9 PM Daily Brief – June 11th,2020

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9 PM for Main examination

GS-2

1.Role of Judiciary in handling Migrant crisis

2.The Private Sector in India’s Healthcare System.

3.Failure of G7 in handling world issues

GS-3

4.Relation between COVID and Climate Change

GS-4

5.Structural racism and other issues – Police Reforms

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.Role of Judiciary in handling Migrant crisis.

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: Analysing the role of the Supreme Court for fixing the lapses that led to the migrant labour crisis due to COVID-19.

Background:

  • According to the Census 2011 migration data:Over 45.58 crore Indians were found to be migrants as against 31.45 crore during 2001 Census.
  • With no work, many returned home. As per official claims by the Centre, about 57.22 lakh migrant workers have returned to their hometowns.
  • Inadequate facilities:In terms of registering and identifying those who wished to travel and the scarcity of timely information and effective communication relating to the movement of trains and their destinations.

The COVID-19 lockdown has hit the workers very badly with the fear of losing sources of livelihood and forcing them to return home. The Judiciary was expected to take their cases for doing complete justice.

Criticism of Supreme Court:

  • Initially the SC said it could not be expected to stop migrants from taking the hard option of trekking thousands of miles to their villages amid the lockdown.
  • It put onus on the government to draw migrants away from the long walk home and wait for government-arranged inter-State transport.

It was criticized by former members of the higher judiciary as well as many senior lawyers and jurists. Now the SC has sought to redeem its stature by a series of directions and indicating its willingness to go into all pending issues.

Intervention of Supreme Court for migrants:

  • Transporting all inter-state workers to their homes: The SC has fixed a 15-day deadline for the completion of the process.
  • Dropping Criminal cases: The SC has asked state governments to drop criminal cases against them for violating the lockdown since it was imposed at short notice. It feels that pursuing the lockdown violation charge would affect them badly which have already their source of livelihoods.
  • Facilitating returns of workers: It had made all State governments to file comprehensive affidavits on the action they had taken to provide them with immediate relief and the arrangements made for food and water for them during train journeys.
  • Future of workers: It has asked the States about their plans for registering all the workers, their skills, their areas of employment and the different welfare and employment schemes meant for them.

Way Forward

Both the authorities and the courts have to make an effort to improve the conditions of workers.

2.The Private Sector in India’s Healthcare System

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Health

Context: The recent news of private hospitals levying fees in excess when COVID-19 patients went to them for care, highlights the need to regulate private healthcare in India.

Contribution of Private Sector in India’s Healthcare:

  • The private sector provides approximately 70% of the healthcare services in India.
  • Private sector’s share in hospitals and hospital beds is estimated at 74% and 40%, respectively.

Reasons for dominance of Private healthcare in India:

1.Lack of adequate public health care: This has two dimensions:

  • Inadequate human resource:
    • India has a doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1,445. World health Organization recommends a ratio of 1:1000
    • There is uneven distribution of health workers in private and public health sector with more than 80% of doctors and 70% of nurses and midwives being employed in the private sector.
  • Quality of Public Health services: hospital beds and specialized facilities are less by the public sector and middle class often resort to private hospitals for health services.

2.Lack of adequate investment in public health: India spends only 1.3% of its gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 3% in China and 8.3% in the United States.

Issue with dominance of Private Healthcare in India

  1. High Cost and Access:
  • Private healthcare often charge high and are not affordable by large portion of India’s population.
  • Further, the dominance and dependence on private healthcare leads to high out-of pocket expenditure on health.  WHO’s health financing profile for 2017 shows that 67.78% of total health expenditure in India was out of pocket while the world average is just 18.2%
  1. Malpractices: Private players in healthcare often engage in malpractices by selling substandard and counterfeit medicines, prescribing unnecessary drugs and tests, requiring unnecessary hospital admissions and manipulating the length of stay.

What needs to be done?

  • Increase in Healthcare spending:The National Health Policy 2017 proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner. Health-care spending by the government must be appropriate, based on evidence, and transparent and accountable.
  • Health workers:The government should ensure proper training of doctors and health-care workers. Recent reforms in the selection of medical students need to be evaluated to see if they yield desired result.
  • Regulating Private Sector:Private hospitals and institutions should be regulated. Costing and auditing of care and procedures need to be done by independent bodies.

3.Failure of G7 in handling world issues

Source: The Hindu

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

Context: The next G7 summit scheduled in Washington DC has been postponed by the U.S. President.

What is G7?

  • It is an informal group of advanced economies to discuss world issues.
  • Emergence: As a restricted club of the rich democracies in the early 1970s.
  • After the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the OPEC imposed embargo against Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States by the OPEC which led to the quadrupling of oil prices.
  • Informal discussion: The OPEC actions shocked the economies around the world. The French President invited the Finance Ministers of five of the most developed members of the OECD- the US, Germany, Japan, Italy and the UK for an informal discussion on global issues.
  • Transformation into G7 Summit: In the next year by the heads of government with the inclusion of Canada (1976) and the European Commission/Community (later Union) attending as a non-enumerated member.
  • G7 TO G8: With the inclusion of Russia on the initiative of the U.S. President and British PM in 1998. This ended with Russia’s expulsion following the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The limitations of G7:

  • Failure to address global challenges: The G7 failed to address the economic crisis of 2007-08 which led to the rise of the G20. Infact, the G20 has provided a degree of confidence by promoting open markets and stimulus
  • Failure in dealing with contemporary issues: It failed in dealing with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the challenge of the Daesh.
  • Failure to reach a consensus: Though, it had announced its members would phase out all fossil fuels and subsidies but has not announced any plan of action to do so.

Fact: The G7 countries account for 59% of historic global CO2 emissions (“from 1850 to 2010”) and their coal fired plants emit “twice more CO2 than those of the entire African continent”.

  • Rise of IS: Three of the G7 countries were among the top 10 countries contributing volunteers to Daesh, which had between 22,000-30,000 foreign fighters just two years ago.

With the failures of G7, there are certain economic circumstances which have changed in the current world.

Changed Economic circumstances:

  • Share in global GDP:
    • When constituted, the G7 countries accounted for close to two-thirds of global GDP.
    • But, according to the 2017 report of the accountancy firm, PwC, “The World in 2050”, they now account for less than a third of global GDP on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis and less than half on market exchange rates (MER) basis.
  • Emerging economies:
    • The seven largest emerging economies (E7, or “Emerging 7”) comprising Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey account for over a third of global GDP on PPP terms and over a quarter on MER basis.
    • India’s economy is already the third largest in the world in PPP terms.
  • Future of economies:
    • By 2050, the PwC Report predicts, six of the seven of the world’s best performing economies will be China, India, the US, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia.
    • It projects that India’s GDP will increase to $17 trillion in 2030 and $42 trillion in 2050 in PPP terms, in second place after China.

With changed economic circumstances, there are talks of expansion of G7.

Talks of expansion of G7:

  • Outdated: The US President declared that the G7 is a no longer properly represented the current world.
  • Alternative: He asked for a G10 or G11 instead with the inclusion of India, South Korea, Australia and possibly Russia or including the Five Eyes countries (an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US).
  • Future of China: The US is involved in a crisis with China over COVID-19. India has attended several G7 summits earlier as a special invitee for its outreach sessions.

The COVID-19 once again shows the limitations of G7 in handling core world issues. So, there is a need for a new institution to tackle world issues.

Need for a new institution:

  • The world is in a state of disorder: The global economy has stalled over the COVID-19. Nations need ability and resilience to cope with the current crisis with the revival of multilateralism. Existing international institutions have proven themselves unequal to world issues.
  • Need of new mechanism: It would be ideal to include in it the seven future leading economies. Such as the 2005 ad hoc experiment by the UK PM in bringing together the G7 and the BRICS countries.
  • Observing international law: The new mechanism should focus more on it and prevent the retreat from liberal values on which public goods are established.
  • Immediate Challenge:
    • Global public health and the revival of growth and trade in a sustainable way.
    • To ensure effective implementation of the 1975 Biological Weapons Convention and the prevention of any possible cheating by its state parties by the possible creation of new microorganisms or viruses by using recombinant technologies.

Way Forward

With the world in disorder, a new mechanism will have value only if it focuses on key global issues.

4.Relation between COVID and Climate Change

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 3 – Mobilisation of resources

Context – The COVID pandemic has highlighted the crises of scarcity of essential resources and the demand for better response to Climate Change

COVID – Disease-ravaged present and slowdown in economy

Solution – Focussing on keeping the economy afloat in present and providing resources to vulnerable section

Climate Change – Disease-ravaged future and unprecedented problem

Solution – Structurally on level of society – Directing economic packages to areas that increase our resilience to natural disasters and technologies that reduce our emissions.

Individually – On the individual front, this could be an opportunity to reinforce sustainable behaviour — fewer morning commutes and less air travel, for example.

Fighting climate change is tougher than fighting COVID because of the following reasons:

Reasons

  1. High cost of capital– The central and state government has raised its borrowing limit and the private sector has seen returns from investments fall dramatically. All three are already heavily indebted; meaning the cost of capital for future borrowing will only grow.
  2. Underdevelopment of knowledge infrastructure– Thinking about climate change requires a lot of people exploring varied questions simultaneously. That involves funding an ecosystem of thinkers from diverse disciplines. These are inherently long-term investments and only really start paying off over decades. Thus require collective efforts of all stakeholders.

Suggested Solutions

  1. Policies aimed at sustainable development – Formulation of employment and industrial priorities which focuses on green outcomes for a sustainable future.
  2. Collective efforts – NGO, Think tanks and universities need to mobilise its resources for creation of knowledge infrastructure.

Way Forward – Climate change, right now seems to be a distant future. However, its impact and consequences are already being witnessed across the world. This requires global leaders and common people to take effective measures to mitigate as well as adapt.

5.Structural racism and other issues – Police Reforms

Source – The Hindu

Syllabus – GS 4 – Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government

Context – The Black Lives matter movement has highlighted the continuing racism in America against the African-Americans.

Black lives matter movement

  1. Aim– It is against the structural racism practiced by Police departments of USA which has led to death of many African-Americans. For instance, Eric Garner (2014), Corey Jones (2015) and George Floyd (2020).
  2. Demand– Dismantling of the Police Departments
  3. Significance – Participation of white people in protest in UK and USA against the practice of racism and police excess.

Ethical dilemma faced by Police

  1. Stern and effective maintenance of order without violating human rights– When police takes heavy handed action to control crime it is termed as inhuman. On the other hand, if it goes soft for effective management of law and order they are termed as inefficient.

This requires an ethical solution which includes reforming not only police but also other institutions and national leadership.

Suggested reforms

  1. Ethical behaviour of leaders – If an Inspector General of Police or Director General of Police encourages violence in a discreet manner, the message goes down the ranks leading to the torture of innocent citizens. This is what the leadership should not practice and they need set the right precedent.
  2. Indoctrination of individual police officers – The continuous indoctrination of policemen at the grassroots level is needed. It will convince them of the urgency to avoid high-handedness in dealing with members of the civil society as well as crime suspects.

Way Forward – Reforming an institution is a long process and needs to be done gradually in phased manner. One-time reforms followed by public pressure are short lived and needs to be avoided.


9 PM for Preliminary examination

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