9 PM Daily Brief – November 25, 2020

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GS 1

Violence against women

GS 2

India exits RCEP

India-EU trade

Protecting Article 32

GS 3

corporate houses in Indian banking


9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLY

Violence against women

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-1- Society

Context: Domestic violence cases spiked during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Explain about the violence during the pandemic?

  • Shadow pandemic: The UN Secretary-General used the term for rise in domestic violence cases during the lockdown.
    • Women and sexual minorities were confined indoors with their abusers and even making a call or stepping out for shelter were likely to be very challenging.
  • Violence: Violence is the short-hand language we use to communicate power play.
    • Different kinds and contexts of violence lie on a spectrum which is defined by inequality and the desire to control.
    • This includes domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, street sexual harassment, workplace sexual harassment, custodial rape and conflict-related sexual violence.
  • Inequalities: The deep-seated inequalities of Indian society, creates a climate where state violence is tolerated because we are conditioned to granting others power over us and condoning its abuse.

What was the impact of lockdown on the females ?

  • Access to reproductive healthcare: The lockdown made access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, very difficult. The dullness of lockdown is the new context of marital rape, with frustration over income uncertainty is offered as justification.
  • Forceful marriages: One of the outcomes of lockdown was that many girls were married forcibly and early in desperation to see them safe and fed.
  • Abandonment: Women and girls with disability were left alone to fend for themselves in the aftermath of the lockdown.
  • Vulnerable to harassment: New forms of workplace harassment have emerged with “work-from-home” and made women vulnerable to harassment.
  • Impact on children: The children witnessed daily violence and was taken to be the normal language of human interaction.
  • The male child who gets everything he reaches for knows he is entitled and that he can grab it with freedom.

Way forward

  • Systematic creation of a support infrastructure (easy access helplines, secure shelter services with enabling cultures), bystander intervention awareness and gender violence sensitisation of the police and administration especially for crisis contexts, would have mitigated the epidemic of violence.

India exits RCEP

Source – Live Mint

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

Context – India’s decision to stay out of the China-backed RCEP agreement and its significance.

What is RCEP and its significance?

Launched in 2012, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a trade pact between the 10-member ASEAN bloc, along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. However, India had been due to sign but pulled out last year.

  • Objective-
  • The purpose of the deal is to create an integrated market.
  • Mega Trade deal- It was described as the “largest” regional trading agreement as it covers nearly a third of the global population, contribute over a quarter of world exports and makeup around 30% of the GDP.
  • Significance of RCEP-
  • The agreement simplifies customs procedures and rules-of-origin laws between countries.
  • Low tariff rate– RCEP countries have agreed to progressively abolish 90% of all tariffs on goods between participating members.
  • The agreement focused on diversifying trading partners, solidifying supply chains, and achieving economic and job growth through a pan-regional trade agreement.

What are the reasons for India’s withdrawal from RCEP?

  1. Trade balance paradox– India has trade deficits with 11 of the 15 RCEP countries, and some experts feel that India has been unable to leverage its existing bilateral free trade agreements with several RCEP members to increase exports.
  2. Dumping of Chinese Goods– This is the major concern for India, as after signing RCEP cheaper products from China would have flooded the Indian market.
  3. Import might harm domestic producers– It raised alarm about market access issues, fearing its domestic producers could be hard hit if the country was flooded with cheap Chinese goods.
  • Textiles, dairy, and agriculture were flagged as three vulnerable industries.
  1. Shallow agreement– RCEP does not contain provision on issues like environmental protections, labour rights or intellectual property.
  2. There is no investor-state dispute settlement system in RCEP.
  3. China’s presence– Apart from economic reasons (fear of dumping), escalating tensions with China are a major reason for India’s hardened position on the deal.

What are the implications of India’s decision of opting out?

  1. Benefits China– RCEP is a China-backed trade deal, signing it without India will further strengthen China’s economic power.
  • It will affect India’s neighbourhood as China already tries to influence the region through its deep pockets.
  1. India remains outside the institutionalized orbit where future discussions, amendments, additions and revisions to RCEP could occur.
  • Such discussions and potential rules will facilitate trade not just between the Asean but the other five.
  1. Losing out on Large Market– The move could potentially leave India with less scope to tap the large market that RCEP presents.
  2. Positive institutional effects of RCEP must not be underestimated as trade patterns evolve in this region. Indian firms will find it tough to adapt to a regional market.

Way forward-

  • RCEP’s institutional legacy could have far-reaching effects such as fostering trust, creating standards, fixing gap.
  • India’s absence from the Asia-Pacific trade treaty will solidify its insular economic orientation and hurt innovation.

Related Posts  :-  https://bit.ly/372DDCC

India-EU trade

Source- The Hindu Business Line

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

Context- The recently concluded 15th Summit of India and EU, the broad consensus that emerged is to strengthen the EU-India Strategic Partnership.

India-EU areas of convergence-

  • India’s largest trading partner, while India is the EU’s ninth biggest trading partner.
  • India is among the few nations that run a surplus in services trade with the EU.
  • Both share similar ‘universal values’ of democracy, pluralism, respect for international institutions and multilateralism.
  • Share common interest in tackling climate change, and building trade.

However, India’s exports in the competitive EU market are not doing well such as-

  • Agriculture Commodities– Apart from processed rice, the share of India’s agriculture commodities in EU’s import is invariably less than 3 per cent.
  • Marine products – EU imports more from ASEAN than India despite its longer coastline.
  • Labour intensive products– Bangladesh exports more such products like apparels and leather products than India.
  • pharmaceutical sector- EU imports more by-products of same (chemicals, rubber plastic products) from China and ASEAN than India

What are the reasons for lower share of Indian export in the EU market?

  1. High production cost in India leading to higher import cost in EU market compared to other countries;
  2. High logistics costs and poor connectivity that make Indian exports uncompetitive in EU market.
  3. Inefficiency in trade facilitation measures leading to high cost of export or consignments being rejected, which has spill-over effects.
  4. India’s exports being subjected to higher para-tariff in comparison to other countries.
  5. India’s exports not meeting the European standard. Indian products have been rejected/ banned due to failure to comply with EU standards and this legacy is affecting India’s exports.

How India can boost EU trade?

  1. Reduction on production cost– Advance logistics/trade facilitation measures can keep the production cost low which increases the competitiveness.
  2. Better infrastructure– This leads to lower logistic cost and faster and direct connectivity of consignment to Europe.
  3. Enhancing connectivity– Facilitating people’s mobility and connectivity to improve mutual understanding and create opportunities for innovation and growth.
  4. Following Chinese strategy– Indian products have been rejected/banned due to failure to comply with EU standard. On the flip side, China produces goods complying with European standards at higher price than what they produce for African/Indian market. This way, China protects their brand value and manages cost.

Way forward-

  • Indian producer needs to pay much more attention to complying with specific EU market standards.

Related Posts  :- https://bit.ly/2J83ml9

Protecting Article 32

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

Context: The Chief Justice of India is reported to have stated during the hearing of journalist Siddique Kappan’s bail matter, that the Court was trying to “discourage” recourse to Article 32.

What does article 32 says?

  • The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.
  • CJI M Hidayatullah in Tilokchand (1970) said that what Article 32 does is to keep open “the doors of this court” and requires the state not to put any hindrance to a person seeking to approach the Court.

What are exceptions to the article 32?

  • The Court regards Article 32 as a judicial power subject to the fundamental principles of administration of justice.
  • It does not mean that the Court must ignore and trample under foot all laws of procedure, evidence, limitation, res judicata and the like.
  • Justice MP Thakkar and Kanubhai Brahmbhatt observed that time for imposing self-discipline has already come, even if it involves shedding of some amount of institutional ego and to inspire confidence in the litigants that justice will be meted out to them.
  • Even if there is a constitutional right to remedies it remains subject to the discipline of judicial power and process.
  • Article 33 clearly says that the right will not extend to the members of armed forces.
  • Justice Patnaik maintains that the article 33 and 34 will not eclipse the right of a person detained without the authority of law to move for habeas corpus.

How the new facets of article 32 evolved?

  • In 1950, it has ruled that powers under Article 32 are not limited to the exercise of prerogative writs.
  • In 1987 the Court ruled that it has powers to rule for compensation of violation of fundamental rights.
  • In 1999 it said that this power extended to the rectification of its own mistakes or errors.
  • The Court has also upheld (in 1997) the 50th amendment enlarging the scope of this article against a challenge of the basic structure of the Constitution.

What are the issues have been raised?

  • CJI or the Court as a whole should not suffer from epistemic collapse so as to receive sharp reminders and rebukes from citizen commentators.
  • Article 32 does not merely confer wide powers on the Court but also the judicial duty to provide constitutional remedies.
  • Lawyers and justices know what distinguishes Article 32 from Article 226 is the very dimension of it. HCs have the discretion to act or not to.
  • Article 32 is not absolute. The Supreme Court decides on what “appropriate proceedings” should be for it to be so moved.
  • Discrimination in bail where one case is fast tracked whereas others are consigned to slow moving judicial action.
  • Scandalous judicial delays and a bold resolution of “who watches the watchman” syndrome demand urgent response.

Article 32 makes the apex court into a “people’s court” and in future we should be able to conclude that the Court did not deliberately dealt deathblows to the “soul” of the Constitution.

corporate houses in Indian banking

Source: The Hindu

GS3: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Context: Recently, an Internal Working Group of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recommended that corporate houses be given bank licences.

Background

  • Earlier, in 2013, the RBI had issued similar guidelines permitting corporate and industrial houses to apply for a banking licence. However, no corporate was given a bank licence as none of the applicants had met ‘fit and proper’ criteria.
  • In 2014, the RBI, reversed its earlier decision and prohibited the entry of corporate houses into banking based upon the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms (2008) suggestion that opined it is premature to allow industrial houses to own banks.
  • Now, an Internal Working Group of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has once again recommended for providing bank licences to corporate houses.

What are the Pros and Cons of letting corporate houses to operate banks?

Pros:

  • Corporate houses will bring capital and expertise to banking.
  • In many countries corporate houses were not bared from banking.

Cons

  • Interconnected lending: They can use banks to provide finance to customers and suppliers of their businesses.
  • Concentration of economic power.
  • Exposure of the safety net provided to banks to commercial sectors of the economy.
  • Fund diversification: by turning banks into a source of funds for their own businesses.
  • Impact of Non entities on banks growth: Banks owned by corporate houses will be exposed to the risks of the non-bank entities of the group.
  • Privatisation of Public banks in the long run: For example, Public sector banks need capital that the government is unable to provide. The entry of corporate houses will result in the possibility of cash rich corporate bank acquiring cash trapped public sector banks which is a serious concern about financial stability.

Read also :- Current affairs

Why Tracing interconnected lending will be a challenge?

  • The Internal Working Group suggests that, before corporate houses are allowed to enter banking, the RBI must be equipped with a legal framework to deal with interconnected lending and a mechanism to effectively supervise conglomerates that venture into banking.

However, there are challenges while dealing with interconnected lending.

  • Multi sector cooperation required: Monitoring of transactions of corporate houses will require the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies.
  • Crony capitalism: Corporate houses can use their political clout to thwart such cooperation.
  • No prevention possible: The RBI can only react to interconnected lending ex-post; it will not be able to prevent such exposure.
  • Complex process: In case, even if RBI could trace interconnected lending, any action taken on corporate will only cause a flight of deposits from the bank concerned and precipitate its failure.
  • Regulator credibility at stake: The regulator would be under enormous pressure to compromise on regulation. Pitting the regulator against powerful corporate houses could end up damaging the regulator.

Why the Internal Working Group of the RBI has recommended so?

  • Under the present policy, NBFCs with a successful track record of 10 years are allowed to convert themselves into banks.
  • There are corporate houses that are already present in banking-related activities through ownership of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
  • The Internal Working Group believes that NBFCs owned by corporate houses should be eligible for such conversion.
  • The Internal Working Group argues that corporate-owned NBFCs have been regulated for a while. The RBI understands them well. Hence, some of the concerns regarding the entry of these corporates into banking may get mitigated.

India’s banking sector needs reform but corporate houses owning banks will not be the one that is required as of now.


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