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Critical analysis: Abortion rights in US being regressive while in India are progressive

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The US Supreme Court recently in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson women’s health organization, has shown a lack of Constitutional courage in disregarding the legal precedent as well as the elimination of a constitutional regime that weighed both federal and pregnant persons’ interest by overruling its historical judgment of 1973 in the case of Roe Vs Wade, thus having serious implications for sexual and reproductive health rights of the Individual. This article aims to critically discuss the upturning of the Roe Vs Wade Judgment which not only has grave consequences but has also faced severe criticism not only within the United States but throughout the world. The article also aims for a reader to draw its attention towards comparing the situation of United States post its recent judgment with the abortion laws in India while briefly discussing the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 amended in year 2021. It further analyses how abortion laws in India encompasses the wide and deep-rooted ideology while maintaining a balance between the fundamental right of a women and the Right to life of a foetus. The article also aims to describe that the Indian abortion laws are more progressive, while the situation in US is regressive and conservative.

 Abortion rights in the US

no more a part of right to privacy The US Supreme Court in its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade had recognized that the right to abortion is a fundamental liberty duly protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of its Constitution. The right to privacy was also recognised in the USA in 1891, and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the right to abortion was read into the woman’s right to privacy and also been regarded as a constitutional right. Since the said judgement, the Court has repeatedly reaffirmed the Constitution’s protection for this essential liberty, which guarantees each individual, the right to make personal decisions about family and childbearing. Over the decades, the US Court first held that the Constitution encompasses protection for the right to abortion, including in its earlier decision of 2016 in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, therein it has also recognized that without access to abortion, the right to privacy is meaningless. That recently US supreme Court vide its judgement dated 24th June, 2022 in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson women’s health organization has overturned the Judgement of Roe v. Wade, which has lead to depriving the fundamental right which includes right to privacy of the Individual and thus leading to its violation which is guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment of the US constitution. Earlier as per the judgement of Roe V. Wade the individual had the fundamental right to terminate the pregnancy, which now with the subsequent judgement has been taken away and the choice of the individual to terminate the pregnancy is no more available, hence declaring abortion as illegal.

Implications and consequences of the Recent Judgement 

Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion for both pregnant individuals and women, has been overturned by the US Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson. By doing so, the Court disregarded medical data, as well as issues pertaining to public health and human rights. The provision of abortion services is now the responsibility of each individual state, which has resulted in a hodgepodge of abortion laws throughout the country with some states outrightly prohibit abortion in all circumstances. By imposing such decision making to its states, the United States of America will no longer be cohesive, but would instead inhabit a balkanized world fraught with interstate conflict. Thereby, twenty-six states within US will ban abortion immediately and also there will be a return of criminalization of abortion in most of the states. The states will prosecute options that are cherished by most Americans. In addition, the ramifications of Dobbs extend far beyond the realm of abortion. The freedom that was recognised in the cases, whether it was called “privacy” as in the Roe v. Wade decision or “liberty interests” as in the Casey decision, is the very foundation of the clinician–patient relationship. This freedom is the ability to explore medical options and the patient’s values in order to make decisions that profoundly affect the patient’s life and well-being. The potential for wide-ranging consequences comes from the fact that the Court not only reversed Roe and Casey, but also assailed their core rationale and relevance as long-standing decisions. Dobbs also raises the spectre of state regulation of other health care decisions, such as those pertaining to contraception, end-of-life care, care for LGBTQ patients, in vitro fertilisation, and other fertility treatments. These are all examples of decisions that the States could potentially regulate. Some jurisdictions have already begun to criminalise commonly used birth control methods as “abortifacients,” including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and emergency contraception. State laws that declare that life starts at fertilisation may possibly provide rights to thousands of embryos that have been frozen and will create responsibilities that are difficult to bear on both fertility institutions and the people who seek their services.

Global impact 

That now due to the recent decision, the Constitution no more confers a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives. Thus this will raise an alarming consequence since it will create a controversy and difference of opinions amongst the States. That the impact of this decision would not remain only within the United States but could even be beyond its territories and affect the abortion rights globally. Several developing countries can use the same as a precedent and curb the abortion rights of the individuals and may raise a question of debate whether the unborn child’s right to life is to be weighted more in comparison to the fundamental right of the women, which can create a havoc in countries where there is already an established law for right to abortion. Further, there are secondary effects and excess to safe abortion is further restricted, the result will not be fewer abortions globally, but just more unsafe and unregulated Abortions, leading to serious mental and physical repercussions. This could be deadly as there are chances that all these unsafe abortions could be a leading cause of maternal death, which could be more common in developing countries. If such precedent is followed by the developing countries then it will amount to forcing girls/women to keep pregnancy will also have negative impact on poverty reduction and economic growth.

Comparison of the US abortion laws with Indian abortion laws

That now the US Supreme Court has held the Right of abortion after fifteen weeks as illegal and have restricted the same, further leaving the discretion to the individual States in respect of framing laws relating to Abortion. The ruling reversing the 1973 roe v. wade decision lays the stage for almost half of the fifty states to prohibit or severely limit women’s access to abortions.The first limitation will go into effect in 13 states with so-called “trigger legislation” that will be established after the verdict is reversed.Some trigger laws prohibit abortions nearly entirely, while others prohibit abortions after six or fifteen weeks. Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, abortion remains a criminal offence under Section 312. However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP) and its amendment pf 2021 simply provides an exception to the criminalization. The MTP Act, 1971 allowed abortion until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Through an amendment in 2021, the ceiling for abortions was raised to 24 weeks, but only for special categories of pregnant women such as rape or incest survivors, that too, with the approval of two registered doctors. In the case of fetal disability, there is no limit to the timeline for abortion, but that is allowed by a medical board of specialist doctors set up by the governments of states and union territories.

Discourse raised:Unborn child’s right to life Vs fundamental rights of the women 

The main contention that has divided the people, the country and the courts for years is: What takes precedence, a woman’s right to have an abortion and have the last word over her reproductive autonomy or an unborn child’s right to life. According to legal precedent, courts have repeatedly attempted to strike a balance between the two parties’ rights, and the resulting legal jurisprudence is straightforward: before a woman reaches viability, the state has virtually no influence on her decision to abort a child; however, after viability, regulations are necessary, but prohibitions are not. In the medical community, abortion is as divisive as in the rest of the world. Analysis of the legal frameworks and political debates in the US and India on abortion has shown a preference for foetal viability and finding a balance between mother and child’s rights in America. On the other hand, women’s liberty is highly valued in India.The right of liberty in the United States and the constitutional protection of a woman to terminate her pregnancy is derived from the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court heard the basic argument for the right to life: the viability test must be rejected. A foetus is now recognised by the Court as a living thing, regardless of whether or not it is viable outside the womb, even though it was previously declared by the Court to be at most the potentiality of life. If the Court is obligated to preserve a woman’s “life inside,” then they may do so by law. They can’t achieve this, though, by making it illegal for a woman to end her pregnancy before it reaches viability. To put it another way, the Supreme Court has ruled that every choice taken by a woman must be fully aware of all implications, including those she may face physically or emotionally.

Dilemma and contention raised : When does life begin

Advocates for the unborn child’s right to life contend that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution employs the term “person” and applies to an unborn person, despite the fact that this argument was rejected in Roe v. Wade. Intriguingly, although rejecting the argument in Roe v. Wade and in subsequent decisions, the Supreme Court has not looked into the question – When precisely does life begin? The Supreme Court of US stated that we need not resolve the difficult question of when does life begins since those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, thereby the judiciary, at this point is not in a position to speculate the answer. Thus the following statement “When does life begin” remain unanswered and therefore the unborn child’s right to life remain in contention since we cannot determine when does the life of the foetus begins.

CONCLUSION 

Thus the US Supreme Court emphasizing on the rights of the unborn child and its disregard for fundamental right of abortion, mental health hazards and other physical integrity, making abortion regulations in the United States stringent, regressive and conservative. On the contrary, in India, the 1971 MTP Act was itself forward-thinking when it was passed and thereafter the by implementation of the Amendment act 2021, the abortion barrier was raised to cover unmarried women and medical breakthroughs in the area were taken into consideration. Thus as a consequence it is anticipated that the current status of abortion laws in US is on a downward spiral while, India, on the other hand, has always taken a more progressive posture. Consider that even in this day and age; when governments are working hard to provide equal rights for women, implementing strict abortion regulations undermines women’s rights thus disregarding the status of the country. Abortion is permitted in most nations if the mother’s health or life is in jeopardy if the pregnancy continues. Nonetheless, in delicate and emotionally distressing situations like rape and incest, abortion should be permitted as fundamental right. All governments should consider the rights of women, the rights and health of unborn children, and the physical and emotional health of pregnant women while crafting abortion policy. The overruling of Roe Vs wade is the indispensable first step toward reestablishing legal protection for unborn children, but it is only the first step. Much work will remain to be donein state and federal courts, in state legislatures and in the hearts and minds of the American people.”While India stands amongst nations with a highly progressive law which allows legal abortions on a broad range of therapeutic, humanitarian and social grounds.

Authored by:- Mr Ramit Mehta, Advocate, Rajasthan High Court and Managing Partner of Mehta Chambers Co-Authored by:- Mr Rajat Rathi, Student, Institute of Law

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Policy&Politics

Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

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Election Commission declares 253 RUPPs as inactive, bars them from availing benefits of the Symbol Order, 1968

Additional 86 Non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list and benefits under the Symbols Order (1968) withdrawnAction against these 339 (86+253) non-compliant. RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022

In continuation of the earlier action initiated on May 25, 2022 for enforcing due compliances by Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey today further delisted 86 non-existent RUPPs and declared additional 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’. This action against 339 non-compliant RUPPs takes the tally to 537 defaulting RUPPs since May 25, 2022.

As per statutory requirements under section 29A of the RP Act, every political party has to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN to the Commission without delay. 86 RUPPs have been found to be non-existent either after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers of concerned States/UTs or based on report of undelivered letters/notices from Postal Authority sent to the registered address of concerned RUPP. It may be recalled that ECI had delisted 87 RUPPs and 111 RUPPs vide orders dated May 25, 2022 and June 20, 2022, thus totalling the number of delisted RUPPs to 284.

This decision against 253 non-compliant RUPPs has been taken based on reports received from Chief Electoral Officers of seven states namely Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttar Pradesh. These 253 RUPPs have been declared inactive, as they have not responded to the letter/notice delivered to them and have not contested a single election either to the General Assembly of a State or the Parliament Election 2014 & 2019. These RUPPs have failed to comply with statutory requirements for more than 16 compliance steps since 2015 and are continuing to default.

It is also noted that of the above 253 parties, 66 RUPPs actually applied for a common symbol as per para 10B of the Symbol’s Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. It is pertinent to note that privilege of a common symbol is given to RUPP based upon an undertaking for putting up at least 5 percent of total candidates with regard to said legislative assembly election of a State. Possibility of such parties occupying the available pre-election political space by taking benefits of admissible entitlements without contesting elections cannot be ruled out.

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Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh

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Coastal clean-up campaign receives a huge response: Dr. Jitendra Singh

The 75-day long ongoing Coastal Clean Up Campaign is receiving a huge response from across the sections of society and besides others, Governors, Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, celebrities, film and sports personalities, civil society groups etc. are joining the campaign with overwhelming enthusiasm and pledging their support to the longest and largest beach cleaning campaign in the world titled “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”, coordinated by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences with collaboration from all the other Union Ministries, departments as well as governments of the coastal States.

Addressing a press conference today, three days ahead of “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17th September, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, he will join the campaign at Juhu beach in Mumbai on 17th September and informed that Governor Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and several personalities as well as NGOs will also join at Juhu.

The Minister also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support through social media. The PM has stressed on keeping India’s coasts clean as he praised efforts of volunteers to remove garbage from the Juhu beach in Mumbai. Responding to a video posted by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh about the clean-up at the beach, Modi tweeted, “Commendable… I appreciate all those involved in this effort. India is blessed with a long and beautiful coastline and it is important we focus on keeping our coasts clean”. The Minister said, “A cleanathon was organised at Juhu Beach in Mumbai, saw participation in large numbers especially by youngsters and Civil Society.

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will take a lead in the clean-up campaign at world famous Puri beach, while Pratap Chandra Sarangi, former union minister will be at Chandipur. BJP MP from Hooghly, West Bengal Ms Locket Chatterjee will be at Digha on D-Day. R.K.Mission head will lead the campaign at Bakkhali in southern Bengal.

Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel will be at Porbandar (Madhavpur), while Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala will join the clean-up operation at Jafrabad, Amreli.

Governor of Goa P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will take part in beach cleaning campaign in South and North Goa beaches on 17th September.

Similarly, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will be at Kochi, while MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will be at Kovalam beach at Thiruvananthapuram.

Governor of Karnataka Thawar Chand Gehlot will join the campaign at Panambur beach in Mangalore, while the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan will lend her helping hand at Puducherry beach.

Governor of Mizoram Dr. K. Hari Babu will take part in Vizag beach while L. Murugan, Union MoS, Information and Broadcasting will join the event at Chennai

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that the campaign has entered the mode of whole of Government approach plus whole of nation participation.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, apart from active cooperation of Ministries of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Jal Shakti, Health and Family Welfare, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, External Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, organisations and associations like National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Coast Guard, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Seema Jagran Manch, SFD, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi (PSG), along with other social organizations and educational institutions are participating in the clean-up campaign.

The MPs of coastal states have also pledged full support to the first-of-its-kind and longest running coastal clean-up campaign in the world and they also advised the Ministry of Earth Sciences to undertake a variety of activities by involving local NGOs.

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DASHBOARD TO BE SET UP SOON TO SHARE THE BEST TECH PRACTICES AMONG THE CENTRE & THE STATES: UNION MINISTER JITENDRA SINGH

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DASHBOARD TO BE SET UP SOON TO SHARE THE BEST TECH PRACTICES AMONG THE CENTRE & THE STATES: UNION MINISTER JITENDRA SINGH

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced setting up of a Dashboard to share the best technology practices among the Centre and the States.

Presiding over the concluding session of the two-day “Centre-State Science Conclave” at Science City in Ahmedabad, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that a high level mechanism will be developed by the Department of Science and Technology to monitor and coordinate the follow up action of the conclave. The Minister also asked the States to appoint a Nodal officer in each of the States to coordinate and cooperate with the Special Committee for knowing and sharing the best practices.

Giving the example of heli-borne technology launched from Jodhpur, Rajasthan in October, 2021, Dr Jitendra Singh said, to start with, the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana were taken up for this latest heli-borne survey.

The Minister pointed out that if the same technology is uploaded on Dashboard, other States may join and share this CSIR technology from source finding to water treatment and thus benefit millions of people across the country.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, it will also positively contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Har Ghar Nal Se Jal” as well as “doubling farmer’s income” goals. He said, the latest state-of-the-art technology is being employed by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for mapping groundwater sources in arid regions and thus help utilise groundwater for drinking purposes.

The 2-day ‘Centre-State Science Conclave’ was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Science City, Ahmedabad, yesterday. Dr Jitendra Singh expressed satisfaction that important plenary sessions with State S&T Ministers discussed in detail on issues like Agriculture, Innovation for producing portable drinking water including application of technologies like Desalination, Heli borne methods developed by DST, Clean Energy for All including S&T role in Hydrogen mission, Deep Sea Mission of MoES and its relevance for Coastal States/UT, Digital healthcare for All and Synergizing Science with National Education Policy.

A special session with the CEOs of over 100 Start-Ups and industry at the Centre-State Science Conclave’ in Ahmedabad came up with scientific solutions in the field of agriculture, drone, artificial intelligence, biotechnological solutions, single-use plastic alternates, irrigation and digital health amongst others.

Many of the State governments have shown keen interest in some of the technologies and agreed to partner with some of the startups for State-specific technological solutions.

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Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity

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Floods, economic crisis and political bickerings: A saga of Pakistan’s mismanagement & insensitivity

The worst floods in several decades have wreaked havoc in Pakistan, one of the most populous countries of South Asia. The floods have touched the country’s 220 million people’s lives directly or indirectly. More than 1,300 people have died with 81 out of 160 districts directly affected by the floods, leaving at least 33 million people homeless.

The heat waves followed by rains and glacial melting has been a global trend this year bringing out the stark reality that despite all talks and conventions, the world community has failed to contain and reverse climatic change. But Pakistan’s case is unique.

Beyond the human losses, the country’s economic managers have the most challenging task ahead as floods ravaged the country’s road and communication network, damaged an incalculable number of houses, and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.

Niaz Murtaza, a political economist, describes present crisis as “a triple whammy”, putting together economic, political and natural. “The poor had been suffering the first two months because of inflation, job loss and political paralysis. Now the floods have pushed millions into ruin,” he said.

Despite this, the political masters are not only busy in bickering and allegations against each other, but have also triggered a blame game on social media as usual, pointing fingers on India for the flood havoc. The bombardment of propaganda, nevertheless, cannot change the reality that Pakistan government and its institutions have utterly failed in fulfilling their duties towards its citizens.

Ludicrous as it is, it cannot absolve the leadership of Pakistan that has failed people in terms of economic mismanagement, entrenched corruption and naked cronyism in the system. Added to these are the wrong policies and priorities of Islamabad which have been instrumental in bringing economic crisis and political instability. The floods have only abetted it.

The natural disaster has struck Pakistan while economy is passing through the difficult phase of multiple challenges including Balance of Payment (BoP) crisis, heavy debt burden and solvency-related issues. The protracted economic crisis is likely to deepen further despite conclusion of talks with the IMF for release of Extended Fund Facility credit.

While Finance Minister Miftah Ismail estimates that the country has incurred a total loss of “at least $10 billion”, independent analysts, including Uzar Younus, Director of the Pakistan Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia centre and economist Ammar Habib Khan, put the figure between $15-20 billion, and expect it to rise further as information is coming with a great lag.

Existing infrastructure is collapsing with the flooding submerging one-third of the country, pushing 37 per cent of population into poverty. Pakistan is literally and figuratively under deep water, writes Nasir Jamal. It may take a few more months before the damages can be assessed. Even before the flooding, 60 per cent of the population was suffering from hunger, malnutrition and related diseases and the figures are bound to shoot up now.

In view of the mammoth loss, the IMF’s $1.2 billion credit now seems to be a peanut. Pakistan was earlier wounded and now it is bleeding. Floods will exacerbate the economic crisis that had shown initial signs of abating with the IMF deal. Twin deficits, growth prospects and inflationary expectations will be worsening, inflicting misery on the poor. Despite increasing gravity of the situation, saving people’s life and livelihood have not still become the priorities among the political class who are revealing in an ugly slugfest.

The real cost of the natural calamity is being borne by millions of poor kids, pregnant women, elderly and sick persons crowded under the open sky or tents, prone to hunger, diseases and insecurity as they wait for aid. It will be weeks before many can even return to their villages as the land drains and dries. It will take months, even years, to recover from the loss of housing, animals, crops and cultivable land.

Covid-19 had only disrupted economic exchange without damaging the economic base. But the flood has destroyed crops, land, animals, bridges, etc. negatively impacting deeper on the poor and the economy. And the insensitive political class in Pakistan is still deeply engrossed in political maneuver and cunning tricks against each other rather than presenting a united face at the time of calamity. That is the character of Pakistan’s politics.

In view of the contribution of agriculture to the extent of one fourth of the GDP, the country would have to face major revenue loss due to crop losses. As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s August 29 report, almost 80 per cent of crops in Sindh, which produces roughly 30% of Pakistan’s cotton output, were destroyed.

Close to 70 per cent of Pakistan’s textile industry, an important source of employment and foreign exchange, uses the cotton produced in the country. Floods are likely to cause severe shortage of cotton, said Abdul Rahim Nasir, Chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. He added that instead of earlier average import of cotton estimated at about 4 million bales, Pakistan would now need to import just the double of that figure, at a potential cost of $3 billion.

Shahrukh Wani, an Oxford economist, says the flood will make it terribly difficult for the government to reduce the trade deficit because while the country will need to import food to “compensate” for lost crops, the textile sector will find itself struggling due to “potential shortage” of cotton crop.

The biting inflation which rose to 25% in the month of July from a year earlier, the highest since May 1975, is taking its own toll on the living conditions of masses. The flooding would further push up the inflation and accentuate the scarcity of even essentials.

Amreen Soorani, Head of Research at JS Global Capital Ltd, said that “the main concern from the floods is the impact on inflation”. Even the IMF warned that the runaway inflation could trigger protests and instability.

Islamabad secured funds from the IMF for immediate bailout of the economy from the saturating forex crisis. However, the problems would be far from over for Islamabad. As the advanced countries are focused more on the impact of Ukraine-Russia war and trying to cope with recessionary pressures while some of the development partners including Middle Eastern countries and China are down with donor fatigue, Islamabad has scant probability to get any major international relief.

For now, the immediate challenge that government will face is to fulfil the conditions of raising taxes and applying austerity measures as part of its agreement with the IMF for its bailout package. This might turn out a politically unpopular move and could flare up the political bickering. The condition is rife for mass protests in view of increasing cost of living for many months now, which opposition could take advantage of. Anger is rising across Pakistan over the slow pace of government relief efforts.

The catastrophic floods have put a downward pressure on growth prospectus. Initial estimates suggest that the economic growth rate may slow down to just 2 per cent. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the recent floods caused more damage than the 2010 calamity wherein the economic losses had been estimated at $9.7 billion. The floods have already caused supply chain-related issues.

Even during natural calamity, politicians are concerned about their political agenda rather than allowing international aid agencies to import essential food items from the neighbouring country. Cases after cases of corruption are cropping up, “you reveal mine, I will reveal yours”, an unending slugfest continues.

Instead of fighting the fallout of the devastating natural calamity united, they are engrossed in manoeuvre and cunning tricks and a regressive thought process whether or not to allow aid flow from India. Some of the government top officials have suggested importing essential commodities such as food and medicine from India, while others are still the victim of the old rigidities and anti-India mindset.

India is an undoable reality of being the most potent vehicle of South Asia’s growth vision as it is a responsible regional power and the fastest growing economy of the world, which offers a big market for exports and sourcing imports. Islamabad needs to understand that cooperation with neighbours does not reduce the stature of a calamity hit country.

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Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite

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Separated in 1947, Sikh brother meets sister reunite

The Kartarpur Corridor has once again reunited another family after a man who separated from his parents when he was only a few months old in 1947, finally met his sister in Pakistan.

Amarjit Singh was left out in India along with his sister while his Muslim parents came to Pakistan. All eyes went teary as they saw the emotional scenes of the brother-sister reunion in Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, Geo News reported.

Amarjit Singh arrived in Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa to meet his Muslim sister and to remain as her guest.

His sister, 65-year-old Kulsoom Akhtar, could not control her emotions after seeing Amarjit.

Both hugged each other and kept crying. She had travelled from her hometown in Faisalabad along with her son Shahzad Ahmed and other family members to meet her brother.

Kulsoom said that her parents came to Pakistan from the suburbs of the Jalandhar region of India in 1947, leaving behind her younger brother and a sister, Express Tribune reported.

Kulsoom said she was born in Pakistan and used to hear about her lost brother and a sister from her mother. She said that her mother used to cry every time whenever she remembered her missing children. Kulsoom said that she did not expect that she would ever be able to meet her brother and sister. However, a few years ago, a friend of her father Sardar Dara Singh came to Pakistan from India.

Kulsoom’s mother told Singh about her son and daughter she left behind in India. She also told him the name of their village and the location of their house in the neighbouring country.

Amarjit then visited her house in Padawan village of Jalandhar and informed her that her son was alive but her daughter was dead. Her son was named Amarjit Singh who was adopted by a Sikh family back then in 1947, The Express Tribune reported.

After getting the brother’s information, Amarjit and Kulsoom Akhtar contacted on WhatsApp and using the Kartarpur Corridor and the meeting between the two siblings became a reality.

Now an elderly man, Sardar Amarjit Singh came to Gurdwara Sahib in a wheelchair. Kulsoom Akhtar also could not travel due to back pain, but she showed courage and reached Kartarpur from Faisalabad along with her son. Both the siblings kept crying while embracing each other and remembering their parents.

Amarjit said that when he first learned that his real parents were in Pakistan and were Muslims, it was a shock to him. However, he comforted his heart that many families were separated from each other in addition to his own family.

Many Muslim children became Sikhs and many Sikh children became Muslims, Express Tribune reported.

He said that he always wanted to meet his real sister and brothers. He said that he is happy to know that three of his brothers are alive. However, one brother who was in Germany has passed away.

He said he will now come to Pakistan via the Wagah border with a visa and spend time with his family. He also said that he will take his family to India as well so that they could meet their Sikh family. Both the siblings had brought many gifts for each other.

Shahzad Ahmad, son of Kulsoom, said that he used to hear about his uncle from his grandmother and mother. He said that all of the siblings were very young at the time of Partition and no name was given to Amarjit or perhaps, after so many years, the name had slipped out of mind.

“I understand that since my uncle was brought up by a Sikh family, he happens to be a Sikh, and my family and I have no problem with this,” he added.

Shahzad said that he is happy that even after 75 years his mother has found her lost brother.

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22 officers of different cadres to serve in J&K

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The Centre has relaxed Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) deputation rules to encourage IAS and other all-India service officers as well as those of the Central Services get posted in Jammu & Kashmir, in a bid to address the shortage of officers in the Union Territory.

Union Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said that due to relaxation of DoPT rules, 22 officers belonging to various services and different cadres have been posted in Jammu & Kashmir at various levels at a crucial time.

He said that DoPT has played a major role in facilitating induction of Jammu & Kashmir Administrative Services officers into the IAS by coordinating with UT administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the UPSC.

As a result, recently 16 officers from JKAS have been inducted into IAS and another 8 such vacancies will be filled up shortly giving opportunities to the JKAS officers to become part of prestigious IAS service after a long gap of 12 years.

The Minister added that mid-career training of JKAS officers of various seniority was carried out in collaboration with the LBSNAA and this has provided a new level of exposure to the JKAS Officers and more than 200 offices. Some other initiatives by the Ministry include special concessions or incentives to the Central government employees working in the Kashmir Valley in attached and subordinate offices or PSUs falling under control of the Central government.

They have been extended special concessions for a period of 3 years with effect from August 1, 2021 and the incentives include an additional house rent allowance, composite transfer grant, per diem allowance, incentive for period of temporary duty, messing allowance, and facility to draw pension at place of settlement in relaxation of relevant provisions.

Besides, facilities for retention of general pool accommodation available to officers who have served in the Central government has also been extended to officers posted in Jammu & Kashmir on the pattern of northeastern states.

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