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Thu, 30th March 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Politics” Tag

Political parties cornerstone of democracy; can’t abolish tax exemptions: Government

The government has rejected suggestion to abolish tax exemptions given to political parties, saying these are to strive a balance between encouraging political activities and regulating their activities in the interest of democracy in the country.

Terming the suggestion of RTI activist Subhash Agrawal as not feasible, the Ministry of Finance has said, “Political institutions are cornerstones of any democratic set-up and provisions contained in the 13A, 80GGB and 80GGC of the Income Tax Act, 1961 intend to encourage and empower such institutions.”

Six national political parties — Congress, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M) — were brought under the purview of the RTI Act by the CIC because they enjoy indirect funding from the government in the form of subsidies and tax exemptions.

All the political parties brought under the RTI Act are opposing the directive of the transparency panel.

Clinton Presidency Would Likely Take Hawkish ‘Cold War’ Stance With Russia

A 2014 US-backed coup in Ukraine followed by a referendum, in which Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia, sent Washington-Moscow ties on a downward spiral that continues to feed distrust between the two global powers.

“If Clinton is elected, there’s going to be some level of continuity with [US President Barack] Obama because they share the same type of worldview and to some degree a similar foreign policy,” University of Dayton Political Science Professor Daniel Birdsong told Sputnik.

Birdsong explained the mindset as one in which engagement is primarily diplomatic, and if military intervention is involved, a reluctance to deploy US “boots on the ground,” a reliance on airpower and the use of local proxies in combat zones.

The approach, he said, is reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s interventions in the Balkans in the 1990s.

The hawkish image projected by Clinton could be rooted in her being the first female presidential candidate from a major political party, Birdsong explained.

“She has to contend with a stereotype of women being weaker on national defense, on military engagement,” Birdsong said. “Her taking a muscular stance on foreign policy, or with Russia more specifically, has to do with that.”

Almost Half of Germans Oppose Merkel Chancellorship After 2017 – Poll

The poll conducted by TNS-Emnid for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper revealed that 48 percent of the German nationals were opposed to her candidacy for the post of chancellor after 2017.

At the same time, 44 percent of those polled wanted Merkel to run for the next term in office.

The current chancellor enjoyed the support of the eastern German residents, with 55 percent of approvals. Moreover, German women, 46 percent, were also prone to support her candidacy, the public opinion research indicated.

The overwhelming majority of Merkel’s party fellows, 87 percent, claimed they supported her nomination, whereas 12 percent looked at such prospect critically, according to the poll.

The head of government’s policy on refugees was viewed as right by 40 percent of respondents, whereas 47 percent expressed their dissatisfaction with the approach to the migration issue.

A total of 579 individuals took part in the Emnid poll.

 

A P J Abdul Kalam’s word of caution on ‘Make in India’ -In His Final Book :“Advantage India: From Challenge to Opportunity”

Late President A P J Abdul Kalam was a tad cautious about ‘Make in India’ campaign saying though it’s “quite ambitious”, it has to be ensured that India does not become the low-cost, low-value assembly line of the world. On Digital India, he felt it has the potential to activate the knowledge connectivity needed in villages and remote areas and “we need to bridge the gaps of lower level of literacy, language and customised content, though”. These views are expressed in the soon-to-be published “Advantage India: From Challenge to Opportunity”, one of the last books written by Kalam along with his aide Srijan Pal Singh. 

The book, published by HarperCollins India, also has his unfinished speech of July 27 at IIM-Shillong where he collapsed only to breathe his last hours later. The NDA government launched ‘Make in India’ in September last year. The programme aims at promoting India as an important investment destination and a global hub for manufacturing, design and innovation. “Well, let us be clear on this. ‘Make in India’ is quite ambitious. But we need such high aspirations… I agree with the infrastructure concern. “India has seen an unbalanced infra growth -variations are rampant across states and sectors. For instance, while the telecom and Internet sectors have made remarkable progress, many villages still are not connected with roads and power. Physical infrastructure cannot be ignored for manufacturing growth,” he wrote.

Breaking -Russia Approves Use of Armed Forces in Syria

Russia’s Federation Council unanimously approved the use of the country’s armed forces abroad.

Russia’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday approved the country’s armed forces to be used abroad.

This concerns air force operations only, Russian Presidential Cheif of Staff Sergey Ivanov said.

Syria’s President Bashar Assad has requested military aid from Russia in the Middle East, according to Ivanov.

Kremlin will inform all partners and allies of the decicion later today.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has earlier on Wednesday requested permission from the Federation Council to use Russian Armed Forces abroad.

Hope & Nope – Putin Blames Obama -For “Relationship being so bad “

After a 90-minute meeting, Presidents Obama and Putin emerge from the mudslinging apparently agreeing to disagree on everything. Putin blames US – specifically Obama – for “relations being so bad,” adding trhat sanctions are not an “efficient” policy tool, and hopes US can play an active role in fighting ISIS with cooperation. Given the image below, we can only imagine how tense the meeting was…

Putin Continues:

  • *PUTIN SAYS US-RUSSIA RELATIONS ARE AT A PRETTY LOW LEVEL
  • *PUTIN BLAMES US FOR RELATIONS BEING SO BAD, SAYS OBAMA’S CHOICE
  • *RUSSIA IS THINKING ABOUT MILITARY OPS IN SYRIA: PUTIN
  • *PUTIN SAYS SANCTIONS ARE NOT ‘EFFICIENT’ AS A POLICY TOOL
  • *PUTIN SAYS RUSSIA’S GOAL IS TO FIGHT ISIS WITH COORDINATION
  • *PUTIN SAYS ‘NO ONE KNOWS RESULTS’ OF AIR STRIKES AGAINST SYRIA
  • *RUSSIA SAYS COORDINATION CENTER IS OPEN TO U.S. AND OTHERS
  • *PUTIN RULES OUT RUSSIAN GROUND TROOPS IN SYRIA

Spain-Catalonia-Head of regional government says to set basis for independence

The headlines on Catalan independence roll on after the election result

  • Around 70% of the vote is counted, Catalan pro-independence parties have won control of the regional assembly
  • Leaders of those parties say Catalans have voted yes for independence

(Note – that was NOT the question … but this is politics so carry on)

  • Leader  Artur Mas says his party will set the basis for independence in coming weeks

US officials declares truce with China over AIIB

US officials have declared what amounts to a truce in their campaign over China’s new Asian infrastructure bank, claiming that they have secured commitments from Beijing to address Washington’s concerns as well as “meaningfully increase” its financial contributions to the World Bank and other potential regional rivals to the new institution.

The US has declined to join the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and been leading what many allies and others see as a failed campaign against it.

Together with the New Development Bank being founded with other Brics economies, the AIIB represents perhaps the most significant challenge ever mounted to the Bretton Woods international financial architecture established in 1944.

The latest move highlights how eager US president Barack Obama and his administration are to put that chapter of their engagement with China behind them and resume normal relations on the international economic stage.

During last week’s state visit by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, the Obama administration also reiterated its pledge to back China’s bid for the inclusion of its currency, the renminbi, in an elite International Monetary Fund basket of reserve currencies as long as Beijing is declared worthy by the IMF.

Senior administration officials said that during Mr Xi’s visit, Washington had secured a pledge from Beijing to increase its financial contributions to the World Bank and regional development banks.

Former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha criticises Modi’s G4 policy for UN seat

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted leaders of G4 countries Brazil, Germany and Japan in New York on Saturday, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha criticised his approach to securing a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on India Today TV programme “Nothing But The Truth”, Sinha said the G4 approach of “begging” was “demeaning”. Rather, in Sinha’s view, India must play a “more active, assertive and high-profile role in international political and security issues, especially in the fight against the ISIS”.

Lambasting the Modi government for creating an “illusion” of India’s prospects, which were totally “unrealistic”, Sinha said the G4 countries had negligible chances in the foreseeable future of securing a permanent seat.
In fact, the former foreign minister stated, there was little likelihood of an expansion of the Security Council; if and when that happened the new permanent members would not have veto powers. “It would be demeaning for India to accept this,” Sinha added.

Sinha said Modi made a “mistake” in continuing with the United Progressive Alliance’s strategy of relying on the G4, which would only diminish India’s chances. According to Sinha, a G4 summit only serves to strengthen opposition against expansion of the UN Security Council. In his view, India should be exerting its muscle in political and security issues, just as it was exerting its economic muscle.

Accusing the Modi government of “misleading” the country, Sinha said the text of the General Assembly in September was not a “significant document” as was being claimed and nor was it a negotiating document but simply a compilation of the views of countries. The US, Russia and China had not even offered their inputs.

Sinha asserted India made a serious mistake by not involving itself in the US’ efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear programme and it now must fully involve itself in international and political issues.