9 PM Daily Brief – July 10th,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. Owning up to criminalization in politics
  2. India’s AYUSH industry needs an entirely new regulatory model
  3. Internet freedom versus national security

GS-3

  1. 15thFinance Commission – Nudging states for agriculture reforms

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Owning up to criminalization in politics

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Context: The Supreme Court in February 2020 has given a judgement on criminalization in politics which have far reaching consequences.

Background:

  • Judgement: The Court has asked the political parties to state the reasons for selection of candidates with criminal background and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.
  • If a political party fails to comply then it would be treated as contempt of Court’s orders/directions.
  • It will first be implemented in the coming Bihar elections in October 2020.

Earlier orders for reducing criminalization in politics:

  • Each candidate shall submit a sworn affidavit giving financial details and criminal cases.
  • Each candidate shall inform the political party in writing of criminal cases against him or her.
  • The party shall put up on its website and on social media as well as publish in newspapers the names and details of such candidates.

Why did the Court pass such an order? There is increasing number of MPs with criminal cases pending against them.

Need of criminal free politics:

  • Governance free of the criminals:As politics dominates the bureaucracy and reins in business, civil society and the media.
  • Better intention: Capability is not sufficient and there is a requirement of intent to do public service.
  • No single party problem: It is not about any party but about the political system as one of them is going to run the government.
  • Better result: The criminalization in politics result in bad governance and survey after survey show that people around the country are unhappy with the quality of governance.
  • Better choices: As there are limited choices, voters try to vote as best of their ability. They need better alternatives.
  • Other wrongs:Using money power to buy MLAs and MPs sometimes makes a mockery of election outcomes which is expected to be followed by criminals.

Reasons for criminalization despite several laws and court judgements:

  • Lack of enforcement of laws and judgments.
  • There are no tough penalties on them if they don’t follow the orders.

Need of more vigilance:

  • Better monitoring:
  • Monitoring the affidavits of candidates
  • Working with the Election Commission to ensure that information is promptly available on their websites and widely circulating this information to voters using all the social media tools available.
  • Better compliance: It includes monitoring compliance with the Supreme Court judgment to see if details of tainted candidates are promptly put up on their websites and on their social media handles along with proper reasons for giving them tickets.
  • Not just winnability of candidates: Voters need to be vigilant about misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections. We need to realize that people who bribe us for votes cannot be trusted.
  • More public pressure: There is a need for ensuring prosecution with public pressure. For example-some positive may come up if one political leader is hauled up for giving tickets to large numbers of tainted candidates.

Conclusion:

  • Need initiatives from political parties: All the Supreme Court judgments on electoral reforms since 2002 are in fact responses to citizen initiatives and not one initiative has come from the political system.
  • Mahatma Gandhi taught us that to solve a problem, we have to confront the real issue. A root cause diagnosis shows that political party leaders are squarely responsible for this state of affairs as they field such candidates.

2.India’s AYUSH industry needs an entirely new regulatory model

Source: Livemint

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

Context: Patanjali Ayurveda’s claimed cure for COVID-19 has been criticised for making unsubstantiated claims of efficacy.

AYUSH

  • AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. In 2015, Ministry of AYUSH had also included Sowa Rigpa to the AYUSH system.
  • These systems are based on traditional medical philosophies and represent a way of healthy living with established concepts on prevention of diseases and promotion of health.

Regulation of AYUSH in India

  • Ministry of AYUSH: It was established in 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care.
  • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 lays down the regulatory and quality control provisions for the manufacturing of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drugs/medicines.
In 2018, the AYUSH Ministry amended India’s Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945, to prohibit manufacturers of AYUSH drugs from advertising their products “for the use of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder, syndrome or condition”. However, AYUSH industry managed to procure a de facto stay from the Delhi High Court on these new rules in January, 2019.
  • CCRS (Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences) lays down guidelines for Ayurvedic drug development.
National AYUSH mission:

· National AYUSH mission was launched in 2014 by the government of India.

· The basic objective of mission is to promote (a)AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services (b)strengthening of educational systems to impart quality AYUSH education (c)facilitate the enforcement of quality control of AYUSH drugs and (d)sustainable availability of AYUSH raw materials.

Issues with AYUSH Industry

Poor Regulation: The AYUSH Industry subject to very light regulation. Under the 1964 provisions of law, the industry can manufacture any product based on substances mentioned in traditional books listed under First Schedule of Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The government could then test the products to ensure the contents matched the label.

Standard of Healthcare: of the around 4,000 AYUSH hospitals in India, only 87 meet the standards of the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).

Quality and safety of AYUSH Products: 

  • There exist ambiguities on whether the product should be classified under the food category or treated as an Ayurveda medicine.
  • Further, due to poor regulation, AYUSH manufacturers do not establish the therapeutic efficacy of their products through a documented process that would substantiate their claims, as is the case for drugs that are marketed by the pharmaceutical industry.
  • An important issue with AYUSH concoctions is the presence of heavy metals. Evidences suggest that most of these concoctions contain detectable levels of lead, mercury and arsenic, which are known to produce harmful toxicological effects in humans.

Paucity of medicinal plants and herbs: According to the Ministry of AYUSH, 93% of wild medicinal plants used for making Ayurvedic medicines in the country are endangered.

Suggested Reforms:

  • Attention should be paid to augment product and service quality, improve documentation, invest in research and innovation in AYUSH medicine.
  • It is important to strengthen the regulatory environment. The advertising and marketing rules for its products should be significantly tightened to prohibit both the industry and Ayurveda practitioners from making therapeutic claims in relation to their products.
  • The option of integrating AYUSH with modern medicine should be explored further.

3.Internet freedom versus national security 

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 2 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context – The government’s decision to block 59 Chinese apps has once again spotlighted the vulnerability of Internet freedom at a time of national security.

Laws regulating Internet ban 

  1. Section 5(1) of the Indian Telegraph Act– It states that the State has the power to temporarily take possession of the ‘telegraph’ established and maintained or worked on by any person authorized under the Telegraph Act, if there is a public emergency or in the interest of public safety, the state believes it is necessary.
  2. Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)1973 – It empowers the state government machinery to impose a temporary ban on connectivity.
  3. Sub-Section (1) of the Section 69A in the Information Technology Act, 2000– Under this sub-section, authorized officers have the power to direct Internet Service Provider’s to block public access to any information, generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource.

Issues associated with ban of these apps 

  1. Violation of freedom of speech and expression– Fundamental right to free speech and expression applies to online content which is infringed on ban of such apps.
  2. No focus on data protection– The use of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act has been criticised in some quarters, with one of the criticisms being that it isn’t designed for data protection compliance.
  3. Absence of reason for banning such apps– When the Government of India issues blocking orders under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, it asserts secrecy and confidentiality in those orders.
  4. Disadvantage in trade talks–By making it clear that this is due to geopolitical reasons, India [becomes] vulnerable from a trade law perspective. It allows China to claim the moral high ground in trade talks.

Suggested solutions to balance the trade-off between internet ban and digital rights:

  1. Publishing the reason for banning– Supreme Court in the Anuradha Bhasin judgment said very clearly that any order blocking people’s rights to liberty, especially in relation to the Internet, requires to be published.
  2. A new national cybersecurity strategy – Defining who is responsible for such bans, what powers authority has in such cases, what remedies are there for concerned parties need to be solved through such a strategy.
  3. Enacting data protection framework– Data protection framework where authorities investigate the entity and see whether other mechanisms could be followed instead of banning the internet is needed.

Way Forward – Under our existing legal framework regarding blocking of content, there are two mechanisms — there is the normal process by which a government department complains to the Central government officer and a committee reviews it, and an emergency process by which orders are issued and then a subsequent review is taken. Need is to follow a less regressive approach in the technological era where life of citizens is internet driven.

4.15th Finance Commission – Nudging states for agriculture reforms

Source – Financial Express

Syllabus – GS 3 – Marketing of agricultural produce and issues

Context – The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC-XV) has, in its interim report for the year 2020-21, recommended implementation of a specific set of agricultural reforms by the states, based on which states will be provided incentives or grants.

Agricultural reforms recommended for states by Fifteenth Finance Commission –

  1. Model Agricultural Produce & Livestock Marketing Act
  2. Model Agricultural Produce & Livestock Contract Farming & Services Act
  3. Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act prepared by the NITI Aayog in 2016

Suggested solutions for Fifteenth Finance Commission for better implementation of performance based incentive by states – 

  1. Implementation result needs to be measurable– This is required as if result is measurable in terms of reliable and comparable time-series data is available in the public domain, greater transparency can be ensured for all the states.
  2. Straightforward formula– The formula for incentive grant reliant on multiple performance indicators must also be transparent and straightforward.
  3. Including new core areas – The panel can suggest a couple of other core areas, over and above the legislative measures for liberalising agricultural markets, in which state action ought to be incentivised.

For states to perform well with respect to agricultural reforms and receive grants, following steps has to be taken by State’s:

  1. Agricultural Marketing – Centre has promulgated Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Ordinance 2020 , and states would have to take following steps for its successful implementation–
  • Make their APMC Act compliant with Section 6 of the ordinance– It ensures that no market fee or cess or any other levy is collected on transactions carried out outside the physical boundaries of the notified principal market yards.
  • Conciliation Boards envisaged under section8 – These have to be set up at the sub-divisional level for dispute resolution by the state governments.
  1. Contract farming – Centre has promulgated Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 and  state governments have to take following steps –
  • Section 6(4).– As per section 6(4),prescribe the mode and manner of payment to be made to the farmers by the sponsors under an agreement for seed production,
  • They have to establish and notify a Registration Authority to provide for electronic registry of the farming agreements.
  • Section 14– They have to ensure that the dispute resolution mechanism prescribed in Section 14 at the level of the sub-divisional magistrate and the collector is operationalized.
  1. Land Leasing– The panel should make it obligatory for all states, except the North Eastern states where the community owns the land, to enact Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act prepared by the NITI Aayog statute by 2021-22

Suggested new core areas for performance based incentives:

Core Areas Indicators for Tracking performance
1. Climate-resilient agriculture · Production of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per hectare.

·  Gross value added in agriculture per worker.

·  Balanced use of chemical fertilisers.

2. Agri-input subsidies through DBT · Aadhaar seeding of land records

· Soil health card recommendations

3. Ease of doing Agri-business · Increase agri-entrepreneurship, FPO

· Promotion of post-harvest technologies

Way Forward – Incentivising states for better performance in the agriculture sector with a transparent implementation and monitoring system is expected to bring positive results for sustainable growth of Indian agriculture.


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