Indus Treaty Revisit; Budget Expectations; Missing KCR

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Opinion Watch 

Indus Treaty Revisit

India has upped the ante on the Indus Waters Treaty, calling for a revision, as New Delhi served a notice to Pakistan on 1960 pact, which survived three wars. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that “waters and bloods cannot flow together” appear to be turning out to be prophetic. Words were matched with actions, as India went on policy overdrive to fast track a basket of hydroelectric projects.

The Pioneer in an Editorial has welcomed the move, arguing that Pakistan had been stubborn to discuss the Kishenganga and Ratle projects. The daily recalled that Pakistan in 2015 had sought a neutral expert to examine the feasibility of the twin projects, while later seeking an international arbitration. The daily stated that the treaty gave 20 per cent control over the waters carried by the Indus system, besides unlimited power generation and other activities. The Noida-based daily has lamented that even while Pakistan would have benefited with good neighbourly relations with India, Islamabad embraced Jihadi terrorism as it state policy.

Experts for long have been arguing that water could be too precious in the near future. That time has come. Pakistan is in the midst of an imploding economy and starving population. In summers, Pakistan was under spell of drought and later one-third of the country was under waters following super floods. India is within its right to tap all the resources for the wellbeing of the local people. The development over the treaty reiterates that India stays on the hands off path with Pakistan until Islamabad divorces jihadi Mullahs and tame rabid military hotheads.

Budget Expectations

In another five days, Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman will be unveiling the annual Budget. There is hardly any expectations from the Budget by the people. The status quoist Budget attitude of the Narendra Modi government by now has been well known, while the GST has robbed the popular interest in the budgetary exercise.

The Hindu nonetheless has carried an Editorial on Budget expectations, but has carried out a baffling factual error, mistaking fiscal deficit for GDP. The daily says “the FM will need to show a convincing glide path to the 4.5 per cent GDP target laid for 2025-26”. That is fiscal deficit, which currently is 6.4 per cent for the current year. India certainly is not aspiring for a 4.5 per cent GDP growth in 2025-26. In place of expectation, the Chennai-based daily listed out possibilities in the context of the Assembly elections, which include tax rejig, higher attention to rural and social constituencies.

The Budget on February 1 will be the final exercise of the Modi government in its second term, and by all accounts the proposals would build on measures unveiled in previous such exercises. Also, the policy decisions, which used to be part of the Budget, are regularly announced by the government to deny finance minister the glory of giving the country an economic direction. To expect that the middle class would get comforts would be only daydreaming, for the government maintains that “infrastructure built in the country is benefiting the middle class”.

Missing KCR

The Asian Age in an Editorial has said that “Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao should seriously and immediately end his ongoing open boycott of political rivals to the point where his government decides to not organize the celebrations of India’s Republic Day”. The daily has rightly called the bluff of KCR, who is showing pathological hatred for Modi and the BJP at the cost of the Centre-state relations.

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