Editorial – 1
Title of the editorial: Fixing the rules of the economy
Written by: Arun Maira – Arun Maira is author of ‘The Learning Factory: How the Leaders of Tata Became Nation Builders.
Topic in syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth,
development and employment (GS-3)
Analysis about: This editorial discuss why the fundamentals of the productivity & economics have to change as they currently favour wealthy investors and not workers and tiny enterprises.
- Productivity: Productivity is a ratio of an input in the denominator and an output in the numerator. Higher is the productivity less is the time required for work done.
Introduction: incomes of people in the lower half of the pyramid are too low. The solutions economists propose are: free up markets, improve productivity, and apply technology. These fundamentals of economics
must be re-examined when applied to human work.
Some problems in fundamentals:
- Economists advocates for freeing up markets but Without adequate incomes, people cannot be a good market for businesses. In fact, it is the inadequate growth of incomes that has caused a slump
- Economists generally use labour productivity as a universal measure of the productivity of an economy.
- Companies also measure their productivity similarly, by dividing the total output of the enterprise by the numbers of workers employed.
- The lazy management strategy for improving productivity is to reduce the denominator, i.e. the number of workers. Hire them when times are good, and fire them when the company cannot compete any more.
What is the result of this strategy?
- If a country is not productive, in terms of GDP per unit of population, its government
does not have the luxury of firing citizens.
- The population may try to migrate to other countries, which are reluctant to have them because they will have to provide them with productive jobs when there are not enough jobs for their own citizens.
How adoption of modern technology affects the developing countries?
- Schumacher (economist) wrote an essay ‘Industrialisation through Intermediate Technology’, in which he says, the current attempt of the ‘developing ‘countries, supported by foreign aid, to infiltrate the very modern technology into their economies inevitably kills off the local & indigenous technology at an alarming rate.
- Which destroys traditional workplaces at a much faster rate than modern workplaces can be created.
- It produces the ‘dual economy’ & as a result it creates mass unemployment and mass migration.
Issues associated with workers:
- Financial globalisation has made life very easy for migrant capital, while making the lives of migrant workers more precarious.
- The power to fix the rules of the game has become concentrated with wealthy investors and large multinational corporations.
- The rules do not favour workers and tiny enterprises because they have too little power.
- Large enterprises employ fewer people within their own organisations; therefore, labour unions have lost their traditional support bases.
Some good suggestion to tackle these wrong fundamentals:
- Human rights must prevail over economic considerations. Good markets enable smooth transactions between buyers and sellers of commodities.
- Humans must not be put up for sale to the highest bidders which was the practice in slave markets.
- Companies can take the managerially more difficult route of increasing the total output of the factory while maintaining the number of workers. This may require adding more machines and technology to supplement the capacity of workers to increase total output. (This is a good strategy for capital-rich enterprises and countries)
- Employers can enhance their workers’ skills and create a culture of continuous improvement in the factory, whereby workers and managers cooperate to improve the capability of their system, and squeeze more output from limited capital resources. (This is the strategy of ‘total quality management’, with which Japanese companies reduced their costs and improved the quality of their products in the 1960s and 1970s, becoming the most competitive enterprises in the world.)
- The correct ratio of productivity is output per unit of capital. This must be the driver of business as well as national strategies.
- Workers provide the economy with the products and services it needs. In return, society and the economy must create conditions whereby workers are treated with dignity and can earn adequate incomes.
- Good jobs require good contracts between workers and their employers. The government must regulate contracts between those who engage people to do work for their enterprises, even in the gig economy.
- The economist Dani Rodri says that government should use the technology to augment the skills of less skilled workers instead of replacing them with technology.
- Small enterprises and workers must combine into larger associations, in new forms, using technology, to tilt reforms towards their needs and their rights.
Editorial – 2
Title of the editorial: Star status
Topic in syllabus: Polity (GS-2)
Analysis about: This editorial advocates that ECI’s power to ensure a clean campaign should not be unduly abridged.
- Representation of the People Act, 1951 –
- It provides for the actual conduct of elections in India.
- The act also deals with details like qualification and disqualification of members of both houses of Parliament (i.e. Loksabha and Rajyasabha) and the state legislatures (i.e. State Legislative Assembly and State Legislative Council).
- Rules for the mode of conduct of elections is highlighted in detail.
- The act is of special significance to the smooth functioning of Indian democracy, as it checks the entry of persons with criminal background into the representative bodies.
- What is model code of conduct?
- Election Commission of India’s Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, election manifestos, processions and general conduct.
- Some features of the MCC:
- The government may not lay any new ground for projects or public initiatives once the Model Code of Conduct comes into force.
- Government bodies are not to participate in any recruitment process during the electoral process.
- The contesting candidates and their campaigners must respect the home life of their rivals.
- Candidates are asked to refrain from distributing liquor to voters. It is a widely known fact in India that during election campaigning, liquor may be distributed to the voters.
- The election code in force hinders the government or ruling party leaders from launching new welfare programs like construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc. or any ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
- The code instructs that public spaces like meeting grounds, helipads, government guest houses and bungalows should be equally shared among the contesting candidates. These public spaces should not be monopolized by a few candidates.
- The ruling party should not use its seat of power for the campaign purposes.
- The ruling party ministers should not make any ad-hoc appointment of officials, which may influence the voters to vote in favour of the party in power. Etc.
- Who is a star campaigner?
- Star campaigner can be described as persons who are nominated by parties to campaign in a given set of constituencies.
- The list of star campaigners has to be communicated to the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commission within a week from the date of notification of an election.
- These persons are, in almost all cases, prominent and popular faces within the party.
- o A recognised political party can have 40 star campaigners and an unrecognised (but registered) political party can have 20.
- The expenditure incurred on campaigning by such campaigners is exempt from being added to the election expenditure of a candidate.
- However, this only applies when a star campaigner limits herself to a general campaign for the political party she represents.
- Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which relates to a candidate’s election expenditure, does leave it to the political party itself to decide who its “leaders” are and allows every party to submit a list of such ‘star campaigners’ to the election authorities.
- The Supreme Court’s stay on the revocation of the status of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath as a ‘star campaigner’ for the Congress brings to the fore the power of the Election Commission of India and its role in ensuring a clean campaign.
Why EC removed the star campaigner status of Kamal Nath?
- Mr. Nath made a distasteful personal remark about a BJP woman candidate while campaigning for a by-election to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly recently.
What is the effect of order of EC?
- An order of the ECI revoking the star status is actually a withdrawal of the right to campaign without incurring electoral expenditure on the candidates’ account.
Do EC have this power?
- the ECI, in exercise of its general and plenary power of control and direction over elections, ought to have the power to revoke the status of a campaigner, if there is an apparent breach of campaign norms or the Model Code of Conduct.
- The ECI has cited the clause in the MCC that bars candidates from resorting to “criticism of all aspects of the private life, not connected with the public activities” of other leaders and party workers.
- Even though the model code is not statutory, it has been generally recognised that the election watchdog should have some means of enforcing its norms.
- The ECI has cited the Supreme Court’s observation that when laws are absent, the ECI can invoke its residuary power to meet an infinite variety of situations that cannot be foreseen by lawmarkers.
- It is indeed debatable whether the ECI has been exercising its powers in an even-handed way in recent years. However, it is equally important that the ECI’s power to enforce poll norms and clean campaigns is not unduly abridged.