning of the industrial era till the end of the 21st century, that are permissible, if the global temperature rise is to be kept below 2 degrees C. For a 66 per cent probability of keeping the rise in global average temperature below this limit, the world is allowed approximately 1000 billion tonnes of carbon emissions (taking account solely of carbon dioxide). But the nub of the issue is the equitable distribution of this space. In per capita terms, or indeed by several other measures of equitable distribution as well, the developed countries have already substantially exceeded their fair share of this global budget. As a consequence, a large number of developing countries, including China but especially India, will have to make do with less than their fair share of the global carbon space as their national carbon budgets for the future, if indeed global warming has to be kept in check. 'Top-down' agreement To maximise the developing countries' access to the global carbon budget, an early “top-down” agreement to impose constraints on the developed nations' consumption of carbon “space” in the atmosphere is an obvious necessity. Even more obviously, an approach based on “voluntary” commitments to emissions reduction by developed and developing countries would not address India's needs. In view of these considerations, it is surprising that New Delhi's guidelines for its Warsaw delegation should set aside India's long-standing commitment to treating the atmosphere as a global commons, to be shared equitably by all nations, and instead back the “voluntary commitments” approach. Predictably, even before this approach has been articulated, it has run into rough weather.
The EU is of course fully aware of the global carbon budget and hence demands that the gap between the sum of all voluntary commitments and the allowed global budget has to made up by further emissions reductions that all nations have to agree to. This demand, as well as India's response that the gap must be made up by the developed nations based on historical responsibility for emissions, brings us back to what is indeed a “top-down” approach. At the heart of the Government of India's current confusion lies its unwillingness to acknowledge that in an eventual global agreement, all countries have to shoulder some part of the burden, even while any such burden-sharing must be based on equity and climate justice in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. New Delhi's view currently is that developing countries will have no binding commitments whatsoever even into the future, a view that will increasingly isolate India from even others in the ranks of the G-77. The inadequacy of official India's unhappy approach is brought out by the fact that it has allowed the term “equity reference framework” in the context of the ADP negotiations to be hijacked by other nations, including nations of the African Group as well as the EU. India and its like-minded friends are left in the unenviable position of opposing this term, claiming that developing nations will never undertake any binding commitment. For too long, India's official climate policy has portrayed the absence of a proactive stance on a climate agreement as a strategy to protect the country's interests. Climate science as well as good climate politics demand that India shift to making clear to the world its commitment, in concrete terms, both to securing its developmental future as well as preserving the global environment. (Dr. T. Jayaraman is Dean of the School of Habitat Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai)
Analyzing the article Stunting a country
Words usage: Stunted->a stop or hindrance in growth or development
Underscore-> To emphasize , stress
India has seen unprecedented economic growth in past few years, but not every section of society is benefiting from it. It has vast number of stunted children, who live on the verge of death. A major cause is poor health of women during pregnancy. They don't have access to proper food and nutrients, which cause complications during pregnancy and many deliver stunted babies. The need of the hour is to make fight against malnutrition a national agenda. We will be able to control maternal and mortality rate with good measure to provide iron supplements , calcium and other nutrients. Providing nutrients through a basket of commodities can play a major role in fulfilling the needs of marginal segment of society. Public Distribution system and community-run not-for-profit institutions will work as pillar in pursuing this mission.
India can't reap the benefit of demographic dividend if large part of young population is suffering form malnutrition. Our government has forgotten the crucial role first 1000 days of child play in a long and healthy life. It is now for civil society to press the agenda.
Please comment if you find any grammatical error. It will be appreciated.
Why there were no good guys in 2003
In the week marking the 10th anniversary of the illegal United States and British-led invasion of Iraq, a BBC TV Panorama programme carried material to the effect that six months and three months before the March 2003 invasion, two high Iraqi officials separately told the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6 that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) — but the information was never passed on to the politicians. The invasion and its aftermath were riddled with procedural and institutional failures and gross illegalities, but the greatest political failures were the inability and unwillingness of the relevant representative assemblies, the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament, to perform their constitutional duty of scrutinising their respective executives.
The procedural failures themselves arouse suspicion. The Panorama programme, made by Peter Taylor and aired on March 18, says the first Iraqi source was Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, who, the then CIA station head in Paris learnt, hated Saddam Hussein for murdering his brother. The second was the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Habbush Al Tikriti, who initiated contact and met a British agent. Yet the notes the CIA officer, Bill Murray, made in New York and posted to be typed up in Washington had their introduction modified, and then seem to have disappeared; a Senate inquiry said it could find no trace of them. As for the Habbush material, MI6 never passed it on; it apparently thought Saddam Hussein had designed it to mislead.
Taylor recognises that Habbush's approach may have been an attempt by Saddam Hussein to forestall an invasion — but Habbush was telling the truth, and was in fact saying what the United Nations weapons inspectors had been saying publicly for several years already. Neither the CIA nor MI6 seems to have tried to investigate the truth of either set of statements. On the other hand, bad intelligence, as Murray himself told Taylor, reached the top very quickly; that included the fantasies peddled by Ahmed Chalabi and by a contact called Curveball, an Iraqi-born and German-settled chemical engineer named Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi.
The latter, according to Martin Chulov and Helen Pidd of the Guardian , pulled off one of the “greatest confidence tricks” in the history of modern intelligence by keeping up the deceit for six months; the German government passed his fictions on to Washington before deciding he was lying. Al-Janabi was shocked to hear many of his own lies repeated by Secretary of State Colin Powell in the now infamous speech to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003.
The failures by the security bodies were compounded by the way sections of the U.S. and British press created a climate favourable to the war. A 2003 Cardiff University study on British broadcast news for the first three weeks after the invasion found that the BBC displayed the greatest “pro-war” bias among the four main British broadcasters. In that period, 11 per cent of its sources were from the Iraqi coalition government or of military origin, and the corporation used government sources twice as much as the commercial broadcasters ITN and Channel 4 News. Secondly, Channel 4 used independent sources like the Red Cross three times as often as the BBC, and even Sky used such sources twice as often. The BBC also placed “least emphasis” on Iraqi casualties, mentioning them in 22 per cent of stories on the Iraqi people, and it was the least likely of the four stations to report on Iraqis who opposed the invasion.
In addition, some of the BBC's own staff seem to have accepted government statements without question. David Cromwell notes in Why Are We the Good Guys? (Zero Books, 2012) that the corporation's current affairs superstar Jeremy Paxman has said he himself was convinced by Mr. Powell's U.N. speech; he thought Mr. Powell had had access to all the relevant information, and he assumed that such an eminent person would not lie over this matter. As Carl Bernstein has written elsewhere, that is precisely what the mainstream U.S. press had thought 30 years earlier about the officials who tried to cover up the Watergate scandal. Paxman also later admitted to having been “hoodwinked” by the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Furthermore, as the investigative journalist Nick Davies shows in his book Flat Earth News (Vintage Books, 2009), the U.S. and British security services repeatedly planted fabricated stories in the mainstream media, which the latter, under commercial pressure to achieve sales and audience ratings, did not cross-check. Media gullibility and collusion with the political establishment over Iraq are well known; the New York Times later published an apology for not scrutinising the Bush administration's claims better.
Yet several institutions of state are also implicated in what amounted to failures of democratic processes and institutions. For example, the then British attorney-general, Lord Goldsmith, revised his earlier analysis and said the invasion would not breach international law, but he did so because the chief of military staff Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, now Lord Boyce, doubted the legality of the invasion enough to ask for a fresh legal opinion.
Lord Boyce even said that if he was going to end up in the dock of the International Criminal Court, he wanted to see 'other people', which he later admitted meant Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, indicted alongside him.
There were, of course, staff in the CIA and in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office who resigned over the fixing of intelligence to serve the politicians' purposes and over the neglect of analyses questioning the legality of the invasion. Those resignations, however, do not obviate the implication that some of the seniormost staff in the CIA and MI6 had themselves decided, like Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, that Iraq had to be invaded irrespective of the evidence.
For the United Kingdom, an even greater problem is that neither the main executive body, the Cabinet, nor the representative and sovereign assembly, Parliament, so much as saw the complete text of Lord Goldsmith's 13-page document, dated March 7, 2003, which contained inter alia the attorney-general's doubts that the invasion would be legal without a further U.N. resolution. Secondly, the former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Butler, has said he was not aware that MI6 had the information Naji Sabri had given the CIA, but that if the CIA had provided that intelligence then “perhaps” MI6 was not permitted to share it with other British bodies. Lord Butler, in effect, has accepted that the CIA can pool information with MI6, a British body, but that the United Kingdom as a body politic has no right to that information. Despite Mr. Blair's documented subservience to the U.S. — something which may also have been driven by a fear that the opposition Conservatives would call him soft on terrorism — this constitutes a serious abdication of British sovereignty.
Worse still, Lord Butler told the Panorama programme that the British public has “every reason” to think it is the body which was the most seriously misled. This is crucial. Neither the media failures nor those of the professional public-service bodies would have mattered if the United States Congress and the British Parliament had scrutinised their respective governments properly. Steven Zunes notes inTruthout that Congress — members of which have large bodies of staff and are far better funded than many other legislators around the world — had many months to investigate the Bush administration's claims about Iraq. Mr. Zunes adds that “large numbers” of scholars, Middle Eastern political leaders, and former U.S. officials advised members of Congress that an invasion would probably cause a bloody insurgency, and a rise in Islamist extremism and sectarian violence.
As for the ruling British Labour Party, it had 368 MPs and a majority of 167 in the House of Commons at the time; in the end 139 Labour MPs, 15 of the opposition Conservatives, and all 63 Liberal Democrats, voted for an amendment stating that the case for war had not yet been established. The amendment got 217 votes and was defeated by a majority of 179; yet the Commons had never been given the full legal arguments.
Much is already known about the lies, deceptions, and institutional failures which made the invasion of Iraq possible, and detail has emerged about the effect on the Iraqi population of the invaders' chemical weapons and depleted-uranium ammunition. Yet the central assemblies of the two countries which led the invasion bear the heaviest responsibility. They failed to question their political executives, failed to use the powers they rightly hold, and failed to remember what they owe to the voters who legitimate their very presence in an elected assembly. They betrayed representative democracy itself.
The unwillingness of the U.S. Congress,
British Parliament and media to question their political executives was the greatest
democratic failure that led to the Iraq war
The Hindu(April 19, 2013)
4th March: The Hindu
The mystique that stock markets seem to hold for lay people and policymakers alike gets magnified several times over in budget season. There is, most certainly, no rational basis for this. Though devoid of real significance, the share markets' verdict on the budget in the minutes and hours after the Finance Minister's speech continues to be extremely important to policymakers. This has been amply demonstrated again by the urgency shown by P. Chidambaram and his team in allaying concerns over a provision in the Finance Bill that seems to cast doubts on the validity of residency certificates that benefit investors routing their investments through tax treaty centres such as Mauritius. On budget day, the sharp decline in share indices was attributed to just this single provision. The fact that the concerns are confined to foreign investors and tax havens used by them says it all. The broader market and the government are explicitly acknowledging the importance of these investors. It is, therefore, not surprising that in his budget speech, the Finance Minister gave his proposals relating to the broad category of foreign investors pride of place among financial sector announcements. None of them — and virtually none of the financial sector announcements — made reference to financial outlays but are nevertheless important for the policy direction they reveal.
In moving towards internationally accepted definitions of foreign institutional investment (FII) and foreign direct investment (FDI), the government is facilitating larger foreign inflows especially in sectors that have an FDI cap. Foreign investors may not have got their entire wish list. The much-anticipated announcement to expand the role of FIIs in the debt market did not materialise. But the package for them looks very impressive when contrasted with what is available for domestic investors, especially the retail ones. There has been once again a proposal to simplify the procedures for small and medium enterprises to access their dedicated exchange. More significant, in the context of infrastructure funding, is the proposal to start a dedicated debt segment in the stock exchanges. The facilities being accorded to foreign capital can be justified in the current macroeconomic context of the widening current account deficit. Yet the economy needs domestic investors too, not just the large ones but retail investors, who should ideally be the backbone of any well developed capital market. The ambitious disinvestment target next year, of Rs.40,000 crore, brooks no delay in enhancing the retail participation in the markets.
Idea sentence in both the para??
OP-ED article 'Questions for Mr. Nilekani' published in The Hindu, today ,seriously poses some questions for AADHAR.Author has elucidated with example how AADHAR is making some goverment employees NIRADHAR by making them difficult to draw salary just because they have not enrolled for AADHAR.As UID act explicitly mentioned that AADHAR is not mandatory,I think it is unconstitutional to force people to enroll for it.
@djsunny said:Why is this thread dead???Cmon lets bring this alive...lets Bell the Cats and Dogs together... \m/
Why is this thread dead???
Cmon lets bring this alive...lets Bell the Cats and Dogs together... \m/