Empower intelligence agencies – (Secuirty)
If national security requires greater intrusion into the lives of citizens, that is a price we need to pay. However, it should be accompanied by a strengthening of the oversight mechanism.
The candour with which MI5 chief Andrew Parker spoke on television of security threats to the U.K. should make Indian intelligence explore the possibility of greater transparency. It should also help sensitise the public on the need to give intelligence agencies more powers to intercept.
Digital India needs to go local – (Governance)
- Digital infrastructure may not be of much help in addressing governance and development concerns unless it is integrated into the wider structural and institutional reforms.
- Studies on the problems plaguing Indian experiments in using ICTs for governance and development point to the need for a greater understanding of local realities in project designs.
Inclusive ecosystems for mental health – (Health)
- It is now time to assign resources to the government’s progressive mental health policy and initiate programmes that promote social inclusion, participation and mobility.
- Long-term care, if restricted to extended stays in hospitals or traditional rehabilitation homes, can be spiritless and lacking in vitality.
Great expectations in Sri Lanka – (International Relation)
- The unanimous adoption of a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka last week is notable for the pragmatism that informs it.
- The idea of an external investigation into the conduct of the military and the political leadership has been bearing down on the island nation for some years now.
Gas pricing and some issues – (Energy)
- The government last week announced the new price of natural gas produced in the country, as part of a periodic revision mandated by the new gas pricing formula that it adopted in October 2014. The formula mandates a price revision once every six months on the basis of the prevailing prices in gas-surplus countries such as the United States, Mexico, Russia and Canada.
- So the new price of $3.8 per unit — in effect from October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 — is 18 per cent lower than the previous price. This is likely to hurt producers such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Oil India, but will be welcomed by CNG and PNG consumers, not to mention the government, which will now find its fertilizer subsidy an easier pill to swallow.
Fresh blow to hopes of settlement to Nepal statute controversy – (International Relation)
- India has denied that it has issued any order for a “blockade” at the Indo-Nepal border that has seen over 2,000 trucks parked on the Indian side waiting to go in. Hundreds of Indian truckers have been stranded in Nepal as well, as protesters angry with the new Constitution adopted by Nepal have blocked the crossing-points to pressure the government in Kathmandu.
- Asked about India’s denial, Nepali Ambassador Deep Kumar Upadhyay told The Hindu on Sunday that Nepal offered Indian trucks a guarantee of safe passage despite the protests.
ICHR to explore Europe’s connect to India’s past – (Indian Culture)
- India will soon tap French historical sources to trace its own history. The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) has proposed to offer Indian scholars access to “multiple sources” of history to arrive at India’s past, to present it more accurately than before.
RBI actions to bring annual FPI funds of Rs.48,000 crore – (Economics)
- 50 basis points repo rate cut and slew of policy measures announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the recent monetary policy review could attract an average annual flow of Rs.48,000 crore in government bonds from overseas investors for the next few years, says a report.
- In a surprise move, RBI last week reduced repo rate by 50 basis points to 6.75 per cent from 7.25 per cent.
- According to domestic rating agency India Ratings, RBI’s front loaded monetary action and accompanying policy changes have a significant positives for fixed income and the rupee.
Payments banks to help in move to ‘cashless economy’ – (Economics)
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said in a post on his official Facebook page, that “most assessments [of money abroad in Liechtenstein and in the HSBC bank at Geneva] have been completed and wherever illegalities are being found, criminal prosecutions have been launched against beneficiaries of these bank accounts.”
- A total peak balance of about Rs. 6,500 crore in these accounts has been assessed, he said, referring to the government’s actions in evaluating the quantum of black money stored abroad.
Efforts on to make tea industry climate-smart – (Environment)
- At a time when climate-change is impacting tea-cultivation in a major way, efforts are on to make tea estates climate-smart so that the industry develops resilience to uncertain and negative climate change impact.
- A project has been launched by the Tea Research Association along with Southampton University on climate — smartening tea plantation landscapes, which would run for two years. It is funded by the U.K.-India Research Initiative.