Page no. 1

Xi sets stage for talks with Modi tomorrow: Need peace, not conflict

Just two days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, sources indicated that New Delhi is looking forward and willing to move on post the Doklam border stand-off and als work towards normalising the relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are likely to meet on Tuesday noon, before the PM heads off to Myanmar post the BRICS summit. the meeting would focus on mending and repairing the damage done to the relationship because of the recent standoff in Doklam. The meeting would focus on confidence building measures and also efforts would be made to bury down the standoff incident which cast a shadow on the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Page no. 1

BJP Gen next steps up: Nirmala gets Defence, Piyush Rail, Pradhan Skills

On Sunday, the 3rd of September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi elevated Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan to cabinet rank, giving a major fillip to the third generation leaders of BJP since the party was founded by A B Vajpayee and L K Advani 37 years ago. Sitharam was named the Defence Minister, Goyal was assigned the politically crucial Railways portfolio and Pradhan, who retains Petroleum was also given additional charge of Skill Development. In addition, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is in charge of Minority Affairs, was elevated to Cabinet rank in the government's third ministerial reshuffle since the NDA government came into power in the year 2014. Sitharaman's appointment, which made her the first woman to hold full time charge of Defence and the second after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to handle the portfolio, was the obvious highlight of the reshuffle but there was alsoa deeper political pattern underlining the exercise. The elevation of Sitharaman, Goyal and Pradhan brings them on par with other leaders under 60 years of age in this league, such as Nitin gadkari, J P Nadda and Smriti Irani, and futhers the BJP's plan of political promotion for its next generation of leaders.
Page no. 11

Hard to ban, harder to dispose

The National Green Tribunal on 10th August called for a complete ban on 'plastic carry bags' smaller than 50 microns in Delhi's markets. In Delhi, a 2014 study by the NGO Toxics Link found that the maximum usage of plastic bags was to carry vegetables, fruits, meat and fish and they were used because they were convenient, easily available and cost-effective. But these plastic bags come with a cost to nature. The NGT order noted the 'serious environmental degradation' caused by plastic bags and its harm to public health, animals in the city, and its ability to choke up drains and sewer lines, causing floods during the rainy season. Delhi recently joined 17 states and Union Territories that had imposed a 'complete ban' on manufacture, sale and use of plastic carry bags through directions or notifications and executive orders', according to a written reply by the Environment Minister Harsh vardhan in Lok Sabha, two days before the NGT order. He said the use of plastic carry bags hadd been partially banned in some pilgrimage centres and tourist and historical places in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Page no. 14

Strong statement on n-test and terror expected at BRICS

India is looking forward to come strong language on concerns emanating from 'terrorism' as well as the latest nuclear test by North Korea in the Xiamen declaration of the BRICS summit, which is likely to come out on Monday. The joint communique is expected to be quite 'expansive' on issues of concern to India and other BRICS countries. Souurces said negotiations for both the topics are underway, and the latest developments in North Korea is likely to find mention in the Xiamen declaration. The Ministry of External Affairrs in India said in a statement, thatt India deplores the nuclear test conducted by North Korea.
Page no. 14

North Korea conducts hydrogen bomb test

On Sunday, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb for a long range issile, marking a dramatic escalation of the regime's stand-off with the United States and its allies. Washiongton, in turn responded aggresively, with US President Donald Trump refusing to rule out any military action and also threatened to cut off trade with any country doing business with Pyongyang. North Korea, which carries out its nuclear and missile programs in defiance of Un Security Council resolutions and sanctions, said on state television that the hydrogen bomb test ordered by leader Kim Jong Un had been a 'perfect success'.
Page no. 15

As RBI Guv, I was never asked to decide on demonetisation

Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan had sautioned the government that the long term benefits of demonetisation would be outweighed by the short term economic costs and that there were potentially better alternatives to achieve the main goals. In the introduction of his new book- 'I do what I do'- Rajan writes, "At no point in my term was the RBI asked to make a decision on demonetisation" adding that the central bank had prepared a note outlining the potential costs and benefits. Rajan said he offered his views to the government orally in February 2016


Page no. 12

Madam Raksha Mantri

The third reshuffle of ministry by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a remarkable one and features a younger generation of leaders taking the spotlight as efficient roles. The elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman, who becomes the Union Defence Minister is a resonant moment as being a newcomer to the party, Sitharaman is entrusted with a heavyweight portfolio. This elect sends out a strong message across the country of powerful symbolism as the country earned its second woman defence minister. The elevation of Sitharaman as defence minister also suggests that the country would get a full-time minister now. Earlier, when Manohar Parrikar left the ministry to return to Goa, the defence ministry lacked its lustre and didn't get its spotlight mostly in the times of formidable internal and external security challenges. With China and Pakistan both having a border and security issues with India, the new defence minister need to it the ground and be proactive on threats posed by terror groups. The elevation of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is also significant and the actions of the minister would be under careful watched, considering the abiding criticism of the Modi government being encouraging of a majoritarian culture and inattention to the minority insecurities and concerns. The reshuffle also witnessed the ministry opening up to outsiders of the mainstream politics- with four of nine additions being senior civil servants joining the BJP.
Page no. 12

It’s lonely on the ground

The RTI Act needs to be secured and preciously guarded against attempts to dilute it completely. RTI activists are the more vulnerable people in the society. In April of this year, the Indian government proposed amendments to the RTI Act- the most controversial of them bring pertained to Rule 12 which allows withdrawal of an application in case of the applicant's death. This makes the job of the people who file RTI's even riskier as they are in fear for their life after this amendment. The RTI activists always were vulnerably exposed to violence with the Whistle Blowers Protection Act (2011) not being implemented. so far sixty-nine activists have been killed as per the report of National Campaign for People's Right to Information. in addition to that, the NCPRI highlights on its website 130 RTI activists cases who have been victims of assault and 170 others who are victims of harassment. Of the total 268 cases whose location is mentioned, 100 are from the rural India- which signifies that RTI is also observed in villages. However, the states where the majority of casualties are found in regard to RTI are not from the BIMARu belt but from rich states. Rich states are more dangerous for RTI activists as they mostly fight against the misappropriation of public goods by predatory and vested interests, which are more strong and prevalent in affluent provinces. The RTI activists fight for their rights as well of others, but they are not protected by either police or judiciary. To top it all, amendments like these make them more vulnerable to murders, assaults, kidnapping and related cases of the activists. Also, this amendment would suppress the other activists who had thought of filing RTI for some inappropriate action from some part of the country. The number of cases against RTI activists is many- with Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka on the podium with 13, 13 and 7 murders respectively, 31, 14 and 11 cases of assault and 36, 14 and 12 cases of harassment respectively. Problems related to land, illegal construction as well as property disputes are the major cause of RTI cases. 17 murders of RTI activists, 32 assaults and 31 cases of harassment are related to these causes. There are certain conflicts which arise due to government schemes, either because the ones who should have benefitted from them haven’t or due to embezzlement in the local level. the other category of causes of RTI filing is illegal mining, including the sand mafia’s activities.

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