Nation
Kashmir government soon after Modi-Mehbooba positive talks
New Delhi/Jammu : Jammu and Kashmir is likely to have a new government as early as the next week that will end the two-month-old political stalemate in the state after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti's "positive" meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital on Tuesday.
 
As Mehbooba met the prime minister at his official 7 Race Course residence, a senior PDP leader and former minister Nayeem Akhtar said in Jammu that "hopefully "government should be in place by March 29".
 
Mehbooba's meeting with Modi came days after she flew back to Srinagar rather upset after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) snubbed her over the PDP's fresh conditions for continuation of the ruling alliance in the state, which has been without an elected government since Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died on January 7.
 
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, in charge of the party's affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, said last week that his party would not be accepting any fresh demands and conditions from the PDP after Mehbooba's meeting with BJP president Amit Shah failed to break the deadlock.
 
But on Tuesday she appeared upbeat, dropping hints that a new government in Jammu and Kashmir may be formed soon. 
 
"It has been a positive meeting with the prime minister and I will go back to Srinagar and take the next step," Mehbooba told the media as she emerged from Modi's residence. 
 
"I am content after meeting the prime minister. I feel positive after this meeting." 
 
Asked if she would be sworn in soon as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba replied, "I have been authorised to take the final call on the government formation and hold discussions regarding the issue by the party's legislature party."
 
She also said that she has called for a legislature party meeting on Thursday and will take further decision there. "There is a particular forum to make announcements. Everything can't be announced here," she said.
 
Asked if Modi gave any assurance regarding her party's demands over government formation, Mehbooba said: "When you meet prime minister of the nation and discussions held are positive, then naturally we find more ways to the solutions of the problems faced by people of Jammu and Kashmir."
 
Mehbooba arrived in New Delhi on Monday in an indication that channels of communication with the BJP have been restored.
 
Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government after Mehbooba's father, Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, died in a Delhi hospital and the state came under Governor's Rule.
 
The PDP and BJP formed a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir in March 2015 after assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate. 
 
Mehbooba has been dragging her feet over government formation in the state after her father's death, and refused to take oath as the new chief minister till several demands made by the PDP were met by the BJP-led central government.
 
It was not immediately known what changed Mehbooba's heart. However, there were reports that a group of defectors from the PDP was readying to support the BJP if Mehbooba did not relent from her apparently non-negotiable stand.
 
The defection threat reports came even as Jammu and Kashmir has the toughest anti-defection law in the country. No number of lawmakers can defect from a political party to claim a split, according to the law.
 
"Even if all the 27 MLAs of the PDP had chosen to defect, the president of the party could still write to the speaker of the legislative assembly declaring the breakaway group as defectors and seek action against them as per the provisions of the anti-defection law," a constitutional expert said in Srinagar.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Several killed as blasts rock Brussels airport
Brussels : Several people were killed on Tuesday when two massive explosions devastated the departure area of the Zaventem airport in the Belgian capital, triggering panic.
 
The Belgian fire service told local media there were at least several dead and wounded in the blasts which were centred at the American Airlines check-in desk, BBC reported.
 
Belga news agency reported that shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the two blasts, BBC said.
 
The airport was hurriedly evacuated and had been closed for flights, BBC said.
 
Pictures showed the terminal windows blown out from the force of the explosion and smoke rising high into the sky. Video also showed terrified passengers running for their lives out of the terminal. 
 
Sky News Middle East correspondent Alex Rossi, who was at the airport on his way to Tel Aviv, said: "I could feel the buildings move."
 
The incident came as the Belgian capital was on a state of high alert following the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week. 
 
Only on Monday, Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the country was braced for a possible revenge attack following the capture of the 26-year-old Abdeslam.
 
CNN quoted a tourist, Anthony Barrett, as saying he heard the explosions at about 8 a.m. from his hotel across the terminal building.
 
"When I opened the curtains and looked out, I could see people feeling," he told CNN.
 
He said he saw about 19 or 20 stretchers carrying people so far. Luggage trolleys were also being used to transport the wounded.
 
"It is clearly a very serious incident," Barrett said.
 
The Brussels airport said that there had been two explosions and the building was being evacuated. "Don't come to the airport area," it said.
 
France is seeking Abdeslam’s extradition so he can stand trial for his alleged role in the November 13 rampage of gunfire and suicide bombings that killed 130 people in Paris.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India lags in social progress and tolerance
For decades, Gross Domestic Product has been used to evaluate the economic performance of a nation. It measures the value of final goods and services that are produced in a country in a given period of time. It has, thus, been of critical importance to policymakers in assessing economic growth.
 
Despite its great significance, this measure of growth is unable to capture many aspects of life that are essential for the general well-being of the people. A high rate of growth for an economy may not necessarily relate to the societal progress, which could be indicated by factors such as access to clean drinking water and sanitation, availability of affordable housing, access to basic or higher education, health and wellness, level of crime, property rights, environmental quality and the like.
 
To account for such dimensions of wellbeing, the Human Development Index (HDI) was developed about 25 years ago and since then has been published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
 
The index incorporates three key dimensions of human development - life expectancy, years of schooling and a decent standard of living measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. One of the shortcomings of using this index as a measure of social progress is that it doesn't include all the aspects of human well-being. Moreover, by incorporating income, it is unable to unveil any impact that societal progress may have on economic growth and vice versa.
 
Several other indices have been developed to measure well-being, for instance, Gross National Happiness, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Your Better Life Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index. However, none of these indices captures social progress comprehensively and thus it is important to design a more holistic measure of well-being.
 
In 2013, a Social Progress Index (SPI) was launched by the Social Progress Imperative (SPI), a nonprofit organisation, based in Washington. Its methodology was developed by Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School along with a few other advisory board members of the SPI. Its conceptual framework is based on the seminal work of Amartya Sen on the role of capabilities and on the role of institutions in economic and social performance.
 
The index has so far been the most comprehensive way of measuring a country's social progress and is also independent of any economic indicator, thus giving an opportunity to examine the relationship between social progress and economic growth.
 
Social progress has been defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.
 
Thus, the social progress index has three dimensions - basic human needs (nutrition and basic medical care, air, water and sanitation, shelter and personal safety), foundations of well-being (access to basic knowledge, access to information and communication, health and wellness, and ecosystem sustainability) and opportunity (personal rights, access to higher education, personal freedom and inclusion).
 
The 2015 Social Progress Index for the world which includes 133 countries with complete data and 28 countries with partial data scores 61 on a scale of 100. While the world performs best in terms of nutrition and basic medical care (87.47) and water and sanitation (68.57) in basic human needs, access to advanced education (46.24), personal rights (43.10) and tolerance and inclusion (42.36) remain the areas of concern.
 
Top three countries in terms of social progress are Norway (88.36), Sweden (88.06) and Switzerland (87.97). The US has been ranked 16 on social progress despite of its higher per capita GDP than most of the higher social progress countries. This is due to its weak performance in ecosystem sustainability and health and wellness.
 
Similarly, countries such as the UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have been ranked low on social progress compared to their level of economic progress.
 
India has been ranked 101 with a low score of 53.06. It faces challenges in all the aspects of social progress except for nutrition and basic medical care and access to basic knowledge. One of the areas where India is severely lagging is tolerance and inclusion, which is driven by culture, norms and policies. Thus, for lower middle income countries like India, economic prosperity alongside institutional changes could bring about greater social progress and thereby, inclusive growth.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

J Pinto

8 months ago

This means India was "intolerant" under Congress as well ?

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