DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 23 APR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

23 APRIL 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

The Chequered legacy of a Chief Justice of India

The Hindu

2

Lessons COVID Taught

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

India must make the most of its demographic dividend

Syllabus– GS 1: Population and associated issues; GS 3 Economy

Analysis: –

  • With its large population, India faces many challenges, including coping with today’s health crisis, creating more jobs, managing macroeconomic shocks and mitigating climate change.
  • With a population of over 1.3 billion people, there are many challenges facing India, including coping with the current public health emergency, creating more jobs, managing macro-economic shocks, and mitigating climate change.
  • But India also has a hidden asset: its young demographic profile.
  • India has the potential to achieve a much faster pace of economic growth than both China and the US.
  • Its demographic profile should increase growth through five distinct forces.
  • The first is the swelling of India’s labour force as its baby boomers reach working age.
  • The second is the potential to divert resources from spending on children to investing in physical and human infrastructure.
  • The third is a rise in women’s workforce activity that naturally accompanies a decline in fertility.
  • The fourth is that working ages also happen to be the prime years for savings, which is key to the accumulation of capital and technological innovation.
  • And the fifth is the further boost to savings that occurs as the incentive to save for longer periods of retirement increases with greater longevity.
  • India is at a point in its demographic transition where a focus on the policy environment will maximize the chance of capturing the benefits.

Microfinance can play a key role in building a resilient India

Syllabus– GS 3: Economy, GS 2: SHG

Analysis: –

  • Microcredit has had the most far-reaching impact on financial inclusion in India.
  • The money lent has created millions of jobs and the industry itself has grown robustly in the past two decades.
  • The microfinance industry in India, which has helped bring financial inclusion to millions of rural families and women, will need an additional capital of up to over Rs 5,000 crore to meet the target of 25-30 per cent growth per year for the next three years.
  • The domestic microfinance sector witnessed a robust double-digit growth of 36 per cent during 12 months ended September 2019, ratings agency ICRA said in a research note.
  • The overall microloan market was reported at Rs 2.9 lakh crore as of September last year on the back of good growth of banks, small finance banks (SFBs) and larger NBFC-MFIs that were relatively well placed on the liquidity front, according to the note.

Joe Biden tells world leaders U.S. will cut emissions by up to 52% by 2030

Syllabus– GS 3: Environment

Analysis: –

  • S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels, in a clean break with the Trump administration policies on climate action.
  • Biden also announced that the U.S. would double, by 2024, its annual financing commitments to developing countries, including a tripling of its adaptation finance by 2024.
  • The President made the new target announcements at a ‘Leaders’ Summit on Climate’, which he is hosting on Thursday and Friday — a summit to which 40 heads of state and government are invited — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Xi Jinping of China and President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
  • The emissions targets — part of the Paris Agreement on climate — are non-binding and the details of how they will be achieved are not available.
  • However, in announcing the targets, the Biden administration is hoping to encourage other countries to increase their commitments.
  • It is also seeking to bring America back into a leadership role on climate action after Mr. Trump had withdrawn the country from the Paris Agreement.
  • The withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement means it has not yet met its financing commitments either.
  • The Obama administration had promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (to help developing countries), only $1 billion has been paid.
  • In selling climate action to the American public, which until recently was governed by an administration sceptical of the climate crisis, President Biden and his administration have linked climate action and clean technology to jobs and economic growth.

Mains Analysis

The Chequered legacy of a Chief Justice of India

Why in News?

Recent developments in the Mumbai Police which resulted in the removal of Param Bir Singh from the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s post focus the spotlight once again on long overdue reforms needed in the process of appointing and removing police chiefs.

Syllabus– GS 2: Judiciary

Critical analysis of the ongoing issues: –

  • The 47th Chief Justice of India, Sharad Arvind Bobde, is set to zoom off into retirement after an eighteen-month reign, marked by two waves of the coronavirus.
  • His leadership of the institution, during a time of national crisis, has not lead to any enhancement of its stature.
  • The court has withdrawn into enforced isolation, looked away from people’s misery, and has largely hunkered down waiting for the storm to blow over, and better days to return.
  • Throughout the world, countries, and institutions with good leadership, have weathered the pandemic better than institutions and countries with weak or whimsical leaders. After the storms of the Gogoi era, the court had looked towards the more affable Justice Bobde, to steer the court into calmer waters.
  • The question is, has CJI Bobde’s hand on the tiller, left the institution becalmed by dead winds.
  • The Supreme Court of India in the last five years during the tenure of the last four Chief Justices of India (CJIs), has seen an unprecedented fall — from being an independent custodian of justice, to becoming an instrumentality of the government.
  • After the tenure of former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who oversaw the Ayodhya and Rafale verdicts, before retiring to join the Rajya Sabha, we thought the worst was behind us.
  • We hoped that his successor, CJI S.A. Bobde would lift the Court out of this abyss and at least restore its independence from the executive.
  • But, the nearly18 months of his tenure has exposed a deep malaise in every aspect of dispensation of justice.

Issues with the administration of the Court:-

  • In the allocation of cases and benches.
  • To presiding over matters related to the protection of civil liberties,
  • Securing the rights and the livelihood of the poor and marginalised.
  • In ensuring that the unconstitutional actions and policies of the executive are kept in check.

Challenging Cases: –

  • There were over 100 petitions challenging the dilution of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into Union Territories.
  • The cases challenging the cataclysmic changes to the status of J&K remained unheard during his entire tenure as did the cases challenging the CAA.
  • Soon after he assumed office, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed, which led to another spate of petitions challenging its constitutionality.
  • The main challenge to the electoral bonds and other changes to electoral funding, which have a fundamental bearing on our democracy, remained unheard.
  • Applications for the stay of bonds being issued before every election, were never listed for hearing, and were eventually dismissed on the ground that the bonds had been around for several years; therefore, there was no need to stay them.

 

  • Similarly, the main petition regarding the status of the Rohingya refugees and the protection to be accorded to them, remained unheard.
  • An application to prevent their detention and deportation, was disposed of by Chief Justice Bobde, in complete disregard of constitutional and international law norms, on the basis that their fleeing genocide in Myanmar did not concern the Court.
  • The Supreme Court, under his stewardship, remained shut for physical hearing much of the time, resulting in fewer than 25% cases being heard in a Court, already reeling under a backlog and pendency of cases.

Examples of Court’s Recent Controversial Judgements:-

  • During the nationwide lockdown last year, the country witnessed unprecedented suffering by migrant labour;
  • There was a mass exodus of them from the big cities, and they suffered a huge loss of livelihood and income.
  • Without any public transport, they were forced to walk hundreds of miles to reach their villages.
  • Their case for relief in terms of food, wages and transport was initially heard by the CJI’s Bench.
  • The CJI remarked infamously during one of the hearings, “If they are being provided meals, then why do they need money?”
  • It would be no exaggeration to say that the Court’s inhumanity and apathy towards the distress of the poor and marginalised reached its nadir during this time.
  • Far from being a custodian of citizens’ rights, CJI Bobde, while hearing the Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan’s habeas corpus petition (arrested while covering the infamous Hathras rape and murder case in Uttar Pradesh), noted that the Court had been discouraging people from approaching it under Article 32, Mr. Kappan’s petition remained pending with repeated adjournments.
  • In the farmers’ protest case, the CJI appointed a committee of people, whose political neutrality was suspect, to examine the issues and commence negotiations with the farmers.
  • These committee members had publicly supported the farm laws in the past.

Administrative role

  • Apart from his role as the master of the roster, the CJI also plays a pivotal role in judicial appointments.
  • Unfortunately, here too, he failed to carry the collegium with him, leading to no appointments to the Supreme Court during his tenure, and very few appointments even to the High Courts.
  • He did not even order the government to issue notifications for the appointment of judges where the collegium had unanimously reiterated its recommendations, despite the government procrastinating over them for long.
  • The law laid down by the Court says that these are binding on the government.
  • The Chief Justice of India also plays a critical role in dealing with complaints against judges.
  • During his tenure, the CJI received a serious complaint made by a Chief Minister of a State against one of the Court judges, with considerable documentary evidence of questionable land purchases.
  • For over six months, the people in the country were not informed how the complaint had been dealt with, and whether any in-house committee (as per the law) has been appointed to, who the members of the committee were, and what their report was.
  • The same lack of transparency was visible in another case, where he was chairman of a committee examining allegations of harassment made by a woman staffer of the Court against his predecessor.
  • His report, purporting to give a clean chit to his predecessor, was never allowed to see the light of day and not even provided to the complainant.

Criticism of former CJI Bobde:-

  • The only positive intervention by CJI Bobde was his order in the West Bengal trees case, where he appointed an expert committee to examine the value of trees which are to be felled for any public project.
  • In all other issues, the CJI has only caused disappointment with his silence, letting the executive have its way and even making strong remarks on sensitive issues and subjects.
  • He has kept important matters pending, and has hardly intervened to provide any relief to the most marginalised or the weak in India.
  • As we bid farewell to Chief Justice of India Bobde, the Supreme Court must examine what has happened to what had once been called the most powerful court in the world and a beacon for many other courts across the world.

Way Forward: –

  • When PILs were filed begging the court to take action, CJI Bobde took everything the central government said – through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta – at face value.
  • This included a bare-faced lie that there were no migrants on the road at the time, and a brazen bit of spin that blamed fake news for migrants hitting the road in the first place.
  • The apex court belatedly took up a suo motu case for the migrants after coming in for fierce criticism from all quarters, which didn’t achieve very much, but still, they do say it’s the thought that counts.
  • It progressed into further questionable territory when Vedanta’s counsel, Harish Salve — a man who has taken public positions (not in an advocate’s capacity, remember) vociferously defending the Centre on every single question of public importance in recent times – was appointed amicus curiae for this suo motu case.
  • Even though he isn’t even in India at this time of crisis.

Question: –

The Supreme Court should rebuild its legacy by asserting its judicial independence from the government and reclaiming its constitutional role as a citadel that establishes India’s constitutional values, guards its democracy, and protects human rights and dignity. Discuss.

Lessons COVID Taught

Why in News: –After a year of COVID-19 pandemic, the resurgence of the 2nd wave of COVID triggering another round of lockdowns & reverse migration of informal workers questions our learning’s of past year experience.

Syllabus: – GS2: Issues related to Vulnerable & Public Policy. GS3: Issues related to Informal/Unorganised Sector.

  • For a second time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, rural migrants in India are packing buses and trains to head back to their villages as cities such as Delhi and Mumbai reimpose restrictions to control an unprecedented surge in infections.
  • Just months ago, millions of migrant workers had returned from their villages to pick up work in factories, restaurants and markets that had begun humming again after a stringent nationwide lockdown imposed in March of last year.
  • Once again, though, they have been hit with widespread job losses amid the new round of curbs in cities as India reels under a second wave of the pandemic.

State of Informal India:

  • The number of poor people in India or those living on less than $2 a day is estimated to have increased by 75 million because of the COVID-19 recession, according to a recent analysis by Pew Research Center.
  • The year 2020 exposed the abysmal flaws of the economic system which pushed 10 million people into insecure jobs with no alternative or safety net.
  • India has nearly 90% of the workforce in the unorganized sector.
  • In the last few decades of development, economic policies have created a massive pool of cheap labour adding to the already large numbers of landless agricultural labourers caught in social & economical discriminations.
  • Since 1991, about 15 million farmers moved out of agriculture due to its non-remunerative nature & at the same time, 60 million people are displaced due to developmental projects.
  • These people were exploited by the rich to accumulate huge profits.
  • During the 1990s, India’s desire to capitulate global financial forces significantly increased the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people causing irreversible environmental damages.
  • Though not all of India’s unorganized workforce is insecure such as farmers, forest dwellers, etc. relatively secure if their resource base or access to the security net are intact.
  • It is equally true that agriculture alone cannot provide full employment in villages & youth’s uninterested in traditional occupations.
  • The above realities results from collective failure to tackle issues at roots because of jobless growth in the formal sector since 1991 pushed them to informal & insecure jobs.

Lessons from 2020:

  • Amid COVID-19, several communities brought out solidarity systems to help the most vulnerable, to ensure a better health system & alternative education methods.
  • There are many learning’s in 2020 that summarize decadal lessons.
  • First & foremost is the local self-reliance for basic needs & localized exchanges of products & services are more effective in securing people’s livelihoods than long-distance markets & jobs.
  • Rather than incentivizing big industries to take over most production, all household needs can be produced in a decentralized manner by several communities.
  • The shortage of agriculture-based livelihoods can be made up by crafts, small-scale manufacturing & services needed by their own communities.
  • Local self-reliance has to go along with worker control over the means of production, more decentralization & struggles to eliminate all discriminations.

Situation in Various states: –

  • In Central India, communities that successfully claimed collective legal control over surrounding forests & mobilized towards self-rule have survived the COVID lockdown much better than others.
  • In Spiti valley, in the early days of COVID transmission, local communities set up a Committee to ensure full health safety & encourage greater self-reliance in food & livelihoods.
  • In Telangana, Dalit women farmers of Deccan Development Society have shown how to resist gender & caste discrimination.
  • In Nagaland, Tribal women of the North-East Network ensured complete food security for dozens of villages throughout 2020.

Issues with Government Measures: –

  • Governments since independence have been most reluctant to enable a conducive environment for political & economic empowerment.
  • Both 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendments that meant for empowering rural & urban bodies & laws like Forest Rights Act have been only half-heartedly implemented.
  • Since liberalization, Govt approaches weakening welfare programmes like MGNREGA that has been a lifesaver for millions.
  • Unfortunately, the government’s recent Atmanirbhar Bharat has been criticized for increasing the control of distant markets & companies over people’s lives & increasing ecological damages.
  • The recent three farm laws have also been criticized for their potential possibility of handing agriculture control to corporates creating an even bigger exploitable labour pool.

Solutions: –

  1. Urgent fiscal support for vaccines, drugs:

Devote greater financial resources through a federal channel, led in cooperation with state governments of the worst affected states, in allowing them access to vaccines and drugs for all demographic groups.

Fiscal-support through an institutional mechanism – for instance, through the creation of a special purpose vehicle like a National Health Financing Corporation – is required to support stages of vaccine production; its distribution through a decentralised supply-chain process for all demographic groups, and a fund to provide money to those in the private sector who can produce vaccines in plentiful.

  1. Ensure ‘price flexibility’ to the private medicine segment:

Far from investing in building healthcare infrastructural capacity, or brokering deals to tap unused manufacturing facilities, which the Biden administration did in the US, the Indian government remained excruciatingly slow to sign purchasing contracts with manufacturers.

  1. Providing income support to the vulnerable:

It has been baffling to see how, even in the year of India’s worst economic crisis since independence, the government’s inability to provide adequate income support to the poor and those affected in the unorganised-informal segment has still remained shamelessly unaddressed in New Delhi’s policy making focus.

MGNREGA didn’t receive the kind of fiscal attention one would have expected in this budget. So has been the case with the inability to put in measures that can allow for job-creation possibilities in urban areas, where most workers struggle to find secured work.

Way Forward: –

  • The economic hardship is being exacerbated by fears that the migrants could carry the virus to their rural homes, where a creaky health infrastructure is not equipped to cope with the pandemic.
  • An economy that promotes mass vulnerability only increases social strife & eventually pushes millions of people back to insecure & undignified jobs.
  • The need of the hour is to formulating & implementing comprehensive policies that would lead to the revitalization of rural along with significant reduction of outmigration & encouraging rural immigration.
  • The pendulum has swung completely since the start of the year, when plummeting cases triggered optimism the pandemic had waned in India and hopes rose that the economy, battered by a long lockdown, was getting back on its feet. Its megacities wore a look of normalcy as customers flocked to malls and restaurants, people packed holiday destinations and businesses saw a revival.

Example to Quote: –

After returning to New Delhi in November from his village in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state, Ashish Kumar found a job at a garment export factory, but he was laid off last month as his company did not get sufficient orders. His hopes of finding other employment receded as businesses slumped again amid a massive surge in infections.

Question: –

Considering growing unemployment and the role of international travel in the initial spread of the pandemic, there is a risk of a backlash in public opinion against immigrants. Explain.

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