9 PM Daily Brief – November 20, 2020

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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GS 2

Regulating free speech

Threat to Democracies

GS 3

Amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank

FTA’s and its significance

9 PM for Preliminary examination


Regulating free speech

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS-2- Polity

Context: The Supreme Court’s has questioned the Union government on the measures it can and is willing to take against communally slanted television coverage.

More on news:

  • It appears to be an attempt to bring about a commitment to a course of action that will curb inflammatory journalism on broadcast media.
  • The Court has distinguished between free speech and ‘hate speech’.

Give some latest instances of partial news coverage. Also mention the point-of-view of the Centre and the Court.

  • Coverage of Tablighi jamaat event: The Court is hearing petitions against the communal colour given by some channels to the incidence of large clusters of COVID-19 infections among those who attended a Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi.
  • The portrayal of the participants as intentional super-spreaders was vicious and motivated.
  • Case of Sudarshan news: The case of Sudarshan News, which began a series on the channel that propagated hate against Muslims, is an open example.
  • The government has merely administered a ‘caution’ to the channel and asked it to moderate the content of future episodes.
  • Centre’s point of view: The Centre’s affidavit has stated that media coverage “predominantly struck a balanced and neutral perspective”.
    • It further stated that it was open to the viewers to choose from a number of varying perspectives given by different media channels.
  • Court’s point of view: The Court is keen to know what action has been taken under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act against offending broadcasters.
  • The Court appears unconvinced that the present mechanism of self-regulation, i.e. The National Broadcasting Standards Authority is effective.

What are the safeguards provided under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act?

  • Government’s powers: The government is empowered under the Act to prohibit transmission of programmes that violate the programme or advertising codes (Section 19) and even an entire channel, in public interest (Section 20).
  • In the past, channels have been asked by the I&B Ministry to take some programmes off the air.
  • Penal law: Depending on the damage done to individuals or institutions, or even society at large, there is enough scope for action under the penal law.

Way forward

  • The distinction between free speech and hate speech should be at the heart of any order creating a new mechanism; to deal with broadcast media excesses.

Threat to Democracies

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Context: Problems faced by the leading democracies in the world.

What are the issues that are threatening the Democracies?

  • Identity crisis: The issues of identity, or threats to identity, are becoming an important issue in elections, across democracies.
  • Menace of Fake news: Manipulation of grievances by using psychometric techniques and use of ‘deep fakes’ made possible through Artificial Intelligence, further enhances the threat to current notions of democracy.
  • Terrorism is resurfacing with renewed vigour: The IS, that was thought to be defeated following the victories achieved in Syria and Iraq towards the end of 2018, has recently carried out attacks in France (Paris, Nice) and in Austria (Vienna).It reminds of the transnational character of the threat it poses to democratic countries.
  • Informational autocracy: There is a growing concern across the globe about increasing efforts to manipulate information in order to perpetuate power. For example, the efforts made by the U.S. President, Donald Trump, to negate the verdict of the recently held presidential elections

What are the Problems specific to European democracy?

  • Economic uncertainty: With a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, an uncertain Brexit will further damage the prospects of both the United Kingdom and Europe.
  • Threat to secularism:
  • The recent wave of terrorist attacks, beginning with the beheading, recently, of a Paris schoolteacher by an Islamic State (IS) supporter, followed by IS violence in Nice, have raised questions on long-held secular beliefs.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron and French leaders have been openly harsh against radical Islam

What are the Problems specific to   Indian democracy?

  • Polarisation: The enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens have created a deep religious divide among its citizens.
  • Challenges to Internal security: With growing tensions in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Pakistan’s efforts to push terrorists in larger numbers is leading to large scale casualties especially among the Indian Army and security forces personnel.
  • Failure of India’s bargaining strategy: India has been left out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), world’s biggest trade bloc which covers almost a third of the world’s economy.
  • International isolation: Provocation by Pakistan by holding of Assembly elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and India’s steady marginalization in Afghanistan where the control of the Taliban is increasing confirms India’s isolation in international arena.

Amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context- RBI has decided to place a draft scheme for amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank, a subsidiary of DBS of Singapore and has raised concerns about the safety of the financial system.

What are the reason of RBI to put LVB under moratorium and amalgamated with DBS Bank?

The RBI has now decided to impose a 30-day moratorium on Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd (LVB) due to the following reasons-

  1. Continuous Losses: The RBI said the financial position was declining steadily, with continuous losses over the last three years eroding the bank’s net-worth.
  2. Rising NPAs: Serious governance issues in recent years have led to deterioration in its performance. Almost one fourth of the bank’s advances have turned bad assets. Its gross non-performing assets (NPAs) stood 25.4% of its advances as of June 2020, as against 17.3% a year ago.
  • The Tier 1 Capital ratio turned a negative 0.88% at the end of March 2020.
  1. Low Liquidity: It was also experiencing continuous withdrawal of deposits and low levels of liquidity.
  2. Unable to raise Capital: The bank has not been able to raise adequate capital to address these issues. The bank management had indicated to the RBI that it was in talks with certain investors, but failed to submit any concrete proposal.
  • The capital ratio subsequently worsened to -4.85% by the end of September, tipping the central bank’s hand.

What happen to depositors and shareholders?

  1. Depositors- The RBI, which put a cap of Rs 25,000 on withdrawals, has assured depositors of the bank that their interest will be protected
  • Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) gives insurance cover on up to Rs. 5 lakh deposits in banks.
  1. Shareholders of LVB– Equity capital is being fully written off. This means existing shareholders face a total loss on their investments unless there are buyers in the secondary market who may ascribe some value to these.

How has the pandemic affected the banking system?

  1. Worsen NPA -NPAs in the banking sector are expected to increase as the pandemic affects cash flows of people.
  • RBI’s Financial Stability Report pointed out in its stress test indicated that the gross NPA ratio of commercial banks could worsen to as high as 14.7% by end of current financial year.
  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has stress on corporate balance sheets and governments burdened with large debt.
  2. Lurking around the corner is also the major risk– stress intensifying among households and corporations that has been delayed but not mitigated, and could spill over into the financial sector

Way forward-

Banks now need to adopt a ‘React, Adapt and Lead’ strategy to emerge stronger on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. After all, stronger banks and a sound financial services ecosystem will play a key role in the recovery of Indian economy.

FTA’s and its significance

Source: The Hindu

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

Context: India’s External Affairs Minister recently disapproved of free trade and globalisation.


  • On November 15,15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement while India refused not to sign RCEP.

What were the rational arguments given by the government to walk away from RCEP?

  • In the name of openness India has allowed subsidised products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail.
  • An economy as attractive as India allowed the framework to be set by others.
  • The effect of past free trade agreements has brought de-industrialisation in some sectors.

How good is India in emphasising trade openness?

  • India is much more open economy than it was three decades ago, yet, India continues to remain relatively closed when compared to other major economies.
  • According to the WTO, India’s applied most favoured nation import tariffs are 13.8%, which is the highest for any major economy.
  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, on the import restrictiveness index, India figures in the ‘very restrictive’ category.
  • From 1995-2019, India has initiated anti-dumping measures 972 times (the highest in the world), to protect domestic industry.

Read also :- Current affairs

Why FTAs are significant for Indian economy?

  • Economic recovery: With trade multilateralism at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) remaining sluggish, FTAs are the gateways for international trade.
  • Attract FDI: To be part of the global value chains, to enhance competitiveness, it is important to join FTAs.For example, India’s competitors such as the East Asian nations who have signed mega-FTAs are in a far superior position to be part of global value chains and attract foreign investment.
  • To reproduce the past success: Economic survey 2020 concluded that India has benefitted overall from FTAs signed so far. Blaming FTAs for deindustrialisation means being ignorant to the real problem of the Indian industry which is the lack of competitiveness and absence of structural reforms.
  • Globalisation not protectionism has benefitted India:
    • India has been one of the major beneficiaries of economic globalisation as per International Monetary Fund (IMF).
    • Post-1991, the Indian economy grew at a faster pace, ushering in an era of economic prosperity.
    • According to the economist and professor, Arvind Panagariya, poverty in rural and urban India, which stood at close to 40% in 2004-05, almost halved to about 20% by 2011-12.

The Prime Minister’s desire to make India a global destination for foreign investment while following trade protectionism as the government’s official policy will not be realistic.

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