PM affirms India’s ‘strategic autonomy’
- PM Narendra Modi affirms strategic Autonomy as India’s foreign principle at ‘Shangri-La Dialogue’ in Singapore.
- ‘Shangri-La Dialogue’ is organised by London-based think-tank IISS and hosted by Singapore. It is attended by Defence Ministers from the Asia-Pacific region each year
- PM Modi is the first Indian PM to address ‘Shangri-La Dialogue’. India’s views become important because
- India has increased its engagement with the ASEAN region.
- India joined a quadrilateral grouping with the U.S., Japan and Australia for the Indo-Pacific.
- India joined SCO group.
- India’s close engagement with Russia and China.
- Key take away from PM address
- India Foreign Policy follow Strategic Autonomy. It is based on equivalence in ties with Russia, the U.S. and China
- Cautioning world against a return to the age of great power rivalries.
- He consider Indo-Pacific as an open space free from any strategic rivalry. His statement clarify India’s position on the “Indo-Pacific” strategy which is often seen as a platform to contain China’s moves in the South China Sea.
- India’s relation with china is ‘multi-layered’. He acknowledged that both the countries had displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border.
- India and Russia wanted a strong multi-polar world order to deal with the emerging global challenges.
- India’s global strategic partnership with the United States has strengthen in recent times.
The democracy project in Bangladesh- Transformation Index 2018
- Subir bhaumik, a former BBC bureau chief for East and Northeast India, has analysed the Transformation Index 2018 report which ranked Bangladesh as autocratic nation.
- “Transformation Index 2018 (BTI)” released by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation has rated Bangladesh at 58 out of 129 developing nations as autocratic nation.
- Bangladesh, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Uganda are the “new” autocracies, according to Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation.
- The BTI has, since 2006, been measuring quality of democracy, market economy and governance in 129 developing and transformation countries.
- The Bertelsmann Foundation has divided the report on Bangladesh in two parts “positive developments” and “negative developments”
- Positive developments:
- economic output
- macroeconomic stability
- market-based competition and private enterprise
- Negative developments:
- The political realm such as free and fair elections.
- No separation of powers and
- Absence the independence of the judiciary.
- Impact of rise of Autocracy in Bangladesh
- Social exclusion and
- Barriers to fair economic competition
- Subir Bhaumik observes under Awami league Bangladesh has achieved phenomenal economic growth and inclusive social and human development in areas such as gender empowerment and public health care.
- Under Awami league Bangladesh has taken number of measure to contain Islamic terrorism post-2014. There was a campaign targeting secular bloggers, writers, publishers and folk singers threatened the secular nature of Bangladesh.
- Subir Bhaumik doubts the intention of Western media. They underplay the element of ideological conflict between two visions of Bangladesh
- A secular, democratic vision that is focused on economic growth and
- A communal vision like a replica of Pakistan’s religion-driven politics
- He observes that western media also rejects military-driven propaganda that Bangladesh had better prospects if led by a technocrats, micro- and macro-bankers, military generals and intelligence chiefs.
- The ruling Awami League Party has rejected the study as baseless and claimed the country to be a “100 percent democracy”. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has said the report reflects the true nature of Bangladesh’s current political climate.
- He advised India not to let the West to misuse or misrepresent national sovereign like Bangladesh through these reports. India has a huge stake in having a friendly regime in Bangladesh for strategic and economic reasons.
Singapore a strategic partner, says PM Modi
- Indian Prime Minister recently visited Singapore and deepens its economic and defence ties with the nation.
- Singapore is the last leg of PM Modi’s three-nation tour (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore).
- Major takeaways from the visit:
- The two countries signed eight agreements.
- An implementation agreement was signed between the Navies of the two countries on mutual coordination, logistics and services support for visits of naval ships, submarines and naval aircraft, including ship-borne aviation assets.
- The two leaders confirmed that the second review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has been concluded.
- They also discussed maritime security and expressed commitment to a “rules-based” Order.
- The two leaders also agreed on the need to maintain an open, stable, fair international trade regime and combat terrorism.
- India acknowledge ASEAN unity and their role as regional architects
- Singapore supports India claim for permanent member in a reformed United Nations Security Council.
- Collaboration on technology, smart cities and skills development was also been discussed.
Centre notifies Cauvery Water Management Authority
- The central government has issued a notification for the Cauvery Water Management Authority following Supreme Court order.
- About Cauvery management control authority.
- The chairman of the authority will be appointed by the Central government. He/She must be of the rank of secretary or additional secretary or an eminent engineer.
- Tenure of chairman is five years.
- Two part-time members nominated by the Central Government
- Four part-time members nominated by the party State governments and Union territory administration respectively.
- The authority will decide the sharing of the river water between Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
- The authority is directed for the following mandate:
- To monitor the storage of water
- Apportion of shares
- Supervise operation of the reservoirs
- Regulate water releases with the assistance of the Regulation Committee.
- The CWMA will also determine the total residual storage in the specified reservoirs on June 1 every year.
- water share of each state will be determined on the basis of water flows together with the available carry-over storage in the reservoirs
- The authority can seek the help of the Central Government for implementation of the Award of the Tribunal if any of states do not cooperate with the Cauvery authority.
U.S. will veto UN draft on Palestinians
- The U.S. will veto a UN draft resolution calling for the protection of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank
- Kuwait call for an international protection mission for the Palestinians as protests turned violent on the Gaza border.
- US consider Kuwait draft as a “grossly one-sided approach”
- Kuwait presents draft on behalf of Arab countries
- US blames Hamas for the recent attack on Gaza in its rival draft resolution.
Farmers’ gaon bandh hits fresh supplies across States
- The nation is hit by a ten-day strike by farmers of seven states.
- The nation-wide farmer’s protest is known as ‘Gaon bandh’.
- The protest is implemented by 172 organisations and is under the leadership of Rashtroya Kisan Mazdoor Mahasangh (RKMM) and Kisan Ekta Manch (KEM).
- Farmers are either dumping their farm or dairy produce or selling them within their villages.
- They are not selling their products to the urban areas. However, people from urban areas can directly buy these products from the villages.
- The farmers demanded for:
- Implementation of Swaminathan Commission’s Recommendation on Minimum Support Price,
- Fix MSP for milk and vegetables.
- Complete farm loan waiver, and
- Fixed minimum income for formers.
- The protest immediately impacted Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- The protest coincides with the first anniversary of the Mandsaur police firing incident. Six farmers were killed by police during last year’s protest.
Mixed growth signals
- The fourth quarter of the financial year 2017-18 grew at 7.7%. It is the fastest and strongest growth in the entire FY 2017-18.
- The growth in economy is driven by growth in capital formation, manufacturing and construction sector.
- The manufacturing sector has contributed to approx 20% of quarterly GVA (gross value added) and the construction sector contributed to 8%.
- The Manufacturing sector grew at 9.1% (4th quarter) and 5.7% for the entire FY18 and the Construction sector grew at 11.5% (4thquarter) and 5.7% for the entire FY18.
- Two key group of services that contributed to 38% of fourth-quarter GVA are as follows:
- First group: trade, hotels, transport, communication and broadcasting
- Second group: financial, real estate and professional services
- The growth in construction sector will create more direct and indirect jobs and will serve as multiplier of overall output.
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector has maintained its growth over the four quarters of the FY.
- Gross fixed capital contributed the most in percentage terms (32.2%).
- However, the contribution of private final consumption expenditure and government spending is weak.
- The economy may be further be affected by external risks such as rise in crude price and input costs. RBI may also raise interest rate.