Several changes were made in the foreign policy of India in 2014 when the new government was formed. Act East Policy was one of them. Since its enactment, it has come a long way in improving India’s ties with various nations in East and Southeast Asia and Indo-Pacific. However, since its enforcement, circumstances have changed. China’s influence is challenged by various aspects like the trade war, regional tensions in China, an increase in protectionist policies, etc. India needs to make use of this situation to enhance the Act East Policy to its advantage to counter China and improve its economy through trade with East and Southeast Asian nations.
The National Commission for Scheduled Tribe had written to the Union Home Minister and Union Minister of Tribal Affairs recommending the inclusion of Ladakh under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Union Territory of Ladakh, being predominantly a tribal region, has its own unique culture and heritage which needs to be preserved by the government for the inclusive growth and development of the diverse Indian nation.
The informal summit was held between India and China in October this year in the coastal town of Mamallapuram also known as Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. This is the second of such summits held between the two nations. In recent times, the informal summits have increasingly become an important tool to ease the tensions between the two rival nations and enhance the diplomatic relationship to prevent any future conflicts for the peace and stability of the region.
Women, who were long considered to be the "weak sex", in recent times, have made far-reaching achievements in almost all walks of life. However, India, despite having had a woman prime minister, chief ministers, and president, does not show any remarkable progress in the political and social empowerment of women.
The idea of women empowerment seems to have lost the vigour it had enjoyed during the time of freedom movement when Mahatma Gandhi mobilized as many women as men during the freedom struggle.
Nowadays, there is a need for special political interventions for the inclusion of equal representation of women in Indian politics as even the prominent female political representatives are feeling marginalised within their respective parties.
Many women politicians in the electoral and party politics are an ineffective minority within their political parties while the male politicians dominate the functioning of the political party.
Therefore, political interventions like Women’s Reservation Bill are a need of the hour to address the social shackles that are suppressing the equal representation of women in Indian society.
The Public Distribution System, India’s landmark food security system, was commenced in 1944 to address the poverty that was affecting the country during that time. It is a vital instrument that ensures the availability of certain essential commodities at an affordable price for the poor. Regardless, this system is often criticized for its inefficiency and corruption. The low-quality food grains from the ration shops are not enough to address the needs of the poor. India has the largest stock of grains in the world besides China. Yet, 21% of the Indian population remains undernourished. The government must address the corruption, inefficiency and low-quality food grains of the PDS for its success.
Russia has been a time-tested partner of India for a long time now. Relationship with Russia is a key pillar of India’s foreign policy. The bilateral ties, in recent times, have suffered minor drawbacks due to India’s inclination towards the West and Russia’s growing relationship with China. Despite these differences, India-Russia ties remain strong. It can be seen through PM Modi’s visit to Vladivostok to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the 5th Eastern Economic Forum. Mr. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Russian Far East and this visit is intended to give “a new direction, new energy, and new speed” to the bilateral relations.
The North-Eastern part of India has for a long time been isolated from the rest of India. This is due to various factors like geographical terrain and ethnic differences. The Government of India in recent times has increased its presence through developmental projects while gradually reducing the military presence in the region. Despite these measures, the numerous separatist groups are uniting with each other for the coordinated achievement of their goals. This is a challenge to India as their presence is hindering economic development in the region. An efficient peace negotiation is a need of the hour.
Lok Sabha, in July this year, had passed Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in order to hasten the water disputes between the States. India occupies 2.4% of the World’s total land area and it consists of 18% of the world population with only 4% of the world’s renewable water resource. Furthermore, India’s water distribution is uneven – a situation favourable for an increase in the possibility of water-related conflicts. Due to these disputes, the local issues are prioritized of the superior issues of national importance. The sense of unity among the people of India is being jeopardized by these irksome issues. Thus, Inter-State Water Dispute (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is a need of the hour as existing Act as not addressing the issue with needed efficiency.