Sunday, July 11, 2010

Andrew Mitchell announces withdrawal of UK foreign aid to India

Recent announcement by UK about the ring-fencing of its aid to foriegn countries has come as jolt to India. Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for International Development, expressed his shock about the embezzlement of funds directed to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan project in India. It's said around 30% of foreign funds received by India is from UK.

It's difficult to make authorities accountable for the foreign aid, as they are not channelled through state's structures of governance. Nevertheless, if a growing power like India is pulled up for misuse of funds and subsequent corruption, it harms its image as a welfare state in international forums.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blue Card for European Union

European Union is envisaging a blue card for attracting highly skilled workers to any of the member countries. This card will allow free movement across several nations in the bloc and a reserve pool of professionals who take up the advance challenges posed by a globalized world. Mainstream media in Asia, especially in India argues that free movement of workers across borders is inevitable as well as recommended in developed economies. But how is one going to address the problem of “brain drain”in India? If the doctors, engineers and IT professionals are serving the developed countries, ignoring the developmental imperative posed by one's own country, how does this help India in the long run?

Of course, foreign currency has given our country a big boost in its economic advancement in the recent years. Stock market indices are increasingly sensitive to Foreign Institutional Investments. NRI money has bolstered up the economic status and well-being of people in several regions of India. But what is it that actually tempts a person to immigrate and serve a different country when his native country itself demands a great deal from him/her?

It's one thing if one goes to a different country to pursue higher studies. That would be purely on the basis of academic interests. Of course, while working too, one is likely to look for better career opportunities. But how is a third world going to adapt to the new situation? Will it be satisfied with the foreign currency that trickles down to NRI families back home or to other kinds of investments in the native land? Or with the high rate of migration of highly skilled workers to other developed countries will the sourcing country face a “brain drain” in its intellectual arena? This question pertains to India particularly where the demand for skilled manpower is increasing day by day.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What is Europe today?

Politically vibrant, historically rich and intellectually aggressive – one can find a series of similar phrases to qualify this continent of diverse cultures. Perhaps it is the decisively political happenings which began at the time of Greeks and Romans and which endure even to the present moment that have drawn much attention of the world towards this continent than anything else. Two world wars, innumerous political movements, overarching political decisions, all have kept the continent years ahead of many other regions of the world. If the word 'political' has been added to the modern day lexicon of any educated man, we owe a lot to Greek philosophers and thinkers.

Europe, the origin of all continental expeditions which started from 15th century onwards and which resulted in the colonization of many regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America, is currently attempting a new political unification process – the EU or the European Union. The Schengen agreement, in which fifteen countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden and Norway and Iceland (non EU members) – are members, is already a step towards this unification process.

Boundaries disappear but identities remain. The current menace is not from an outside agency which is bent upon imposing its political ideology on a group of people - like the Soviet campaign in East European countries till 90s. The challenge before the countries in this continent today is to sustain their economic growth while giving due recognition to all ethnicities and religions that inhabit them.