India yet to have free debate on communalism: Nirmala Sitharaman – (Indian Polity)
- Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that the Dadri incident demonstrated that the “country does not have a free and fair debate on communalism.”
- Ms. Sitharaman also said the protest by writers in returning awards conferred on them by the Sahitya Akademi, raises “more questions than it answers.”
Netaji files to be declassified from January 23 – (Indian Polity)
- The Narendra Modi government will begin declassification of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose files in the possession of the Centre from January 23, 2016, the birth anniversary of the freedom fighter.
- The Prime Minister made the announcement after meeting members of the Bose family at his residence here on Wednesday.
44 labour laws to be amalgamated into 4 codes – (Indian Polity)
- As part of legislative reforms of labour laws, the Centre has started the process of codification and amalgamation of 44 Central labour laws into four codes in order to simplify them.
- The four codes will pertain to labour, industrial relations, social security and welfare and safety and working conditions, Union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Datttatreya said.
EU refugee flow finds echo in India – (International Relation)
- During her visit to India last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel explicitly expressed her wish to bring skilled workers from India to Germany, but questions remain whether a mounting refugee crisis at home could delay the effort.
- Ms. Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to re-launch an initiative to offer German as an additional foreign language at 1,000 Indian state schools. The German government had already invested €2 million in the programme when it was temporarily shelved in 2014.
Ties with Israel on upswing: Pranab – (International Relation)
- President Pranab Mukherjee told Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union, the Israeli Leader of Opposition, on Wednesday that religion can’t be the basis of state.
- Venu Rajamony, the President’s press secretary said Mr. Mukherjee’s comment came when Mr. Herzog asked the President how India, a vast country with so many diversities, manages to hold itself together.
Centre blocks two websites on IS – (Security)
- The Union government has blocked at least 60 websites this year for allegedly promoting the militant outfit Islamic State and posting terror-related content, a senior government official said. On Wednesday, the government blocked two websites related to IS and two Facebook pages for promoting jihadi activities in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) received requests to block the websites from Intelligence agencies monitoring objectionable content on the Internet.
Decision on common civil code only after consultation: Naqvi – (Indian Polity)
- Union Minister of State for Minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday said “consultation and consensus” were required for the government to take a call on the issue of common civil code.
- He added that the government hadn’t yet come to a view on the matter after the Supreme Court asked it to file a response on the issue.
Probe to cast net for big sharks – (Indian Polity)
- Investigations into the alleged fraudulent overseas remittances totalling Rs. 5,100 crore through the Bank of Baroda are now focussed on finding out if big names are involved. Six persons, including two officials of the Bank of Baroda and one of HDFC Bank, were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday.
- The Serious Fraud Investigation Office is also holding an investigation, and a departmental inquiry has been initiated, top sources told The Hindu . “Investigations so far point to collusion with bank employees,” a source said.
The perils of e-fixation – (Governance)
- Governments have treated the computer as a device that can make the teacher dispensable. Millions have been spent on equipping schools with computers and millions more have been saved by reducing expenditure on teacher recruitment.
- A recent OECD study shows that better technology in classrooms does not always translate into better learning outcomes. It is time Indian policymakers gave up their over-reliance on technology when it comes to school education and focus on teacher training instead.
The importance of Article 370 – (Governance)
- Article 370 of the Constitution is the current bedrock of the constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India. With its abrogation being an avowed policy of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the J&K High Court’s recent observation that the provision has acquired a state of permanence may cause some disquiet in the party and the government.
- However, the High Court’s comment should be seen in the limited context in which it was made.
Fresh challenges in the northeast – (Security)
- It is time the government paid the right kind of attention to the northeastern region, that stunning and strategic locale that ‘mainland India’ often does not understand, and routinely tends to ignore.
- It has been more than two months since the Narendra Modi government euphorically announced a peace accord with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), the largest among the armed outfits involved in the long-drawn Naga insurgency. What has transpired since the announcement on August 3 leaves very little room for optimism.
Let’s talk about nukes openly – (Security)
- As Britain, the U.S. and Russia debate the revamping of their nuclear deterrence systems,India needs open and democratic discussion on its arsenal and capability.
- Given the nuclear company we keep in our neighbourhood, it is imperative that we are familiar with the limits of deterrence Until 1998, it was enough that deterrence rested on the vague threat of possible nuclear retaliation. After Pokharan II, we are left with assured ‘massive’ retaliatory destruction.
WPI contraction eases to -4.5 % – (Economics)
- Contraction in the Wholesale Price Index eased marginally in September, coming in at -4.5 per cent compared to -4.9 per cent in August.
- These numbers follow an uptick in retail inflation in September and a better-than-expected performance of the Index of Industrial Production in August.
India now most attractive investment destination: EY – (Economics)
- India emerged the most attractive investment destination in the world for the next three years in a global survey of top decision-makers in multinational corporations. The second most favoured investment destination is China, followed by Southeast Asia and Brazil. Of the polled business leaders from global corporations, 32 per cent said India was the most attractive investment destination in the world.
- Perception about India’s macroeconomic stability is up to 76 per cent in 2015 in comparison to 70 per cent in the 2014 survey, said global consultancy firm EY that published the survey on Wednesday. Similarly the perception about political and social stability is up from 59 per cent in 2014 to 74 per cent in 2015.