DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 13 MAR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

13 MAR 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Two bad options

 The Hindu

2

Reading the law that maintains status quo in places of worship

Indian Express

3

Needed: National security shield in FDI

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Shramik Kalyan Portal by Indian Railways

Analysis:

  • Indian Railways uses the Shramik Kalyan Portal electronic application to ensure that 100% of the minimum wage paid to contract workers is in compliance with the regulations.
  • The Shramik Kalyan electronic application of the National Transportation Corporation was launched in October 2018.

Anniversary of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

Analysis:

  • NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) celebrates its 36th anniversary.
  • NCRB was established in 1986.
  • The NCRB is formed by the merger of the Inter-State Criminals Data Department, the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC) and the CBI Central Finger Print Bureau 
  • As part of the evolution of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) was approved in 2009, and the Digital Police Portal was launched in 2017.
  • Objectives:
    • To maintain a national database of fingerprints of all criminals in India.
    • Create, lead and coordinate the development of IT applications for the police.
    • Collect information and maintain statistics on crimes and offenders at the national level.
    • Create and maintain a database for law enforcement agencies at the national level

Pi Day is on 14th March

Analysis: –

  • Pi Day is celebrated on March 14, commemorating Pi (the Greek letter π).
  • This idea originated in the United States.
  • In the United States, it is agreed to write the date in a format that represents March 14th as 3/14.
  • These three numbers match the value of pi to up to two decimal places, which is 3.14.
  • Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter of the circle.
  • Pi is also the area of the circle divided by the square of its radius.

Biggest Floating Solar Power Plant in India Telangana

Analysis: –

  • The project is in line with India’s commitment to achieve the goal of achieving 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022.
  • India’s largest national power company (NTPC) is developing India’s largest floating solar power plant in terms of power generation (100MW) in Ramagundam in the Peddapalli district of Telangana.

Mains Analysis

Two bad options

Why in News: –

President Joe Biden’s push for an interim unity government in Afghanistan is a testament to his administration’s grim assessment of the situation in the war-torn country.

Syllabus: – 

GS 2- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

 

Us-Taliban Deal:

  • US-Taliban deal was signed between Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political head of the Taliban on February 29, 2020.
  • The agreement said “[a] permanent and comprehensive ceasefire will be an item on the agenda of the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations.
  • The participants of intra-Afghan negotiations will discuss the date and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, including joint implementation mechanisms, which will be announced along with the completion and agreement over the future political roadmap of Afghanistan”.

Two bad options

Concerns with the agreement: –

  1. In a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proposed a senior-level meeting between the government and the Taliban in Turkey and a multilateral conference of envoys from the S., Russia, China, Iran, India and Pakistan to discuss a lasting Afghan solution.
  2. The peace push comes at a time when the Biden administration is reviewing the U.S.’s Afghan strategy.
  3. According to the February 2020 agreement signed between the Trump administration and the Taliban, the S. is scheduled to withdraw its troops by May 1.
  4. The Taliban have warned they would step up fighting targeting the coalition troops should the U.S. fail to pull out by then.
  5. The Biden administration is understandably under pressure. There appears to be a consensus in Washington that there is no military solution to the crisis.
  6. The U.S. wants to get out of the longest war in its history.

Interim “Inclusive” Government:

  1. The U.S. seeks to stop this happening by proposing an interim “inclusive” government between the warring parties.
  2. Further, both sides should hold talks on the future constitutional and governance framework.
  3. Regional powers, including India and Pakistan, could play a decisive role in this transition as part of a UN-mandated multiparty peace process.
  4. This is a more inclusive approach than what the Trump administration did.
  5. Under Mr. Trump, the S. held direct talks with the Taliban excluding the Afghan government.
  6. And after reaching a deal, the U.S. put pressure on the Afghan government to release prisoners, but failed to get any concessions from the insurgents on reducing violence.
  7. Even when Afghan government representatives and the Taliban were holding talks in Doha, Qatar, Afghanistan continued to witness violence.
  8. The Biden administration does not seem to have faith in the Doha talks, which, even after months, failed to achieve any breakthrough.
  9. After 20 years of war, the Afghan leadership does not have any good options to end the conflict.

    Way Forward: –

    1. If the Biden administration decides to stick to the Taliban deal and pull back troops, there is no guarantee that the intra-Afghan talks would hold.
    2. The Taliban would rather try to take over the whole country using force.
    3. If the government accepts Mr. Biden’s proposal, Afghanistan’s elected leaders will have to share power with the Taliban and agree to amending the Constitution, which means some of the country’s hard-won liberties could be sacrificed.
    4. It is a choice between two bad options.

    Question: –

    ‘USA is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Afghanistan’, In the light of this statement, discuss the impact of US-Iran Trade deal on India as her neighbor.

Reading the law that maintains status quo in places of worship

Why in News: –

Recently, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to respond to a plea challenging the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

Syllabus: – 

GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions
  • Passed in 1991 by the P V Narasimha Rao-led Congress government, the law seeks to maintain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947 — except in the case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, which was already in court.
  • The law was brought in at the peak of the Ram Mandir movement, exactly a year before the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
  • Introducing the law, then Home Minister S B Chavan said in Parliament that it was adopted to curb communal tension.

What are its provisions?

  • The clause declaring the objective of the law describes it as “an Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August, 1947, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
  • Sections 3 and 4 of the Act declare that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947 and that no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
  • Section 4(2) says that all suits, appeals or other proceedings regarding converting the character of a place of worship, that were pending on August 15, 1947, will stand abated when the Act commences and no fresh proceedings can be filed.
  • However, legal proceedings can be initiated with respect to the conversion of the religious character of any place of worship after the commencement of the Act if the change of status took place after the cut-off date of August 15, 1947.

 

What does it say about Ayodhya, and what else is exempted?

  • Section 5 says: “Act not to apply to Ram Janma Bhumi Babri Masjid. Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the place or place of worship commonly known as Ram Janma Bhumi-Babri Masjid situated in Ayodhya in the State of Uttar Pradesh and to any suit, appeal or other proceeding relating to the said place or place of worship.”
  • Besides the Ayodhya dispute, the Act also exempted:
  • Any place of worship that is an ancient and historical monument or an archaeological site, or is covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958;
  • A suit that has been finally settled or disposed of;
  • Any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.

What has the Supreme Court said about the Act?

  • In the 2019 Ayodhya verdict, the Constitution Bench led by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi referred to the law and said it manifests the secular values of the Constitution and strictly prohibits retrogression.
  • “In providing a guarantee for the preservation of the religious character of places of public worship as they existed on 15 August 1947 and against the conversion of places of public worship, Parliament determined that independence from colonial rule furnishes a constitutional basis for healing the injustices of the past by providing the confidence to every religious community that their places of worship will be preserved and that their character will not be altered.
  • The law addresses itself to the State as much as to every citizen of the nation. Its norms bind those who govern the affairs of the nation at every level.
  • Those norms implement the Fundamental Duties under Article 51A and are hence positive mandates to every citizen as well.
  • The State, has by enacting the law, enforced a constitutional commitment and operationalized its constitutional obligations to uphold the equality of all religions and secularism which is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the court said.

 Why is the law under challenge?

  • Cut-off date of August 15, 1947 is “arbitrary, irrational and retrospective” and prohibits Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs from approaching courts to “re-claim” their places of worship which were “invaded” and “encroached” upon by “fundamentalist barbaric invaders”.
  • The Rightists had opposed the law even when it was introduced, arguing that the Centre has no power to legislate on “pilgrimages” or “burial grounds” which is under the state list.
  • However, the government had said it could make use of its residuary power under Entry 97 of the Union List to enact this law. Entry 97 confers residuary powers to the Centre to legislate on subjects that are not enumerated in any of the three lists.
  • Another criticism against the law is that the cut-off is the date of Independence, which means that status quo determined by a colonial power is considered final.

Question: –

Critically evaluate the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 in the light of recent Supreme court judgement.

Needed: National security shield in FDI

Why in News: –

As India’s experience with Chinese FDI during Covid shows, a law is essential to identify security threats from foreign investment

Syllabus: – 

GS 3: Investment Models

 

  • India may partially relax its position on foreign direct investments (FDI) from China.
  • Last April, India had subjected all Chinese FDI to mandatory government screening.
  • The aim was to curb opportunistic takeovers of Indian companies, a concern fuelled by sharp corrections in equity markets in March 2020.
  • With market indices now hovering at their peaks, reportedly India may allow Chinese FDI up to 25 per cent in equity under the automatic route.
  • This could offer immediate relief to many investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Challenges: –

  1. India’s concerns about opportunistic takeovers were not unique.
  2. Several economies including the US, Australia, Canada and Germany faced similar concerns.
  3. They blocked specific takeover attempts, using special laws for national security screening of inward FDI.
  4. In the absence of similar legislation, India did not differentiate between investments which raised genuine national security concerns and those that did not. This is a crucial shortcoming.

FDI Route In India:

  • FDI is allowed under two modes – either through the automatic route, for which companies don’t need government approval, or through the government route, for which companies need a go-ahead from the centre.
  • India regulates foreign investments primarily through FEMA.
  • The preamble to FEMA clearly provides two specific macro-prudential objectives — facilitating external trade and payments; and promoting orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange markets in India.
  • Accordingly, it empowers the central government and the RBI, acting in consultation with each other, to regulate capital account transactions.
  • These regulations determine who can invest through the FDI route, in which sector and how much.

 

Threats From Foreign Acquisitions:

  • The first threat arises if a foreign acquisition renders India dependent on a foreign-controlled supplier of goods or services crucial to the functioning of the Indian economy.
  • For this threat to be credible, it is not enough that the goods or services supplied by the target company are “crucial” to India.
  • It needs to be further established that the industry in which the acquisition is supposed to take place is tightly concentrated, the number of close substitutes limited, and the switching costs are high.
  • Only if these conditions exist, could there be a credible security threat to India arising from dependency on a foreign-controlled supplier.
  • The second threat emanates from a proposed acquisition transferring a technology or an expertise to a foreign-controlled entity that might be deployed by that entity or a foreign government in a manner harmful to India’s national interests.
  • The credibility of this threat again depends on whether the market for such technology or expertise is tightly concentrated or if they are readily available elsewhere.
  • The third threat arises if a proposed acquisition allows insertion of some potential capability for infiltration, surveillance or sabotage via human or non-human agents into the provision of goods or services crucial to the functioning of Indian economy.
  • This threat is particularly credible when the target company supplies crucial goods or services to the Indian government, its military or even critical infrastructure units and the switching costs are high.

What are the issues: –

  • FEMA regulations have often responded to concerns not strictly related to macro-prudential objectives.
  • One such concern has been national security. While such applications of FEMA may have served their purpose during crises, it is time India emulates its western peers and enacts a statute specifically designed for national security screening of strategic FDI.
  • Unlike FEMA, this new statute must explicitly lay down legal principles for determining when a foreign acquisition of an Indian company poses genuine national security threats.
  • When competition among rival suppliers is high and switching costs are low, there is no genuine security justification for blocking a proposed foreign acquisition no matter how crucial the goods and services the target domestic company supplies.
  • Such conceptual clarity in the new statute could make national security assessments objective, transparent and amenable to the rule of law.
  • On procedure, the statute must empower only the finance minister to reject certain strategic foreign acquisitions on national security grounds. Both the power and accountability mechanisms should be hardcoded into the statute itself, as is the case in some mature parliamentary democracies.

Way Forward: –

  • Overall, India’s tryst with Chinese FDI underscores the importance of identifying specific national security threats emanating from strategic FDI and addressing them objectively.
  • This is too sensitive a matter to be left to capital controls under FEMA.
  • A dedicated statute for national security screening of inward FDI would be best suited for handling such issues.

Question: –

Justify the need for FDI for the development of the Indian economy. Why there is gap between MOUs signed and actual FDIs? Suggest remedial steps to be taken for increasing actual FDIs in India.

 

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