DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC |19 Feb 2021| RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

19 FEB 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

“Dizzying climb”

 The Hindu

2

What amendments to juvenile justice act mean?

Indian Express

3

The pressing need to

adjudicate, not mediate

The Hindu

4

Effecting a social rise, starting a political experiment

The Hindu

Mains Value Addition

Hyderabad wins global ‘Tree City’ status

Syllabus –

 GS3: – Biodiversity
Analysis: –
  • Hyderabad has been selected for its commitment to growing and maintaining urban forestry.
  • With the recognition, the city joins 120 others from 23 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
  • The Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department cited the State government’s Haritha Haram programme and its Urban Forest Parks plan.
  • Hyderabad has won a green contest among cities in India, and emerged one of the ‘Tree Cities of the World’.
  • That title has been bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Quad meet: India, U.S. call for rule of law in Myanmar

Syllabus –

GS3: – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Analysis: –
  • India recently joined Australia, Japan and the United States for a ministerial meeting under the quadrilateral grouping during which key issues, including Myanmar, came up for discussion.
  • External Affairs Minister and U.S. Secretary of State said the military takeover in Myanmar featured in the talks and participants reiterated democratic values for the region.
  • India also emphasised in its statement that the meeting expressed commitment to “upholding rules-based international order” and “peaceful resolution of disputes”.

Covid diplomacy pitch by pm: visa for medics, air ambulance

Syllabus – GS2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Analysis: –
  • Prime Minister of India applauded the “spirit of collaboration” among South Asian and Indian Ocean island countries as “a valuable takeaway from this pandemic”.
  • Prime Minister suggested recently the creation of a regional platform for collating and studying data on the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines, a special visa scheme for doctors and nursesto travel within the region during health emergencies, and a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies.
  • A workshop on ‘Covid-19 Management: Experience, Good Practices and Way Forward’is being attended by health leaders, experts and officials of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and India.
  • All countries, including Pakistan, supported the PM’s proposals. They sought a structured discussion for regional cooperationon these proposals to take them forward.
  • Prime Minister said: “Today, the hopes of our region and the world are focused on rapid deployment of vaccines. In this too, we must maintain the same cooperative and collaborative spirit.

Biometric authentication to benefit farmers: Centre

Syllabus – GS3: – e-technology in the aid of farmers

Analysis: –
  • In a bid to cut out the middleman and ensure greater transparency in the procurement of farm produce, the Centre is encouraging the States to deploy biometric authentication of farmers.
  • The practice, already adopted in Uttar Pradesh and set to be rolled out in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha this year, will aid in tracking the end-use beneficiary.
  • In States such as Punjab and Haryana, where the agitation has been the strongest, middlemen who act as commission agents or arhitiyas are a key part of the procurement process at these mandis

Mains Analysis

“Dizzying climb”

Why in News: -The statistics department showed that food inflation fell to a 20-month low of 1.89% as vegetable prices slumped 15.84% last month.

Syllabus: – GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Background
  • The latest retail inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 4.06% in January, marking a deceleration for a second straight month to a 16-month low.
  • However, Inflation must not be allowed to pose a threat to macro-economic stability.
  • Retail inflation in rural and urban India stood at 3.23% and 5.06%, respectively.

 What is Retail Inflation?

  • Retail inflation means the increase in prices of certain products or commodities compared to a base price.
  • In India, retail inflation is linked to Consumer Price Index.
  • When goods and services cost more than the CPI will rise over a period of time.
  • If the CPI drops, that means there is deflation, or a steady reduction in the prices of goods and services.

The monetary policy:

  •  Inflation appears to have cooled after having stayed stubbornly stuck above the Reserve Bank of India’s upper tolerance threshold of 6% for six months through November, helped by an appreciable softening in food prices.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its latest monetary policy statement had said with the larger-than-anticipated deflation in vegetable prices in December bringing down headline inflation closer to the target, it is likely that the food inflation trajectory will shape the near-term outlook
  • the Consumer Food Price Index reflected a gain of a mere 1.89% last month as vegetable prices saw a disinflation of 15.8% and cereal prices eased considerably for a second month in the wake of kharif crop arrivals.
  • The RBI in its monetary policy statement this month, cited “the bumper kharif crop, rising prospects of a good rabi harvest, larger winter arrivals of key vegetables and softer egg and poultry demand on avian flu fears” as factors that augured well for the months ahead.
  •  The central bank was mindful of the risks too, especially with regard to food costs where the latest data had brought to the fore concerns over the prices of pulses and edible oils.
  • While inflation in pulses and products was at 13.4%, that for oils and fats stood at 19.7%. Eggs and meat and fish  two other key sources of protein both posted double-digit rates of 12.9% and 12.5%, respectively, with price gains in the former barely registering any telling impact from the avian flu outbreak.

 What are the main causes of inflation?

  • Inflation is a sustained rise in the general price level. Inflation can come from both the demand and the supply-side of an economy.
  • It is two type, Demand-pull inflation and Cost-push inflation depend up on aggregate demand (AD and the aggregate Supply (AS) side of an economy.
  • Demand-pull inflation occurs when aggregate demand (AD)is growing at an unsustainable rate leading to increased pressure on scarce resources and a positive output gap ,When there is excess demand, producers can raise their prices and achieve bigger profit margins
  • Cost-push inflation occurs when firms respond to rising costs by increasing prices in order to protect their profit margins like, increase in the prices of raw materials, caused by wage increases, higher indirect taxes, Monopoly employers/profit-push inflation etc.

 Challenges

  • The base effect beginning to wane inflation moderated by more than 100 basis points in February 2020 to 6.58% before slowing to 5.84% in March the outlook is far from reassuring.
  •  The particular worry is the trend in input costs (Cost-push inflation) for multiple sectors in the real economy, including manufacturing.
  • Which include from automobile manufacturers to builders, rising raw material costs are beginning to force them to pass on the impact to the end consumers, and this at a time when demand is still to gain a firm footing,
  • The latest IHS Market India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) points to the sharpest increase in purchasing costs for more than two years as ‘a lingering supply-side squeeze’ fanned inflationary pressures and manufacturers raised their product prices at the fastest pace in over a year.
  •  To the mix the unrelenting and dizzying climb in transportation fuel prices to newer and newer record highs in recent days and the outlook for inflation becomes distinctly darker.
  • Diesel, the main fuel for freight carriage, has now exceeded ?80 per litre and is bound to feed into prices of almost everything being transported across distances from fresh produce to intermediate and finished industrial goods.
  •  With banks still flush with liquidity, policymakers need to maintain a strict vigil to keep inflation from resurging and posing a threat to macro-economic stability.

Way Forward

  1. The experience with successfully maintaining price stability and the gains in credibility for monetary policy since the institution of the inflation targeting framework, barring the COVID-19 period, needs to be reinforced in the coming years.
  2. The outlook for core inflation is likely to be impacted by further easing in supply chains; however, broad-based escalation in cost-push pressures in services and manufacturing prices due to increase in industrial raw material prices could impart upward pressure
Question
  1. Inflation can become a threat to macro-economic stability. Critically analyse.

What amendments to juvenile justice act mean?

Why in News: –Recently, the Union Cabinet ushered in some major amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 in a bid to bring in clarity and also entrust more responsibilities on bureaucrats when it comes to implementing provisions of the law.

Syllabus: – GS 2: Issues Related to Children

Government Policies & Interventions

Who is a juvenile?

  • A juvenile can be defined as a child who has not attained a certain age at which he can be held liable for his criminal acts like an adult person under the law of the country.
  • The term ‘juvenile in conflict with the law’ refers any person below the age of 18 who has come in contact with the justice system as a result of committing a crime or being suspected of committing a crime.
 What is the juvenile justice (care and protection of children act) 2015?
  • The Act was introduced and passed in Parliament in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000.
  • One of the main provisions of the new Act was allowing the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults, in cases where the crimes were to be determined.
  • The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.
  • This provision received an impetus after the 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the accused was just short of 18 years, and was therefore tried as a juvenile.
  • The second major provision was with regards to adoption, bringing a more universally acceptable adoption law instead of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956) and Guardians of the ward Act (1890) which was for Muslims, although the Act did not replace these laws.
  • The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
  • The amendments include authorising district magistrate including additional district magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability

 Crimes included in the Act: –

  • Most heinous crimes have a minimum or maximum sentence of seven years. According to the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, juveniles charged with heinous crimes and who would be between the ages of 16-18 years would be tried as adults and processed through the adult justice system.
  • The amendment passed by the Union Cabinet recently has included for the first time the category of “serious crimes” differentiating it from heinous crimes, while retaining heinous crimes.
  • Both heinous and serious crimes have also been clarified for the first time, removing any ambiguity.
  • What this means is that for a juvenile to be tried for a heinous crime as an adult, the punishment of the crime should not only have a maximum sentence of seven years or more, but also a minimum sentence of seven years.
  • This provision has been made to ensure that children, as much as possible, are protected and kept out of the adult justice system.
  • Heinous crimes with a minimum imprisonment of seven years pertain mostly to sexual offences and violent sexual crimes.
  • At present, with no mention of a minimum sentence, and only the maximum seven-year sentence, juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years could also be tried as adults for a crime like the possession and sale of an illegal substance, such as drugs or alcohol, which will now fall under the ambit of a “serious crime’’.

 Expanding the purview of district and additional district magistrates

  • Women and Child Development Minister announced that district magistrates (DMs) along with additional district magistrates (ADMs) will monitor the functioning of various agencies under the JJ Act in every district.
  • This includes the Child Welfare Committees, the Juvenile Justice Boards, the District Child Protection Units and the Special juvenile Protection Units.
  • The amendment has been brought in based on a report filed by the NCPCR in 2018-19 in which the over 7,000 Child Care Institutions were surveyed and found that 1.5 per cent do not conform to rules and regulations of the JJ Act and 29 per cent of them had major shortcomings in their management.
  • The NCPCR report also found that not a single Child Care Institution in the country was found to be 100 per cent compliant to the provisions of the JJ Act.
  • CCIs can be government-run, government-aided, privately run or run through government, private or foreign funding.
  • These institutions, while falling under the CWC and the state child protection units had very little oversight and monitoring.

The challenges

  • Even to receive a license, after an application was made, if the children’s home were to not receive a reply from the government within 3 months’ time, it would be “deemed registered’’ for a period of six months, even without government permission.
  • The new amendment ensures that this can no longer happen and that no new children’s home can be opened without the sanction of the DM.
  • DM’s are also responsible now for ensuring that CCIs falling in their district are following all norms and procedures.
  • During the NCPCR survey, for instance, it had been CCI’s with large funds, including foreign funding, had been found keeping children in unsanitary conditions in port cabins.
  • Since the survey, the WCD Ministry shut down 500 illegal child welfare institutions that had not been registered under the JJ Act.
  • The DM will also carry out background checks of CWC members, who are usually social welfare activists, including educational qualifications, as there is no such provision currently to check if a person has a case of girl child abuse against him.
  • To hasten the process of adoption and ensure the swift rehabilitation of children into homes and foster homes, the amendment further provides that the DM will also now be in charge of sanctioning adoptions, removing the lengthy court process.

Conclusion:

  1. This is a welcome move and would help the cause of juvenile justice. This characterisation was important because, as per the prevailing law, a child below 18 years has to be treated as a juvenile/child for all purposes.
  2. There is, however, one exception to this — where the child is alleged to have committed a ‘heinous offence’.
  3. If a child has committed a ‘heinous offence’, the child (if between the age of 16-18 years), can be tried as an adult and taken out of the protective umbrella of the juvenile justice system

Question

  1. Discuss the provisions of  Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.

The pressing need toadjudicate, not mediate

Why in News: – The recent judgment of the Supreme Court that refused to review its earlier verdict on the Shaheen Bagh protest.

Syllabus: – GS2-Judiciary (structure, organisation functioning)

Background:

  • The Supreme Court in the Shaheen Bagh case had declared that there is no absolute right to protest, and it could be subjected to the orders of the authority regarding the place and time.
  • The article argues against the stand taken by the Supreme Court based on the following factors.
Balancing the right to protect and right to move to court:
  • In the original judgment on Shaheen Bagh, the Court attempted to “mediate” the issue. The textbook theory of “balancing” the right to protest and the right to move along the road did not help find a solution to the problem.
  • Instead of fulfilling its duty to adjudicate on the issue, the court attempted mediation.
  • A reconciliatory approach cannot be a substitute for judicial assertion. The judiciary should ensure timely adjudication of the validity of the laws which are questioned by the process recognised by the law.
  • The review petition provided the Supreme Court an opportunity to revisit its earlier folly but has failed to capitalize on it.

Concerns with judicial review:

  • In the review petition, the petitioners rightly apprehended that the observations in the earlier judgment against the indefinite occupation of public space “may prove to be a license in the hands of the police to commit atrocities on legitimate voice of protest”.
  • The Court, by its present rejection of the plea, seems to have reinforced the state’s stand. It illustrates an instance of “abusive judicial review”, as described by David Landau and Rosalind Dixon, where the Court not only refuses to act as the umpire of democracy but aids the executive in fulfilling its strategies. In the process, it legitimises very many illegitimate state actions.

Against judicial precedent:

  • The 2020 verdict fails to properly appreciate and contextualise the earlier Constitution Bench judgment in Himat Lal K. Shah vs Commissioner of Police (1972) even after referring to it.
  • In Himat Lal K. Shah, the Court said that the rule framed by the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner conferred arbitrary power on the police officers in the matter of public meetings and, therefore, was liable to be struck down. The judges on the bench noted that “freedom of assembly is an essential element of a democratic system” and that “the public streets are the ‘natural’ places for expression of opinion and dissemination of ideas”.

Way Forward

  • A fair and effective adjudicative mechanism in constitutional matters can help end the agitations and protests.
  • Studies have shown that social movements could be less radical and less oppositional when the issues could be effectively sorted out by way of fair litigative means.
  • The court’s only role is to act as the guardian of the right of people including the right to dissent.
  • Article 19 of the Constitution deals with the right to liberty including freedom of expression to that of peaceful association.

Question

  1. Examine the scope of the Supreme court’s role to act as the guardian of the right to dissent.

Effecting a social rise, starting a political experiment

Why in News: –The Government of India tabled the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2021 that seeks to give effect to a long-standing political demand to group seven Scheduled Caste subsects in Tamil Nadu under the heritage name ‘DevendrakulaVelalar’ (DKV).

Syllabus: –
GS-1: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

  • The Government of India tabled the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2021 that seeks to give effect to a long-standing political demand to group seven Scheduled Caste subsects in Tamil Nadu under the heritage name ‘DevendrakulaVelalar’ (DKV).
  • The subsects include Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan (excluding the coastal areas of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts), Kalladi, Kudumban, Pallan, Pannadi and Vathiriyan.
  • These subsects have a predominant presence in south Tamil Nadu, which is a communally sensitive region. it is unique for a community to highlight the need for social advancement in order to be delisted.

 The rationale demand:

  1. The Caste-based political parties and organisations, spearheading the demand, feel that shedding individual Dalit caste tags would help in the social advancement of the community.
  2.  Their argument is that existing caste names were being used more in a derogatory sense to belittle the community.
  3. The DKVs, they insist, were prosperous wetland owners, and not oppressed sections, socially or economically. Besides, these seven Scheduled Caste subsects share similarities, culturally
  4. The demand for such grouping has its genesis in latter day British India when these subsects were included under the Scheduled Castes on the basis of their economic conditions.
  5. The voices remained feeble for long, only gaining traction in the 1990s with the emergence of influential community leaders such as K. Krishnasamy (founder, PuthiyaTamilagam) and John Pandian (founder, TamizhagaMakkalMunnetraKazhagam).
  6.  Caste clashes between the Mukkulathors, an Other Backward Classes (OBC) community, and the Pallars, in the latter half of 1990s over the naming of districts and transport corporations after community leaders, led to a community consolidation.
  7.  The community leaders placed an unusual additional demand — to delist the seven subsects from the Scheduled Castes arguing that being in the Schedule, instead of being a facilitator, served as a detriment to social advancement.

 A political risk:

  1. The twin demands “subsects under a common title” rise by many local leaders, of grouping and exclusion from the Scheduled Castes list.
  2. Delisting and shuffling of castes from one reserved social class to another was fraught with political and administrative risks.
  3. It could not only disturb the internal sharing of the communal reservation quota pool by existing castes, but also invite objections from other communities or spur political demands for similar reclassification.
  4. As per Census 2011, the seven subsects constitute about 17.07% of the Scheduled Castes. In the southern districts, the concentration of their population in many constituencies would be far greater.

 Steps to a review:

  1. The committee headed by S. Sumathi, report, “DevendrakulaVelalar – Cultural and Social Patterns of Seven Sub-Communities”, was not made public, but it favoured a grouping of the subsects.
  2. The second committee headed by Hans Raj Verma, IAS, to make recommendations on the demand. Significantly, the government had eliminated the Vathiriyan caste from the purview of the panel as there was opposition from the community to being classified under DKV.
  3. In the midst of electioneering in December 2020, he announced that he would write to the Centre to classify the seven subsects (including Vathiriyan) as DKV following the Verma panel recommendation.

 Amendment of Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950:

  • In accordance with the provisions of clause (1) of article 341 of the Constitution, six Presidential Orders were issued specifying Scheduled Castes in respect of various States and Union territories.
  • The State Government of Tamil Nadu has proposed certain modifications in the list of Scheduled Castes, by way of grouping of seven castes, which presently exist therein as separate castes:
  • It is also proposed to consequentially omit the redundant entries from the said list in view of the aforementioned grouping.
  • The Registrar General of India has conveyed concurrence to the proposed.
  • In order to give effect to the above changes, it is necessary to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 in respect of the State of Tamil Nadu.

 The Picking up the gauntlet:

  • The social advancement of the seven subsects including their demand to be delisted from the Scheduled Castes.
  • Claiming entitlement for the exclusive use of the ‘Upper cast’ title, they see the demand for use of the same title by the Dalit subsects as “identity theft” and “cultural misappropriation”.
  •  They claim that the use of the ‘Upper cast’ (Vellalar) title by the subsects was a modern-day inclusion by community leaders and not a historic practice.
  • Its traditional stronghold, due to their backing of the DKV classification demand, for political gain not for subsects empowerment.

 The Dalit concerns:

  • Among the Dalits too, opinion is divided on the grouping of subsects under a common title.
  • There are apprehensions that over time, this could trigger arguments as to which of the larger groups is numerically stronger, thereby clouding the larger Dalit cause.
  •  This section argues that Dalits as such cannot be treated as a homogeneous group considering the differences within in terms of social status and geographical identity.

 Way forward

  •  It is indeed unique for DevendrakulaVelalar’ (DKV) community to have placed social advancement as priority to be delisted from the Scheduled Castes forgoing the concessions it offers.
  •  This would be a precedent for using anthropological study for social grouping in Tamil Nadu. Politically, though, this would remain a trapeze walk.

Question

  1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2021, discuss how shedding caste-based tags would help in the social advancement of the community?

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