Sunday October 21, 2018
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Pick up plough, not guns-Why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice is not right

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By Ishan Kukreti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for his sound thinking and practicality, yesterday addressed a public gathering at Dantewada, hot bed of Naxalism in India. However the advise he gave to the tribals there was quite unreasonable, if not downright suicidal.

Making an emotional appeal to the tribals through their children, Modi said that shoulders of youth should bear ploughs, not gun.

A sound advice?

The intention of the honorable Prime Minister was to encourage tribals on the road to empowerment and development. Though, a question that invariably jumps to mind at this proposition is, why not a laptop, a pen or a book or anything that is at least viable to carry one’s life forward? Something that’d bring awareness and empowerment to the community which has remained on the fringes of the dialogue about development and growth in the nation.

Of agriculture, rebellion and suicides

Anybody who is a farmer or is aware of the current condition of India’s agrarian economy would have gawked at the advise. In the present times the gun and the plough have the same outcome, death, only difference being the nature of it.

In fact, data from National Crime Records Bureau and South Asia Terrorism Portal show that the death toll due to Naxal violence in India from 2008 to 2012 was 1419 while the number of farmer suicides during the same time was an incredulous 89,653.

Modi went as far as promising an investment of Rs. 24,000 crore in the region as a result of the MoUs signed in the Railways and steel sectors.

But…*Conditions applied

However, the PM failed to warn the tribals of Dantewada that this very investment and agriculture would mean nothing to the government if it decides to acquire the land to follow the same path of ‘development’, but for someone else. Tribals, though just 8% of the total population of India, account for more than 40% of the total development related displacement, according to a Planning Commission report.

The Land Acquisition ( Amendment) Bill, which the Modi government is so desperate to bring into action gives even more power to the state in pursuing its development agenda, disregarding any voice of dissent. Chhattisgarh being a mineral rich area has already seen development up close and personal not a happy, chirpy kind, but a displacing, uprooting kind.

Moreover, Modi didn’t tell the innocent tribals about the seasonal nature of agriculture, risks of unseasonal rains, crop failures and the reduction in subsidies including rural employment schemes like MGNREGA, by the government.

Narendra Modi, the powerhouse of economics

Narendra Modi’s sense of practicality and sound economic thinking has won him respect and honor in all the 16 countries he has visited in the last one year. Everyone has nothing but praises for the great Indian leader from Japan to the US.  Barack Obama has called him ‘ reformer-in-chief’ while the prestigious Time magazine has named Modi amongst top 100 influential leaders of the world.

Though, despite all these credentials, Modi’s suggestion of a road with an inevitable dead end in the name of ‘path to development’ says a lot about the lack or presence of genuine concern.

It is downright ironic that while the present state attitude towards agriculture is nothing but apathetic, the head of the state is egging people to take up a non-viable occupation.

 

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)