Good evening dear reader.
Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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9 PM for Main examination
- Women representation and impact – Kenya case study
- Disintegration of the criminal justice system
- Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA)
- Misinformation storm
- Labour codes reforms
- Issues of Indian Sugar Industry
- Production Linked Incentive Scheme
9 PM for Preliminary examination
Women representation and impact – Kenya case study
Source: The Indian express
Syllabus: GS-1- Women
Context: Asymmetric political representation between men and women in Kenya and India.
How was the representation of women in India before 1947?
- In the making of Indian constitution, women members of the Constituent Assembly, though minuscule, made a significant contribution.
- Women had a large presence in the freedom movement and their numbers grew, with a significant voice, in Parliament and state legislatures.
How the constitutional histories and judicial action of Kenya and India vary?
- Kenya’s article 27(8) requires the state to take judicial and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.
- 33 per cent reservation in Indian Parliament: The two bills introduced in 1996 and 2010, have been delayed, even when addressed as a “historic step” that will ensure significant representation for the women of India.
- “Quota within a quota”: The ways should be found to ensure that this reservation should contain 33 per cent reservation within for SC and ST women.
- Some suggested a systemic practice of reservation at the stage of distributing party tickets.
- Some continue to fight for underprivileged and rural women.
- Some maintain that a constitutional convention directing increased representation for women by parties will be more appropriate than a constitutional amendment.
- Kenya does better than India: Kenya has secured 76 (or about 22 per cent) women in the present National Assembly comprising 349 members, whereas:
- India peaked to its highest number in the 2019 elections with 62 women (around 14.58 per cent), out of a total of 542 Lok Sabha seats.
- In the Kenyan Senate 21 (or 31 per cent) of the 67-member House are females; in the Indian Rajya Sabha women comprise 25 out of 243 elected members.
- For instance, Marilyn Kamaru (on behalf of a collective of activists which had petitioned to have parliament dissolved three years ago) said:
- “Whether the president dissolves parliament or illegally retains it in violation of the Constitution”, a constitutional moment was “made possible by the work of women activists, feminists and the queer community.”
- The learned chief justice memorably outlined the idea of constitutionally justified elite pain and social suffering involved in putting constitutions to work in India.
What are the similarities in both nations?
- Women’s representation has always been “pyramidical”: most women remain below the constitutional locator at the bottom, even when a few scale national heights.
- Women and other sexual minorities, sacrificial politics continues to prevail, as violence against women and sexual minorities continues to be a sad social display in both societies.
- Asymmetric representation in both societies has generated a long and complex debate concerning women’s representation.
The way forward
- The Indian Constitution is among the world’s leading modern and postcolonial constitutions but more actions are required to reduce asymmetrical representation.
2. Disintegration of the criminal justice system
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- A majority government can also selectively pursue only those crimes which it cares about.
What is happening to the criminal justice system in India?
- There is a synergy between the crimes, its pursuit by an investigation and the calling to account of those found guilty which is unofficially referred to as a criminal justice system.
- However in India, it is in disarray such as-
- There was a crime, several crimes in fact. The State police decided to pursue it.
- However, there was no waiting for a trial to condemn the accused and sentence him; punishment was swiftly meted out by the police itself.
- So much so, that an erstwhile Supreme Court Judge felt that the State’s version of events made it appear as if it did not even care whether the encounter story was believed or not.
For Example- The encounter of the Vikas Dubey in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
How is executive ruling the State of Uttar Pradesh instead of Judiciary?
The power to condemn was sourced not from a judicial order but from the power to level allegations, which is wholly an act of executive in scope. This way the police became judge, jury and executioner.
- Encounter without trial- This State has always demonstrated willingness to punish without condemning an accused through a trial.
- Publishing massive hoardings- It has passed a law enabling the publishing of massive hoardings with the names and personal details of persons allegedly involved in the destruction of property caused in riots following the Anti- Citizenship Act protests. All of this is done before a court convicted those people for these acts.
- Refuse to register FIR-
- Even when there was a serious offence and there were major injuries. The police did not register a case for hours.
- However, where the police was not willing to register the rape case, it has swiftly registered at least 19 cases regarding an alleged conspiracy to use the incident for political purposes to show the State in a bad light.
The recent rape case of a young girl in the village Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.
What are the issues in Criminal Justice System in India?
- Growing disconnect between the Government and judiciary- The bolstering of executive power as a result of this rowing disconnect and the unsurprising imitation of executive-mindedness by the judiciary.
- Criminal Justice is suffering from Inertia-
- Ineffectiveness– The purpose of the criminal justice system was to protect the rights of the innocents and punish the guilty, but now-a-days system has become a tool of harassment of common people.
- Pendency of Cases-In India police is seemingly super-efficient, but judiciary system is super slow.
- According to Economic Survey 2018-19, there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judicial system, especially in district and subordinate courts, which leads to actualization of the maxim “Justice delayed is justice denied.
- Huge under trials– India has one of the world’s largest numbers of under trial prisoners.
- According to NCRB -Prison Statistics India (2015), 67.2% of our total prison population comprises of under trial prisoners.
- Investigation– Police is being a front line of the criminal judiciary system, which played a vital role in the administration of justice. Corruption, huge workload and accountability of police are a major hurdle in speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
Indian criminal justice mechanism suffers from lack of judiciary’s accountability and cooperation between its investigation and prosecution wings, allowing criminals go scot free. India need to have a more effective and professional investigation system, better management of court procedures
3. Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA)
Source: Indian Express
Syllabus: GS-2 Policy
Context: The central government launched the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA) to reduce the hardship of migrant workers.
What are the features of Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan?
- Objective is to provide employment and benefits to villages through the development of rural infrastructure using returning migrants’ skills.
- The scheme only applies to districts which had at least 25,000 returning migrants.
- it is an umbrella scheme of 25 different government schemes under 12 ministries under Ministry of Rural Development.
- It covers 116 districts in six states for 125 days, that have large concentration of returning migrant workers with a financial outlay of Rs 50,000 crore.
Why selected districts are chosen for this programme?
- Only certain districts have higher number of out migrants: For example, states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar account for a large part of the out migration and the GKRA has 63 out of 116 districts in UP and Bihar.
- Low capacity: The poorest districts with the largest number of migrant workers are precisely the ones that need to generate employment, but have the least capacity to deliver.
- Relative poorness: GKRA districts are on average has low literacy rates and the proportion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes population is high, and hence the emphasis on these districts seems justified.
- Inefficient Public delivery programmes: GKRA districts fare worse on average on an overall composite index of coverage and intensity than the other districts. For example, benefits of MGNREGA are highly concentrated on some selected beneficiaries.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS-2- Policy
Context: Those who use social media platforms must pull in another direction to maintain access to a range of sources and views.
How did the advent of internet changed the way news was presented and consumed?
- The US experience:
- In the 1980s hundreds of news organisations existed to serve these sorts of towns, much like they still do in multilingual India today.
- Contrary to the expectations of more media centres propping up with the advent of Internet, fewer news outlets with the advent of internet.
- Most Americans now get their news from dubious Internet sources.
- Political polarisation: The hardening of political stances on both sides of the divide is plain to see, and the acute polarisation of the average American’s viewpoint.
What are possible effects of news delivery through the internet?
- No journalistic norms: Anyone can say anything at any time about any topic with slight respect for the truth as everything is an opinion generated on such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.
- The spread of false and malicious news can stoke violence at short notice. For example: WhatsApp came under Indian regulatory scrutiny after a doctored video that originated as an innocent advertisement in Pakistan spread on that medium and stoked violence.
How is this worrisome for India?
- Polarisation of viewpoint: India could be going through the same political polarisation like the US in 4-5 years.
- Highly targeted algorithms: The algorithms were built around making users stay online longer and click through to advertisements.
- They are likely to bombard users with information that serves to reinforce what the algorithm thinks the searcher needs to know.
- For instance, if I show a preference for right-wing leaning posts, for instance, the algorithms are likely to provide me with ever more right-wing posts from people and organisations.
- Newly online Indians are bound to fall prey to the echo chamber algorithmsand become easy marks for targeted advertising, both for products and of political viewpoints.
What is the way forward?
- India might need to chart its own path by keeping tech firms under check before they proliferate unlike the US.
- New Indian legislation needs to preserve free speech while still applying pressure to make sure that Internet content is filtered for accuracy, and plain decency.
- Corporate responsibility: regulatory attempts to influence the transparency of information that members of the public see are instead being converted into secret corporate processes and so strong intervention is required.
- Else, in addition to the media, which has largely been the responsible fourth estate, we may well witness the creation of an unmanageable fifth estate in the form of Big Tech.
5.Labour codes reforms
Source- The Indian Express
Syllabus- GS 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment
Context- The three labor bills will immensely help the country in bringing much needed economic growth and will help in employment generation.
What are the new labour codes?
The government has introduced new versions of three labour codes in Lok Sabha which are-
- Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020.
- Code on Social Security Bill, 2020.
- Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020.
These three bills are part of four labour code envisaged incorporating 29 labour laws. First code on wages has already been enacted.
What are the benefits of labour codes 2020?
- Raised the threshold for requirement of a standing order– The expansion of firms by increasing the threshold for retrenchment/closure or lay-off without requiring government approval, from 100 to 300 workers.
- Fixed term employment [FTE] – It is an intervention to enable the hiring of employees directly instead of hiring through contractors, which will ensure flexibility.
- The code also reduces the time limit for receiving gratuity payment from the continuous service of five years to one year for all kinds of employees, including fixed-term employees, contract labour, daily and monthly wage workers.
- Social protection system– The inclusion of the gig and platform workers in the Social Security Code 2020 is a step towards strengthening the formal economy.
- The provision for insurance coverage has been extended to plantation workers and free annual health check-ups. A bipartite safety committee has been introduced for hazardous factories.
- Gender equality and empowers the women workforce– Female labour force participation is a driver of growth and, therefore, participation rates indicate the potential for a country to grow more rapidly.
- Women will be entitled to be employed in all establishments for all types of work and, with consent can work before 6 am and beyond 7 pm subject to such conditions relating to safety, holidays and working hours.
- Inclusion of inter-state migrant workers in the definition of worker: It has been made possible that a migrant, who comes on his own to the destination state, can declare himself a migrant worker by registering on an electronic portal based on self-declaration seeded with Aadhar Card.
- Registration on the portal has been simplified and there is no requirement of any other document except Aadhaar Crad.
- For de-licencing/de-registration, it is mandated to notify registering officers about the closure of their establishment and certify payment of dues to all employed workers, which will ensure that workers will not be exploited even during the closure of the concerned establishment.
- Reskilling Fund– Industrial Relation code also proposes setting up of a reskilling fund to help skill retrenched workers.
- To set up a re-skilling fund for training of retrenched workers with contribution of the employer of an amount equal to 15 days last drawn by the worker.
- The lifelong learning opportunity is provided to match the evolving skill sets required for technology and process changes.
- Notice period– Under Industrial Relations Code 2020, the provision for a 14-day notice period before strikes and lockdowns would allow both workers and employers to attempt resolving the issues.
The reforms introduced in the three labour codes will help to build a future of work that is safer, fairer, greener and more resilient. The reform measures address basic needs – to revive the economy and tackle barriers in the expansion of firms. Moreover, they promote the employment of women as well as reskilling of the workforce for the deployment of migrants.
6. Issues of Indian Sugar Industry
Source- The Hindu Business Line
Syllabus- GS 3- Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
Context – The Centre and States governments have persisted with populist policy measures have aggravated the sugar industry’s structural problems.
What are the problems of sugar industry in India?
- Mounting arrears– High cost of sugarcane (due to high State advised price), inefficient technology, uneconomic process of production and heavy excise duty result in high cost of manufacturing. Lower prices of sugar than production cost causes mills to incur losses rendering them unable to pay farmer’s dues.
- In Uttar Pradesh alone have run up arrears of over ₹8,447 crore for 2019-20, twice the amount due in the previous year.
- COVID-19 pandemic- The extended lockdown, millers’ cash flows have been hit by a sharp fall in the institutional off-take of sugar from food and beverage makers and hotels which usually a stable revenue source.
- Impact of crude oil prices – Usually, when oil prices are high, mills tend to divert cane for making ethanol that is used for blending with petrol. With recent fall in oil prices, mills will not find it attractive to divert cane for ethanol.
- Transportation subsidy– Centre delaying its promised payouts towards transport subsidy on sugar exports, relying on which the industry has shipped out over 60 lakh tonnes of sugar this year.
- The Centre has been tardy in reimbursing mills for the carrying costs on the 40-lakh tonne buffer-stock created at its behest.
- Structural problem- Centre has kept up FRP hikes and begun announcing a ‘minimum selling price’ for sugar, which would discourage farmers from planting excessive cane.
- Short Crushing season- Sugar production is a seasonal industry with a short crushing season varying normally from 4 to 7 months in a year. It causes financial loss and seasonal employment for workers and lack of full utilization of sugar mills.
What are the steps taken by the government to address the issue of sugar industry?
- Rangarajan committee (2012) was set up to give recommendations on regulation of sugar industry. Its major recommendations:
- Price of sugarcane– Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) recommended a hybrid approach of fixing sugarcane prices, which involved fair and remunerative price (FRP).
- Remove the regulations on release of non-levy sugar– Removal of these controls will improve the financial health of the sugar mills. This, in turn, will lead to timely payments to farmers and a reduction in cane arrears.
- Trade policy– Abolition of the quantitative controls on export and import of sugar, these should be replaced by appropriate tariffs.
Considering the importance of sugar industry the crisis faced by sugarcane farmers need to resolved promptly through Centre and State policy initiatives such as allowing free market forces to dictate the demand-supply equation for sugarcane and its end-products
7. Production Linked Incentive Scheme
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: Gs3: Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth
Context: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has introduced a Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing.
What is Production Linked Incentive Scheme?
- Aim is to position India as a global hub for electronics system design and manufacturing.
- It provides an incentive of 4-6 per cent on incremental sales of mobile phones and specified electronic components manufactured in India, to eligible companies, for a period of five years.
- Eligible companies are (a) mobile phones manufactured and sold by domestic companies, (b) mobile phones manufactured and sold by other companies (invoice value of ₹15,000 and above) and (c) specified electronic components.
- The scheme is available to all companies registered in India which meet the threshold requirement of a specified incremental investment between ₹100 crore and ₹1,000 crore in the next four years as well as incremental sales of manufactured goods.
- Accordingly, the scheme is designed to select only the few top companies. A maximum of five domestic and five global mobile manufacturing companies and 10 electronic component manufacturers will be selected.
- The scheme also provides for the constitution of Empowered Committee (EC) which has the power to review and revise rate of incentives, ceilings, eligibility criteria, etc.
- Unlike export linked subsidy schemes such as MEIS, EPCG, and SEZ, the present scheme is investment and production linked and may not violate international trade agreements.
What are the concerns associated with the scheme?
- The scheme offers higher incentives for higher production rate. However, the incentives cannot be claimed beyond the financial outlay proposed by the Government, which is ₹40,951 crore.
- In case of incentives exceeding the annual financial outlay, the incentives will be disbursed to all companies on the basis of their net incremental sales. This implies that an over-performing company may not be reap the benefits under the scheme in absolute terms.
What is the way forward?
- The Government should also look to implement similar incentive schemes for other sectors such as automobile, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, etc.
- Further, the government must also focus on service industry which has rarely got any incentive from the Government.
The Production Linked Incentive Scheme has all the necessities required to increase investments, employment generation, domestic value addition, capacity building and innovation to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ as far as mobile phone manufacturing is concerned.
Click on “Factly articles for October 7th, 2020”