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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – April 3, 2021

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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

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Right To Education Act still has some arbitrariness

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS:2 – Indian Constitution:  evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Synopsis: The Right To Education Act evolved so much in the past. But there is still some arbitrariness in the RTE Act.

Introduction:

Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act is a horizontally enforceable Fundamental Right. That is, the Right is enforceable against the State and Individuals.

But the Right To Education Act have some arbitrary discrimination against private institutions and favours minority educational institutions.

Evolution of Right To Education as a Fundamental Right:

Earlier, Article 45 mentions the right to education as a part of the Directive Principles. It mentions that the state should provide free and compulsory education to children up to the age of 14. The provision also mentions a timeline for this achievement(within a decade).

Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka case 1992: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Right to education is a part of the right to life recognised in Article 21.

Unnikrishnan JP v. State of Andhra Pradesh case 1993: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the state was duty-bound to provide education to children up to the age of 14. Further, the SC also mentions that the state alone cannot fulfil the task. Private educational institutions, including minority institutions, have to assist the State in that.

86th constitutional amendment of 2002:The government provided a status of a fundamental right to the right to education. The government inserted Article 21A into the constitution.

Evolution of Right To Education Act:

P A Inamdar vs State of Maharastra 2005 case: In this case, the court held that there shall be no reservation in private institutions, minority and non-minority institutions.

93rd constitutional amendment of 2005: This amendment included Clause(5) to Article 15. Under this, the State can provide for admission in institutions, including private institutions for the advancement of “backward” classes. This purposefully omitted both the aided and unaided minority educational institutions.

In 2009, the government enacted the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE Act. The Act provides for 25 per cent reservation in private institutions.

Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan v. Union of India case. Private schools challenged the 25% percent reservation in the RTE Act. The court, on the other hand, upheld the validity of the legislation. But the court exempted the unaided minority institutions from providing reservation.

The arbitrariness in Right To Education Act:

The amendment to the Right to Education Act 2012: The amendment mentions that the RTE Act will subject to Articles 29 and 30. In other words, It protected the administrative rights of both unaided and aided minority educational institutions.

But in the Pramati Educational Trust vs Union of India case 2014, the court held that the RTE Act is applicable to both non-minority aided and unaided Private schools.

This created an arbitrariness in the Act. This has the following problems in the RTE Act,

  1. Onus on private unaided schools is higher than the government schools
  2. Minority institutions both aided and unaided were exempt.
  3. According to Article 21, there is no discrimination between minority and non-minority institutions. But, the RTE Act has.
  4. There is no explicable or rational explanation for leaving minority institutions, especially the unaided ones.

Suggestions to improve the Right to Education Act

In the Sobha George v. State of Kerala case, 2016 the court held that the no-detention policy will apply to minority schools also. Further, the court also held that the minority institutions will not subject to the RTE Act. But they are subject to the fundamental rights of the Constitution. The Court demands two fundamental questions on Section 16(no-detention policy).

    1. Whether the provisions such as Section 16 of RTE are statutory right or Fundamental Right?
    2.  If it is the Fundamental Right, then the minority institutions will not claim the exemption under the Pramati Educational Trust case. 

So, the government has to relook the Right to Education Act to fulfil the view of the Sobha George v. State of Kerala case. Until then the Supreme court may overrule its judgement on the Pramati Educational Trust case.


A friendly India Pakistan Relation is Much Needed

Source: Indian Express

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations.

Synopsis: The positive signs in the India-Pakistan relation are again turning negative. Pakistan recently took an u-turn after the announcement to open trade with India.

Background:

  • Recently, Pakistan reversed a two-year old decision to suspend all trades with India. Followingly, Pakistan allowed for the import of cotton and sugar from India.
  • However, the decision to allow the import of cotton and sugar from India has been withdrawn within a fortnight.
  • It has been stated that restoration of J&K’s special status will be the precondition for opening up trade with India.

Why Pakistan was ready to resume trade with India?

Because of the following reasons, the government of Pakistan was ready to resume trade with India,

  1. First, the economy of Pakistan is very weak, and it has been sustained by IMF loans.
  2. Second, the action by Financial Action Task Force over possible blacklisting on terror financing is affecting the ordinary citizens.
  3. Third, the Pandemic has also impacted the financial health of the country.
  4. Fourth, a steep fall in the cotton yield has kept the prices of the commodity high. This has caused a crisis in the country’s main manufacturing and export industry.

What is the way forward?

India needs the cooperation of Pakistan to maintain peace on the western front. Especially after the standoff with China at the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

To maintain friendly relation, India needs to be supportive of Pakistan by helping them to overcome the financial crisis by

  • Lifting the 200 percent tariffs on Pakistani imports imposed after the Pulwama attack.
  • Restoring the hugely popular cross-LoC trade and bus service. This will also help to strengthen the peace across the border.

Examining UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora – their Structure, Mandate.

Synopsis: The UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) resolution against Sri Lanka is a victory for victims of abuses. It will help them obtain information, accountability, and justice.

Background

  • Recently, the UNHRC adopted the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka.
  • The resolution accused Sri Lanka of war crimes. It promises to bring responsible personnels to the international courts along with imposing targeted sanctions on them.
  • The resolution decided to create capacity at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It will collect, preserve and consolidate evidence.
  • Evidences can be not only on war crimes but also on other gross violations of human rights and serious violations of humanitarian law.
  • India along with several other Muslim countries abstained from voting. Whereas, China and Pakistan voted against the resolution.

What are the Main Factors that led to the adoption of the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka?

There are mainly three factors responsible for this, they are

  1. First, the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Special Rapporteurs and procedures gave strong support to the resolution. For example, the Report of the High Commissioner on “Promoting Accountability and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka” made the resolution inevitable.
  2. Second, in addition to the work of OHCHR, the Tamil groups were active, nationally and globally. The effort by Tamil diaspora throughout the world mounted pressure on Human rights watchdogs.
  3. Third, the most important reason for the adoption of resolution was mainly due to the abstinence of Muslim countries. Despite efforts from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China, and Rajapaksas personal calls to OIC members, the majority of Muslim countries abstained.
  4. Fourth, the efforts by international civil society to stand up for a global cause. They are very active members of the Human Rights Council.

What led to the resolution?

  1. In 2014 Sri Lanka faced a hostile Human rights Council. It led to the Resolution of the Human Rights Council in 2015 (resolution 30/1) that was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka.
  2. Co-sponsorship means that Sri Lanka will accept international standards while keeping control of the national process. i.e., the legislation to be enacted and the personnel to be appointed.
  3. After that, As per the 2015 resolution, Sri Lanka accepted international best practices. An office for missing persons, an office for reparations, a truth commission and a judicial process for those guilty of serious crimes established.
  4. Thus, the resolution 30/1 became a great success. After that, Sri Lanka was not on the international punitive agendas. It became eligible to GSP plus incentives from the EU, and UN peacekeeping missions.
  5. But, Sri Lanka withdrew from the resolution arbitrarily. This allowed the Human Rights Council to create a new mechanism to collect and preserve evidence. This process is now independent of the Srilankan government.

How this resolution is viewed by different stakeholders?

  • For Sinhalese, they see it as an attack by western countries on Sri Lanka for its closeness to China. They see this as a process of Imperialism and neocolonialism in the 21st century.
  • But for members of the minorities, victim groups, and civil society activists see this resolution as a check on the surveillance state.

Need of Continuing with Inflation Targeting

Source: click here

Syllabus: GS- 3 Economy

Synopsis: Inflation is still a big worry for policymakers. That is why the government is still willing to retain the inflation targeting.

Introduction

The Finance Ministry will continue with the inflation-targeting framework. It will guide the interest rate decisions of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee over the five-year period.

  • The Department of Economic Affairs notified that the inflation target for the next five years ending on March 31, 2026, will be 4%. The upper tolerance level will be 6% and a lower tolerance level will be 2%.
  • It means no change has been introduced to the framework.

How will the announcement by the department of economic affairs be perceived?

The announcement indicates that price stability will be the base for all macro-economic development.

  1. Firstly, the announcement is a relief as inflation pressure is rising. The recent Consumer Price Index data show retail inflation increased by almost 100 basis points in February. Food and fuel costs remain volatile till now.
    • As per IHS Markit India Business Outlook survey companies are planning to raise selling prices in the coming 12 months to cope with rising costs of raw materials.
  2. Secondly, the RBI’s officials have emphasised on the need to preserve the flexible inflation targeting framework. In a paper titled ‘Measuring Trend Inflation in India’, Deputy Governor Michael Debabrata Patra, and a colleague highlighted the importance of guaranteeing the inflation target.
  3. Thirdly, there has been a steady decline in trend inflation to a 4.1%-4.3% band since 2014. The officials said that a target lower than the trend had the risk of imparting a deflationary bias. This bias would reduce economic momentum.
    • A goal much above the trend could cause expansionary monetary conditions that would likely lead to inflation shocks.

The conclusion

The RBI’s researchers Report on Currency made it clear that the framework had served the economy well. The government’s economic officials have noticed that it will certainly reassure investors and savers that inflation remains a central concern for all policymakers.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 3 Apr, 2021

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