Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 76

COURTESY:THE Hindu, INDIANEXPRESS

[Year]

MARCH

COURTESY:THE Hindu, INDIANEXPRESS [Year] MARCH EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB HITESH NUMBER OF ARTICLES 50

EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB

EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB

[Year] MARCH EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB EDITORIAL WITH VOCAB HITESH NUMBER OF ARTICLES 50 hittu [Type the

HITESH

NUMBER OF ARTICLES

50

hittu [Type the company name]

MARCH

[Pick the date]

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

1. Wait for the good days got longer

Even in the best of times, formulating the Budget in India is a challenging task for the Finance Minister. This year, it was particularly daunting[don-ting(fearful,बमप्रद)] as it had to address a number of problems. The difficult global environment has caused a continuous decline in exports. Propelling[pru'pe- ling(motivate,प्रोत्साहहत)] the sagging[sa-ging(loose,ढीरा)] manufacturing sector

and combating[kum'bat(fight,रड़ना)] the poor investment climate required special efforts. The successive droughts have been a cause of much distress and a dampener of rural demand. These had to be addressed while providing adequate[a-di-kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] resources for the social sector, meeting demands of the government employees for pay and pension revision and the implementation of the „One Rank, One Pension‟ scheme. M. Govinda Rao Before the Budget, there was a chorus of voices to forget the fiscal deficit and go in for higher public investment at a time when private investment has not been forthcoming. The opposing view was that the availability of credit at a reasonable rate to the private sector rested on the government leaving adequate lending space in the financial system. Besides, credibility required that the government adhere[ud'heer(follow,ऩारन)] to the fiscal targets set in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003. It goes to the credit of the Finance Minister that he stuck to the fiscal consolidation path despite serious compulsions to abandon[u'ban-dun(leave,छोड़ना)] it. In fact, not only does the Budget propose to contain the fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), but this will be done by reducing both the revenue and primary deficits. Little room for private play With this, the focus is now on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reduce interest rates. Unfortunately, the RBI has a difficult problem at hand. It is not just the fiscal deficit number that matters, but the entire public sector borrowing. Although the fiscal deficit is proposed to be capped at 3.5 per cent, there is additional borrowing by the special purpose vehicles for infrastructure and that includes Rs.31,300 crore to be mobilised by National Highways Authority of India, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in addition to Rs.76,000 crore by the Railways as internal and extra-budgetary resources (IEBR) for investment. The household sector‟s financial saving is just about 7.6 per cent, and with the Union and State governments borrowing about 6 per cent of GDP (3.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively), cleaning up the balance sheets of discoms claiming another 1 per cent, and additional off-Budget borrowing for infrastructure, there is hardly any savings left to lend to the private sector. Even if RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan shows magnanimity[mag- nu'ni-mi-tee(generosity,उदायता)] by reducing the policy rate, there is hardly any lending space to transmit this by the financial system. As the government seeks to review the FRBM Act, it is perhaps appropriate to move over to the concept of public sector borrowing requirements in addition to focussing on setting the targets in terms of a range to meet countercyclical targets. If indeed the government has not left much borrowing space to the private sector, it should have at least increased public investment. Unfortunately, the capital expenditure relative to GDP for the next year is budgeted at 1.6 per cent, which is even lower than the current year (1.8 per cent). A slew of measures could have been taken to weed out unproductive revenue expenditures to augment[og'ment(increase,फढ़ाना)] capital expenditures. In particular, the country can ill-afford the subsidy amount of Rs.2.5 lakh crore even when oil prices are at record low levels. It is surprising that the government refuses to take a bold decision on increasing the price of urea, which has remained unchanged for over 10 years. Despite the distortion in terms of discouraging the nutrient-based intake, pilferage[pil-fu-rij(stealing,चोयी)] of cheap urea to neighbouring

चोयी )] of cheap urea to neighbouring countries and diversion to other uses as inputs, the
चोयी )] of cheap urea to neighbouring countries and diversion to other uses as inputs, the
चोयी )] of cheap urea to neighbouring countries and diversion to other uses as inputs, the

countries and diversion to other uses as inputs, the reluctance[ri'lúk-tun(t)s(unwilling,अननच्छुक)] to increase the prices has continued. Similarly, much more drastic surgery is needed in pruning the food subsidies, if public investment has to be augmented. Muddied GST road map The third major thrust one expected was to see how serious the Union government is in preparing itself to implement the much-vaunted Goods and Services Tax (GST). The Budget has lost the opportunity to reduce the number of items exempted from excise duty from more than 400. It would have helped to reduce the number of items taxed at lower rates and these include items such as breakfast cereals and packed juices, which cannot be called items of common man‟s consumption in this country. There is no move to converge on the threshold for Union excise duty, which is Rs.1.5 crore, and that of service tax, which is Rs.10 lakh. It is not clear whether when the GST is finally introduced, we will have two different thresholds. Finally, while the controversy over

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

capping the tax rate in the GST Bill is raging, the Budget adds an additional half a per cent surcharge on the service tax to make it 15 per cent. If the GST general rate will have to be capped at 18 per cent, will the Union government vacate the space by reducing the rate to 9 per cent so that the States can levy the tax at 9 per cent? Of course that is possible, but the Budget speech is silent on the issue. Interestingly, while the gross tax revenue collected by the Union government in the revised estimate for 2015-16

is higher than the Budget estimate by just about Rs.10,000 crore, the increase in the net tax revenue to the Union

government after devolution to the States is Rs.27,000 crore and the States on the other hand are expected to get

Rs.17,000 crore less. This is because the overwhelming proportion of additional resource mobilisation was by levying cesses and surcharges which is not shareable with the States. According to the Budget estimate, the States were supposed to receive 36.2 per cent of the gross tax revenues in 2015-16, but the revised estimate shows that they will receive 34.7 per cent and in 2017-18 too, their share works out to 35 per cent. This is a time-honoured method of diluting the Finance Commissions‟ recommendation and despite much talk about cooperative federalism, the practice has not been given up. As the government is in the middle of its current term, bold decisions were feasible[fee-zu-bul(possible,सॊबव)]. Unfortunately, decision-making seems to have been overly influenced by the forthcoming State elections and, in the process, the wait for good days got longer.

and, in the process, the wait for good days got longer. 2. Cooling the earth down

2. Cooling the earth down

The Paris Conference last year primarily discussed plans to reduce carbon emissions, which is understandable as this is the most immediate item for action. But other measures for dealing with global warming, in particular climate engineering, may soon acquire more importance. Today, climate engineering efforts are viewed either as secondary measures to be undertaken alongside reducing emissions or as technologies which have not matured enough to warrant discussion by world leaders. But the situation can change dramatically in the future. Even if all the national commitments made in Paris are fulfilled, the effects of global warming will inevitably[i'ne-vu-tu-blee(necessarily,जरुयी)] worsen in the near term. As nations struggle to reduce emissions even further, alternative solutions using engineering innovations will increasingly gain currency. R. Rajaraman

A

others are being seriously researched. Unfortunately, some of them also carry the risk, if things go wrong, of causing unintended environmental disasters. Climate engineering experts have been addressing these problems for years but such awareness has not trickled down to the larger intelligentsia to form a body of educated opinion that can help governments decide on which techniques to adopt and how best to govern and regulate them.

Control carbon or sunlight or both? Most climate engineering efforts can be divided into two categories which address, respectively, the management of carbon and the management of sunlight. The first category is directed towards removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A prominent example is carbon capture and storage (CCS), where some

of

and transporting it elsewhere to be sequestered[si'kwe-stud(separate,एकाॊत)] underground. The first 115 MW

एकाॊत )] underground. The first 115 MW variety of such proposals for battling global warming are

variety of such proposals for battling global warming are already on the table a few are being tried out and

the carbon dioxide (CO) being emitted by coal-fired power stations is recaptured by physically sucking it in

power stations is recaptured by physically sucking it in in CCS retrofitted coal power plant

in

CCS retrofitted coal power plant commenced[ku'men(t)s(start,शुरुवात)] operation at Boundary Dam in Canada

2014. The CO captured there is transported and pumped into nearby oilfields for enhanced oil recovery. This

has reduced its CO emission by one million tonne each year. Studies are on in the U.K. and other nations on the feasibility of similar installations there. Another method for removing CO from the atmosphere is to increase forest cover as plants will absorb some of the unwanted CO. Increased forestation is part of India‟s strategy for reducing CO .

It is not clear whether CCS, reforestation and other carbon removal methods can make sufficient impact at the

global level to significantly slow down global warming. But they seem relatively benign[bi'nIn(harmless,सुयक्षऺत)] at the scale at which they are being considered now and will at least lower CO pollution locally. More ambitious, but also more worrisome, is the second category of climate engineering: solar radiation management (SRM). Here the plan is to reduce global warming by cutting down the heat absorbed by our planet from the sun. Among the techniques being considered are marine cloud brightening, cirrus cloud manipulation

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

and stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI). SAI, the boldest and also the most risky of climate engineering interventions, involves spraying into the stratosphere fine, light-coloured particles designed to reflect back part of the solar radiation before it reaches and warms the earth. SAI proponents claim that this could bring down the global temperature by as much as 1°C a substantial amount in the climate change context. This is neither science fiction nor fantasy. Much preliminary research has already been done on this technique and reviewed in major journals. The optimal gases for injection, such as sulphur dioxide (SO), can be produced in abundance[u'bún-dun(t)s(more than enough,अधधकता)] . Furthermore, just a few airplanes specially redesigned for the purpose may suffice for injecting the required aerosol into the stratosphere. There are also precedents from nature. The 1991 volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines injected 20 megatonnes of SO into the stratosphere, cooling the globe significantly for a couple of years. But SAI also has the potential for disastrous side effects, crossing national boundaries. The Pinatubo volcanic eruption is also said to have reduced precipitation[pri,si-pu'tey-shun(downfall,ऩतन)], soil moisture, and river flow in many regions. Injection of sulphur compounds into the stratosphere is likely to increase acid deposition on the ground and also contribute to ozone layer depletion. Apart from such “known unknowns”, there could also be, to use the catchphrase, the “unknown unknowns”. The global climate system is too complex for current computational techniques to predict all possible consequences[kón-si-kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] of tampering with it. Once the aerosol has been injected into the atmosphere, it cannot be removed. Yet, if for any reason the injection, once begun, is discontinued prematurely, there can be rapid re-warming. That, ironically, could do more damage than the gradual global warming that we are seeking to combat[kóm,bat(fight,रड़ना)]. SAI research is still at a theoretical and laboratory level. Development of these techniques to large-scale deployment is years away. In that case, why should the larger community worry about it now? The reason is SRM interventions could happen sooner than one thinks. The technology does not seem to be astronomically expensive by standards of national budgets. Using a few airplanes to inject the necessary amount of aerosol to bring the temperature down by one degree could cost only a few billion dollars well within the reach of even developing countries. Flashpoints of the future As climate change worsens, some coastlands could go underwater and other regions could suffer extreme heat and severe droughts causing massive human suffering. Under such pressure, and in the absence of international regulatory regimes, the affected nation, even a small developing one, may well resort to using whatever SAI technology is available by then in the international market. In their desperation, possible harmful effects on other countries may not weigh heavily on their decision-making. Meanwhile, just the fear of possible adverse side effects could lead other nations to take preventive action against the “perpetrator”. Nations have gone to war for less. One simple way to deal with this problem is to just ban further research in these fields. In fact, some climate scientists have already suggested this. They also fear that even the possibility of SRM interventions may undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But a blanket ban on SRM would be unwise and difficult to implement. Technology, benign or malevolent, has a way of continuing to advance. Besides, banning all SRM research will amount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The goal of SRM is to mitigate['mi- ti,geyt(lessen,कभी)] damage done by carbon emissions. If there is some chance of it succeeding safely, it would

If there is some chance of it succeeding safely, it would be unwise to abandon[u'ban-dun(Leave, छोड़ना
If there is some chance of it succeeding safely, it would be unwise to abandon[u'ban-dun(Leave, छोड़ना

be unwise to abandon[u'ban-dun(Leave,छोड़ना)] it at this stage. Abandonment would also leave SRM technologies dangling midway, insufficiently tested or refined. That may nevertheless not deter some desperate climate change-afflicted nation from deploying it, leading to disaster. It is only through continuation of responsible research in climate engineering, done under proper regulatory oversight, that the limitations and risks of such interventions can be fully understood and provide the basis for informed decision-making. That will call for international governance mechanisms for overseeing the research and development and possible deployment of climate engineering techniques. This will take years to negotiate and set up. Criteria for permissible work will have to be developed, along with expertise for verification of compliance. While active climate engineering researchers have already been conscientiously worrying about these issues, it is not too early for the rest of us to start thinking about it.

issues, it is not too early for the rest of us to start thinking about it.

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

3. The antibiotic red line of control much-needed public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers
3. The antibiotic red line of control much-needed public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers

3. The antibiotic red line of control

much-needed public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of misuse and irrational use of antibiotics

A

was recently launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Called „Medicines with the Red Line‟, it comes at a time when the consumption of antibiotics in India has increased sharply while the effectiveness of these drugs to treat bacterial infections has been steadily declining.

High disease encumbrance[en'kúm-brun(t)s(burden,बाय)], rising income, cheap, unregulated sales of

antibiotics and poor public health infrastructure are some of the reasons for the sharp increase in antibiotic use.

A

billion units of antibiotics, the highest in the world. Between 2005 and 2009, consumption shot up by 40 per cent.

A case of contradictions And the impact of this unregulated usage is already showing. Between 2008 and 2013, E.coli bacteria resistant

to

of

in PLOS Medicine.

The consequences[kón-si-kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] of increased prevalence[pre-vu-

report (August 2014) in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, said that in 2010, India consumed 13

third-generation cephalosporins increased from 70 to 83 per cent; it went up from 8 to 13 per cent in the case

carbapenems and 78 to 85 per cent in the case of fluoroquinolone, notes a paper published on March 3, 2016

lun(t)s(widespread,प्रचरन)] of antimicrobial resistance are best illustrated in the case of neonatal sepsis. On

are best illustrated in the case of neonatal sepsis. On first-line antibiotics; in 2012, India had

first-line antibiotics; in 2012, India had the highest neonatal deaths (nearly 7,79,000).

India had the highest neonatal deaths (nearly 7,79,000). average 57,000 neonates die each year in India,

average 57,000 neonates die each year in India, the highest in the world, due to sepsis infection that is resistant

to

The irony is that at the same time, the lack of access or delayed access to effective antibiotics is causing more deaths in India than from drug-resistant bacteria. This is best revealed in the case of pneumonia in children under five years of age. Most of the 1,70,000 pneumonia deaths that occurred in this age group in India in 2013 could have been averted[u'vurt(prevent,योकना)]. had these children had access to effective antibiotics, notes a paper published on November 18, 2015 in the journal The Lancet. Only 12.5 per cent of affected children received antibiotic treatment for pneumonia. One way to reduce the dependence on antibiotics, particularly in the case of pneumonia, is by increasing the coverage of immunisation, which is currently hovering around 72 per cent for DTP (diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis). So like many other developing countries, India has to turn the spotlight on ensuring sustainable access even while maintaining sustainable effectiveness of all antibiotics. The only way to achieve this twin objective is by ensuring that all stakeholders government, patients, veterinarians, doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and health-care facilities play their respective roles more responsibly.

First, people should be made cognizant[kóg-ni-zunt(aware,जागरूक)] that stopping antibiotics midway, missing doses, taking suboptimal dosages, or consuming antibiotics for cold and other viral infections, to name a few, makes them resistant to antibiotics; when ill the next time, their only recourse will be more expensive drugs or probably nothing at all. This is best exemplified in the case of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis that requires longer period of treatment using very toxic drugs that are more expensive. Cracking down For the government, the top priority should be to crack down on drug companies manufacturing irrational fixed- dose combination drugs. “A recent study reported fixed dose combinations and loose antimicrobials for tuberculosis. Loose antimicrobials come without packaging and do not mention the name of the drug, its manufacturer, the date of manufacture, or the date of expiry,” notes the PLOS Medicine paper. The government should also urgently regulate drug companies discharging antimicrobial waste into the environment and regulate the use of antibiotics in animal feed to combat antibiotic resistance and obtain

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

healthier animal products misuse of antibiotics in food animals is linked to the antibiotic resistance problems we face today. Better sanitation and trenchant[tren-chunt(effective,प्रबावी)] infection control measures in health-care settings will also drastically cut the spread of drug-resistant strains. As a 2013 study in Indian Journal of Medical Ethics revealed, knowledge of antibiotic resistance was “reasonable among doctors, but low in priority”. Inadequate[in'a-di-kwut(insufficient,अऩमााप्त)] diagnostic facilities, lack of antibiotic guidelines and patients‟ demand for quick relief often determined doctors‟ prescription habits, besides incentives from drugs companies and chemists to push certain products. The collusion of drug companies and chemists is also apparent in the rampant[ram- punt(uncontrolled,अननमॊत्रित)] over-the-counter (OTC) sale of antibiotics, particularly carbapenems (that is among the highest in the world), even for ailments where they are not indicative. The introduction of Schedule H1 category from March 2014 to prevent the sale of 24 third- and fourth-generation antibiotics without prescription is a step in the right direction. Licences of 213 retail pharmacies have been cancelled for non- compliance. But restricting OTC sales of antibiotics, particularly the commonly used ones, is a double-edged sword. Any intervention to limit access by enforcing prescription-only laws unwittingly cuts off a vast majority of the population, particularly in the rural areas, that lacks access to doctors.

in the rural areas, that lacks access to doctors. 4. Good economics is good politics The
in the rural areas, that lacks access to doctors. 4. Good economics is good politics The
in the rural areas, that lacks access to doctors. 4. Good economics is good politics The

4. Good economics is good politics

The backdrop to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley‟s third Budget was a domestic economy confronted with a rather adverse global environment, an agricultural sector reeling from two successive years of drought, and a manufacturing sector that has been limping along. Although the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate has been relatively impressive at over 7 per cent (though this figure has been contested as unduly high by many who attribute the “overestimate” to the shift in the method of computing GDP), there was a universal feeling that the economy was in a vulnerable[vúl-nu-ru-bul(weak,कभज़ोय)] state and that even a relatively minor shock could cause a big downward slide. The believers in impending doom for the economy felt that an expansionary Budget designed to stimulate aggregate demand was the only way out. Ranged against this school were the fiscal conservatives who believed with equally strong conviction that the Budget must keep the fiscal deficit under control. Bhaskar Dutta Economic sense seemed to suggest that the Finance Minister would have to choose one or the other option. However, Mr. Jaitley seems to have achieved the impossible. He has definitely embraced[em'breys(adopt,स्वीकाय)] fiscal prudence[proo-d(u)n(t)s(intelligence,सभझदायी)] . He has announced that the budgetary deficit for the current year will not exceed 3.9 per cent of GDP, and has promised to lower the fiscal deficit for 2016-17 to 3.5 per cent of GDP. Since these are figures that were mentioned last year, the intention is clearly to ensure that there is no financial slippage in so far as the Central government is concerned. Surprisingly, fiscal prudence does not seem to have come at the cost of a cut in government expenditure. Mr. Jaitley has announced a significant increase in the allocation to agriculture and

has announced a significant increase in the allocation to agriculture and WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

rural development, as well as infrastructure. He has also made a large budgetary provision for payments arising out of the Seventh Pay Commission awards and the modified pension scheme for the military. Moreover, the tax measures are anything but draconian[dru'kow-nee-un(strict,कठोय)] . So, how has he managed to square the circle? Banking on assumptions The government has benefited a great deal from the windfall gain arising from the steep fall in crude oil prices. The price of crude oil is less than half of what it was a year ago. However, the government has not passed on the substantial savings achieved on the import bill to consumers the retail prices of petrol and diesel have come down by only a few rupees! Clearly, the government is hoping to continue its reliance on this source of non-tax revenue. Of course, this strategy carries with it the risk that the government estimates of revenue on this account during 2016-17 will be hit for a six if the global economy recovers from its current slump. This would result in an increase in the demand for oil and hence a rise in crude oil prices. Mr. Jaitley has also made some rather optimistic assumptions about the volume of resources available to finance the government‟s expenditure. He is hoping for a significant increase in revenue from personal income tax. The bulk of this increase must come from better tax compliance since there has been only a modest increase in taxes for the super-rich. What is more questionable is his assumption that disinvestment and the strategic sale of public sector enterprises will fetch the exchequer the sum of Rs.56,000 crore. This is surely quite unreasonable in view of the fact that the revised estimate for 2015-16 is less than half this figure. The stock market will have to improve considerably if disinvestment proceeds are going to be anywhere close to Mr. Jaitley‟s estimate. The government also hopes to exploit non-budgetary sources of financing infrastructure projects. First, there is the hope that some infrastructure projects will be funded through public-private partnerships. Second, the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has been allocated Rs.4,000 crore in the 2016-17 Budget. The government hopes that the NIIF can leverage this to raise additional funds through the bond market. Third, there are approved market borrowings of around Rs.30,000 crore for several financial intermediaries. Of course, the government cannot be completely certain that the targeted volume of resources will materialise from these sources. There is also the danger that public borrowings will crowd out private borrowing if the overall credit scenario is not satisfactory. Focus on the farms As far as budgetary allocations are concerned, the emphasis has definitely been on agriculture and the rural sector in general, with a huge increase in the allocation to the sector. A key policy instrument will be a large increase in investment in irrigation, with the emphasis on completing several projects very soon. The Budget also provides for an increase in funds allocated to gram panchayats. This is part of a huge increase in outlay on rural development, including rural road construction. Somewhat surprisingly, the Budget has dramatically increased funding for one of the previous United Progressive Alliance government‟s flagship programmes — Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. Other benefits to farmers include smoother credit flow, insurance against crop failures, and improved marketing facilities. Echoing[e-kow-ing(repeat,दोहयाना)] the Prime Minister‟s recent promise, Mr. Jaitley too has announced the target of doubling farm incomes within five years. This can be nothing more than a pipe dream. Farm incomes would have to record an average annual growth rate of about 14 per cent in order to achieve this target. The annual growth rate of agricultural output in India during any five-year period has not even touched half this level. What magic wand does the Finance Minister have to achieve this miraculous feat? And even if this could be achieved, who will buy double the current volume of agricultural output given the low income elasticity of demand for agricultural output? Of course, there are many countries where farmers‟ incomes are several times that of Indian farmers. But, in order for Indian farmers to reach these levels of income, agricultural productivity has to increase dramatically and far fewer people have to depend on agriculture for a livelihood. This in turn requires massive migration of people from the rural to the urban sector. There is no mention in the Budget speech of whether this is expected to take place. Steady structure of taxation There has been very little change in the structure of taxation. The Finance Minister has stayed away from overt[ow'vurt(open,खुल्रभखुल्रा)] populism such as raising the income tax exemption limit. There is clearly no justification for such a move when barely 5 per cent of households pay personal income tax. Direct tax rates for the vast majority of taxpayers remain unchanged, but those with taxable income above Rs.1 crore will pay a higher surcharge. Moreover, tax compliance is sought to be increased by levying a penal tax on undisclosed incomes. Some minor concessions have been provided to small taxpayers and new companies. Taxes on diesel cars have been increased in order to discourage their use. Diesel itself is difficult to tax since this has an adverse knock-on effect on the entire transport sector. However, it has always been a mystery why Mr. Jaitley‟s predecessors have not imposed a disincentive tax on diesel cars. After all, indirect taxes are also supposed to serve an allocative purpose.

all, indirect taxes are also supposed to serve an allocative purpose. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
all, indirect taxes are also supposed to serve an allocative purpose. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
all, indirect taxes are also supposed to serve an allocative purpose. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

Viewed in its entirety, an admittedly simplistic characterisation of the Budget is that it is pro-poor rather than pro-rich. Certainly, there is very little in the Budget to label it as one for the “suited-booted”. It is debatable whether the quantitative targets claimed during the Budget speech will be achieved. However, the qualitative stance in the Budget is praiseworthy increase investment in the rural sector and infrastructure, particularly road construction, hope that these relatively labour-intensive investments will have both a magnified effect on employment as well as output. The cynical[si-ni-kul(distrustful,दोषदशी)] will claim that this shift in emphasis from pro-business reforms to the somewhat old-fashioned strategy of stimulating agriculture has been brought about by the Bharatiya Janata Party‟s electoral defeats in the Bihar and Delhi Assembly elections. But good politics is not necessarily bad economics. This Budget may well be an example of this.

5. Four corners of a good deal

well be an example of this. 5. Four corners of a good deal On March 2,
well be an example of this. 5. Four corners of a good deal On March 2,

On March 2, speaking at a conference in New Delhi, the head of United States Pacific Command issued a clarion[kla-ree-un(loud,जोयदाय)] call for more robust[row'búst(strong,भजफतू )] U.S.-India cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Admiral Harry Harris observed that India is “beginning to exert its leadership” in the region, which he referred to as the “Indo-Asia-Pacific”. His appeal for partnership was strikingly direct. “We are ready for you,” he declared. “We need you. Let‟s be ambitious together.” Of particular note was Admiral Harris‟s pitch for greater cooperation between the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia. The U.S.-Japan-India trilateral has gained momentum in recent years, with regular meetings and a variety of collective exercises. Conversely, the four-way arrangement has made much less progress and has largely been limited to some meetings and naval exercises several years back. This quadrilateral relationship is typically depicted in defence terms. It is undoubtedly a national security-based arrangement. It is therefore a sensitive matter, particularly given the message it sends to Beijing. This helps explain why Indian officials have not reacted warmly to Admiral Harris‟s proposal. Michael Kugelman Raymond Vickery However, something significant gets lost amid all this loud talk of national security and China concerns: a closer relationship between these four key democracies can also boost India‟s tenuous[ten-yoo- us(weak,कभज़ोय)] energy security in a big way. Growing energy appetite India‟s yawning energy needs are well-known. Economists say that for Indian economic growth to return to double digits, energy supplies must increase by three to four times over the next few decades. Deficits, however, are immense including, for electricity alone, peak demand deficits of 25 per cent in some southern States. This helps explain India‟s addiction to overseas energy. Eighty per cent of its oil is imported, as is about 20 per cent of its coal though in recent years, coal imports have increased by as much as 56 per cent in a single year. India also imports 40 per cent of its uranium. And it is increasingly importing natural gas. Import-dependent energy policies are always fraught with peril[pe-rul(risk,जोखखभ)], and India‟s is no exception. Many, if not most, of its hydrocarbon imports come from unstable or faraway regions; two thirds of its oil comes from West Asia, and distant Venezuela is also a key source of oil. Additionally, India sees great potential in gas-rich Central Asia. However, because Pakistan denies India transit rights to Afghanistan, India lacks direct access to the region. Though New Delhi has scored some successes in Central Asia including uranium cooperation with Kazakhstan it has largely lost out on many opportunities, even while China has seized them. New Delhi seeks to enhance its access to Central Asia by developing the Chabahar port in southern Iran; however, so long as Afghanistan remains coseismal[kow'sIs-mu(unstable,अस्स्थय)], access to Central Asia via Chabahar will be difficult. Afghanistan‟s security problems also make the TAPI gas pipeline an unlikely prospect.

security problems also make the TAPI gas pipeline an unlikely prospect. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
security problems also make the TAPI gas pipeline an unlikely prospect. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

Meanwhile, the lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with the U.S. opens up energy possibilities for India, which has reduced its imports from Iran in recent years. However, New Delhi faces serious competition from other importers rushing to cash in. Enter the quad Australia can provide immense energy benefits to India. It already provides sizeable quantities of coal. The two sides have explored uranium cooperation. And most importantly, Australia is a top global producer of LNG. In recent weeks, New Delhi has telegraphed a strong desire to capitalise on Australia‟s gas riches. With LNG prices having fallen by 75 per cent since 2014, the timing could not be more ripe to explore deeper energy cooperation particularly given the volatile location of Qatar, the top current source of India‟s LNG imports. The quadrilateral would boost India-Australia relations overall, and better position New Delhi to negotiate workable LNG agreements with Canberra. Additionally, India could leverage a closer relationship with Australia to engage more deeply with the latter‟s neighbour, Indonesia, which provides India more than 60 per cent of its current coal imports. This would help advance New Delhi‟s “Act East” policy. Cultivating deeper energy relationships with these two relatively close- by Southeast Asian countries an objective that the quadrilateral relationship can help bring about would ease the encumbrance[en'kúm-brun(t)s(burden,बाय)] on India‟s naval forces of protecting energy assets in areas more far-flung than Southeast Asia. Additionally, Indonesia and Australia despite their proximity to the South China Sea and their susceptibility to Islamist militancy, including attacks by the Islamic State are far more stable than West Asia, which would ease concerns about the security of Indian energy assets and imports originating in these two countries. More broadly, for India, the quadrilateral relationship could enhance energy engagement with the U.S., Japan, and Australia across the board. These three countries have signed on to the India-led International Solar Alliance. Japan and India are offtakers for U.S. LNG projects. And all four countries have an interest in energy infrastructure development. In recent years, a major roadblock to the quadrilateral relationship was Australia, which withdrew from the arrangement in 2013, citing concerns about China‟s reaction. Today, however, Canberra has a different government and has expressed support for resurrecting[re-zu'rekt(revive,ऩनु जीववत)] it. For New Delhi, reviving the quadrilateral relationship may not make much sense from a national security perspective. However, viewed through the lens of energy security, it arguably makes very good sense.

lens of energy security, it arguably makes very good sense. 6. The fidgety pursuit of a
lens of energy security, it arguably makes very good sense. 6. The fidgety pursuit of a
lens of energy security, it arguably makes very good sense. 6. The fidgety pursuit of a

6. The fidgety pursuit of a pensioned society

Budget speeches are not just a tool to signal a government‟s priorities for the year ahead and the not-too- foreseeable future, but also a mechanism to move attention away from past promises with newer, presumably catchier ones usually without explaining why the earlier ideas didn‟t work out. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley‟s 2016-17 Budget speech aimed to signal the government‟s commitment to the weakest sections of society, but all of that has been hijacked by the brouhaha[broo'haa,haa(uproar,हो-

हल्रा)] over the tax he introduced on provident fund savings. With the National Democratic Alliance‟s (NDA)

allies, trade unions and even Cabinet ministers revolting instantly against the idea, North Block has been scrambling to generate alternative narratives on the move. This was most stark on the first day after the Budget, by when the Prime Minister‟s Office had sought an explanation on the issue and at least three different versions on how the tax would be implemented were put forth by the Finance Ministry‟s top officials. So what drove the government and, more specifically, Finance Ministry mandarins to paint themselves into a corner like this? Cuing back to the NDA‟s previous two Budgets may provide a clue to whether

it‟s amnesia[am'nee-zee-u(memory loss,स्भ नत that is to blame for the current mess. Welfare of Senior Citizens: 2014-15

for the current mess. Welfare of Senior Citizens: 2014-15 रोऩ )] , dogged pursuit of an

रोऩ)], dogged pursuit of an unfulfilled goal, or a bit of both,

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

This was the subhead Mr. Jaitley used for three paragraphs relating to social security in his maiden Budget presented for nine months of the year. He began by offering a limited revival of the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) that was started by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime well over a decade ago. He then set his eyes on the „large amount of money‟ lying as unclaimed amounts in Public Provident Fund, post office saving schemes and other such accounts. “I propose to set up a committee to examine how this amount can be used to protect and further financial interests of the senior citizens,” he said, setting a stiff six-month deadline for it. In those six months, the committee met just twice. Mr. Jaitley also asserted the newly elected NDA government‟s commitment to the social security and welfare of employees serving in the organised sector. To prove this, it extended a minimum pension of Rs.1,000 for all members of the employees‟ pension scheme run by the Employees‟ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). It also raised the wage ceiling for mandatory Employees‟ Pension Scheme (EPS) membership from Rs.6,500 per month to Rs.15,000 per month. An EPF account is mandatory for all employees earning up to Rs.15,000 per month in firms employing over 20 workers. As per the law, 24 per cent of an employee‟s salary (12 per cent as employee‟s share and 12 per cent as employer‟s share) is contributed to EPFO as a social security net for old age — a little over a third of that (8.33 per cent) is diverted to the EPS, with the government chipping in with a 1.16 per cent subsidy. The Finance Ministry should have known about this pension scheme it provides for it every year and put in an additional Rs.250 crore that year. But consider what Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said when questioned about one of the narratives floated by the Finance Ministry to dodge the EPF tax backlash. The ministry has said that EPF savings will remain tax-free if three-fifths of the corpus is used to buy an annuity and get a monthly pension. “Does every EPF account have a pension component?” he asked this week in response to

a

Jan-Dhan to Jan Suraksha: 2015-16 The number of paragraphs devoted to social security went up to seven in Mr. Jaitley‟s second Budget as he announced three new schemes as part of the government‟s commitment “that no Indian citizen will have to worry about illness, accidents, or penury in old age”. “Worryingly, as our young population ages, it is also going

as our young population ages, it is also going query on why EPF members need to

query on why EPF members need to have two pensions.

to be pensionless. Encouraged by the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana, I propose to work towards creating a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor and the underprivileged,” the Finance Minister said. The schemes he unveiled: a Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (accidental death cover of Rs.2 lakh at Rs.12 premium a year), an Atal Pension Yojana that would give a fixed pension (with a limited co-contribution up to Rs.1,000 from the government), the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (natural and accidental death risk cover of Rs.2 lakh at Rs.330 premium a year) and a scheme for providing physical aids and assisted living devices for senior citizens living below the poverty line.

It

but the Finance Minister returned to the theme and said about Rs.9,000 crore lying unclaimed in PPF and EPF accounts would be „appropriated‟ to a new Senior Citizen Welfare Fund. Rules for Senior Citizen Welfare Fund have been finalised, the Budget 2016-17 documents say. However, the idea of forfeiting unclaimed savings of people has not passed legal muster as it would violate the fiduciary trust vested by investors in the trustees of these funds. Mr. Jaitley also remarked that both EPF and Employees‟ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC, that provides medical care to organised sector workers) have “hostages, rather than clients” and workers with low incomes suffer on account of high statutory deductions to such schemes. He promised to provide employees the option to leave the EPF and opt for the New Pension Scheme (NPS) launched by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). He also said that employees below a certain level of monthly income could decide if they wanted to stop their own contributions (12 per cent of salary) to the EPF. He offered a similar option for workers to opt for a health insurance product instead of ESI. For NPS, an additional tax sop of Rs.50,000 was given for investments beyond Rs.1.5 lakh that are tax

was given for investments beyond Rs.1.5 lakh that are tax is not clear if the committee

is not clear if the committee on unclaimed deposits he had set up in the previous Budget had given its report,

he had set up in the previous Budget had given its report, deductible under Section 80C

deductible under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act; 2.8 million new members joined the scheme, partly driven by this move, taking its corpus to Rs.1.10 lakh crore from 11.5 million accounts, said PFRDA Chairman Hemant Contractor. Meanwhile, the Law Ministry is still vetting the legislation to amend the EPF Act of 1952, while a draft Cabinet note is doing the rounds on amending the ESI Act of 1948. So these announcements remain non -starters as of now. Towards a pensioned society The latest Budget made a pensioned society one of the nine new pillars for growth, but devoted just five unusual paras with 188 words that reflect the circuitous[sur'kyoo-i-tus(indirect,अप्रत्मऺ)] route the NDA is taking on social security, partly driven by amnesia and the failure to meet its previous Budget‟s pursuit to make the country‟s largest retirement fund (with Rs.10 lakh crore) unattractive. It levied a tax on EPF savings (run by the Labour Ministry) in order to make the NPS (promoted by the Finance Ministry) even more attractive.

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

“We are so obsessed with the semantics[si'man-tiks(study of Language meaning,अथाववऻान)] of

such inconsequential[in,kón-su'kwen-shu(unimportant,भहत्वहीन)] and immaterial things that the big picture is always lost sight of. And the big picture is most Indians don‟t have any social security to speak of, be it pension or health care,” points out Amit Gopal, senior vice president at India Life Capital, adding that it is rare for a Budget social security promise to be effective as there is never a system-wide view. If EPF savings are to be taxed, the same rules should apply for PPF and government employees‟ PF for true parity in tax treatment that leads to seamless choices. A lot has been and will be said in the coming days on this till the Prime Minister takes a final call on the fate of the EPF tax. A recently retired Central Providen t Fund Commissioner, however, suggests a smarter alternative to avoid such fracas[fra-kus(noisy quarrel,उऩद्रव)]. “Instead of these NPS vs EPFO games, just bring the EPFO under the Finance Ministry as well and take a fresh look at how to ensure pensions for those who have no formal employment contracts and access to either of the two schemes,” he says, referring to 82 per cent of the workforce that still gets by with informal and vulnerable[vúl-nu-ru-bul(weak,कभज़ोय)] jobs. The Economic Survey for 2015-16 talked about creating good jobs for the country‟s youth, by rationalising the statutory deductions from salaries (like EPF) that hit take-home salaries and force people to opt for non-formal employment even in the organised sector. The Finance Minister‟s previous Budget already said a start would be made on this by making employee PF contributions optional. Implementing that would have delivered more goodwill for the NDA, while spurring up domestic demand. Instead, a fractious[frak- shus(disobedient,उद्दण्ड)] debate diverts attention from a fragmented[frag'men-tid(divided,ववखॊडडत)] social security system that only focuses on a little over 10 per cent of the workforce, and blue-sky promises from the past remain buried in red tape.

blue-sky promises from the past remain buried in red tape. 7. Good, needs close watch No
blue-sky promises from the past remain buried in red tape. 7. Good, needs close watch No
blue-sky promises from the past remain buried in red tape. 7. Good, needs close watch No

7. Good, needs close watch

No one can deny India‟s headwinds. Global trade has contracted. China‟s GDP growth was down to 6.9 per cent in 2015 and is expected to fall to 6.4 per cent in 2016. The euro area barely achieved 1.5 per cent growth in 2015; it won‟t get any better in 2016. Russia is in recession and Brazil is in deep funk. Emerging market stocks, reflected by the MSCI index, have tanked by 31 per cent between end of April 2015 and February 29, 2016. We are not facing global storms. India‟s agriculture has had two consecutive drought years, characterised by negative growth, increasing rural indebtedness and farmers‟ suicides in acutely[u'kyoot-lee(sharply,तीक्ष्णता)]

parched[paacht(dried,सूखा)] regions. The rural sector suffers from reduced income and lack of demand. For

four years till 2015-16, there has been a steady deterioration[di,teer-ee-u'rey-shun(worsening,त्रफगड़ना)] , often paralysis, of core infrastructure activities in roads, highways, rail, collieries, mines, ports and power. Bereft[bu'reft(unhappy,द्ुख)] of sufficient demand, manufacturing growth has not picked up. With over Rs 3.5 lakh crore of non-performing loans, public-sector banks (PSBs) have virtually shut their credit windows. Employment is at a standstill when 1.5 million people are joining job queues every month. And much of the GDP growth of 7.6 per cent in 2015-16 if it is that is being generated by services, without support from manufacturing or agriculture.

generated by services, without support from manufacturing or agriculture. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

This is the situation in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his third budget. Given the context, where does he deserve praise? For agriculture and farmers‟ welfare, the budget has allocated Rs 35,894 crore, including interest subvention on farm loans, accelerated irrigation, insurance against crop failures and a substantial outlay of Rs 19,000 crore for building village roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a programme with significant rural employment potential that has languished[lang-gwish(fade,धगयना)] for some time. It allocated another Rs

87,765 crore for rural India under various heads, including Rs 38,500 crore under the MGNREGA. For infrastructure, Jaitley has directly budgeted Rs 55,000 crore for the building of roads and highways, excludin g what has been earmarked for the PMGSY; and an additional Rs 8,500 crore for rural electrification under two different schemes. I could continue. But the gist of it is that the budget has allocated serious money for languishing sectors such as agriculture, rural India, infrastructure and electrification of villages. These constitute

a “Budget for Bharat”.

Given such expenditures, and the need to do more over the next few years, it must have been tempting for Jaitley to make a case for widening the fiscal deficit in the name of spurring growth. He hasn‟t. Thanks to enormous[i'nor-mus(big,फड़ा)] gains from low crude oil prices both due to higher excise collections and lower petroleum and fertiliser subsidies the budget not only maintains the deficit for 2016-17 at 3.5 per cent of the GDP, but also compresses it by Rs 1,186 crore vis-à-vis the revised deficit of Rs 5,33,904 crore for 2015- 16. That, of course, raises concerns about future revenues, what with the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations and one rank one pension on the horizon. The Centre‟s net tax revenue is to increase by 11 per cent to Rs 10,54,101 crore — which I can accept. What I find a bit far fetched[faa'fecht(unreal,अवास्तववक)] is the 18 per cent growth in revenue from personal income tax. A mild increase in levies on the rich isn‟t enough unless it‟s accompanied by a significant widening of the tax net and inducing a large number of tax evaders to be honest. I hope it happens. More beguiling are non-tax revenues. These are expected to increase by almost 25 per cent to Rs 3,22,921 crore, over 30 per cent of it coming from “Other Communication Services” — or spectrum sales and another 38 per cent as dividends from government enterprises and PSBs riddled with non-performing loans. Big-ticket items, with big question marks. Then, the item that flatters to deceive: Disinvestment and strategic sale of stakes in public-sector units. Last year, the budget estimated Rs 69,500 crore. Versus this, the revised estimate for 2015-16 is Rs 25,312 crore, or a staggering shortfall of 64 per cent. Yet, Jaitley has placed his bet on a high number for 2016-17 Rs 56,500 crore. I pray that rechristening the Department of Disinvestment as the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) suffices to improve its abject['ab,jekt(miserable,दमनीम)] past performance.

दमनीम )] past performance. Jaitley will need this money more than ever before. What I
दमनीम )] past performance. Jaitley will need this money more than ever before. What I

Jaitley will need this money more than ever before. What I dislike is the stance on retrospective tax amendments. The message is that there won‟t be any more, but

if

settle. If you do, I won‟t levy any penalties.” This is state power to enforce a bad law. Not good governance. Given the fiscal constraints, the budget tries to do all it can to raise resources. I have no qualms about marginally increasing the tax burden on the richer assesses. However, Jaitley may have committed political hara-kiri by proposing a uniform tax structure for all employees saving under a national pension scheme. Good in principle, it takes away the benefits enjoyed by government pension funds, which enjoyed an EEE status: Tax exempt while contributing, exempt while accumulating income, and exempt when exiting or taking lump-sum benefits out of the fund. He will need to clarify some more, accommodate or roll-back. It‟s a good budget in terms of most allocations and the fiscal determination to stick to a target. But it‟s a damn tough one to implement. Jaitley had better keep a hawk-eye on all key items. Because, unless he has a few tricks up his sleeve, a mishap or two could derail it.

you are in the net, like Vodafone and others, then, “Be good, get rid of the cases that you have instituted and

good, ge t rid of the cases that you have instituted and 8. Lobbed into tennis‟s
good, ge t rid of the cases that you have instituted and 8. Lobbed into tennis‟s

8. Lobbed into tennis‟s court

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

In game theory, there is something called the „prisoner‟s dilemma[dI'le-mu(uncertainty,दवुवधा)] ‟. When applied to athletes it may read thus: players will be better off if nobody takes drugs. But because one cannot trust the other, all of them have to take drugs to have a chance of winning. This was the thought process behind the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong‟s Tour de France successes. “If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive[pu'vey-siv(distributive,व्माऩक)], I‟d probably do it again,” said Armstrong early this year. The possible deterrent[di'te-runt(preventive,ननवायक)] to this is the inspection game, the system we have now.

An inspector — say, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) — tests the athletes to catch
An inspector — say, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) — tests the athletes to catch the cheats and to
instil the fear of getting caught that should keep the athletes straight. Except that it doesn‟t.
As Professor Berno Buechel of the University of Hamburg pointed out in a 2013 paper, “Athletes want to dope
without being detected, while the control organisation tries to detect doping without testing clean athletes.” It
doesn‟t guarantee elimination as the examples of Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees‟ baseman, the
Russian athletes caught out in the country‟s massive doping scandal last year, and now Maria Sharapova prove.
A different protocol
Tennis‟s, in particular, is a curious case. Its anti-doping programme is considered too feeble[fee-
bul(weak,कभज़ोय)] even when compared to the prevalent systems in other sports, which themselves have been
shown to be grossly inadequate[in'a-di-kwut(insufficient,अऩमााप्त)].
For example, the rules in tennis do not allow for a positive result from a drug test to be announced by the
authorities until an investigation is complete. This, as seen recently in the case of Croatia‟s Marin Cilic, can lead
to
silent bans where the player in question pulls out of events citing[siting(mentioned,उल्रेख)] reasons not even
remotely related to doping. Inevitably[i'ne-vu-tu-blee(necessarily,जरुयी)] it results in conspiracy theories of
the kind Rafael Nadal has had to battle when it was claimed that his multiple injury breaks, stretching for
months, were drug-related.
A
Marin Cilic pulling out of events can be fairly innocuous[i'nók-yoo-us(harmless,अहाननकय)], for back in
2013 he was not even a Grand Slam champion. But Maria Sharapova, five-time Grand Slam champion, world‟s
highest-paid female athlete for 11 straight years, repeatedly dropping out would have certainly raised enough
suspicion. Sharapova‟s announcement was probably to avoid that but the way some tennis officials have held
her up as an example not of what‟s wrong with the sport, but of what‟s right with it shows how self-serving
much of the discourse has been. Shouldn‟t the announcement have come from the authorities instead of the
player?
Sharapova has now firmly taken control of the narrative. A huge mistake, she says, and it may well be one, as
Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have acknowledged. But in a system where the sentencing depends on the
tribunal‟s rather subjective assessment of the degree of intent to cheat on the part of the athletes, these things
can have damning consequences[kón-si-kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)]. If anything, this might well go on to be a
perfect example of a bad law being proved right under mitigating circumstances.
A
selective net
For a while now, evidence has been mounting that doping is all-pervasive — across rungs, across sports, across
nationalities and across cultures. But tennis has always maintained that it is above such base behaviour. And it
has rather curiously — some might say suspiciously — remained controversy-free. A little fish here and a little
fish there caught in the net, a flawed net as the sceptics[skep-tik(doubter,सॊशमी)] may say.
But Sharapova‟s is tennis‟s biggest examination till date. Even the match-fixing allegations in early January pale
in
comparison to this. Tennis should rightfully make an example of her because no system will be considered
trustworthy until it nets the big fish. But how is the question.
Professor Buechel and his team in the same paper build on the game-theoretic work by introducing „customers‟;
in this case the fans and the sponsors. “Consider a sports event from which customers turn away their interest,”
they write. “This event does not only suffer less ticket and merchandise revenues, it will also become less
attractive for media companies who report from the event and for companies who sponsor the event. In sum, this
implies a substantial loss for the organisers of the sports event as well as for the athletes.”
Their contention is that these are the reasons why the inspectors may skimp on testing. Detect the bad apple
from time to time rather than do the job thoroughly. On the face of it, tennis seems to have done exactly this —

forever believing a section of elite athletes are more ethical than others even as avenues to cheat (prize money and endorsement income) soared. The theory suggested that the only way out was for all tests and their results negative or not reported. As we saw above, tennis doesn‟t even report the positive until late. “Establishing transparency is sufficient,” states Professor Buechel. “If customers can observe whether there were serious doping tests, even if they turned out to be negative, then there is a doping-free equilibrium.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

However, this is not unique. To rule out all doping it would be necessary to change the preferences of the customers (not only their information structure). They should prefer to withdraw their support not only after a doping scandal, but also after the suspicion of doping, i.e. they should insist that strong efforts to detect and punish dopers are made.” The Tour de France is probably the best example for this. The Economist reported that “nearly two-thirds of the top-ten finishers in cycling‟s Tour de France between 1998 and 2013 have faced credible accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs.” In hindsight, the story of Armstrong seems too good to be true. But the sports fan‟s ability to hang on to his or her dreams is beyond imagination. Tennis and other sports cannot afford to wait until their own stories become too good to be true.

9. After Rollback, Revisit

become too good to be true. 9. After Rollback, Revisit The Union budget‟s proposal — now
become too good to be true. 9. After Rollback, Revisit The Union budget‟s proposal — now

The Union budget‟s proposal — now unfortunately rolled back, given the furore[fyû'ro(-ree)(craze,उन्भाद)] to rationalise the tax treatment across the NPS and EPF had raised quite a storm. Withdrawals greater than 40 per cent of the accumulated balance in the EPF would be subject to tax, unless they were used to purchase an annuity. For the EPF, this had meant the EEE tax-treatment would become EET (as 40 per cent would still be tax-exempt). One aspect of the discontent was the tax itself. The withdrawal of a tax-break never goes down well. This is especially pertinent[pur-ti-nunt(relevant,उऩमक्ु त)] for those with incomes below the tax bracket, who didn‟t get an exemption when making the contribution but would have been taxed on retirement. However, a larger issue was that the tax was only applicable on a lump-sum withdrawal and not on annuity purchase. In effect, the proposed tax policy was nudging members towards annuitisation. Such state paternalism mandating members what to do with their retirement savings — wasn‟t going down well. On the face of it, annuitisation is not such a bad idea. A pension system should be judged by its ability to provide for an adequate[a-di-kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] consumption post retirement, and not during the working life or at the point of retirement. Since the accumulated wealth has to provide for consumption for the lifetime of the individual, how it‟s drawn-down is an important policy question. For far too long, EPFO members have used the EPF as a mechanism to finance large durable purchases, or for emergency-funding. This may have served its purpose when Indian finance didn‟t have other instruments. Despite the roll-back, we should revisit the practice and work on ways to reorient the EPF as a retirement scheme. This requires a rethink of policies at the time of entry. We need to evaluate the optimality of the current contribution rate, allow for choice among pension funds, broaden investment regulations, and rationalise taxation across pension products. We need to develop better credit markets so that people don‟t use their provident fund accumulations as the creditor of first resort, and if they must, pay a price for it. But just mandating annuitisation is also not enough. We must ask what level of annuitisation is optimal. Different countries have approached this differently. The Chilean approach has been to restrict lump-sum distributions and mandate fixed inflation-indexed annuities or lifetime-phased withdrawals. Australia is more flexible in allowing lump sums. Most recently, the UK has done away with its rule of mandating the purchase of an annuity by the age of 75, allowing for programmed withdrawals. The US has very little mandatory annuitisation. If the objective is to ensure a minimum consumption after retirement, annuitisation can be mandatory only to the extent required to buy the minimum annuity. The nominal annuity may not be able to buy a minimum consumption basket if inflation rises over the retiree‟s lifetime. Policy then needs to consider mandating the purchase of an inflation-indexed annuity.

needs to consider mandating the purchase of an inflation-indexed annuity. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
needs to consider mandating the purchase of an inflation-indexed annuity. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

Annuities can be expensive for the poor as they have lower life expectancy. If they die early, they end up subsidising the rich. Annuitisation may not lead to pricing that‟s in the interest of low-income workers. We should consider an option of a programmed withdrawal, with or without a deferred annuity that begins in late old age. India‟s annuity market is also underdeveloped. Life insurance companies are often reluctant[ri'lúk- tunt(unwilling,अननच्छुक)] to enter annuity markets because of the lack of good mortality tables as well as instruments for hedging longevity and inflation risk. Governments need to set up processes for solving market failures that may impede the functioning of annuities markets. Once individuals are choosing the annuity product as they retire, issues of mis-selling are likely to come to the forefront. High commissions without appropriate consumer protection, for example, can bias[bI- us(partial,बेदबाव)] distributors to sell annuities without regard to customer suitability. Poor outcomes on annuities can be even more damaging than poor outcomes on products bought in the working life. Consumer protection regulation in the annuity space will thus be critical. The government‟s idea of rationalising taxes across the EPF and the NPS, and bringing in an element of annuitisation, important and useful. The next time round, it should put in a lot more rigour[ri- gu(hard,सख्त)] before proposing changes, so that they don‟t get rolled back.

proposing changes, so th at they don‟t get rolled back. 10. Full marks on fiscal deficit
proposing changes, so th at they don‟t get rolled back. 10. Full marks on fiscal deficit
proposing changes, so th at they don‟t get rolled back. 10. Full marks on fiscal deficit

10. Full marks on fiscal deficit

The high point of the Budget for 2016-17 is its adherence[ad'heer-un(t)s(following,सभथान)] to the road map for fiscal consolidation by fixing the fiscal deficit at 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). This is an extremely welcome step and sends out a unambiguous[ún,am'bi-gyoo-us(clear,स्ऩष्ठ)] message that the goal of the government is to accelerate growth under conditions of macroeconomic stability. However, in this context, two different questions arise. One is about the credibility of this commitment and the other, a more fundamental one, is whether it is necessary at all to adhere to a fixed road map. Fiscal deficit C. Rangarajan On credibility, let us look at the numbers. Total expenditures are projected to increase by 10.8 per cent. However, it is not clear to what extent the encumbrance[en'kúm-brun(t)s(burden,फोझ)] of the Seventh Pay Commission has been taken into account. It appears that a significant part of the burden has been left out. As and when the government takes a final decision, it can very well happen that the total expenditures will rise. Thus, there is some fear of underestimation as far as expenditures are concerned. On the revenue side, gross tax revenue is projected to grow by 11.7 per cent against a backdrop of the nominal GDP growing at 11 per cent. This is a reasonable assumption. However, receipts from disinvestment in 2016-17 are estimated at Rs.56,500 crore as against an actual collection of Rs.25,300 crore in 2015-16. The projected receipts of Rs.99,000 crore from spectrum auction in 2016-17 are also way above what was obtained in 2015-16. There might thus be an overestimation of revenues. Therefore some doubts persist around the fiscal deficit target of 3.5 per cent. As for the need for containing the fiscal deficit, it is important to note that sustained high fiscal deficits not only lead to a rise in the debt-GDP ratio but also to an increase in interest payments as a proportion of revenues, leaving less for productive expenditure. As a percentage of net tax revenues to the Centre, interest payments

As a percentage of net tax revenues to the Centre, interest payments WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

have jumped from 38.9 per cent in 2007-08 to 46.7 per cent in recent years. For 2016-17, the Budget retains it at the same level. It is a good sign that the ratio remains the same despite the revenue base coming down because of increased devolution to States. Without a conscious effort to contain fiscal deficit, this ratio will only keep rising. There is also another angle from which the impact of high fiscal deficit can be looked at. Under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003, the mandated target for the Central government is 3 per cent of GDP. The States taken together will also take another 3 per cent of GDP. Thus the combined fiscal deficit of the Centre and the States will be 6 per cent of GDP. Both private business and government are deficit sectors in the sense that they invest more than they save. They draw on the surplus of the household sector. Household sector savings in financial assets which are called transferable savings used to remain at 11 per cent of GDP. The mandated fiscal deficit of 6 per cent was consistent with this level of household savings in financial assets. But household savings in financial assets have come down to almost 7.3 per cent of GDP. This leaves very little for sectors other than government (including public sector enterprises) to draw on the surplus of the household sector. Thus, there is considerable merit in favour of moving towards the target of 3 per cent of GDP. In fact, so far the government has not taken a „rigid‟ position on fiscal deficit. The fiscal deficit for 2015-16 is almost 1 per cent above the mandated level. Flexibility should not mean undercutting the basic principle. Public spending The major thrust of the Budget speech was in outlining the various schemes of public spending in agriculture, infrastructure and social sectors. It is not uncommon to push for public expenditure at a time when private investment sentiment is weak. With reference to public spending, there are two issues. The first relates to the design of schemes. Sector experts need to examine carefully how well the proposed schemes meet the needs of the sector. The second and more important issue relates to the ability of the government to ensure that the schemes are actually implemented on the ground. It may also be noted that while a large increase in capital expenditure on infrastructure has been contemplated[kón-tum,pleyt(study,ववचायना)], a significant proportion of the financing will come from “extra budgetary resources”, which means borrowing. This will be over and above what the government is borrowing. Capital expenditures of the government showed a steep rise this year. But in 2016-17, the rise has been projected at only 3.9 per cent. To do away with the distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure is a suggestion that was made by a committee headed by me some years ago. Later the Fourteenth Finance Commission also endorsed this idea implicitly. When the suggestion was originally made, it was not to weaken planning but to strengthen it. This

ााग्मशारी)] effect of having schools without
ााग्मशारी)] effect of having schools without

distinction had the infelicitous[in-fu'li-si-tus(unfortunate,दबु

the infelicitous[in-fu'li-si-tus(unfortunate, दबु required teachers or hospitals without

required teachers or hospitals without adequate[a-di-kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] doctors because one is treated as plan and the other non-plan. What was proposed was that policymakers must take a holistic view of the expenditures required by a sector or programme and allocate resources. There are minimal changes in relation to taxation. The expectation of a change in corporate tax rate has been belied[bi'lI(misrepresent,झुठराना)]. The proposed reductions are limited to a small subset of companies. The changes in tax exemptions are more in the nature of modification than elimination. The decision to levy a tax on those who earn dividend income above Rs.10 lakh and the increase in surcharge on people whose income is above Rs.1 crore by 3 per cent to 15 per cent are both welcome from the point of equity. The measures to reduce litigation and simplify procedures are steps in the right direction. They need to be part of an ongoing programme. Growth and reforms Will the Budget help accelerate growth? Increased spending on agriculture and rural development besides increasing agricultural output may push up rural demand for manufactured goods. There is also the hope that after two years of drought, the monsoon will be good in the coming fiscal. The additional spending on infrastructure may draw in private investment. Apart from these, there are no direct measures to stimulate private investment. As far as reforms are concerned, there are references to new pieces of legislation relating to Aadhar, dispute resolution in public-private-partnership projects and modifying the Motor Vehicles Act. Important pieces of legislation such as the Goods and Services Tax Bill and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code are already caught in the political logjam. Under the circumstances, the government must move strongly in the area of administrative reforms so that cumbersome procedures are eliminated and the administrative machinery, including the delivery system, functions more efficiently. These are low-hanging fruits which can be plucked. The ease of doing business is influenced by how well the government functions. The decision to stick to the path of fiscal consolidation is a sagacious[su'gey-shus(wise,फवुिभान)] one. It will send out the right signals to the investors. The impact of high public spending will depend upon the drive and efficiency with which the new projects and programmes are taken up and executed. Implementation is the key to boosting investor confidence.

up and executed. Implementation is the key to boosting investor confidence. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

11. It just ain‟t cri cket when it comes to the Women in Blue An
11. It just ain‟t cri cket when it comes to the Women in Blue An

11. It just ain‟t cricket when it comes to the Women in Blue

An unbeaten century on debut in One-Day Internationals (ODI), away from home, at the age of 19. A double- hundred in Tests on the very first visit to England, the highest individual score at that time to boot and still the second-highest ever. An average of 51 in Tests and 49.54 in ODIs. At 5,000-plus, the second-highest ODI run- scorer in the world; add to that over 1,000 runs in Twenty20 Internationals. These are numbers that would look impressive against the career statistics of any international cricketer. These are figures that would ensure instant recognition for most. But there are no prizes for guessing this particular player simply because not many would be aware of these, and several more, achievements of Mithali Raj, the current Indian women‟s cricket team captain. Cricket, it is said, is one of only two things that truly unite Indians, the other being films. That august pedestal, however, doesn‟t have space for the women‟s team. As the World T20 gets underway, Indian women are working on their game away from the constant glare of the spotlight. A historic series win Australia in T20s, followed by another at home against Sri Lanka, has pushed the team into the top four in world rankings and given hope that the team could finally win its maiden world title. The closest it has come to that so far has been the runner-up spot at the 2005 50-over World Cup. Uthra Ganesan “It‟s all about performance. A title at home will not only help Indian cricket, it will change the entire scenario for the sport in the country in terms of recognition and popularity,” believes Anjum Chopra, former captain and now the International Cricket Council (ICC) venue manager for the event at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium in Delhi. She may have a point but that doesn‟t explain the complete indifference of the system and the administration to the overall development of the women‟s game in India. Women‟s cricket administration was taken over by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), as per instructions from the ICC to have a single body to run the sport in the country, in 2006. Last year, the BCCI announced central contracts for the women for the first time, four years after Pakistan did so. It was a meagre[mee-gu(minimum,थोडा)] amount compared to what the men earn a Mithali in Grade A would still earn less (Rs.15 lakh) than a Stuart Binny in Grade C (Rs.25 lakh) but it was a start. If the reader, by any chance, happens to be one of those in a minority who would actually be desirous of knowing about the Indian women players, he or she would have a better chance of finding information and details about the team and its performances on a cricket website than the official BCCI one simply because the board website doesn‟t have any. It doesn‟t even list the women in the national team section! How the world does it In contrast, Cricket Australia not only treats its women on a par with the men, the male players themselves accord more respect and recognition to their female counterparts. As two-time defending champions, the Australians can be said to have earned it. The fact that the women have their own Big Bash League (BBL) Down Under is proof of the women‟s power on and off the field. Ellyse Perry is as much a pin-up celebrity as Steven Smith, perhaps more. Australia‟s victory in the Women‟s Ashes in 2015 was hailed across both the mainstream and social media with people such as Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland and players David Warner and Glenn McGrath acknowledging the win. The Englishwomen received commiserations[ku,mi-zu'rey-shun(sympathy,करुणा)].

commiserations[ku,mi-zu'rey-shun(sympathy, करुणा )] . WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
commiserations[ku,mi-zu'rey-shun(sympathy, करुणा )] . WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has introduced the Women‟s Cricket Super League, its own version of domestic T20 league, on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and BBL, from 2015. The White Ferns, the women‟s national team, is also on a par with the men in exposure and monetary terms. In the West Indies, Deandra Dottin and Anisa Mohammed are bigger stars than most members of the men‟s side! Here, the men would perhaps struggle to name half the women‟s national team players. Besides Mithali, the only other current member of the side with recall value would be Jhulan Goswami and, to some extent, Harmanpreet Kaur. Mention names like Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav, Niranjana Nagarajan, Shikha Pandey and all you get from most people, including those who follow the game, are empty stares. These, by the way, are all players who have been around and about for a while now with the national side. On-field exploits On the contrary, what made news across the Indian media recently was how the Indian women‟s team „clamoured[kla-mu(loud demand,जोयदाय भाॉग)] ‟ to get itself clicked with men‟s Test captain Virat Kohli when both teams were in Australia for the ODI and T20 series. Not the women‟s historic 2-1 T20 series win or the closely-fought 1-2 loss in ODIs. The series win at home against Sri Lanka was airbrushed away. The achievements are even more remarkable considering that while Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa regularly play Tests and ODIs, India last played a Test against South Africa in 2014, the same year it went to England for a one-off Test after a gap of eight years, with no warm-up matches or preparation, and the first since the Women‟s Cricket Association of India was dissolved. In her 14-year-long career, Mithali has played just 10 Tests compared to 164 ODIs. If anything, the exposure for the team, at least in the longest format, has reduced. The current chairman of selectors, Shantha Rangaswamy, played 16 Tests in a 15-year career. Back in 1986, the legendary Diana Edulji was famously quoted as saying that the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the laws of the game, should be renamed MCP. While England has improved its own set-up to bring the women on a par with the men, the apathy and indifference to the girls in terms of recognition from its own fraternity in India continues. More recently, Diana reiterated[ree'i-tu,reyt(repeat,दोहयाना)] her contempt for the men by trashing Kevin Pietersen as an MCP in 2010 after the latter claimed cricket was “a man‟s game, not for the girls”. Seeking parity, she says, “It is very significant that the event is being held along with the men‟s section because our girls will be playing at home. Playing the final and winning it at Eden Gardens would be fabulous. It will also be nice if four women‟s team can get to play in the IPL too.” Second to none Indian women‟s games are rarely televised. Mithali says more live telecasts would automatically raise both the level of players‟ performances and their recognition. That, however, happens to be a vicious[vi- shus(brutal,अनैनतक)] circle. With no recognition, broadcasters and sponsors are reluctant[ri'lúk-

broadcasters and sponsors are reluctant[ri'lúk- tunt(unwilling, अननच्छुक )] to come into
broadcasters and sponsors are reluctant[ri'lúk- tunt(unwilling, अननच्छुक )] to come into

tunt(unwilling,अननच्छुक)] to come into the women‟s game. With no corporate support, recognition remains non-existent. “We haven‟t thought about it, we will look into it sometime in future,” was the terse response from PepsiCo India chairman D. Shivakumar on the occasion of signing up as a team sponsor with the BCCI only for the men. That other parameter of performance world rankings is more transparent but ironically, in a country that is obsessed with numbers and ranks, even that hasn‟t been able to raise the women‟s profile. Jhulan is the world‟s top-ranked ODI bowler at the moment and seventh in T20s. In contrast, R. Ashwin barely sneaks in at 10th in ODIs. Mithali is third in ODIs and sixth in T20s in batting, same as Kohli. India has two batswomen in the top 10 in every format, Harmanpreet being the other, something even the men can‟t boast of. And yet, while the fortunes of the men, both as a team and individually, are religiously followed, the women are ignored. So much so that, when she was named for the Padma Shri honour by the Indian government last year, Mithali admitted she was surprised given that she had been pitted against Kohli for the same. World records? The women check that box as well. While Mithali is the second-highest run-scorer in ODIs, Neetu David continues to hold the record for best bowling figures of 8/53 in a Test innings, 21 years after she did it. She is also just five away from the all-time high of 180 ODI wickets held by Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick. If only numbers were to be a measure of greatness, the women can hold their heads high in every department. While all the talk about the World T20 in recent days has centred around the India-Pakistan clash on March 19 in Kolkata, hardly anyone is aware of the fact that the same day, women from the two countries would also face off in Delhi. And yet, every time they walk out to the middle, they know there is expectation without the set-up to fulfil them. “We need a big trophy or else women‟s cricket in India will die,” says Diana bluntly. That is the kind of pressure, with all the benefits of lack of facilities and exposure, the women can do without.

the benefits of lack of facilities and exposure, the women can do without. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

12. This Budget is not business as usual Is it possible to be popular without
12. This Budget is not business as usual Is it possible to be popular without

12. This Budget is not business as usual

Is it possible to be popular without being populist? This Budget, which has sought to combine the virtues of macroeconomic stability with growth, is a good example. Keynes had said, “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” So, have we at least tried to escape from some old ideas? There are some medium-term issues which deserve attention. Path of fiscal consolidation First, the preferred path of fiscal consolidation. We know that the Budget achieved the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent for the current year and would stick to a target of 3.5 per cent for the coming year. This is consistent with the path of fiscal consolidation stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act of 2003 (FRBM Act). It has done this notwithstanding expenditure pressures of Rs.1.02 lakh crore from the Pay Commission and Rs.7,500 crore from the One Rank, One Pension scheme. Added to these are global headwinds, rural economy in stress, with two successive years of drought with subdued[sub'dyood(soft,हल्का)] private investment. The Budget has also announced “the constitution of a Committee to review the implementation of the FRBM Act and give its recommendations on the way forward”. Historically, high fiscal deficit was a contributor to the balance of payments crisis of 1991. The FRBM Act was enacted in the context of the deteriorating[di'teer-ee- u,reyt(worsen,त्रफगड़ना)] fiscal health in 2000. The Bill was presented to the Lok Sabha on December 22, 2000. It was thereafter referred to the Standing Committee. Its report observed: “Numerical ceilings and the timeframes set for attaining the said levels induce excessive rigidity[ri'ji-du-tee(strictness,कठोयता)] into decision-making, depriving governments of the flexibility needed to respond to the exigencies[ek-si-jun(t)- see(emergency,सॊकटकार)] in an appropriate manner, to serve the national interest best.” They did not favour specified levels of deficits which “might lead to decline of low level of funds already available for developmental purposes and towards providing basic services to vast populations below the poverty line.” Instead, they sought the modification of the words “pre-specified levels” to be substituted with “pre- specified prudent[proo-d(u)nt(wise,फवुिभान)] levels”, as laid down under the rules. A revised Bill, however, without reflecting these concerns, was passed by Lok Sabha in May 2003 and Rajya Sabha in August 2003. It was notified on August 6, 2003. The intellectual rationale for a 3 per cent fiscal deficit target remains somewhat opaque[ow'peyk(unclear,अस्ऩष्ठ)] . Its most proximate source lies in the Maastricht Treaty, namely the Stability and Growth Pact. The magical number is not available in the literature of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the public finances and modern history database of 200 years of budget deficits covering 55 countries over the period 1800-2011. Contemporary literature argues that high debt-to-GDP ratios cause macroeconomic instability, which is not good for growth. However, economist Evsey Domar has argued that “the proper solution of the debt problem lies not in tying ourselves into financial straitjacket but in achieving faster growth in GNP.” It is in this context that the G20 ministerial meeting in March 2009 examined the IMF paper on fiscal multipliers which measures the ratio of a change in output to an exogenous change in fiscal deficit. The size of the fiscal multipliers are country, time and circumstance-specific. These are relevant in the Indian context, since the debt/GDP ratio has significantly come down from 83.3 per cent in 2003-04 to 66.1 per cent at end March-2014. Since fiscal sustainability is the equivalent of public debt sustainability, a declining debt ratio enlarges fiscal space.

public debt sustainability, a declining debt ratio enlarges fiscal space. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
public debt sustainability, a declining debt ratio enlarges fiscal space. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

Accepting a 3.5 per cent fiscal deficit target for next year enhances credibility but cramps demand. A higher outlay both for infrastructure and agriculture could have multiplier gains in spurring private investment. These have sought to be met through extra budgetary resources, as a below-the-line entry from non-tax revenues. Spurring growth remains our overarching objective. The mandate of the proposed committee on FRBM should be broader than recalibrating fiscal deficit targets. It should evolve an acceptable framework for a Macro Stability Responsibility Act (MSRA), to replace the FRBM. It needs to encompass a wider set of criteria which should also enable contra-cyclical measures depending on time and circumstances. Implementation of Aadhaar Second, after years of prevarication[pri,va-ru'key-shun(lying,मभथ्मा)], the government has introduced the far- reaching legislation, The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Service) Bill, 2016, enabling the Aadhaar platform to be effectively used for direct benefit transfers (DBT) for multiple beneficiary programmes. These go beyond LPG to cover fertilizers, health, education and the now rationalised centrally sponsored schemes (CSSs). Concerns have been raised on whether it should have been a Money Bill. Article 110 of the Constitution stipulates that a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if “it contains only provisions dealing with the matters specified, more importantly, appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India”. This revised Bill ensures this by deleting all non-money aspects. In any case, the Bill meets the satisfaction of the Speaker since Article 110 (3) stipulates that “if any question arises whether a Money Bill is a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People thereon shall be final”. Beyond the Bill, it must be recognised that the obstinacy[ób-sti-nu-see(stubborn,स्ज़द)] of the Opposition to block legislation earlier sponsored wholly by them places the government in an unenviable[ún'en-vee-u-bu(unwanted,अवाॊछनीम)] position. Governments in office are enjoined to deliver. Can they be faulted to seek innovative ways, legal engineering if you like, for ensuring passage of important economic legislation? Betterment of the lives of the people cannot suffer the palpably[pal-pu- blee(clearly,स्ऩष्ठ रूऩ से)] irrational action of a limited group. The other concern about privacy has been overcome by provision of clauses 28 to 47. Issues of security are no doubt paramount and any possible misuse by political parties in office to secure information using the security ruse must be jealously safeguarded. The implementation of Aadhaar, however, needs three further ingredients. First, interoperability between platforms in case other platforms are used to deliver benefits. Second, the tendency to adopt non-verifiable alternative platforms, bypassing the Aadhaar, can lead to abuse. Third, while disbursements through DBT using Aadhaar can be quickly effected, withdrawals would require a significantly faster pace of ensuring reliable connectivity, covering all 2,50,000 Panchayats. The suggestions by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India of using public-private partnership for a faster implementation now deserve priority. Third, the Budget seeks to redefine the relationship between the Ministry of Finance and the RBI. The proposed amendment of the RBI Act of 1934 and the constitution of a Monetary Policy Committee will dispel current ambiguities[am-bu'gyoo-i-tee(unclear,अस्ऩष्ठता)] and “will add a lot of value and transparency to monetary policy decisions.” A great deal will depend on how this committee works. Not only domain knowledge, the balance of decision-making in the Committee with the final word on interest rates resting with the Governor of the RBI, fostering[fós-tu-ring(encourage,प्रोत्साहहत)] greater public debate on evolution of Monetary Policy. Indeed, monetary and fiscal policy need to act in tandem, keeping in view the twin objectives of growth and acceptable inflation band. This Budget is not a run-of-the-mill act. In conjunction with an innovative Economic Survey, it embeds several innovative ideas. These will crystallise in the coming weeks.

ideas. These will crystallise in the coming weeks. 13. Heading backwards It was March 26, 2002,
ideas. These will crystallise in the coming weeks. 13. Heading backwards It was March 26, 2002,
ideas. These will crystallise in the coming weeks. 13. Heading backwards It was March 26, 2002,

13. Heading backwards

It was March 26, 2002, when NDA I, under the visionary leadership of then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, took a bold decision. It approved the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds of cotton. India was the 16th country to do so, despite opposition from political parties and NGOs. But Atalji was quite clear and convinced about the role of science in shaping agriculture. In one of his speeches, he stated, “The next big revolution that is unfolding in the world is the biotechnology revolution. This too is going to touch the lives of ordinary people in

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

ways that we cannot even fully imagine today. We must not lag behind others in this revolution. Indeed, India should aspire to be one of the leaders of this revolution. We must plant its healthy saplings in different parts of the country so that we can reap their fruits soon.” No wonder, Atalji also added science in the famous slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan”. What were the results? India witnessed an astounding[u'stawn-ding(incredible,अववश्वसनीम)] revolution in the cotton sector, not seen for another crop. Cotton production shot up from 14 million bales in 2000-01 to 39 million bales in 2014-15, a 178 per cent increase (Cotton Advisory Board estimates). Cotton yields rose by 84 per cent, from 278 kg/ ha to 511 kg/ ha during the same period. Consequently[kón-si-kwunt- lee(resultant,ऩरयणाभस्वरूऩ)], India emerged as one of the largest global players in cotton. From a net importer in 2000-01, India became a net exporter (the second-largest after the US) in 2014-15 as well as the largest producer (surpassing China‟s 38.4 million bales). If Atalji hadn‟t taken this bold decision, and if India had continued in a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, projecting from the trend since 1990-91, India‟s cotton production wouldn‟t have been more than 21 million bales by 2014-15, way below its consumption needs. It would have made India one of the largest importers of cotton. In reality, the net benefit of the Bt cotton decision was that, cumulatively, India produced 140 million bales “extra” (compared to BAU) during 2002-03 to 2014-15. Let‟s try to see this counter-factual in terms of foreign exchange savings and earnings. Had cotton production not dramatically increased, India would have been importing cotton to meet its domestic consumption each year. At unit value of imports, this aggregates to an import bill of $24.2 billion, cumulatively, in 2002-15 that India saved. Besides, due to surplus production, India‟s exports of raw cotton soared and added around $21.2bn to our export earnings. Further, India earned about $9.3bn from the “extra” yarn exports, made possible by enhanced cotton production. All combined, the introduction of Bt cotton has so far helped India to the tune of about $55bn, a bonanza we owe solely to Atalji‟s vision and courage. Interestingly, while Atalji‟s vision sowed the seeds of this revolution, Gujarat under then CM Narendra Modi harvested the largest fruit. From 2001-02 to 2013-14, Gujarat‟s agriculture grew at 9.7 per cent per annum, spearheaded by cotton. In 2002-03, Gujarat, with three million bales, produced 22 per cent of India‟s cotton, which rose to 11.6 million bales and a 31 per cent all-India share in 2013-14. Cotton yields[yee(- u)ld(output,उऩज)] grew by 131 per cent in Gujarat, way above all-India gains, over the same period. Of course, complementary infrastructure in terms of irrigation, roads, etc also played its role, but the catalyst was the Bt cotton seed. This presumably also contributed to Modi‟s back-to-back victories in state elections. However, today, as PM Modi leads NDA 2, the government is becoming control-centric in Bt cotton seeds pricing, including trait fees between the parent company (Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Ltd) and licensee companies, which have entered into private contracts. This would be the first death-knell for the cotton revolution. The government‟s gazette notification of March 8, 2016 brings down the price of Bollgard II seeds from Rs 830 to Rs 800 per packet (450 grams), and reduction in the trait fee from Rs 163 to Rs 49. So, while the cost of seed to the farmer has reduced by only 4 per cent, the royalty being paid by domestic licencees to the parent company goes down by a whopping 70 per cent! As they say, you follow the money trail, and even a blind man can see who‟s driving this change. What will happen now? Most probably, the case will go into litigation. A government order overriding private company contracts is a fertile area for corporate lawyers. The Vodafone case is still fresh. This one will hit India‟s credibility in protecting IPR and, no wonder, most global seed companies feel hesitant in bringing their latest technologies to India precisely for this reason. Our public research is pitiable. Look at the entire ICAR budget for the country, which was around Rs 4,840 crore ($0.8bn) in 2014-15. But Monsanto alone spent $1.7bn in R&D in 2014. It‟s unambiguous[ún,am'bi-gyoo-us(clear,स्ऩष्ठ)] that future agri-wonder seeds are going to increasingly come from global private players, and India must learn to acquire them amicably[a-mi-ku- blee(friendly,भैिीऩणू ा ढॊग से)]. Look at how China has acquired Syngenta for $43bn. There‟s something to learn from that. If Monsanto decides to relinquish[ri'ling-kwish(quit,छोड़ना)] India, Bollgard III may not come, and Bollgard II will wear off its potency in the next three to five years. The cotton revolution will be buried forever and the biggest losers will be Indian farmers. Is this what the Modi government wants? Only the PM knows.

Indian farmers. Is this what the Modi government wants? Only the PM knows. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
Indian farmers. Is this what the Modi government wants? Only the PM knows. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
Indian farmers. Is this what the Modi government wants? Only the PM knows. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

14. How reforms killed Indian manufacturing This year marks 25 years since the so- called

14. How reforms killed Indian manufacturing

14. How reforms killed Indian manufacturing This year marks 25 years since the so- called “economic

This year marks 25 years since the so-called “economic reforms” were launched in July 1991. By now, broad contours of the policies and practices that characterised such reforms are well known, viz. radical deregulation, marketisation and privatisation of the industrial, technological and financial sectors, and an across-the-board induction of foreign direct investment and foreign institutional investment, and so on. Basing himself on the erroneous[i'row-nee-us(wrong,गरत)] views of India‟s IT software and service

sector behemoths[bi'hee-muth(big,फड़ा)], the “advice” of Western governments, large foreign companies and the trinity of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, Manmohan Singh, then Finance Minister, concluded around mid-1992 that we could be globally competitive only in IT software and services and not in hardware. Thus he reduced import duties on all IT hardware purportedly to “facilitate” software promotion and growth on a globally competitive basis using imported hardware. Result: by 1994 our fledgling civilian IT hardware industry folded up. No one seems to have told Dr. Singh that IT hardware far more technologically sophisticated than the commercial hardware being imported by our software companies was being manufactured by Indian defence, atomic energy and space agencies and even exported to other developing countries such as Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Death by policy The “reforms” also dealt a body blow to the indigenous[in'di-ju-nus(native,स्वदेसी)] optic fibre telecommunication systems industry, a project begun by the Department of Electronics (DoE) in 1986 with the setting up of the public sector utility, Optel. Based on a global tender, technology-transfer agreements were concluded with two companies, Fujitsu and Furukawa, in 1987 and a blueprint for the Optel plant prepared. It indicated a project cost of Rs.45 crore and a construction period of 30 months; when completed, the actual numbers were Rs.46 crore and 32 months. All this was possible because I got one of our top technocrat-managers, Bhagwan Khurana, to leave his job as CEO of Punjab Wireless Ltd. (Punwire) and become CEO of Optel. A top-class cluster of three plants was operational by end March 1989. In its very first year of commercial operations Optel‟s turnover was Rs.64 crore with a profit of Rs.11 crore. In 1990-91 the turnover zoomed to Rs.298 crore with Rs.35 crore profit. Around this time, Sterlite, a metallurgical company, and Finolex, a packaging material producer, entered the field. They would import fibres and merely sheath them into cables. Even the sheathing material was imported the cables had merely 10-15 per cent domestic content. This, however, ran into a roadblock in the form of the graduated customs duties then applicable, which promoted local production. They started lobbying with the government to reduce the import duty on fibre a manufactured component from 40 per cent to 10 per cent, which was the duty on raw materials. I was then Secretary of the Electronic Commission and Additional Secretary in the DoE. Despite the DoE‟s stout opposition to both the character of the companies‟ “projects” and the drastic and irrational reduction of duties, they got their way. Within six months, large quantities of optic fibre began to be imported. Optel had to close down its optic fibre plant and import low-grade fibre from China to be able to compete in our own market with the likes of Sterlite and Finolex! Deindustrialisation In 1990-91, there were at least a dozen electronics corporations producing a range of high-tech radio communication equipment, industrial electronics and control and instrumentation equipment worth annually around Rs.6,000 crore. However, the reduction in customs duties from 60 per cent to 30 per cent overall, which led to a glut of imports, forced many of these corporations to halt[hólt(stop,योकना)] production and become import agents, a phenomenon repeated in the key solar photovoltaic industry. “Reforms” also led to large-scale import of cell-phone handsets that could have been easily produced here had a policy of phased manufacture been adopted. Result? The entire market for such handsets was met by unnecessary imports from Day One in 2005-06. In 2013-14 cell-phone imports totalled Rs.35,000 crore.

Day One in 2005-06. In 2013-14 cell-phone imports totalled Rs.35,000 crore. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
Day One in 2005-06. In 2013-14 cell-phone imports totalled Rs.35,000 crore. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

By 2000, foreign brands grabbed 80 per cent of the television sets market, from a situation where 10 local companies catered almost fully to the demand. Six of the 10 indigenous television makers have folded up, with a ripple effect on the electronic components sector. My final example is our heavy electrical equipment industry led by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). Up until 1998-1999 this industry was doing very well. However from the next year onwards, four Chinese power plant equipment manufacturers began to seriously erode BHEL‟s market. This erosion was despite the quality and technical reliability of the Chinese equipment being considerably inferior[in'feer-ee- u(cheap,तुच्छ)] to BHEL‟s products. The United States, home to General Electric and Westinghouse, imposed penal anti-dumping duties on Chinese power plant equipment. Yet, the Indian government merely watched as BHEL lost 30 per cent market share by 2014. These examples indicate that in sector after sector, the “reforms” have led to deindustrialisation. Products that we were manufacturing in the 1990s are being imported now. The negative impact this deindustrialisation has had on employment and on our economy is gigantic[jI'gan-tik(big,फड़ा)]. The government must act immediately to halt the destruction of domestic industry on such a massive scale instead of merely tom-tomming its “Make in India” policy.

of merely tom-tomming its “Make in India” policy. 15. The Aadhaar coup The Aadhaar project was
of merely tom-tomming its “Make in India” policy. 15. The Aadhaar coup The Aadhaar project was

15. The Aadhaar coup

its “Make in India” policy. 15. The Aadhaar coup The Aadhaar project was sold to the

The Aadhaar project was sold to the public based on the claim that enrolment was “voluntary”. This basically meant that there was no legal compulsion to enrol. The government and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), however, worked overtime to create a practical compulsion to enrol: Aadhaar was made mandatory for an ever-widening range of facilities and services. It became clear that life without Aadhaar would soon be very difficult. In these circumstances, saying that Aadhaar is voluntary is like saying that breathing or eating is voluntary. Legal or practical, compulsion is compulsion. Sweeping powers It took the Supreme Court to put an end to this doublespeak. In March 2014, the court ruled that “no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled”. This was a very sensible interpretation of what it would really mean for Aadhaar to be voluntary. Throughout the proceedings, incidentally, the Central government stood by the claim that Aadhaar was a voluntary facility. The Supreme Court did nothing more than to clarify the implications of that claim. It is important to note that Aadhaar could work wonders as a voluntary facility. A certified, verifiable, all- purpose identity card would be a valuable document for many people. But the UIDAI has never shown much interest in the Aadhaar card, or in developing voluntary applications of Aadhaar. Instead, it has relentlessly[ri'lent-lus-lee(continuously,रगाताय)] pushed for Aadhaar being used as a mandatory identification number in multiple contexts, and for biometric authentication with a centralised database over the Internet. That is a very different ball game. The Supreme Court order caused consternation in official circles, since it ruled out most of the planned applications of Aadhaar. The Aadhaar Bill, tabled last week as a money bill in the Lok Sabha and passed by it, is the Central government‟s counter-attack. Under Section 7, the Bill gives the government sweeping powers to make Aadhaar mandatory for a wide range of facilities and services. Further, Section 57 enables the government to impose Aadhaar identification in virtually any other context, subject to the same safeguards as those applying to Section 7. In concrete terms, the Bill allows the government to make Aadhaar authentication compulsory for salary payments, old-age pensions, school enrolment, train bookings, marriage certificates, getting a driving licence, buying a SIM card, using a cybercafé virtually anything. Judging from the experience of the last few years,

— virtually anything. Judging from the experience of the last few years, WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

the government will exercise these powers with abandon[u'ban-dun(empty,ऩरयत्माग)] and extend Aadhaar‟s grip to ever more imaginative domains. Indeed, Aadhaar was always intended to be “ubiquitous[yoo'bi-kwi- tus(omnipresent,सवाव्माऩी)] ”, as Nandan Nilekani, former Chairman of the UIDAI, himself puts it. Mass surveillance Why is this problematic? Various concerns have been raised, from the unreliability of biometrics to possible breaches of confidentiality. But the main danger is that Aadhaar opens the door to mass surveillance. Most of the “Aadhaar-enabled” databases will be accessible to the government even without invoking the special powers available under the Bill, such as the blanket “national security” clause. It will be child‟s play for intelligence agencies to track anyone and everyone where we live, when we move, which events we attend, whom we marry or meet or talk to on the phone. No other country, and certainly no democratic country, has ever held its own citizens hostage to such a powerful infrastructure of surveillance. If this sounds like paranoia, think again. Total surveillance is the dream of intelligence agencies, as we know from Edward Snowden and other insiders. The Indian government‟s own inclination[in-klu'ney- shun(tendency,इयादा)] to watch and control dissenters of all hues has been amply demonstrated in recent years. For every person who is targeted or harassed, one thousand fall into line. The right to privacy is an essential foundation of the freedom to dissent. Mass surveillance threatens to halt[holt(stop,योकना)] the historic expansion of civil liberties and personal

)] the historic expansion of civil liberties and personal freedom. For centuries, ordinary people have lived

freedom. For centuries, ordinary people have lived under the tyranny[ti-ru-nee(dictatorship,ननयॊकुशता)] of oppressive governments. Compulsion, arrests, executions, torture were the accepted means of ensuring their submission to authority. It took long and harsh struggles to win the freedoms that we enjoy and take for granted today the freedom to move about as we wish, associate with whoever we like, speak up without fear. No doubt these freedoms are still elusive for large sections of the populations, especially Dalits and those who live under the boot of the security forces. But that is a case for expansion, not restriction, of the freedoms we already have. The Aadhaar Bill asks us to forget these historic struggles and repose our faith in the benevolence[bu'ne-vu- lun(t)s(charity,ऩयोऩकारयता)] of the government. Of course, there is no immediate danger of democracy being subverted or civil liberties being suspended. Only an innocent, however, would fail to anticipate Aadhaar being used as a tool of mass surveillance. And mass surveillance per se is an infringement of democracy and civil liberties, even if the government does not act on it. As Glenn Greenwald aptly puts it in his book No Place to Hide, “history shows that the mere existence of a mass surveillance apparatus, regardless of how it is used, is in itself sufficient to stifle dissent.” Uncertain benefits The champions of the Aadhaar Bill downplay these concerns for the sake of enabling the government to save some money. Wild claims are being made about Aadhaar‟s power to plug leakages. In reality, Aadhaar can only help to plug specific types of leakages, such as those related to duplication in beneficiary lists. It will be virtually useless to plug leakages in, say, the Public Distribution System (PDS), which have little to do with identity fraud. On the other hand, recent experience has shown that Aadhaar could easily play havoc with the PDS. Wherever Aadhaar authentication has been imposed on the PDS, there have been complaints of delays, authentication failures, connectivity problems, and more. The poorer States, where the PDS is most needed, are least prepared for this sort of technology. There are better ways of reforming the PDS. Similar remarks apply to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). I have seen some of this damage at close range in Jharkhand, where Aadhaar was supposed to prove its mettle. Aadhaar applications (in the PDS, MGNREGS, and even the banking system) have had poor results in Jharkhand, and caused much disruption. For instance, MGNREGS functionaries have cancelled job cards on a large scale for the sake of achieving “100 per cent Aadhaar seeding” of the job-cards database. MGNREGS workers have been offloaded by rural banks on Aadhaar -enabled “business correspondents” who proved unable to pay them due to poor connectivity. And the proposed imposition of biometric authentication at ration shops threatens to disrupt recent progress with PDS reforms in Jharkhand. Seven years after it was formed, the UIDAI has failed to produce significant evidence of Aadhaar having benefits that would justify the risks. Instead, it has shown a disturbing tendency to rely on public relations, sponsored studies and creative estimates (including the much-cited figure of Rs.12,700 crore for annual savings on the LPG subsidy). To my knowledge, there has been no serious evaluation of any of the Aadhaar applications so far. Worse, some failed experiments have been projected as successes through sheer[sheer(absolute,नीया)] propaganda — business correspondents in Ratu (Jharkhand) and “direct benefit transfer” of kerosene subsidies in Kotkasim (Rajasthan) are just two examples. No doubt Aadhaar, if justified, could have some useful applications. Given the risks, however, the core principle should be “minimum use, maximum safeguards”. The government has shown its preference for the opposite —

safeguards”. The government has shown its preference for the opposite — WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
safeguards”. The government has shown its preference for the opposite — WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

maximum use, minimum safeguards. The Aadhaar Bill includes some helpful safeguards, but it does nothing to restrain the use of Aadhaar or prevent its misuse as a tool of mass surveillance. And even the safeguards protect the UIDAI more than the public. The wizards of Aadhaar are fond of telling us that we are on the threshold of a “revolution”. With due respect for their zeal, a coup would be a more appropriate term. The Aadhaar Bill enables the government to evade the Supreme Court orders and build an infrastructure of social control. Further, it does so by masquerading[mas- ku'reyd(pretend,स्वाॊग)] as a money bill, pre-empting any serious discussion of these issues. This undemocratic

process reinforces[ree-in'fors(strengthen,भजफतू )] the case for worrying about Aadhaar.

भजफतू )] the case for worrying about Aadhaar. 16. An anaemic prescription Many hoped for Budget
भजफतू )] the case for worrying about Aadhaar. 16. An anaemic prescription Many hoped for Budget

16. An anaemic prescription

Many hoped for Budget 2016 to be a renewed opportunity for the implementation of universal health coverage. These hopes had been fuelled by the rumblings[rúm-bu-ling(grumble,गड़गड़ाहट)] from the ruling party about a universal health assurance plan and rumours of a significant increase in the financial allocation to the health sector. The actual budget made for sobering reading; in terms of its meagre[mee- gu(insufficient,अऩमााप्त)] allocation and lack of detail, this was surely an anaemic[u'nee-

and lack of detail, this was surely an anaemic[u'nee- mik(weak, कभज़ोय )] budget. More disappointingly,

mik(weak,कभज़ोय)] budget. More disappointingly, I fear it will fail in achieving its most important stated goal of addressing catastrophic[ka-tu'stró-fik(harmful,नकु सानदामक)] health expenditure. Although the increase in the total allocation to the health sector represents an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year, this is only because of the significant cut in last year‟s budget and, in real terms, is even less than what was allocated in 2014-15. This allocation will do little to improve India‟s abysmal[u'biz-mu(very bad,फह त ऽयाफ)] global ranking on public expenditure on health. The specific allocations to the National Health Mission, the flagship programme for the public healthcare delivery system, represent an insignificant change, and possibly even a reduction, from the previous year. It is notable that this amount is less than that committed for the recapitalisation of public-sector banks; in effect, the government has put yet more money into banks that have performed badly than on fixing the public healthcare system, which is witnessing a steady haemorrhage[he-mu-ri(flowing,फहना)] of the population to the private sector. It is perplexing[pu'plek-

to the private sector. It is perplexing[pu'plek- sing(unclear, अस्ऩष्ठ )] , then, how this

sing(unclear,अस्ऩष्ठ)], then, how this budget is expected to address the goal of reducing catastrophic health expenditure, which the finance minister rightly asserted was “the single most important cause of unforeseen out- of-pocket expenditure which pushes lakhs of households below the poverty line every year”. Apart from the low investment in the public healthcare system, there are other troubling facts, or lack of them, which indicate the prescription of the budget will not cut the burden of catastrophic health expenditure. First, the beefed-up health insurance scheme needs to cover out-patient expenditure, not least on drugs and diagnostics, as these account for the major share of out-of-pocket health expenditure. In the absence of a structural reform of the health insurance scheme, one must assume it will continue to only insure in-patient care. Second, there needs to be a strengthening of the mechanism to hold the private sector accountable or else even the increased insurance cover will simply be swallowed up into the bottomless pit of irrational and unethical medicine, led by unnecessary hospital admissions and procedures. This would end up as one more example of public money

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

flowing to private hands without any efforts to reduce costs or ensure transparency. Finally, if the health insurance scheme only targets those who live below the poverty line, the significant impact of catastrophic health expenditure on the impoverishment of those who live above this arbitrary line would not be dented at all. The budget disappoints in at least three other respects as well. First, in the context of the abysmal contribution of health research in India either to global science or to solve the vexing[vek-sing(displeasing,खखझाऊ)] problems facing our healthcare system, the government has allocated just 2.9 per cent of its health budget to research. Apart from this allocation being far below what other middle-income countries invest in health research, this pittance[pi-t(u)n(t)s(insufficient amount,धगना चुना ऩसै ा)] points to a striking contrast from the government‟s policy to “make in India” and promote science and innovation. It seems that all of these mantras are reserved for profit-making enterprises rather than social sectors, despite the fact that high-quality health research can, in fact, achieve both the goals of social advancement and scientific innovation. Second, amidst the lack of detail on any element of health spending, one particular intervention merits specific mention: Dialysis for end-stage renal disease. While I applaud this, not least as my own mother‟s dialysis has bled my family‟s economic security, what is curious is why just this one procedure is fished out from the ocean of interventions for chronic diseases, including insulin for diabetes (the leading cause of end-stage renal disease), or why the critically important investments needed to prevent these chronic diseases are not even mentioned. My third grudge[grúj(Complaint,मशकामत)] is that, yet again, beedis, the most widely used tobacco product in India, now well recognised as being just as deadly, if not more, as ordinary cigarettes, escape taxation. One commentator suggested this was to protect lakhs of workers in the beedi industry and I wondered how this might square with the loss of income consequent[kón-si-kwunt(result,ऩरयणाभ)] to the deaths of lakhs of those who consume this deadly product. The failure to hike taxes on the high-sugar food industry whose products include cola beverages, even though their association with diabetes and obesity is now well documented, remains perplexing. Instead, it seems the government is enthusiastic to fund the expensive dialysis that is needed as a result of the consumption of these products. So, yet another year goes by when we have squandered[skwón-dud(lost,खोना)] an opportunity to address one of India‟s most shameful truths: A country enjoying high levels of economic growth, producing large numbers of health professionals and volumes of cheap drugs, and boasting amazing ingenuity for creative innovations to address health problems at low-cost, also has the dubious distinction of being one of the most regressive healthcare systems of all middle-income countries. While universal health coverage has been a mantra for several years, no government has yet taken the firm steps needed, either in terms of adequate[a-di- kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] financing or re-designing the architecture of the healthcare system. We are back to hoping that next year turns out to be a better one for India‟s health.

next year turns out to be a better one for India‟s health. 17. A new beginning
next year turns out to be a better one for India‟s health. 17. A new beginning
next year turns out to be a better one for India‟s health. 17. A new beginning

17. A new beginning in Myanmar

one for India‟s health. 17. A new beginning in Myanmar After more than half a century,

After more than half a century, Myanmar has finally got a democratically elected government with a civilian at the helm. With U Htin Kyaw, the National League for Democracy‟s candidate, being elected on March 15, the country will have a new President, a civilian Vice-President, and a Vice-President from the military, albeit[ol'bee-it(even though,मद्मवऩ)] under the supervision of the Tatmadaw or Myanmar‟s military, which retains a quarter of the seats in Parliament and the power to nominate the three most important ministers:

Defence, Home Affairs, and Border Affairs. Limited options And Myanmar has Aung San Suu Kyi, easily the country‟s most beloved leader. Even though Ms. Suu Kyi‟s NLD won a whopping 77 per cent of the elected seats in Parliament, Amay Suu, or Mother Suu, as she is fondly called, cannot lead the government because of a constitutional provision that bars her since her sons are British and not Myanmar citizens. From the start, Ms. Suu Kyi‟s options were limited. In order to amend the Constitution, she needed the vote of more than 75 per cent of MPs, which was impossible without the military‟s support. Some even went to the extent of suggesting that she should disown her sons, one of whom has

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

been estranged[e'streynjd(remove,ववयक्त)] from her for some time, but that was too much to ask of someone who has often spoken of the brutally hard choice she had to make when she stayed a prisoner in her own country rather than live in exile with her family. The other option, equally untenable[ún'te-nu- bul(unjustified,असभथानीम)], was to have her sons take Myanmar citizenship, as both men grew up outside of the country. Until last week, Ms. Suu Kyi had pinned her hopes on the possibility of a fourth option: to negotiate a compromise with the military generals to waive or suspend the constitutional provision in return for a less confrontational posture with them. But that did not happen. So the NLD nominated Mr. Htin Kyaw, a mild- mannered economist and writer she has known from her early school days. Mr. Htin Kyaw has been wrongly identified by the media as her “driver”; he has, in fact, been a trusted associate for decades. Both his and his wife‟s family are prominent in Myanmar‟s political history, although he has never held any political ambitions himself. For all these reasons Mr. Htin Kyaw was the perfect choice for President for Ms. Suu Kyi, who has made it clear that she will not give up power even if she cannot occupy the post. “[The appointed President] will have no authority,” she had told a television channel in November 2015. She also dismissed concerns that the dual power centres would affect the government‟s functioning. “Why should it affect the functions of the government? The President will be told exactly what he can do,” she said. In addition to holding the strings of power, Ms. Suu Kyi might join the Cabinet as Foreign Minister, or occupy a specially created post of Prime Minister. Yet, despite the complete confidence in her, Ms. Suu Kyi‟s path is as challenging and fraught with problems as her past has been. The military, which imprisoned her, and has only agreed very slowly and grudgingly[grú- jing-lee(unwillingly,अननच्छा)] to her rise to power, retains control of Myanmar. By successfully inserting Vice- President-elect (retired) General Myint Swe into the power structure, despite vocal objections from the U.S., Tatmadaw has shown it will not give up even this toehold. Ms. Suu Kyi‟s government will also face the challenge of pulling Myanmar out of decades of economic backwardness while addressing ethnic and religious differences. Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia:

differences. Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia: it ranks 149 among 186 nations

it ranks 149 among 186 nations rated in the 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme. Its forests have been plundered at a fast pace, while very little industrialisation or infrastructure development has taken place outside of its cities. This is where India, which has chosen to make aid to Myanmar a focal point in its development assistance plans this year, must work closer with the country in order to bolster[bówl-stu(support,सहाया)] the new government. South Asian parallels Ms. Suu Kyi is by no means the only South Asian leader to attempt this power-sharing arrangement. She will have to learn from the other subcontinental experiences if she is to be the rare one to succeed. The obvious parallel is to the tenuous[ten-yoo-us(weak,कभज़ोय)] relationship between Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which was even the subject of a bestseller. But there are also other examples. Pakistan‟s President Asif Ali Zardari found that his hand-picked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani broke ranks over bureaucratic appointments, leading to frequent rifts between the two. In any case, in Pakistan, the Prime Minister has often been upset by his choice of Army Chief and vice-versa. In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are also often seen at loggerheads, as the unique power-sharing agreement between them is yet to be fully implemented. Even Bhutan has seen its share of tussle, when former Prime Minister Jigme Thinley initiated a closer relationship with China, and met the then Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of a summit in 2012, much to the chagrin of the revered Bhutanese King, a ruler who had paved the way for a fuller democracy and power to the Prime Minister and Parliament. The lesson, if there is one, is clear: even the most unambitious appointee may strain at the leash after he is placed in the seat of power. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”, wrote Shakespeare for King Henry IV. “Uneasier still are the hands that pull its strings”, he may well have added for the uncrowned queen of Myanmar‟s people, as she writes a new chapter in the country‟s history.

Myanmar‟s people, as she writes a new chapter in the country‟s history. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
Myanmar‟s people, as she writes a new chapter in the country‟s history. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

18. Our national security mismanagement National security management under the incumbent[in'kúm-bunt(sitting,
18. Our national security mismanagement National security management under the incumbent[in'kúm-bunt(sitting,

18. Our national security mismanagement

National security management under the incumbent[in'kúm-bunt(sitting,ऩदस्थ)] Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime can best be described as the management of systemic inefficiency, with the institutional and ideational foundations of the country‟s national security architecture having become weaker since the new government took charge almost two years ago. For sure, the NDA did inherit a fragile['fra,jI(-u)l(breakable,बॊगयू)] national security architecture, which it has made worse, through commissions, omissions and a shocking lack of direction. Prime Minister Narendra Modi‟s presidential style of national security management without bothering to create, consult and strengthen the country‟s national security institutions is further contributing to this ominous[ó-mi- nus(alarming,अननष्टसूचक)] structural decay. In fact, strengthening national security was one of the major electoral planks the BJP used in the run-up to the 2014 parliamentary elections. It is only fair then that we assess its performance on the basis of the key national security promises it made in its 2014 election manifesto: “Reform the National Security Council to make it the hub of all sector-related assessments”, “completely revamp the intelligence gathering system by modernising the intelligence department”, “ensure greater participation of Armed Forces in the decision-making process of the Ministry of Defence”, and “study in detail India‟s nuclear doctrine[dók-trin(belief,मसिान्त)], and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”. A factual analysis shows that the Modi government‟s performance on each of these stated goals has been grossly incompetent. Institutional dysfunction Mr. Modi‟s presidential style is hampering key institutions of national security management which traditionally functioned on the basis of regular deliberations, briefings, and constant assessment of threat scenarios by experts, both internal and external. Take the example of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), which was set up during the previous BJP-led government (1998-2004) “to undertake long-term analysis of and provide perspectives on issues of national security. Its policy recommendations and options are conveyed to the National Security Council for its consideration”. The term of the ninth NSAB came to an end in January 2015 and the new government has not only not bothered to reconstitute it, but is actively thinking of doing away with it. We certainly need a more empowered NSAB, with access to classified files and whose inputs are regularly used for national security management by the leadership. But doing away with an existing institution, at a juncture[júngk-chu(occasion,भोड़)] when the government needs a lot of fresh ideas and outside expertise for strengthening the country‟s national security, is an ill-advised move. The National Security Council (NSC), comprising of the members of the Cabinet Committee on Security and the National Security Adviser, which is supposed to be the locus of deliberations and decision-making relating to national security as well as oversee the formulation of the country‟s nuclear strategy, hardly ever meets to take stock of the security environment. So with deliberative mechanisms such as the NSAB and NSC not doing

So with deliberative mechanisms such as the NSAB and NSC not doing WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
So with deliberative mechanisms such as the NSAB and NSC not doing WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

their job, the country‟s national security management is a one-man show based out of the Prime Minister‟s Office. What about nuclear strategy? The Manmohan Singh government had created a highly specialised Strategy Programme Staff “to work on a perspective plan for India's nuclear deterrent[di'te- runt(preventive,ननवायक)] in accordance with a 10-year cycle”. There are legitimate concerns today about the mandate of this body, and how empowered it is to deliberate, strategise and engage in strategic nuclear planning. What is also evident is that despite the BJP‟s claims in its 2014 manifesto, the NDA government is showing absolutely no interest in the country‟s nuclear strategy. With the advisory/deliberative mechanisms either defunct[di'fúngkt(dead,ननस्ष्िम)] or not in place, there is a danger of loosening political control over the evolution of the country‟s nuclear strategy, potentially even the numerical shape of the arsenal itself. India‟s nuclear strategy, as is widely recognised, has a number of doctrinal inadequacies[in'a-di-kwu- see(insufficiency,अऩमााप्तता)] which need to be addressed and corrected by the government, something the BJP specifically referred to in its manifesto. This has so far remained an empty promise. The more India‟s nuclear strategy remains unarticulated, the less political control there will be. Hamstrung intelligence community What about the intelligence agencies which collect and process raw intelligence and provide policy inputs to the government? Both the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing are short-staffed at every level with acute[u'kyoot(sharp,तीक्ष्ण)] deficiency reported at the level of foreign language speakers. Despite the threat of the Islamic State and Islamist terror that India has been faced with, the IB has just three Arabic translators! The agencies clearly need a lot more trained personnel today than ever before due to the complexity of challenges and threats that the country faces. But instead of giving state-of-the-art training to the new recruits, the government has actually reduced their training period. These organisations, in short, face a number of challenges today in terms of shortage of sophisticated equipment, inadequate training and staffing, and promotion and career prospects for non-Indian Police Service officers. But nothing has been done by the NDA government to fulfil their promise to “completely revamp the intelligence gathering system by modernising the intelligence department”. Another key post-26/11 institution that is in trouble today is the NATGRID. Created to function as a metadata intelligence grid by networking multiple datasets available with various agencies, NATGRID, a pet project of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, is neither fully operational nor given adequate importance by the NDA regime it does not even have a full-time chief since the NDA government refused to renew the contract of its CEO close to two years ago. Key legislation ignored How satisfactory has been the NDA government‟s performance on national security/defence-related legislation and reforms? The demand for reforms in India‟s higher defence management is a long-standing one and has been recommended by the Kargil Review Committee (1999), the Group of Ministers‟ (GoM) report (2000), and the Naresh Chandra Task Force (2012). One key recommendation of these reports has been to cr eate the post of Chief of Defence Staff as a single, authoritative source of military advice to the government. Indeed, a number of Parliamentary Standing Committee reports have also expressly supported this. A 2007 Standing Committee report said, “The Government should take the GoM‟s recommendations as well as this Committee‟s concern in this matter seriously and take the final decision on CDS at the earliest.” Another committee repeated this demand two years later saying it is “of the considered view that the creation of an additional post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to act as Chairman of the CoSC [Chiefs of Staff Committee] is essential to ensure optimum level of jointness among the different wings of the Armed Forces and to provide single-point military advice to the Government”. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has also been promising, as recently as December 2015, defence reforms including the appointment of a CDS, in keeping with his party‟s electoral promise. But no tangible[tan-ju- bu(real,वास्तववक)] action has been taken so far in this regard. Nuclear safety, security and regulation is another key area that the government needs to focus on. Worrying incidents like the recent heavy water leak at the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station in Gujarat and India‟s ambitious civilian nuclear expansion plans demand utmost priority to civilian nuclear issues. Indeed, various Parliamentary Standing Committees as well as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had recommended the creation of an independent civilian nuclear regulatory authority. Keeping in mind this pressing need to carry out structural reforms in the civilian nuclear sector, the UPA government had presented the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill to the Lok Sabha in 2011. The Bill is currently lapsed, and the new government has done precious little to bring an amended version for consideration of Parliament. Unwillingness to carry out structural reforms can have disastrous implications for the country‟s expanding civilian nuclear industry. Mismanaging Kashmir

the country‟s expanding civilian nuclear industry. Mismanaging Kashmir WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
the country‟s expanding civilian nuclear industry. Mismanaging Kashmir WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
the country‟s expanding civilian nuclear industry. Mismanaging Kashmir WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

Kashmir is back on the boil, this time with far more disenchantment[dis-in'chãnt- munt(disillusion,ववयस्क्त)] with New Delhi. Radicalisation is on the rise and youngsters are joining the ranks of militancy, not to speak of the growing support for it in the Valley. While anti-India sentiments in Kashmir have been rising for some time now, the BJP‟s inability to handle its political alliance with the People‟s Democratic Party (PDP) with sensitivity and statesmanship has only made things worse. By refusing to abide by the sensible approaches laid down in the PDP-BJP „Agenda of the Alliance‟, the BJP has lost a historic chance to contain anti-India sentiments in the Valley and reduce the psychological distance between New Delhi and Srinagar. If the huge congregations of mourners turning up at the funerals of militants killed by security forces are any indication, we are looking at troubled days ahead in Jammu and Kashmir. Finally, despite all its claims of giving primacy to strengthening and safeguarding India‟s national security, the BJP-led government continues to adopt an unmistakably ham-handed and visionless approach to national security issues and institutions. There has been no attempt so far to reform or strengthen the country‟s national security institutions, articulate a much-needed grand strategic approach to national security, and legislate on important national security matters. Despite all its pre-election rhetoric[re-tu-rik(empty words,वाक्ऩटुता)] on national security and the ongoing grandstanding on securing and strengthening the nation, the BJP government‟s approach to national security has been less than satisfactory. Close to two years in office, it should remember that high-pitched nationalist rhetoric can‟t secure the country, but painstaking institutional reforms, legal provisions and a sense of purpose could.

reforms, legal provisions and a sense of purpose could. 19. Farmer needs a new deal Agrarian
reforms, legal provisions and a sense of purpose could. 19. Farmer needs a new deal Agrarian
reforms, legal provisions and a sense of purpose could. 19. Farmer needs a new deal Agrarian

19. Farmer needs a new deal

Agrarian distress emerged as the most disturbing problem during the 1990s. Its severity and spread witnessed a sharp increase in the post-WTO period till 2004-05. Two common indicators used to show the severity of agrarian distress are indebtedness of farm households and the number of farmers‟ suicides. Some people also cite[sit(mention,उल्रेख)] the decline in the number of cultivators in the country as a consequence[kón-si-

kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] of agrarian distress, which may be partly true, particularly in the disadvantaged agricultural regions. Evidence shows that the incidence of farmer suicides in India involves multiple causes. Falling farm income is one of them. When the farmer‟s income is chronically lower than his family expenditure, he borrows money from some source to meet the gap. Expenditure on social ceremonies and health expenses, which are not part of regular household expenditure, also force the farmer to borrow, particularly from non-institutional sources. The accumulated debt becomes so large that it becomes impossible to repay it from the household income. Some

impossible to repay it from the household income. Some farmers are forced to sell a part

farmers are forced to sell a part or whole of farm land and other family assets to repay loans and to meet social expenditure. Some others undergo humiliation as loan defaulters. The loss of honour pushes many to take the extreme step of ending their life.

A second cause of crisis results from a sudden income loss due to crop failure or price crash. In the absence of

crop insurance or adequate[a-di-kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] relief, crop failure can have a devastating[de-vu,stey-

ting(destructive,ववनाशकायी)] effect on farm income. Further, there is no mechanism to escape the effect of a price crash. Any loss of income of a severe nature on account of crop failure or market failure becomes a source

of distress and frustration. This is more pertinent[pur-ti-nunt(relevant,उऩमक्ु त)] in the case of high value

commercial crops. A year or two of high prices influences many farmers to direct excessive resources towards

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

risky commercial crops. The sudden increase in supply is often met with a violent price crash. Without risk coverage, price volatility can have a killing effect on farm income. What can be done to remove agrarian distress? The textbook answer is to raise farm incomes. This can be done in three ways. One, enable farmers to get better prices for their produce and encourage crop diversification. One acre of land under high value crops can generate more income than five acres under cereals. However, better price realisation and the success of diversification critically depend on a healthy and competitive market. Agricultural markets in India have not moved towards competition and efficiency after the 1970s. Prices of farm commodities often fall in the harvest season and skyrocket in the lean season. There are frequent cases of cartelisation in agricultural markets working against producers. Unless state governments initiate market reforms and take agriculture marketing to the next stage, farmers will continue to suffer from excessive intermediaries, low scale and segmentation. Agrarian distress can be mitigated[mi-ti,gey-tid(lessen,कभी)] to a large extent by an efficient and competitive agriculture market. Mechanisms like the “deficiency price payment” and price insurance for different sets of crops can protect farmers from market and price risk. The second option for augmenting[og'ment(increase,फढ़ाना)] farmers‟ income is to scale-up the farms. Average farm-size in India is very small and shrinking. The latest available data from the agriculture census for 2010-11 shows that 47 per cent farm households operate on plots less than an acre, with an average of 2,200 sq metres of agricultural land. Further, this small piece of land is fragmented[frag'men-tid(divided,ववखॊडडत)] and about half of it has no access to irrigation. Obviously, many such farmers would like to shift to non -agricultural activities and many would like to increase their farm-size by leasing land from other farmers. However, present land lease laws discourage formal and pellucid[pu'loo-sid(transparent,ऩायदशी)] land lease arrangements. The landowner fears any formal lease contract will make it difficult to get the land back from the lessee while the tenant is unable to access credit and avail other benefits available to a landowner. The liberalisation of the existing land lease laws will help both marginal and sub-marginal farmers. Those who leave farming can have secured ownership and earn rent and those who stay in farming can increase the size of operational holdings and have better access to credit and other facilities. The third option is to provide alternative sources of livelihood to needy farm households. The estimates of farm income prepared by this writer show that income from agriculture alone is not enough to keep more than 50 per cent of farm households out of poverty. Any supply shock or price shock pushes such households deeper into poverty and the many marginally-above-poverty families into the poverty trap. However, many such farmers who earn an income from non-farm sources are able to escape poverty. The landholdings of a majority of our farmers are so small that these cannot generate income for decent living. Therefore, they need to be provided alternative sources of employment and income. The most common cause for crop failure is water stress. Irrigation is the best insurance against crop failure. The area under public sources of irrigation has not expanded to reflect the huge investment in irrigation made after the Tenth Plan. The thrust on irrigation envisioned under the various components of the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana offers hope as well as the scope for reducing water stress in agriculture.

well as the scope for reducing water stress in agriculture. 20. Making India GI brand conscious
well as the scope for reducing water stress in agriculture. 20. Making India GI brand conscious
well as the scope for reducing water stress in agriculture. 20. Making India GI brand conscious

20. Making India GI brand conscious

One of the objectives of the “Make in India” programme is to improve and protect the Indian intellectual property (IP) regime. The steps envisaged[en'vi-zi(imagine,ववचायना)] to achieve this objective include increased posts in IP offices, e-filing facilities, major fee reduction for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, holding awareness programmes etc.

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

A less discussed IP right in this context is „geographical indications‟ (GIs), a right aptly[apt-

lee(capably,कुशरताऩवू का )] described as “sleeping beauty” (as it was in slumber till the advent of the Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement) in the mid-1990s by Florent Gevers, a renowned European IP lawyer. GIs indicate goods as originating in a specific geographical region, the characteristics, qualities or reputation thereof essentially attributable to such region. GI-branded goods possess a recall value amongst consumers who essentially attribute these characteristics, qualities or reputation to such geographical origin. Scotch whisky, produced only in certain regions of Scotland in accordance with regulations, is an example. The GI ripple effect GIs support and protect local production (as opposed to global production), generate local employment and are mostly untouched by industrialisation, originating in villages or small towns. Since consistent quality is a must in GI-branded goods, and often cements itself as a consumer recollection point, producers are expected to diligently[di-li-junt-lee(with hardwork,भेहनत से)] follow specific production methods. Champagne, cognac and Parma ham are some European names that started humble lives decades ago and became the icons that they are today owing to such quality control and perseverance. Many European GIs have also successfully built up ancillary industries like tourism and lodging in the respective regions, enabling visitors to get a first- hand experience of the manufacturing process and absorb the history thereof. Such ancillary industries also create local employment and aid in the socio-economic development of the region in the long run. Complying with World Trade Organisation obligations, India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) and has set up a registry in Chennai to register such names. Covering agricultural goods, manufactured and natural goods, textiles, handicrafts and foodstuffs, the GI Registry‟s website lists 238 registered names as of March 2016. While the list has popular GIs like Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea and Pashmina shawls, many names on the list are lesser known or never heard of, despite being in existence for decades. With emphasis laid on innovation, new initiatives and robust[row'búst(strong,भजफतू )] infrastructure, IP rights

भजफतू )] infrastructure, IP rights like patents, designs and trademarks can prima

like patents, designs and trademarks can prima facie[,prI-mu'fey-shee(clearly,प्रत्मऺ)] find a place in the Make in India programme. What about GIs? Despite the gradual rise in GI registrations, the role and scope of GIs in the Make in India programme has perhaps remained unnoticed in discussions. Considering that GI- branded goods can be made 100 per cent in India without the need for any foreign direct investment (FDI) and that they can promote socio-economic development of the respective regions (like their European counterparts), GIs are perhaps the most ideal IP rights to foster and realise a programme like Make in India.

rights to foster and realise a programme like Make in India. Quality issues in India So

Quality issues in India So why haven‟t GIs naturally shown themselves up as a potential tool to aid the programme? One of the foundations of this initiative is the making of quality products. So, does the legal framework for the protection of GIs in India emphasise the importance of quality products? Europe has always recognised the need to preserve and maintain high quality in such origin-specific goods. The European law on the protection of names relating to agricultural goods and foodstuffs (ECR 1151/2012) recognises that GIs give a competitive advantage to producers and enable consumers to make more informed choices by providing clear information on origin- specific products and their characteristics. To preserve this consumer trust, the European law mandates: (i) effective verification and controls at multiple levels in the supply chain, ensuring compliance with product specification before placing it in the market and (ii) market monitoring of the use of the names to ensure legal compliance.

In

protection. The only two references thereto appear in the enabling rules in Rule 32(6)(g) and Form GI-1. While Rule 32(6)(g) requires an applicant to list particulars of the inspection structure, “if any”, to regulate the use of

contrast, India‟s GI Act does not lay much emphasis on inspection and monitoring mechanisms for GI

much emphasis on inspection and monitoring mechanisms for GI the GI, Form GI-1

the GI, Form GI-1 perfunctorily[pu'fúngk-t(u-)ru-lee(as a formality,मॊिवत ढॊग से)] asks for the details of an “Inspection Body”. Quality associated with geographical origin is the hallmark of a GI and the current legal framework evidently lacks teeth to ensure it. This perhaps explains why one has not heard of many GI success stories in India. The current Indian legal framework for GIs needs to be strengthened to address quality control and consumer expectations by insisting on multi-layered quality control systems as a precondition for registration. Other important issues faced by GI producer bodies are market access and funding for enforcement and marketing. Still a greenhorn in GI protection, India must hand-hold producer bodies, look at successful models elsewhere and mould these to suit the ground realities of protection and enforcement in a developing country. Every region in India boasts of many locally produced unique goods and this law, with a few amendments to fill the serious missing gaps described above, coupled with diligent implementation can turn into a magic wand for the Make in India programme.

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

21. The Uday plug-in The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) has been the subject of
21. The Uday plug-in The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) has been the subject of

21. The Uday plug-in

The Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (Uday) has been the subject of much debate in the financial markets. The cost of borrowing for state governments has risen precipitously[pri'si-pi-tus-lee(sharply,तेज़ी से)] since Uday was launched in November. More recently, as state governments have tried to raise funds by selling Uday bonds, they have been blamed by some (incorrectly, as we will see) for creating a shortage of funds for other borrowers. As background, readers may recall that Uday was launched to turn around power distribution companies (discoms), which are generally inefficient state government monopolies that are struggling financially. One of its key features is the replacement of high-cost discom debt, which attracts interest rates as high as 13 per cent, with state government bonds, where the cost of borrowing was then a much-lower 8 per cent. States could not have done this unilaterally[yoo-nu'la-tu-ru-lee(one-sidedly,एकतयपा)] because they would have breached their fiscal targets. The Centre then dangled the carrot of providing a fugacious[fyoo'gey- shus(temporary,अस्थामी रूऩ से)] exemption on fiscal targets in return for a commitment from the discoms to improve operating parameters and also raise power tariffs to bring them in line with costs. Seventeen states, adding up to 77 per cent of India‟s power demand and 79 per cent of outstanding discom debt, have already agreed to Uday. Of these, nine states, which together constitute 42 per cent of power demand and 55 per cent of discom debt, have also taken the next step, signing a tripartite agreement between the Centre, the state government and the discom, committing to a epochal[e-pu-ku(significant,भहत्वऩणू ा)] improvement in operations and thus financial performance. The agreement commits them to replacing 50 per cent of discom debt with state government bonds (state development loans, SDLs) in the current financial year (that is, the year ending March 2016), and a further 25 per cent in the coming financial year. For these nine states, the quantum that had to be raised in the current year under Uday came to nearly Rs 1 trillion, which effectively doubled the total borrowing they were earlier scheduled for in the last three months of the year. This seems to have surprised many in the bond markets, driving up SDL bond yields[yee(- u)ld(output,भुनापा)] that is, the market is now only willing to lend to 6h governments at a higher cost, as much as six-tenths of a percentage point more than five months back. The gap 7ze the costs at wh24ich the Centre and the state governments2 borrow — “the yield gap” — has now widened to levels only seen at a time of crisis.

This seems unwarranted[ún'wó-run-tid(unjustified,फेफनुनमाद)] since we estimate that the increase in the

)] since we estimate that the increase in the states‟ borrowing costs should hav २ 34e
)] since we estimate that the increase in the states‟ borrowing costs should hav २ 34e

states‟ borrowing costs should hav34e been only about half of the increase we have seen. We use a simple calculation: The quantum of high-cost discom deb3t that will be replaced by low-cost SDLs is about Rs 32 trillion, and this would get added to total state liabilities of Rs 31 trillion. As even discom debt was implicitly guaranteed by the respective state government, the blended borrowing costs should remain idempotent[I- dum,pow-t(u)nt(unchanged,अऩरयवनतात)]. As the market stabilises, it is possible, if not likely, that the yield gap will narrow, particularly as the market has not been differentiating between states that have large Uday-related issuances and states that don‟t. The second concern for the markets that this sudden jump in bond issuance by states has caused a shortage of funds for others is even less justified, in our view. This whole process is just debt replacement where the banks that had earlier lent to the discoms get their money back, and are then free to lend in the economy, or even

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

buy SDLs from the market. Even the non-banking companies that receive the proceeds of these SDLs may deploy them in bank bonds, among others things, and these funds thus enter the market again. So why is there tightness in liquidity currently, that is, more borrowers than funds? The main cause for the shortage in funds seems to be a pick-up in bank credit growth. After nearly 15 months of growing below seasonal trends, credit has started moving as per seasonality from October onwards, showing that economic momentum is picking up. Yet, so anchored is the prevailing consensus[kun'sen-sus(agreement,सहभनत)] on negative-sounding stories that even positive data points are being “explained” negatively. Until two years ago, tight liquidity was a common feature in the months of February and March, as January to March is the strongest period for economic activity in India, partly due to amenable[u'mee-nu-bu(compliant,सुवश्म)] weather and partly because it‟s the fiscal year end. There has also been some impact from the jump in state government borrowing even without the Uday bonds. While this information should have been known to the markets, there was an element of surprise. There is an important lesson for policymakers here: Given its large borrowing needs, the Central government issues most of its bonds in the first half of the fiscal year so as not to crowd out the market towards the end of the year. State government borrowing, however, is still back-end loaded. This is despite the fact that this year, state government borrowing, even without the Uday bonds, is more than 60 per cent as much as Central borrowing. This ratio was much smaller a few years back. A better-planned borrowing calendar for the states is becoming a necessity. So the kerfuffle[ku'fú-ful(disruption,हॊगाभा)] over Uday bonds should settle as liquidity improves from April onwards and yields normalise once the bunched-up issuances are behind us. One hopes that the Rs 1.15 trillion of Uday-related SDL issuances in the coming financial year are better spaced out so as not to cause market distortions. This should also bring market attention back to the near universal adoption of Uday by states; when the scheme was launched, this seemed unlikely to us. The discoms, along with the railways, are among the few generally large and inefficient government monopolies that need reform. Change in the discoms can be fur-ther complicated by the fact that these are state government controlled. Under Uday, states have committed to transformative operational improvements in the next three-four years. The political will to raise tariffs and improve billing and collection is likely to be tested. But technological improvements, like in metering and feeder line separation, should help and the merging of discom losses with fiscal deficits a few years down the line should improve the success rate.

a few years down the line should improve the success rate. 22. Let larger pictorial warnings
a few years down the line should improve the success rate. 22. Let larger pictorial warnings
a few years down the line should improve the success rate. 22. Let larger pictorial warnings

22. Let larger pictorial warnings stay

Nearly one million tobacco-related deaths take place in India every year, and in 2011, the total health expenditure burden from all diseases due to tobacco use amounted to more than Rs.1,00,000 crore, which is 12 per cent more than the combined State and Central government expenditure on health in 2011-12. The revenue earned through tobacco excise duty during the same period was a paltry[po(l)-tree(negligible,नगण्म)] 17 per cent of the health burden of tobacco. Yet, the 15-member Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation, that included the bidi baron Shyama Charan Gupta, has brazenly[brey-zun-lee(openly,खुल्रभखुल्रा)] let commercial interests override public health concerns. Just like last year, the introduction of pictorial warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area on both sides of all tobacco products hit a roadblock with the committee throwing a spanner in the works. It has said that increasing the size of the warning from the current 40 per cent on only one side of the packet to 85 per

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

cent on both sides would be “too harsh” on the tobacco industry. It has instead recommended increasing the size to just 50 per cent. Cigarette smokers a minority According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2009, of the nearly 15 per cent of children in India in the 13- 15 age group who used some form of tobacco, only 4.5 per cent smoked cigarettes; 12.5 per cent used other forms of tobacco such as bidis and chewing tobacco. Similarly, in the case of adults in India, of the nearly 35 per cent tobacco users in 2009-2010, only 5.7 per cent smoked cigarettes, while bidi and chewing tobacco users were 9.2 per cent and nearly 26 per cent, respectively. Despite the overwhelming percentage of people consuming bidis and chewing tobacco, the committee is intent on diluting[di'loot(cut,काटना)] the warning on these products by restricting the warning to just one side of the bidi pack; only cigarettes will have the warning on both sides of the packet. This goes against the grain of introducing larger pictorial warnings. Besides being unaware of all the risks associated with tobacco use, a vast majority of consumers in India of bidi and chewing tobacco are poor and less exposed to awareness campaigns. Larger images on both sides of the packet are the most effective and powerful way to communicate health risks to this population, provoke a greater emotional response, decrease tobacco consumption and increase motivation to quit. India is ranked 136 among 198 countries in terms of prominence of pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging. At 30 per cent, the only other country on the list with a smaller warning than India is Cayman Islands. Despite having relatively lower tobacco use than India, countries like Thailand (85 per cent front and back), Australia (75 per cent front and 90 per cent back), Uruguay (80 per cent front and back), Brunei (75 per cent front and back), Canada (75 per cent front and back), and Nepal (90 per cent front and back) have large- sized warnings. A case of absurd[ub'zurd(illogical,फेतुका)] arguments In a weak attempt to paint pictorial warnings as ineffectual, the committee has leaned heavily on the findings of a British American Tobacco company-sponsored study while overlooking a body of evidence gathered by independent researchers. For instance, studies indicate that thanks to larger, graphic warnings, 58 per cent of smokers in Canada and nearly 54 per cent in Brazil and Thailand changed their opinion about the health consequences[kón-si-kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] of smoking on seeing the warnings. The committee‟s naivety again stands exposed when it attempts to justify the reduction in pictorial warning size by arguing that tobacco consumption in India has increased and not declined after pictorial warnings were introduced in 2009. Tobacco companies too claim that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that large, graphic health warnings reduce consumption. If these are indeed true, why is the committee afraid that the proposed health warnings would have the “potential to severely affect” farmers and tobacco companies? The pictorial warnings clearly cannot cut both ways. The committee‟s claim that pictorial warnings would encourage illicit[i'li-sit(illegal,अवैध)] trade is at

illicit[i'li-sit(illegal, अवैध )] trade is at best hollow[hó-low(empty, खोखरा )] . According
illicit[i'li-sit(illegal, अवैध )] trade is at best hollow[hó-low(empty, खोखरा )] . According

best hollow[hó-low(empty,खोखरा)]. According to a 2015 paper in the journal Tobacco Control, a national cross-sectional survey undertaken in Australia after plain packaging was introduced found “no increase” in the use of illicit unbranded tobacco, contraband cigarettes or purchase from informal sellers. If plain packaging does not lead to increased illicit sales, there is no reason to believe that pictorial warnings would. Needless to say, sale of illicit tobacco products is more likely to be linked to cost of tobacco products than larger pictorial warnings. Curbing illicit sales of tobacco products, if they really exist, should be a high priority for the government and the companies; there are several well-proven methods that India can adopt to fight this menace[me- nis(threat,खतया)] . For instance, Brazil and California use a digital tax stamp using invisible ink to keep illicit trade under check, while the European Union uses barcodes and Malaysia uses a security mark with a visible and an invisible feature. While a comprehensive approach that includes education and awareness generation should be adopted, there is no evidence to back the committee‟s claim that education and awareness generation are “more effective” than other methods. California spent millions of dollars to attain the level of awareness that Canada achieved through pictorial warnings at little or no cost to the government, notes a May 2010 study in Tobacco Control. Unlike other measures, excise duty hike and bigger, graphic pictorial warnings are easy to enforce and have the highest impact on tobacco consumption. Considering the huge public health benefits, it is imperative that the Health Ministry ignore the recommendations of the committee and enforce pictorial warnings that cover 85 per cent of the principal display area on both sides of all tobacco products from April 1. Any dilution in the size of warning would entail a delay of several months and cost thousands of lives. The country can ill afford it.

several months and cost thousands of lives. The country can ill afford it. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

23. Getting medical education on track At a time of pervasive[pu'vey-siv(spreading, व्माऩक )]
23. Getting medical education on track At a time of pervasive[pu'vey-siv(spreading, व्माऩक )]

23. Getting medical education on track

At a time of pervasive[pu'vey-siv(spreading,व्माऩक)] cynicism[si-ni,si-zum(distrustful,दोषदमशाता)] , when politicians are perceived as uncaring of peoples‟ welfare and Parliament is trending dangerously towards becoming irrelevant, the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on the need to reform the Medical Council of India (MCI) has come as a glimmer of hope. The PSC has broadly agreed to all the recommendations of the many reports that have been submitted over the decades and that had, until now, fallen on deaf ears. The MCI was established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, as an elected body for maintaining the medical register and providing ethical oversight, with no specific role in medical education. The Amendment of 1956, however, mandated the MCI “to maintain uniform standards of medical education, both under graduate and postgraduate; recommend for recognition/de-recognition of medical qualifications of medical institutions of India or foreign countries; accord permanent registration/provisional registration of doctors with recognised medical qualifications; and ensure reciprocity[re-su'pró-si-tee(exchange,आदान

प्रदान)] with foreign countries in the matter of mutual recognition of medical qualifications.” The second amendment came in 1993, at a time when there was a new-found enthusiasm for private colleges. Under this amendment, the role of the MCI was reduced to an advisory body with the three critical functions of sanctioning medical colleges, approving the student intake, and approving any expansion of the intake capacity requiring prior approval of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Of late, the MCI has come to be seen as pushing and protecting the interests of the private sector. Its continued functioning, despite a public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court questioning the allegedly brazen[brey-zun(unashamed,खुल्रभखुल्रा)] rigging of elections, is reflective of its political clout.

rigging of elections, is reflective of its political clout. On grounds of corruption, the MCI faced

On grounds of corruption, the MCI faced the ignominy['ig-nu,mi-nee(disgrace,करॊक)] of being set aside by the Supreme Court in 2002 and again in 2010 by an ordinance issued by the government. Seizing the opportunity of the temporary suspension of the elected MCI, the Ministry of Health drafted a Bill to establish a National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH). This Bill sought to revamp the MCI to consist of nominated bodies to carry out the functions of human resource planning, curriculum development and quality assurance, with the elected body limited to register doctors and govern their practice in accordance with ethical standards. It was laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha in 2011. The PSC returned the Bill with some observations to the Ministry in October 2013. In 2014, another committee under the chairmanship of Dr Ranjit Roy Chaudhury was appointed. This committee submitted its report in February 2015. The current report of the PSC is in near unanimity[,yoo-nu'ni-mi- tee(agreement,सहभनत)] with this report. Recommendations of the PSC Explicitly[ik'spli-sit-lee(clearly,स्ऩष्ठतमा)] acknowledging the deep tentacles of corruption and misgovernance that have consumed the MCI, the PSC has made the following recommendations: to provide a new architecture that is more in tune with current needs of the country; to replace the principle of election with nomination; to replace the existing MCI with an architecture consisting of four independent boards to deal with curriculum development, teacher training, and standard setting for undergraduate and post-graduate education; accreditation and assessment processes of colleges and courses for ensuring uniformity in standards; and the registration of doctors, licensing and overseeing adherence[ad'heer-un(t)s(following,सभथान)] to ethical standards. These reforms are expected to plan human resources required for primary care by promoting family medicine and general physicians alongside specialists; rationalise standards to make medical education affordable; and enforce a uniform national entry and exit examination a recommendation that was overruled by the Supreme

and exit examination — a recommendation that was overruled by the Supreme WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

Court and is pending appeal. These are all critical recommendations that, if implemented, can have far- reaching consequences[kón-si-kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] for the health sector. Shortcomings of the report However, the report falls short on three counts. The idea to upgrade district hospitals to government medical colleges was proposed to obviate the cost of establishing a 300-bed hospital for a new college, utilise existing

specialists for teaching, and provide rural populations access to specialist services nearer their homes and at a lower cost. The Ministry of Health has recently sanctioned funds to 58 district hospitals for such upgradation. The PSC report has not provided any clear directions on this subject.

It is important to flag this issue as the experience of handing over government (district) hospitals to private

entrepreneurs (for instance, in Bhuj to the Adani Group on a 99-year lease or leasing out the Raichur hospital to the Apollo Group and in 2015 the 300-bed Chittoor district hospital in Andhra Pradesh to Apollo for five years

for establishing a medical college) have been controversial on grounds of the poor being denied access to free care. This policy of corporatising public assets in the name of establishing medical colleges and providing quality care is highly flawed and, as a remedy, worse than the malaise[ma'leyz(unease,फैचेनी)] . The

malaise[ma'leyz(unease, फैचेनी )] . The government needs to clearly state its policy on this issue

government needs to clearly state its policy on this issue to be consistent with the spirit and letter of the report that has strongly condemned the crass commercialisation of the health sector. Another shortcoming is the failure to recommend that all the 400-plus existing medical colleges undergo

a

exercise done by Flexner in the U.S. in 1910 led to the recommendation that only 16 out of 155 medical schools function. Such an assessment is sorely needed to bring in the much-needed credibility to the system and stop the production of poorly trained doctors. The PSC report has also given the Health Ministry power on the important issue of fee structure. It would have been advisable to allow the new system to evolve and regulate the fee structure within its mandate. What next? Parliament has done its duty. The onus[ow-nus(load,दानमत्व)] is now on the government to demonstrate its commitment to bringing in „achche din‟. Unlike its predecessors, it is not a prisoner of vested interests that control the MCI today and were allegedly behind the untimely transfer of a Union Secretary and the Cabinet Minister for Health in 2014. The PSC has indicted the MCI and this alone is sufficient reason to set it aside with immediate effect. A group of eminent[e-mu-nunt(superior,उत्क ष्ट)] people should be appointed as a transition team to work out the new architecture, even as the Law Commission should be requested to draft an appropriate law with safeguards to ensure that the new body does not become overly centralised. India has paid a huge price by sacrificing its traditional wisdom and not developing human resources suited to its needs. Given the disparities in the country, there is a need to guard against elitism[i'lee,ti- zum(superiority,उत्क ष्टता)] . In the U.K. and in many European countries, medical education falls under the government. It is time for the same in India.

rigorous[ri-gu-rus(strict,सख्त)] assessment by a high-level committee appointed for the purpose. A similar

a high-level committee appointed for the purpose. A similar 24. Standing up to patent bullying Earlier
a high-level committee appointed for the purpose. A similar 24. Standing up to patent bullying Earlier

24. Standing up to patent bullying

Earlier this month, the media reported that India “privately” assured the United States that it will not issue any more compulsory licenses. This report was reminiscent[re-mu'ni-sunt(mindful,माद हदराने वारा)] of a theory propounded by psychologist Lenore E. Walker in 1979 on abusive patterns in relationships. Four stages of abuse Walker studied abuse in family situations and outlined an important model detailing four stages of abuse. Had the U.S. and India been human beings, this would have been a classic case of household abuse. The first stage

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

documented by Dr. Walker is tension-building where there is strain in the relationship and one partner tries to dominate the situation. Indeed, the U.S. has successfully dominated the discussions simply

by citing[siting(mentioned,उल्रेख)] India every single year, most often unfairly, to take control of the situation. For years, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has pounded India using the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), an administrative body, as its chosen mechanism to repeatedly criticise India and unfairly escalate issues on a yearly basis. The preaching[pree- ching(advice,सराह)] from the PhRMA filtered through the USTR‟s pressure tactic has been in complete disregard of the impact on India‟s sovereignty and public health. The issuance of notices by USTR for submissions by industry followed by the dramatisation to convene public hearings expecting sovereign nations

to justify their positions to the U.S. administrative body are all acts leading towards escalation of tensions. In

fact, the USTR process is a documented attempt to dominate and direct other countries‟ trade postures. The process allows the U.S. to unilaterally[yoo-nu'la-tu-ru-lee(one-sidely,एकतयपा)] exert pressure indirectly to amend laws or cease fair implementation of local laws although the U.S. has agreed to multilaterally resolve all disputes. Importantly, the legality of such unilateral Special 301 process of the USTR is, at best, shaky under the World Trade Organisation‟s (WTO) jurisprudence. Yet, it allows the U.S. to cite the USTR‟s Special 301 process to take control of the dialogue — this forms Dr. Walker‟s second stage of the abusive cycle (the incident itself). The announcement from India, though, landed the country into the third stage. Dr. Walker terms this as the honeymoon stage wherein the abused feels confused and may mistakenly feel responsible. India is in classic third stage, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempting to pacify President Barack Obama by instituting a committee to create a National Intellectual Property Rights policy long after the statutes were amended to become compliant with the WTO‟s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Now, the “private” announcement to not implement an important flexibility — compulsory license established as a safeguard to protect public health firmly posits India into the end of the third stage of abuse. The fourth stage, according to Dr. Walker, is a phase of relative calm and peace, which we hope India will enjoy.

If

ends the cycle of abuse. Assuredly, neither PhRMA nor the USTR will relent or retract from this pattern until India economically harms itself by instituting TRIPS and other measures leaving the Indian generic industry on

a

inactions that cause some form of harm to the abused. Compulsory license Meanwhile, the Modi government needs to appreciate that compulsory license is an important flexibility that countries negotiated as part of their membership with the WTO. India has one of the most sophisticated compulsory licensing provisions which is fully compliant with the TRIPS agreement. Under the Indian law, compulsory licenses can be granted on several grounds including satisfying the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention, ensuring availability to the public at reasonable price, meeting the demand for the patented product, and tackling national public health emergencies. The step India took when it compulsorily licensed the Bayer drug, Nexavar, which was originally priced approximately at $4,700 per month and beyond the reach of even the top 20 per cent of Indians, was bold. It showcased India‟s confidence that its patent statute has been carefully engineered to accommodate India‟s national objectives within the scope of the flexibilities accorded under the TRIPS agreement. Patenting, a concern in the U.S. Further, the Modi government will do well to appreciate that even in the U.S., patenting and its effect on unrealistic drug pricing has become a major concern. For example, in 2015, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden and senior committee member Chuck Grassley sought public comments on the high price of Sovaldi, a Gilead drug, and its impact on the U.S. health care system. In 2016, several Democratic members of the House reportedly urged government agencies to consider diluting or diminishing[di'mi-ni-

suicidal path. After all, abuse is a pattern of control that one party exercises over the other to force actions or

that one party exercises over the other to force actions or there is a cautionary note

there is a cautionary note here, it is that reconciliation[re-kun,si-lee'ey-shun(balancing,साभॊजस्म)] never

साभॊजस्म )] never shing(lessen, कभी )] the exclusive rights of drug
साभॊजस्म )] never shing(lessen, कभी )] the exclusive rights of drug

shing(lessen,कभी)] the exclusive rights of drug companies. Recently, a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 77 per cent of the American public picked the increasing prices of drugs for HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer as their foremost health concern. Given such realities, India needs to confidently showcase how it handled Bayer‟s unrealistically high pricing of Nexavar using Section 84 of the patent statute (compulsory licenses). Importantly, compulsory licensing forms a part of a larger package of flexibilities that India negotiated with the support of other G-77 and African countries in the Doha Development Round. These are valuable concessions that India cannot afford to forget or renege from. The burden is on this government to ensure that its work is not seen as resulting in losing the ground that previous governments had gained on the subject. In any event, it is best for the Modi government to stop engaging U.S. bureaucrats as patent consultants and instead showcase the Indian patent statute as an exemplar for a balanced patent regime to the rest of the developing world.

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

25. Bad news from Beijing The year of the monkey did not start auspiciously[o'spi-shus-lee(fortunately, शुब

25. Bad news from Beijing

25. Bad news from Beijing The year of the monkey did not start auspiciously[o'spi-shus-lee(fortunately, शुब

The year of the monkey did not start auspiciously[o'spi-shus-lee(fortunately,शुब ढॊग से)] for Beijing. In slightly more than a month, its main stock market index (the Shanghai Stock Exchange) has fallen more than 20 per cent. The Chinese currency renminbi is losing value. Capital flight, at a rate of about $100 billion a month, threatens to deplete China‟s hoard of $3.23 trillion in foreign exchange reserves in a couple of years. Among the factors responsible for China‟s economic woes, the most important ones are domestic. Cyclically, the Chinese economy has just experienced one of the world‟s largest credit bubbles. The massive creation of credit since 2008 took China‟s debt-to-GDP ratio from 125 per cent in 2008 to around 280 per cent. Based on data provided by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), non-financial private-sector debt as of mid- 2015 was 200 per cent of GDP. If one adds sovereign debt (about 40 per cent of GDP) and local government debt (another 30 per cent of GDP, according to Beijing‟s estimate in early 2015), China‟s total debt-to-GDP is at least 270 per cent, making China the most highly indebted emerging market economy. Had China used its capital more efficiently during its debt binge, the country would not have been in its current plight[plIt(difficult situation,ददुाशा)]. But like all other countries that gorged on credit during boom, China wasted a substantial chunk of its capital by shovelling investments into real estate, coal mines, infrastructure, steel mills, automobile plants and other capital-intensive industries. The consequence[kón-si- kwun(t)s(result,ऩरयणाभ)] is costly. A colossal[ku'ló-su(large,फड़ा)] real-estate bubble has left ghost cities around the country while massive investment has created overcapacity in most manufacturing sectors at a time when domestic and external demands are both falling. In a brutal struggle for survival, Chinese firms are engaged in price wars, underselling each other and creating a vicious[vi-shus(inhumane,अनैनतक)] cycle in which over-indebted zombie firms destroy the profitability of healthier companies. In most countries, a credit bubble of this magnitude alone should be enough to sink the economy. In the Chinese case, its cyclical downturn has been worsened by its longstanding structural imbalances. With investment accounting for nearly 50 per cent of GDP and household consumption under 40 per cent, even a slight decrease in investment activities, traditionally the engine of growth, can have disproportionate repercussions[ree-pu'kú-shun(indirect result,अप्रत्मऺ ऩरयणाभ)].

result, अप्रत्मऺ ऩरयणाभ )] . Since persistent[pu'sis-tunt(continuous,

Since persistent[pu'sis-tunt(continuous,रगाताय)] over-investment has destroyed the return on capital, Chinese firms can no longer afford to pour good money down a rabbit hole. As a result, falling investment is causing the whole economy to stall (investment ratio declined from 48 to 46 per cent of GDP from 2013 to 2014). Bad as it seems, the Chinese economy has yet to bottom out. Most of the painful restructuring has not occurred. Zombie firms are still kept alive by bank loans. Their inevitable[i'ne-vi-tu-bul(necessary,आवश्मक)] demise will lead to higher unemployment and a considerable rise in non-performing loans. GDP growth will fall further and Chinese banks, staggering under a mountain of bad loans, will need to be recapitalised. At the moment, only 2 per cent of their outstanding credit is classified as “non-performing” (a figure nobody really believes). If we conservatively assume that an additional 5 per cent of their loans to Chinese firms and local governments is non-performing, this would imply $1.15 trillion in loan write-offs, dwarfing the amount of the US bank rescue package of $700 billion in 2008. Since Chinese banks cannot absorb such a hit on their capital, the Chinese state will have step in to recapitalise the banking sector, either by issuing bonds or printing money. The former will reduce the credit worthiness of the Chinese state and the latter will further pressure the Chinese currency to depreciate. For the global economy, China‟s looming recession or stagnation is clearly bad news. But the impact of Beijing‟s woes will be felt unevenly and transmitted through different channels. The most direct and destabilising impact is financial contagion. China‟s excessive debt and capital flight obviously undermine confidence worldwide. The result so far is a plunge of equity prices around the world and a flight to safe havens.

is a plunge of equity prices around the world and a flight to safe havens. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

An even more worrisome consequence is competitive devaluation. The consensus[kun'sen- sus(agreement,सहभनत)] in the market is that the Chinese currency has further room to fall. Although Beijing has opted, at least for now, to defend its currency at any cost, it may be forced to capitulate if this effort becomes unsustainable. At the current rate of outflows, the Chinese foreign exchange reserves will fall below $2 trillion in a year, the minimum level of reserves many analysts believe China must maintain to avoid a potential balance of payment crisis and an even more panicky run on its currency. While financial contagion will hit most economies more or less equally because of the highly integrated global financial system, the fallout from the slowdown in China‟s real economy will affect developing countries more than developed ones. It is now clear that fast growth in developing countries in the last decade was chiefly due to China‟s demand for commodities. As the Chinese appetite for minerals and energy wanes, the price of commodities is plummeting[plú-miting(drop sharply,तेज़ी से धगयना)] , bringing down growth in commodity- producing developing countries. Since it is unlikely that Chinese demand for commodities will return to the same high level any time soon, it is almost certain that growth in emerging market economies will languish along with China‟s. For developed economies, the real danger coming out of China is deflation. Although China is an important trading partner for the US and the European Union (EU), its imports from these two largest economies in the world are less than 10 per cent of the total exports of the US and the EU. Falling demand from China will hurt these economies modestly. But the deflation being exported out of China, most visibly in the steel industry, can devastate[de-vu,steyt(waste,नष्ट)] industries in developed economies that directly compete against China. If Chinese firms start dumping their excess output on the global market the way their beleaguered steel mills have been doing since last year, deflation could wreck the already-fragile[fra,jI(- u)l(weak,कभज़ोय)] world economy.

u)l(weak, कभज़ोय )] world economy. 26. Aadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrongAadhaar Bill: Ends
u)l(weak, कभज़ोय )] world economy. 26. Aadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrongAadhaar Bill: Ends
u)l(weak, कभज़ोय )] world economy. 26. Aadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrongAadhaar Bill: Ends

26. Aadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrongAadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrong

Aadhaar is a unique identification number that is intended to be given to all Indian residents. The idea is not novel or unprecedented[ún'pre-si,den-tid(new,अबूतऩवू )]. India was a latecomer to the idea of a unique

identity number. I cannot but recall the fierce[feers(violent,उत्तेस्जत)] opposition to the idea. Ms Meenakshi Lekhi called Aadhaar “a fraud”, Mr Prakash Javadekar described it as “a game played on the poor”, and Mr Ananth Kumar said it was “something to be ashamed of”. Now, the BJP is the champion of Aadhaar and has piloted a controversial Bill through both Houses of Parliament! That success, however, has come at a price. The UIDAI story Let me tell the story from the beginning. Governments transfer money to citizens for many reasons student scholarships, old age pensions, subsidy for LPG cylinders etc. Such transfers are plagued by the problems of diversion, duplication and falsification, and a large part of the transfers does not reach the genuine beneficiaries. How do we get over these problems? The answer was to „identify‟ each beneficiary by a „unique‟ number linked to minimum biometric data. Unique number schemes were not new to the country: the income-tax department has PAN for each assessee and a credit card bears a unique number for the card holder. In 2009, the UPA government decided to introduce Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was established by an executive order and Mr Nandan Nilekani was roped in to steer the programme and the Authority. Mr Nilekani brought his tremendous knowledge of technology and proven entrepreneurship to the UIDAI. What might have otherwise turned into another lackadaisical[la-ku'dey-zi-

might have otherwise turned into another lackadaisical[la-ku'dey-zi- WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

kul(unenergetic,ननरुत्साहऩणू ा)] department of the government became a trailblazer[treyl,bley-

zu(pioneer,अग्रणी)] on how to design and implement a transformational scheme. After proving the technology and running successful pilots, the UIDAI began enrolling people and issuing Aadhaar in September 2010. Opposition to bill In order to give the UIDAI a statutory basis, the National Identification Authority of India Bill was introduced in December 2010. It ran into trouble in the Standing Committee on Finance chaired by the formidable[for-mi- du-bul(impressive,दजु ेम)] Mr Yashwant Sinha, a leading light of the BJP. The Bill languished in Parliament for three years. Aadhaar faced opposition from social activists who had genuine concerns about exclusion of the un-enrolled and about privacy. In 2013, the Supreme Court, by an interim order, ruled that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory to receive benefits. In 2015, the case was referred to a larger bench to decide the question whether Aadhaar infringed the right to privacy. Meanwhile, the UIDAI forged ahead with enrolment and issuing Aadhaar. By March 2014, it had issued unique numbers to 60 crore people (now 99 crore), a record unequalled anywhere in the world. Besides, 24 crore new bank accounts had been opened under the Financial Inclusion programme. A revolution was underway. On January 1, 2013, the UPA government launched the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme under which monetary benefits would be transferred directly to the beneficiaries through an Aadhaar-enabled platform. The scheme was rolled out with easy and simple transfers. The big push came when it was mandated that the subsidy for LPG cylinders must be credited directly to Aadhaar-seeded bank accounts. Right view, wrong turn Fast forward to 2016. The BJP had a change of heart on Aadhaar as on many ot her matters that it had trashed when it was in the Opposition. The government introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016. In the ordinary course, the Bill ought have gone to the Standing Committee; the report of the Committee discussed; amendments, if any, made; and the Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament. The ends of the Bill would have been met. But the Government had other plans and other means. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha as a money Bill, a reference to the Standing Committee was declined, and the Bill was passed on March 11, 2016. The Rajya Sabha was treated with disdain. Nevertheless, the Rajya Sabha made five amendments. It was late afternoon on March 16. In the evening, the Lok Sabha, sitting in the extended hours, overrode the amendments and passed the Bill in its original form, and the government claimed a legislative victory! What was the price of the 'victory'?

victory! What was the price of the 'victory'? 1. The Bill was not a money Bill
victory! What was the price of the 'victory'? 1. The Bill was not a money Bill

1.

The Bill was not a money Bill under Article 110 of the Constitution because it did not “contain ONLY

provisions” dealing with the matters enumerated[i'nyoo-mu,reyt(count,गणना)] in that Article. The Speaker‟s

decision certifying it as a money Bill was plainly wrong.

2.

strength of its numbers rather than on the strength of its arguments.

3.

violation of fundamental rights and invasion of privacy.

4.

alienated. They will carry the debate to the people and doubts and concerns will continue to be aired, casting a shadow on a transformational reform. The ends were good, the means were bad, and the price was too high.

The Rajya Sabha was snubbed[snubd(ignore,अनदेखा)]. It seems that the government depends on the

The government faces the risk of an adverse verdict. The law could be struck down on the grounds of

The government has incurred the wrath[róth(anger,गस्ु सा)] of social activists who feel increasingly

सा )] of social activists who feel increasingly 27. An „A‟ for ambition

27. An „A‟ for ambition

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his “Mann ki Baat” broadcast on February 28 said he has

a prodigious[pru'di-jus(big,फड़ा)] exam the next day. The budget is out. Let us examine how the PM has

performed. The budget‟s objectives are laudable[lo-du-bul(commendable,प्रसॊसनीम)] but can these be achieved?

It is focused on agriculture with a target to double farm income in five years. It is not clear if this is real income

or nominal income. Doubling real income in five years is a Herculean[hur-kyu'lee-un(difficult,भुस्श्कर)] task.

With the measures outlined in the budget it may not be realisable. The PM may be counting on the success he had in realising agricultural growth of 10 per cent per year in real terms as Gujarat CM. Many analysts have argued that the building of more than 1 lakh water harvesting structures had a lot to do with it. The goal to build 5 lakh ponds in rural areas through MGNREGA can push agricultural growth. If along with this, diversification, expansion of agro-processing (for which rules have been relaxed to attract foreign firms), use of GM seeds, and better connectivity through rural roads can significantly step up agricultural growth.

If

nominal terms is achievable. However to reach such a growth rate will take some time and doubling of farm income in the next five years may be unenviable[ún'en-vee-u-bu(difficult,कहठन)], if not impossible. The increased allocation for irrigation projects for the accelerated irrigation benefit programme (AIBP) and the target to complete 27 projects in a year reflect good intentions. However, the reality is that the area under surface irrigation has not increased in fact, it has gone down over the last two decades despite the government spending lakhs of crores on irrigation projects. This has happened because of political reasons, including a race to claim the right on water by upstream states. The budget also emphasised the welfare of the poor and those belonging to the lower middle class. Some of the budget proposals may provide short-term relief. From a long-term point of view, providing quality education is vital. The budget has proposed setting up 62 Navodaya Vidyalayas, which have been successful in promoting quality education to rural children. The budget also proposes funds to make 10 public and 10 private institutions as world-class centres for research. A new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India has also been announced. It can help improve the quality of government schools. But a lot depends on how it is implemented. Another announcement that can improve rural development is the devolution of Rs 80 lakh to each panchayat. The outcome will depend on how democratically a panchayat functions. One can be hopeful that in today‟s world, with high levels of education and access to social media, reasonable outcomes can be expected over time. As such, it is a good measure to empower panchayats. On the energy front the budget has not made any significant announcement for renewable energy other than raising tax on coal from Rs 200 to Rs 400 per tonne. This amount is to be spent for promoting renewable energy. In the past, though, the fund has not been used for this purpose. The significantly adverse health impact of cooking with bio-fuels that result in indoor air pollution has also been recognised. The government plans to provide LPG to all. This was recommended in the report of the expert committee that I chaired on integrated energy policy in 2006. We have made slow progress on this since. It is ambiguous[am'big-yoo-us(unclear,अस्ऩष्ठ)], however, how long will this take to reach all and how is it

however, how long will this take to reach all and how is it this can achieve

this can achieve a growth rate of 10 per cent then with 5 per cent inflation a 15 per cent growth rate in

then with 5 per cent inflation a 15 per cent growth rate in going to be

going to be accomplished. To provide a regular supply of LPG is perhaps more difficult than providing 24x7 electricity. The target date for electrifying all villages has been advanced to May 2018. This is doable and it must be done. Providing reliable and on tap electricity to rural areas can transform rural economy faster than perhaps any other measure. The main challenge here is to have a sustainable business model. This requires that appropriate price is charged for electricity. Politicians, of all hues, promising cheap, or even free, electricity is the main hurdle here. One way to circumvent this hurdle is by providing direct subsidies to consumers. In this context, the government should be lauded for its decision to make Aadhaar mandatory even though it was an initiative of the UPA government. It proposes to provide most of the subsidies as direct benefit transfers. But while Aadhaar can help avoid duplication and ghost cards, it does not identify the poor. In this regard, the government must try the opposite approach: Identify the rich and exclude them. Metrics such as income tax payers, employees of the public and private sector drawing salaries above a certain level, those owning a motorised vehicle, etc. can be used for this purpose. This will not only reduce the burden of subsidies but also obviate[ób-vee,eyt(avoid,टारना)] the need for dual pricing of several products. Cash transfers, even linked to the purchase of particular goods or services, can make a single price viable and acceptable. The government‟s ability to raise resources for all these programmes will depend on the growth of the economy.

If the increased allocations for roads, railways, MGNREGA and irrigation are effectively and quickly spent,

they can generate the needed stimulus for growth. To conclude, the budget proposes many good initiatives, which if successfully implemented can have a deep impact on people‟s welfare. I would give an “A” for

can have a deep impact on people‟s welfare. I would give an “A” for WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

ambition to the PM. What he gets for outcomes will depend on the implementation. And for that we need to wait for the next Union budget.

And for that we need to wait for the next Union budget. 28. Bridge to China
And for that we need to wait for the next Union budget. 28. Bridge to China

28. Bridge to China

As Beijing serenades Nepal‟s Prime Minister K P Oli in China this week, should New Delhi be concerned about the expanding partnership between our two northern neighbours? Geography and kinship tie India and Nepal in an inextricable[in'ek-stri-ku-bul(unresolvable,असभाधेम)] but not necessarily happy relationship. A

rising China and the anti-India resentments[ri'zent-munt(bitterness,नायाज़गी)] of Kathmandu‟s hill elite, however, have the potential to neutralise, over the longer term, some of Delhi‟s natural strategic advantages in Nepal. Realists in India can‟t object to a good neighbourly relationship between Nepal and China. Pragmatists[prag- mu-tist(practical man,व्मवहारयकतावादी)] in Beijing know the dangers of moving too far and too fast and provoking an Indian reaction. But miscalculations and misperceptions often generate outcomes no one wants. For his part, Oli made a political gesture to India by visiting Delhi before heading out to Beijing. That significant differences remain, especially on the question of Madhesi rights in Nepal, was reflected in the inability of the two sides to issue a joint statement at the end of Oli‟s visit last month. If India-Nepal relations are never too tidy, Beijing-Kathmandu ties are rich in their affirmation of high principle. Beijing revels in extending strong support to Nepal‟s territorial sovereignty. If Delhi claims a “special relationship” with Kathmandu, Beijing tends to emphasise “equality and non-intervention” in its engagement with Nepal. Underlying that rhetoric[re-tu-rik(empty words,शब्दाड़म्फय)] is the proposition that Beijing can‟t accept any claim that the subcontinent is Delhi‟s exclusive sphere of influence. As a writer in China‟s Global Times put it in the paper‟s Monday edition, “New Delhi should wake up to the fact that Nepal is a sovereign country, not a vassal of India”. The commentator was a lot less harsh in stating that the only sound choice for Nepal is in maintaining good relations with both China and India. “Instead of being forced into becoming a strategic barrier against China,” Global Times concluded, “Nepal should be better treated and act as a bridge between Beijing and New Delhi”. Few in Delhi would quibble[kwi-bul(raising irrelevant objection,फार की खार ननकारना)] with the idea of Nepal as India‟s bridge to Tibet and China. Any sensible strategy in Kathmandu would leverage its location between the world‟s two fast-growing economies to bring prosperity to its people. As Delhi enthusiastically welcomes Chinese investments, it can hardly protest against a similar trend in Nepal and the rest of the subcontinent. Cynics[si-nik(faultfinder,ननॊदक)] in Delhi, however, would insist that the Sino-Indian dynamic in Nepal will always remain a zero-sum game. Their counterparts in Kathmandu find it hard to move away from the tradition playing the China card against India. For the record, Kathmandu says Oli‟s trip to Beijing is not aimed at balancing India. Yet, there‟s no avoiding the sense that Oli‟s “special mission” to China is less about becoming a bridge between its giant[jI- unt(big,फड़े)] neighbours. Its focus is on reducing the current dependence on India by strengthening ties with China. The political justification for this has come from the horrible impact of the Madhesi protests on fuel and other essential supplies from India. While Oli and his hosts didn‟t sign a much-anticipated agreement on petroleum supplies, Beijing has agreed to assist Nepal in the exploration of hydrocarbon resources and expand the use of solar energy. The two sides also signed a landmark transit agreement that will allow Nepal to use Chinese ports to import goods from third countries. Like many other neighbours of India, Nepal too has welcomed Chinese initiatives on connectivity grouped under the grand project called “One Belt, One Road”.

grouped under the grand project called “One Belt, One Road”. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
grouped under the grand project called “One Belt, One Road”. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

During his talks with the Chinese leadership on Monday, Oli reportedly asked China to extend its Tibet railway into Nepal and also build an intercity railway system within Nepal. Beijing agreed to consider both requests. China‟s interest in connectivity with Nepal goes back to the early 1960s. What we see today is a dramatic expansion of the Chinese economic engagement and infrastructure-building in Nepal. While economic geography continues to be weighted towards the southern slopes of the Himalayas, the rise of China has begun to exert a powerful pull to the north. China has also reportedly offered to upgrade the 1960 peace and friendship treaty with Nepal. But China is nowhere ready to match the kind of benefits free movement across borders and national treatment that the 1950 friendship treaty with Delhi confers on Kathmandu. Yet, for many in Kathmandu, the 1950 treaty with Delhi is a symbol of “Indian hegemony[hi'je-mu-nee(dominance,प्रबुत्व)]” and any treaty with Beijing is about expanding Nepal‟s “strategic autonomy”. Delhi‟s problem then is less about coping with China‟s grand strategy than overcoming the entrenched[in'trencht(established,स्थावऩत)] distrust of India in Kathmandu and bringing greater purpose to economic engagement with Nepal. In the end, Delhi too has a China card that it refuses to play. India might have a better influence on the outcomes in Nepal if it invites Beijing to restore and modernise the historic connectivity between the Gangetic plains and the Tibet region. Delhi has a bigger interest than some in Kathmandu in turning Nepal into India‟s bridge with China.

in turning Nepal into India‟s bridge with China. 29. Reverse swing: Playing cricket for my life
in turning Nepal into India‟s bridge with China. 29. Reverse swing: Playing cricket for my life

29. Reverse swing: Playing cricket for my life

with China. 29. Reverse swing: Playing cricket for my life With the T20 World Cup thrashing

With the T20 World Cup thrashing its way across India, it is apt to write about cricket. But I‟ll cast my mind back 29 years to mid-March in 1987, when Sunil Gavaskar played his last Test innings. The match was at Bangalore, against the old foe[fow(enemy,शि)] and India lost, falling short by 16 runs in pursuit of 221.

Gavaskar made 96 on a pitch that was as venomous[ve-nu-mus(deadly,घातक)] as a saffron sadhvi.

I remember that Gavaskar knock because it was gallant[ga-lunt(brave,साहमसक)] and patriotic, and played with the most perfect technique against the turning ball. In memory of that innings, I offer you the all-time Indian Test XI that I‟d like to see play for my life. I‟d start with Gavaskar and Sehwag, who together form a ideal opening pair, men of contrasting styles, both ravenous[ra-vu-nus(Hungry,बूखे)] for runs. If Gavaskar saved more Tests for India than any batsman I can think of, Sehwag, arguably, won India the most. The two would be sword and shield, side by side. At number three, I‟d have Dravid, along with Gavaskar the most consequential[,kón-su'kwen- shul(important,भहत्वऩणू ा)] batsman to have played for India. This is a man you‟d want in the trenches with you: dedicated to his craft and courteous to a fault, he never gave anything less than his entire soul for India‟s cause. In this, he was not unlike Kohli, who‟d be next in the batting order. Kohli is still an unfinished player — at least as a Test batsman — but by the time he retires, he‟ll be in the Indian pantheon alongside Gavaskar and Dravid. He is a modern Indian, sometimes obnoxious[ób'nók-shus(offensive,घ खणत)]; but we‟re learning to live with

his on-field ways. In truth, he brings India the pungent[pún-junt(sharp,तीक्ष्ण)] aggression that it has often lacked. After Kohli comes the man I idolised as a boy: Gundappa Viswanath, an underrated genius who carried India on his shoulders for years, alongside Gavaskar. His batting was improbably beautiful for a man so squat, and so lugubrious[lû'goo-bree-us(sorrowful,ववषादभम)]. At his peak, he played fast bowling more strokefully than any Indian batsman of his generation.

fast bowling more strokefully than any Indian batsman of his generation. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

At number six I‟d pick Vinoo Mankad, a cussed professional whose place in history is rather unfairly guaranteed by his running out of Bill Brown in the Sydney Test in December 1947, when he removed the bails before delivering the ball as the batsman ventured down the track. Mankad was an accomplished batsman, and an orthodox slow left-armer of considerable guile. Kapil Dev would follow him, another all-rounder the best India has produced — who‟d open the bowling and be counted with the bat against a tiring opposition attack. He‟d also be my captain, not Dhoni, who would, though, keep wickets, despite being far from the most accomplished Indian glove-man. But Dhoni‟s destructive batting clinches his place in my side. Which leaves me with three bowlers: Kumble, Harbhajan and Zaheer. The pace attack isn‟t as incisive[in'sI- siv(sharp,तीक्ष्ण)] as I‟d like, but that‟s never been India‟s strength. I pick two modern spinners over Bedi, Chandra and Prasanna, because their stats are better, as is their fielding. Watching Harbhajan bowl, however, would be an aesthetic[ees'the-tik(beautiful,सौन्दमाऩयक)] torture. He‟s no Prasanna, alas. But he has never played with a paunch. You‟ll notice there‟s no Tendulkar in my XI. And that‟s because I wouldn‟t want him playing for my life. It‟s hard to recall a Test that he won for India. He wouldn‟t make a bad Twelfth Man, however. And now, I shall seek police protection.

Man, however. And now, I shall seek police protection. 30. Where water is safe to drink
Man, however. And now, I shall seek police protection. 30. Where water is safe to drink
Man, however. And now, I shall seek police protection. 30. Where water is safe to drink

30. Where water is safe to drink

Safe drinking water is critical for the safety of our health and that of our children. Even food security does not translate into nutrition security in the absence of safe water. While it is extremely important to build awareness about what needs to be done at the household level to ensure water safety, it is equally legitimate[lu'ji-tu- mut(valid,वैध)] for us to demand safe drinking water from our public systems of delivery. When governments fail to provide this basic requirement, should we be surprised that our children are malnourished and water - borne diseases are on the rise? The challenges of providing safe drinking water are greater in urban settings. India is no exception. But in addressing the challenges, we seem to be focusing mostly on augmentation[og- men'tey-shun(increasing,व वि)] and much less on quality and safety of water. It is high time we recognised that safe drinking water in our cities requires that the basic source for supplying water to the city is not only adequate[a-di-kwut(enough,ऩमााप्त)] but also clean, and that the city treats its used water (municipal sewage and industrial effluents) before releasing it back to the basic source. Only then can we, backed by efficient systems of delivery, reasonably expect that water availability in households will be clean and safe. Starting close to home, the river Yamuna ought to be not only the lifeline of Delhi as a basic source of water but also its pride and beauty. Instead, it is badly polluted mainly due to the discharge of much of the sewage generated in Delhi without any treatment. We have built spectacular buildings across the Yamuna with the hope of beautifying the landscape but, sadly, successive governments have looked away from the polluted waters of the river. Surveys of groundwater in Delhi reveal an increasing degree of microbiological contamination, which is a clear sign of contamination from sewage. Since groundwater is also used by many for drinking, mostly without any treatment, this has grave implications for the health of those dependent on groundwater. Delhi‟s growth has fast outpaced its ability and willingness to extend the sewerage network and treat its sewage or wastewater. While 55 per cent of Delhi is technically connected to sewerage systems of pipes, and this is much larger than the average of 32.7 per cent for all Indian cities, this does not include thousands of

of 32.7 per cent for all Indian cities, this does not include thousands of WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

unauthorised colonies or illegal slums which are not taken into account when service delivery is planned and implemented. The sewerage networks are supposed to ensure that sewage from flushed toilets travels through underground sewer pipes until it reaches a sewage treatment plant. After primary treatment, the sewage is supposed to be preferably reused for consumption in gardening, toilet flushing, etc, or discharged into natural stormwater drains which should ultimately drain into the Yamuna. In the absence of complete coverage of the city with a sewerage network, natural stormwater drains are being used as sewers. The result is that Delhi‟s very extensive natural drainage system is being eroded fast, as documented in the excellent recent reports and studies by Professor Ashvin Gosain of IIT Delhi. There are 22 natural drainage systems that outfall into the Yamuna in the Delhi stretch of the river, which is 22-km long. Besides providing a safe exit to stormwater, including floodwaters, natural drains recharge groundwater and also support biodiversity. Many of these are getting encroached on and are disappearing. Others have been converted into nallahs that carry untreated sewage throughout the year. Sewer pipes punctured during repairs also send sewage to stormwater drains. In Gosain‟s words, “If Yamuna is to be made pollution free, then these stormwater drains need to be freed of pollution first.” This has the added benefit of restoring the catchment area in the city. As regards sewage treatment, only 30 per cent of the sewage generated in Delhi is treated before discharge. Even though this again is higher than the national average of 19 per cent for all Indian cities, the installed capacity of the sewage treatment system is insufficient to take care of even the area that is covered by the sewerage network. Moreover, the capacity is underutilised for a number of reasons, including the fact that even when there is a sewage treatment plant, it is not always possible for sewage to be conveyed to the plant. As for the 45 per cent of Delhi which is unconnected, in any case, sewage travels through the natural stormwater drains to the Yamuna. The challenge is even greater in the walled city of Old Delhi, which has combined sewers, designed to carry sewage as well as storm water, a legacy that is not in line with current good engineering practice. The Delhi Jal Board has been trying for some years to find an intermediate solution through interceptor sewers along the Najafgarh Drain, the principal hub of untreated sewage in Delhi, and also supplementary and Shahdara Drains. The idea in the case of the Najafgarh Drain, for example, is to divert untreated sewage coming from the surrounding unauthorised colonies which would otherwise flow into the Najafgarh Drain. But progress is slower than expected and an additional challenge is posed by the backflows from Gurgaon in Haryana into this drain. Most recently, the government of Delhi has committed to extending coverage of the sewerage network to around half of the unauthorised colonies. This again would need time, money and political will. With multiple agencies present, it is not luculent[loo-kyû-lunt(clear,स्ऩष्ठ)] who is responsible for making the

स्ऩष्ठ )] who is responsible for making the whole system work to respond to the
स्ऩष्ठ )] who is responsible for making the whole system work to respond to the

whole system work to respond to the enormous[i'nor-mus(big,फड़ा)] challenge of delivering safe water to the residents of Delhi. While drinking water and the sewerage network are the responsibility of the Delhi Jal Board, stormwater drains are under the different municipalities, the Public Works Department or the Irrigation and Flood Control Department of Delhi, depending on their size, and encroachments[en'krowch- munt(intrusion,अनतिभण)] are to be taken care of by the Delhi Development Authority. One good development is the rise of a single regulator, the National Green Tribunal (NGT). What we need in addition is a single public authority suitably empowered and responsible for the delivery of safe water with whatever it takes. Such an entity should be accountable to the people and able to respond to the NGT in one voice.

to the people and able to respond to the NGT in one voice. 31. Governor‟s call

31. Governor‟s call

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has reiterated[ree'i-tu,reyt(repeat,दोहयाना)] the deepening challenges facing the global economy. In an article this week, Rajan has said that the “world is facing an increasingly perilous[pe-ru-lus(dangerous,खतयनाक)] situation”. That‟s because while all economies, both

advanced and emerging, are straining[strey-ning(effortful,श्रभसाध्म)] to grow faster, few are succeeding. As

repeated attempts to kick-start the growth cycle have yielded[yee(-u)ld(give,देना)] less than the desired results, countries have resorted to “beggar thy neighbour” policies, which have proved detrimental[de-tru'men-

t(u)(harmful,नकु

building malaise[ma'leyz(unease,फेचैनी)] he has been outspoken on the issue of actions by different central banks, especially the US Fed, which overlook their “spillover” effects. However, this time, he has argued for a new international agreement, along the lines of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 that yielded the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Rajan‟s call resonates beyond India. The larger point he makes is about the breakdown of the basic rules that should be followed by central banks, especially “internationally influential central banks”. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, global demand has slumped and countries have been left with a massive debt overhang that inhibits a quick recovery. When even bringing down interest rates to zero per cent did not stimulate['sti- myu,leyt(excite,प्रोत्साहहत)] the economy adequately[a-di-kwut-lee(sufficiently,ऩमााप्तता)], central banks went for unconventional tools, such as quantitative easing (QE). In essence, QE is the creation of new money. But such unconventional methods have led to the depreciation of the domestic currency and the creation of asset bubbles across the world. Other central banks have retaliated[ri'ta-lee,eyt(revenge,फदरा रेना)] by allowing their currency to devalue in a bid to corner global exports. But this string of competitive devaluations has arguably brought down the overall level of global employment. Rajan‟s call for a new set of rules — for assessing policies that are acceptable (green), those that are acceptable in the short term (orange) and those that are not acceptable at all (red) must be deliberated upon. However, India cannot afford to wait for changes in the global order. The bottomline here is the need to focus on structural reforms, which lie in the domain of fiscal policy. As Rajan said during the first Ramnath Goenka Lecture on March 12, India should shore up reforms that “increase competition, foster innovation, and drive institutional change”.

सानदामक)] for all economies. This is not the first time that Rajan has pointed to this

This is not the first time that Rajan has pointed to this 32. Adding gloss to
This is not the first time that Rajan has pointed to this 32. Adding gloss to
This is not the first time that Rajan has pointed to this 32. Adding gloss to

32. Adding gloss to ties with Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon visit Brussels, Washington and Riyadh. While the visit to Belgium to attend the European Union-India summit and announce the restart of Free Trade Agreement negotiations is long overdue, and the visit to the U.S. for the Nuclear Security Summit is an old calendar commitment, it is the visit to Saudi Arabia that makes the loudest statement on Mr. Modi‟s foreign policy agenda this year. Elevating ties In bilateral terms, Mr. Modi‟s Riyadh stop has numerous[nyoo-mu-rus(many,फह त से)] possibilities. The first is the elevation of ties between the two countries that Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir spoke of during his visit to Delhi earlier this month. This involves upgrading three key agreements the energy security partnership of 2008, the strategic partnership of 2010 (which has included robust anti-terror cooperation), and the defence partnership of 2014, signed just months before the Modi government was sworn in and melding them to form the basis of a new relationship. The second possibility, which is equally epochal[e-pu-ku(important,भहत्वऩणू ा)], is improving the trade and investment relationship. Bilateral trade at about $40 billion (lower this year because of falling oil prices) must be built beyond its current oil dependence, say officials, and India is keen to see Saudi investments in India on a par with its expectations from the United Arab Emirates. Perhaps this is why Mr. Modi has chosen to stop at

United Arab Emirates. Perhaps this is why Mr. Modi has chosen to stop at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

Riyadh first, even though he had committed to visiting two of Saudi Arabia‟s rivals, Israel and Iran, at the earliest. Finally, there are emerging avenues for partnerships that the two countries want to explore. As oil revenues are lower, Saudi Arabia is keen to project itself as a „kingdom of dreams‟, a hub for manufacturing and technology. In particular, the Saudi government is pitching its mega project, the King Abdullah Economic City, with a deep- sea port as a connector between the East and the West, and wants India to see it as a gateway to its new forays into Africa. Given that nearly half of India‟s seven million-strong Gulf diaspora works in Saudi Arabia, with families back in India dependent on them, India is keen to see new jobs created for them. It is no secret that both countries would like to move away from the conventional image of exploited Indian labourers living in regimented[re- ju,men-tid(controlled,ननमॊत्रित)] Saudi labour camps. “This is far from the reality of the three million-plus Indians who live and work in Saudi Arabia,” says former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmad. “Many of them are top-end engineers and managers in Saudi projects, and it is unfortunate that a few horrific incidents and criminal acts involving Indians are extrapolated to represent the whole reality.” The truth is that recent negative reports — of a housemaid‟s hand being severed in Saudi Arabia allegedly by her employer, or of the Saudi diplomat accused of keeping maids as sexual slaves in Delhi have cast a shadow on ties, and had forced the Prime Minister to put off his visit to Riyadh more than once. Instead, both governments want to add a more positive and modern gloss to their ties. It is no coincidence that scientific and mathematical collaborations between Indian and Saudi Arabian researchers have seen the sharpest increase in the past few years. Geopolitical signals Mr. Modi‟s visit will be watched most closely for its geopolitical signalling. In the subcontinent, it comes a year after ties between Saudi Arabia and its closest ally Pakistan were strained, when the Pakistani Parliament shot down a request to send troops to boost Saudi action in Yemen (which has left more than 3,000 dead). In contrast, during a telephone call to negotiate for Indian ships and planes to evacuate citizens, Prime Minister Modi went as far as to commend Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and hope for a quick resolution of the region‟s challenges “under [King Salman‟s] leadership”. Since then, Pakistan has made many attempts to make amends, but the refusal to join the Yemen bombing campaign as well as some ambivalence[am'bi-vu-lun(t)s(mixed feeling,उबमव स्त्तता)] on joining the Saudi-led coalition to fight the Islamic State have affected what was once seen as the most closely woven relationship. In the run-up to Mr. Modi‟s visit, Pakistani newspapers have written about the disquiet in Islamabad over closer India-Saudi ties, suggesting that the sudden trip by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the Kingdom earlier this month was an attempt at reassurance rather than the military exercises they viewed together there. Ties with the U.S., the Kingdom‟s strongest international ally, are under a strain, as the Saudi government battles allegations of funding IS fighters even as it watches its arch-rival Iran bask in new-found international acceptance. Stung by this shifting narrative, the Kingdom‟s most prominent diplomat Prince Turki bin Faisal recently wrote an indignant[in'dig-nunt(angry,नायाज)] article published in Arab papers titled “Mr. Obama, we are not „free riders‟”. “Is it because you have pivoted to Iran so much that you equate the Kingdom‟s 80 years of constant friendship with America to an Iranian leadership that continues to describe America as the biggest enemy,” he asked, listing what he claimed was Iran‟s support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even as he admitted that Saudi Arabia trains and funds Syrian “freedom fighters”. Saudi Arabia‟s other major ally China is attempting a similar shift. To the surprise of many, President Xi Jinping added Iran to his tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt in January. While oil reserves were the currency of the past, connectivity is seen as the coinage for power in the future, and China‟s entire focus at present is on the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Iran plays a major part in OBOR as a connector to Central Asia as well as West Asia, not Saudi Arabia. It is against this backdrop that Mr. Modi is trying to shore up ties with Saudi Arabia. It will be a visit high on potential, but in a region that is equally high on tensions, the Prime Minister will have to walk a tightrope.

equally high on tensions, the Prime Minister will have to walk a tightrope. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
equally high on tensions, the Prime Minister will have to walk a tightrope. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH
equally high on tensions, the Prime Minister will have to walk a tightrope. WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN BY HITESH

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

33. Why the Internet isn‟t just free yet ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned

33. Why the Internet isn‟t just free yet

33. Why the Internet isn‟t just free yet ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names

ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is the U.S.-based body that runs the Internet‟s central directory and coordinates its key technical functions. There is a lot of buzz currently around finalisation of the proposal for ICANN‟s oversight moving from the U.S. government to a multistakeholder group. Since this group elects ICANN‟s board of directors in the first place, it can be said that ICANN will now be an independent organisation, with no external oversight. This group, which prefers to call itself the “multistakeholder ICANN community”, consists of some sub-groups each with different technical governance roles, and different kinds of openness to non-members. This „community‟ is essentially a few hundred people at the most, with steep power gradations within it. There exists a strong in-group culture and ideology, and various kinds of meritocracies. This has meant that the group is dominated by the industry, which can pay for participants of „high quality‟, with staying power (for the endless email discussions that could culminate in „decisions‟), and who are well-versed in the U.S. corporate lingo. Don‟t expect to find words like democracy and representation ever mentioned in this group. It is mostly U.S.-based industry, overwhelming white men, some from Europe, plus, co-optation of, largely, a few elite groups from other countries. ICANN‟s board, its real decision-making body, comes from this „community‟, and now its oversight is to be internalised within the same group. Does it mean that nothing will change with the oversight transition? Well, not exactly. It is an important step towards making ICANN a genuinely global organisation. But only if it is indeed just the first step, to be followed by more steps, which is not clear at present. To understand the implications of this step, one must look at three things: what changes, what does not change, and what may even change for the worse. If the proposal is accepted by the U.S. government, as is likely, what would change is significant. Currently, ICANN is basically a contractor carrying out some tasks, of which the substantive authority vests with the U.S. government. The fact that the U.S. has not interfered with these tasks in any major way does not means that its de jure[dee'jû-ree(lawfully,़ाननू ी तौय ऩे)] authority is not meaningful. The U.S. government will now be divested of this authority, and ICANN will become an independent body in managing its domain names-related policy work, and the Internet‟s root zone file, containing information about Internet names and numbers, addresses, which are copied and replicated by other servers the world over. What doesn‟t change More significant, at least for those outside the U.S., is what does not change. The main problem that non-U.S. actors have with the U.S. control over ICANN is that it can unilaterally[yoo-nu'la-tu-ru-lee(one- sidedly,एकतयपा)] interfere with the ICANN‟s policy process, and the Internet‟s root server (containing the authoritative root zone file). Post transition, it will no longer be able to do so with a direct fiat to ICANN. However, the numerous[nyoo-mu-rus(many,फह त से)] judicial, executive and legislative powers held by the U.S. government over ICANN as an American organisation remain unchanged. The fear was never of the U.S. casually interfering with ICANN or the root server. It is exceptional situations that remain a problem area. The U.S. President has various kinds of emergency powers regarding key infrastructure, which is likely to extend to ICANN and the root server. Then there is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which has seized foreign assets in the U.S. on the flimsiest of geopolitical grounds. A country‟s domain name, like .in, in the root server can be considered as its asset inside the U.S. It is also possible that the Federal Communications Commission, having recently declared Internet service as a public utility, might at will seek jurisdiction over ICANN-managed critical Internet resources. And, of course, the U.S. legislature can make any kind of law affecting any aspect of ICANN and the root server. The greatest likelihood of the U.S. government‟s interference comes from the judiciary. A few adult content companies have legally challenged the ICANN-mandated .xxx domain name. A U.S. court has taken the case on

the ICANN-mandated .xxx domain name. A U.S. court has taken the case on WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
the ICANN-mandated .xxx domain name. A U.S. court has taken the case on WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

file, thus exercising its jurisdiction over an ICANN policy decision. If the court strikes down this decision, it will immediately unravel[ún'ra-vul(untangle,सुरझाना)] ICANN‟s pretensions of global legitimacy. With the new round of generic top level domains (gTLDs) whereby every big company is encouraged to get its own domain name, like .abcd, it is only a matter of time before a U.S. court comes up with such a decision. Say, a U.S. pharmaceutical company claims in a U.S. court that an Indian generic drug manufacturer is infringing its patents globally, and therefore its assets, including its gTLD, in the U.S., must be seized. The U.S. court, if it agrees, can direct both ICANN to suspend the domain name and the root server operator to delete it from the root file. All in all, therefore, the real problem of the U.S.‟s executive, legislative and judicial control over ICANN and the root server will not change with the current proposal. This is a serious matter. What is required is to get ICANN incorporated under international law, with host country immunities for an international organisation. Jurisdiction issue Despite strong exhortations[eg,zor'tey-shun(incitement,प्रोत्साहन)] by some of its members, the key question of jurisdiction over ICANN was not taken up by the group that developed the proposal. This issue has been moved to the second phase of this group, which could go on beyond the expected date of transition. This remains the main issue to resolve for any real change and progress. But the commitment of the U.S. government and other U.S. actors to consider any such change remains suspect. The U.S. government and the board repeatedly put up redlines whenever there were structural proposals that could ensure a greater latitude within the system to embrace change. And they succeeded at every point, because the so-called „community‟ was eager to keep the U.S. government pleased, lest they simply refuse the transition altogether. This is hardly a democratic way of decision-making on such an important issue as ICANN‟s new oversight mechanism. But the „community‟ remains most interested to have power fully transferred to itself, even if within U.S.‟s jurisdictional oversight, rather than go by larger global public interest concerns. It is feared that before the U.S. government accepts the transition proposal it will put in further safeguards against jurisdiction changes, possible as a fundamental by-law for ICANN which is very difficult to change. Or it could bring in a specific legislation in this regard, or threaten one in case such a thing is ever attempted. This will nullify all or any gain from the transition process. That brings us to the last point, about what could have changed for the worse. ICANN‟s oversight will shift to a somewhat largish group that in the first place elects the board, and has a narrow base. It is feared that the concerned industry‟s narrow interests will entirely take over, with no restraints. The U.S. government at least had no reason to work for these interests. (A few years back, it rapped ICANN on its knuckles when it allowed .com owners to steeply raise domain name price, and got it reversed.) Unsure of its final status, ICANN has been cautious when governments, especially the stronger ones, raised public policy issues, and mostly chose to be accommodative (like in the .amazon and .wine cases). But with an independent status finally settled, ICANN and its inbred community is likely to get much more unabashed[ún- u'basht(unashamed,फेऩयवाह)] in its narrow self-interest-based and commercial pursuits, disregarding global public interest. What ICANN needs, therefore, apart from coming under international jurisdiction, is some kind of external oversight, which, however, need not be of governments.

oversight, which, however, need not be of governments. 34. Hope that radiates from Havana
oversight, which, however, need not be of governments. 34. Hope that radiates from Havana
oversight, which, however, need not be of governments. 34. Hope that radiates from Havana

34. Hope that radiates from Havana

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

There is a popular meme floating on the Internet about how Cuban leader Fidel Castro had said in 1973 that the United States would talk to Cuba once it had a “black President” and the Vatican a Pope from Latin America. As is with such memes, this too is more an urban legend. There is no evidence of Mr. Castro ever saying so. But that doesn‟t mean that the present conjuncture isn‟t unique and remarkable — of the U.S. normalising relations with Cuba following steps taken by the U.S.‟s first African-American President after talks that were mediated by Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina).

It is no mean achievement that President Raul Castro and President Barack Obama pulled off the latter‟s historic

visit to Cuba, the first since President Calvin Coolidge did so 88 years ago. The process of normalisation of ties

that led to this visit has addressed the ease of travel, allowing Cuban émigrés to send remittance to their homeland, eliminating a ban on Cuban financial transactions going through U.S. banks, among many others. It has also included the reopening of embassies in respective capital cities of the U.S. and Cuba. Beginning of a process

A

normalisation process, as the U.S.-imposed embargo[em'baa-gow(trade stoppage,व्माऩाय प्रनतयोध)] (what Cubans call an economic blockade) on the Caribbean island nation remains in place. While Mr. Obama has emphasised the need to end this embargo, he can only get it done with Congressional approval. This, as things stand, seems improbable[im'pró-bu-bu(unbelievable,असॊबाव्म)] in the immediate future, considering Republican majority in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and the deep chasm between the Grand Old Party and the Obama White House over practically every legislative issue. But what Mr. Obama has sought to do is to chip away at the embargo bit by bit, by allowing the building of business relationships through small measures and hoping that economic reason will finally overturn the domestic opposition to the ending of the Cuban embargo. The main proponent of the embargo remains the powerful Cuban-American community in Florida, which continues to supply leaders to the Republican Party in particular and whose views are still framed by their experience as émigrés from the Cuban mainland. But the Hispanic community in Florida and elsewhere in the U.S. has become much more diverse and newer émigrés from Cuba do not carry the same animus[a-nu-mus(enmity,वैयबाव)] for their homeland, signalling a reduction

in

There is, of course, support also from the influential farm sector in the U.S., which seeks to access the Cuban market and which is also closely linked to the Republican party in the American mid-West. These sections, apart from the changing Cuban-American dynamics in Florida, have marshalled the possibilities

of

The Obama Doctrine In many ways, Mr. Obama‟s second term has seen a decisive[di'sI-siv(crucial,ननणाामक)] shift in U.S. foreign policy like no other President‟s in his country‟s recent past. A recent profile of his foreign policy in The Atlantic titled “The Obama Doctrine” portrays him as a restraint-driven realist concerned about the outcomes of the U.S‟s overseas interventionism and an optimist convinced that the “world is bending towards justice”. As

that the “world is bending towards justice”. As major hurdle[hur-d(u)l(obstacle, फाधा )] still

major hurdle[hur-d(u)l(obstacle,फाधा)] still persists[pu'sist(remain,फने यहना)] in the conclusion of the

the bargaining power of the naysayers[ney,sey-u(someone with negative attitude,नकायात्भक व्मस्क्त)].

नकायात्भक व्मस्क्त )] . normalisation recently and eased Mr. Obama ‟s policy

normalisation recently and eased Mr. Obama‟s policy-setting.

opposed to the neoconservative impulses[im,púls(cheer,उभॊग)] of his predecessor and even the liberal

interventionist position of his first term set into motion by Hillary Clinton, current hopeful for the Democratic nomination and then his Secretary of State in his second term Mr. Obama has tended to stay truer to his stated positions as the candidate who promised “change”. And this has significantly helped resurrect[re- zu'rekt(revive,ऩनु जीववत)] the U.S.‟s image, especially in Latin America, and has particularly motivated his policy decisions regarding Cuba. That said, during his visit, Mr. Obama did lay out his differences with Cuba‟s political system even as he emphasised that the U.S. must not impose its values upon its neighbour. He called into question Cuba‟s policies on political prisoners, positions on political dissidence[di-si-dun(t)s(disagreement,असहभनत)] and universal human rights which Mr. Castro sought to counter with the U.S.‟s record on universal health care and education, which are guaranteed in the island nation, as well as on race relations and economic inequality. Mr. Obama‟s response was to welcome a constructive dialogue with his Cuban counterpart on these issues. This was remarkable, coming from an American President whose recent predecessors treated the communist regime

as an anomaly and a hindrance[hin-drun(t)s(preventive,ननवायक)], refusing to acknowledge the successes of

the regime while gleefully[glee-fu-lee(joyfully,प्रसन्नताऩवू का )] demonising its frailties[frey(-u)l-

tee(weakness,कभज़ोयी)] and contradictions. The rapprochement with the U.S. comes at a time when Cuba is itself undergoing substantive change. The regime of President Raul has initiated steps to ease state control of the economy, and has allowed capital (both domestic and even foreign) greater play in many sectors. The regime has maintained free health care, free

play in many sectors. The regime has maintained free health care, free WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

education and social welfare and tried to retain alternative modes of economic activity such as cooperatives, but it is unmistakeable that Cuba has realised the need for efficiency via markets as opposed to overarching state control, leading towards steady economic liberalisation. An easing of the embargo should accelerate this movement in the direction of greater marketisation, which is expected to increase the purchasing power of Cubans and diversify an economy too dependent on select sectors such as tourism. The ending of the embargo should also give Havana the reassurance to abandon[u'ban- dun(leave,छोड़ना)] its excuse that the country is under siege, and allow a shift from a de facto[di'fak-

tow(real,वास्तववक)] one-party state to a more vibrant participative democracy that countenances political dissent. Indeed, Cuba can learn lessons on democratic socialism from its own pupils in Latin America who look up to it for inspiration. Cuba‟s success has been its inordinate[in'or-du-nut(excessive,अत्मधधक)] influence over Latin America and its success in representing the idea of compassionate socialism (in spite of its flaws). The country‟s export of health professionals and know-how, its long-standing solidarity with the oppressed, and its promotion of multi-polarity has won it friends the world over. A new chapter unfolds The meeting between Presidents Obama and Castro is in some ways a dialogue between two regimes that represented conflicting ideologies and whose battle split the world during the Cold War in the 20th century. The fall of the Soviet Union was celebrated by many as a triumph[trI-úm(p)f(victory,ववजम)] of capitalism and the “end of history”. But the financial and economic crisis in the developed world in the past decade, the survival of Cuba and the re-emergence of socialist regimes in Latin America suggests that history is still unfolding. President Obama, by representing the idea of a welfare and liberal democracy that is willing to listen to contrarian views, and President Castro, leading a regime that is moving away from the 20th century version of hard-edged socialism, are in the process of writing a new chapter in contemporary history. The outcomes and possibilities make President Obama‟s visit to Cuba utterly remarkable even for an observer who is geopolitically far removed.

even for an observer who is geopolitically far removed. 35. Building new alliances with BRICS India‟s
even for an observer who is geopolitically far removed. 35. Building new alliances with BRICS India‟s
even for an observer who is geopolitically far removed. 35. Building new alliances with BRICS India‟s

35. Building new alliances with BRICS

India‟s assumption of the presidency of BRICS (the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping) last month comes at a time when many are questioning the group‟s raison d‟être[raisonsd'être(purpose,उद्देश्म)].

a time when many are questioning the group‟s raison d‟être[raisonsd'être(purpose, उद्देश्म )] .

The economic health of the group is patchy[pa-chee(uneven,अऩणू ा)] and the contemporary political trajectories of its members are, to put it mildly, pulling in different directions. The decision to form BRICS was based neither on the attractiveness of the economies of these countries nor on a cozy[kow-zee(comfortable,सुखद)] ideological confluence[kón-floo-un(t)s(meeting,सॊगभ)]. To understand the need for this group to exist is to understand the need for flexibility mechanisms to achieve larger geo- economic goals. There is a need for New Delhi to take a long view on the purpose of BRICS and the space it creates for India within the contemporary international order. Three expansive experiments This order, as it exists today, is the result of three expansive post-World War II experiments. One was Pax Americana. It was built around the Washington Consensus[kun'sen-sus(agreement,सहभनत)], the simultaneous expansion of U.S. military might and of military alliances like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation); the creation of institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, serving an Atlantic economic order; and finally the consequent[kón-si-kwunt(resultant,ऩरयणाभी)] expansion

WWW.EDITORIALWITHVOCAB.BLOGSPOT.IN

BY HITESH

and consolidation[kun,só-li'dey-shun(integration,सुदृढ़ीकयण)] of markets and market-led globalisation that undermined and crushed the alternatives. The second experiment was the creation of the European Union (EU). With a collective desire to avoid the war and destruction witnessed in the first half of the 20th century, Europe's leaders quickly realised that deeper economic integration and mutual interdependence was the best guarantor of regional stability. The European project was different from the American one. It saw no need to expand its military might, having already closely integrated its security interests with that of the U.S. It became a collective that was as European leaders are wont to remind us in moments of crisis primarily a convergence of shared values. Arguably, the greatest successes of the EU were its ability to be able to softly prise out Ukraine and other former satellites of the Soviet behemoth[bi'hee-muth(large,फड़ा)] from the Russian sphere of influence, and a renewed vision for Europe that went beyond “Mitteleuropa”. However, with the ongoing refugee crisis,

growing entente[aan'taant(friendly alliance,स्नेहऩणू

ा सभझोता)] with China, and the inevitable[i'ne-vi-tu-
ा सभझोता)] with China, and the inevitable[i'ne-vi-tu-

bul(necessary,आवश्मक)] policy confusion that comes with being a monetary union without being a fiscal union, the European liberal project is seeking better days. The third and most recent experiment is the emergence of the Chinese global play and the efforts to put together a new world order defined by state control and underwritten by state capitalism. China is also expanding its military might as it seeks to be a Pacific and Asian power. Through initiatives like the “One Belt, One Road”, it is vastly expanding its market access, and selectively drawing in countries that would simultaneously serve China‟s strategic as well as economic interests. China is also creating new institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank (NDB), where India has significant stakes. However, the Chinese creation of new institutions is offset by its seemingly unyielding[ún'yeel- ding(stubborn,स्ज़द्दी)] belief that the current rules-based global order is neither fair nor sacrosanct[sa-

krow,sangkt(holy,अनतऩववि)], and a new rule-framing moment is upon the world. How BRICS lends heft One may argue that India‟s strategic interest must be in the continued existence of an open economic order and, as a rising power, liberal internationalism serves its interests best. Put differently, India could potentially (as its gross domestic product rises in the decades ahead) be the inheritor of the liberal international project for the very same realpolitik reasons as the U.S., and must seek to contribute to it through supporting institutions that serve it even as they cater to India‟s national interests. But for this, it needs space within the old order to respond to its unique development and specific needs. It also needs to acquire weight within these institutions that would allow it to reshape the old establishment to work for new stakeholders and respond to contemporary realities. India cannot do this by itself. Given its fiscal and geopolitical constraints, it must engage with all stakeholders who could aid in this endeavour. India‟s involvement with BRICS — and the NDB should be read in this context. Here, it is important to clarify what BRICS ultimately is: it is not a trading bloc or an economic union per se. Nor is it a political coalition given the divergent geopolitical trajectories of each country. Brazil, India and South Africa broadly orient themselves towards the liberal end of the political spectrum, China pursues a trajectory that will, sooner than later, put it on a collision course with the U.S., even as it leverages the Atlantic economies in the medium term for its economic growth. And finally, Russia has once again begun to be perceived by NATO as an all-out threat, and not just a “frenemy”. From an Indian perspective, BRICS is a strategic geo-economic alliance that seeks to move the narrative emerging from the Bretton Woods institutions towards alternative models of development and governance through the sheer[sheer(complete,नीया)] weight of the incongruent collective. BRICS helps create new instruments for global relevance and influence for each of its members, and is itself one. Viewed through this prism, the development of BRICS institutions and the effectiveness of the NDB is what will define the success of the coalition in the coming years. For India, the success of the NDB and the AIIB may also ironically allow it a greater role in the institutions established in the middle of the last century. BRICS should be an integral part of India‟s grand strategy, and a vehicle in India‟s journey from being a norm taker to a norm shaper. The bloc offers New Delhi greater bargaining space as India seeks to gain more prominence in institutions of global governance, and shape them in the liberal international tradition with a southern ethos. For instance, India trades more with the global South than the global North. It is the only member of BRICS that is likely to foster[fós-tu(nurture,फढ़ावा)] an open and rule-based economic architecture with the global South. It is uniquely poised to do so, thanks to New Delhi‟s leadership role among the G77 and G33 groupings at the World Trade Organisation and the UN. Actions taken by India in its own developmental interests have the unintended consequence of strengthening the plurilateral economic agenda because it has scrupulously[skroop-yu-lus-lee(honestly,ईभानदायी से)] (on most

ईभानदायी से )] (on most WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH
ईभानदायी से )] (on most WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EDITORIALWITHVOCAB BY HITESH

occasions) adhered[ad'heer(follow,ऩारन)] to the norms of the Washington Consensus. BRICS gives India the room to continue being an important player in the liberal international order while being part of a group which, for the old guard, could potentially emerge as the single most important reason for its dramatic reform. As with the AIIB, India should not hesitate to join or create other BRICS initiatives that may have strategic implications for global trade, finance, cyberspace, and the larger economic system. Indeed, the U.S. and other European powers should encourage it. Since it does not strive to create disruptive norms, India is the best bet that the international community has to “slingshot” past the illiberal impulses[im,púls(cheer,उभॊग)] in geopolitics. The Atlantic powers need to recognise that India‟s role within BRICS is a bulwark against such impulses, and encourage its leadership in similar plurilateral forums.

and encourage its leadership in similar plurilateral forums. 36. Milestones on Beijing‟s OBOR plan In tune