THE last session of the parliament before the forthcoming 15th general elections to the country has begun as we go to press. The manner in which this session has been conceived and structured, created apprehensions at the outset about the government's intentions to use this session more as a launch pad for its election campaign, rather than to transact business to implement important, long-standing, pending legislations, particularly those aimed at providing relief to the already beleaguered vast mass of the people.
THE decision of Arvind Kejriwal's government in Delhi to have the accounts of the three distribution companies (discoms) subjected to a CAG audit has had immediate repercussions. The three discoms are moving the courts against a CAG audit and the two Reliance Anil Ambani Group discoms – BRPL and BYPL – have also threatened long power cuts as they claim they have no money to pay NTPC its outstanding dues. The matter has escalated with the Delhi government asking DERC, the Delhi Electricity Regulator to revoke their licenses under section 19 (d) of the Electricity Act, 2003.
THE pursuit of neo-liberal policies necessarily means bending to the caprices of international finance capital, so that it does not take offence and leave the country’s shores. This in turn necessarily means an attenuation of democracy, for democracy means that policies should be made in accordance with the wishes of the people and not those of international finance capital.
A RECENT notification, dated September 25, 2013, by the ministry of personnel of the government of India is virtually a vote of no-confidence on India’s health system. The notification amends existing laws regarding entitlements available to senior government officials to receive treatment abroad for what are identified as ‘complex’ medical conditions. The amended rules make it easier for such treatment and the government also takes upon itself the responsibility to pay all the medical costs as well as the travel and related costs of the patient and an attendant.
THE 16th meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) was held in the aftermath of the horrendous communal disturbances in Muzaffarnagar and in the backdrop of the continuing tensions in western Uttar Pradesh. The Resolution adopted unanimously, amongst others, resolved “To condemn violence in any form committed to disturb communal harmony and to deal with all those indulging in such violence in a prompt and resolute manner under the law.