April was a remarkable month with a golden lining. At BCAS, we celebrated the golden anniversary of our monthly journal - BCAJ. And India celebrated a sporting victory as it struck gold 26 times at the 21st Commonwealth Games in Australia. After a dismal performance at Rio, India showed its true mettle by winning 66 medals and surged to the third place behind Australia and UK. The 200 strong Indian contingent fought hard and performed brilliantly, ensuring a steady stream of good news in the media. In addition to many veterans, there were many first timers that did India proud. BCAS extends its congratulations to all the sports people, coaches and officials who kept the Indian flag flying high!
It has been a dream for millions of Indians in lakhs of villages. A dream that was shared by Prime Minister Modi too! On 28th April, that dream became a reality with Manipur’s Leisang village getting connected to India’s mainline power supply network. Now all of India’s approx. 6 lakhs inhabited villages scattered across the length and breadth of the nation have access to power. Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister proudly revealed, with a sense of satisfaction and achievement that, “we fulfilled a commitment due to which the lives of several Indians will be transformed forever.” Overcoming numerous obstacles and defying tremendous odds, the Government left no stone unturned in ensuring all villages get electricity in 1000 days, starting 15th August 2015. The next step is providing connections to all households and ensuring adequate supply to the villages.
Last year the world was on the edge, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un defiantly tested nuclear devices and missiles. The geopolitical tensions had stock indices plummeting, erasing trillions in equity markets. The recently concluded Inter-Korean Summit seems to have dissolved a lot of those tensions. North Korea’s Kim has declared to President Moon of South Korea that he will abandon nuclear weapons, if the US would formally end the Korean war and agree not to invade his country. Last week, Kim and Moon signed a joint declaration recognising “a nuclear free Korean peninsula and complete denuclearisation” as a common goal of both Koreas.
However, Kim has a long way to go in winning the world’s confidence. Critics have discounted the genuineness of Kim’s actions and are sceptical of Kim’s sugary overtures – underlining that he never publicly renounced his nuclear weapons. It is hoped that Kim will be sincere in his actions and help his impoverished country to progress as the region enjoys greater stability.
There are many reasons why India’s justice delivery is becoming rigid and unresponsive — there are over 3.2 crore cases pending across courts, of which over a quarter are pending for over five years at the district courts and the high courts. Judicial-strength gaps are one. The Government clogging the courts with mindless litigation are another. The fact that 46% of all pending cases have been filed by the Centre and State governments makes the “State” the most prolific litigant in the country.
Noting how frivolous and prolific litigation by the Government has clogged justice delivery, the SC advised the Union Government to be mindful of the burden on ordinary litigants who have to fork out “a small fortune” to get justice, thanks to long drawn trials. To be sure, fixing the government’s ‘fondness’ for litigation needs a raft of policy changes.
The National Litigation Policy 2010—which talked of making the Government an “efficient and responsible” litigant—is hanging fire. The 2015 review was supposed to remove the anomalies of the 2010 proposal, by including provisions such as fines for officers engaged in drawing the Government into needless litigation. But with the policy itself pending, there seems to be no template with which the flow of government litigation can be fixed.
On the economic front too, India has been inching upwards! The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest “World Economic Outlook” has projected that India will grow at 7.4% in 2018 and ascend to 7.8% in 2019. IMF acknowledges that India’s growth is the direct result of the continued implementation of structural reforms that will raise productivity and incentivise private investment.
India’s biggest challenge in the months ahead is to broaden inclusiveness. Efforts have also to be directed towards achieving fiscal consolidation and budget deficit targets. Key to sustained growth will also revolve around the Government’s ability to ease labour market rigidities and reduce infrastructural bottlenecks. Clearly the best is yet to come!
Data is the ‘new gold’. This surprising revelation has surfaced in the aftermath of the data privacy scandal that has sent shock waves across the world, even India. The crux of the matter revolves around the unethical compilation and analysis of personal data from Facebook, without the permission of the users. Applying complex algorithms, data scientists were able to unlock the psychographics of the targeted people, who were then bombarded with appropriate content to alter their preferences. This process of personality profiling is extremely subtle and has been used to manipulate minds during elections.
Clearly the need of the hour is stringent regulation that will ensure that data privacy is uncompromisingly safeguarded and not viciously employed to manipulate commercial or political success.
In keeping with his aim of building and reinforcing relationships with countries across the world, Prime Minister Modi made his second trip to the UK this year. PM Modi had bilateral meeting with British PM, Theresa May where India and the UK signed multiple agreements and MoUs. Both countries decided to deepen ties, especially in the areas of technology, trade and investment. The PM also attended the Commonwealth Summit – making him the first Indian PM to attend in a decade. As UK gets ready to exit the EU, the summit is seen as an opportunity for Britain to boost its trade and increase its diplomatic clout with all Commonwealth countries.
For India, visa liberalisation was on top of the agenda. New Delhi has been pushing for many years an increase in the number of student visas and the simplification of the process. India’s participation at the summit was also useful as it gives it the chance to talk to other Asian countries without China ‘being in the room’. Britain is keen on signing a trade agreement with India, as it has to aggressively explore new markets once it leaves the EU.
By the time this edition of the Journal reaches you the exams for the CA IPC and Finals must have resumed. I take this opportunity to request you to convey my best wishes to all the students connected with you for these exams.
Feel free to write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org
With kind regards
CA. Narayan Pasari