Attacks by cow vigilantes must stop, SC tells States
Attacks on innocents by cow vigilantes must stop, the Supreme Court said.
- It ordered the States and the Union Territories to appoint nodal police officers in every district to crack down on such groups.
- BJP-ruled Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat accepted the apex court’s suggestion to appoint dedicated officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police to prevent ‘gau rakshaks,’ as they call themselves, from taking the law into their own hands or becoming a law unto themselves.
- A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A.M. Khanwilkar was hearing an intervention by Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Tushar Gandhi, about the lack of responsibility and accountability shown by the Centre and State administrations as vigilante groups wreaked havoc and resorted to murder in broad daylight in the name of the cow.
- The court directed the Centre to respond to a submission by senior advocate Indira Jaising, for Mr. Gandhi, that the government cannot wash its hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256.
- The Centre should reply to this argument in the spirit of “co-operative federalism.”
Modi gives call to respect Myanmar’s integrity
- Mr. Modi’s first bilateral visit comes at a time when the Myanmarese government, led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, is facing international pressure over the 1,25,000 Rohingya Muslims who have poured into Bangladesh in just two weeks after Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in Rakhine.
- Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said Rohingyas are illegal immigrants and will be deported from India.
- Mr. Rijiju had asserted that nobody should preach to India on the issue as the country has absorbed the maximum number of refugees in the world.
- 11 agreements were signed between the two sides in areas like maritime security, strengthening democratic institutions in Myanmar, health and information technology.
- Mr. Modi, in his statement, stressed on scaling up security cooperation, saying that being neighbours, the two countries have similar security concerns.
India, Japan to diversify defence ties
India and Japan on Wednesday agreed on a range of initiatives to diversify and deepen their defence cooperation.
These include anti-submarine warfare, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and technological cooperation.
- “The Ministers exchanged views and ideas with the aim of further strengthening defence and security cooperation under the framework of the Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership,”
- On naval cooperation, the two Ministers noted the successful conclusion of the Malabar trilateral exercises including the U.S. in July.
‘District-wise plan to help boost manufacturing’
The new commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday outlined his priorities including firming up a district-wise industrial investment plan to help boost the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP, as well as improving India’s economic diplomacy to spur exports and investments.
- His priorities also include addressing challenges being faced by exporters owing to the Goods and Services Tax, integrating India’s exports into the global supply chain, improving logistics to reduce transaction costs of exporters and bringing out an agricultural export policy.
- Recently held a meeting with ‘Invest India’ (the government’s investment promotion and facilitation arm), and sought a district-wise plan for boosting investments in manufacturing and other sectors.
- There would also be a re-evaluation of the ‘Make In India’ initiative to find out more ways to revitalise manufacturing.
- Laying emphasis will not only on the ‘Make in India’ initiative but also on ‘Design In India’ for attracting investments.
Testing times in the Korean peninsula
The sixth nuclear test by North Korea on Sunday has provoked a predictable chorus of condemnation and hand wringing in capitals around the world. The test was anticipated, given the shrill rhetoric accompanying North Korea’s missile tests.
- Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, this test indicates an explosive yield of approximately 120 kilotons, six times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.
- The North Koreans described it as a successful hydrogen bomb test and also released a photograph of ‘Supreme Leader’ Kim Jong-un posing with a hydrogen bomb.
- In August, reports had appeared in the U.S. based on intelligence estimates that North Korea had succeeded in producing a miniature warhead that could be mated with its missiles.
- This is 6th test by north korea in this category.
- Four of the six nuclear tests have been conducted after he took over in 2011; the earlier two were conducted in 2006 and 2009.
- Missile development began earlier but while Kim Jong-il conducted 16 missile tests during his rule from 1994 to 2011, his son and successor Kim Jong-un has undertaken more than 80 missile tests.
- Longer range and solid fuel missiles have been tested and North Korea’s fissile material stockpile is enough for 25 devices.
- On July 4, North Korea tested Hwasong-14, described as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
- Tested in a lofted trajectory, it reached a height of 2,800 km and travelled a distance of 933 km, implying a range of 6,500 km in a normal trajectory, bringing mainland America within range.
- It was described as a ‘game changer’, something that U.S. President Donald Trump had vowed he would prevent by doing ‘whatever was necessary’.
A case for universal medical care
- The purpose of medical education is to train medical personnel to handle the medical care needs of the country.
- It is obvious that any democratic government will try to elucidate what these needs are and tailor the education system to fulfil what is required.
- Right from the Bhore Committee (1946) to the Mudaliar Committee (1962) and the Shrivastav Committee (1975) to the Bajaj Committee (1986) and including the High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage (2011), the question of what type of medical personnel the country should train has been examined.
- All these committees are unanimous in their opinion that the country needs a large number of basic doctors. It is not sufficient to state what type of doctors should be trained.
- It is necessary also to define where they will be employed and who will pay the bills.
In short, medical education is the beginning of a process to produce a cadre of personnel who need to be deployed rationally to achieve the health goals of the country.
- The piecemeal approach to the problem of providing medical care in India, treating medical education as though it can be separated from medical employment, is responsible for the continuing crisis in medical services and admissions to medical colleges.
- Numerous commentators have remarked upon the skewed distribution of medical personnel with over 75% of doctors in urban areas where only a third of the people live.
- A large number of post-graduate doctors and super specialists are underemployed. The problem starts right at the stage of medical admission.
Taking WiFi public
- Recent moves by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to pilot public open WiFi hotspots through a nationwide model of pay as you go public data offices (PDOs) is a concerted bid to make cheap, fast, and reliable Internet affordable and accessible.
- According to the ‘Public WiFi Open Pilot’ document released by TRAI, the PDOs are encouraged to be the kind of spaces where “consumption of data for the average Indian becomes as common as consuming a cup of hot chai.”
- In its plans to swiftly facilitate and scale WiFi infrastructure, TRAI is drawing inspiration from the public call office (PCO) telephone booths that spawned a communication revolution in India.
- TRAI harbors similar aspirations for PDOs as infrastructural hubs of Internet-related services.
- It hopes to achieve it by championing an open architecture based WiFi Access Network Interface (WANI) that would allow any entity to easily set up a WiFi access point and sell Internet data in small denominations to interested customers.
- Adopting a sachet size strategy, WiFi Dabba, a start-up in Bengaluru, has already roped in several bakeries and chaiwallahs in the city to retail its pre-paid tokens ranging from Rs. 2/100 MB to Rs. 20/1GB.
- This makes it worthwhile to interrogate the kind of spaces where PDOs are currently being deployed and their claims to being ‘public’.
Keep politics out of education
- The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) has come under huge criticism after the death of 17-year-old student S. Anitha from Tamil Nadu, who failed to clear the examination.
- People against NEET argue that the exam imposes unreasonable demands on students from rural areas who follow a lighter syllabus.
- Its supporters, on the other hand, say that NEET is a welcome push to improve the quality of school education in the State.
Interestingly, both sides agree that the government has a crucial role to play in education. It’s just that one group wants the Centre to be in charge, while others prefer the State government. This consensus among both sides is alarming because the root cause of the present crisis, which has distressed thousands of students in the State, lies in the politicisation of education.
- The only real solution in the long run is to keep politicians out of the business of education.
- Colleges need to be freed from the control of the government, which will naturally also free them from its populist diktats.
- They should be allowed to choose the tests, or other criteria, based on which they will admit students. Such a vibrant market for education, marked by free competition, will improve both the quality and the accessibility of education to the poor.
- Many,fear that in the absence of a central regulator, colleges will admit students without sufficient screening, which in turn calls for an all-India exam such as NEET.
- This is untrue.Colleges which have their reputation on the line will care more than the government about the quality of students they admit, which will reflect in their screening methods.