9 PM Daily Brief – August 4th,2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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9 PM for Main examination

GS-2

  1. Kashmir policy and federalism
  2. NEP 2020 and Medium of Instruction
  3. Online delivery of Justice

GS-3

  1. Securing  labours duringcovid crisis
  2. Agricultural economy cannot drive growth across the overall economy

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Kashmir policy and federalism

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Policy

Context: The article 370 that defined Jammu and Kashmir’s relationship with the rest of India was turned down and a new framework was introduced in 2019 as there was an idea that existence of article 370 weakened the democracy.

Upend of article 370

  • Unavailability of democratic rights: continued detention of political prisoners who have been elected and have represented the people, shows that if democratic rights are not available to political leaders’ then ordinary people cannot imagine holdingthese rights.
  • The change was introduced on august 5, on the birthdate of foremost scholar and activist on Jammu and Kashmir, Balraj puri and his two core ideaswere:
  • Peace would not arise in Jammu and Kashmir without guaranteeing respect for the democratic rights for its people.
  • To ensure the democratic rights the most important tool would be a rigorous pursuit of federalism within the state.

Key to integration

  • “Policy of denying Kashmir a right to democracy , imposing of one party rule on the state through manipulation of elections, prevention of growing of opposition parties and refusal of basic civil liberties and human rights has been a greatest block in the integration”, Balraj Puri wrote in his book Kashmir towards Insurgency.
  • There is a requirement to emotionally integrateKashmir with the rest of India as the feeling of hopelessness and a threat to identity creates a breeding ground for militancy.

Asymmetry and federalism

  • Some people view last year’s constitutional change as an attack on Indian federalism. Jammu and Kashmir’s separate flag and constitution within the Indian union represented asymmetry which is an integral part in the Indian federal experience.
  • The multi-regional and ethnic Jammu and Kashmir’s pursuit for autonomy should be seen with a broader lens as asymmetry has strengthened the Indian union and led to better policy implementation and participation in political processes.
  • The decline of political power from centre to Jammu and Kashmir should not lead to political hegemony of any one region or political party.

Way Forward

  • Serious introspection is required for all those who believe in an inclusive and accommodative idea of India.
  • A multi-layered, institutionalised decentralisation and respect for democratic rights for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

2.NEP 2020 and Medium of Instruction

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-2-Eduation

Context: The author opines that the National Education Policy 2020 does not adequately address the issue of inequity arising out of medium of instruction.

NEP 2020 on medium of instruction

  • The NEP 2020 states that the mother-tongue or the regional language would be the “preferred” mode of instruction till Class 5, possibly Class 8.
  • It also states that, “wherever possible” these languages will be used in public and private schools.

Previous Standard of Education in Bhasha-Schools

Even 20-25 years after Independence, most school-going children attended bhasha-medium schools and the medium of instruction did not hamper progress in life. This was primarily because:

  • The standard of English taught in those schools was very good
  • Most students belonged to the upper castes and had a tradition of education in their families.

Issues in Current Bhasha schools:

the quality of education in bhasha schools has deteriorated over the years. Further, students have opted out from these and there is a growing demand for English medium schools.

At present Bhasha schools mainly cater to students from Bahujan Samaj. These students face two issues:

  • The quality of education is very poor
  • Such children rarely have a tradition of education in their families and find it very difficult to compete with their peers from better financial background, better education and proficiency in English. Bhasha medium students do not get the coveted jobs and the disparity between the two widens.

Way Forward:

The author suggests that all students should be made to study English from an earlier age. Making special funds available for English-teaching at panchayat or zila parishad level schools should be the first step forward.

 3.Online delivery of Justice

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Judiciary

Context: Justice delivery can shift online as it provides the opportunity to give more people access to justice and ease the burden on the courts.

Supreme Court in current situation

  • Efficient justice delivery will require the intervention of technology and a two-pronged approach towards dispute avoidance and dispute resolution.
  • The Supreme Court heard over 7,000 matters online, issuing more than 670 judgmentsthrough more than 620 Benches prior to its two-week recess whereas the Supreme Court of the UK had taken up just 10 cases and pronounced 15 judgments, and the Supreme Court of Canada heard 173 cases, both in a similar time frame to our apex court’s.
  • The Supreme Court also brought in e-filingand released comprehensive information modules on how best to on-board these developments.

Online dispute resolution

  • ODR has the potential to help solve small and medium disputes at scale before they even come before the formal court processes as ODR traces its ancestryto leading practices from alternative dispute resolution (ADR), matching them with the latest technology.
  • ODR has been able to resolve hundreds of millions of matters at the conflict level, led by eBay and PayPal. In the European Union, an ODR platform provided by the European Commission helps make online shopping transactions fairer and safer.
  • Recently, an e-Lok Adalatwas live streamed in Chhattisgarh, hearing 3,000 matters over 200 Benches across districts in the State.

Innovative mechanism

  • There needs to be a fundamental change in the mind setwhere justice is a service that is availed of and not a place for dispute resolution (court) where justice is administered.
  • India is leading the way in innovative justice delivery through initiatives led by the e-Courts project, whose impact will penetrate both vertically and laterally.
  • ODR as a technology-led affordable solutionis needed to help take matters outside the court.
  • The combination of technology and data with negotiation, mediation and adjudication supported by all concerned stakeholders will enable this approach to avoiding, containing and resolving disputes.

Way forward

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) could be a vital component in the bid to make life simpler for every person who seeks access to justice through technology, positive intent and active implementation.

4.Securing  labours during covid crisis

Source: LiveMint

Gs3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Context: While much of the nations have tried supporting their workers during Covid crisis India’s response towards securing its workers livelihood has been inadequate.

Impact of Covid Crisis on workers

  • While the workers employed in the technology, finance and consulting sectors were able mitigate the effect of Covid Crisis as a result of work-from-home (WFH) policies, most of the impact was on vulnerable workers.
  • Almost 70% of women, those employed in the health and social care sectors and work as informal and temporary workers were deeply affected.
  • Migrants and international immigrants were also affected disproportionately due to unsustainable jobs and high burden of health care.
  • Equivalently, (MSME) workers who were employed in their own micro businesses in particular have suffered the most.

ILO’s Response to Secure workers

  • About ILO: It came into force in 1919.It aims to set labour standards, develop policies, and devise programmes to promote decent work for all women and men by bringing together the governments, employers and workers of its 187 member states.
  • Response during covid crisis:To save businesses and jobs, to prevent layoffs, to protect incomes and livelihoods of labours and to leave no one behind the ILO supports its member countries to plan their relief packages.
  • ILO’s four pillared recovery strategy:
  • Stimulating the economy and jobs
  • Supporting enterprises, employment and incomes
  • Protecting workers in the workplace
  • Dialoguing among the GWE to promote solutions.

Global Response to secure workers during covid crisis

  • In the developed economies workers were provided assistance through measures such as unemployment insuranceand a worker wage subsidy.
  • European countries such as Germany, France, United Kingdom have subsidized companiesto keep workers on their payrolls.
  • Whereas in the U.S, the unemployment insurance paymentwas raised by $600 a week.
  • The most effective measure from the worker’s point of view was the job-sharing programmesamong workers that were initiated in some European nations like Germany, in which workers were paid nearly full wages for partial work eliminating the need to lay off people simultaneously it also reduced the requirement for retrenchment.

India’s Weak Response towards the plight of labours

  • While the India’s measures to rescue its economy, through fiscal and monetary stimulus and an MSME support programme were appreciable, its Direct measures related to the formal and informal labour market have been inadequate.
  • With respect to migrants, the central government response has been largely restricted to repatriation transportation.
  • The states have made their situation worse by issuing ordinances to relax labour regulations that are against ILO norms and even violative of draft labour codes. For example,
    • Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka have increased the maximum factory work hours per day to 12, and from 60 to 72 hours per week whereas the ILO specifies a maximum of 9 hours per day and 48 hours per week.
    • Further the UP and Gujarat government have specified that the extra hours are not eligible for overtime payment.
  • Added to this, its impossible to have a specific welfare scheme exclusively for labours as only 10% of its labour force makes up the formal labour market and another 12-15% working as contract labour which means that only about 22-25% can be identified and provided specific support.

Conclusion: A concerted effort should be made to give workers a financial identity by collating and simplifying labour laws into a few codes and reducing labour compliances at the Centre and states. Only then marginalized workers will have the legal recourse to avail their welfare benefits.

5.Agricultural economy cannot drive growth across the overall economy

Source: LiveMint

Gs3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Context: Theories that highlights the indicators of increase in tractor sales, increased govt procurement of food grains, expected growth in agriculture sector to argue that agricultural economy would revive the Indian rural economy which in turn drive growth across the overall economy is untrue.

Reasons:

  • First, Rural economy is not only about agriculture.
  • Second, increased govt procurement of food grains does not benefit the farmers universally.
  • Third, increase in tractor sales only indicate that rich farmers are doing well.
  • Other factors convey that Rural economy will be impacted negatively

Rural economy is not only about agriculture:

  • According to NABARD’s All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey2016-17, only 23% of the income of an average rural household came from agriculture. Surprisingly, out of the 23% total income of an agricultural household, 34% of the income came from wage labour.
  • Excluding agriculture, the non-agricultural rural economy consists of construction, manufacturing, financial services, communication and the government.
  • As a recent phenomenon, manufacturing activities has been shifted to rural areas owing to non-availability of land in urban areas which has helped in job creation and facilitated the slow movement of people from agriculture to manufacturing.
  • Out of the 63 million MSMEs that contributes to 30% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), 50% are in rural areas.

Issues in Government procurement policy (MSP):

  • Restrictive: Because a farmer in order to sell his produce to the government, he needs to produce above a minimum threshold also he should have the financial capacity to bear upfront expenses involved in selling to the government.
  • Lacks wide coverage:Procurement operations of the government are unequally concentrated in certain parts of the country and it tends to benefit the farmers in those parts only. For example, in case of wheat, Punjab has more than 80% coverage compared to U.P which has only 7% coverage under procurement operations
  • Monopoly in crops:It encourages farmers to grow rice and wheat at the expense of other crops such as pulses, oilseeds etc.
  • Not farmer centric:The agricultural economy is more than just rice and wheat. It does not support farmers producing vegetable, fruits, dairy, Horticulture and poultry.

Tractor sale cannot reflect the state of the overall agricultural economy:  First, tractors form an insignificant part of the overall agricultural economy. Second, Tractors are too expensive for a normal farmer to buy hence increase in tractor sales only indicate that rich farmers are doing well whereas Indian agriculture is characterised by 85%of small and marginal farmers.

Other Factors affecting Rural growth:

  • Weakening MSMEs
  • According to Reserve Bank of India’s latest systemic risk survey, the MSME sector is affected by lack of cash flows, Low demand, lack of manpower, stuck working capital and a lack of capital which has further created the stress on employment.
  • According to thethird national multi-institutional survey on MSMEs estimates close to a third of the jobs in the sector would have disappeared by the end of Aug 2020.
  • This is evident fromthe massive demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
  • This explains the fact that, the non-agricultural part of the rural economy, which is close to 70% is inadequate to generate work equal to the demand created and forcing people towards MGNREGS.
  • Inadequacy in MGNREGA to sustain employability
  • Not every household that demands work is entitled to work. Out Of the 125 million households which have demanded work this year, only 104 million households (or around 84%) have managed to get work.
  • Regional Variation in coverage:States like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have better coverage under the scheme in comparison to states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc. Despite the fact that the bulk of internal migrants in India’s cities come from the poor states.
  • Fall in remittances: due to reverse migration of workers from urban centres, internal remittances are expected to come down which will have a negative impact on the rural economy.
  • Contracting State finances: State governments expenditure has been greater than centre for the last 5 years. With declining tax collection and need to allocate more money to health care sector to fight covid will also impact rural growth negatively.
  • Stagnant economy due to spread of Covid 19: Rural areas have weak medical infrastructure facilities, with covid 19 spreading to rural areas will prompt the government to enforce lockdown which will stall the rural momentum

Conclusion: All these reasons demonstrates that while the agricultural economy cannot drive growth across the overall economy.


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