Wednesday November 22, 2017
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Shashi Tharoor favours Presidential form of government in India

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Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday favoured the Presidential form of government in the country, adding but it should be “customised in a way that it preserves the rich diversity of the nation and also the democracy.”

While giving his speech at the launch of Bhanu Dhamija’s book “Why India Needs The Presidential System,” he said looking at the present system of polity and governance in the country it would be a good idea to start the debate of having a presidential form of government in the country.

The parliamentary system has demonstrated some flaws and the time has come to look for an alternative. The alternative was always there on the table but now is the time to start discussing and debating it.

 

He said nationalist leader like Jawaharlal Nehru had thought of this idea much before, but the discussions got lost later in the chaos of the successive coalition governments.

The fundamental flaws of the parliamentary form of government have become more apparent in the successive coalition governments in the past 25 years.

Tharoor batted for creating a system wherein a “chief executive” of constituencies can be elected directly by people and “they should be held accountable for the ‘governance business’ after a given point of time”.

 

I am not saying that we should adopt the presidential system as it is in the US. We can work on it and make it even better and a one more practical for country like India.

He said the election of Narendra Modi as the prime minister “constantly reminds me of the need of the presidential form of government”, adding “I had a belief in the parliamentary form of government till Modi was elected as the Prime Minister”. (IANS)(Picture Courtesy:mid-day.com)

 

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Minister to be appointed for issues related to diaspora: Shashi Tharoor

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Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj assured Congress leader Shashi Tharoor that there will be an immediate appointment of Union Minister of state with independent charge and a full time secretary to look into all the matters of the diaspora.

In a press statement issued here on Saturday, Tharoor, the chairman of the External Affairs Committee of parliament and Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, said the new development took place at a meeting in Delhi.

“Kerala had raised strong objections when it was decided by the Narendra Modi government to merge the ministry of overseas Indian affairs (OIA) with that of the ministry of external affairs (MEA),” Tharoor said.

Sushma Swaraj has assured that very soon, a minister of state with independent charge and a full time secretary would be appointed to look into all issues of the Indian diaspora, especially in the Middle East, he said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had taken up the merger issue last month with Modi and Sushma Swaraj.

The first Congress-led UPA government under then prime minister Manmohan Singh had formed the overseas Indian affairs ministry headed by Kerala leader Vayalar Ravi.

A recent study on the Kerala diaspora said 90 percent of Kerala’s 23.63 lakh diaspora were in various Middle East countries, of which the UAE accounted for 38.7 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 25.2 percent.(IANS)

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Tharoor demands legal framework for Indian immigrants

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New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday emphasized on addressing the issues related to immigration and refugees and demanded a legal framework for it. The former Minister of State (MoS) for MEA expressed his disappointment over the merger of Ministry of External Affairs with Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA).

“Largest refugee migration was when 10 million Bangladeshis came to India in 1971. We also have a large number of migrants from Nepal and Bangladesh.”

He was speaking at a panel discussion after a launch of book ‘The Politics of Migration: Indian Emigration in a Globalised World’.

“We have been very hospitable and very open, but it’s rather very bizarre that a democracy, which even has a seat on UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Executive Committee, has failed to write itself a refugee law and put a legal framework to it.”

“I have proposed one in private members bill in the last session. I have also been in correspondence with the Minister of External Affairs (Sushma Swaraj) on Foreign Immigration as many of us feel this is massively overdue. An immigration Policy must be codified into a law. At the moment our laws and policies are in grave danger of being out of date,” Tharoor said.

“I have also written very very concretely that the Standing Committee on Parliament on Foreign Affairs should be consulted before the government springs any Bill on the nation,” Tharoor added.

MoS in the MEA, Gen (retd) V K Singh spoke of the contribution of the Indian diaspora in different fields like politics of the nation they are residing in and also of their contribution towards remittance of USD 70 billion in 2014-15 alone.

“Today we have Mr Modi essentially asking the citizens of that country receiving him, to come and listen to him as a voice from their homeland. And he is actually walking a very fine edge there between what is appropriate and what is not so appropriate for a visiting overseas leader,” the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

Tharoor mentioned the Indian diaspora’s influence in helping India, like in the Indo-US nuclear deals, and the imposition of sanctions post-Pokhran nuclear tests and Kargil wars.

“Should Indian foreign policy start leveraging on this. The answer is yes and no. Yes, but not overtly. The more overtly foreign citizens (of Indian origin) are made to look like sort of Indian power, the lesser their clout becomes. It’s better for us to encourage and quietly give them material, but don’t officially, publicly ever declare that.”

Tharoor also spoke to V K Singh for special attention on NRI’s issue.

“You may be aware that the Government of Kerala has officially opposed the merger of MEA and MOIA. I told General V K Singh that there should be full-time attention to the NRIs and migrants because the issue was a stepchild of the ministry. The merger means it will be further neglected. But this is rather a large and important set of issues and he has shown me that he is that MoS,” the Congress leader said.

Nadir Patel, Canadian High Commissioner to India, stated as many as 19 MPs are of Indian origin.  “Of these, 17 are from Punjab origin. Interestingly, Punjab does not have more MPs in Parliament (Punjab has 13 Lok Sabha seats) and we have four Cabinet ministers of Indian origin,” Patel said.

The Director of International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Sanjay Baru spoke of the importance of the term “brain gain”, coined by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, further exclaiming that Indian immigration should not be regarded as brain drain but as brain gain.

Rebecca Tavares, Country Representative, UN Office for Women in India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives regarded Indian diaspora abroad as a “strategic asset” which India should leverage on. (IANS)

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A timeline of Sunanda Pushkar murder case two years after her death

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Sunanda Pushkar

By Harshmeet Singh

Today is the second death anniversary of Sunanda Pushkar. Despite being a high-profile murder case, the investigative agencies have little to show for their efforts 2 years after she was found dead in a hotel in New Delhi. Albeit a new revelation comes up every second month, the case is nowhere near its conclusion.

To refresh your memory and bring you up to date with the murder mystery, NewsGram presents a timeline of events that followed Sunanda Pushkar’s death.

17th January, 2014: Sunanda Pushkar is found dead in her hotel room at the Delhi’s Leela Palace Hotel. The police initially suspect a case of medicine overdose or suicide.

19th January, 2014: After her post-mortem at AIIMS, doctors term her death as ‘sudden, unnatural’. The autopsy report pointed towards a case of poisoning and stayed quiet on the question of suicide. The report also noted over a dozen injury marks on her hands and a ‘deep teeth bite’ of her left palm. It also overruled ‘drug overdose’.

21st January, 2014: A sub-divisional enquiry, which is ordered in case the wife dies before seven years of marriage, concludes that she died of poison and directed the investigative agencies to probe this angle. In the report, the SDM said that there could have been a possibility of three cases, viz. homicidal, suicidal and accidental.

23rd January, 2014: Investigators probe the angle of hidden poisoning. Her autopsy showed the presence of Alprazolam and Excedrin is her body. Her viscera samples are taken and sent to CFSL for more tests.

1st July, 2014: The doctor who carried out her Post-mortem alleges that he has been discriminated against since he refused to bow down to the pressures of “top officials of the institute and then senior Congress ministers” while making the report.

10th October, 2014: Delhi Police asked to re-examine the case after a new report indicated the presence of drug alprax in her body. It also said that she wasn’t a patient of Lupus, as Shashi Tharoor claimed. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease wherein the immune system of the body attacks tissues and organs.

6th January, 2015: Delhi Police says she was murdered after the medical board declared her demise ‘unnatural’. Bassi was quoted as saying, “Medical report says she was poisoned, oral or injected we do not know, it is being investigated”. A case of murder is registered.

13th February, 2015: Shashi Tharoor, her husband and a former Union minister, is questioned by the SIT for the third time in less than 24 hours.

March – June 2015: Delhi Police conducts polygraph tests on six people in relation to the Sunanda Pushkar murder case.

12th November, 2015: FBI report rules out death due to the intake of radioactive material. Her viscera samples were sent to the US after traces of radioactive materials were reported in her body.

16th January, 2016: FBI report says the death may have been caused by an overdose of the anti-anxiety drug Alprax. Delhi Police Commissioner, BS Bassi says that her death was ‘not natural’.