Immigrants, welcome nowhere?

What is a man to do if the world around him burns and comes down to ashes? Evolution has instilled fight in us but it has also instilled flight. And when one’s family is in danger, men are known to choose the latter option. When a country is plagued by war, famine, disaster, its civilians are left with no choice but to flee. These immigrants travel unsafe dangerous roads in search of better lives for themselves and their family. Instead of finding refuge, these families find closed fenced borders. The European immigrant crisis brought these refugees and their sufferings in the light for the entire world to see. People felt guilty, preached kindness and prayed to Poseidon, but how many of us opened our doors? The crisis remains and these Immigrants are welcome nowhere.

It is an irony that USA, who is partly responsible for the political unrest in Syria which has led to people fleeing the country, has not done much to help these immigrants. Britain went so far as to a Brexit to prevent immigrants from coming into their territory. France and Netherlands are on they way. Such as surprise that the nation that preached peace solidarity and fraternity In the halls of United Nations, playing role model for third world countries for years have forgotten their values and refused to act when such as large proportion of humanity is struggling between life and death. Immigrants are abandoned to unsafe seas, branded terrorist and are seen as harm to the rest of the countries. Europe has forgotten the days when it was itself war ravaged and its people sailed to USA and Australia and were welcomed with love and not hate. They stopped chanting God save the Queen and ran to save their lives. These were not terrorists, these were helpless people who wanted a better life for themselves and their loved ones. They worked hard and their generations have contributed immensely to American economy.

Japan, a country with dark history of violence is afraid to show sympathy and so is Saudi Arabia. Money and funds flow from these nations to help Immigrants, no doubt, but love doesn’t. Immigrants don’t need welfare checks, they need an opportunity to start over. Be it people running away from violence and despotism in Eritrea or political unrest in Syria, they all have a single wish to start with a clean slate and have the opportunity to live happily. Is that too much to ask of the wealthy countries? To accommodate hard working families that might improve their economy by adding to their workforce?

European countries and other nations should look at these “ Economic Immigrants” as a potential resource and rather than closing their borders, should open them up more. These immigrants bring fresh talent and potential. And aging nations such as Britain would definitely benefit from this young workforce. European countries can draw a plan to allocate immigrants in their countries in proportion to their land and economy. So can the rest of the world.

Chaos is the order of the day, but good things do come out of Chaos. A world with open mind cannot co-exist with closed borders. It is time to show that our long list of values are for real and that we are more than just divided nations.

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Digital Revolution in India

India’s march towards a digital economy is in full swing. In the wake of Demonetization, NITI Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant was quoted saying that by the year 2020, ATMs, PoS, credit/debit cards will become redundant. It is very much possible that by the year 2020, a majority of our population will be well versed with mobile banking and ATMs and credit/debit cards will not be required at all. There will be High speed WiFi in every public institution. Learning, health care, banking will take a huge leap forward and will become e-learning, e-health care and e-banking respectively. This ideal image is far and yet quite near.

Digital India campaign launched by the Modi government is a huge step forward in this respect. The umbrella project plans to bring a lot many schemes under it with a common goal of making a smarter digital India. As the government move from e-governance to m-governance(mobile), it is also promoting mobile banking. Recently PM launched BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app that uses a Unified payment Interface. This platform will make banking and transactions feasible for the layman. A lot of companies like Paytm and PhonePe are riding on the “cashless” wave generated by demonetization and are fuelling a cashless economy dream.

Under the Digital India campaign, the government plans to provide WiFi access to all public institutions. Government plans to set up NOFN (National Optical Fibre Network) to provide high speed internet in rural areas of the country. The Campaign aims to produce more jobs in the IT sector by training individuals and promoting IT startups. Not only will this improve the unemployment scenario, it will also reduce India’s trade deficits. The plan is to reduce net Imports to zero by 2019.

Companies like Reliance Infocomm have played a major role by setting up intensive fibre networks across India and facilitated the goal of a Digital India. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft have also invested funds to improve rural digital connectivity in India.

Digital Revolution has shown its impact on every sector of Indian economy. Our education institutions are gradually moving towards e-learning models. MOOC platforms like edX , Khan Academy and Udacity have a huge number of Indian students. Health care institutions are more automated and organized. Government has launched its own website MyGov.in to facilitate people participation in the governance. Digitalization will undoubtedly lead to a more transparent democratic and advanced India.

A major challenge that lies in front of Indian Government is to educate people, disseminate information and ensure high level of digital safety. A large proportion of Indian population resides in villages and/or is illiterate and that will be a big challenge to overcome. Information disseminating booths, easy payment interfaces, and universal mobile connectivity will be needed to realize the dream of digital India. The future is indeed bright and it is time for India to take the road not taken.

De-Globalization

Bygone year 2016 saw a wave of rising populism and nationalism across the west. In the reluctance of European countries to provide asylum to immigrants to Donald Trump promising USA a closed and secure future, an interesting pattern emerged which underscored the outlook of developed countries towards globalization.

Britain voted in favour of a “Brexit”. People choose to leave Britain as they did not want Immigrants coming and “stealing” their jobs. This lead to Exit talks in several other European countries such as Italy and France. People felt that their jobs had been stolen by foreigners and their taxes spent as welfare checks on these asylum seekers. Suddenly they felt the need to reclaim their resources and jobs and this lead to a rise in nationalist sentiment across the countries. A similar sentiment was on rise in USA. The world might blame Donald Trump and his policies but that is exactly what USA citizens wanted. 19/20 candidates in the presidential elections USA 2016 had Protectionist policies in their agenda. This is a reflection of what US citizens desire. They do not worry about Globalization or free trade, they worry about their next generations and the competition they might face in the years to come if immigration continues.

Britain PM Theresa May declared that Britain would not remain a part of the free trade bloc in EU and will heavily restrict the number of Immigrants. A lot of countries such as Italy have started sending Immigrants back. Donald Trump has taken the president office and opted out of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) deal and is planning to impose heavy Border Adjustment Taxes to restrict Imports and boost exports.

While the developed world looks to close its borders, the developing nations are trying to open up as globalization provides them the opportunity to explore and grow. It has brought enormous advantages to emerging markets in recent years. De-globalization might become a reality in future but it will remain restricted to a few nations. As west closes its borders, other nations will emerge and become major market players. China and India will rise as new favourable trade zones and the world would shift its attention to east.

In spite of all these changes, de-globalization will remain restricted to the area of trade and Immigration. The world has time and again come together when faced with bigger issues. Take for example the continent of Antarctica. When the land was discovered, countries argued over land pieces and water resources. But when the damage done to the environment was exposed, all the nations came together to fix it. Issues like hole in ozone layer, declining number of whales, seals and penguins, were taken as important international problems and lead to Montreal Protocol as a solution. In the face of war, climate change, terrorism and other important concerns, the world would remain globalized because we have a collective responsibility towards this planet and these things affect all nations equally.

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