Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's works 'Sanskriti ke Chaar Adhyaye' & 'Parshuram ki Pratiksha'
PM to inaugurate golden jubilee celebrations of Poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's works 'Sanskriti ke Chaar Adhyaye' & 'Parshuram ki Pratiksha'
नई दिल्ली : जिस किताब की प्रस्तावना पहले प्रधानमंत्री जवाहरलाल नेहरू ने लिखी हो और जिसके साठ साल होने के जलसे में आज के प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी शिरकत कर रहे हों, वो किताब सिर्फ किताब नहीं, बल्कि एक घटना भी है। दोनों प्रधानमंत्रियों के बीच राष्ट्रकवि रामधारी सिंह दिनकर की रचना 'संस्कृति के चार अध्याय' की यात्रा निरंतर जारी है। यह किताब आज की भी किताब है। 'संस्कृति के चार अध्याय' के दूसरे संस्करण में दिनकर ने काफी बदलाव किए हैं। दूसरे संस्करण की भूमिका में दिनकर ने लिखा है, "पहले संस्करण के बाद जो विवाद हुआ उससे पता चलता है कि इस किताब से सबको तकलीफ़ पहुंची होगी। इस किताब के बारे में मंचों से जो भाषण दिए हए, उनसे यह पता चलता है कि मेरी स्थापनाओं से सनातनी भी दुखी हैं और आर्यसमाजी तथा ब्रह्मसमाजी भी। उग्र हिन्दुत्व के समर्थक तो इस ग्रन्थ से काफी नाराज़ हैं। मेरा विश्वास है कि मेरी कुछ मान्यताएं ग़लत साबित हो सकती हैं, लेकिन इस ग्रन्थ को उपयोगी माननेवाले लोग दिनोंदिन अधिक होते जाएंगे। यह ग्रन्थ भारतीय एकता का सैनिक है। सारे विरोधों के बीच वह अपना काम करता जाएगा।"
Thursday, 25 January 2018
Trade remains sore point between India, ASEAN
Indonesia, Cambodia yet to ratify pact on services and investment signed in 2014
New Delhi, January 24
While all 10 leaders from the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN) have gathered in India to celebrate India’s 68th Republic Day, two-way trade continues to remain a pain-point in the ties even as both sides look at strengthening strategic ties.
India and ASEAN signed the trade pact on services and investment in September 2014. However, out of the 10 member countries, two are yet to ratify the treaty – Indonesia and Cambodia. In the case of Indonesia, it believes that if it signs the agreement, then Indian professionals will flood their markets, in other words, take their jobs away, sources told BusinessLine.
India had been urging ASEAN countries – Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam – to ratify and implement the services pact at the earliest as it continues to get impacted by the free trade agreement (FTA) in goods, sources said.
India and ASEAN had signed the goods FTA in 2009 and it was implemented in 2010. However, under the pact while imports from ASEAN countries have seen a rise, exports from India to that region have not seen a significant jump.
During his bilateral meeting on Thursday with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise this issue.
On the other hand, Cambodia is not ratifying it because of its internal legislative issues, said another official, involved in the talks.
“Indonesia has always been wary of India flooding their jobs market. And this is unlikely to change if one goes by their posturing in RCEP, which is in limbo. The traditional market access issues with ASEAN remains. They will continue to put India in tenterhooks unless India agrees to be flexible in RCEP,” said Biswajit Dhar, Economics Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
All the 10 ASEAN countries are also part of the China-led proposed mega trade pact – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – which also includes India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
However, India is now looking at ASEAN more from the strategic perspective in terms of maritime security rather than enhancing trade. This is crucial to counter China as ASEAN seeks greater participation from India even as they face Beijing’s expansionist policy in South China Sea.
“The ratification will happen soon. However, the government is now more focussed on maritime cooperation and security, especially in the backdrop of India becoming a rising power in maritime links and rise of the Indo-Pacific region,” said Prabir De, Professor, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), and Coordinator, ASEAN-India Centre (AIC), India.
This is for the first time that all 10 leaders of the ASEAN region have participated in the Republic Day celebrations as chief guests.
'FTA in goods between India and Asean will boost trade
Press Trust of India, New Delhi, Jan 23 2018
Full implementation of the free trade agreement (FTA) in goods between India and the Asean bloc will help boost trade between the two regions, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary said.
The minister said however, connectivity and infrastructure are major challenges to further push the trade ties between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).
India and the 10-nation bloc signed the FTA in goods in 2009. Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.
The 10 Asean members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.
The agreement has resulted in increase in trade, and "once the full implementation of tariff (or basic customs duties) reduction scheduling is done", it is expected to create more trade opportunities for both the sides, he said at the Asean-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo being held here.
Chaudhary said both the regions are working to improve connectivity and infrastructure to promote trade and investments.
"India is working with Asean on multiple connectivity projects," he said, adding that the country has made considerable progress in the construction of trilateral highway -- India-Myanmar-Thailand.
He also said that the Asean India maritime transport cooperation agreement will help in enhancing cooperation and communication between the two regions besides removing barriers for increasing maritime trade.
There is also a proposal to establish rail link between India and Vietnam.
India's exports to Asean increased to about USD 31 billion in 2016-17 from USD 25.15 billion in the previous fiscal. Imports too grew to USD 40.61 billion in 2016-17 from USD 40 billion in the previous year.
The commerce ministry said in a statement that the Asean -India expo is showcasing products and services in areas including manufacturing, engineering, ICT, healthcare, tourism, environment, agriculture, Science & technology, logistics and retail.
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Inheritance tax may be reintroduced in India by Centre soon; How it can impact you
To boost tax revenue, the government is planning to reintroduce inheritance tax in India, which may be introduced in the coming Budget.
Developed countries like the UK and the US have high inheritance tax and that is effective there because they have a very strong social security system in place.
Some have proposed that India needs to address increasing inequality by increasing its tax-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio.
How a “low tax to GDP ratio” affects India?
As per 2015 data, India has low Tax or Revenue to GDP ratio at around 18%. It is substantially low in comparison to US (27%), UK (39%), , France(45%), Germany (41%)and BRICS constituents viz., Brazil (34%), Russia (20%), China(22%), South Africa(27%).
Growth not inclusive. Many poor people coexisting with super rich.
Poor revenue to GDP Ratio while GDP is on the rise, will impacts India as under :
1) Rise of social inequalities - The economy will suffer from wide gap between per capita income of rich and poor.
2) Rise in Interest burden - The funding for Public works programme would be done more out of borrowings. This will increase interest burden. Interest payment means lesser appropriation of funds for Capital Asset building.
3) Inflation - Lesser contribution from tax payers means generating money supply partly through printing of currency.
4) Higher Interest Rates - Inflation will put pressure on interest rates.
5) Higher participation of MNCs and investment of foreign funds in infrastructure, Power generation, technology, etc . Domestic companies will have to face tough competition from MNCs.
6) Rupee will not strengthen in medium term
7) Pressure to contain Fiscal Deficit & Current Deficit.
India Economic Summit
6-7 October 2016New Delhi, India
So how unequal is India? As the economist Branko Milanovic says: “The question is simple, the answer is not.” Based on the new India Human Development Survey (IHDS), which provides data on income inequality for the first time, India scores a level of income equality lower than Russia, the United States, China and Brazil, and more egalitarian than only South Africa.
According to a report by the Johannesburg-based company New World Wealth, India is the second-most unequal country globally, with millionaires controlling 54% of its wealth. With a total individual wealth of $5,600 billion, it’s among the 10 richest countries in the world – and yet the average Indian is relatively poor.
Compare this with Japan, the most equal country in the world, where according to the report millionaires control only 22% of total wealth.
In India, the richest 1% own 53% of the country’s wealth, according to the latest data from Credit Suisse. The richest 5% own 68.6%, while the top 10% have 76.3%. At the other end of the pyramid, the poorer half jostles for a mere 4.1% of national wealth.
What’s more, things are getting better for the rich. The Credit Suisse data shows that India’s richest 1% owned just 36.8% of the country’s wealth in 2000, while the share of the top 10% was 65.9%. Since then they have steadily increased their share of the pie. The share of the top 1% now exceeds 50%.
This is far ahead of the United States, where the richest 1% own 37.3% of total wealth. But India’s finest still have a long way to go before they match Russia, where the top 1% own a stupendous 70.3% of the country’s wealth.
What can India do to reduce inequality?
The continued rise of economic inequality in India – and around the world – is not inevitable. It is the result of policy choices. Governments can start to reduce inequality by rejecting market fundamentalism, opposing the special interests of powerful elites, and changing the rules and systems that have led to where we are today. They need to implement reforms that redistribute money and power and level the playing field.
Specifically, there are two main areas where changes to policy could boost economic equality: taxation and social spending.
1. Progressive taxation, where corporations and the richest individuals pay more to the state in order to redistribute resources across society, is key. The role of taxation in reducing inequality has been clearly documented in OECD and developing countries. Tax can play a progressive role, or a regressive one, depending on the policy choices of the government.
2. Social spending, on public services such as education, health and social protection, is also important. Evidence from more than 150 countries – rich and poor, and spanning over 30 years – shows that overall, investment in public services and social protection can tackle inequality. Oxfam has for many years campaigned for free, universal public services.
Two key indicators are: how much has a government committed to spend on education, health and social protection? And how progressive are the spending levels? This chart shows the money India has spent on public services over the past eight years; the horizontal lines represent expenditure as a percentage of GDP, and vertical bars expenditure in rupees.
According to a forthcoming Oxfam report (to be published in 2017), India performs relatively poorly on both counts. Its total tax effort, currently at 16.7% of GDP, is low (about 53% of its potential) and the tax structure is not very progressive since direct taxes account for only a third of total taxes. South Africa, by comparison, raises 27.4% of GDP as taxes, 50% of which are direct taxes.
When it comes to the second indicator (levels and progressivity of social-sector spending), India compares less well. Only 3% of GDP goes towards education and only 1.1% towards health. South Africa spends more than twice as much on education (6.1%) and more than three times as much on health (3.7%). While it’s assessed as more unequal than India, South Africa rates much higher than India in its commitment to reducing inequality.
The dream of ending poverty
Oxfam has calculated that if India stops inequality from rising further, it could end extreme poverty for 90 million people by 2019. If it goes further and reduces inequality by 36%, it could virtually eliminate extreme poverty.
India – along with all the other countries in the world – has committed to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and to ending extreme poverty by that year. But unless we make an effort to first contain and then reduce the rising levels of extreme inequality, the dream of ending extreme poverty for the 300 million Indians – a quarter of the population – who live below an extremely low poverty line, will remain a pipe dream.
Please tell Davos why 1% of Indians get 73% of wealth: Rahul Gandhi to PM Modi
TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jan 23, 2018
The Congress leader cited a media report quoting a survey from Oxfam which had highlighted the vast gap between the India's rich and the poor.
On Monday, international rights groups Oxfam released a survey which said that the richest 1% in India own 73% of the wealth generated in the country.
The Congress leader suggested that PM Modi who today delivered the keynote address at the plenary session at the World Economic Forum in Davos should also address the issue of economic inequality in India.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra responded to the Congress leader's question and held the previous governments headed by the Indian National Congress responsible for the economic gap.
Tuesday, 23 January 2018
for 2017: Richest 1 percent bagged 82 percent of wealth created last year - poorest half of humanity got nothing
Eighty two percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth, according to a new Oxfam report released today. The report is being launched as political and business elites gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ reveals how the global economy enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are struggling to survive on poverty pay.
- Billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13 percent since 2010 – six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 percent. The number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate of one every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.
- It takes just four days for a CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime. In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.
- It would cost $2.2 billion a year to increase the wages of all 2.5 million Vietnamese garment workers to a living wage. This is about a third of the amount paid out to wealthy shareholders by the top 5 companies in the garment sector in 2016.
Oxfam’s report outlines the key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions. These include the erosion of workers’ rights; the excessive influence of big business over government policy-making; and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International said: “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system. The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.”
Women workers often find themselves off at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men.
“Oxfam has spoken to women across the world whose lives are blighted by inequality. Women in Vietnamese garment factories who work far from home for poverty pay and don’t get to see their children for months at a time. Women working in the US poultry industry who are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks,” said Byanyima.
Oxfam is calling for governments to ensure our economies work for everyone and not just the fortunate few:
- Limit returns to shareholders and top executives, and ensure all workers receive a minimum ‘living’ wage that would enable them to have a decent quality of life. For example, in Nigeria, the legal minimum wage would need to be tripled to ensure decent living standards.
- Eliminate the gender pay gap and protect the rights of women workers. At current rates of change, it will take 217 years to close the gap in pay and employment opportunities between women and men.
- Ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of tax through higher taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance, and increase spending on public services such as healthcare and education. Oxfam estimates a global tax of 1.5 percent on billionaires’ wealth could pay for every child to go to school.
Results of a new global survey commissioned by Oxfam demonstrates a groundswell of support for action on inequality. Of the 70,000 people surveyed in 10 countries, nearly two-thirds of all respondents think the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be urgently addressed.
“It’s hard to find a political or business leader who doesn’t say they are worried about inequality. It’s even harder to find one who is doing something about it. Many are actively making things worse by slashing taxes and scrapping labor rights,” said Byanyima.
“People are ready for change. They want to see workers paid a living wage; they want corporations and the super-rich to pay more tax; they want women workers to enjoy the same rights as men; they want a limit on the power and the wealth which sits in the hands of so few. They want action.”
Notes to editors
Download ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ and a methodology document that outlines how Oxfam arrived at the key statistics in the report.
Broadcast quality footage and photographs are available here featuring Lan, who works in a garment factory in Vietnam, supplying many global fashion brands. Long hours and poverty pay mean Lan has not been able to get home to see her son for 9 months.
New data from Credit Suisse reveals that 42 people now own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity. This figure cannot be compared to figures from previous years - including the 2016/17 statistic that eight men owned the same wealth as half the world - because it is based on an updated and expanded data set published by Credit Suisse in November 2017. When Oxfam recalculated last year’s figures using the latest data we found that 61 people owned the same wealth as half the world in 2016 – and not eight.
Oxfam’s calculations are based on global wealth distribution data provided by the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data book published in November 2017. The wealth of billionaires was calculated using Forbes' billionaires list last published in March 2017.
RIWI and YouGov conducted the online survey for Oxfam in ten countries: India, Nigeria, United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Morocco, Netherlands and Denmark. For details on the methodology and the full results see here.
Thursday, 18 January 2018
The Malimath Committee’s recommendations on reforms in the criminal justice system in 20 points
As the Union government is considering to revisit the Malimath Committee report on reforms in the criminal justice system, here is a look at what the panel recommended in 2003.
Underwater cave system in the world
Sac Actun cave system in Mexico could help shed new light on ancient Mayan civilisation
A group of divers has connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Mayan civilisation.
The Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said the 347-kilometre cave was identified after months of exploring a maze of underwater channels.
The group found the cave system known as Sac Actun, near the beach resort of Tulum and once measured at 263 kilometres, connected with the 83-kilometre Dos Ojos system.
For that reason, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos.
Sistema Sac Actun (from Spanish and Yucatec Maya meaning "White Cave System") is an underwater cave system situated along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula with passages to the north and west of the village of Tulum. It is believed to be the world's largest underwater cave system currently (2018) known to exist
Sistema Sac Actun with 347.7 kilometers (216.1 mi) the longest cave in Mexico and the second longest worldwide
In 2018, a discovery of link between the Sac Actun system (reported to be 263 km long) and the Dos Ojos system in Tulum, Quintana Roo (84 km long) has been reported. The combined system is reported to be the world's largest underwater cave system known.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).
LARGEST Underwater cave system in the world
Sistema Ox Bel Ha - (Country) Mexico- (State) Quintana Roo
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