9 PM Daily Brief – November 26, 2020

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GS 1

Right to choice of women

GS 3

Central Trade Unions strike

Present State of economy

Push for Exports

GS 4

Ethical democracy


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FACTLY

Right to choice of women

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-2- Polity

Context: The Uttar Pradesh government has cleared an ordinance that enables the state to police and punish inter-faith marriages with “the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion”.

Discuss the issues associated with the law against love jihad.

  • Law against fundamental rights: By clearing the ordinance, the state government has trespassed the fundamental right to marry guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Problem with this law: Neither clan council nor khap panchayat, and certainly not a democratic government, has the licence to vet personal choices as right or wrong.
  • “Love jihad” ordinance is being peddled as measures taken for the security and “respect” of women.
  • Law can be abused: Allowing the police to examine subjective “intentions” of men and women entering a marriage sets the law up for widespread abuse.
  • It legitimises a rank communal fantasy: It continues the pessimistic politics that seeks to organise Hindu unity by fuelling the anxieties about the ‘Muslim Other’ and treasures it in law.
  • Patriarchal fear: The law’s scrutiny is specially focussed on a woman’s change of faith reveals the patriarchal fear behind it.
  • An attempt to police women’s lives: The pretentiousness of protection, indeed, masks a fear of female sexuality that will not be contained by caste and clan barriers.
  • It is used to police women’s lives and choices, often by violence, as is evident in the history of “honour killings”.

Way forward

  • The government must withdraw the proposed law as in the eyes of law men and women are not only members of religions, but individuals with “free will and choice”.

Central Trade Unions strike

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 3 – Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Context- Trade unions called for nationwide strike to protest government policies.

Why Central Trade Union (CTUs) have called for a nation-wide strike and what are the demands

Central Trade unions called for national wide strike to protest against anti-farmer laws, anti-worker labour codes, privatization of public sector and the corporatization policies of the government.

Trade union’s demands-

  • The demands of the joint platform include cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people.
  • Expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme, to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.
  • Withdrawal of the “draconian circular on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees”.
  • Pension to all– scrapping NPS (National Pension System) and restoration of earlier pension with improvement in Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995 [EPS-95].

What are the key concerns with new labour codes?

  1. Against the Interests of Employees- The codes provide the liberty to industrial establishments to hire and fire their employees at will.
  • The new labour codes dilute workers’ rights in favour of employers’ rights.
  1. Inspection system has been diluted in the Wage Code.

What are the other options that trade union have to dilute this resolution?

Trade unions have six options-

However,

  • Central government did not conduct an effective and sustaining social dialogue and at the State level, social dialogue institutions are largely absent or weak.
  • The new Labour codes ignore the recommendations of Parliamentary Standing committee.
  • And the labour reforms bills passed in the absence of the Opposition.
  • International Labour Organization’s intervention– Trade union did wrote to ILO, seeking its intervention to protect worker’s rights but the ILO’s intervention only provide provided a temporary respite to trade unions as the government did what it has been doing.

Way forward-

  • Approaching the judiciary- Trade unions must shed their judicio-phobia and approach to judiciary provided they have strong legal grounds to challenge reforms introduced by Central or State governments.
  • Strike alone will not make much difference– Trade unions must explore other avenues such as seeking the ILO’s intervention, judicial action and social dialogue
  • This strike is a reminder of this potential, positive reconstruction of laws.

Present State of economy

Source: Indian Express

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

Context: The pandemic has delivered a “scissor cut” to the government finances.

What is the current scenario?

  • Economic output and government revenues are shrinking.
  • The government has to spend more to safeguard lives and livelihoods.
  • Widening deficit.
  • Most of state’s revenue come from center which changes their debt servicing ability for the worse.

What are the recent issues?

  • Revenue side:
    • In the first half of fiscal the center’s net revenue (tax and non-tax) collection stood at 27.3% of budget for the full fiscal year compared to 41.6% of previous fiscal year.
    • Revenue collections in the first half of the year were down to 32.5% as compared to an average 15% growth over the same period.
  • State’s fiscal issue:
    • Fiscal data for the year is available only for the eleven non special category states.
    • Revenue of these states is down by 21.5%.
    • Adding center’s transfer to the states then the decline in revenue reduces to 16.5%.
    • Shortfall in states’ revenue is much steep than that of center.
    • For the eleven states total expenditure and capital spending have contracted by 1.5% and 23.4 % respectively.
    • Allocation for pension and subsidies down by 10% and 20%.
    • Since health is State subject, state will have to shoulder major part of health expenditure burden on account of the pandemic.
  • Cutting capital expenditure:
    • Both center and state have cut their capital expenditure.
    • This is worrying as states undertake more as they have more than 60% of the overall general government capital expenditure.
    • For instance, in 2019-20, capital expenditure by states stood at rs 4.97 lakh crore down by 20%.
  • Low capacity utilization: for instance, it was 71.9 % in the previous year which is down to 58.6 %.

What are the consequences?

  • Reduces Center’s and states’ ability to invest and lift the economy.
  • Need of more borrowing.
  • Centre’s total expenditure has been declined by 0.6 % which led to 11.6% decline in capital expenditure with revenue expenditure by 1 %.
  • To maintain states ‘spending government has forced them to increase borrowing which has led to increase in market borrowing by 50%.
  • Rising debt level of states. For instance, overall government general debt stood at nine year high.
  • Centre’s debt to GDP is declining.
  • Ratio of interest payment to revenue receipts is also declining which raises question on sustainability of debt.
  • The private sector will remain wary of investing as demand uncertainty continues.

Push for Exports

Source: The Hindu

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

Context: India needs to shed its exaggerated fears of trade agreements to create new jobs.

What are the challenges facing by Indian economy?

  • Contracting Economic growth: India is in an economic recession for the first time in its independent history.
  • Rising Unemployment: Thousands of people lost their jobs due to the slowing economy in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Unemployment had reached a 45-year high. Added to this worry, more than 2 crore people lost their jobs during the lockdown.
  • Rising demand for right to work: During the seven-month lockdown period, there were 11 crore people who asked for work under MGNREGA.
  • Stagnating Merchandise Exports: Merchandise goods exports were $314 billion in 2013-14 and remained stagnant for the next five years touching $313 billion in 2018-19.

What are the reasons for stagnating Merchandise exports?

  • Reversal in the direction of India’s foreign trade policy with higher tariffs, non-tariff barriers, quantitative limits.
  • The return of licensing.
  • Border country restrictions.
  • The appreciating value of the rupee.

How to boost exports and produce jobs for Indian workforce?

  • Investing in labour intensive sectors: Good quality jobs can be created only in sectors that are labour intensive, and where India has a comparative advantage, such as apparel, leather goods, value-added agriculture etc.
  • Find more export markets: The job-creating sectors depend not only on the domestic market but, significantly, on export markets. For example, more than one-half of the leather goods and one-third of the apparel produced in India are exported to other countries.
  • Encourage and Incentivise exports: Merchandise exports helps to create supporting jobs in warehousing, transport, stevedoring, container stations, shipping, ship chandling, ports and export financing.

Why India cannot persist with protectionism policy?

  • Trade is reciprocal: India cannot ‘protect’ its domestic industry with high trade barriers while aspiring for bilateral trade treaties to promote exports. Also, no country will allow import of Indian goods and services unless that country is able to export its goods and services to India on reasonable and fair terms.
  • FTA has Benefited its members: More winners than losers because of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements in the recent past witnessed through proliferation of FTA’s such as ASEAN, NAFTA, MERCOSUR, RCEP recently.
  • To promote exports: Most manufacturing today has a long supply chain that cuts across many countries. To be able to export goods, India must import raw materials or equipment or technology from other countries in the supply chain.

What are the issues in signing FTA’s?

  • FTA provisions were misused by some countries to question the foreign investment policies and tax policies of other countries.
  • Purely trade and commercial disputes were dragged to international arbitral tribunals on the pretext of violating FTA provisions.

Exports are one of the main engines to revive economic growth and create many new jobs. India has the immediate opportunity to export goods worth $60 billion in labour intensive sectors which can then create lakhs of new jobs. To revive exports, India needs greater access to global markets. Hence, we must re-learn to engage with other countries and negotiate favorable trade agreements through the bilateral and multilateral routes.

Ethical democracy

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 4 – Ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

Context- The elected must protect all the unelected instruments of democracy- – judiciary, media and civic organizations.

What is check and balance in the democracy?

Checks and balances, principle of government under which separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power.

  • Democracies have developed systems of efficient checks and balances — elected and unelected institutions. Such a balance is critical to their success.
  • Democracies can be harmed if the rulers succeed in jeopardizing the other pillars like the judiciary and free press.

Read also :- Current affairs

What were Aristotle [ancient Greek philosopher] views on different models of government?

According to Aristotle-

  • Monarchies were for the benefit of the monarchs.
  • Oligarchies for the benefit of men with means.
  • And democracies were for the benefit of men without means.

What were Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar views on democracy?

  1. Gandhi’s View
  • He was a firm believer of Ahimsa based stateless ruled based on self-regulation by individual. He considered democracy as a means to achieve his “Ram Rajya”. While this would make the country an ideal state, the notion was utopian.
  • He believed in decentralization of power and self sufficiency of villages which shall be brought in by democracy.
  • And laid stress on the individualism provided by democracy. Individualism was important encouraging the individual to surrender to society to achieve his selfless society.
  1. Amdedkar’s views
  • He belonged to a backward caste and from his early childhood faced various forms of discrimination in the society.
  • For him democracy was not limited to only political spheres but extended to social, religious, economic spheres of life as well, that no person should be arbitrarily discriminated against and for this he fought for his entire life.

For Gandhi, democracy meant the weak getting the same chance as the strong and for Ambedkarji, it was about giving voice to voiceless.

  1. For successful democracy – Both believed that the parliamentary majorities need to be restrained through constitutional ethics and public morality.
  • Constitutional ethics is about leaders respecting constitutional order, conventions and institutions.
  • Gandhi’s final message to the congress to convert itself into a lok Sevak Sangh and work at the grassroots for social, economic and moral independence.

Conclusion-

  • India’s democracy, as envisaged by the makers of the constitution, thrived essentially because of the respect of the leaders for the ethical constitutionalism and moral activism of the grassroots activists.
  • Indian democracy has been immensely benefitted from such diverging viewpoints. The core values which our freedom fighters stood for are still the basic structure on which our constitution proudly stands.

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