You win the presidency by connecting with the American people’s gut insecurities and aspirations. You win with a concept, said Thomas Friedman, an American journalist and three times Pulitzer Prize winner. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the US, added the element of hope-‘Making America great again’-and won the elections. Some politicians have the habit of keeping their poll promises, at least for the first 100 days. Trump being one such type, has begun working, much to the consternation of many. He has pulled out of TPP, scaled down Obamacare and imposed immigration ban on seven Muslim countries, drawing the US into the vortex of demonstrations, debates and court cases. gfiles’ cover story is focussed on Trump’s policies and the impact they will have on our economy, bilateral relations and on the geo-political situation. One of the major policy changes of the Trump administration could be on US approach towards China. Trump has already disturbed the long standing US-China equation by calling up the Taiwan president even before speaking to China. This has not only upset Beijing but also prompted it to engage thousands of think-tanks all over the world to consider possible responses. Ironically, China is secretly happy with Trump’s decision of pulling out of the TPP which was mainly aimed at isolating China. Burying the cold war hatchet, Trump is likely to repay his debt to Russia for the ostensibly covert support to his campaign from Putin, a la ‘From Russia with love’. From looking for common ground on geopolitical issues to complex issues like energy security, number of subjects could emerge for the two countries to work together. This policy change opens up huge opportunities for India. India could be of immense help to the new US dispensation in dealing with Beijing but will have to pull up its socks and move in with speed and caution to make India the manufacturing hub-most daily utility items are no longer manufactured domestically in the US and are being imported from China.
This issue of gfiles also deals with the very important matter of ‘compulsory retirement of civil servants’. There is discomfort among civil servants given the government’s marching orders to one IAS and two IPS officers and other grade A officers. MG Devasahayam in his article explains that “compulsory retirement is merely an action taken to remove officers seen as deadwood by their respective cadres and the Centre for not being serious in discharge of their duties. It is not considered as a punishment at all and they get all post-retirement benefits. It is a rare and harsh message to civil servants who fail to perform well in their careers. But, looking at the way governments are run, if non-seriousness in discharge of duties, ‘sub-optimal performance and public interest were the criterion for the compulsory retirement of IAS and IPS officers, at least half the cadre should receive the “order of the boot” as they call it in the Army!
No one can forget the story of the Jignesh Shah, who squandered `1 billion in the name of farmers by running a commodity exchange. Journalist Shantanu Guha Ray’s book, The Target, is in defence of Jignesh Shah, propounding how he broke the market monopoly and the price he paid. But as is the case with many biographies, the author has failed to mention, or even hint, that the unfettered rise of Shah and FTIL was not without political backing. In September 2013, gfiles revealed how powerful ministers, like Sharad Yadav in NDA-I and Sharad Pawar in UPA-1, supported FTIL’s entry into commodities exchange. Shah also garnered the patronage of Sharad Joshi, the farmers’ leader.