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NC Suggestions: The Best Opinion Pieces Of The Day

Here's a curation of the opinion pieces that caught our attention today.

  • Stop enslavement of our children: Despite laws criminalising it, child labour and trafficking continue apace

In his column for Times of India, Kailash Satyarthi states how 80% of India’s workforce is employed in the unorganised and informal sector, including agriculture, domestic work, daily wage earners and other home-based and small-scale industry.

It is in this sector that children are most abused through forced labour, trafficking, slavery and physical and sexual exploitation. This abuse of children thrives in the absence of regulatory policy, accountable institutions and an apathetic society. And it is on the shoulders of this unseen, unpaid, underage and exploited workforce that we hope to achieve real and sustainable economic growth. This is both logically and ethically problematic.

Placement agencies operate as hubs of trafficking, in the absence of regulatory policy. Crime is perpetuated through inadequate police and judicial infrastructure, along with slow and corrupt prosecution. We must stop using poverty as an excuse for slavery and bondage of our children. If we do not educate and empower our children today, are we not perpetuating the cycle of poverty?

  • His choice, his misstep

Speaking about Pranab Mukherjee’s decision to address RSS meet in Nagpur, Kapil Sibal wrote an opinion for The Indian Express stating that Congress has nothing to worry about.

I don’t think his presence gives legitimacy to obscurantist forces that seek to paint India saffron. The Congress need not be unduly perturbed. He did not go there as a representative of the party. Had that been so, he would not have given any space to those who are seeking to prosecute the Congress president.

He went there, I think, to symbolise the forces that represent the mainstream of Indian politics reasserting itself. That he could have done the same without embarrassing mainstream India was a matter of his choice. That choice was a misstep. To have him pay respect to the bhagwa jhanda and refer to Hedgewar as a great son of India will be moments that will be savoured by the RSS: Moments embarrassing for the idea of India.

Can statehood solve Delhi’s problems?

Commenting on Aam Aadmi Party’s demand for complete statehood of Delhi, Niranjan Sahoo expressed his personal views on the matter in a column with Hindustan Times and writes that while there is no harm in aspiring for statehood, a long history of flip-flops by governments of every hue at the Centre suggests that it is like chasing a chimera. When in the opposition, political parties make statehood as their top electoral agenda but take complete U-turn once in power.

Globally, Delhi is not an exception. A survey of major national capitals which I undertook shows that with the exception of Tokyo and Berlin, an overwhelming majority of national governments have serious reservations even on granting autonomy, let alone statehood for capital cities. Given that national capitals house critical infrastructures such as parliament, presidential estates, defence and foreign missions, most governments maintain strategic control over the city’s critical services like land and public order. The uncomfortable truth is that central governments lack complete trust in the ability of city governments.

  • The Modi Government is Losing the Plot on Public Sector Banks

Commenting on the failure of Narendra Modi government to put in place a template to transform PSBs, Subir Roy wrote an opinion for The Wire, saying that the current government is short on both ideas and action.

Vacancies persist and are not filled up on time because of intensive lobbying by politicians, bureaucrats and bankers which ties the hands of the bureaucrats who have to move the papers. The persistence of top vacancies indicates that the present government is being held to ransom by lobbying the same way the previous one was.

The insolvency and bankruptcy code will speed up recoveries of past bad debts and create a consciousness about the ills of over leveraging among promoters and bankers. But a lot more needs to be done for banks to be run professionally. Now, with just about a year to go for elections, a finance minister who can only slowly recover from major surgery and get back to work full time, and leadership in the hands of a minister holding additional charge along with a whole lot of other serious responsibilities, there is little chance of a new regime being put in place soon. This is not much of a record to speak of, going into the polls.

  • Raja Mandala: When guns fall silent

This year’s Ramzan is raising hopes for peace, if only temporary, writes C. Raja Mohan in his column for The Indian Express. He stated that Rawalpindi’s credibility in Delhi and Kabul may not be very high, but we have seen some interesting things happen in the last few weeks.

That Washington has been mounting pressure on Pakistan to stop destabilising Afghanistan and Kashmir over the last one year is not a secret. In his South Asia policy articulated last summer, President Donald Trump had warned Pakistan to stop supporting terror groups on its soil or face the consequences. The US has begun to cut its assistance to Pakistan and put Islamabad on the watchlist of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) earlier this year.

As we get closer to Ramzan celebrations this week, there is speculation that more steps could follow, for example on a prisoner exchange. Both Kabul and the Taliban have called for such a move. Meanwhile, Delhi’s decision to extend the ceasefire in Kashmir could reinforce the peace sentiments across the Subcontinent. While the hopes for a durable peace might be premature, the conflicts in Kashmir and Afghanistan might be entering a new phase in their long and depressing history.

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