Above the fold: Top stories of the day
1. The Union home ministry has issued an advisory to state governments, asking them to have “zero tolerance” for incidents such as Dadri, or “any attempt to weaken the secular fabric”.
2. With at least 12 local youths joining militant groups in the last couple of months, there has been a surge in violence in the Kashmir Valley.
3. Overcoming opposition by Catholic groups, Agnes of God opens to cheering crowds in Mumbai.
The Big Story: Sunny side of the street
It was all good cheer and colour-coordinated jackets as German Chancellor Angel Merkel met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Monday. Modi offered his signature “fast-track clearance mechanism”, 18 MoUs were signed to boost trade and, in a quiet epilogue to last year’s German-Sanskrit row, the two leaders agreed that German would be restored to Kendriya Vidyalayas and modern Indian languages would be taught in German schools. Significantly, the two countries also agreed to form the India Germany Climate and Renewable Energy Alliance, as Berlin pledged two billion euros in aid of clean energy in India.
India, the world’s third-largest carbon emitter after the United States and China, has seen a new focus on renewable energy, moving away from its dependence on fossil fuels. This new commitment has been most visible in the government’s engagement with international leaders and forums. In a warm up conference ahead of the climate change summit in Paris this year, India pledged to increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy to 40% and cut emissions by 35% by 2030. At Monday’s meeting, Merkel promised one billion euros in aid for solar projects, a key component of India’s clean energy push. In the US last month, Modi had emphasised his government’s efforts to tap renewable energy sources like solar power. Back in January, Modi and President Obama had agreed to cooperate in boosting solar energy.
As India travels into uncharted territory, it will have to untangle some of the issues arising from these new foreign partnerships – the US, for instance, recently complained to the World Trade Organisation about India’s “protectionist” solar policy, even as it nurtures its own industry by providing subsidies to manufacturers at the federal, state and local levels. If managed right, India’s redefined energy agenda could have a promising future.
The Big Scroll: Scroll.in on the day’s biggest story
Latha Jishnu warns of US encroachment on India’s solar energy policy.
Politicking and policying
1. Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan has called a meeting of the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority to examine whether increased buffalo meat exports are really a cover for cow slaughter and the export of beef.
2. An anxious BJP has increased the number of Modi rallies in Bihar.
3. World Bank suggests that India may be overestimating the number of its poor.
4. In Varanasi, a row over idol immersion turned violent on Monday, with vehicles being torched, many injured and curfew imposed for some hours in four areas of the city.
1. In the Indian Express, C. Raja Mohan writes about the “Hindu-German conspiracy” of the early 20th century, when nationalist revolutionaries in India made common cause with the Kaiser’s Germany.
2. In the Hindu, Ananya Vajpeyi argues that under the Hindu Right, India is witnessing another phase of reaction and orthodoxy.
3. In the Economic Times, Mukul Sharma warns that an expedition to Mars would be no adventureholiday.
Shovon Chowdhury on a more transparent index for corruption:
“The problem with corruption is, we have no standards. Even earthquakes have standards. When we register 7.0 on the Richter scale, we feel a modest sense of pride. Our approach requires more professionalism. It’s why the Japanese are so far ahead. What we want are solid numbers, preferably audited by CAG. We want balance sheets, and profit and loss statements, and net asset values. We need facts that we can trust. Wipro and Infosys are compared this way. Why should scams be different? Proper quantitative tools lead to better understanding.
The Goa case provides an illustration. The sums of money were small, but then, so is the state. Logically speaking, we should factor in population. Hence one useful measure of scams would be a Scam Outlay Per Capita or SOPC Index. Let us apply this to Goa. Goa has a population of 14.6 lakhs. Dividing rupees in crores by people in crores, a scam involving Rs 1.7 crores yields an SOPC Index of 11.6. Now, look at Madhya Pradesh. MP has a population of 7.27 crores. A scam of Rs 40,000 crores gives us an SOPC Index of 5502. This means that compared to Goa, we should be 500 times more upset about MP.”