News Wrap


After the results of the March 2017 State Assembly elections, the population under Bharatiya Janata Party-NDA ruled states, has gone up from 46.2% of India’s total, to 61.1%. More than 60% of India’s population now lives in states either ruled by the BJP or in partnership. The NDA state’s population tally (740.1 million) is now nearly seven times that of the states, ruled by the Congress Party and its allies (107.2 million), by the census 2011 data as basis. With the addition of Punjab, the population under the six Congress led states and those ruled by it through alliances has also surged from 6.4% to 8.9%. But the total population of Congress support states at 107.2 million, is just a little over half the population of Uttar Pradesh under BJP fold, having 199.81 million. Five other states of the ten most populous states in Census 2011 are now in the NDA control, including Maharashtra (112 million), Andhra Pradesh (84 million), Madhya Pradesh (72 million), Rajasthan (68 million) and Gujarat (60 million). Four others in the most populous states, ruled by other parties are Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

As per statistics, India’s growth over the next decade will be primarily led by eight high performing states, viz Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand along with clusters and cities. Five of these states are in the NDA fold, while only one is under Congress rule now.

Doctors in Chattisgarh
The number of doctors in the district hospital of Bijapur (Chattisgrah) has tripled, from eight to twenty four. This is a result of the Chattisgarh government devising incentives to get doctors to Naxal-dominated areas, a year ago. The number of nurses has risen from ten to thirty six. Large government boards all over carrying pictures of those killed by Maoists and cautioning  people about the left wing extremists adorn district headquarters, Bijapur. It is a little more than a small town. Right in the middle of the town, stands Bijapur district hospital building, with clean tiles, up-to-date medical equipments, two new operation theatres and a blood bank. In the last one year, two gynaecologists, one pathologist, two paediatricians, a general surgeon, a specialist in anasthesia and an ophthalmologist have joined Bijapur district hospital. Around mid-2016, the state government announced a differential package system of pay scales, with non-naxal plain areas at the lowest, and tribal, inaccessible Naxal areas at the highest end of the scale. Doctors’ salaries in core Maoist districts like Bijapur can now be as high as Rs 2.5 lacs per month. Funds are used from the District Mineral Foundation and National Health Mission.

Legal Battles
The rule of law is collapsing in India, under a backlog of 33 million criminal and legal cases, which is estimated to take 320 years to clear. India is on par with the United States, as a society of litigations. Many fast growing economies have between 35 to 40 judges per million people, in the US it is more than 100; whereas in India, it is 18 judges for every 1 million people. India’s judge shortage is rendered acute by many untitled vacancies, the lack of modern technology in court houses, lawyer’s deliberate delaying tactics to stall cases, and an abundance of relatively frivolous litigation.  Private company Nestle managed a relatively quick judicial relief, when a court overturned a two-month old ban on its popular Maggi noodles in 2015. But when disputes arise, most investors in India turn to international arbitration for a quick resolution. Last year, prime minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government notified 57% of its trading partners, including a clutch of European countries, that it wants to renegotiate its existing bilateral investment treaties. New Delhi is now demanding that investors in India must exhaust all domestic legal remedies, to resolve disputes, before moving to international arbitration.

Missile Shields
North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea of Japan, in the first week of March 2017. It was in defiance of military exercises by South Korea and the United States, which South Korea claims are preparations for an invasion. The project files did not appear to be intercontinental ballistic missiles. The four missiles flew about 620 miles, and three landed within Japan’s ‘‘Exclusive Economic Zone.’’ A fourth splashed down
just outside the EEZ. Japan and the international community have condemned the missiles landing in Japanese waters. The peak height of the missile was 160 miles, suggesting that they were medium-range weapons, of the kind North Korea is banned from possessing under UN sanctions.

USA and South Korea have begun to deploy the controversial terminal high altitude area defence system (THAAD), which is designed to intercept and destroy short, medium and inter-mediate range ballistic missiles, as they approach their targets.

Vol. 49, No.50, Jun 18 - 24, 2017