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New J&K surrender policy to target local militants

With a fresh surrender policy being framed by the government, the Army and the Jammu & Kashmir Police, in a joint appeal on Sunday, asked all local militants to give up arms and assured them 'full cooperation' to return and join the mainstream.

China offers to mediate dialogue between Bangladesh, Myanmar

China has expressed its willingness to facilitate a dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar to solve the Rohingya refugee crisis.


Pacific Ocean's 11

The Trans-Pacific partnership without the involvement of the United States is favorable for India and provides a good opportunity for the South Asian country. the recent outset of Donald Trump from the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) led to doubts over the availability of the trade agreement. referring to this concern, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe termed the TPP as meaningless without the involvement of the United States. it is because the US contributed to around 60% of the total Gross Domestic Product of the 12 members. Recently, 11 nations of the TPP agreed in Danang to a newer pact- the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which requires domestic ratification. This step highlights two main things- firstly, the 11 countries understand the benefits of multilateral free trade and secondly, the exclusion of US highlights a failure on the part of Trump administration. The United States exclusion from the multilateral agreements have led to China rising as a world leader for globalisation. As China is working its way to gain benefits by pushing in for an agreement on the ASEAN-plus-six Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), then India too, on its part must take the opportunity to gain concessions on various services trade liberation as a gaining part of the plan.

More than just a counting game

The World Toilet Day on 19th November saw a good awareness about the significance of using toilets. More so because of the Swachh Bharat Mission which was launched in the year 2014, the awareness took more tempos. However, in the actuality, the sanitation story starts with the toilets. This is clearly highlighted with the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals which focus not only the use of toilets but also suggests improvements in the sanitation cycle, which starts with toilets and needs to end with safe waste disposal. The sanitation cycle is intricately linked to health and has four prime stages- the access to toilets, proper and safe containment, proper conveyance through sewerage networks or de­sludging trucks, and efficient treatment and disposal. In each stage, the waste needs to be handled properly and safely to gain public health benefits. Urban India faces huge gaps along sanitation cycle. One of the reasons is the belief that sewerage, as well as sewage treatment systems, can be built in all the cities. India presently has so far only managed to connect around a third of its urban households to proper sewerage systems. This is because the sewerage systems, as well as sewage treatment plants, are not only expensive but the systems are also complicated. India should focus on more sanitation and sewerage systems on its part. An alternative to the sewerage systems is the on­site systems. This system includes the septic tanks and pit latrines. With proper design of these systems, they can turn out to be perfectly safe options. Proper containment, the collection as well as treatment of the sewage- known as septage management or fecal sludge management (FSM), is also a good option recognized by the Indian Government. After the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP) of the year 2008, a national policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) was released earlier in 2017. Though raising awareness about the proper design and the construction practices of on­site systems will always remain a daunting task, the urban local bodies and State governments can begin by ensuring that the bigger containment systems like community toilets and public toilets are constructed well and managed. By this, the biggest victory relating to the Swacch Bharat Mission would come true when the citizens will realize that the focus is required more than just toilets.

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