Fourteen thousand feet above the sea level, at the Nathu La Pass on the India-China border, morbid danger signs warn visitors of dated land mines that might have remained from the war of 1962. Reflective of artful diplomacy from both sides, India and China have managed to metaphorically avoid stepping on another such land mine in the Doklam plateau, at the trijunction of India, Bhutan and China. Come September 3, another opportunity for the two Asian giants to take a step in the right direction will come up, when prime minister Narendra Modi meets Chinese president Xi Jinping, along with other leaders from Brazil, Russia and South Africa at the 9th annual BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.
What began as an acronym coined by investment bankers at Goldman Sachs in 2001 to symbolise the engines of economic growth in the twenty first century, BRICS has evolved into something much bigger — a representation of the changing geo-political and geo-economic world order. India and China lie at the helm of this new order and they realise the importance of it.
The fact that the two countries released statements indicating disengagement at Doklam just a few days before the summit shows a realisation on both sides that the opportunities in cooperation for a greater say on the world stage far outweigh individual territorial ambitions that either of them might have. It can be argued that in intensive political disequilibria such as this, economics tend to be a stabilising force – which is the raison d’etre for BRICS.
If world history is anything to go by, there comes a major world event every few decades that shapes the next few. The global financial crisis of 2008 was one. The informal bloc of BRIC(S) nations was established as a response to the cracks that had begun to form in the global financial system lead by the Bretton Woods institutions and dominated by the west.
Much has changed in the years since. The rise and rise of China is not only the singular biggest challenge to US supremacy as well as western financial and political hegemony since the end of the Second World War, it has paved the way for the existence of a multi-polar world order. The BRICS nations have together promoted their exports, coordinated responses in international legal disputes, successfully negotiated for an increase in voting shares at the World Bank and in an increasingly overpopulated topography of multi-lateral institutions, have consolidated their reserves to become creditors of foreign aid rather than just borrowers of the same.
As the first decade of the existence of BRICS comes to a close, the bloc has achieved much economically – of course, there is much left to be desired politically.
Today, another major world phenomenon presents itself to the bloc – the increasing inwardness of the west. As the last decade presented an opportunity to make the world institutions more equitable economically, the next decade presents the opportunity to do so politically. For the success of that, India and China need to find common ground before the economic momentum that is behind them begins to fade.
The cry about the lack of coherence among BRICS nations, especially India and China, has often been over emphasized in western media outlets. The EU and the US were themselves at odds in several political and economic transatlantic agreements during the first five years of the GATT
(which then evolved into the WTO). In fact, some of the issues still remain. But that did not stop them from coming together to establish a world order as primary engines of economic growth.
Similarly it is true, for India and China, that there exist multiple points of divergence between the two countries, but that is also exactly why sitting on the same table is important.
It would be prudent for China to stop treating India as an economic laggard to itself that can be coerced into submission and realise that such actions only push India, against its will, towards the west. India on the other hand must continue to advocate for an increased joint collaboration with China in multi-lateral institutions, even if it’s voting shares in such institutions is second to China.
Russia, Brazil and South Africa will surely count on India and China to speak in one voice in the upcoming summit and showcase the points of convergences among the BRICS nations to the world. In line with the theme of the summit, which is “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, India and China must use BRICS to build a house, not a wall.
RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.
Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.
Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.
The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.
Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.
Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.
Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.
After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.
Union Minister R K Singh to visit Kashmir to review development work in power sector
New Delhi: Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh will visit Kashmir tomorrow to review different development projects in the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the abrogation of Article 370, this will be the first visit of R K Singh to Kashmir.
Singh in an exclusive interview to ANI said that NHPC will provide jobs to 150 local skilled people. Powergrid Corporation is going for campus selection from different technical institution in Valley. Powergrid Corporation also takes up school smart learning programme.
“From this year, people in Kashmir will not face a power crisis in the winter season. The ministry is working towards providing 24×7 power supply to the Valley.
Secretary of power and Jammu and Kashmir administration will call a meeting of all contractors and ensure that works under various central government scheme progresses fast and are completed within the given timeline.
The government of India is spending more than 300 crores to provide uninterrupted power supply during the winter season in Valley,” he told ANI.
He further said that the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification corporation will spend 20 crores on skill development in Kashmir.
The minister also said that 100 MW rooftop solar plant in Ladakh region and Leh district will be lighting with green energy.
Singh has given instructions to officials that a comprehensive power plan should be prepared within a time frame so that entire J-K and Ladakh doesn’t suffer power shortage.
After the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, 10 central government ministeries have made massive and speedy development plans for J-K and Ladakh. The power ministry is one of those 10 central ministries which has made mega development plan for entire region.
Expansion of Election Department: SAC approves creation of 127 posts
SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 16: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved creation of 127 posts of Election Assistants in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
The posts include 50 posts of Election Assistant (Senior Scale) in Level 4 (Rs 25500-81100) and 77 posts of Election Assistant (Junior Scale) in Level 2 (Rs 19900-63200).
Creation of posts will help to implement the various initiatives of the Election Commission of India like ERONET, BLONET, District Contact Centre and other new initiatives, besides, addressing the promotion issues of the departmental candidates.
With the positioning of incumbents against these posts, the Election Department will be better equipped to provide efficient and timely services to the electors of J&K to complete time bound assignments like updation of electoral rolls, enrolment of new voters, weeding out bogus/duplicate voters, providing of EPIC cards etc.