Monday April 22, 2019
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BJP assures that Naga peace accord will not encroach intrests of north-east states

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New Delhi: In response to the opposition for allegedly keeping the nation in the dark about the Naga peace accord, the BJP on Saturday said the Centre had taken the Nagaland chief minister onboard while firming up the accord and assured that it will not impinge on the interests of states bordering Nagaland.

Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh here, and sought a copy of the accord signed between the central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) on August 3.

The Congress has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government of signing the peace accord without taking any stakeholder into confidence, and overlooking the Constitution in doing so.

BJP leader and union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang was kept in the loop and had met Modi two days before the accord was inked.

“The chief minister has been continuously in dialogue with the prime minister and he met him even today (Saturday),” she said.

Zeliang on Saturday met Modi and said that states bordering Nagaland need not worry about their territory, but added that the content of the peace accord was not yet out.

“I also do not know anything about the accord. There is a need for the government to solve the Naga issue and it is doing it steadily,” Zeliang told a TV channel after meeting Modi.

He said he will meet Naga peace talks interlocuter R.N. Ravi on August 16 over the issue.

In Guwahati, union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju accused the chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh of having initially welcomed the peace accord and later backtracking.

“The chief ministers are making contradictory statements on the direction of (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi which was not a good sign,” Rijiju said and appealed to the Congress not to politicise the issue.

Rijiju said the security scenario has improved in the northeast but it needs to be improved further.

“The central government wants to develop the region as a commercial hub with its neighbours and improved security scenario is a prerequisite for this. This peace accord will help improve the security scenario in the region further,” he said.

The three northeastern states bordering Nagaland on Friday accused Modi of not consulting them.

Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh on Saturday called on Modi at his 7, Race Course Road residence in Delhi. The prime minister assured the Manipur chief minister that everything would be discussed with the states concerned before the accord is finalised.

Ibobi Singh then met Rajnath Singh at his residence at 17, Akbar Road. He sought a copy of the peace accord, saying the people of Manipur were anxious to know its details and had apprehensions that it would affect the territorial integrity of the state.

Rajnath Singh assured Ibobi Singh that the accord was just a framework and that it would not affect the territorial boundary of the neighbouring states.

He said the central government would invite the states for discussion while working out the final shape of the accord.

R.N. Ravi, the central government’s interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, was present during the meeting.

On Friday, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala, addressing a press conference attended by the chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, said Modi “ignored the basic principal of cooperative federalism (by signing the accord on his own)”.

He said Modi did not even consult any of the three seniormost chief ministers — Tarun Gogoi of Assam, Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh and Ibobi Singh of Manipur.

Surjewala termed the government’s contention that it had consulted Gogoi, Tuki and Ibobi Singh on the accord as “a blatant lie”.

The three chief ministers have declared that they will not cede an inch of land for the accord.

One of the NSCN-IM’s most contentious demand has been the creation of Nagalim or Greater Nagaland comprising all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast, which according to officials, had been “set aside for now”.

(IANS)

Next Story

Is NYAY Going To Be A Game Changer for Congress?

The concerns about funds being used for harmful purposes cannot be ruled out. It is due to these challenges many policymakers suggest that instead of making welfare payments to poor households in the form of unrestricted cash transfers the government should focus on in-kind transfers.

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Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
Congress state units given more power for 2019 battle- wikimedia commons

By Amit Kapoor & Manisha Kapoor 

The idea of launching Nyuntam Aay Yojana, a cash transfer scheme that intends to provide Rs 72,000 per year to the poorest 20 per cent Indian families, by the Congress Party if it comes to power, has stirred a debate among the policymakers about whether the move is economically viable or is just a tactic by the Congress Party to garner votes in the upcoming general elections.

The discussions are foreseeable, provided that this intervention to ensure basic income to the poor households will cost the country somewhere between 1.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent of GDP, a number higher than the government’s expenditure on healthcare and education. The implementation of NYAY means an additional cost between Rs 3.6 lakh crore to Rs 7.2 lakh crore per year.

To put things in perspective, the expenditure of the proposed scheme is 2.2 times the budget of all centrally sponsored schemes. The party claims that they have worked out all the fiscal calculations before launching the scheme. However, this will be a major dent in India’s budget expenditure and will explode the fiscal deficit from the current 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

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An impact evaluation study by UNICEF in Sub-Saharan Africa showed that with the exception of temporary price rise during payment period, cash transfers has no impact on the prices. Pixabay

Apart from fiscal prudence, the other immediate concern surrounding the scheme is the identification of beneficiaries and the database that will be used for this. There is no official income database available with the government at the individual level and since most of the poor work in unorganised rural areas, there is no direct way of verifying their incomes such as through a payroll or income tax.

The proponents of the approach state that a good starting point could be Socio Economic Caste Census of 2011 if one goes by multi-dimensional aspect of poverty. However, one can’t ignore the fact that even if the scheme defines poverty by assets and not income for quick exclusion rules, the data is outdated. A scheme targeted at reducing poverty can’t use data that is seven-eight years old. Even if one ignores that, it should be noted that there are major methodological issues with how data was collected. This is reflected in the discrepancies that exist in the data collected through SECC and other governmental data. A fresh survey for the identification process will lead to possibilities of corruption as in other targeted schemes. For instance, various studies have shown that many people who are not below poverty line have BPL cards.

One should also keep in mind that there exist significant disparities across Indian states and districts in terms of income levels and affordability of basic needs such as education, healthcare etc. Therefore, the same amount that means a lot to a person living in a low-income state or a state that has good access to public facilities such as public hospitals, schools etc would not be enough for a person trying to make a living in a high-income region. As a result, a prerequisite for such a scheme is a detailed regional level survey on income characteristics of Indian states and districts.

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To put things in perspective, the expenditure of the proposed scheme is 2.2 times the budget of all centrally sponsored schemes. The party claims that they have worked out all the fiscal calculations before launching the scheme. Pixabay

Another major concern surrounding the scheme is its inflationary implications. It is argued that the act of transferring cash to the target population will boost their purchasing power, which would lead to an increase in demand for goods and services and, thus, push prices upwards. Advocates of the approach have tried to argue that studies around the world present a lot of evidence to the contrary.

An impact evaluation study by UNICEF in Sub-Saharan Africa showed that with the exception of temporary price rise during payment period, cash transfers has no impact on the prices. However, these evidences should be considered with a pinch of salt. They rest on the assumption that the money will be spent on useful goods, that will help the local economy in becoming more productive. Though this will not be the case always.

Also Read: Food Unites People Across The Globe

The concerns about funds being used for harmful purposes cannot be ruled out. It is due to these challenges many policymakers suggest that instead of making welfare payments to poor households in the form of unrestricted cash transfers the government should focus on in-kind transfers. This idea is supported by claim that in-kind transfers will help by encouraging the consumption of right things, such as healthy food.

Given India’s concerns about rising unemployment rates, jobless growth and the fact that we need to have effective utilization of our young population to gain a competitive edge over other economies, the promoters are trying to project that NYAY can prove to be a game changer. However, for the Indian economy, a better alternative would be to strengthen the existing public services landscape by removing social, political and personal barriers, along with carrying out structural reforms that leads to creation of more productive jobs. (IANS)