At the turn of this year, India has seen another blot on her face when an 23 year old paramedical student was gang raped in a moving bus who finally died on 29th December. The last two weeks of December, 2012 has seen an unprecednted demonstration in New Delhi and other parts of country against gang rape of this paramedical student. Among others, most of the demonstrators were youths who were highly frustated and enraged. Delhi, the capital and seat of power in India has been termed as capital of rape due to frequent rape cases in Delhi. Older generation still remembers Geeta Chopra kidnapping, rape and murder case in late 70s in Delhi that caught the attention of entire country even though the media and specially electronic media was not as strong as it is today. A lot of hue and cry was there in the public at the time of Geeta Chopra case also, but soon all the sentiments, emotions, frustrations and rage vanished with time without making any dent on the system so that could rape cases could be curbe. Though in Geeta Chopra case culprits were hanged , but in so many reported cases the culprit go scot free and that make public are very furious and enraged. Even after capital punishment in few rape cases, the number of rape cases did not come down that sever punishment is not only solution and holistic view is to be taken. Some of the following area that may require improvements to curb rape cases in society are
Social values and response
Policing and governance
One of the root cause of such problems is education. Even after over 6 decades of independence we could not provide education to every child. And whatever education we have provided so far, we have not been able to inculcate value system in our society so that people could be sensitive to pain of others and could develop mutual respect for each other irrespective of gender, caste, religion, and economic status etc .
Apart from school a lot of learning comes from family and society in which we live. There is some problem with prevailing social norms. When something happens wrong with others we do not raise our voices. When it comes to getting our job done done quickly and easly we pay bribe and then cry that there is lot of corruption. Unless and until we nurture and shape our society in such a way that each and every one in society is not only sensitive to his own needs but also sensitive to requirements of others in society, we can not improve the society with any amount of law. My hats off to people of Delhi and other parts of the country especially the young one who are fighting in case for the cause of making our country a safer place for women.
A lot of cases of sexual misbehaviour takes place in public transports like buses, metro and local trains. As far as possible there may separate buses for ladies. There is provision of separate compartments for ladies in metro and local trains. Police verification of drivers and conductors in private buses must be mandatory. Technical solution can also be found for tracking the buses and it should be mandatorily equipped with some sort of alarm so that in case of emergency nearest police station could be alerted. Mobile is very common now a days, there could be 1 or two digit number allocated for quick reporting and seeking rescue. Many of the sexual assults go unreported due to percieved harrasment and embarrasment in police station which is dominated by male as well as getting bad name in society. There must be a separate police station for crime against women which should be 100 % manned by women so that victim should register their complaint without any fear or embarrassment. And it should be responsibility of police station that identity of complainant is not disclosed.
There should be separate fast track courts where, judges, counsel of both plaintiff as well as defendant should be female. Because in many cases defence counsel ask so many undesired embarrassing questions from victim that once again traumatic mental rape starts. Trial should take place in closed room. During hearing no male accept accused should be allowed.
If we resort to some of these reforms, more cases of sexual assault may be reported and quick justice will be delivered. And when more people will be penalised it will put a check on rape cases.
Donation by developed countries, multilateral agencies like UN, World Bank, ADB etc, and international NGOs to least developing and developing countries are very common international developmental activities taken with a view to improve the social and economic conditions of aid receiving country. There are many international non governmental organisations (NGOs) who are really philanthropist in nature, but there are many black sheep also in this business. Some of these dubious international NGOs channel their money with malicious intentions , though it is name of various kind of welfare, cultural and developmental activities. And money of some of these international organisations are used for various purpose right from promoting secessionist group, funding terrorist, promoting political and commercial interest of one or a group of countries, and thwarting many developmental activities in name of environment and displacement of people. Though already mechanism is in place in government to scrutinize the purpose of these funds and credentials of these international NGOs before they flow in the country, but very powerful national counterparts are there who are beneficiaries of these funds and they influence getting it cleared. There is need to reduce the flow of fund from international NGOs and whatever is permitted it should thoroughly examines and screened in the national interest.
Due to economic hardship faced by US, President Obama has indicated a safe and honourable exit fron Afghanistan as US presence in Afghanistan is further aggravating its economic hardship without any economic gain in near future. What would be its implications for Afghanistan neighbouring countries and US is a big question. Afghanistan has been safe sanctuary for a long for Islamic terrorist around the globe that has been controlled to some extent by US action in recent past. Premature exit by US from Afghanistan will be detrimental to the interests of US, neighboring countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan itself. Because, with US exit, feudal forces will again resurrect that will finally lead to more production and trade of opium, concentration of money in few hands, increased alliance between feudal lords and radical Taliban that will finally result in weakening nascent democratic process with high chances of transiting back to previous form of Taliban government. Pragmatic solution of Afghanistan problem has to be seen in background of its history and culture of Afghanistan. Some 50 years back Afghanistan had been adequately progressive compared to many South Asian countries given its geographical conditions. Even if it comes to same level of governance and socioeconomic development as it was in 50s and 60s it can pursuit the path of progress alone. But this will require creation of social and physical infrastructure to support at least 20-30 years to help at least one generation in attaining them proper education, and means of livelihood for masses and at the same time curbing opium production and trade with iron hands. Once the one generation is integrated in economic activities and simultaneously money power of feudal lords from opium are curbed, the chances are quite high that radical elements and terrorist may loose the ground and Afghanistan may emerge a stable and normal country.
For last two days on 22nd and 23rd of December, 2012 there has been an unprecednted demonstration in New Delhi against gang rape of a paramedical student. Among others, most of the demonstrators were youths. Delhi, the capital and seat of power in India has been termed as capital of rape due to frequent rape cases in Delhi. People are very furious that in so many such cases the culprit go scot free. So, outrage of youth on such a scale should not be taken as a big surprise. In a democratic governance, fulfilling the legitmate aspirations of people is one of the most important responsibilties of the government. And one's safety and security is of paramount importance when it comes to fulfilling aspirations of people. This kind of social movement takes place only when many people feel threatened in the the same way. In the present case also people across the society have started feeling that females of their family member are not safe and they have come out on streets to demand justice for victim as well as to put the pressure on government for putting in place responsive and comprehensive administrative machinery, efficient policing and strong legal system with provision of sever penalty to those found guilty in rape cases so that such incidents could be curbed. Though the matter of sever penalty for those convicted in rape cases has also come for discussion previously, but there was oppositions from many quarters also stating the reason that in many cases it would be difficult to make a correct judgement between consensual sex and rape and it would be misused to frame innocent persons and exploit them. Taking advantage of legal positions many rape offenders went scot free and this encouraged such bad elements in society to repeat such incident. People feel frustated with existing legal, policing and administrative system that is unable to protect female from rape cases. Many people in big cities especially of the north India feel that female of their family is not safe and this has led to mass social movement for this cause. Now the pressure by people appears to be working on government as well as political system as a whole when many leaders across the party lines have acknowledged the garivty of such crime and need for strong legislation, policing and administration. It is hoped that this demonstration will be taken by the government in right spirit and necessary changes will be made in legal system, policing and administrative machinery to fight such evil in society and its positive outcome will strengthen our democracy as people would feel more safer in society.
UPA government has been successful in bringing 51% FDI in multi brand retail through voting in Parliament amid extensive heated debate and discussions in Parliament as well as in print and electronic media. Whether, it will be good or bad for Indian economy and its people , it is a big question? Normally, FDI is good for economic development of a country if it is brought in field of infrastructural development such as power, energy, road, port and rail etc which is pre-requisite for economic development or in those areas of manufacturing and service sector where capacity does not exist and country is dependent on import to meet its requirements as it brings capital, technology, technical knowhow and managerial skills etc. However, FDI in retail does not fall in any of these two categories, rather it is in field of consumer market and role of big multinational stores through will be limited to outsourcing of material from indegenous as well as imported sources, its storage and retail sales through various outlets.
A fair market exists when there are large number of buyers as well as sellers so that no one could influence the the market to their undue advantage. However, experiences of many of those countries who have have gone for FDI in retail shows that a large share of retail market has been taken over by big global players in this field like Walmart and TESCO etc. Under such a scenario many of the small retailer will either have to close their operation or will have to relocate themselves to a new and less favourable locations. In this process total number of retailers will reduce and market will be dominated by a few big global operators and market would not remain a fair market. Under these conditions, staus of producer-retailer relations will be that of a buyer's market where few big retailers as buyers would dictate the terms in merket unfavorably to producers and specially to farmers and putting farmers to great disadvantage. Similarly the retailer-consumer market will be seller's market and market prices would be determined by a few big players especially in essential comodities and fair share of efficient operation of retail will not be passed on to customers in terms of reduced price. As big retail shops will function in relatively more efficient way, total number of people employed in retail sector will be less as the market share of big houses increases in retail. Therefore, it will definitely have adverse impact on employment of less skilled persons already employed in retail sector though it will also provide opportunity of employment to few skilled persons with better salary and income.
on one hand Goverment is supporting and promoting micro, small and medium industries against large one as it creates large employment opportunities even though many of these industries are not very efficient, but on other hand this aspect has not been considered in case of retail market. Small retailers are like small industries and their growth will provide more equity in employment compared to big retail houses. As far as small manufacturers are concerned, they will have stiff competition from some of the countries in Esat Asia and China who have comparative advantage in manufacturing sector. The big global retailer have capacity to access and outsource these products from China and other East Asian countries nad it may again be detrimental to small industries. If the same happens many of the small industries would die creating further unemployment.
One of the top priority of Government is to create more employment. However, FDI in retails clearly indicates creating a situation for unemployment and widening the gap between rich and poor that may lead to deep social division and tension and many other social problem. Since decisision on FDI in retail has already been taken and it has to come in a big way, now it is upto farmers, small manufacturers and retailers how they take this challenge. If they could face this challenge by making their operation more innovative and efficient and protecting their interest collectively seeking favorable support from government, then FDI may even turn to a boon and the same big multinational firms would help in exporting our product.
After industrial revolution, energy and especially fossil fuels have become key input for economic development. During most of the second half of the 20th century energy was at the center stage of global geopolitics and the same is continuing in the 21st century. Eurasian region is largest producer and supplier of energy and earlier major consumers were Americans and West Europeans. With emergence of China and India in economic development after other East Asian countries, volume of consumption of energy is shifting from West Europe and America to Asian region. So major production and consumption of energy resources are likely to take place in this region. And if the same is to happen smoothly, a new set of geopolitical order needs to be establish in this region to ensure that institutions and infrastructures could be put in place for smooth flow of energy from surplus region to deficit one. For this to achieve transnational pipelines for oil and gas, international connectivity of grid for electric power transfer and many more other infrastructure needs to be set up in the region.
About 20% population of developed countries consumes about 80% fossil fuels and remaining 80% population of developing and least developed countries consumes 20% of fossil fuel energy. Therefore any mitigation activities by 20% consumers of fossil fuel will not give much impact unless 80% consumers of fossil fuel take up sincerely mitigation activities on larger scale. Though every country should strive for mitigation activities as per it financial and technological capabilities and means, but, unfortunately those who are capable and having means are more interested in adaptation activities rather than mitigation activities. Some of the countries are exploiting this situation to make big money by selling their energy efficient and environment friendly technology at exorbitantly high price, and they are those who have created this problem due to their historical as well as present green house gas emission. Scourge of climate change will affect each and every one be it a developed country or least developed one. Those who are consuming more energy per capita presumes that they will be able to insulate themselves more due to investment on adaptation activities,but most likely their adaptation activities will not come to their rescue against climate change induced rage of nature. This is evident from many natural calamities witnessed in past few years.
When a business operates, especially the industrial one, it is also likely to adversely impact the physical, social or economic environment around its operation and the entire supply chain of input resources to final destination of goods and services produced despite bringing economic prosperity to firm and nation. And a section of society may get adversely affected, though different strata of society may be affected in varying degree and economically disadvantaged in society are likely to suffer more. These business makes profit at the cost of some segment of society and the relation between business and society gets modeled on prey and predator theory. If this relation goes beyond a critical level, it is likely that prey will get extinct and so in turn predator also that survive on prey. Therefore, it is imperative that for a sustained business, adequately physically, economically, socially and environmentally healthy society exist.
Recognizing their role and responsibility in this process, some of the business firms started some charity and philanthropy work as corporate social responsibility (CRS) just to display their big heart and concern for society. However, a very few took initiative to build social capital that could build up the capacity of society to improve its material, environmental and social well being. There could be one reason for the same that business firms are not having adequate capacity at its CRS Department to carry out innovative CRS project that ends in doing some charity sort of works instead of building social capital.
Therefore, the business firms should have adequate capacity of its CRS department or it should take up the social enterprise through a non governmental organization (NGO) or at least can take consultancy of an reputed NGO. Otherwise, most of the CRS projects undertaken would provide only lip service. However, cautious needs to be applied while selecting the NGO as large numbers of night fly operators are there in the field
As far as demand for social capital is concerned, it is always there especially in developing and least developed countries. Business enterprises need to identify them and need to devise innovative social enterprise that could built social capital so that both business and society could prosper together
India test fired successfully in third week of April 2012 its Agni V missile that is stated to be having three stage solid propellant rocket motors and a range of approximately 5000 kms that makes it eligible to be classified as Inter Continental Ballistic Missile(ICBM). Agni V is capable of carrying and delivering with adequate precision nuclear and other multiple payloads up to one ton. In addition, it is capable of covering whole of Asia, Africa and part of Europe; and also capable of shooting enemy spy satellite in space. There has been varied reaction from various countries ranging from applaud for technical achievement to propelling arm race. However, a lot of jingoism displayed by many Indian electronic and print media is not appreciable and that to targeting the comparision to a particular country.
Many of India's near and distant neighbour are armed with well developed nuclear and missile capabilities far ahead with India. Under this circumstances, India needs to develop and upgrade continuously its strategic defence capabilities. As far as India's record on proliferartion of strategic weapon is concerned, it is very clean and admirable. Moreover, India is committed to no first use of nuclear weapon. India being a stable democratic country , there is no chance of falling these weapons in hands of terrorists or non state actors unlike other nuclear state in the region where there is such valid apprehension.
It has also been observed that if the technological capabilities of two countries are very high to hit hard as in case of possessing weapon of mass destruction(WMD), chances of combat will be very less, and even though combat takes place, the chances of high intensity combat (HIC) will be very less and many of the issues between the countries would be resolved through negotiations. So, rest of the world needs to be assured that strategic defence capacity building by India would be stengthening peace building process in the region.
It is perhaps a false perception among economist and political pundits that democratic country will not be corrupt or less corrupt. However, if we look at the corruption perception index of varous countries issued by varous organizations such as Transparancy International, there is no corelation between democracy and corruption. Some countries even with lesser degree of democracy have done better in curbing corruption. So, democracy may be a necessary condition for eradicating corruption but not sufficient alone. An adequate level of education among the citizens is also essential for curbing corruption along with vibrant democracy. Through education public can well understand what is good for individual, society and nation and accordingly they can elect their representatives to govern. Educated society will also provide many civil socities that will fight for the legitimate cause of people including fighting corruption.
Only framing rule will not curb corruption. One has to see how pragmatic anti-corruption policies and laws are put in place and strong institutional mechanism is there to implement these policies and laws.
Moreover, cultural values of the society has to be shaped by government and social leader so that people should not indulge in corruption. We should take lessons from countries that has large variation in corruption level in different regions of the country due to wide variations in culture and civil values.