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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

NRC Good For India-Bangladesh Relations

With the Indo-Bangla ties on an upswing, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.

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The India–Bangladesh relationship is probably going through its best phase. It is one of the few success stories in India’s diplomatic notebook in an otherwise troubled neighbourhood. Both sides have managed to sort out a number of contentious issues. Prominent among them has been the land boundary and the maritime boundary dispute. Both the issues were sorted out to the satisfaction of Bangladesh where India ignored significant losses of territory to nurture the bilateral relationship.

This Indian investment in its relationship with its eastern neighbour has shown result and both sides are now enjoying a period of unparalleled bonhomie, peace and friendship.

However, fears are being expressed that India’s implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), first in the state of Assam and subsequently in the whole country could rock the boat.


While there is no doubt that the implementation of NRC is a complicated issue, but if properly implemented it would make the India-Bangladesh relationship more sustainable.

Even as the bilateral relations are on a strong footing, an oft-expressed fear is that the upsurge in the relationship is regime-specific.

While there is bipartisan support on the Indian side to maintain a friendly relationship with Bangladesh, the same cannot be said about the Bangladeshi side where the political opposition at the first opportunity is likely to take steps that could derail the relationship.

The opposition in Bangladesh has tried its best to convince its interlocutors in India that their attitude has changed. However, it remains to be seen whether it is so.


Generally, it has been pointed out that the Teesta water dispute is the only remaining dispute between India and Bangladesh and its solution would make the bilateral relationship smooth. What is conveniently forgotten is the long-standing issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh.

A report of the Group of Ministers on National Security, submitted in 2001, estimated that post-1971 approximately 12 million Bangladeshis have illegally migrated into various states of northeast India.

However, this number is expected to be much larger if one includes illegal Bangladeshi population residing in other parts of India. Moreover, the Bangladeshis have been illegally coming to India even after 2001.

While it is important for India is to take note of issues that concern Bangladesh, it is equally important for Bangladesh to be sensitive about issues that impact Indian interests. The issue of illegal migration is one such issue. This is something which the Bangladesh Government has to deal with sooner than later in the interest of better bilateral relations. This is necessary to make the government-to-government relationship between the two countries more sustainable.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no desire in Bangladesh to solve this issue to mutual satisfaction. In the past, successive governments in Bangladesh have denied the very existence of this problem. One of the country’s top diplomats had once even said that if Bangladeshis would have to illegally immigrate, they would rather swim to Italy than walk into India. The total denial of such a phenomenon only hardens sentiments in India over the issue.

It is true that Bangladesh’s economy has seen unprecedented growth, which has been growing at a rate of almost eight per cent last few years. While this has helped in improving the living standards of people in some parts of Bangladesh, a large part of the country still remains poor. These poor people can’t afford the cost of illegally immigrating to Italy. Ironically, only the relatively better-off people are trying to illegally immigrate to Europe. Most of the poor ones simply walk into India. This was clearly highlighted when some illegal migrants were recently deported from Karnataka.


Illegal immigration from Bangladesh, comprising both Hindus and Muslims, is an important issue from the national security perspective of India.

A large number of Bangladeshi immigrants are illegally living in India. Hindus are said to have migrated after facing religious persecution, whereas most of the Muslim migrants are termed as economic migrants.

The issue was further complicated sometime back when the Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar started infiltrating into India through Bangladesh. It was suspected that the Bangladeshi authorities were consciously pushing these refugees into India. Some observers feel that Bangladesh probably hoped that the presence of Rohingyas in India would force India to take Bangladesh’s side against Myanmar. Moreover, Dhaka could also get rid of the thousands of Rohingyas living on its territory.

That minorities face violence and religious persecution in Muslim-majority countries in India’s neighbourhood like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, is well known. They are often dispossessed of their land and property and on many occasions even forced to convert. Their womenfolk are abducted and married off after converting them. Unfortunately, no international condemnation is expressed on these issues.

According to a Dhaka University professor Abul Barakat, from 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination.

This means on an average, 632 Hindus left Bangladesh each day and 230,612 annually.

This exodus mostly took place during the time of military governments after independence. The properties of the Hindus were taken away during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy properties and the same were treated by the government after independence as vested property. These two measures have made 60 per cent of the Hindus landless in Bangladesh.

Though the present Sheikh Hasina Government has been trying to reassure the Bangladeshi Hindus, it has not been able to dispel the sense of fear prevalent among the Hindu minority population, which is being subjected to various types of discrimination at the societal level, generating in them the impulse for migration.

The Indian Government has clarified that the issue of NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA are internal to India. The CAA is intended to provide expeditious consideration of Indian citizenship to the persecuted minorities – those who entered into India on or before December 31, 2014 – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It does not affect the existing avenues which are available to the other communities to seek citizenship. Nor does it seek to strip anybody of citizenship.

According to the Indian Home Ministry, nearly 4,000 people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been given Indian citizenship in the past six years. This includes as many as 2,830 people from Pakistan, 912 from Afghanistan and 172 from Bangladesh. Out of this number, close to 600 people are Muslims who have been given Indian citizenship.7 Such migrants will continue to get Indian citizenship if they fulfil eligibility conditions.

As the India-Bangladesh relationship is currently strong and trust levels on both sides are high, this is the right time to deal with the issue of illegal migration.

Bangladesh has already documented its citizens and maintains a biometric record of them. The National Identity Registration Wing (NIDW) was created within the Bangladesh Election Commission for that purpose. The country has now also distributed machine-readable smart national identity (NID) cards among 10 crore citizens, replacing the earlier paper-laminated cards. India too is justified in undertaking a similar exercise. This will help India get a grip on the problem.


Once the documentation of citizens is done in India, both sides can share their database. This will help manage the problem in a much more amicable manner.

The Bangladeshis often claim that their citizens are killed on the border by the Indian paramilitary forces. The documentation of citizens on both sides will also help in handling this contentious issue.

The issue of illegal migration in the India-Bangladesh relationship cannot be swept under the carpet. It will continue to be a stumbling block in the sustenance of a stable relationship. It will be better if both sides look at the issue dispassionately especially when the trust levels are high.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Dr Anand Kumar

Dr Anand Kumar is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. His areas of specialization at IDSA are Counter-terrorism, South Asian politics, Bangladesh, Maldives, Proliferation of Small Arms and Low-intensity conflicts.

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Women Entrepreneurs Critical To ‘Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat’

Women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.

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(This article belongs to League of India’s ‘Readers’ Opinions‘ Initiative)

For entrepreneurs to thrive in an economy, a stable and supportive political system has to prevail. A liberalized economic environment offers the space and confidence for people to take up commercial activities. Though pre-colonial Indian society possessed classy village and town economies that supported indigenous artisans, handicrafts, and commerce by trade guilds and business communities, the British occupation subverted the Indian economy to serve the interests of the rulers. After independence, there was a capital crunch that prevented proper growth of individual small and medium scale businesses.

The liberalization of the economy in 1991 opened up space for small and personal commercial activities to grow well. Indian women entrepreneurs have also been part of this development process.


The growth of women entrepreneurs has not only reduced the gender gap in socio-economic participation but has also been instrumental in ensuring balanced and equitable development an economic upliftment at women, benefits her family surrounding and community.

Nevertheless, women entrepreneurs still face obstacles in their business endeavours due to gender bias and discrimination.

Indian women entrepreneurs are significantly less aware of govt schemes policies available for them. According to the 2011 Census, around 34% of Indian women are illiterate, which prevents them from accessing information and training opportunities. Most women do not inherit their ancestral properties; It goes only to the male children.

So it is very tough for them to arrange initial capital, finance, and working capital since angel investors show gender bias in their evaluation and investment decisions. Inequitable access to the labour market and lack of networking-cum-market understanding discourage them for a start-up.


Women entrepreneurs choose to keep their businesses small since they have to juggle family responsibilities too. They are expected to balance and manage family work and everything else; even they contribute equally to family’s finance.

According to the Sixth Economic Census released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, women constitute around 14 per cent of the total entrepreneur base in India, i.e. 8.05 million out of the total 58.5 million entrepreneurs.

While some are accidental entrepreneurs due to the lack of other work opportunities, many others are driven by a specific mission or goal. Of the total 20%, women-owned MSMEs, 20.44% are micro-enterprises, 5.26% are small and 2.67% medium enterprises.

States such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Kerala have a higher number of women entrepreneurs, while Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Diu, and Daman have a low number of women entrepreneurs.

Significant obstacles to women in MSMEs are gender bias exhibited by investors, lack of credit access and unsupportive family.

Census 2011 data shows that 32.8 per cent of women are engaged in the agriculture sector. 33 per cent cultivators and 47 per cent of agricultural labourers are women. In rural India, 84 per cent of women depend on agriculture for their livelihood.


According to Economic Survey 2017-18, the number of women engaged in agriculture as cultivators, agri-entrepreneurs, and labourers is increasing. This feminization of agriculture can enable women to play a decisive role in ensuring food security and preserving local eco-biodiversity. It necessitates access to resources such as water, farm credit, land, technology, and information to women.

However, only 12% of the land is owned by women.

Women employed in the agriculture sector face gender wage disparity, mostly work in low skilled jobs, and many of them work as unpaid subsistence labourers.

Intels Women and Web Study (2013) found that women’s access to the Internet helps them acquire new knowledge, learning. However, there is a 34 per cent gender gap in online access in India. Indian women mainly use it for banking and financial activities. Over 30 per cent of girls drop out before completing secondary education in India.

Further, due to the lack of access to technical knowledge, women mostly occupy low and medium-skilled jobs. It makes them vulnerable to the effects of automation, which may force job layoffs shortly, resulting in further marginalization of women.

Loss of employment can restrict their economic independence and development.

The concept of ‘Vocal for Local’ is possible only when women, whose population is almost half of the total, are made to be the part of the program and participate equally in terms of economic activities.

The government ought to organize a survey on the post-COVID impact on women’s livelihood across sectors. There must be a special allocation of funds to women start-ups and proper incubation process.

MSME ministry, in collaboration with NGOs, should also provide research support and technical inductions to rural women entrepreneurs.

Most importantly, We (govt., administration, society and you) have to ensure an inclusive, no favouritism, and sexual harassment-free workplace.

What is needed are gender-neutral policies, as well as pro-women budgets that promote women entrepreneurship. Strong legislation and public awareness of these laws are required to enable easy conduct of business. Non-discriminatory access to credit facilities and banking is another pre-requisite to encourage female entrepreneurs.


Hopefully, we will see a new dawn of women empowerment in the nation in the coming decades as more and more women are coming into the centre stream of the economy across various sectors like IT, financial, e-commerce, biotechnology etc. which will also increase the productivity of women.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this reader-submitted article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

This reader-submitted article has NOT BEEN EDITED by League of India and is published as received.

Omm Priyadarshi

Omm Priyadarshi is a Development Studies scholar from NIT Rourkela. He typically writes on socio-cultural, environmental and gender-related issues.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

The Subject Of Being Atma Nirbhar In Defence Technology

DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes.

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Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Vocal for Local” call and launch of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Campaign), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has tweaked its capital acquisition manual to promote greater self-reliance in defence production.

On July 27, it released the draft Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP-2020) for public comments. The draft incorporates suggestions received from various stakeholders on a previous draft – the draft Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2020) – which was also put in the public domain.

Among other features, the draft DAP-2020 improvises upon Chapter III A of the draft DPP-2020, which was articulated with the intention to streamline para 72 of Chapter II of the existing DPP that facilitates the acquisition of systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).


Will the Chapter-III A make a difference in realising Prime Minister Modi’s call for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat? The answer lies in understanding the issues surrounding the indigenous development of defence equipment by the Indian entities, particularly the DRDO, and then juxtaposing them with the procedures articulated in Chapter III A.

Since its creation in 1958, the DRDO has been at the forefront of indigenous design and development of defence equipment. The organisation, which has 24,700 employees, including 7,300 scientists, and a budget of Rs 19,327 crore (or four per cent of the MoD’s budget for 2020-21), is known for many remarkable achievements in strategic programmes, a glimpse of which was the recent successful conduct of Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test.

However, in regard to conventional arms, there has been a deep-rooted perception that the DRDO has not been so successful, even though the organisation, with all its human resource and budgetary constraints, has designed and developed a range of complex systems including Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Main Battle Tank Arjun, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system, advanced towed artillery gun, and myriad other weapons and sensors.


In terms of value, the DRDO-designed products (other than strategic systems), whether inducted or in the process of induction, amount to Rs 2,65,007 crore, as of 2017.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the ultimate users, i.e., the armed forces, often complain about time and cost overruns and performance shortfall of the equipment designed and developed by the DRDO.

It is important to note that unlike strategic systems in which the DRDO has greater freedom in the developmental process, in conventional weapon systems, most of which are developed through the Mission Mode, the DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes which often work as a stumbling block.

The involvement of various stakeholders, which include armed forces and production and quality assurance agencies, brings an element of diffused accountability as agencies involved are accountable to different administrative heads.

The lack of synergy among stakeholders has been commented upon by various authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, for its adverse impact on timely completion of projects.


More significantly, the lack of synergy has sometimes generated rigid institutional biases, leading to undue delay in placement of orders even after projects have gone through the rigorous process of development and testing. This not only demotivates scientists and the industry involved in the project but directly affects India’s self-reliance as the budget which could have been utilised to procure home-grown technologies is ultimately spent on importing arms from external sources.

The Chapter III A of the draft DAP-2020 has attempted to address some of the abovementioned constraints by articulating detailed step-by-step procedures to enable smooth acquisition of systems indigenously designed by the DRDO and other MoD-owned/controlled design houses. The chapter has identified 12 steps to be followed, ranging from identification of projects for the DRDO and others to award of contract and post-contract management.

The chapter also provides for the spiral development of weapons and platform so as allow quick induction of developed products and continuous capability enhancement of the inducted system through incremental technological improvements.

Significantly also, the chapter provides for Joint Project Management Team (JPMT) to bring a semblance of synergy among various stakeholders. Comprising representatives from the concerned armed force, design house, quality assurance and maintenance agencies and the Acquisition Wing of the MoD, the JPMT is intended to facilitate smooth progress of projects.

While the abovementioned steps stipulated in the chapter are a move in the right direction, they need to be strengthened further to make procedures more robust and conducive for timely completion of projects. One key area which needs improvement pertains to the power of the JPMT.

In its present form, the JPMT can, at best, discuss issues arising during the developmental process without any power to take decisions on its own to facilitate timely completion of the project. The real power is vested with higher authorities who are not directly involved in the project’s day-to-day execution. In short, the JPMT is not empowered to be responsible to deliver projects on time and to the budget.

In comparison to the suggested JPMT in Chapter III A, similar institutions in other advanced defence manufacturing countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France are real drivers of the indigenous projects with necessary powers vested with the team to take decisions in the projects’ interest. Such an empowered arrangement would be desirable to promote R&D in Indian defence

Another area that needs refinement pertains to trial and testing of the equipment. The draft chapter in the present form lays emphasis on a multi-layered trial evaluation – developmental trials, user-assisted technical trials, field evaluation trials, staff evaluation, and acceptance trials – before a product is finally inducted. Such a multi-layered trial provision does not necessarily add value; rather, they consume time and money and not necessarily in the best interest of product development.

An empowered JPMT with the responsibility to undertake trial evaluation in its entirety would shorten the process, quicken the developmental pace, and enable India to become Atma Nirbhar in defence technology.


Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Laxman K Behera

Dr Laxman Kumar Behera is a Research Fellow at IDSA. He specialises in issues related to Arms Procurement, Defence Offsets, Defence Industry, Military Spending, and Export Control. Dr Behera has authored numerous policy-relevant research publications. His book 'Indian Defence Industry: An Agenda for Making in India' provides a comprehensive analysis of India’s evolving arms manufacturing sector.

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DIALOGUE FOR CHANGE

Clinico-Psycho-Social Aspects Of Infertility

Many infertile women in developing countries consider that without children their lives are without hope.

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Infertility is a global health issue affecting approximately 8-10% of couples. It is a multi-dimensional problem with social, economic and cultural implication and defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Many infertile women in developing countries consider that without children their lives are without hope. Our culture demands that for a woman to be socially accepted, she should have at least one biological child.

Infertility may arise from genetic abnormalities, infections or environmental agents, delayed childbearing behaviour and certain diseases.


Among them, endometriosis, an estrogen-dependent disorder causes 25-40% infertility in women and occur in a wide range of women from pre-menarche to post-menopause and diagnosis have been made in women ranging from 12-80 years of age. It is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity having multifaceted pathology.

Its pathology involves various factors like genetic predisposition, menstrual and reproductive factors, lifestyle factors such as smoking, exercise and consumption of alcohol and caffeine. About a third of the time, infertility can be traced to the woman.

Primary treatment involves removal or reduction of ectopic endometrial implants, restoration of normal anatomy, and hindrance of disease and alleviation of symptoms.


Besides this, ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), laparoscopic surgery have been also used for the management of endometriosis.

However, high-tech reproductive technologies have associated psychological and ethical issues that must be addressed by the infertile couple.

Infertility counselling and support services are the well organized psycho-social approach to infertility. Psychosocial issues should be discussed by the physician with the couples in every visit.

Information material about the centre, procedural information, booklets or educational videos should be provided to the couple. Presence at support groups will build up coping abilities.

Psychotherapy and psychosocial counselling are effective in minimizing negative outcome, clarifying life goals, the context for support, advice and guidance will help live more satisfied and resourcefully.


– British Council of Association of Infertility Counseling, 1999

The list of various counselling techniques are:

  • ventilation,
  • explanation,
  • reassurance,
  • diversion by physical and mental activities,
  • recreation,
  • yoga,
  • improve problem-solving skill,
  • encourage health defence mechanism,
  • suggestions, reinforcement, change of attitude and lifestyle.

If treatment has been unsuccessful, couples are faced with the decision to either continue treatments or make other choices.

The choices include adaptation and, at the other end of the spectrum, choosing to remain sans a child.

All of these options are difficult decisions.

Early intervention and meeting with a specialist, the infertile person will find answers and be able to realize your dream of having a child.

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this reader-submitted article are strictly the personal opinions of the authors/doctors. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this health article.

This health/medicine-related article has only been very mildly edited by League of India and is published nearly as received.


Dr Sandhya

Dr Sandhya is Senior Resident, Dept.of Prasuti & Strirog, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

Dr Om Prakash Singh

Dr Om Prakash Sharma is Assistant Prof. (Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy), Dept. of Orthopaedics, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

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