Page no. 6
ULFA effort to revive 'outsider' agitation
A recent spate of anti-outsider protests has cropped up in Assam in the last two weeks, bringing back memories of the early phase of the 1979-85 movement of AASU where the burning issue was all about Bangladeshi infiltrators and non-Assamese 'outsiders'. However, in comparison, the present protests include torchlight processions and highway blockades throughout the Brahmaputra valley and two 12 hour bands in Morigaon and Moran called by the ULFA pro-talks factions. The 1979-1985 protests and agitation by ULFA or the Assam Agitation as it was known as rocked the state of Assam and took up issues like detection, deletion and deportation of Bangladeshi immigrants from Assam which concluded with the signing of the Assam Accord in the year 1985. The Agitation was a huge protest which underlined the yearning of the Assamese for self-identity and also gave Assam a new set of political leaders and a new political party named Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). The present day protests across Assam were ignited by the assault of a certain group of former ULFA members on 22nd August in Nagaon. The assault happened inside a business establishment owned by brothers of a Bengali speaking family. The victim group went there for raising funds for flood relief, when they were assaulted and beaten up inside a confined room. Thereafter, pro-talks ULFA leaders and cadres with Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa as well as general secretary Anup Chetia rushed to Nagaon. A number of SULFA members took part in a rally thereafter. As members of the pro-talks faction in association with groups like All Assam Students Union (AASU), the Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad, the All Tai Ahom Students' Union and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiiti organised majority of the protests, some other protestors at specific places invoked the name of anti-talk ULFA leader Paresh Barua. Many of the pro-talks ULFA leaders condemned the attack and also warned of a bloodshed situation in Assam if incidents like that go on occurring in the state. General Secretary Anup Chetia stated that the Bangladeshi as well as non-Assamese people are emboldened to attack the people because of their backing with the ruling party's agenda of creating a single Indian identity by crushing the identities and existence of other indigenous communities. After the protests, Abhishek Roy, the general secretary of BJP for Nagaon district and nine other persons were arrested. The Assam Police force instructed all SPs for registering suo motu cases against any acts and utterances which see dangerous, provocative and anti-national. The protests reminds the state of the Assam agitation and its fight against the Bangladeshi and non-Assamese infiltrators.
Page no. 19
To boost growth, focus on stalled projects, power and exports: Rajan
Former RBI (Reserve Bank of India) Governor Raghuram Rajan stated the government should focus on stuck and stalled infrastructure projects, power sectors and exports for stimulating economic growth. The governor said this on Thursday during the launch of his book 'I Do What I Do' in New Delhi. He also said that the Reserve Bank has communicated to the government that the short term demonetization costs would outweigh the long-term benefits of it and one shouldn't become pessimist thinking that good times are over. Good times are still prevalent, but there is a need for worrying if the job creation rate fails to match the inclusion of new entrants in the labour force. The country has many stalled infrastructure projects across its length and breadth which takes years to implement and further more years to finish up. This distinctively pulls back the economic growth rate of the state which also affects the overall economic growth of the country. In case of power too, though India is supposed to be a country of surplus power generation, there are many large areas of the country which lack 24x7 power. The Governor also highlighted exports sector of India stating that India's exports are much lower in comparison to the rest of Asia and that the country should work to get it right. The Make in India project by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also has plans for making India a surplus export base, which is not the scenario at present. Perhaps the strongest indicator that India is lacking and far back on track is the scenario of the private investment sector. The private investment by huge industrialists is very low which is indicating the low economic growth of the country. For India to grow economically, the government should pick up these points and ponder over and analyse what the figures are. Only that would highlight if India really is growing economically or not.
Page no. 19
No concrete plan for PSBs balance sheet woes: Acharya
Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Viral Acharya stated that there isn't a concrete plan for public sector banks' balance sheets, especially for the capital raising. The deputy governor raised concerns over the 'glacial pace' of the resolution process as well as the pace at which recapitalisation constraints are addressed at present. He stated that with the correctly recognised scale of NPAs in the books of public banks and the lower internal capital augmentation gave their tepid, presently almost moribund, credit growth, the substantial additional capital infusion is required for sure. According to Viral Acharya, there are many options available which need to be implemented together keeping in mind the various constraints. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently authorised a good alternative mechanism for taking a decision on disinvestment of public sector banks through exchange traded funds as well as other methods that are subjected to the government retaining 52% stake. This mechanism can provide a feasible opportunity for strengthening the balance sheets, the management and boards of specific banks and also enable capital raising through amalgamated entity from the market at better valuations.
Page no. 13
Hurricane Climate Change? Not yet
The Caribbean is battered by the Hurricane Irma which is one of the most powerful to occur in history. The hurricane lashed into the north-eastern Caribbean islands with winds at speeds of 185m/h (almost 300km/h) for a time span of more than 24 hours. A hurricane is a tropical cyclone and the most devastation of all. It originates in tropical zones where warm and moist air serves as the fuel to its origin. A tropical cyclone is termed as a hurricane when the winds reach 74 m/h. The intensity of a hurricane is measured by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and is basically of five categories depending on its wind speeds. The Caribbean or the Atlantic basin, in particular, experiences hurricanes during its season starting from 1st June to 30th November. The existence of so many hurricanes in the recent times has raised many questions about climate change on the planet. It is, of course, true that with global warming levels the planet temperature also warms up which results in a huge quantity of rainfall by the storms. Also, as the sea level rises up, the impact of the storm is likely to worsen up as the storm surges are from a higher baseline. In short, higher the temperatures of the planet, higher would be the sea level and higher would be the chances of hurricanes and tropical storms. In India, its counterpart 'cyclone' as it is called, occurs mostly in the month of May-June and October- November. Cyclones in India occur mostly towards the East Coast over the Bay of Bengal.
Page no. 15
An India where knowledge is free
India celebrated the 51st International Literacy Day along with countries across the world on 8th September in Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The theme of the International Literacy Day as announced by UNESCO was 'Literacy in a digital world'. The International Literacy Day was first recognised for as a day for celebration on 8th September 1965 during the World Conference of Ministers of Education in Tehran. Thereafter, on 26th October 1966, UNESCO came together for the 14th general conference where it declared 8th September as International Literacy Day. The need for the International Literacy Day arose for the real emancipation of the people and for their participation in the economic, social as well as political life of the human society to turn hundreds and millions of illiterate people into literate ones by making essential changes in the education policies of the nations. The International Literacy Day in India recollects the teaching of Mahatma Gandhi who termed mass illiteracy as a shame and sin which needs to be eradicated. In terms of literacy, India has achieved much in the past years. Way back in 1947, only 18% of the population could read and write. In the present day, nearly about 74% acquire the basic literacy skills. Also, more than 95% of the children in India are in schools and around 86% young people are functionally literate. However, amidst the success, there are still targets to achieve and goals to accomplish- at present about 35 crore youth of the country are outside the literacy zone and hence can't contribute to the development of the country. Also, 40% of the schoolchildren don't have literacy skills with satisfactory proficiency even after they have completed elementary education. Challenges like these need to be recognized and addressed if India needs to progress. The current literacy achievement in India is possible because of the great contributions to the field of education by the renowned leaders as well as the present day literacy development programmes which are initiated by the government. Like in the BRICS summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which has a 'world with universal literacy' target as its part. The prime motive of the government should be to attain universal literacy by two major steps- firstly by improving the quality of the pre-primary school education and secondly by providing learning opportunities to dropouts or the ones who have never gone to school. The Saakshar Bharat Programme and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are two fundamental policies for bringing about a literary change in the country. However, programmes like these would be more beneficial when they are linked and associated to other successive programmes like the Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Digital India Mission as well as Skill India Mission. Also, technology tools should be used to the optimum for making literacy programmes more effective. A remarkable transformation to the literacy field and a successful achievement to make India fully literate country is possible only through the successful implementation of the methods.