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Q.1 What are commercial courts? What role has it played in promoting ease of doing business in India?(GS-2)

Introduction:

  • Commercial courts: The commercial courts attempts to cover a broad range of disputes within the scope of a ‘commercial dispute’.
  • The definition broadly covers commercial disputes arising from ordinary transactions of merchants, bankers, financiers and traders such as those relating to mercantile documents, export and import of merchandise or service, admiralty and maritime law, transactions relating to aircraft, etc.

Commercial courts and ease of doing business:

  • The commercial courts provides for strict deadlines for conduct of case, filing of written statements, filing of documents, filing of written statements, etc.
  • Several new procedures have also been adopted by the The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of the High Courts Act, 2015 to make the process of hearing of the disputes faster.
  • The Act has also provided some detailed guidelines with respect to the factors which the Court has to consider when giving the direction about costs, that whether one party should bear all or some of the cost of the other party.

Indian’s performance within the legal framework according to the World Bank’s Ranking and the government’s take on it:

  • India’s performance has been varied within the legal framework.
  • The World Bank’s ranking marked “court system and proceedings in India” 4.5 out of a total of 5, but in management of cases, it was 1.5 out of 6.
  • India also fared well in alternative dispute redress mechanism and scored 2.5 out of a total of 3 marks.
  • The government is thus proposing amendments to facilitate the establishment of commercial courts, at the district level, in places where the High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction.
  • The specified value of commercial disputes would be brought down so as to expand the scope of commercial adjudication effectively and expeditiously.

Q.2 The India-ASEAN Summit symbolizes India’s commitment to deepen its ties with the ASEAN member states and the Indo-Pacific region as part of the ‘Act East Policy’. In light of the statement, discuss ASEAN broadly and several other dimensions of ASEAN that is important for India.(GS-2)

Introduction

  • The 10-member grouping ASEAN and India comprise a total population of 1.85 billion people which is one-fourth of the global population. The combined GDP has been estimated at over 3.8 trillion dollars.

ASEAN

  • The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises of Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.
  • India’s relationship with ASEAN is an outcome of the significant changes in the world’s political and economic scenario since the early 1990s.
  • ‘Look East Policy’ is India’s research for economic space.
  • The Look East Policy has today turned into a dynamic and action oriented ‘Act East Policy.
  • PM at the 12th ASEAN India Summit and the 9th East Asia Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, in November, 2014, formally enunciated the Act East Policy.
  • India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of our foreign policy and the foundation of our Act East Policy.
  • The up-gradation of the relationship into a Strategic Partnership in 2012 was a natural progression to the ground covered since India became a Sectoral Partner of the ASEAN in 1992, Dialogue Partner in 1996 and Summit Level Partner in 2002.

Security cooperation

  • The main forum for ASEAN security dialogue is the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
  • India has been attending annual meetings of this forum since 1996 and has actively participated in its various activities.
  • The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN.
  • The ADMM+ brings together Defence Ministers from the 10 ASEAN nations plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States on a biannual basis.

Trade and Investment

  • India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have been growing steadily, with ASEAN being India’s fourth largest trading partner.
  • The annual trade between India and ASEAN stood at approximately US$ 76.53 billion in 2014-15.
  • It declined to US$ 65.04 billion in 2015-16 essentially due to declining commodity prices amidst a general slowing down of the global economy.
  • Investment flows are also substantial both ways, with ASEAN accounting for approximately 12.5% of investment flows into India since 2000.
  • The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been completed with the entering into force of the ASEAN-India Agreements on Trade in Service and Investments on 1 July 2015.
  • ASEAN and India have been also working on enhancing private sector engagement.
  • ASEAN India-Business Council (AIBC) was set up in March 2003 in Kuala Lumpur as a forum to bring key private sector players from India and the ASEAN countries on a single platform for business networking and sharing of ideas.

Current relations

  • The year 2017 also completes 15 years of India-ASEAN dialogue at the summit.
  • 2017 also commemorates the completion of five years of strategic partnership between Asia’s third-largest economy and one of the most successful economic groupings in the world.
  • India’s bid to accentuate its links with ASEAN comes at a time of flux in the region with China seen as growing more assertive vis-a-vis its territorial claims in the oil and gas-rich South China Sea, which is also a major international maritime trade route.

Q.3 Why there have been demands of many countries including India  for the reformation of United Nations Security Council? In this context, highlight the need for reforms in UNSC.  Why India want to become a  permanent member of UNSC?

India has demanded transparency in the UN Security Council reform process so that the people can know what is preventing the members from translating discussions into a negotiating text for the much-needed revamp of the world body’s top organ.India has also been actively pursuing its quest to be included in the reformed United Nations Security Council.

India supports expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members’ category. The latter is the only avenue for the vast majority of Member States to serve on the Security Council. Reform and expansion must be an integral part of a common package.

Need for UNSC reform:

  • Due to proliferating transnational threats, deepening economic interdependence worsening environmental degradation-all call for effective multilateral action.
  • Lack of incremental change in our approach to issues of importance.
  • The United Nations Security Council does not reflect “contemporary realities” and has become dysfunctional because of the lack of reform in the institution.
  • There is institutional inertia.
  • Delays in reforming the Security Council caused by “the inability to translate discussions into a text for negotiations.
  • Even after a decade, UN members have not been able to agree on a single document that could form the basis for reforms, Akbaruddin said, while demanding greater transparency in the reform process.
  • UNSC has to acknowledge the current geopolitical realities which are very different from the time when UNSC was formed.
  • To reflect current global dynamics and to give equitable representation to different geographical regions in the world.
  • New emergent powers who have joined hands as G4 (India, Brazil, Japan, and Germany) have been pressing for permanent seat in the council.
  • UNSC general ineffectiveness, it strong bent towards the already powerful P5, the veto power and the issue of geographical representation.
  • Presently, any reform of the United Nations Security Council would require the agreement of at least five two-thirds of UN member states, and that of all members of the United Nations Security Council.
  • UNSC is facing credibility crisis.

Need for India’s permanent membership:

  • Second largest population, third largest economy in PPP terms, leading IT power, civilization legacy, cultural diversity and largest troop contributor UN Peace Keeping operations.
  • Moral dimensions and image of peace loving nation which produced the likes Buddha and Gandhi.
  • Biggest democracy in the world and in the current geo-politics our contribution and influence cannot be ignored.
  • India has always been of the countries at the forefront of providing peacekeepers and their peacekeeping forces are often considered best.
  • South Asia being victim of repercussions rimes like terrorism, war, extremism India gains more say on its and neighbor problems.
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