KARZAI LAMBASTS AFGHAN PREZ FOR BOWING TO US MILITARY ADVENTURES
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai snapped fingers at his successor Ashraf Ghani for committing treason by permitting the US military to drop the largest-ever conventional bomb in combat operation against Islamic State militants in the violence-ridden state. According to Afghan defense sources, the Americans dropped the 9,797-kg GBU-43 on 9 November in the eastern province of Nangarhar and killed about an estimated 100 suspected militants.
INAPPROPRIATE PRIORITIES CANNOT IMPROVE HEALTH OF OUR PEOPLE
There was much hope that the National Health Policy 2017 (NHP) would give a new impetus to the healthcare delivery system in our country. The Health Policy is a document for assessment of the contemporary health situation, the issues involved and the way forward to ameliorate the prevailing problems so that citizens get the required health care. The NHP 2017 has to be analyzed in that context.
ECONOMIC GROWTH TO REMAIN STUNTED OVER TWO YEARS
Economic data for the first seven months of fiscal 2018 (April-October) present an overall dreary picture - low growth, price surge, weak exports, job losses and rise in fiscal and external deficits. This sombre outlook is set to continue into the next fiscal year (2019) as well, with all the glitches in GST and other structural reforms announced by Modi Government with a bombast.
LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THOMAS CHANDY EPISODE
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has heaved a collective sigh of relief with the resignation of controversial minister Thomas Chandy at long last amid high drama and after much humming and hawing, and fretting and fuming.
ONE YEAR OF DEMONETISATION: JURY IS OUT
A year after demonetisation, economic pundits have spoken for and against the measure. Economists toeing the line of the ruling BJP have spoken in favour of it saying the measure was needed to cleanse the economy of black money and the ensuing digitisation will help in the long run to root out corruption, a major factor in generation of black money. But economists, particularly those airing the Opposition view, say that it has only pushed down the economy and virtually crippled the informal sector that account for majority of economic activity largely dependent on cash economy.
CONGRESS WIN IN GUJARAT IS A TOUGH TASK BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
With just three weeks left for the first phase of the crucial state assembly elections in Gujarat, the political situation at ground level in this traditional stronghold of the BJP is steadily shifting in favor of the Congress Party which has been out of power for the last twenty two years. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi who is single handedly spearheading the election campaign for the last two weeks, is getting big response from all sections of Gujaratis in his meetings and road shows sending alarm signals to the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken it up as a personal challenge and in the remaining period before the elections, he will be the main campaigner of the BJP in the state covering all the districts in his extensive election tour programme. It is also a do or die battle for him as the outcome of the Gujarat elections will set the pace for the tenor of the political developments leading to the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
ICY ROAD AHEAD FOR 11TH WTO MINISTERIAL AT BUENOS AIRES
In less than a month from now, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) numbering 164 would gather for the biannual ministerial to take stock of how far and fair the liberal trade regime of the post-war era has been shaping up. The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, scheduled to be held at Buenos Aires (Argentina) in the second week of December, has already evoked winter woes among trade envoys as the WTO was not able to gather its scattered wits since the collapse of its ministerial in Cancun (Mexico) way back in 2003. This is particularly so as the much-vaunted Doha Development Round launched in the Qatari capital in 2001 remained broken and bruised with no substantive agreements of the genre achieved in the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations under the umbrella of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in the late 1980s to early 1990s that resulted in the genesis of the WTO in 1995.
INDIA NOW AN ESTABLISHED ALLY OF AMERICA
There is no more ambiguity: India has finally agreed to act as an ally of the US by joining the new regional coalition ‘Quad’, an abbreviation for ‘’quadruple’ or four. The other members of the Quad are Japan, America and Australia. India’s stand towards Quad could be deciphered from the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he made just before leaving for Manila: “India’s commitment towards deepening engagement with ASEAN and India-Pacific region.”
BJP TRYING OUT ITS OPTIONS IN TAMIL NADU
Tamil Nadu continues to flounder in the political confusion caused by Jayalalithaa’s death. As may have been expected in a one-person outfit which the AIADMK was in her time, the party is yet to find its feet. The situation has been made worse by the influence which Jayalalithaa’s companion, Sasikala, who is now in jail, continues to wield over the shaky organization via her nephew.
CORBYN IS RISING FAST AS MAY STUMBLES
As the clock ticks down on Britain’s exit from the European Union, one could not go far wrong casting British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as the hopeful Miranda in Shakespeare’s Tempest: “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t.” And Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May as Lady Macbeth: “Out damned spot, out, I say!”