Donald Trump, a well-known American real estate businessman, author and politician declared his candidature for the American Presidential election on June 16, 2015. A hard-core Republican by nature, Trump made a strategic move against the immigration policy of the United States of America by demanding a hike in the minimum wage paid to the H1B visa holders. According to Murthy Law Firm (n.d.), an H1B visa is one which is given to foreign professionals to work in the U.S for a period of 6 years with an extension of up to 3 years by the USCIS. Trump argues that a large number of H1B visas are being granted to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workers, hired overseas, including India; raising the minimum wage bar will cost the companies to hire from abroad and hence will automatically provide employment to the large number of unemployed graduates and IT professionals in the U.S.
With the policy paper on immigration released by Trump ahead of the Presidential election in 2016, it is indeed a concern for the Indian techies wanting to work in the U.S if the policy gets implemented. Not much of a worry to the Indian companies, yet future job seekers stand to lose a chance of working in the U.S.A. Criticising Donald’s policy, it is argued by firms that America lacks potential graduates and talented workers striving to make a place into the Silicon Valley (Mukherjee and Shaikh, 2015). According to Ottaviano, Peri and Wright (2012), low cost wages, alongside a pool of sufficient talent is what pushes companies to look elsewhere, outside the States. Trump’s policies are indeed manifested in a way to seek the support of working class white voters who are indeed striving hard to get themselves a job in the STEM sector. Looking back to migration policies, Indians have indeed benefitted from a Democratic Obama government; it’s time to see whether and what benefits India in the long run—a Democratic or a Republican government.
How have migrant workers shaped the American economy?
The Presidential front runner is playing a malignant form of politics trying to win the vote banks by asserting that the effect of unstoppable immigration has had a disastrous effect on the native jobseekers (The Economist, 2015). As a contradiction to this, labour economists claim that almost no downward wage push has been created by the migrant workers; neither have they forcibly pulled out Americans out of jobs.
The number of STEM graduates is twice the strength of that employed in the same sector; yet, about two-thirds of entry-level jobs are pooled with foreign nationals, especially Indians. Every year around 65,000 Indians find their way into the Silicon Valley into the STEM sector, which if reduced by the promising Republican Trump, can be a matter of concern and worry for our tech graduates (Asian American Justice Centre, 2012). According to data released by the Migration Policy Institute, more than half of the total Indian immigrants in the States, obtain a permanent residence (a green card) and are found to be more likely to be employed given their higher standard of education (Zong and Batalova, 2015). The increasing number of H1B visas is a clear indication that the U.S job market is absorbing more of foreign skilled workers.
How will the new visa system affect India?
Against this backdrop, contraction of the H1B visa would not have any major impact on the Indian economy, lest that few aspiring Indians would have their dreams shattered (Karthik M, Manager, T2M Consulting). Rest, Indian companies that rely on such a visa are more likely to go about acquiring local companies. So, the Indian pool of talent is unexpected to go wasted, just in case they do not find their way into their dreamland. But, the problem still clings on to the Americans. With most of the analysts claiming that the U.S talent is not appreciable of a STEM job, its hard time for the Americans, not the Indians.
With an attempt towards the termination of the H1B visa, the J-1 visa programme will most likely be slashed as well if Trump wins power (Finn, 2015). Now, that is a serious problem for young foreign professionals, especially Indians. Abolishment of the latter will put an end to Indian professionals going on exchange based educational and cultural programs and later work there. On the flip side of the coin, that can again be good news for the Indian economy, given that the termination of the J-1 and H1B visas will stop brain drain from India and more of Indian talent can be best utilised within our economy. The Trump administration is targeted at an all-beneficial economy for the Americans but, in its attempt may do little good to the Indian diaspora as well.
While the Republican aristocrat Donald Trump has culminated in his favour a large support from the American citizens, a survey by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) reveals that Indian-American still continues their overwhelming support to the Democratic Party of America. Out of the 1 million Indian-American registered voters, almost 88% had voted in favour of Barrack Obama, a Democratic candidate, during the 2012 Presidential election. (Mukherjee & Shaikh, 2015). Following this humongous support, there arose a common consensus that India, being a democracy, is poised to have healthy relations with the U.S under the leadership of the Democratic Party. However, this consensus failed to get implemented beyond words. There have been no constructive and productive deals and agreements with India that had occurred during the reign of the Democrats. On the other hand, the Indian economy has seen huge expansion in terms of trade co-operation, investments and security, all inclined towards the objective of growth and development from the Republican Party in the past. Citing an example, the India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement came into force only during the administration of George W. Bush, a Republican diplomat (Pillalamarri, 2014). Although the full potential of the agreement is yet to be explored, the Indo-US Nuclear deal of 2005 has sufficiently transformed the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The U.S has removed many far-fetched high technology sanctions from India for importing anything for its nuclear programme (Mallik, 2015). The deal also made India eligible to buy U.S dual-use nuclear technology, including materials that can be used to extract uranium in an enriched way as also to re-process plutonium in a convenient manner. This gave impetus to India to have an access for potentially creating the materials of a nuclear bomb. The nuclear consensus also allowed India to receive imported fuel for its nuclear reactors. India has gone a long way in importing uranium and also negotiating with vendors for purchase of new reactors (Bajoria & Pan, 2010).
Foreign policies between India and Republican America
Speaking on a foreign policy level, a Republican American government represented by Donald Trump would be more compatible for the Indian economy, given that the political interests and thoughts of the Republican Party are in coherence with that of India. Senator John McCain has argued for a stronger partnership with India, with the latter at the heart of U.S interests in Asia. Also, the Senator has expressed his views on seeking close partnerships with India on energy, trade and defence (Ayres, 2014). He also strongly advocated for the amendment of U.S natural gas laws to provide permit to more foreign players, primarily India. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in power in India, expectations are on board for both the countries to sync align if the Republicans come to rule the White House. Also, the Republicans are designated as being more prone towards foreign investment and free trade, as being less protectionist than the Democrats. Though the Republicans are not in favour of inviting migrants from India and elsewhere, they are inclined towards the Indian sub-continent in terms of geopolitics, trade and defence priorities. The Civil Nuclear Agreement, signed a decade ago was the pioneer in opening doors to the friendly relations between the U.S and India, increasing trade tremendously. Besides, the co-operation on counter terrorism has also initiated a success. The States has also lent a helping hand to India’s development of next generation aircraft carriers. All these, without the commencement of the nuclear agreement would have been quite a tough target to achieve. Thus, the advantages of a Republican government with Trump as the President of the USA far outdo the limited disadvantages to India.
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The 14th indirect presidential election, in order to elect the 13th president, was held in India on 19 July 2012. The last date for filing nominations was 30 June, whereas the votes would be counted on 22 July. The two leading candidates for the presidency were former Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee from West Bengal and former Speaker of the Lok SabhaPurno Agitok Sangma from Meghalaya.
On 22 July, Mukherjee was declared the winner. He was sworn in on 25 July at 11:30.
Further information: President of India § Selection process
The new president is chosen by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of parliament, the elected members of the state legislative assemblies and the elected members of the legislative assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of the President must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the Single transferable vote method. The voting takes place by secret ballot. The manner of election of President is provided by Article 55 of the Constitution.
Various names had been speculated by the Indian media and politicians prior to the official candidacies being submitted. Opinion polls have shown that the public prefers former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to hold the post once again, which was supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On 15 June, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) announced Pranab Mukherjee as its presidential candidate. There were signs of a split within the Janata Dal (United) with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying that "like the other constituents, the JD (U) too will abide by the final decision on the presidential poll," though Shivanand Tiwari said that "a senior and respected leader like Pranab Mukherjee, who is going into retire [from active politics] should be given a graceful send off." Tiwari added that "[Mukherjee] is a very senior and a respected leader, and my personal opinion is that as he should be elected to the president’s post with consensus." The Shiv Sena supported Mukherjee's candidates according to its spokesman Sanjay Raut. On 18 June, Kalam said he would not run in the race following statement from JDU leader Nitish Kumar and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav that they would prefer to support Mukherjee. Following Kalam's decision, the BJP-led NDA turned to supporting Sangma.
The final candidacy application had 45 names. Scrutiny of the candidates took place on 2 July Pranab Mukherjee filed his nomination on 28 June with the support of the INC's Manmohan Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi, General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal's leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Rashtriya Lok Dal's Ajit Singh, the Lok Janshakti Party's Ram Vilas Paswan, the National Conference's Farooq Abdullah, the Indian Union Muslim League's E. Ahmed and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's T. R. Baalu. The Hindustan Times suggested that he also had the support of the National Democratic Alliance's Janata Dal (United) and the Shiv Sena, as well as the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Mukherjee said after filing his nomination papers that "I only wish at this time that we have the blessing of god and cooperation of all at this juncture." P. A. Sangma filed his nomination papers with the support of the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, BJP party president Nitin Gadkari and party leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, as well as the INC's Arvind Netam, who is the head of the Tribal Forum of India which supported Sangma. Prior to filing his nomination with the Rajya Sabha Secretary General V. K. Agnihotri he said that "today is a victory of tribal unity, that a tribal is filing his nomination for the post of president."
Following is the list of potential candidates speculated by media.
The election's Returning Officer V. K. Agnihotri announced: "I declare that Shri Pranab Mukherjee has been duly elected to the office of President of India." Mukherjee gained 373,116 MP votes and 340,647 MLA votes for a total of 713,763 votes to win the election. He defeated Sangma, who got 145,848 MP votes and 170,139 MLA votes for a total of 315,987 votes. Mukherjee's win was aided by cross-voting. He took the oath of office on 25 July at 11:00 in the Central Hall of the parliament building. In Andhra Pradesh, the Telegu Desam Party and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi abstained from voting, while in Kerala and West Bengal, the same applied to the Communist Party of India and the Revolutionary Socialist Party. In Karnataka, one MLA abstained. In Assam, there were two invalid voted and one abstention. In Bihar, three voted were invalid with one abstention. In Haryana, there were 8 invalid votes. In Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram one vote was invalid. In Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Nagaland and Punjab and Sikkim, there were two invalid votes. In West Bengal, four votes were invalid.
Pranab Mukherjee thanked the people of the "great country" and "express[ed] deep gratitude for electing me to high office." He later told the media that he "thank[s] all those who supported me...I thank Sangma for congratulating me. I have received much more than I have given." He also said he would "protect, defend and preserve [the Constitution of India]. I will try to justify in a modest way as I can to be trustworthy." He was also congratulated by his former party colleagues Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, as well as Vice-President Hamid Ansari and BJP President Nitin Gadkari.
While Sangma congratulated Mukherjee he also added: "The process in this Presidential election has been exceptionally partisan and political. The public perception is certainly that in identification and projection of its candidate, the UPA did not genuinely build consensus and that it persuaded political parties commanding major sections of the presidential electoral college by economic and other packages...as well as inducements, threats and promises. For election to the Lok Sabha and Assembly, there is a code of conduct for free and fair elections. Such a code of conduct does not exist for presidential and vice-presidential elections...Rs. 57,000 crore were given to U.P., Rs 27,000 crore to Bihar and so many other things have happened. We are meeting a day after tomorrow to review the whole situation where this matter will come up for discussion." He also added that this was an opportunity lost to elect a tribal candidate as president. INC spokesman Manish Tewari responded in saying: "Magnanimity should mark the conduct of people, who contest elections. Gritting after losing an election only endorses the proverb that grapes are sour [when you cannot reach them];" its General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi added to criticism of Sangma's allegations that "I think one should not talk with such a narrow vision."
In response to cross-voting against party lines as Mukherjee had support from 98 MLAs of the INC and JDS yet won with 19 extra votes and the Sangma got only 103 votes of BJP's 119 MLAs, Karnataka BJP General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan said that "the party is taking this matter very seriously. The Central leadership has asked the Karnataka BJP unit to form a committee to probe this cross-voting by our MLAs. Once we get the committee's report we will take appropriate action." The issue also follows infighting within the Karnataka BJP that culminated in the recent appointment of Jagadish Shettar as chief minister.
Anti-corruption activist groupTeam Anna criticised Mukherjee in saying the country now had a "corrupt president."Biocon CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said of the election: "We are making a mockery of the presidential post. This is considered the highest office in our country and should be apolitical. The president should be an apolitical appointee who has the stature and integrity that can hold the political system accountable. How can persons who are in office, holding key ministerial posts, be even eligible for such a post? This is becoming a political chess game which is devaluing this very lofty post."
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