On 14th September, 2017 foundation stone for first bullet train in India from Ahemdabad to Mumbai was laid by PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart PM Shinzo Abe. Bullet train played a vital role in accelerating the economic growth of Japan, when it was first introduced between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964. It increased the speed of delivery of goods, services and reduced the travel time of work force working at distant places, and in turn increasing overall efficiency of economy.
India is vast country compared to Japan, and perhaps having bullet train in India is more relevant than Japan, if efficiency of economy is to be improved by reducing travel and fast delivery of goods and services. In this respect India is going to have this benifit. Japanese bullet train called Shinkasen has proven technolgy and known for its quality and performance since more than half acentury. So, India is getting very good and proven technology compared to other new players in this field. Though this Japanese technology may be bit expensive, but same has been offset by very soft loan provided by Japan at the interest rate of 0.1% with repayment period over 50 years. The bullet train project will create huge perennial employment in comissioning of Ahmedabad Mumbai project and operation of the train. After its completion, it is likely to be replicated in many other sectors and routes. It will also boost "Make in India" programme as many of the vital components and sub-systems will be manufactured in India in phases. So, India will have access to modern technology that will also positively impact other industries. In India, there is huge migration of people from rural ares to urban areas especially to big metro cities in search of employment. Due to heavy influx and concentration of people in these urban area are creating undue pressure on existing infrastructure. This will reduce the population pressure on big cities.
As far as Japan is concerned, it has secured a big market for long time as first entrant that will provide boost to its stagnant economy for decades. Moreover, it should also be considered as a successful big move by Japan to mitigate the big economic influence of China in India. This economic partership will also likeky to strengthen other business and strategic parternership. This way both India and Japan has win-win situation through this project.
With the recent changes in portfolios of ministers in Government of India(GoI), a decisision has been taken to innerlink the rivers. This idea was first conceived in Atal Bihari Vajpai Government, but now it is going to be implemented in Modi Government.
Due to climate change, the pattern of precipitation as well as melting of glaciers with reference to place, time and quantity is likey to change appreciably resulting in frequent floods and drought. Due to flood, not only devastation of human lives, agriculture, livestocks and properties are lost, but fresh water resources are also lost without their utilization. As pattern and timings of flooding in rain fed and glacier fed rivers are different and same is different in rainfed rivers also; therefore, amount of water from flooded river can be diverted to other rivers where flood is not there. This will reduce the devastations cuased by flood as well as reduces the wastage of fresh flood water that is drained out in seas. Transfer of these flood waters to other rivers with less water and subsequent transfer through canals to drought prone areas will also reduce the likelyhood of drought. Therefore, interlinking of rivers may be a game changer for India in fighting against flood and drought which is likely to increase due to climate change.
Doklam plateau, a tri-junction point of Bhutan, China and India is in news for bad reasons since June, 2017. China wants to construct road in Doklam in Bhutanses terrotory. Bhutan has objected to same and as per cooperative security arrangements between Bhutan and India, India is oblised to intervene and accordingly India stopped the road construction by Chinese in Bhutanese territory in Doklam. This standoff is continued for more than two months.
This act of China shows that China is entering into phase of old way of imperialism that has already abondoned by Western European countries learning the lesson from World War-II. However, China does not want to learn the lesson from the outcomes of World War-II. The most important objective of a rational government is to improve socio-economic development of its people and establish peace in and around that is important for socio-economic development. China needs to understand that territory may be a means and not an end in fulfilling the national aspirations of development, peace and even global leadership. Engagement of China in armed conflict with countries around its territory and beyond may spoil the economy of China which is manufacturing based export oriented economy. Will China take a lesson from past and mend its way ? Let's wait and watch.
Diet endorses pact to export civil nuclear technology to India. This is really a pragmatic and landmark decision by Japanese government and political establishment in Japan. This will not only provide clean energy access to India, but also boost Japanese economy by sale of civil-nuclear equipment.
It has many other direct and indirect implications on issues such as climate-change, regional economic balance in Asia, and help Japan emerging as”Normal” nation. Use of nuclear energy in power generation will reduce the emission of green house gases thereby mitigating the climate change, it will also boost the economic development of India which in turn will strengthen its strategic importance in Asia to balance power. Moreover, it would also help Japan in emerging as "Normal" nation in taking its own strategic decisions.
While fighting for the cause of Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST), labourers and women, Dr Ambedkar envisioned a society where human dignity of each and every one could be assured and he stated that “Ours is a struggle not for money or power but for reclamation of human dignity”. In order to meet this stated objective, government introduced reservations for SC and ST candidates in public jobs and admission in public educational institution. But, how far this instrument of reservation succeeded in achieving the main objective of Dr Ambedkar is a question mark.
As per 2011 census, population of Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) in India is 16.2 and 8.2 percent respectively of total population. About 31 Lakhs central government employees are there. Similarly in state governments about 1 Crore employees are there. Thus, total number of state and central government employees is about 1 percent of total population of India. Therefore, about 25 percent SC and ST population is banking on government jobs reserved for SC/ST that can only serve about 1 percent of SC/ST population for their economic and social development and upliftment. Even after over half a century of implementation of reservation scheme, it has not yielded any tangible result.
The other flaw in reservation is that those SC and ST families who have got benefits of reservation once or more, they are still continue to get it at the cost of other SC and ST families who could never get the same due to their poor economic status. Moreover, some of the economically well off and undeserving caste and community have intruded in SC and ST categories reaping this benefits at the cost of poor deserving SC and ST families. Therefore, this policy of reservation is flawed, and if really the vision of Dr Ambedkar is to be fulfilled then theie capability needs to be developed..
Policy of reservation has created inefficiency in government jobs and social divide. Some of the political parties have heavily en-cashed this social divide and converted it into solid vote bank for their political gain. But, this has not improved the social and economic status of larger population of SC and ST.
People are asset of a country, and to get maximum out of them is to invest in them at initial level itself. Therefore, a compulsory and free primary education is must for all SC/ST children. Though it should not be limited to only SC/ST children, but it should be extended to all the children of every caste and community. Those SC/ST students who complete primary education must be offered free middle education up to 8th standard. When it comes to free education, it should bear all the cost such as minimum three meals a day, clothing, hostels, health services, free books and other items. If all their needs are met, they will not be dragged to their families for economic activities at the cost of their education.. For further higher studies, deserving candidates may be given liberal scholarship at every stage. It was education that shaped the life of Dr Ambedkar making him a iconic person. Therefore, if dreams of Dr Ambedkar are to be fulfilled, then access to education is way forward and not reservation
In order to promote capacity addition of renewable and carbon free or low carbon emission technologies for electricity generation to mitigate climate change, a new school of thought is being advocated that instead of taxing carbon and raising prices for everyone, let’s selectively remove taxes from electricity sources producing zero (or nearly zero) emissions (nuclear, wind, solar, geothermal, hydro) and incent further reductions in emissions from coal and natural gas facilities.
There seems to be some merit in the proposal that advocates carbon tax at supply side compared to demand side. Though, supply side carbon tax burden will also be passed on indirectly to consumers at demand side, however, it will not provide much incentives to consumers at demand side to conserve energy or use it efficiently. Moreover, it is most important that how carbon tax collected either at supply side or demand side is going to be effectively utilised for promoting generation and use of renewables and carbon free energy technologies at supply side and changing the behaviour of consumers at demand side to conserve the energy and utilize it efficiently. Therefore, a hybrid mixture of carbon taxation at supply as well as demand side needs to be put in place. And tax collected at supply side should be exclusively used for research and development of carbon free or low carbon emission technologies and subsidising their use. Carbon tax collected at demand side should be used to incentivise use of energy efficient technologies in equipment and appliances at demand side.
After World War-II there had been significant use of soft power globally where economically advance countries have provided economic aid to least developed and developing countries. However, this soft power has been used to consolidated its diplomatic, strategic and military power. There is no free lunch in any relation and that applies to international relations also. The moment any country provides any aid for economic, social or cultural development, there are some expectations by donor country in return. However, China was smart to develop Hambantota and Colombo ports at Sri Lanka in the name of economic development which Chinese will use for military purpose in return of their economic aid. Sri Lanka can not stop it now for being used by China for military purpose even if it wishes so. The same thing will happen with Gwadar port also. Though Pakistan will be happy to allow China to use it for military purpose against India and other neighboring unfriendly country. This is a very good example as to how soft power can be used to leverage hard. Now it's really a diplomatic and strategic challenge for India to see how they can counter it so that China could not use these ports for military purpose.