Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Links of interest (2011-03-30)

  • Rameshore Khanal, an honest civil servant working as finance secretary of Nepal, resigned due to undue pressure from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikary and his cronies (including businessmen who were about to be charged for tax evasion).  God knows how much Adhikary and the political parties are being paid by the crooked businessmen to oust Khanal from the finance ministry. This is corruption and dirty lobbying at its height. The morale of civil servants will further go down. The optimal solution right now is to take moral responsibility by Adhikary, resign immediately, and recall Khanal without any preconditions. He should also apologize to Khanal and to the nation for discouraging an honest and dignified civil servant from working to his fullest capacity. Meanwhile, Khanal writes on his facebook profile: “Paid Civil Service is not the only place where one can work for Change, Change for Good. There is a wider civil society where we can work together. We can work collectively for a change that our country needs.”
  • South Asia and food crisis (About 75% of South Asia’s poor live in rural areas and agriculture sector employs about 60% of the labor force. With global food and fuel prices rising again, South Asia will be affected disproportionally. Regional inflation is already high and countries have limited fiscal space to maneuver.)
  • Exchange rate and trade regimes (Results suggest that both currency unions and direct pegs promote bilateral trade in Africa vis-à-vis more flexible exchange rate regimes, and that their effect is almost double for the region than that for an average country in the world sample.)
  • The Middle East political crisis and remittances flows to South Asia (The small share of South Asian workers and limited remittance flows from Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia mean that direct and immediate impacts on remittance flows to South Asian countries overall will be limited. Gulf States employ more than 11 million expatriate workers, an estimated 8 million or more from South and East Asian countries. Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, and Qatar are top destination for South Asian migrants and are main sources of remittance inflows.)

    1. Effective policies and technology investments to minimize food–fuel competition.
    2. Social protection, especially social safety nets, for the most vulnerable groups.
    3. Transparent, fair, and open global trade.
    4. A global emergency physical grain reserve.
    5. Policies and investments to promote agricultural growth, in particular smallholder productivity, in the face of climate change.
    6. Investments by national governments in climate change adaptation and mitigation using the full potential that agriculture offers.
    7. An international working group to regularly monitor the world food situation and trigger action to prevent excessive price volatility.