The Statesman – Peace will elude Afghanistan unless Taliban is reined in

India, which has backed the Afghan government is equally a player on account of its investments and goodwill and wants discussions to lead to power sharing while ensuring protection of its investments.

Harsha Kakar

New Delhi – India, 10 March 2020. The US-Taliban agreement, signed on 29 February, though intended to end the war and lead to withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country was anything but a peace agreement. The deal ignored the Afghan government, which remains a major stakeholder and deciding factor in any peace process.

It made commitments on behalf of the Afghan government, which it rightfully refused as it had been kept in the dark.

Pakistan claimed credit for the deal, whereas it backed the Taliban rather than the Afghan government and its people. It only sought the return of the Taliban.

It has since then begun putting its weight behind the Taliban seeking to force the Afghan government to adhere to the deal. This has enhanced Afghanistan-Pakistan tensions. The agreement was to lead to the commencement of intra-Afghan talks from 10 March in Norway.

Under the terms of the agreement, foreign forces would quit Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to Taliban security guarantees and a pledge by them to hold talks with Kabul. The agreement stated that the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban militants in exchange for 1,000 prisoners held by the Taliban.

Simultaneous to the signing of the US-Taliban peace agreement was a release of a US-Afghan declaration on ongoing peace efforts. This declaration was released in Kabul by the Afghan President, US Defence Secretary and the NATO Secretary General.

Peace will elude Afghanistan unless Taliban is reined in

The Tribune – Sex ratio at birth static in Haryana; declined in Punjab and Himachal

Bhartesh Singh Thakur – Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 March 2020. Sex ratio at birth (SRB) in Haryana has been static at 914 for the last two financial years. It has declined from 907 to 900 in Punjab and from 931 to 927 in Himachal Pradesh.

A total of 13 states and union territories have lower SRB than national average of 931, with Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh among these.

These facts have come to light in the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The child sex ratio was 918 in this decade and 927 in the previous decade.

After launch of the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) in 2015, progress of the scheme was measured in terms of SRB collected by the health management information system of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Haryana’s SRB was 902 in 2016-17, rose to 914 in 2017-18 and remained static in 2018-19. Punjab’s SRB was 902 in 2016-17, rose to 907 in 2017-18 and dropped to 900 in 2018-19.

Chandigarh’s SRB was 921 in 2016-17, dipped to 897 in 2017-18 and rose to 910 in 2018-19. In Himachal Pradesh, it was 916 in 2016-17, rose to 931 in 2017-18 and dipped to 927 in 2018-19.

“Our SRB figures have further improved to 923 in 2019. We have saved 25,000 girls under the campaign. We have improved from 871 in 2014 to 923, a rise of 52 points,” said Dr Rakesh Gupta, CEO, BBBP.

In Haryana, 60 cases were registered under PCPNDT Act in 2017 and 33 in 2018. The committee pointed out that the Centre had allocated Rs 200 crore to the BBBP for 2019-20, of which only Rs 57.9 crore (20.67 per cent) had been spent till January 31.