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9 PM for Main examination
- Battle of the Rajya Sabha
- India’s quest for UNSC reforms
- Mediation in the age of COVID-19
- Can India decouple itself from Chinese manufacturing?
- A time for empathy
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Battle of the Rajya Sabha
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS 2-Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
Context: Rajya Sabha (RS) elections are to be held in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- Generally, a party’s candidate wins unopposed in Rajya Sabha as parties know their strength in the assembly.
- Accusation of Horse trading:
- In Gujarat, eight Congress MLAs resigned before the election.
- In Rajasthan, Congress CM has accused the BJP of trying to poach the MLAs.
- In Madhya Pradesh, there is continuing political uncertainty following the resignation of 22 MLAs which led to the unseating of the Congress government.
Rajya Sabha elections in Constitution:
- Strength of the house: Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of RS as 250 out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and 238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.
- It specifies that only the elected MLAs of a state assembly can vote in a Rajya Sabha election.
- Elections take place using a single transferable vote where a voter ranks all candidates according to his preference.
- Voting only takes place when there are more candidates than the vacant seats. This happens to take the advantage of the views of the opposition for betterment of democracy.
The problems in RS elections are not new and certain changes are introduced to correct it.
Dealing with the issues of Rajya Sabha elections:
- Rajya Sabha S B Chavan Committee (1999): It mooted the idea of voting by open ballots in the elections to the upper house to prevent big money and other considerations to play a role in the electoral process.
- Parliament passed a law in 2003:It required MLAs to show their votes to their party man before voting in a RS election.
- Supreme Court in 2006: It decided that crossvoting would not attract the penalty under the anti-defection law. The blatant use of money became evident in the 2016 RS elections in Karnataka where an MLA was caught for purportedly asking money on tape.
- The open ballot provides legal and technical grounds for invalidating votes:
- In the 2017 Gujarat RS election two Congress MLAs were suspected by their party of voting for the BJP candidate as they had shown their votes to the BJP’s election agent. As a result, their votes were held invalid.
- In 2016 Haryana, 12 Congress MLA’s votes were held invalid after using an unofficial violet pen for voting.
The Probity in RS polls can be ensured by internal change in parties along with stricter laws.
2.India’s quest for UNSC reforms
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 2 – Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Context – India must adopt value-based positions at the UNSC and be the voice of the weaker nations to bring the required reforms in the multilateral institution.
India was the only contestant for the Asia Pacific seat and got 184 votes in the 193-strong General Assembly to win the seat for Non-permanent membership granted for 2 years in the UNSC.
India sought the support of member countries by highlighting its commitment to the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System in its campaign brochure which was launched before the voting.
The campaign brochure has set out the following key priorities for India:
- New Opportunities for progress – A rapidly shifting global security landscape, persistence of traditional security challenges, and emergence of new and complicated challenges, all demand a coherent, pragmatic, nimble and effective platform for collaboration to ensure sustainable peace.
- An Effective response to international terrorism – India will push for the India-led Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to tackle the challenge of terrorism.ill pursue concrete and result-oriented action by
- Reforming the multilateral system– There is widespread concern at the inadequacy of the existing multilateral institutions to deliver results or meet new challenges. Thus, there is need to promote greater cooperation in multilateral institutions.
- A comprehensive approach to international peace and security – Streamlining UN Peacekeeping is an overdue task. We must ensure greater clarity, direction, and professionalism in UN Peacekeeping Operations.
- Promoting technology with a human touch as a driver of solutions – India aims to promote use of technological advancement for good of all including the under-developed nations who lack such resources to fight challenges like climate change.
India’s approach in next two year will be guided by “Five S’s”, as set out by the Prime Minister:
• Samman (Respect),
• Samvad (Dialogue),
• Sahyog (Cooperation), and
• Shanti (Peace), to create conditions for universal
• Samriddhi (Prosperity)
Challenges which need effective solutions to bring reforms:
- The Group “Uniting for Consensus” (UFC)– It is led by Italy, Argentina, Pakistan, Mexico supports an extended Council of 25 members, which oppose the G4 (Germany, Japan, India and Brazil ) and the addition of any new permanent seats. The UfC would instead add only non-permanent seats and preferably abolish the veto or at least restrict its use.
- Resistance by Permanent–5 – The P5 are generally hesitant towards reform. Of the five, France and Britain are most open to reform. Whilst all permanent members accept the reform in principle, they have often fought popular reform proposals.
- Rivalry between USA and China during the pandemic – The Security Council is one of the most important multilateral decision-making bodies where the contours of global geopolitics are often drawn. India should avoid the temptation of taking sides at a time when the Security Council is getting more and more polarised due to USA-China rivalry.
Way Forward – India has long been of the view that the structure of the UN Security Council doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century. It has also got increasing support from member countries for its push for reforms which can be utilised in next two years to bring much needed reforms.
3.Mediation in the age of COVID-19
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: Analyzing the importance of online mediation in the times of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 has deprived the courts of their natural setting of the courtroom, judges and lawyers. They have given way to virtual courts so that the judge is being able to hear the lawyer. The public setting is converted to a closed door one.
Difference between courtroom process and mediation:
|It achieves the win-lose verdict with the court deciding the winner.|
|It tries to achieve consensus between parties to come to an amicable agreement.|
|There is a formal justice system with open courtroom hearing in the presence of clients and fellow lawyers.|
|Closed Door communication: There is confidential discussion between mediator and parties.|
|It focuses on the formal system of laws.||Inherent flexibility and adaptability: It focuses on uncovering interests and taking suggestions from the parties themselves for practical solutions to end the dispute.|
Mediation is an idea whose time has come and is rapidly gaining ground. Legislation has given it the legal structure and safeguards and provided the assurance that the courts will implement mediation agreements.
Advantages of the online mediation:
- It enables the mediator and the parties to assemble on their computer screens.
- Discussion can be guided by giving parties and lawyers the opportunity to put forth their views.
- When separate meetings are required, the mediator can easily move the other party and its lawyer to another virtual room.
- Cost effective and an efficient use of time:
- Parties do not have to bear costs, do not have to travel, do not have to wait long hours and do not have to undergo adjournments and multiple visits to the mediation center.
- Easy to get people from different locations to one platform: It done away with difficulties of distances where parties are in different countries.
- Giving the participant a little cocoon of safety:As it creates a grainy barrier of two screens and an intermediate world of Internet. It will certainly be of benefit in cases where emotions run high and face-to-face confrontation may increase the conflict. Such as in matrimonial cases and in family business disputes.
Weaknesses of the online mediation:
- Missing the directness and complete contact:It is possible only in face-to-face meetings in the courtroom.
- Compromise of confidentiality:As hearings could be recorded. Service providers must be vigilant and there should be rules to penalize participants for breach.
- Technical glitches: There can be issues with screen clarity and interrupted feed.
- Exclusion of underprivileged: Critics argue that online communication will exclude the underprivileged who cannot afford access to the Internet or do not have the capacity or assistance to use it.
Online mediation has a host of advantages to reaped but it must bear some caution. There should not be any exclusion of weaker parties as it will be tantamount to denial of access to justice.
4.Can India decouple itself from Chinese manufacturing?
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-3 Economy: Effects of liberalization on the economy (post 1991 changes), changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
Context: The border clashes with China and the COVID-19 pandemic have again raised questions about India’s dependence on Chinese manufacturing.
India’s Dependence on Chinese Manufacturing- Brief Overview
- India’s imports from China in 2019-2020 reached $65 billion, out of $81 billion two-way trade. China accounts for about 14% of India’s total imports
- India’s main dependence on Chinese imports is regarding capital goods. These include machineries, including electrical machinery, semiconductor driven machinery etc.
- 20% of the auto components and 70% of electronic components come from China. Similarly, 45% of consumer durables, 70% of APIs and 40% of leather goods imported are from China.
Why is China the manufacturing hub of the World?
- China offers the capacity to businesses to develop the supply chains by considerable lengths within itself. This is because of its geography which offers agglomeration advantages and wide broad basing that it has developed over different sectors and in most products.
- Further, along with being the largest exporter of assembled final products, China has also over the years become a major consumer for final products
Where does India lack?
- Skill sets:Skill sets in the manufacturing sector in India remain low which hinders businesses to invest in the sector.
- Infrastructure: Sub-standard infrastructure is a major obstacle in attracting investment in India. Due to low infrastructure development, India offers less locational advantages than China.
- Red tapism: Bureaucracy, red tapism and unpredictable policies deter investments in India’s manufacturing sector.
- Low Productivity:Productivity in India remains low which hinders investments despite low wage rates.
What should be India’s policy priorities to attract investment amid geo-economic shift post Covid pandemic?
- Skill reform and Labour reform to encash demographic dividend and attract investors
- Infrastructural development to provide locational and agglomeration advantages
- Development of industrial parks to attract FDI
- Favourable policies to promote ease of doing business
Conclusion: The commerce ministry has also identified 12 sectors — food processing, organic farming, iron, aluminium and copper, agrochemicals, electronics, industrial machinery, sanitisers and masks, auto parts, textiles etc to make India global supplier and cut import bill. India should not only focus on reducing dependency on China but also on other countries to march towards economic nationalization and self-sufficiency.
5.A time for empathy
Source – Indian express
Syllabus – GS 4 – Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions
Context – Pandemic has given us a critical moment for reflection, for re-examining our way of life, and striving to emerge from this with hope.
Things we did wrong in pre-Corona world:
- Lack of care for vulnerable section– There was lack of social security for vulnerable sections and with the sudden lockdown; we left labourers, poor migrants, women and children stranded without work and pay. They walked hundreds of miles to get to their families and homes, with many of them collapsing on the way. This is, thus, a matter of collective shame for all of us.
- Economic slowdown– With oil prices being low, India still witnessed the growth rate of 4.2 per cent, the lowest growth seen in the last 11 years. This could have been averted with better economic policies focussing on structural reforms in manufacturing, agriculture and financial sector.
- Over-exploitation of resources– To meet the economic needs, we over-exploited the resources and environment which led to degradation of environment and contributes in global warming phenomena.
Lack of empathy for vulnerable as well as environment resulted into rising poverty and unemployment despite abundance, rising intolerance and violence, and environmental catastrophe.
- Rising poverty and unemployment– After the lockdown, India’s unemployment rate shot up to a record high of 23.8 per cent in April. Most of the unemployed being labourers as industries were closed during the lockdown. This deprived them of wages and forced them to walk to their villages to escape poverty.
- Rising intolerance and violence – There has been a steep rise in crime against women across the country amid restrictions imposed due to the corona virus outbreak which is termed as shadow pandemic.
- Environmental catastrophe– Cyclone Amphan and Nisarga amidst the lockdown highlighted the vulnerability of our systems when it comes to environmental, health and economic issues. Despite of the better standard of living that development has provided in many nations, there are concerns emerging all around the world regarding this model of development which is consumption orientated.
Suggested solutions to overcome these challenges in post-Corona world:
- Gandhiji’s Talisman– This is time to “recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him” as this will make us think for the poor, labours and migrants whom we left stranded amidst the pandemic. Only then actions can be taken for their care and justice will be ensured for them.
- Consequentialism needs contemplation– Our economic and political policies must not be ends in themselves, but instruments for building a society that is secular, inclusive and nurturing, where people of all religions, caste, race and gender feel wanted and at home.
- Following Categorical Imperative – It refer to duties which are absolute in nature and must apply in all circumstances. Categorical imperatives are objective and unconditional principles that originate out of rationality and free will. Any action to be morally upright must conform to
- It is obeyed purely out of sense of duty and not due to emotions, feeling or desire which is must for protection of rights of vulnerable.
- Embracing Eco-centrism– Ecocentrism is the broadest term for worldviews that recognize intrinsic value in all life forms and ecosystems themselves, including their abiotic components. Thus, in longer run we need to be compassionate for not only poor but also other living beings irrespective of their economical value for humans.
Way Forward – There is a lot in the nation’s culture and wisdom that we can draw on and try to lead a life that nurtures the soil and creates an environment which sustains future generations. We should, thus, strive to create a society that respects knowledge, science and technology, and culture.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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