India Insight

Indian Army Day: Road to reform?

INDIA

January 15 is celebrated as India’s Army Day each year. Sixty-two years ago on this day, the first Indian officer took over as Commander–in–Chief of the army.

Lately, the Indian army has been under constant scrutiny. From modernization of equipment to the moral character of the organisation, many believe the army is facing too many problems at the same time.

In the recent past, there was a media frenzy about Chinese incursions and violation of Indian air space along the Line of Actual Control and also speculation whether the army would fight the growing left-wing extremism in its own country.

N. Manoharan, Senior Fellow, Centre for Land and Warfare studies, wrote in an article that reforms in the military sector are imperative for India to make a leap from a regional power to a leading global power. They are also vital to achieve the primary objective of securing the country from external and internal adversaries, he said.

Do you think the Indian Army has too many concerns to deal with? Is it time for the army to review the many aspects of the organisation?

Ruchika case: Easy on the policeman?

Ruchika Girhotra, a 14-year-old tennis player, was molested by then Haryana police IG S.P.S. Rathore in Panchkula in 1990.

Three years later, Ruchika killed herself, which her friend and case witness Aradhana attributes to the harassment of Ruchika and her family by those in power.

Nineteen years later, Rathore walks away with six months of rigorous imprisonment and a 1000-rupee fine, reportedly due to his old age and the “prolonged trial”.

Justice no longer delayed: Moily’s roadmap for reform

If Law Minister Veerappa Moily has his way, horror stories of years, even decades, spent waiting for a court verdict may soon be a thing of the past.

In an interview to a national daily this week, Moily said his ministry is planning to set up 5,000 new courts in the next three years, each working in three shifts to clear a backlog of  27.4 million cases pending in trial courts.

The Moily ministry’s roadmap for judicial reforms sees court cases resolved in just a year. At present, some cases drag on for 15 years or more.

Peddling reforms for street vendors?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken a step towards unshackling the poorest of entrepreneurs — the street vendors.

In a letter to chief ministers, this week, Singh called for a “new deal” for urban street vendors and implementation of the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009 — which would enable vendors to ply their trade without harassment.

These include hawkers, sidewalk traders or even the people selling clothes or utensils at the weekly market.

Should Indian judges be above the law?

India’s law minister on Tuesday was forced to defer the introduction of the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill because of strong protests from the opposition as well as his own party members.

For once, they raised their voices in unison against the provision that while judges are required to declare their assets before a designated authority, they are protected from public scrutiny and questioning.

A hotly contested section of the Bill says: “no judge shall be subjected to any inquiry or query in relation to the contents of the declaration by any person”.

Crude realities for India’s economy

sg1.JPGOnly last year Indian policymakers were showing off the strong fundamentals of the economy to the world and pressing for a seat at the high table of global fora. Everything was going well — high growth, a surging stockmarket and a lot of attention from global investors attention.

But high oil prices and rising inflation threaten to bring the India growth story to its knees. Finance Minister PalaniappanChidambaram’s speech at a meeting of oil producing and consuming nations in Jeddah on Sunday showed the cracks in India’s confidence levels.

No doubt oil prices have spiralled, threatening the economic gains made by developing countries, as Chidambaram said in his speech.

  •