News Wrap


The West Bengal Government after incurring huge expenditure, conducted five editions of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS). The state government had announced investment proposals of Rs.12.3 lacs crore in the state. The state government claimed complete transparency and there financial clearances with regular audit. After incurring huge expenditure, the five editions of BGBS were organized from Jan 2015 onwards. The total committed investment till Feb 2019 was about Rs.12,32,603 as apparent from details imparted by the state government. Till date the state government has not disclosed any details of the Rs.12.3 lac crores, and particularly the Rs.5 lac crore investment proposals, that were stated to be under implementation, as on 01 Feb 2019. There are no clarifications on the investment proposals. Details of BGBS, a mega annual event organized by West Bengal’s chief minister to industrialists in Bengal, are still awaited from the state government.

Successes In Jammu And Kahmir
Terrorism had devastated Jammu and Kasshmir region, as about 41,500 people were Killed in J and K between 1989 and Aug 2019. Proxy wars being sponsored by enemy forces in the neighbourhood had attempted to threaten Indian democracy. Post the abrogation of Article 370 in the first week of Aug 2019, the people of J and K now have the same rights, benefits and prospects as those in rest of India. Domestic certificate is now the basic eligibility condition for recruitment.

The Indian constitution is now applicable to J and K. Consequently 170 central laws have now become applicable to J and K, covering all the territories, assuring justice and fairness to the underpriviledged. The repudiation of Articles 370 and 35A have bestowed empowerment, equity and development on the people living in J and K. The rights of women marrying outside the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, now stand fully protected, and gender discrimination has ended. On 07 Nov 2015, India’s prime minister had announced a reconstruction plan of Rs.80,068 crore. Immediately after the formation of the UT of J and K, panchayati raj institutions were established and made functional. Rs.366 crores were released directly to 4483 panchayats. 506 of the 2273 development projects stand completed. 963 projects are scheduled for completion by Mar 2021. IIT Jammu and Srinagar-Leh transmission lines are completed. Works in major projects, including the Z Morh, Zoji La and New Banihal Tunnel are being executed on a war footing. Rs.881 crores was ear marked for rebuilding health institutions. 60 out of the 144 projects have been completed. There has been major progress in hydro-power generation, and flood management of the river Jhelum, the Jhelum – Tawi Recovery Project, Chenab Bridge (the highest railway bridge in the world), connectivity of Kashmir by rail, mega-multi projects like Ujh and Shahpur Kandi, and also the 330 mm Kishenganga project.

The J and K Infrastructure Monitoring System (JKIMS) allows the progress of work to be monitored on a real-time basis. The status of project implementation can be accessed by any individual. 45,000 employment opportunities are created in vigorous road construction projects. Focus is on for setting up over 330 schools and colleges, a university, improved medical infrastructure, including two AIIMSs, beginning of a light rail and public transport system and welfare measures for all including housing, implementation of women and child welfare schemes, support for farmers, orchardists and unorganized workers, expansion of tourism facilities, sports infrastructure, and border area development. To achieve 24 x 7 power for all, 60% of works have been completed. J and K achieved 100% household electrification, which has rekindled the hope of many who had never seen electricity in their lives. Household water connections have reached 43% rural households, which is double the national average of 21%. A road map has been prepared to ensure 100% coverage of piped water supply, to all 18.16 lac rural households by Dec 2021. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, J and K was embarked on constructing 5300 kms of road by 2020-21. Kashmir migrants have benefited from a series of welfare measures like employment, transit accommodation and monthly financial assistance. The government has rationalized reservation rules to give benefit to the marginalized sections, which have remained either unrepresented or under represented.

French Troops In Mali
France has spearheaded a counter – terrorism war in five West African countries, since 2013, which were earlier French colonies. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the president of Mali at the centre of the battle against Islamist extremists was ousted in the third week of Aug 2020, in a coup d’etat. It was a bloodless coup by a clutch of military officers who detained Keita and his prime minister. The French president Emmanuel Macron has refused to withdraw France’s 5100 troops from West Africa, even though extremist attacks have multiplied. Victory looks like a mirage in the crescent – shaped sand dunes, for which France’s Operation Barkhane is named. France is determined to maintain a military presence in West Africa intact, despite pockets of anti-French sentiment. West Africa could become France’s endless war.


Vol. 53, No. 13, sep 27 - Oct 3, 2020