Centre’s Aadhaar angst
Despite the Centre’s claims on the validity of possessing Aadhaar card, the fact remains that it does not even serve as a proof of identity in buying a SIM card. When there’s ration card, voter identity card, and PAN card, in addition to driving licence and postpaid phone bill, for all intents and purposes, the government’s argument that Aadhaar serves a larger demographic purpose does not seem to convince even the highest court in the land that asked the Modi government to make the biometric-based card non-mandatory. Its use should be limited to state subsidies such as drawing rice and fuels, as rightly maintained by the apex court. Since the court referred the validity of Aadhaar to a larger Constitution bench, it could become a tussle between the legislative and the judiciary.
R Prahbu Raj, Bengaluru
Regional trade blocks
After the European Union, the birth of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is the biggest regional trade block and is expected to bring about 40% of the global economy under its fold. However, its birth has been mired in super-secret negotiations. The 12 TPP nations are: the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Peru, and Asia’s Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei. India needs to chalk out a strategy to save erosion of its exports to the TPP bloc as TPP nations will enjoy duty-free access to each other’s markets. Surprisingly, China has been excluded. The TPP is awaiting ratification by the signatory nations. The TPP will affect World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations. Should India have made attempts to be a part of the TPP? Will US pharmaceutical firms be benefited? The EU has open borders and EU citizens do not need passports and they enjoy seamless travel. The TPP does not have this feature. Are days of global trade agreements numbered as new regional trade blocks take birth—the latest being the TPP.
Deendayal M Lulla, Mumbai