9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 17, 2021

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Need of Constituting National Tribunal Commission in India

Source- The Hindu

Syllabus- GS 2 –  Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Synopsis- The formation of the National Tribunal commission could transform the present tribunal system in India.


  • Recently, the Centre government has issued the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021.
  • The ordinance aims to abolished certain existing appellate tribunals and transferred their functions to other existing judicial bodies.
  • The ordinance also shortened the period for members of the tribunals to 4 years.
  • However, the ordinance has been widely criticized and is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Reason for Criticism of the ordinance-

  1. Firstly, the ordinance bypasses the usual legislative process.
  2. Secondly, the Center abolished tribunals such as the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, without any stakeholder consultation. 
  3. Third, No Judicial Impact Assessment (JIA) was conducted, before abolishing tribunals. Whereas, in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank (2019) SC directed the government for JIA before any such step.
  4. Fourth, the ordinance has fixed a four-year tenure for Chairpersons and members of the tribunal. It is against the SC direction of fixing the 5- year term.
  5. Lastly, No National Tribunals Commission (NTC) was constituted for supervising tribunals. This idea was proposed in the L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997).

Need of National Tribunals Commission 

  • Executive interference– executive interference in the functioning of tribunals is common, especially in the appointment and removal of tribunal members, provision of finances, infrastructure, etc. Thus, the formation of NTC can remove this possibility.
  • Lack of independent supervisory body [such as NTC] to support the uniform functioning of the tribunals.
  • Inadequate infrastructure, lack of judicial independence, and sluggish conflict settlement.

All of these issues necessitated the establishment of the National tribunal Commission. It will be an independent umbrella body to supervise the functioning of tribunals, including the recruitment of members and disciplinary processes against them as well as the administrative and infrastructural needs of the tribunals.

Benefits of National Tribunals Commission (NTC)

  • It will provide administrative support across all tribunals.
  • It could separate the administrative and judicial functions carried out by various tribunals.
  • Further, it would set performance standards for the efficiency of tribunals and their own administrative processes.
  • Also, it will function as an independent recruitment body to develop and operationalize the procedure for disciplinary proceedings and tribunal member appointments.
  • Lastly, Speedy resolution of disputes.

Way forward-

  • NTC may ensure the functional, operational, and financial independence of tribunals.
  • Till the time NTC does not come into existence, the FM should come up with a transition plan.

Central Vista Project – Demolition of National Institutions

Source: Click here

Syllabus: GS 2

Synopsis: Demolition of national institutions for Central Vista Project require thorough analysis.


  • The Government of India’s Central Vista redevelopment project is being treated as a national priority amid a pandemic. This is very debatable. The project comprises the construction of a new Parliament building and new residences for the Prime Minister and the Vice President.
  • A new Parliament building is certainly required. There is a strong case for restructuring the existing offices of the central government. However, it is not the right time for giving priority to a development project over public good.
  • Moreover, 76 scholars, artists, writers, curators, and museum professionals highlighted a major concerning facet of the project last week. The National Museum of India, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), and the National Archives are set to be smashed to make way for new buildings.

Why demolition of national institutions has been criticised?

  • Firstly, these experts have asked for a speedy suspension of the project. Their concern is valid about the preservation of the collections kept at these centers.
  • Secondly, transfer of the materials at the National Museum, archival accounts at the National Archives, and manuscript holdings at the IGNCA can be a very perplexing task. It is a difficult task that needs thorough planning and knowledge.
  • Thirdly, such major changes around chief institutions take place only after extensive talks in any part of the world. Not in an opaque and casual manner as it is being planned here. 
  • Fourthly, the experts have pointed out that articles at the National Museum still lack a complete inventory. This could lead to a risk of loss or mishandling.
  • Lastly, the Central Vista redevelopment project is clearly being implemented in a hurry. The government’s intolerance towards any public analysis of the project is evident. They have even banned the photography of the construction.

The country is facing an unmatched health crisis. The impact of the crisis can also be felt on the economic, social, and political spheres. The government should suspend the project, and take the Opposition and the public into confidence on the future course, in calmer times. 

China-India Relations and India’s Weakening Geo-Political Position

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: India and its Neighborhood- Relations

Synopsis: The unsettled border crisis at LAC, India’s weakening global status, unfriendly Pakistan will only escalate issues in India-China relations.


  • Last year, ingression by the Chinese army led to a standoff between India and China at the LAC (Line of Actual control).
  • The seven hotspots were Depsang plains, Galwan, Gogra, Hot Springs, North bank of Pangong Tso, Kailash range and Demchok.
  • At Galwan valley, a violent clash broke out that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
  • Sooner, the situation at Galwan was resolved by the two sides through disengagement from the face-off sites.
  • After that, India and China agreed to disengage from the Kailash range and north bank of Pangong Tso.
  • Further, it was stated by the Indian defense minister that, both sides will address and resolve all other remaining issues sooner than later. However, China refused to even discuss the remaining issues.

Concerns over growing tensions between India and China

  1. First, peace achieved on the border is both unstable and unsustainable.
    • Hopes for Peace is defied as there are massive deployments on each side after the disengagement.
    • Similarly, the Kailash range has seen neither de-escalation nor de-induction so far.
    • Also, India’s aim of restoring the status quo ante as of April 2020 remains unfulfilled.
    • By resorting to deal with issues on individual basis, India had lost the opportunity to simultaneously resolve all the flashpoints in Ladakh.
  2. Second, geopolitical concerns over the border crisis have been enlarged by the devastation caused by the mismanagement of COVID-19.
    • Very recently, India was seen as a better alternative to Beijing’s vaccine diplomacy, particularly in South Asia.
    • Even the QUAD pledge to deliver a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine throughout the Indo-Pacific by the end of 2022 was focused on India’s capabilities to produce Vaccines.
    • India also made commitments to poor countries to supply vaccines through GAVI’s COVAX scheme.
    • However, India backtracked on its existing contractual commitments to supply vaccines to its friendly neighbors due to intense public criticism over the shortage of vaccines for its own population.
    • This has created doubts on India’s reliability as a partner and its ability to act as a counter to China.
    • Further, a weaker India will make India more dependent on the United States to deal with China. This would further strain India-China ties.
  3. Third, the Possibility of Two front collusion at Indian borders.
    • India sought peace with Pakistan to avoid a two-front collusive threat after the Ladakh crisis.
    • However, American military withdrawal from Afghanistan and a win for the Taliban, and the backing of assertive china might make ground for Pakistan to attack India.
  4. Fourth, the recent disagreement over Chinese supplies to India also reflects the poor state of bilateral ties.
    • Beijing’s efforts have been largely confined to private companies and donations from the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. It is unlike other countries which have pledged government help to India.
    • While the Chinese media ambiguously frames it as Chinese aid, India maintains that these are largely commercial contracts between private companies.
    • The opportunity provided by the Pandemic for the two Asian giants to work together has been lost as both governments have focused on point scoring.

Systemic Issues affecting Women’s Participation in labour Market

Source: The Hindu

Gs2: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes.

Synopsis: The burden on Women during the Pandemic increased disproportionately due to Societal norms, a male-dominated job market, and a lack of gender-sensitive policymaking. This article provides a solution to address these issues.


  • Gender inequality in terms of employment is high in India. For instance, only 18% of working-age women were employed as compared to 75% of men.
  • Lack of good jobs, restrictive social norms, and the burden of household work are the main reasons for this widening Gender divide in employment.
  • After the Pandemic, the Gender gap in employment has further widened. Women workers, in particular, have borne a disproportionate burden.

What factors are affecting Women’s participation in labour market?

The data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has revealed the following.

  • First, during the lockdown, job losses were disproportionately high for women as compared to men. The reasons were,
    • Job security for men is high: 61% of male workers were unaffected during the lockdown while only 19% of women experienced this kind of security.
    • Male-dominated work culture: 47% of employed women who had lost jobs during the lockdown, had not returned to work whereas it was only 7%, in the case of Men.
    • Further, Despite the nature of Industry, Women lost a greater number of Jobs compared to Men. For instance, in the education and Health industry.
    • More fallback options for men: Between 2019-2020, 33% of formal salaried men moved into self-employment and 9% into daily wage work. In contrast, only 4% and 3% of formal salaried women moved into self-employment and daily wage work.
    • Burden of care: This is one of the major reasons for poor employment recovery among Women.
  • Second, during the lockdown, women’s domestic work increased manifold. According to the India Working Survey 2020, among employed men, the number of hours spent on paid work remained more or less unchanged after the pandemic.
    • But for women, the number of hours spent in domestic work increased manifold. This increase in hours came without any accompanying relief in the hours spent on paid work.

What needs to be done?

  • First, increase employment opportunities. It can be done by,
    • Expanding the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
    • Introduction of an urban employment guarantee targeted towards women.
    • Setting up of community kitchens.
    • Prioritizing the opening of schools and Anganwadi centers
    • Engagement with self-help groups for the production of personal protective equipment kits
  • Second, direct income support. A COVID-19 hardship allowance of ₹5,000 per month for six months can be announced for 2.5 million accredited social health activists and Anganwadi workers, most of whom are women.
  • Third, Policy support to address issues related to Women workforce.
    • The National Employment Policy should systematically address the issues related to the availability of work and household responsibilities.
    • Envisioning universal basic services Programme. It not only fills existing vacancies in the social sector but also expands public investments in health, education, child and elderly care.
    • It can also alleviate Women’s problems such as nutritional and educational deficits and domestic work burdens.

Kerala Model to tackle the Covid-19 Pandemic in India

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS:3 – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Synopsis: The Kerala model provides a lot of lessons to Center and State governments to tackle the pandemic.


India at present not only battling with Covid-19 cases but also battling with many associated issues. Such as floating dead bodies in the Ganges, the demand for medical oxygen and the challenges with the vaccination drive, etc. All these impacted the health infrastructure of India a lot.

Lockdown and prerequisites:

With these challenging issues, there is a debate going to implement a national lockdown. Even if national lockdown is not feasible, regional lockdowns/micro-containment zones are necessary. But before imposing them, there are a few things to consider.

  • The lockdown has to protect the interests of migrants and other worst affected sectors.
  • Adequate preparation and planning are required to ensure the proper continuation of lockdown.
  • The government has to provide an adequate time for the people to get themselves to prepare for the lockdown.

Lessons from Kerala model to tackle the pandemic:

The Kerala model provides lessons to not only implement the lockdown but also to tackle the pandemic effectively. The important initiatives are,

  • Transparency in governance: The government of Kerala provided daily press briefings. During that, the government reveals detailed information on the rate of infections and fatalities. Apart from that, the regular information includes the availability of beds, ICUs, oxygen, vaccines, and measures taken to deal with the pandemic.
    • All these increased public participation in controlling the pandemic. Further, the public also knows the gravity of the situation and built people’s trust and confidence in government measures.
    • So, the Central government and other state governments have to see transparency as an important part of the COVID-19 response toolkit.
  • Tackling Hunger: To tackle poverty and hunger, the Kerala government provided food kits to homes. Apart from that, Community kitchens and Janakeeya hotels(people’s hotels) have also opened to control hunger.
  • Providing adequate medical attention: The government of Delhi faced a lot of challenges in providing adequate medical facilities. As a result, people used personal networks to hunt for oxygen and beds in hospitals.
    • In contrast, the Kerala model created First-level treatment centers and second-level treatment centres. These models screened and treated people appropriate to their symptoms.
    • Only the most serious cases reach the district and specialty COVID-19 hospitals.
    • Further, Domiciliary care centres have also been created in Kerala to provide shelter, food, and treatment to those who do not have space at home to be quarantined. This prevented the migrant worker not to flee to their hometowns in panic.
    • In private hospitals, 50% of the beds have been declared as COVID-19 beds. Also, the government fixed the cost of RT-PCR testing and treatment charges in private hospitals at a reasonable level.
      • The private hospitals filed a PIL against fixing of price. But the Kerala High Court dismissed the petition.
    • Similar to the ‘Mumbai model’, beds are allotted through centralised control rooms in each district. These rooms also monitor the requirements of oxygen and ambulances.
  • Empowering the Local bodies: The Kerala model identified the Local Bodies as a first line of defence in the fight against COVID-19. They perform various functions in controlling the pandemic. Such as,
    • They look out for fresh infections amongst their constituencies and ensure the supply of medicines and provisions.
    • Panchayat members motivate people to get vaccinated
    • The Local body members also supervise the implementation of the lockdown in their locality.
    • Apart from that, they also set up help desks, providing ambulances facilities, and organising food packets.


  • The government has to understand that the battle against the Covid-19 is a long one. So, the Center and the States have to prepare for not only the second wave but for the third and fourth wave. To control them lockdowns will be inevitable until the progress of vaccination drives. The Kerala model has lessons for both lockdown and vaccination drives.
  • Twelve Opposition parties issued a joint letter to the Center. In that they demanded,
    • The government should initiate a free universal mass vaccination campaign.
    • Ensuring an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen and vaccines.
    • Invoking compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production.

If the Centre provided these things and the other States adhere to the Kerala model then India can tackle the pandemic effectively.

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 17 May, 2021

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