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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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List of Contents
Source: Indian Express
Gs2: Important International Institutions, agencies, and fora – their Structure, Mandate.
Synopsis: India maintains a distance from the NATO alliance due to various reasons. However, it is not the right strategy to continue in the present scenario. India NATO alliance will be in line with India’s present policies.
- NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries. Its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
- India, as per its non-alignment strategy, still maintains a distance from the NATO alliance.
- This stand is not in line with some steps taken by India
- India is doing military exercises with countries like China and Pakistan.
- India already has military engagements with many NATO members, such as the US, Britain, and France.
Then, why India cannot have a military alliance with NATO?
What are the arguments favouring India NATO Alliance?
- Engagement with NATO could facilitate productive developments against terrorism, changing geopolitics, the evolving nature of military conflict, the role of emerging military technologies, and new military doctrines.
- Further, it would be easier for India to deal with the military establishments of its 30 NATO member states.
- On a bilateral front, each of the members of NATO can support in strengthening India’s national capabilities.
Why India didn’t give much attention to Join NATO?
- First, India has viewed European Powers with suspicion. This mindset is due to India’s historical struggle against European powers-The France, Portuguese, Dutch.
- Second, India’s reliance on Russia during the Cold War years due to the political divide between the west.
- Third, after the end of the Cold War, the India-Europe tie could not be strengthened due to a lack of high-level political interest. This prevented India from taking full advantage of a re-emerging Europe.
What are the arguments against India NATO Alliance?
- First, the Idea of Non-alignment after the Cold War years has little relevance. For example, after the Cold War years, NATO built partnerships with many neutral and non-aligned states.
- Second, most of the NATO members are well-established partners of India. For example, India has military exchanges with many members of NATO — including the US, Britain, and France
- Third, for the European and NATO members to play any role in the Indo-Pacific, they need partners like India, Australia, and Japan.
- Fourth, if India wants to draw Russia into discussions on the Indo-Pacific then, engagement with NATO is significant. Because, NATO has regular consultations with both Russia and China.
- Fifth, Russia and China have intensive bilateral engagement with Europe, India cannot afford to miss out.
- Sixth, India’s worry that joining NATO will upset Russia-India relation is groundless. As engagement with Quad and a closer alliance with the US have already strained India-Russia relations. Further, deepening ties between China and Russia calls for India’s application of Strategic Autonomy.
What are the present issues in the NATO alliance?
- One, it is divided on how to share the military burden and balance between NATO and the EU’s willingness for an independent military role.
- Two, there is no convergence in decision-making in matters related to Russia, the Middle East, and China.
- Three, conflicts among NATO members have increased. For example, Greece and Turkey.
- Four, NATO’s recent adventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have not been successful.
- The present government efforts to end the prolonged political neglect of Europe is a significant improvement in building India-Europe ties. For example,
- Deepening maritime partnership with France since 2018.
- Joining the Franco-German Alliance for Multilateralism in 2019
- Further India needs to strengthen this by joining NATO.
Source: The Hindu
Gs3: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it
Synopsis: Inequality in India is increasing. It needs an immediate solution to enable sustainable economic growth.
- According to a recent Pew Research Report, one-third of India’s middle-class has become poor due to the Pandemic. Whereas, poor people earning less than ₹150 per day have doubled.
- International organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Labour Organization have also warned about rising inequalities in India due to the pandemic.
- Also, many economists suggest India is witnessing a k-shaped recovery with rising inequalities.
Why India is said to be witnessing a K-shaped recovery?
K-shaped recovery happens when, following a recession, different sections of an economy recover at starkly different rates or magnitudes. Some sections benefit from it and some bear a loss.
While the economy was slowing down even before the Pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 has further increased the inequality gap.
- First, the Covid-19 intensified the problems of unemployment, low incomes, rural distress, malnutrition, and inequality.
- For example, the share of wages declined as compared to that of profits. The quarterly net profit of the BSE200 companies reached a record high of ₹1.67 trillion in the third quarter of FY21.
- Whereas the informal sector and workers suffered the loss of incomes and employment in the last year. Women lost more jobs and many are out of the workforce. Inequalities also increased in health care and education.
- Second, the impact of the Pandemic is more on India’s large informal sector than any other sector.
What needs to be done to reduce Inequality in India?
To reduce inequalities, we need to concentrate on three basic parameters,
- Focus on increasing employment and wages,
- Focussing on human development,
- Also, Providing social security net through quasi-universal basic income
- First, increasing employment and wages is central to the inclusive growth approach. Investment in infrastructure including construction can create employment. Further, we need to take measures to address the following seven challenges in employment,
- Creating 7 to 8 million productive jobs per year.
- Correcting the mismatch between demand and supply of labor. For example, only 2.3% of India’s workforce has formal skill training as compared to 96% in South Korea.
- Need to make manufacturing the growth engine to facilitate labour-intensive exports.
- Also, Focus on micro, small & medium enterprises and informal sectors including rights of migrants.
- Furthermore, Preparedness for automation and technology revolution
- Social security and decent working conditions for all.
- Raising real wages of rural and urban workers and guaranteeing minimum wages.
- Second, improving human development by fixing the gap in health and education. Increasing public expenditure on health and education should be the way forward. Need to Prioritise universal health care and increase spending on health to 2%-3% of GDP.
- Third, providing social safety nets to absorb shocks in the economy. It can be done by providing a combination of cash transfers and an expanded guarantee scheme. For example,
- Cash transfers to all women above the age of 20 years.
- Expanding the number of days provided under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and a national employment guarantee scheme for urban areas.
- Fourth, increase the income of small and marginal farmers. For that, Farmer producer organizations should be strengthened. States should have a bigger role in agri-marketing reforms.
- Fifth, the tax/GDP ratio has to be raised, with a wider tax base to increase governments’ revenue. It can be used for spending for the above programs.
- Sixth, resorting to fiscal federalism by reducing the inequalities between the Centre and States in finances. State budgets must be strengthened to improve capital expenditures on physical infrastructure and spending on health, education, and social safety nets.
- Seventh, deepening democracy and decentralization can reduce inequalities. Unequal distribution of development is rooted in the inequalities of political, social, and economic power.
Reducing income inequalities is also important for improving demand that can raise private investment, consumption, and exports for higher and sustainable economic growth.
Source: Click Here
Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary
Synopsis: Virtual hearings started during the pandemic provided much relief. However, now focus should be on other measures like the establishment of circuit benches.
- The pandemic saw the initiation of virtual proceedings in the Supreme Court. It was because the physical hearing was not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.
- This new method ensured fair and equal access to justice for many people. Now, many are demanding a continuation of this novel practice even in a post-pandemic scenario.
- However, it will not be sufficient. For increasing accessibility more circuit benches
What are circuit benches?
- A dedicated place in Delhi is provided for the functioning of the Supreme Court (SC).
- The Constitutional makers wanted the Court to have a specified place of sitting so that litigants can approach it.
- They were also aware of the geographical constraints of India. Hence, they empowered the Chief Justice to establish circuit benches.
- These are temporary courts that hold proceedings for a few selected months in a year.
- Nonetheless, no circuit benches have been established despite rising Pendencies.
The adverse impact of Fixed Location:
- Denial of Justice: Many litigants are discouraged to travel to Delhi from far away locations like south or northeast India.
- Further, as per a report of Centre for Policy Research, a disproportionately high number of cases filed in the Supreme Court originates in High Courts closer to Delhi.
- Almost 18% of all cases in the Supreme Court originate from Punjab and Haryana. They have less than 5% of the total population share.
- But States like West Bengal, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh which make about 20% population, contributed to less than 10% of cases.
- Appearance in SC has become an exclusive domain of limited lawyers located around Delhi. This also puts an additional financial burden on litigants as they can’t hire their local lawyers.
However, these constraints were effectively tackled by Virtual proceedings during the pandemic that resulted in more equitable access to justice.
- The chief justice must establish circuit benches as recommended by multiple law commissions and parliamentary committees.
- For the time being, SC must continue with the virtual proceedings along with physical proceedings in order to prevent denial of justice. The court can also continue it as a matter of just and equitable policy if not as a matter of right.
Source: click here
Syllabus: GS 3
Synopsis: Tarrem attack points out that the declining Maoists remain a strong military threat.
Over 20 paramilitary personnel died in an encounter with the Maoists in the Tarrem area near Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. There is a long-running conflict in this remote tribal region.
- Reports point out a Maoist surprise attack on the paramilitary personnel.
- Forces were performing search operations in Maoist strongholds. The timing of these search operations matches with the Maoists’ attempt to disrupt the construction of a road near Silger-Jagargunda.
How has the Maoist presence evolved over the years in the impacted area?
The Maoist insurgency first began as the Naxalite movement in the 1970s and then intensified after 2004. Later two prominent insurgent groups merged together and this remains a mindless guerrilla-driven militant movement.
Security forces managed to clear the majority of the areas of the Maoists. The majority of their leaders are either killed or caught. However, their stronghold in the south Bastar is still intact. It is due to the following reasons:
- First, there is a lack of road and telecommunications infrastructure in these remote areas. Maoists are able to use the terrain to their advantage.
- Second, These groups still manage to recruit people from these remote areas. People living in these tribal areas either untouched by welfare or there are discontents due to state repression.
- Third, Maoists also know that state crackdown after the violence provides them with more recruits. Thus, violence is useful for them.
- The State also knows that the route to violence provides Maoists with new supporters. Thus, methods other than the crackdown are required.
- Before Tarrem attacks came right after a recent peace march held by civil society activists. They were asking for a dialogue between the Maoists and the Chhattisgarh government to end the violence. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal the violence has claimed more than 10,000 lives since 2000 alone.
- Thus, the Civil Society’s call for peace should not be ignored. This is the only way for lasting peace in the region.