By Sunil Dang
Notwithstanding the good this Government may have achieved in its tenure, it seems to have lost the plot on some of its ambitious agenda including the Triple Talaq bill. It is the second time that we see this bill being presented in the Parliament apparently without much improvement over the previous version. So while the bill in itself may have far reaching consequences for Muslim women, it has failed to answer some of the legitimate concerns voiced by clergy, lawmakers & various other stakeholders. One wonders why this government has to act in such tearing hurry on such critical matters when it could have simply sent this bill to the select committee as suggested by the opposition, lead by congress. The lawmakers could vet this important bill in entirety, may be suggest some amendments, additions, alterations keeping in mind the broader objectivity & implications this legislation would have on the Muslim community in particular & society in general. Once all the concerns, the scepticism were addressed, this bill would stand a better chance of being passed by the upper house. While this government has every right to bring in any legislation concerning the larger good of its people, it has conveniently forgotten about its preamble issue like Ram Mandir. Maybe the recent poll reverses have got BJP looking for an elixir? So while Ram Mandir can await the Supreme Court adjudication, Sabarimala is dubbed a contentious overreach by the same people.
This is not a case in isolation of this government’s propensity towards propaganda. We haven’t forgotten the pain & parody that came with the monster of Demonetisation that has now attained the dubious distinction of an epic “Economic Disaster”. Combine this with the amateurish parading & repetitive exhibition of bravado, encompassing the surgical strikes, the current dispensation made this otherwise genuine military adventure look like extremely farcical. GST is signature legislation, a reforming tax regimen with immense scope in nation building. Again this was brought around prematurely, without adequate awareness & architecture in place, throwing thousands of trade & businesses out of the reckoning almost instantaneously.
Be that as it may, I sincerely hope that there is more urgency & seriousness shown by our lawmakers on issues of public interest in the remaining winter session, instead of developing strategies for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
On the international front, while most of the countries stayed engaged with trade & commerce in 2018, a lot of their time & energy got spent on tariff disparities & issues of reciprocal benefits. However a lot of water has flown down the bridge & most of the warring nations have veered round to a balanced & conscientious approach to enhancing capital, boosting their economies, whilst protecting our climate & environment at the same time. The respite came in the form of Paris Climate deal clenching its support by most of the signatories including India, China & now the US.
China the irrepressible “trade cheat” that it is, has pulled another one out of its inflated bag. RCEP is strategic bait thrown at nations who are on the cusp of growth & economic progress, in the hope that China gets yet another marketplace to further its economic ambitions. There are ten member nations of Asean & six from Asia pacific states in the proposed Free Trade agreement. While there is consensus reached on almost 80% of its tenets, China shall be itching to see the work in progress completed at the soonest. There is a grave danger though to the emerging economies in the group who would find it difficult to catch up on trade imbalance, loss of jobs & disparity in incomes leading to their fragile economic health & happiness. India is one such example, where a yawning gap exists between its import & export amongst member nations & this can only broaden. Hope the government is conscious of the inherent risks involved.
We haven’t heard the last word on Sri Lanka crisis. Yet gain President Srisena is keen to bolster his writ on the administration, by bringing police also under his command & control. Another neighbouring country Bangladesh is electing its Prime Minister as we write this piece; Hoping Sheikh Hasina emerges victorious again.
On the sporting front, Virat Kohli & team India have given us a resounding New Year gift. Time to say 3 Cheers over some French wine & rum raisin cup cakes! Delhi cold permits us such indulgence, resolutions can wait.
Happy New Year!