9 PM Daily Brief – August 13th,2020

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GS-2

  1. India: Mastering the real political game
  2. New Education Policy – Transforming Education
  3. Loopholes in Anti defection law

GS-3

  1. Dismantling of environmental rules
  2. Technology to ensure access to justice
  3. How the tiger can regain its stripes

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.India: Mastering the real political game

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2 – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Context: In the era of dense networks, India should reconfigure autonomy to power with others as to accomplish joint goals.

India’s 74th Independence Day:

  • India is going to celebrate its 74thIndependence Day on 15 August, 2020 remembering the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters, political leaders and citizens in order to free the motherland from the Britishers.
  • The theme for this year is Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

Self-reliance: The social and economic ability of an individual or a community or a nation to meet essentials needs which includes production of goods and services within the country in a sustainable manner. The main aim of this policy is to reduce reliance on external assistance or import.

Foreign Policy: It consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the State to safeguard its national interests and to achieve goals within its international relations milieu.

India’s Foreign Policy since its independence:

  1. Non Aligned Movement – During the cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1950’s, India’s Prime Minister Nehru adopted ‘The Non Aligned Movement’ astheir foreign policy with other several developing nations and decided not to join any specific group to maintain its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security from hegemony of great powers of the worlds .
  2. India’s strategic autonomy as per changing circumstances – India did not become any less autonomous when geopolitical circumstances compelled it to enter into de facto alliance with major powers. India has reinterpreted freedom and shown flexibility for survival in the moments of crisis such as-
    1. India- China War- In 1962, PM Nehru entered in a treaty with U.S. for emergency military aid to stave off the Chinese from taking over the whole of Eastern India.
    2. India- Pakistan War- In 1971, PM Indira Gandhi entered in a treaty of Peace, friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union to ward off China and the U.S.
    3. India- Pakistan War- In1999, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee welcomed a direct intervention by the U.S. to force Pakistan to back down.

Threat to India’s strategic interest:

  1. India- USA closeness – Due to the China’s expansion into the Indian Territory, India has to take the support from the U.S. This could be an error for India’s freedom as this can restrict its options in other national interest such as its ties with Iran and Russia and efforts to speed up indigenous defence modernization.

Way Forward

Diversification is the essence of self reliance for India. It is no longer a question of picking one out of two titans or oscillating between them. India should form alliance with like-minded partners and maximize its potential and it is the only viable diplomatic solution in the current emerging multipolar world order.

2.New Education Policy – Transforming Education

Source – Live Mint

Syllabus – GS 2 – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Context – New National Education Policy 2020 [NEP] can restructure higher education system with focus on delivering better education, nurturing student’s skill and preparing them for the future.

New National Education Policy 2020–Recently cabinet approved a new national education policy with an aim to:

  1. To reduce curriculum content– It will enhance essential learning, critical thinking and more holistic experiential, discussion and analysis- based learning.
  2. New pedagogical structure – It also talks about a revision of the curriculum and pedagogical structure from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system design in an effort to optimize learning for students based on cognitive development of children.

Gross Enrolment Ratio [GER] – A statistical measure used in the education sector, to determine the number of students enrolled in school at several different grade levels and show the ratio of the number of students who live in that country to those who qualify for the particular grade level.

  • The current gross enrolment ratio percentage of India is at 3.

New National Education Policy’s vision-

  1. Doubling the Gross Enrolment Ratioin higher education from 26.3 percent to 50 percent by 2035.
  2. Avoiding herd mentality by culturalshift among faculty, students and parents to embrace critical thinking and holistic learning.
  3. Smart learning- Classes could be online to save travel time, but the periodic physical interaction can be arranged to facilitate mutual learning.

Proposed ways to implement National Education Policy effectively-

  1. Collaboration among various institutes-

Creating multi-disciplinary experiences for students which will encourage collaborative programmes between the higher education institutions [HEIs] in the same city or region. Possible way to make it happen-

    1. Investment – The constant need of the higher investment to understand how student learn in different context.
    2. Exchange of ideas– An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) must be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning.
    3. Uniform definition of credits– It would allow collaboration and facilitate giving students multi-disciplinary exposure and experience across institutions.

2.Faculty training and their development –

    1. Numbers of PhD fellowship could be doubled particularly in the field of humanities and social science.
    2. Enhancing the skill-sets of existing faculty.
    3. Structured programme to attract Indian scholars teaching overseas.
  1. Software – Adequate information technology system required for effective administration and governance of the large multi-disciplinary university envisaged by the national education policy.

Way forward –

Higher education institutes must be encouraged to experiment with technology and forums must be created to share outcomes and best practices.

3.Loopholes in Anti defection law

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: Gs2: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Context: The political crises in Manipur and Rajasthan has once again highlights the loopholes in Antidefection law

Background

  • In Manipur assembly,contrary to their party’s stand six Congress MLAs defied their party’s whip by absenting themselves from the confidence vote which led to the government surviving the confidence motion.
  • In Rajasthan, Governor’s disagreement with the Rajasthan cabinet’s decision to summon the state assembly has been violated previous Supreme Court decisions.

By passing Anti-defection law: The main purpose of the law is to deter MLAs from defecting from their political parties. An MLA who has been declared a defector cannot become a minister in a government for six months. Yet, by winning a by-election to the assembly he can become a minister.

Issues in Anti defection law:

  • The law doesn’t bar the defector from reelection to the assembly or the legislature.
  • It only punishes MLAs for switching parties but it doesn’t restrict Political parties that is often accused of alluring MLAs of rival parties to switch loyalties.

Unaccountability of Political parties:

  • The limits on electoral spending is only applicable to candidates and not to political parties as they are allowed to spend unlimited amount on behalf of their candidates.
  • Similarly, with respect to criminalisation in politics there is no bar on political parties to restrict individuals who face criminal charges although there is a bar on elected Individuals convicted with a prison term of over two years cannot contest elections.

Way forward

  • Just as how penalising both the bribe giver and bribe taker is supposed to clamp down on corruption similarly, penalising both elected individuals as well as political parties will be an effective solution.
  • However political parties have made deliberate attempts to flout laws that attempts to hold them accountable. Even the courts had limited success in this regard.
  • Thereupon, as per the expert committee’s suggestion, a lasting solution to the problem can only come from the adherence by political parties to a code of conduct or set ofconventions that takes into account the fundamental priorities that govern the functioning of democratic institutions.

Conclusion: Political parties should refrain themselves from misusing the anti-defection law to fix their internal problems. Also, the menace of defection can be stopped only by enforcing accountability on both the individual MLA’s as well as the political party.

4.Dismantling of environmental rules

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-3- Environment

Context: The Draft EIA Rules 2020 has been widely criticised for flouting environmental rules. In this article, the author puts forward other instances where environmental rules had been dismantled.

Recent Examples where Environmental Rules have been dismantled:

  1. Draft EIA 2020:As the draft allows for post facto approval for projects, it is in violation of the “precautionary principle”-a principle of environmental sustainability.
  2. 2018 CRZ Notification:It defreezes CRZ II (Urban Area)-Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to allow construction projects. It also permits temporary tourism facilities in beaches and s in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas.
  • It was rejected by the National Fish workers Forum and other stakeholders, for threatening the livelihoods of fishing communities and destroying coastal ecology along India’s 7,500-km long coastline
  1. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016: It has been criticised as it bypasses the FRA, 2006, and disempowers Adivasis, forest dwellers and gram sabhas.
  2. S.R. Subramanian Committee: It was set up to review six major environmental laws. The TSR Committee Report was never released, but some of its recommendations were hastily implemented.
  3. Failure to address air pollution:According to a study in the British journal, The Lancet, 12.4 lakh deaths i.e. 12.5% of all deaths in India in 2017, could be attributed to air pollution. However, the government has taken no concerted action to address the issue.

Conclusion: India ranked 177th out of 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index 2018. It is high time for the government to bring forth stringent environmental regulations for the protection of the environment and strike a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability.

5.Technology to ensure access to justice

Source: LiveMint

Gs3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.

Context: India’s approach to dispute resolution in the post-pandemic era needs to be changed.

Need of technology to ensure access to justice post-pandemic:

  • Increase in pendency of cases:The pandemic has led to the closure of courts unless it is an ‘urgent matter’.
  • To adapt to the “new normal”:there is need to adjust to the new situation by fast-tracking innovation led by technology.
  • To enhance flexibility:The courts need to move to a hybrid model involving virtual and in-court hearings and frame a road map for courtroom resolution.
  • To increase efficiency:
    • Efficient justice delivery will require the intervention of technology, and a three-tiered approachthat stratifies dispute avoidance, dispute containment, and dispute resolution.
    • Online dispute resolution (ODR): For dispute avoidance and containment entailing low- and medium-value civil matters.
    • Need is to pre-empt disputes at an early stage.
  • To make the delivery of justice more affordable and convenient.

Significance of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR):

  • Both transformative and disruptive: ODR can help in reduce matters before the courts, through avoidance, containment and resolution.
  • Better use of data analytics:Technology can aid the resolution of disputes by offering analytical insights for that purpose.
  • Technology as a “fourth party”: According to Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy’s white paper titled ODR: The Future of Dispute Resolution in India, technology can play the role of fourth party.
    • Help in asynchronous communication: doing away with the need for parties to be present in person.
    • More equitable access to justice mechanisms:litigants and a neutral party do not have to depose simultaneously and can record their response at a time and place convenient to them.
    • Cost-effective and easily accessible forum for dispute resolution: Relying on video conferencing and technology to transmit information could reduce the expenses.
  • Collaborative Resolution Mechanism: ODR could potentially help solve small- and medium-value disputes at scale before they reach formal court processes.
  • Win-Win model:ODR can increase ease-of-living and timely resolution of dispute for litigants and can reduce burden on courts.

Implementation of Integration of technology and Justice delivery system:

  • Supreme Courthas made necessary changes and adjusted which shows a progressive vision.
    • The Court has also introduced e-filing, and facilitated the creation of infrastructure around the New Delhi district courts for lawyers and litigants to access hearings.
    • SC has exceeded the volume of online hearings conducted in other jurisdictions across the world.
  • The Lok Adalat mechanism: pilot projects for the adoption of e-Lok Adalats.
Global Best Practice:

Ø Singapore International Arbitration Centre, have released guidance documents for video-conferencing-led remote participation in hearings.

Ø European Union: an ODR platform provided by the European Commission helps make online shopping transactions fairer and safer.

o EU has mandated all merchants in member countries to inform consumers of the availability of ODR systems.

Ø The United States: It has launched MI-Resolve in response to covid-19 to resolve small disputes.

Ø United Kingdom: online mechanism for the settlement of money claim disputes.

Ø Canada: online civil administrative tribunal for small-value disputes.

Conclusion: The need of the hour is to develop ODR collaboratively to enhance capacity, capability and efficiency. According to Justice Chandrachud, there needs to be a fundamental change in the mindset and we need to look upon dispute resolution as a service that is availed of.

6.How the tiger can regain its stripes

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-3- Environment- Conservation

Context: On International Tiger Day, July 29, authorities declared that India should “celebrate” the increase in tigers from about 2,000 in 1970 to about 3,000 at present.

Status of Tiger Population in India

According to All India Tiger Census 2018:

  • The total count of tigers has risen to 2,967 in 2018 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals or 33% in four years. Tiger population within reserves is 1,923 (65% of the total tiger population of India) which means 35% of the tiger population still lives outside the reserves.
  • Madhya Pradesh has maximum tigers at 526 followed by Karnataka at 524 and 442 in Uttarakhand.
  • Corbett Tiger Reserve (Uttarakhand) has the highest tigers followed by Nagarhole tiger reserve (Karnataka) and Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka).

Steps taken by Government of India for Tiger Conservation:

  1. Project Tiger:It was launched in 1973 by the government of India, based on the recommendations of a Special Task Force of the Indian Board for Wildlife. It aims at in-situ conservation of wild tigers in designated tiger reserves. The project is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  1. Tiger Reserves:Tiger Reserves are protected areas established under the Project Tiger. The reserves aim at conserving the habitat to ensure a viable population of the tigers along with their prey base in their habitat. At present there are 50 Tiger Reserves in India.

Issues with Tiger Conservation in India

  1. No Pragmatic Plan:India has the potential to hold 10,000 to 15,000 wild tigers. However, it does not have a pragmatic plan to achieve the goal.
  2. Low Political commitment: Over the years there has been a decline in political commitment to conservation.
  3. Unnecessary Borrowings:There has been unnecessary and massive borrowings from the Global Environment Facility-World Bank combine to create new models for tiger recovery.
  4. Poor Resource Allocation:Excessive funding of a few reserves while neglecting large areas with greater recovery potential.
  5. Data and Monitoring: lack of data transparency and rigorous, independent tiger monitoring is a major issue.
  6. Forest Conversion:wildlife habitats have been converted for cultivation and exploitation by loosely defined “forest-dwellers” under Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  7. Issues with NTCA:It has taken up schemes totally unrelated to tigers, such as the recovery of snow leopards and translocation of African cheetahs to India.

Way Forward:

  • The role of the forest bureaucracy should be restricted to wildlife law enforcement.
  • Project Tiger should be merged with other Central schemes for wildlife conservation
  • Government monopoly over domains of tiger conservation such as tiger research, monitoring, nature education, tourism and conflict mitigation should be removed.
  • Private enterprises, local communities, NGOs and scientific institutions should be engaged in Tiger Conservation.

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