Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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India gets its biggest defence reform but the key lies in mandate given to CDS

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Creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff is independent India’s biggest defence reform. The Modi government has finally bitten the bullet as India moves towards military jointness and interoperability. But the devil is in the details. CDS should ideally be a five-star officer and empowered to take critical steps

Modi’s population control call bold but a sign economic growth isn’t fulfilling aspirations

PM Modi’s call for population control is bold and timely. Political capital on this was missing for four decades after Emergency’s excesses. Although India’s population growth rate is slowing down impressively, Modi’s appeal signals an admission that economic growth isn’t fulfilling aspirations and leveraging the short window of demographic dividend.

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  1. It will be interesting to observe how the selection of CDS is made. For a generation, seniority was respected, before deep selection was once again brought in. Presumably, this post will have a fixed tenure of two years. In the bureaucracy, this two year rule – with rare exceptions – is used to appoint officers on the verge of retirement, giving them a virtual extension. That can be followed by a further one year’s extension, as for the previous FS, or somewhat more for the Cabinet Secretary. The line of succession in the armed forces should be respected, for Faujis are held by in very high esteem by the public. 2. On a lighter note, seeing the trim abs of General Rawat and the generous girth of ACM Dhanoa, not a difficult choice for the ACC.

  2. For India as a whole, the window of demographic dividend shuts in fifteen years. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are past it. Other western and southern states will get there in the next five to ten years. For the least developed northern states, it stretches all the way up to 2050. However, the call to curb population growth acknowledges the reality that simply having more young than old people does not a DD make. The quality education / skills on the supply side, jobs in manufacturing on the demand side are not in place. 2. Since 1971, parliamentary constituencies have been frozen on that year’s census. I think the Finance Commission’s allocations also rest on this datum. There should be no perverse incentive for increased activity between the sheets and not on the shop floor.

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