Issue :   
August 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.          August 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Focus on saving water

You have done well to highlight the water crisis that stares the whole nation today. Water is life. It is unfortunate that our governments at the Centre and in the States have cared little to see to it that every citizen in the country has access to this basic necessity of life. Lest the crisis deepen to engulf the whole nation, the governments must pay attention to keep our tanks and reservoirs full of water. They must also focus on installing desalination plants.
It is high time we understood the value of saving water . The storage in our major reservoirs needs to be deepened at the earliest . We must harvest the bulk of our rain we get . Sometimes , we have plenty of rains. The governments must see to that every single drop of that is saved for the crisis situations.
The rainwater harvesting can be made mandatory . Monetary incentives may be given to genuine NGOs across the country to make it possible for them to install systems. Individual consumers may be supplied devices to save rainwater and reduce its wastage. The governments must be strict with those elements who lie in wait to make droughts an opportunity for their own profit.

Vishal Chakravarthy

Reaching out to Kashmiris

The Lok Sabha has done well to approve the extension of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, beginning July 3. The Union Government should now work hard towards generating a conducive atmosphere for democratic, free and fair Assembly elections in the State by the yearend.
The Union Government must review Article 370 of the Constitution. This Article extends special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The nature of this Article is temporary , not permanent.

It is however, very unfortunate that the current government at the Centre drags the name of our first Prime Minister in regard to our Kashmir problem . The other day Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament it was because of Nehru that a third of Jammu and Kashmir was not with India. He held Nehru responsible for dividing the country on the basis of religion.

Ganesh Madhawan

Free trade pact

The Modi Government must appreciate the efforts of the Association of South East Asian Nations towards concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade pact by the end of the current year. The ASEAN summit in Bangkok last month agreed to send a three-member delegation to New Delhi to take these talks forward . The Modi Government needs to ensure RCEP countries open their markets for the country’s our Indian manpower (services). India has a trade deficit with as many as 11 of the RCEP countries. This has to be set right.

Rafi Ahmad

Not a reliable partner

New Delhi must be cautious in dealing with the United States. The latter is hardly a reliable partner. Currently, the Donald Trump administration wants its allies and partners to lower tariff and non-tariff barriers for “free, fair, and reciprocal trade.” The White House urges members of the G-20 to work together to advance an open, fair, market-based digital economy. It thinks this will benefit all nations. But Washington does not seem to practise it.

In March 2018 the Trump administration levied tariffs on steel and aluminium from India ( and other countries). Recently, India, too has retaliated by levying tariffs on 28 goods, including walnuts, pulses and almonds.

Donald Trump Also, the United States is urging reforms and modernisations to the World Trade Organization (WTO). But it has been blocking the appointment of judges to the WTO’s Appellate Body (trade court). Without such judges to hear cases (three or more), the trade court will become non-functional for all practical purposes at the end of this year.

Kavya Menon

No major achievement

Recently , New Delhi won the unanimous endorsement of the 55-nation Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations Security Council . Now , in June 2020, India will need the support of at least 129 countries out of all 193 members of the UN General Assembly to become one of five nonpermanent members in the UNSC. It will then occupy the seat at the UNSC for a two-year period.

It would be naive to treat it as a major achievement of India . India has been a non-permanent member of the Council seven times so far. New Delhi must focus on its permanent Council membership. India deserves to be a permanent member of the Council. There is a near-complete polarisation among the permanent members (P-5 nations), with the U.S., the U.K. and France on one side, and Russia and China on the other. China is rising . The U.S. has been withdrawing from its UN responsibilities. India must strengthen the multilateral world order.

Vishnu Updhyaya

Sensible policy shift

New Delhi’s recent shift of focus from regional initiatives such as SAARC to BIMSTEC is sensible. SAARC has failed to foster regional cooperation and make progress. The group has not met since 2014. Its summit stood cancelled in 2016 as India, along with three other member states, boycotted it owing to terror attacks in India allegedly sponsored by Pakistan-linked operatives.

New Delhi must focus on BIMSTEC. This forum provides an opportunity for economic, cultural and social cooperation in the region. BIMSTEC does not include Pakistan, which had been an impediment to SAARC’s success. China’s absence in BIMSTEC will mean fewer obstacles hindering the achievement of the organisation’s mandate.

K John

This refers to Anuradha Dutt’s article, 'Of caste and cultural imposition' (Power Politics, July 2019). The article is is really very interesting and path-breaking in a way. My compliments.

Saradindu Mukherji
Former Member, Indian Council for Historical Research