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Not so accessible after all – OPINION – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/not-so-accessible-after-all/article17464140.ece

  • Issue: The government’s own documents are not accessible to persons with disabilities

    • A landmark year for the movement was 2015-16. A fight that was decades in the making went from a murmur to a resounding roar that echoed through the chambers of Parliament. And that roar led to the passing of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016.
    • From only seven recognised disabilities in the previous archaic Act of 1995 to 21 disabilities now, the new law is a true game changer that provides provisions that will benefit many
    • It is the real deal which takes into account real issues like accessibility to infrastructure, technology and information.
    • Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) in 2015, and it was welcomed for its spirit and intention.
      • Campaign has a heavy focus on not just accessibility to physical infrastructure, but also on Information and Communication Technologies — which is the elephant in the room we need to address.
    • As per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016: “The appropriate Government shall take steps to ensure that all their public documents are in accessible formats.”
    • The Accessible India Campaign itself has a separate objective and its own targets on enhancing the proportion of accessible and usable public documents
    • People with disabilities miss out on information to do with their own lives because of lack of accessibility.

  • Attitudinal barriers

      • Recently, the DEPwD drafted the rules of the new law which have now been made available to the public for comments. The 74-page-long comprehensive document will be scrutinised by many, but not by those whose lives these rules directly impact.
    • It’s ironic that the rules, a public document on the department’s website, are not published in an accessible format to those whose roar made this happen.

  • Change cannot come about if it does not first begin at home. And publishing the rules of the Accessible India Campaign without making them accessible is just ironic in a tragic way.

‘Early visit of PM Modi to the U.S. would have a positive impact’ – OPINION – The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/early-visit-of-pm-modi-to-the-us-would-have-a-positive-impact/article17464137.ece

  • This is an interview we tried to identify the necessary portions from it.
  • India-U.S. relations have become much stronger and broad-based in the past decade and enjoy bipartisan consensus

    • India should seek to expand the relationship wherever possible. Despite its current preoccupations, the U.S. is and is likely to remain the foremost economic and military power in the world and the source of cutting-edge technological innovation. Therefore, it will continue to be an indispensable strategic partner in India’s trajectory towards great power status.Our engagement with the Trump administration should reflect this.

  • An early visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington would have a positive impact.
  • Issue : temporary suspension of premium H-1B visas

      • The trend towards limiting visas to Indian IT professionals offering their much sought-after services in the U.S. began during the (Barack) Obama administration and is likely to continue.
      • Since issuance of visas is considered to be an immigration issue and not a trade issue, one cannot take the suspension to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism
      • In a negotiation with US highlight the fact that Indian IT services contribute to enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. companies, that Indian IT companies are providing significant employment in their operations to U.S. citizens, and U.S. tech companies in India are some of the most profitable in the world. This is a partnership in which both parties gain.
      • we should leverage the fact that India is a growing market for U.S. products and services, in particular for defence hardware and technology. T

  • Indian IT companies should also adapt to the changed situation by diversifying markets away from the heavy dependence on the U.S.
  • Issue: Recent attacks on Indian Migrants
  • When there is a general anti-immigration sentiment unleashed by the government itself, people with prejudice feel empowered to abuse and attack people who look different from themselves.

      • What is reassuring is the reaction of ordinary American citizens and local communities in support of the victims and the promptness with which local and central administrations have responded.

  • Issue : Protectionist policies of the U.S., and Is it time to be more cautious towards the U.S. and build a more robust relationship with Russia,

    • The objective of Indian foreign policy has been to develop and expand a diversified set of relations with all major powers and with countries in the developing world.
    • Even if protectionist trends are visible in some sectors in the U.S., there are opportunities to expand trade and investment in other sectors.
    • We have initiated Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with Japan and South Korea and a Free Trade Agreement in trade, investment and services with the ASEAN. Similarly with Russia, we have been expanding our trade and investment relations, particularly in the energy field. However, we must acknowledge the fact that India is no longer a priority country for Russia in the commercial field. Its focus remains on China and Europe.

  • Issue: Change in US Relation and India’s vulnerability towards China
  • not all Chinese activism should be considered negative from an Indian perspective

        • For eg : if China is able to contribute to peace in Afghanistan and is able to restrain Pakistani meddling, that should be welcomed.

  • While India-China relations are influenced by India’s relations with other major powers, it would be a mistake to look at these relations as a mere derivate of the state of Indo-U.S. relations.

      • future of India-China relations will be determined by how the two countries handle the several bilateral issues between them
      • **Recently, the former State Councillor and Special Representative for India-China border talks, Dai Bingguo, stated that India should make concessions in the eastern sector, including Tawang, and China would respond by making appropriate, though unspecified, concessions in the western sector.**
      • This is despite the fact that in 2005, in the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles concluded between the two countries, it was agreed that settled populations would be taken into account in any settlement.
      • Both sides understood that this referred to Tawang, which is the only area with a significant population in the border area.

  • We should continue to reject Chinese claims even while seeking an early settlement.
  • At the same time we must strengthen our border defences and capabilities, so that we are able to effectively foil any aggressive moves by China on our borders.

    • As far as trade is concerned, enhancing the competitiveness of Indian goods and services, developing a modern infrastructure, and improving trade practices and support facilities will be the keys to confront the Chinese challenge.
    • India’s concerns on Pakistani involvement in terrorism seems to not be getting the necessary support from Beijing, and surprisingly from Moscow.

  • Since the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008, India-U.S. cooperation on counterterrorism has expanded significantly and has contributed to the security of both countries.
  • we will have to tackle crossborder terrorism on our own. It cannot be outsourced to the U.S. or any other country.

  • India has garnered support from the international community on the issue of terrorism and no country needs convincing that Pakistan is the breeding ground of terrorism.
  • Russia has not joined Chinese efforts to shield Pakistan. It has, however, changed its position on the Afghan Taliban and has joined China in initiating peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
  • There is no reason for India to object to this.