World
Star rises over Myanmar but will Syu Kyi be able to deliver
The most heartening feature of the landslide electoral victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar is the maturity and statesman-like quality being displayed by its chairperson, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now showing all potentiality to become a beacon of hope in south and southeast Asia.
 
At a time when wild jubilation is taking place all over Myanmar and accolades are being heaped on the Nobel laureate, the lady, as she is called in the length and breadth of Myanmar, has played her cards adroitly, knowing fully well that in spite of the massive numerical superiority in parliament she is hamstrung by the Myanmar army's constitutional status.
 
That is the reason behind her overture to President Thein Sein and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the all powerful commander-in-chief of the army, for reconciliation talks. Both of them have accepted the offer. But, even if the army comes forward for talks it may put its foot down for accepting the 2008 constitution as the basis for all future negotiations.
 
Experience has however made Suu Kyi wiser and she has checkmated the army at the first round by declaring the results of the election in advance from her party headquarters as the counting progressed. Obviously the lady took lessons from what happened in 1990 when the military junta managed to maintain a lull even after the NLD had secured a massive majority at the end of the vote counting process and declared the annulment of the election within two days. At that time, the NLD committed a fatal mistake. It sat quietly for two months and allowed the army to snatch away power by using a quasi-military organization named the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).
 
Suu Kyi knows that she must neutralize the army if she wants to usher in democratic process and lift the poverty stricken Myanmar out of a morass. She knows that she cannot be the president under the existing constitution unless it is amended because she had a foreign spouse and two children with foreign nationality. Hence, her thunder that she would be above the president. But how this can be possible is difficult to guess. Either to achieve this or to become the president straightway she has to amend the constitution, which may be impossible for her given the fact that 25 percent of seats in parliament are reserved for the army. Seventy-five percent approval from parliament is necessary for amending the constitution.
 
However, the strategic position being enjoyed by the commander-in-chief is certain to emerge as the biggest stumbling block before Suu Kyi. The army chief appoints and controls the ministers of defence, home and border affairs. Therefore Su Kyi or anybody appointed by her as president will have no power over the country's security order. Moreover the general has the right to approve presidential or vice-presidential candidates. He can veto any proposal to amend the constitution and take back power from any government at any time if he wishes. In a word, the army chief, and not any elected government, is the ultimate authority in Myanmar.
 
This may be the reason behind the Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar army is called, maintaining its poise and assuring that it will not stand in the way of transfer of power even in the face of such a massive defeat for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the junta proxy, as the military top brass knows it very well that the army's position is unassailable. But its slogan of "discipline flourishing democracy", meaning primarily crushing of ethnic armed rebellions, has received a setback as the NLD has swept the election in ethnic minority dominated areas too, nearly obliterating the ethnicity-based political parties there.
 
But the army is now the most important political institution in Myanmar with firmly entrenched economic interests. It has made billions of dollars by indulging in trades of jades, natural gas and other national assets. This is what observers call the "Burmese way to capitalism", leaving an adverse impact on the country's economy. Foreign direct investment has increased in recent times but the kyat, the Myanmarese currency, has depreciated by 24 percent against the US dollar between April 2014 and September 2015.
 
Suu Kyi's real test will be finding a solution to the long standing armed ethnic conflicts. By voting for the NLD en masse the ethnic minorities, consisting of about 40 percent of Myanmar's total population, have entrusted Suu Kyi with a responsibility she may find it difficult to live up to.
 
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

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

1 year ago

Till Military rule, which still exists in Mynamar, reportedly backed by Chinese, to keep its strength and hold over Mynamar, is completely out, democracy will not stabilise in Mynamar.
China has already taken some southern ports ofv Mynamar and some strategically placed islands like coco islands on south side of Mynamar, to build its military base and traded in Ports and coasts of Mynamar, long ago.

Not ready to collect environment compensation: Toll collector to SC
The SMYR Consortium Ltd. on Monday told the Supreme Court that saddling it with collecting environment compensation charge (ECC) from commercial vehicles entering Delhi was a "humongous" additional responsibility which it was not ready to assume.
 
SMYR collects toll on behalf of three of Delhi's civic bodies at 125 entry points, except for Badarpur and Noida.
 
"As a commercial player, I am not ready to take over the obligation to collect the ECC. I don't want to assume the humongous obligation," counsel Shyam Divan told the bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Amitava Roy.
 
Seeking to exit from the responsibility of collecting ECC, Divan, appearing for petitioner SMYR, told the court: "You must, as a duty to justice, allow me to move out."
 
Comparing the October 9 order to changing the goal post in a level playing field, Divan told the court: "I don't want to assume the responsibility and wanted to opt out."
 
Petitioner SMYR said this as it sought recall or modification of the October 9 court order asking it to collect ECC from commercial vehicles entering Delhi.
 
As SMYR sought to opt out, amicus curiae Harish Salve disputed "every word" said on behalf of the toll collecting company, saying it was under contractual obligation to implement all orders of the court.
 
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, supported Salve by saying that there was a clause in the contract between SMYR and the municipal body that says the toll collector was obliged to carry out every order of the court.
 
As the matter is likely to take some time to be argued, the court directed further hearing on November 27.
 
In an attempt to curb commercial vehicles contributing to the already alarming air pollution, the apex court on October 9 imposed an ECC of Rs.700 on light vehicles and two-axle trucks and Rs.1,300 on 3 and 4 axle trucks entering the capital.
 
The ECC has been imposed for four months on an experimental basis and would remain in force till February 29, 2016.
 
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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Revenue-sharing model proposed for auction of gas fields
The government on Monday proposed to free domestic natural gas pricing and replace the existing production sharing contract (PSC) by the revenue-sharing model for all future acreage auctions.
 
"It is proposed to provide pricing and marketing freedom for the natural gas to be produced from the areas to be awarded under the new contractual and fiscal regime in order to incentivise production from these areas," the petroleum ministry said on its website, inviting comments from stakeholders on a consultation paper on new fiscal and contractual regime for award of hydrocarbon acreages.
 
"In the recently announced marginal field policy, the government has provided pricing and marketing freedom for the natural gas," it added.
 
In September, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved a landmark change in India's hydrocarbons exploration regime, sanctioning the auction of 69 small and marginal oil fields of state-owned ONGC and Oil India to private and foreign firms.
 
"For the first time, a revenue-sharing model is being approved in place of production-sharing contract," Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had told reporters here.
 
"The government of India has been reviewing policies from time to time for exploration activity and investment there in. Over the years, there has been a shift in the E&P (exploration and production) policy, from nomination acreage to competitive bidding," the notice said.
 
The ministry proposed a Uniform Licensing Policy that will allow exploitation of all forms of hydrocarbons - oil and gas as well as shale oil and gas and coal-bed methane under one permit.
 
It also proposed Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) allowing companies to choose the area for exploration rather than government identifying blocks and offering them in bid rounds.
 
Further, it proposed a revenue sharing model in place of the present fiscal system of production sharing based on Pre-Tax Investment Multiple (PTIM) and cost recovery.
 
Under the proposed regime companies offering the maximum revenue share or percentage of oil and gas to the government, and committing to do more work, will win the field.
 
As per current practice companies get blocks by bidding the maximum work programme, and recover all their investment before sharing profits with the government.
 
"In this model it is proposed that the bidders will bid the percentage of revenue that they will share with the government against two revenue scenarios -- when revenue is less than or equal to the Lower Revenue point and when revenue is more than or equal to Higher Revenue point," the paper said.
 
"The percentage government revenue share at revenue points falling between the lower and higher revenue points will be interpolated on a linear scale. Revenue, net of royalty (as applicable) will be shared between the contractor and the central government based on revenue accrued for oil and gas on a monthly basis," it added.
 
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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