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Current Affairs - 10 August 2018

General Affairs 

Violence In Pockets of Maharashtra On Maratha Strike
  • Maratha protesters demanding reservation in jobs and education, resorted to violence in pockets of Maharashtra today enforce a day-long bandh. Mumbai They blocked roads in Latur, Jalna, Solapur and Buldhana districts and vandalised property at the Pune district collectorate. Cellphone internet service has been suspended in seven blocks of the Pune district as precautionary measure. State capital Mumbai, however, was peaceful. The strike was held despite Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' assurances that his government was working on providing reservation. The Chief Minister had sought time till November.

    The Sakal Maratha Samaj, an umbrella body of Maratha groups, called for the strike across Maharashtra, except Navi Mumbai, which had witnessed large-scale violence last month during protests by the community.

    Schools and colleges remained shut today in parts of the state. The state-run public transport services were partially suspended in Osmanabad and Buldhana districts as precautionary measures.

    In Pune's Khorud, bicycles were set ablaze by protesters. In Latur, a group of protesters blocked roads from midnight and disrupted the vehicular movement.

    At the Pune district collectorate, around 4,000 to 5,000 agitators gathered in the morning. The agitation had started on a peaceful note with a sit-in, collector Naval Kishor Ram was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. But after some time, some protesters turned violent and damaged the main gate and glass of the security guard's cabin.

    In Pune city, the authorities made extensive security  arrangements. Over 7,000 policemen were deployed along with some companies of the State Reserve Police Force and Rapid Action Force, said city police chief Venkatesham K.

    A politically influential community in the state, the Marathas have been demanding 16 per cent reservation. Yesterday, senior state minister Chandrakant Patil said "nothing can be done" on the demand for reservation till November 15.

    Earlier, the community's silent, orderly marches had made headlines, but last month, violence broke out after a couple of protesters committed suicide.
    On July 25, Maratha protesters bent on implementing a statewide strike, clashed with the police in various pockets of the state, including Navi Mumbai. Arterial roads, including the Mumbai-Pune expressway, were blocked and three protesters committed suicide.

    This month, the Maratha Kranti Morcha, which had called last month's Mumbai strike, organized a week-long "Jail Bharo Andolan" (fill the jails protest).

    Police say between July 18 and July 27, 276 cases of violence were registered across the state during the quota agitation. Property, including both public and private, worth more than Rs. 4.5 crore was damaged within those 10 days.

65% Of Those Killed In Accidents In 18-35 Age Group: Transport Minister
  • Sixty five per cent of the people killed in road accidents belong to the 18-35 year age group, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
    Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari also said 786 "black spots" have been identified along highways where most accidents take place and corrective road engineering efforts are being carried out to rectify the flaw.

    He said there are some spots where over 50 accidents have taken place.

    Responding to supplementary, he said people should avoid drunk driving and talking on cell phone. He said 65 per cent of those killed in road accidents are in the age group of 18 to 35 years.

    He also urged UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to help pass the Motor Vehicle Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha for over a year, saying most of the problems faced by commuters will end.

    While referring to corruption, he said some RTO organisations have been making representations about the pending bill. He said the bill does not aim to usurp powers of the state governments by giving power to register vehicles to private parties.

    Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai said by giving powers to private parties, the powers of the state would be taken away and they would become mere municipalities.

    He said it would set a bad precedent as RTOs are being considered as corrupt.

    Mr Gadkari said he is willing to give in writing that the power of the states would not be taken away by the new bill.

Centre Clears Watered Down Triple Talaq Bill For Rajya Sabha
  • A proposed law to make triple talaq or instant divorce an offence is set to be diluted by the government before it is taken up in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.

    The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 has been passed in the Lok Sabha but was stalled in the Rajya Sabha in January, amid protests by the opposition. The watered-down version is expected to win the support of the Congress and other opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority.

    "Triple Talaq" is the practice of Muslim men getting an instant divorce by saying the word "talaq" thrice. The proposed law makes "Triple Talaq" an offence with a jail term of up to three years and a fine. The woman will be entitled to maintenance.

    In the tweaked version, the complaint can be filed only by the woman or her family. The woman can also drop charges if her husband is open to a compromise. The possibility of bail has been brought in; a judge can decide whether to grant bail after hearing the wife.

    Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government had taken note of concerns that anyone, even neighbours, could file complaints and the couple had no chance to compromise. He said the police still can't grant bail but a magistrate can, after hearing the wife. Retaining the non-bailable provision, he added, would be a deterrent.

    "I believe deterrence is very important in law. Once the husband goes to jail, he will straighten out and compromises will happen," the minister said.

    The proposed law also addresses "nikah halala", which requires the divorced woman to marry someone else and consummate the marriage if she wants to remarry her husband.

    The significant changes, long demanded by the opposition, come ahead of a series of polls - the state elections later this year and the 2019 national polls.

    "I want to ask Sonia Gandhi, will you stand up for women's honour and pride? Congress should make their stand clear," Mr Prasad said.

    Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, reacting to the government's move, said: "You have wasted one and a half sessions by spreading misinformation... I can't react to it or give you an advance certificate. It hasn't come to us yet."

    Recently, the bill starred in the Law Minister's taunt to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

    When last month, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "walk the talk" on the women's quota bill, Mr Prasad wrote back urging the Congress to support the "triple talaq" bill.

A First Time MP Who Became Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman
  • Newly elected Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh preferred the struggle of journalism to a cushy government job in his early days and did well in his chosen field while also maintaining good ties with politicians.
    The 62-year-old first time MP from Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) had briefly worked as an adviser to the former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar but went back to journalism after that government fell.

    A candidate of the ruling NDA, he was elected to the deputy chairman's post today securing 125 votes against 105 for Congress MP B K Hariprasad, who was a joint opposition candidate.

    Born in Balia in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Harivansh's close aides say he was a meritorious student and went on to do M A in Economics and Diploma in Journalism from Banaras Hindu University.

    He comes from the same region where socialist leader and anti-Emergency crusader Jai Prakash Narayan was born.

    While he landed a government job as a bank officer, he chose to work as a journalist and rose to become the Chief Editor of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar.

    He has authored and edited several books in Hindi, especially on Bihar and Jharkhand. His bio data on the Rajya Sabha website says he has also been honoured for his outstanding contribution to Hindi.

    Considered to be close to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Mr Harivansh was chosen as one of nominees of the party for the Upper House in 2014.

    That time, Mr Harivansh was candidate of a party whose allies included the RJD and the Congress.

    Many believe his affable and low-profile personality coupled with friendship across political divides will come handy for him in conducting the business at the Rajya Sabha.

Indonesia Earthquake Death Toll Rises To 164, At Least 1400 Injured
  • The death toll from a devastating earthquake on the Indonesian island of Lombok has risen above 160, an official said on Thursday, as authorities urgently appealed for medicine, food and clean water for some 156,000 people displaced by the disaster.

    Many frightened villagers are staying under tents or tarpaulins dotted along roads or in parched rice fields, and makeshift medical facilities have been set up to treat the injured.

    Evacuees in some encampments say they are running out of food, while others are suffering psychological trauma after the powerful quake, which struck just one week after another tremor surged through the island and killed 17.

    "The death toll rose to 164 people with at least 1,400 people seriously injured and 156,000 displaced," national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

    Tens of thousands of homes, businesses and mosques were levelled by the quake, which struck on Sunday as evening prayers were being said across the Muslim-majority island.

    Local authorities, international relief groups and the central government have begun organising aid, but shattered roads have slowed efforts to reach survivors in the mountainous north of Lombok, which bore the brunt of the quake.

    "We are still waiting for assessments from some of the more remote areas in the north of the island, but it is already clear that Sunday's earthquake was exceptionally destructive," Christopher Rassi, the head of a Red Cross assessment team on Lombok, said in a statement.

    He estimated 75 per cent of houses are damaged in some villages in east and north Lombok.

    "There are still some evacuees that have not yet been touched by aid, especially in North Lombok and West Lombok," Nugroho tweeted Thursday.

Business Affairs

Govt working on turnaround plan for Air India, may allow airlines to raise external commercial borrowing
  • As the Civil Aviation Ministry plans Rs 11,000-crore bailout package for ailing Air India, Aviation Secretary RN Choubey on Thursday confirmed that the centre is working on a turnaround plan to make the debt-ridden airline competitive. Also, the centre is working on ways to let all airlines raise external commercial borrowing to meet the rising operational costs. The decision seems to have been taken in wake of private airlines facing huge losses in wake of rising fuel cost and falling rupee value.

    "We would like to make sure that Air India as a state-owned enterprise remains competitive and its market share does not go down, which may require capacity induction... We will also ensure that sufficient delegation (of power) is given to the board of directors to decide on operational matters," Choubey said, reported Mint.

    On Tuesday, it was reported that the Civil Aviation Ministry has approached the Finance Ministry for another bailout package of Rs 11,000 crore, but the process is still at a preliminary stage. The bailout package for Air India would help clean up its balance sheet, thereby making it attractive for investors when the government decides to its strategic stake sale again.

    As part of the turnaround plan, the government wants major changes in terms of operational matters. The government may give the board of directors' additional powers to take decisions on operational issues, a key hurdle for the airline to compete with other private players operating in India.

    Also, external commercial borrowing could also be a breather for private airlines, which are struggling to keep up with revenues due to high fuel cost, interest costs, and declining rupee value. The recent casualty in case is Jet Airways. The airline reportedly told its employees to take up to 25 per cent salary cut -- 5% for employees earning Rs 12 lakh per annum, 25% for employees earning up to Rs 1 crore, and 17 per cent for pilots -- due to rising operational expenses. However, the company later took back its decision but, by then, its stock had already taken quite a hit.

    The full service carrier's stock slumped over 12 per cent since July 2 and in intra-day trading on Thursday, it touched a 52-week low of Rs 286.95 apiece. Though the airline has not released its quarterly results, it posted net loss of Rs 1,040 crore in Q4 of FY18.

    Similarly, budget carrier IndiGo's profit declined 96.6 per cent to Rs 27.80 crore for the June quarter -- all due to adverse impact of foreign exchange, high fuel prices and the competitive fare environment. The airline had reported Rs 811.1-crore profit in the year-ago quarter.

Supreme Court sends Jaypee Infratech back to NCLT, bars promoters from bidding
  • A year after IDBI Bank dragged Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL) to bankruptcy court for defaulting on Rs 526 crore loan - and after a protracted battle that made the rounds of the NCLAT and the Supreme Court - the ball is back in the National Company Law Tribunal's court.

    The top court today asked the Allahabad bench of the NCLT to deal with the insolvency proceedings against Jaypee Infratech, allowing a second round of bidding. Significantly, in a major setback to the Jaypee group, the Court barred parent firm Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) as well as the group's promoters from participating in it.

    A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the 180 day timeframe set by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to conclude the insolvency proceedings - not including the grace period of 90 days - will commence from today. The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, has disposed off all the petitions and applications pending before it.

    The Supreme Court further said the Rs 750 crore it had directed JIL to deposit in the court registry - in order to protect the interest of homebuyers - shall be transferred to NCLT Allahabad.

    The fresh Committee of Creditors (CoC) that will now have to be set up will include homebuyers. As the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) previously pointed out, homebuyers are now considered financial creditors under the amended IBC. Hence, the CoC, which usually included banks and FIs, will henceforth have to consider the views of homebuyers while deciding the resolution plan of a company.

    Compounding the Jaypee Group's woes, the apex court also allowed the Reserve Bank of India to direct the banks to initiate separate insolvency proceedings against JAL.

    In the previous round of bidding for JIL, Lakshadweep Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between Sudhir Valia-led Suraksha Asset Reconstruction Company and Mumbai-based Dosti Reality, had emerged the front-runner with a bid of around Rs 7,350 crore. But plenty of disgruntlement followed since the bid was far lower than JIL's liquidation value pegged at Rs 15,000 crore.

    Can JIL's lenders get luckier in the second round? That's seems slightly far-fetched at the moment given that the beleaguered company posted a net loss of over Rs 1,818 crore in the year ended March 31. In fact, according to the Supreme Court, it was estimated that the liability of the firm had snowballed to Rs 30,000 crore from Rs 2,000 crore.

More of tax payers' money will be wasted if govt holds on to Air India
  • Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar has said that Air India Ltd should be made profitable before it is sold so that the government can get a good price. It is a sentiment I have heard earlier - from Swadeshi Jagran Manch National Co-Convenor Ashwini Mahajan at a lunch we both attended. There are others associated with the government and the BJP who no doubt have similar views.

    The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores the reality of Air India. Over the past decade, the government has sunk many thousand crores of tax payer money in keeping Air India afloat. Since 2012 alone, the government has sunk Rs 27,195.21 crore to keep the carrier flying. Reports suggest that Air India has sought a Rs 1,000 crore short term loan urgently from the government for its working capital requirements. The government was anyway planning to infuse about Rs 980 crore this year to support the carrier. Air  India is reportedly so strapped for cash that it has had to delay salary disbursements several months in a row, and also delayed vendor payments. Air India makes losses every year, and last year it lost around Rs 5,765 crore. With crude oil prices rising, all carriers are facing the heat from higher aviation fuel costs. This is going to affect the margins of even super-efficient carriers like Indigo. For Air India, it would mean piling on more financial misery - and therefore more money required from the government to keep flying.

    The government meanwhile has shown no great intent or appetite for taking hard decisions and turning around Air India. In 2017 alone, Air India saw three new chairmen - Pradeep Singh Khairola, currently holding charge, his predecessor being Rajeev Bansal who in turn was succeeded Ashwini Lohani. Mr Lohani had taken over from Rohit Nandan in 2015. In fact, Mr Nandan was the last chairman of Air India to have had a decent term - having served from 2011 to 2015.

    Needless to say the rapid changes at the top of Air India does not give any chairman enough time to make any substantive changes to the carrier. All the chairman of Air India also have been career bureaucrats. Though that is not necessarily a disqualification, Air India could do with perhaps an airline professional at the top who is given enough of a tenure and enough powers to do make substantive changes. The problem with almost all the CMDs who have headed Air India so far is that their powers have been limited. They have had to deal with meddling from the civil aviation ministry bureaucrats and civil aviation ministers who have their own ideas.

    The biggest problem all of them have faced though is that none of them can do anything to tackle Air India's recalcitrant staff. The national carrier is over staffed and inefficient and while it no doubt has many competent executives, it also has a huge number of bad ones who enjoy job security and high salaries with little work to do. It has 11 unions which can paralyse operations if they feel slighted in the least. And the government has never backed any CMD so far to take on the staff or reduce numbers. Not the UPA and not the NDA.

    Turning around Air India is not going to be easy even for any private aviation player if they buy it. That is a sentiment I have heard from different aviation professionals working in the private sector.

    Most importantly, no one who is opposing the Air India sale currently has offered a blueprint to turn it around. Not the civil aviation ministry, not Niti Aayog and not Mr Mahajan. But it is wrong to blame them because even the UPA government had no idea about how to solve the aviation problem.

    Consider this. If Air India had been a private sector carrier, it would have closed down long ago. The government and the opposition love to rant about Vijay Mallya running away without repaying his bank loans. If I am not wrong, he owns Rs 6000-6500 crore as principal and another Rs 3000 crore as interest. The government has sunk three times as much on saving Air India (which incidentally offers much worse service than Kingfisher did) in the past four years itself. Meanwhile, there are reports that Jet Airways is in serious financial trouble. Its losses have mounted and its cash flow situation if bad. Again, the problems at Jet are probably far lower than it is at Air India.

    Worldwide, aviation is a brutal business and it is worse in India because of aviation fuel and other costs. Only a few companies manage to remain profitable. If the government decides to wait until Air India turns a profit before looking for a sale, it would be many, many years, if at all before such a sale takes place. Again if it were a profitable airline, why would the government need to sell it.

    Turning Air India profitable is a nice idea - it is also a utopian idea as far as the government is concerned. And the longer it delays selling Air India, the more tax payer money will be wasted on it. Money which could be better spent - on education, agriculture, infrastructure or even defence.

Carry driving license, RC on your phone! Govt validates digital copies
  • States have been asked to accept driving licence, registration certificate or other documents in 'electronic form' presented through DigiLocker or mParivahan platforms, the government said today.

    It also said that impounding of documents will be reflected electronically through 'eChallan' system.

    "The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has issued an advisory to states to accept Driving Licence, Registration Certificate or other documents in 'electronic form' presented through DigiLocker or mParivahan platform as valid under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and treat them at par with the certificates issued by the transport authorities," according to the ministry's statement.

    This is in response to a number of grievances and RTI applications received in the ministry where citizens have raised the issue that the documents available in DigiLocker or the mParivahan app are not considered valid by the traffic police or the motor vehicles department, when asked to produce.

    "The advisory clarifies that the DigiLocker platform of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the mParivahan mobile app of the Road Transport and Highways Ministry has the facility to pull a citizen's driving licence or the registration certificate or any other certificate in an electronic form," the statement said.

    These electronic records available on DigiLocker or mParivahan are deemed to be legally recognised at par with the original documents as per the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

    As per the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, the owner/driver has to produce the documents -- licence or certificate of registration etc to the authority on demand.

    The advisory further said that the data related to the insurance of new vehicles and renewal of insurance of vehicles is also being uploaded by the Insurance Information Board (IIB) on the VAHAN database on a daily basis now and the same is reflected on the mParivahan/eChallan app of the ministry.

    "If the vehicle registration details on the mParivahan/eChallan app contain the details of the policy which is in force, then the requirement of a physical copy of the insurance certificate is also not to be enforced," it said.

    Regarding cases of offence when there is a requirement of the documents to be impounded, the enforcement agencies can have such impounding reflected in the VAHAN/SARATHI database electronically through the eChallan system.

    "There would be no requirement of physical seizure of such documents. This IT based online verification of certificates is expected to help the enforcement authority in ensuring the genuineness of the details which further would result in better compliance and effective monitoring," it said.

    States using any such online enforcement solution through alternative database have been asked to transfer the relevant information electronically through web service of VAHAN/SARATHI database.

Panel calls for phone tapping power to Sebi; holding relatives accountable for info leak
  • Suggesting sweeping reforms, a high-level committee today recommended market watchdog Sebi to seek powers to intercept calls to aid investigations and also grant immunity to whistleblowers blowing the lid off frauds and other violations.

    The committee suggested a series of changes in rules on market frauds, insider trading, surveillance and investigations, while recommending mandatory whistle-blower policies at listed firms and a searchable list of all immediate relatives and persons living at the same address with those in possession of price-sensitive information.

    Many recommendations assume significance in the wake of several high-profile cases being probed by Sebi and other agencies where relatives of senior executives, as also various employees, at listed companies have come under scanner.

    These cases include those related to ICICI Bank, Videocon Industries as also a number of top blue-chip firms such as HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Tata Motors where sensitive financial information allegedly got leaked over WhatsApp before their formal announcements.

    The panel, headed by former law secretary and Lok Sabha's ex-secretary general T K Viswanathan, said such information should be readily available with the listed companies and market intermediaries to be provided to Sebi whenever asked, as also an electronic record of all persons with whom price sensitive information is shared.

    Making public the 116-page report by the committee, Sebi said it has suggested that the regulations against frauds should also cover all market participants and their employees as well as agents of intermediaries.

    The regulator has sought comments from public on the committee's recommendations till August 24.

    The committee was set up in August last year as it was felt that a strong legal framework and strict enforcement actions are required to deal with market abuse and ensure fair market conduct in the securities market.

    The committee noted that often, due to lack of explicit provision in the regulations, the intermediaries alone are held responsible for any fraud. This gives scope to the employees and agents of these intermediaries to escape after indulging in fraudulent activity.

    The committee has recommended that "Sebi may seek direct power to intercept calls to aid in investigation, akin to the power granted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes. However, proper checks and balances must be ensured for use of the power".

    Sebi currently has powers to seek call data records (list of people in touch with the caller) of those being probed, but can't intercept calls.

    However, a few foreign regulators have powers to intercept calls and some of the biggest cases globally of alleged fraud have been unearthed with the help of phone-tapping including in cases of Rajat Gupta and Raj Rajaratnam.

General Awareness

    Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
    • What to study?

      For Prelims: RCEP- features and members.
      For Mains: Significance, potential and challenges, India’s concerns and ways to address them.

      Context: The Centre has constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu to decide on 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.


      It has been mandated to find way forward from current deadlock over issues of joining RCEP or not.
      It will also help fine tune India’s strategy for the upcoming RCEP ministerial meet in August 2018 in Singapore.

      What’s the issue with India?

      There’s a Mounting pressure on New Delhi to give an early consent to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. India has, however, refused to take responsibility for the long-winding negotiations and has stressed that it is important to address the sensitivities and aspirations of all participants.

      India is not comfortable with the ambitious dismantling of import tariffs being pushed for by the ASEAN, especially as it would also mean allowing duty-free access to Chinese goods. The Indian industry does not want the country to commit to high levels of liberalisation as it fears that it could get out-priced in the domestic market.
      India has also stressed on the need for other RCEP members to deliver in the area of services to arrive at an agreement. So far proposals in the area of services, including on work-visas for movement of professionals, have been disappointing with no member ready to make meaningful contributions.

      What you need to know about RCEP?

      RCEP is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).

      RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. RCEP aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.

      Why has it assumed so much significance in recent times?

      When inked, it would become the world’s biggest free trade pact. This is because the 16 nations account for a total GDP of about $50 trillion and house close to 3.5 billion people. India (GDP-PPP worth $9.5 trillion and population of 1.3 billion) and China (GDP-PPP of $23.2 trillion and population of 1.4 billion) together comprise the RCEP’s biggest component in terms of market size.

      Why is China so much interested in this deal?

      China, using its influence as the global leader in goods exports, has been deploying quiet diplomacy to ensure consistent focus on attempts to obtain commitments on elimination of tariffs on most traded goods. China is keen on an agreement on a ‘high level’ of tariff liberalisation — eliminating duties on as much as 92% of traded products. This deal helps China fulfil its objectives.

      China is also speeding up the RCEP negotiation process and striving for an early agreement, so as to contribute to realising the greater common goal of building the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). The FTAAP spans 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation countries, including the U.S. and China, but does not cover India. With the U.S. withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership — a mega-regional FTA not involving India and China — that similarly aimed to help establish the FTAAP, the path is clear for China to push ahead with this strategic initiative to its advantage through the RCEP.

      Way ahead:

      India’s FTA strategy has to be guided by the ‘Make In India’ initiative that aims to boost domestic manufacturing and job creation within India. In return for greater market access in goods, India, with its large pool of skilled workers and professionals, should try to use the RCEP to gain on the services side, by securing commitments from the other nations to mutually ease norms on movement of such people across borders for short-term work.

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