PCoE students at AICTE Regional Office in Mumbai. Source: Intelligentguy89/Wikimedia Commons
SINGAPORE – In August, Raghuram Rajan was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. On one level, this was a routine announcement that many had anticipated – after all, Rajan is arguably the best-known Indian economist of his generation. On another level, however, his appointment can be seen as part of a broader generational shift. Rajan, just 50, will be the first RBI governor born after India became a republic in 1950.
Similar changes are taking place in all walks of Indian life, including politics, the arts, sports, and social development. And India will be better for it. Although the country is one of the youngest in the world, with an average age of just 26 years, until recently aging stalwarts incongruously dominated most fields, from politics to the arts and even business and sports.
But now younger entrants are rising everywhere, bringing with them energy and new ideas. In politics, as the country prepares for next year’s general election, the leading contenders to replace 81-year-old Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi, 62, and Rahul Gandhi, who is just 43. Either man would be the first prime minister who was not born in the British Raj.
Cellou Dalein Diallo, Former Prime Minister of Guinea and President of Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG). Image by Friends of Europe / Flickr.
Guinea’s parliamentary election, to be held later this month, will establish a legislative assembly after almost five years without one, and formally complete a transition to civilian rule. But the long-overdue poll is fraught with political and ethnic tensions that analysts say hinder reforms and progress.
The legislative election was supposed to be held six months after the 2010 presidential poll that brought President Alpha Condé to power, but after protracted disputes between the government and the opposition, Guineans will instead vote on 24 September of this year.
Guineans remain sharply divided over Condé’s win in the run-off against opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo, and supporters on each side see the legislative poll as an occasion to demonstrate their party’s political weight. Many political leaders who backed Condé in 2010 are now supporting the opposition in the parliamentary election. » More
Voter reads an election pamphlet. Photo: Al Jazeera English/flickr.
India’s next general election, scheduled for 2014 at the latest, is already shaping up to be one of the most anticipated in decades. Over recent weeks, the two main parties – the ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – have hinted at who might lead them once campaigning officially starts. Although the two likely contenders are not household names outside India, both Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi are heavyweights on the domestic political stage.
The two men are as different as can be. Rahul Gandhi is the youthful upstart without much experience, but who holds the backing of a powerful political family. Narendra Modi is possibly India’s most divisive political figure – adored by many for overseeing unprecedented economic growth in his home state of Gujarat, but equally reviled for his alleged involvement in the worst communal riots in India’s recent history. » More
Anti riot police in Nairobi. Photo DEMOSH/flickr
As Kenyans prepare to go to the polls on March 4, experts are warning of possible food shortages because many farmers are not planting crops for fear of election violence.
Farmers in the country’s grain basket, Rift Valley Province, are scaling down their planting because they do not want to lose out if there is violence similar to that which followed the December 2007 presidential election. More than 1,100 people were killed and hundreds of thousands uprooted from their homes in the months that followed.
Farmers from the Rift Valley were particularly badly affected. Many had their crops plundered, while others were forced to abandon their farms and seek refuge in displacement camps.
Maize, a staple crop planted between February and April, looks likely to be worst affected. Wheat is not sown until May, so that harvest is less at risk as the elections will be over by then.
Samson Koech, an agricultural and land economist in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, warns that if farmers refrain from planting over the next few months, Kenya could find itself with a food crisis later in the year.
“More than 80 per cent of food consumption in Kenya is grown by smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture as their main source of income for their livelihoods, and the decision by some of them not to plant the crop [this] year will result in nutrition insecurity among most families,” Koech said.