IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 25th November, 2015
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
India – Singapore strategic partnership
India and Singapore share long-standing cultural, commercial and strategic relations, with Singapore being a part of the “Greater India” cultural and commercial region.
The close relationship shared by India and Singapore is based on convergence of economic and political interests.
The process of economic reforms in India since the early 1990s created a strong basis for cooperation with Singapore, opening up possibilities for significant presence in each others’ economies.
For India, Singapore has played an important role in reconnecting us to the countries of South East Asia since the inception of our Look East Policy in the early 1990s.
As pluralistic societies, the two countries share similar concern about the challenges posed by terrorism and fundamentalism and have, therefore, found it mutually beneficial to evolve a broad framework of security cooperation.
Economic and commercial relations:
Singapore is India’s largest trade and investment partner in the ASEAN, accounting for a third of our overall trade with ASEAN.
Economic and commercial ties have expanded significantly, particularly after the conclusion of the CECA in 2005.
Bilateral trade has grown from US$ 8.8 billion in 2005-06 to US$ 21.1 billion in 2012-13.
Bilateral trade amounted to US$ 19.3 billion in 2013–14 making Singapore the 7th largest trade partner of India globally.
Singapore has become a preferred centre of operations for Indian companies active in the Asia Pacific region.
Combined with a good enabling environment, strong air connectivity and the presence of a large Indian community, Singapore has emerged as a key offshore logistic and financial hub for many Indian corporate houses.
About 6,000 registered ‘Indian’ companies are estimated to be present in Singapore.
Concluded in June 2005, the CECA with Singapore was the first such agreement to be signed by India with any country.
It integrates agreements on trade in goods and services, investment protection, and economic cooperation in fields like education, intellectual property and science & technology.
It also provides Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) that eliminates duplicative testing and certification of products in sectors where there are mandatory technical requirements.
Singapore has emerged as the second largest investor in India with a share of 11.7% of the total FDI received by India, a cumulative amount of US $25.5 billion from April 2000 to March 2014.
As per Reserve Bank of India statistics, cumulative outward Indian FDI into Singapore was US$ 24.7 billion till September 2012.
Indian community and diaspora:
Ethnic Indians constitute about 9.1 per cent of the total population of 5.4 million, including permanent residents.
Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore.
There are about 150,000 migrant workers in Singapore.
The growth of the Indian community has led to the establishment of educational institutions, namely the Global Indian International School, Delhi Public School, National Public School, YuvahBharati International School, DAV Schooletc in Singapore.
India – Singapore relations elevated into a strategic partnership:
During the recent Prime Minister’s visit to Singapore, India and Singapore elevated their ties to the “strategic partnership” level and signed bilateral agreements.
This means better and more cooperation between the two countries in areas related to investment, infrastructure development and security issues.
Smart city and Singapore:
With the government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities, Singapore would be a pioneer country to leverage the plan through its technical expertise and also investment potentials.
Singapore:A gateway to ASEAN:
India favours Act East policy towards countries of South East Asia.
In order to operationalize the Act East policy Singapore would be a gateway through which the markets of South East Asia can be accessed.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the statement “Singapore is a gateway for India’s entry to ASEAN”
Critically examine the bilateral relations between India and Singapore since the independence of both the countries.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
The Missing Engagement and the upcoming Winter
If the word ‘dysfunction’ ring bells in your memory, your mind may very well take you to the last monsoon session of the Parliament which saw passage of people from one table to another instead of bills, priority shifting to stifling the government’s voice, continuous disruptions, series of slogan shouting and an agenda of paying back-set forth in motion by the Congress and other opposition parties.
The plaguing Issues
In a democracy set-up like ours, debates and discussions should form a basic framework for the upcoming policies and regulations for the country.
The issuing of a number of Ordinances is an undemocratic route to law-making which needs to be used for meeting emergencies that necessitates/warrants immediate legislative actions
The repeated attempts to promulgate ordinance won’t serve any good where it’ll lead to a mere continuous loop of its entry again and again, back inside the parliament; post a number of months.
Ordinance should also not be used to get around the opposition, as legislating is fulfilling one of its basic purposes which when justified in a weaker perspective, will defeat the purpose of the Constitution.
Supremacy of the Constitution-Misplaced:
We, as sovereign people, have given authority to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and thus, constitutional supremacy needs to be given more weightage while upholding the true spirit of the Parliament.
The constant allegations that has replaced debates needs to be put back on track, in the right direction, to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and not the ‘identity-wars’ of the parties sitting on the seats of the Parliament
A Lokniti –CSDS Survey shows that 38.9 per cent of respondents ‘strongly/somewhat approve’ of a single leader determining the course to be taken by the Parliament. This instance points out towards a form of government which cannot be termed as democratic.
Indian political parties are literally oscillating between chaotic ‘Internal Relations’ and an authoritative grip of a tall leader thereby leading politics to assume a nature of a set of events to be reported to one person or say, one family. While organisational tyranny remains, the party tends to become undemocratic as well as exhibits a veil w.r.t its own ideology.
This leads us to question the very outlook of the party which is willing to serve a democratic country when their foot is muddied in undemocratic parlances.
It not only diminishes the democratic potential of the important checks-and-balances institutions but also undermine the importance of parliamentarism and utility of ordinances.
Increasing Moral Deviations & Anti-Defection Policies:
Criminalisation of politics, disrespect to parliamentary conventions, parliamentary disruptions and improper conduct of members, has added to the glaring legislative paralysis.
The intention behind bringing in Anti-Defection law was to curb political defections, promote party discipline and bring stability in the structures of political parties; on the contrary, it has led to the following:
Curbs the Right to Dissent & Freedom of Conscience
Ban on retail defections & legalisation of wholesale defections
There is a need for the government to play their political game by cooperating and by being a team player, seeking a solution to the differences for the larger good of the future, of the democratic politics of India.
This legislative paralysis can be taken care of only when the government drops its aggressive stance and try to engage more with the opposition parties.
Connecting the Dots:
Can we get rid of the parliament and have a strong leader instead, to decide the path ahead for India? Discuss
It is of wide opinion that the frequent promulgation of ordinances has more to do with managerial ethos. Do you agree with this viewpoint? Suggest a way ahead.