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Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today
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List of Contents
Source- The Indian Express
Syllabus- GS 2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Synopsis- Since colonial times, efforts to introduce education policy based on mother tongue have failed. The NEP 2020 also fails to uphold a multilingual educational approach.
- Since colonial times, all committees and commissions recognized the importance of education in the mother tongue. Its proponents include Elphinstone’s Minute of 1824, Macaulay’s Minute of 1835, and Wood’s Dispatch of 1854.
- However, they laid the foundation of India’s education system in the English language.
- UNESCO declared in 1953 to use mother tongue for the conceptual clarity and cognitive growth of students
- Even NEP 1986, plan of action 1992, NCF 2005, RTE 2009 also highlighted the importance of mother tongue in education. However, they did nothing to fill the quality gap between English-medium schools and non-English medium schools.
- Now, NEP 2020 also recommends the medium of instruction to be in the home language/mother-tongue/local language or regional language in primary classes. But again words such as “preferably” or “wherever possible” are used, making implementation uncertain.
NEP 2020 sticks to the ‘three-language formula’ while emphasizing that no language would be imposed on anyone.
What is the issue with NEP 2020 on the language front?–
- Multiplicity of languages and dialects in India – Students are better able to learn to read and write in the language that they are most familiar with. However, in a multilingual country like India, it comes across as a challenge with different states, regional and national languages.
- Just 47 of the 270 mother tongues identified in the 2011 Census used as mediums of instruction in schools.
- NEP 2020 speaks a lot about multilingualism. But it fails to recognize that children arrive in school not with “a language” but with a complex verbal repertoire.
- The NEP 2020 three-language formula is theoretically unsound and has had a disastrous history. NEP, 2020 fails to understand that people only learn another language to integrate with others or when it is an instrument of benefit.
- For example, people from South India learn Hindi for jobs and increments. People in North India learn Sanskrit because it ensures high marks without much work.
What needs to be done?
- The Government needs to ensure that every child’s voice is heard in the classroom according to the child’s own understanding.
- The Government needs to initiate an MLE model and identify the problems in implementation and the cost of change of the model. After then prepare an action plan which resolves all of such problems.
Source: click here
Syllabus: GS 1
Synopsis: NITI Aayog has released a draft report on migrant workers. Though it is well-intentioned, it fails to address the policy misrepresentations which is at the root of migrant workers’ issues.
The suffering of migrant workers during the pandemic raised awareness about their scale, vulnerability, and role in the economy. It also led to several measures taken by the central and state governments.
Read more – Draft policy on migrant workers
- Niti Aayog prepared an umbrella policy document for migrant labourers, including informal sector workers.
- The draft policy provides a perspective on recognising the scale and role of migrant workers. It states that a complete policy must be viewed from a “human rights, property rights, economic, social development, and foreign policy lens”.
What are the features mentioned in the draft policy?
It states that a rights-based and labour rights perspective built around the core issue of dignity of labour must be the principle of policy. It should meet ILO commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Firstly, the document appreciates the magnitude of the migrants and their role in the economy. It also finds that the present data fails to capture the growth in their numbers.
- Secondly, many sources of vulnerabilities of migrant labourers have been described in the document. It includes:
- Their invisibility and political and social exclusion to informal work arrangements.
- Exploitation and denial of labour rights.
- Lack of collective voice, exclusion from social protection arrangements.
- Formal skills, health, education, and housing.
- Thirdly, it identifies the transferability of social protection, voting rights, right to the city. It recognizes health, education and housing facilities as key issues to be dealt with.
- Lastly, it proposes a governance structure with the Ministry of Labour. It will act as a focal point for inter-ministerial and Centre-state coordination. It also proposes mechanisms for coordinating the effort on inter-state migration.
What are the issues missed by the draft policy?
The draft misses recognising and addressing many critical issues.
- First, gaps in development and inequalities have grown constantly in the last 3 decades. It requires corrections in the development strategy without which migration is bound to grow unchecked. The report did not acknowledge this.
- Second, the report fails to recognize the root cause of the uneven urban development strategy. The urban strategy has marginalised the poor and the migrants.
- Third, the report has denied approaches that rely on cash transfers and special allowances. The denial of the first approach has resulted in ignoring the migrants’ and informal workers’ right to social security.
- Fourth, the biggest weakness of the report is its approach towards labour rights and labour policy. It puts grievance and legal redressal above regulation and enforcement.
- Lastly, the labour codes which are promoting ease of business, have shifted the balance firmly in favour of capital. This weakens the bargaining power of labour and further weakens an already drained enforcement system.
The way forward
- The draft policy identifies the problems but fails to address the policy distortions. However, if the draft will be opened up for further discussions and feedback, it will enrich and complete what is already a significant beginning.
Source- The Hindu
Syllabus- GS 3 – Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
Synopsis- Joe Biden declared that the US will no longer back the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. Yemen Civil war resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and a humanitarian crisis. A reconciliation is urgently required.
Background of Yemen civil war-
- The civil war between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels began in 2014. The Houthi rebels gradually took over the capital Sana’a.
- In 2015, the war intensified. Saudi Arabia and 8 other Arab nations, supported by the US, the UK, and France, launched airstrikes against the Houthis. This attack was aimed to restore the Hadi government in Yemen.
- The Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen, in the hope of weakening the Houthis.
- Despite the blockade, the Houthis continued to amass weapons, including technologically sophisticated drones. They used these weapons to strike Saudi targets across the border.
- The Saudi-led coalition failed to eject the Houthis as the rebel group still controls the city.
Consequences of Yemen-Saudi war
- The war has produced a humanitarian crisis. At least 8.4 million people are at risk of starvation and 22.2 million people (75% of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance.
- The conflict has killed more than 100,000 Yemenis and displaced 8 million.
- Towns and cities have been destroyed. Poverty has spread and diseases like cholera have proven difficult to combat because of poor medical infrastructure.
- According to the UN, 50,000 Yemenis are starving to death and 16 million will go hungry this year.
What are the steps taken by the US?
- Joe Biden has announced an end to US support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.
- The Biden administration had put a temporary halt on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Moreover, US-appointed a Special Envoy for Yemen.
- Other than that, the US also Removed the Shia Houthi rebels from the terrorist list.
- The US is planning to increase the number of refugees accepted by the US from 15000 to 125000 for the fiscal year.
What needs to be done?
- The international community should focus on tackling the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
- The Biden administration should use its leverage to pressure Saudi to lift the blockade on Yemen.
- The Houthis and the Saudis must agree to a ceasefire. After that, the US and its regional allies can call a multilateral conference involving all stakeholders to consider Yemen’s future.
Source: The Hindu
Gs2: Organization and Functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
Synopsis: The recent rulings of the judiciary have defended the personal liberty of citizens. However, there are many instances where the judiciary failed to uphold liberty.
What are the recent rulings?
The following rulings highlight the role of judiciary as the first line of defence against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens.
- First, in ‘Priya Ramani case’ the Delhi high court acquitted her against the charges of criminal defamation. Above all, the court made the following significant directives.
- One, a woman’s right to dignity supersedes the right to reputation.
- Two, survivors of sexual harassment are free to place their grievances at any point in time after the incident. They are free to choose any platform or time as per their comfort.
- Second, in Disha Ravi’s‘ tool kit conspiracy case’ the high court has granted anticipatory bail to Disha Ravi. It further observed that in a democracy, the right to dissent is a fundamental right.
- Third, the judiciary in many earlier judgments has acted against the arbitrary use of Sedition laws. It has stated that free speech can be criminalized only when it is resulting in Public disorder. For instance,
- In Arnab Manoranjan Goswami vs State of Maharashtra, the Court warned against the use of the criminal law as “a ruse for targeted harassment”.
What are the views of critics of the Judiciary?
Despite the above rulings, there are many instances where the Judiciary failed to uphold the liberty of individuals.
- First, in Tandav case the court has denied anticipatory bail to Ms. Purohit, (head of Amazon Prime Video’s India Originals.)
- Further, the high court allowed the interrogation in custody. It was for running a show (Tandav) that was “bound to hurt the sentiments of the majority community”.
- In doing so, the court upheld that religious beliefs are more important than free speech.
- Second, the court has shown unequal attitude towards ‘haves and have-nots’. For example, in Arnab Goswami case, the court granted quick bail by stating that deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many.
- However, it has done nothing to protect the life and dignity of thousands of Under trial prisoners. They continue to suffer in jail for many years. Some have even served half of their jail sentences without conviction.
- Third, the supreme court the guardian of people’s rights failed to quash unconstitutional laws. Rather, It allowed the continuance of these laws irrespective of their poor record in protecting personal liberty. For example, Sedition, Defamation laws etc. (Justification for this statement given below)
- One, criminal defamation has imposed a chilling effect on legitimate speech. Every democratic nation of the world has decriminalized defamation. But in India, it remains a tool to harass dissenters.
- Two, Sedition laws are colonial remnants. The offence of sedition continues to be weaponized to restrict dissent against government. For example, journalists involved in Hathras rape case and Bhima Koregaon case booked under sedition.
- Three, India’s blasphemy laws, are also remnants of colonialism. Section 153A, deals with speech that seeks to promote enmity between different communities. Section 295A criminalizes speech that outrages religious feelings. Even these laws are used to enforce majoritarian views and very little for dealing genuine cases of hate speech. For example, Tandav case.
Judicial discretion will lead to arbitrary outcomes. When this uncertainty is coupled with the prevailing distrust in the values of personal liberty, of free thought and expression, it leads to denial of rule of law.
Source: click here
Syllabus: GS – 3, Mobilisation of Resources
Synopsis: The government should revisit spectrum auction formats, unrealistic pricing, regulatory norms.
The telecommunications’ spectrum auction successfully held in India recently. The winning bids in the auction collectively outdid the government’s own low expectations for receipts from the sale of airwaves.
- The three largest telecom service providers bought only essential airwaves. They bought it either as renewal or for strengthening their network.
- Reliance Jio bought close to 60% of the spectrum. It contributed almost three-fourths of the ₹77,815 crores. Jio’s contribution of ₹57,123 crores by itself surpassed the government’s estimate of ₹45,000-₹50,000 crores from the auction.
However, the concerning fact is that only 37% of the airwaves on offer found buyers.
What are the issues in spectrum auctioning?
- Like the auction of the 2016 spectrum, the auction of 700 MHz this time also is not successful. The high reserve price is a reason behind that. It prohibits buyers from auctioning with a motive of gaining from it.
- The 700 MHz spectrum is a nationally valuable resource. The government’s approach of keeping prices high is hard to understand.
- The relatively low frequency 700 MHz is considered ideal for enhancing network availability in large, densely built-up cities. Here, the issue of poor signal penetration inside buildings is an everlasting problem for users and providers.
- Other than that, the government needs to take care of the following issues:
- The auction format requires updation, it is evident after looking at the severely reduced number of participants.
- Regulatory norms and tax practices will create monopolies in the sector.
What are the steps to be taken?
The country’s telecom authorities shall reconsider the entire policy framework to tackle current persistent insecurity in the industry.
- Firstly, Grossly unrealistic pricing of the spectrum should be rationalized.
- Secondly, the government must ensure it does not end up hurting the telecom sector. This sector has become a key multiplier of economic empowerment and progress.