The comprehensive healthcare alternative - (Health)
- Rescuing Maternal and Child Health-only systems, which have become under-resourced and have built a very high-cost but low-performance culture, will be a challenging task.
- The decision to build a MCH-only health system has left consumers with low confidence in government-run health systems
Bridging the trust deficit - (International relation)
- The new dispensation in Sri Lanka is seen as a strong votary of closer India-Sri Lanka ties, but there are many contentious issues on which the two countries have to walk the tightrope.
World Bank ranks Gujarat as most investor-friendly State - (Economics)
- Gujarat has come out on top in the World Bank’s first ever ranking of States on the ease of doing business in India.
- States were assessed on the implementation, over a six-month period from January to June, of a 98-point reforms agenda. Chief Secretaries of States participating in the “Make in India” workshop inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi last December finalised this action plan on “Ease of Doing Business”.
After Rajasthan, Haryana sets norms for panchayat election contestants - (Indian polity)
- After Rajasthan, Haryana has become the second BJP-ruled State to fix minimum educational qualifications for those contesting panchayat polls, thus excluding a vast swathe of the poor and socially disadvantaged from aspiring to becoming members of local bodies.
- A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the passage of a Haryana government sponsored-law by the Assembly. The Khattar government had pushed the legislation through even though a writ petition that had been filed against the ordinance issued earlier had been stayed by the Haryana and Punjab High Court.
Panel formed to restructure water agencies - (Governance)
- The Ministry for Water Resources has constituted a seven-member committee led by former Planning Commission member Mihir Shah to restructure the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) to encourage optimal development of water resources in the country.
- With most Indian rivers found to be polluted as per a Central Pollution Control Board assessment, the move holds the potential to help revive rivers in a big way.
Sri Lankan PM reaches India - (International Relation)
- It is being seen as an attempt by Sri Lanka to reassure India’s concerns of growing Chinese strategic presence in the island nation. The issue of frequent clashes over fishermen and conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) are expected to be on the agenda.
IISc, IIT-D in top 200 rankings – (Governance)
- India has made its debut in the Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) list of top 200 universities globally. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D) have been placed 147 and 179 respectively in the QS World University Rankings for 2015-16, which has the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard at the top two positions.
- While IIT-D has improved its position from the previous years’ rank of 235, IISC Bangalore is a new entry in the ranking list. None of the Indian universities has made it to the QS’ top 200 in the previous editions.
India yet to achieve U.N. Millennium Development Goals - (Social Issues)
- India is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the deadline for which expires this year.
- The Statistical Year Book, brought out by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) that is overseeing progress on the MDGs, shows that only six of the 18 targets adopted as part of the eight goals in 2000 have been fully met. Another report brought out by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shows that India has met only four of the eight MDGs.
Federalism: Nepal’s final frontier - (International Relation)
- The lesson from this agitation is that unless the Constitution is equitable and encapsulates the values of the people’s movements, the quest for democracy may run aground.
- Nepal’s transition to a pluralist democracy faces a final challenge — failure of the three major parties to accommodate the legitimate demands of Janajati and Madhesi groups for true federalism.
U.N. motion raises India’s hope for permanent Security Council seat - (International Relation)
- In the first concrete step towards negotiations for India’s hopes of an expanded U.N. Security Council (UNSC), the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on Monday to use a text as the basis for discussions on the issue over the next year.
- While the U.N.’s Inter-governmental negotiations (IGN) have been under way since 2008, this is the first time that a “negotiating text” is being accepted to begin talks, as opposed to just statements and speeches.
Indo-U.S. trade can grow to $500 b soon: Jaitley - (Economics)
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the Indian government was making every effort to put in place a predictable and fair tax regime, and invited U.S. businesses to help raise bilateral trade between India and the U.S. to $500 billion.
- “There is need for us to have several internal changes, including quick decision-making, stable policies, predictable tax regime and improve ease of doing business,” Mr. Jaitley said in his address at the 11th Indo-U.S. Economic Summit.
Centre imposes 20 per cent safeguard duty on select steel products - (Economics)
- The Centre on Monday imposed provisional safeguard duty of 20 per cent on import of certain categories of steel with a view to protect domestic producers from recent surge in inward shipment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
- “This order (imposing duty) comes into effect immediately and a notification in this regard has been issued. This duty will be applicable for a period of 200 days, during which period the inquiry would be completed by Directorate General of Safeguards (DG Safeguards),” he said.
Stocks surge, rupee gains - (Economics)
- The benchmark stock indices surged around one per cent on Monday on hopes of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank with inflation touching a historic low.
- Meanwhile, the rupee strengthened to 66.33 a dollar compared to its previous close of 66.54.