Rights of Citizens, Society
In defence of the Individual : (The Indian Express)
- The recent order of the National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) penalizes a popular TV channel for misrepresenting a poet in its news bulletins.
- The role of institutions in ensuring individual freedom.
- The role of media in deciding the image of an individual with a public life.
What is the current state of Individual freedom?
- Not allowed to speak against the religious beliefs.
- For the institution of the nation state, the individual remains suspect.
- The term ‘individual’ is still vogue.
- An interpretation in needed on this regard.
What was the view of Marx on individualism?
- According to Marx, capitalism robs a person of her individuality.
- One can assert her individuality when the abilities to hear, see, taste, touch, see, speak, think, imagine or create are provided.
- Capitalism denies people the resources essential for growth and to evolve as an individual.
- Marx was a critic of the political economy.
What is the modern way of enslavement?
- The nation state has become an agency of the economy to subjugate the self.
What is the Supreme Court’s verdict on privacy?
- The Court reminded the state as well as the people that individuals are not the creatures of the state.
What is the criticism on individuality?
- It is autonomous and powerful
- A person is not merely a serviceable entity, either for the economy or for the nation state.
- She can work as per own wisdom and seek greater space for herself.
- The idea of individuality had to be refined by education, literature, art, and science.
- The works of teachers, poets, writers, artists, scientists have to produce or make available for common people to avoid misinterpretation.
- To keep individualism alive the constitutional safeguards must function properly.
Attacks by Cow Vigilantes Must Stop, SC Tells Centre : (The Hindu)
- It ordered the States and the Union Territories to appoint nodal police officers in every district to crack down on such groups.
How well is the instruction implemented so far?
- BJP-ruled Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat accepted the apex court’s suggestion to appoint officers to prevent ‘gau rakshaks,’.
- Dalits and Muslims have reportedly been at the receiving end of violence unleashed by lynch mobs, especially in the four northern States.
- The court exhorted the Centre to uphold its constitutional mandate under Article 256 and direct the States to act against the groups.
- The court directed the Centre to respond to a submission by senior advocate Indira Jaising, for Mr. Gandhi, that the government cannot wash its hands of its constitutional responsibility under Article 256.
- The Centre has maintained that violence by ‘gau rakshaks’ was a ‘State subject’ and it had no role to play, though it condemned all forms of violence.
‘Do not politicise issue’
- On raising the issue of communal violence supported by certain “groups” court rejected any exertion of the issue
- The court directed the Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police to take steps to protect the highways from vigilante
- Justice Khanwilkar wondered why no one had filed PIL pleas against the carcasses of slaughtered animals found strewn on roads and public places.
- The court posted the case for further hearing on September 22.
Policies, Laws and Initiatives
What is a ‘smart city’?
- There is no universally accepted definition of a smart city.
- The conceptualisation of Smart City varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents.
- Urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development –institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure.
Smart Cities Mission of the Government of India
- It is an urban renewal and retrofitting program by the Government of India with a mission to develop 100 cities all over the country making them citizen friendly and sustainable.
- The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities.
Questions raised on the mission
- Smart city is a misnomer, because only small pockets of a city are to be developed.
- Only 79 projects with total budget of Rs. 841 crore have been completed.
- Another 204 projects, with a budget of Rs.7963 crore, are under implementation.
- Projects worth Rs 1.14 lakh crore are still on the drawing board stage.
- To accelerate the work, the ministry has now decided to award World Bank and Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) funds on competitive basis.
Focus on ‘impactful’ Smart City projects
- The Union ministry has asked the states to push up implementation of ‘impactful’ projects which will make the mission more visible.
- The Centre and State governments together have identified 261 projects worth Rs 32600 crore under this category.
- These projects are expected to have visible and transformative impact.
- However, there is no clear definition of what ‘impactful’ means.
- These projects will be commenced by November 2017 so that they are completed in time for the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
- The list of ‘impactful’ projects varies from Museum of Urban History in Bhubaneshwar, to rejuvenation of water bodies in Coimbatore, to 5 km-long heritage walk in Warangal etc.
A Case for Universal Medical Care : (The Hindu)
In the wake of 17-year-old S. Anitha’s suicide in Tamil Nadu, the discussion on the impact of centralised tests on federalism has gained momentum.
Critics claim that a centralised test cannot often fully capture the educational realities of every state and students like Anitha who graduate from state boards are at the receiving end of the limitations of such tests.
What is NEET?
- The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test or NEET-UG is an entrance examination in India, for students who wish to study any graduate medical course )or postgraduate course in government or private medical colleges in India.
- NEET-UG (Undergraduate), for MBBS and BDS courses, are conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). NEET-UG replaced the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) and all individual MBBS exams conducted by states or colleges themselves in 2013
Problems of medical care in India
- The piecemeal approach to the problem of providing medical care in India, treating medical education as though it can be separated from medical employment
- The skewed distribution of medical personnel with over 75% of doctors in urban areas where only a third of the people live.
- A large number of post-graduate doctors and super specialists are underemployed. The problem starts right at the stage of medical admission.
- Permitting private medical education was clearly a concession to powerful pressure groups who sought to circumvent the difficult entry barriers to medical education by buying their way.
- These colleges are filled with the children of doctors, bureaucrats, businessmen and others who seek the social recognition that a medical degree bestows. Anybody with money, irrespective of aptitude, gained entry to some of these colleges
How does NEET address these issues?
- Under NEET,Private colleges can no longer admit whoever pays the highest even if the examination marks are very low. The rule of reservation is applied after the test scores are obtained. Therefore, it satisfies the need for affirmative action.
- Unlike marks in the twelfth standard, which can be only obtained once, NEET offers a candidate the chance of another attempt. What the syllabus should be and who should conduct the test can be negotiated
- Bottom line of NEET is One Nation, One Exam, One exam for admissions into all the Post graduate Medical courses in the country (except AIIMS, PGIMER, JIPMER).
- In NEET there is no difference in Syllabi for any of the State graduates as all MBBS graduates have a unified course curriculum.
- A student can write a single exam and apply to different Universities with same test score, where merit list will be prepared by the universities with all the students applied.
The issue of Union-State listing
- When the Constitution was enacted, education was listed as a state subject. As part of the 42nd amendment brought in by Indira Gandhi’s government, education was among the five subjects moved to the concurrent list, thereby allowing both the Centre and states to legislate on it. However, given the Centre’s residuary powers, in matters of conflict, states must abide by the Centre’s decision.
Why are some states opposed to it?
- State Governments see NEET as an infringement on the rights of States.
- They also feel that it will be disadvantageous to students from state Board schools and those from rural areas where the standards may not be as high as CBSE.
- So States argue that NEET may end up hurting their students and benefiting the CBSE students who may not be from their states or may be urban elite
A common national test for professional courses is faultless, in principle. In this connection, it will address the problem of private institutions selling medical courses at astronomical prices to candidates who may lack aptitude. Yet, it is important that the ground is properly prepared before the implementation of a common test.
India and neighbors
Welcome The Refugee: (The Indian Express)
- India’s stand on the deportation of the Rohingya refugee.
- Germany welcomed the refugees from Syria in 2015.
- It dramatically increased Germany’s prestige and stature in the world.
Where the Rohingyas belong to?
- The Rohingyas are the world’s most persecuted ethnic Muslim community.
- They have lived in the Rakhine province of Myanmar.
- They are about 1 million in numbers.
What is the Rohingyas crisis in Myanmar?
- The Myanmar Army has used attacks (through the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) to launch ever widening crackdowns on the Rohingya.
- Recently, tens of thousands have fled Rakhine and crossed the border into Bangladesh.
What is India’s stand on the Rohingyas?
- As per the government’s statement; it is planning to deport all Rohingyas who already live in this country.
What was India’s attitude towards refugees from neighboring countries in the past?
- India accepted Tibetans, East Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans in the past.
- India should welcome the Rohingyas irrespective of their religion.
- Any suspected link of radicalized Rohingyas with a global terrorist group should be validated by the intelligence and security agencies.
- Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees; it should act cautiously considering its big power aspirations.
Modi Gives Call to Respect Myanmar’s Integrity: (The Hindu)
The Rohingya refugee crisis that started in 2015 has taken an ugly turn now. In last two weeks, around 1,25,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh.
What led to the worsening of the situation?
- Recently Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in Rakhine.
- Just after two weeks, over 1,25,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the state of Rakhine and poured into Bangladesh
What has been India’s approach towards the crisis?
- Indian government has issued a public statement stating that it shares Myanmar’s concerns over “extremist violence” in the Rakhine State.
- Prime Minister of India is making his first bilateral visit to Myanmar in midst of this refugee crisis.
What is the outcome of the Bilateral meet?
- Both India and Myanmar vowed to combat terror and boost security cooperation.
- The first bilateral meet between India and Myanmar led to signing of 11 agreements between the two sides in areas like maritime security, strengthening democratic institutions in Myanmar, health and information technology
India China rebooting ties Post – Doklam : (The Hindu)
India and China must address points of friction amongst them before they advance into a full-blown dispute
What needs to be done?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi’s informal meeting on the sidelines at BRICS summit can further enhance ties amongst the two nations
- It is widely expected that Yang Jiechi, China’s special representative at the boundary talks with India, will retire.
- China’s apparent policy shift on international terrorism will be tested when the United Nations meets to discuss designation of Masood Azhar as an international terrorist.
- China has so far resisted putting Azhar on the list of global terrorists
- Analysts say the thinking driving India’s Act-East policy and China’s Belt and Road Initiative is far from aligned.
- India is allowing itself to drift into a China-containment mode, with Tokyo and Washington as partners instead of following an individual policy
- India has its own concerns about Chinese intentions in the South China Sea and the South Asian neighborhood, including Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives.
What is the next step?
- During a media briefing after the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar highlighted the positive outlook in the relations between the two nations
- Notwithstanding the intent to break common ground, India continued to differ with China and Russia on accommodating the Taliban to restore calm in Afghanistan.
- Afghanistan was a major issue of discussion during Prime Minster Modi’s lengthy conversation with President Vladimir Putin on the margins of the summit.
Rohingya Muslims has Nowhere to Go : (Livemint)
The Myanmar army has again gone on rampage in the Rakhine State which has rendered thousands of stateless Rohingya Muslims in a state where they have nowhere to go.
What are the atrocities faced by the Rohingya Muslims?
- The majoritarian view of Myanmar holds that Rohingya Muslims are not citizens of Myanmar
- Rohingya Muslims’ rights are severely curtailed in Myanmar –
o they can’t practice their religion (Islam) freely,
o cannot meet in large gatherings,
o face discrimination when they look for work,
o there are restrictions on the number of children they can have,
o they are not included in the census, and
o they do not have voting rights.
Why is Myanmar Army hostile towards Rohingya Muslims?
- The army’s antagonism towards Rohingyas dates back at least to World War II.
- During WWII, the Burmese army under General Aung San had initially sided with the Japanese (before switching to the British towards the end of the war), while many Muslims supported the British
- The Japanese had expelled Rohingyas to northern Arakan (as Rakhine was known then), which was under British control.
- At Burma’s independence from the British in 1948, Arakanese Muslims wanted to join East Pakistan, but Mohammed Ali Jinnah refused.
- Since the late 1970s, Myanmar’s army has frequently attacked Rohingyas, forcing many to make a hazardous journey through the narrow Naf river and reach south-eastern Bangladesh, where they settle in ramshackle tents in sprawling camps like Kutupalong.
What are the implications of the ongoing violence in the Rakhine State?
- Rakhine forms the frontier between Muslim and Buddhist Asia, so violence there has wider implications
- Indonesia’s second largest Muslim group, Muhammadiya, has called for Myanmar’s expulsion from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
- Other Asean countries—including southern Thailand and parts of the Philippines—have long-running insurgencies involving Muslim groups
- Thus, continued oppression of Rohingya Muslims can ignite the region.
Did India take any stand on this issue?
- Indian Home Ministry has advised to states to detect and deport Rohingya Muslims, thus taking a harsh and inhuman attitude towards the refugees.
- The National Human Rights Commission has cautioned the government, saying that even if the refugees are not citizens, the government should consider that they might face persecution if they are pushed back.
- The stand of the Home Ministry is facing a challenge and Supreme Court will hear to it.
Is India bound to host the refugees?
- India has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention
- But it has abided by its spirit, and generously hosted refugees from Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan over the years.
- In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that refugees have certain rights, including the right to life and liberty
- In 2015, asked the Centre to extend citizenship to Chakma and Hajong refugees from Bangladesh.
What India should do ?
- Technically, India is not bound to give shelter to the Rohingya Muslims.
- But Indian law, India’s practice of abiding by international expectations, long tradition of compassion, and humanitarian impulse, all suggest that India should let the Rohingyas remain.
Indian Economy. Planning, Growth and Employment
District Wise Plan to Help Boost Manufacturing: (The Hindu)
‘Make In India’ scheme would be re-evaluated.
What are the priorities?
Following are the priorities:
- Firming up a district-wise industrial investment plan to help boost the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP.
- Improving India’s economic diplomacy to spur exports and investments.
- Addressing challenges being faced by exporters owing to the Goods and Services Tax.
- Integrating India’s exports into the global supply chain.
- Improving logistics to reduce transaction costs of exporters.
- Bringing out an agricultural export policy.
Reasons for change in priorities and change of plan
- District-wise plan for boosting investments in manufacturing and other sectors.
- Every investor makes their investments in districts, and then base their decisions on factors including the district’s human resources, natural resources and the law and order situation.
- There would be a re-evaluation of the ‘Make In India’ initiative to find out ways to revitalise manufacturing.
- He also called for laying emphasis not only on the ‘Make in India’ initiative but also on ‘Design In India’ for attracting investments.
Centre Set Up Panel to Suggest on New Jobs : (The Hindu)
The government has constituted a new task force led by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to recommend measures to increase employment by promoting labour-intensive exports.
What is the reason for setting up a new panel?
Following are the reasons:
- While the Indian workforce has high aspirations, a majority of the workers are still employed in low-productivity, low-wage jobs in small, micro and own-account enterprises.
- An urgent and sustained expansion of the organized sector is essential to address India’s unemployment and under-employment issue.
What is the key strategy? What is the shift in the policy?
Following is the main strategy and change in policy:
- The most important strategy is to enable a shift towards more labour-intensive goods and services that are destined for exports.
- Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish.
- The committee has been asked to submit its report by November 2017.
Welcome Support for the New Bankruptcy Law: (Livemint)
- In a powerful statement, the Supreme Court has instructed all lower courts to take into account the fact that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 constitutes a paradigm shift.
- The recent court ruling in the case between ICICI Bank and Innoventive Industries has come at a time when the Indian central bank has forced lenders to move against large loan defaulters.
What is the issue?
- The private sector lender had initiated insolvency proceedings against the company because it defaulted on its loan commitments.
What does Supreme Court judgement signify?
- The Supreme Court judgement clearly states that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 overrides the confusing maze of state laws that companies could use in the future to avoid insolvency.
- Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul have cited Article 54 of the Constitution to say that a Central law should prevail over state law whenever the two are contradictory.
- The court ruling comes even as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to move against another 28 large defaulters.
- The central bank action is a clear signal that regulatory forbearance is not an option given the mounting bad loans that now constitute the biggest risk to economic stability.
- Such firm action is now possible because the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code empowers creditors for the first time ever.
Report by the committee
- The Supreme Court has liberally quoted parts of the report by the committee that worked on the reform of Indian bankruptcy law.
- The limited liability company is a contract between equity and debt.
- Equity owners are in full control as long as debt obligations are met.
- Creditors have no say in how the company is run. The situation flips in case of a default. Control should then be passed to creditors. Equity owners have no say.
- Weak protection for creditors means that they are averse to lending.
- At least some part of the credit constraints in India can be traced back to this problem.
- The growth of a corporate bond market is also held back by the lack of a modern bankruptcy framework.
- The control of a defaulting company should be transferred to the creditors.
- The recently released data for the first quarter of 2017-18, showing GVA (gross value added) growth at only 5.6%, should be seen as a warning signal.
What is most disturbing about this slow growth?
- It is the industrial growth (which includes construction) was only 1.9% over the same quarter in the previous year, the lowest in 21 quarters.
- As industrial growth is the only sector that will generate much of the employment needed outside agriculture.
- Thus, policy makers would be well-advised to worry and take corrective steps.
What is the problem?
- The slowdown in the last two quarters has focused on whether it was due to the impact of demonetization or, more recently, the destocking effect of the goods and services tax (GST)
- Demonetization impact also lasted longer, but the economy will recover from this one-time shock.
- The destocking effect of GST is almost certainly a one-quarter problem.
- The real problem is that these short-term phenomena are masking a more worrying underlying downward trend in growth.
- GVA growth had increased from 7.2% in 2014-15 to 7.9% in 2015-16.
- It then slowed down to 6.6% in 2016-17, and the first-quarter results for the current year suggest that the deceleration is likely to continue.
Weak Investment demand
- Gross fixed capital formation in current prices fell from 31.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013-14 to 27.1% in 2016-17. This needs to be reversed.
- While public investment increased from 7.1% of GDP in 2013-14 to 7.5% in 2015-16, this was more than offset by a decline in private capital formation.
- Private (corporate) capital formation declined marginally from 13.1% of GDP to 12.9%.
- The household sector saw a much sharper decline from 12.6% to 10.8%.
- This is especially worrisome because the household sector includes small non-corporate businesses and is a major creator of employment.
- In fact, when the data for 2016-17 become available, they may show a further decline in this sector because it was the sector most adversely affected by demonetization.
- Private corporate sector investment is constrained by balance sheet stress.
What will have the maximum impact?
- Improving infrastructure, especially roads, power and railways, is undoubtedly the best way of “crowding in” private investment.
- Setting clear targets and monitoring progress in public investment in infrastructure will help.
- Small businesses need an urban environment that gives them economies of agglomeration, ease of doing business and low transaction costs.
- A clear timeline by which the Centre plans to meet specific goals linked to creating an investor-friendly environment, and monitoring progress, would send a positive signal to business, and also encourage individual states to do their bit.
- Fixing the slowdown in bank lending is low-hanging fruit.
- There are many structural items on the agenda, such as mergers of banks, recoveries of non-performing assets through the bankruptcy code route, and recapitalization of public sector banks.
Weak Export Performance
- Exports are often mentioned as providing a demand-side stimulus for GDP, but this understates their importance in promoting growth.
- While exports add to demand, the imports which they finance constitute a corresponding leakage from demand.
- The real case for a greater export effort is that it will increase India’s linkage with global markets and global technology trends, with potential productivity gains.
- It will encourage the growth of strong Indian firms exporting to world markets, and planning their scale of production to achieve and maintain global competitiveness. This will also make them generators of high quality employment in the process.
What is required to be done?
- A credible export agenda requires policy interventions that lie outside the domain of the commerce ministry.
- These include improvements in infrastructure and logistics, building coastal employment zones, better bank finance for exporters, and most important, labour law reform.
- Progress in these areas requires a clearly defined agenda, with full inter-ministerial commitment on implementation.
- On issues such as labour reform, a strong political effort is necessary to convince all stakeholders of the need for these reforms.
- We also need a political decision on the endless Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.
Exchange rate policy and interest rates
Exchange rate policy
- The real effective exchange rate has appreciated by about 9% over the past few years against our trading partners.
- This has an adverse impact on exports and also on domestic producers competing against imports.
- A strengthening exchange rate in an environment where exports are weak, and domestic producers are asking for tariff protection, is a sure sign of exchange rate misalignment driven by strong capital flows.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) should be persuaded to target the real effective exchange rate more effectively.
Interest rate policy
- Interest rate policy is another instrument that can have a short-term impact.
- The RBI’s repo rate is not by any means the only factor that is relevant in reviving growth.
- However, when inflation is well within the tolerable range, and growth in the first quarter has dropped to 5.6%, compared with the RBI target of 7.3% growth for the year as a whole, there is surely a case for more aggressive lowering of the interest rate.
The promise of fiscal money : (Livemint)
The authority and responsibility of drafting and implementing monetary policies lies solely in the hands of the Central Banks. Thus, there exists independence of central banks from elected governments. But the concern is – it actually possible for central bank to be independent of the government?
What is the rationale behind the independence of Central Banks in forming monetary policies?
- The rationale for entrusting monetary policy fully to central banks is well understood: politicians, overly tempted during the electoral cycle to create more money, pose a threat to economic stability.
- Central bank independence is predicated on an economic axiom: that money and debt are strictly separable.
- Debt can be traded domestically
- Money, on the other hand, cannot default and is a means, rather than an object, of exchange.
Does this axiom of independence holds?
- Clearly, in today’s world, this axiom does not hold.
- With the rise of financialization, commercial banks have become reliant on one another for short-term loans, mostly backed by government bonds, to finance their daily operations.
- The liquidity requirement that is needed to back daily operations, has acquired the properties of money: it used as a means of exchange and also as a store of value.
- Now, as banks issue more inter-bank money, the financial system requires more government bonds to back the increase.
- The growing inter-bank money supply fuels demand for government debt
Why is the independence of Central Banks continuously diminishing?
- In this new financial world, central banks’ independence is becoming meaningless, because the money they create represents a shrinking share of the total money supply
- With the rise of inter-bank money, backed mostly by government debt, fiscal policy has become an essential factor in determining the quantity of actual money that backs capitalism.
- In fact, the more independent a central bank, the greater the role of fiscal policy.
- For example, in the eurozone, Germany’s tight fiscal policy is creating a shortage of bunds (German government bonds), which is limiting both the European Central Bank’s (ECB) capacity to implement its quantitative easing policy and commercial banks’ ability to produce more inter-bank money.
What should be role of governments in framing monetary policies?
- Central banks can and should remain unchallenged with regard to its position.
- But governments should be given a greater say in domestic money creation and greater independence from the central banks, by establishing a parallel payments system based on fiscal money or, more precisely, money backed by future taxes.
How would fiscal money work?
- Fiscal money would be solely based on the tax authority’s digital platform, using the existing tax file numbers of individuals and companies
- Anyone with a tax file number (TFN) receives a free account linked to their TFN.
- Individuals and firms will be able to add credit to their TFN-linked account by transferring money from their bank account, in the same way that they do to pay taxes.
- In practice, once, say, €1,000 has been transferred to one’s TFN-linked account, a personal identification number (the familiar PIN) is issued, which can be used either to transfer the €1,000 credit to someone else’s TFN-linked account or to pay taxes in the future.
- These time-stamped future tax money, or fiscal money, can be held until maturity or be used to make payments to other taxpayers.
- As fiscal money approaches maturity, taxpayers not in possession of the fiscal money will raise the demand for it.
- The Treasury would control the total supply of fiscal money, using the effective interest rate to guarantee that the nominal value of the total supply never exceeds a percentage of national income, or of aggregate taxes, agreed to by the legislature.
How beneficial fiscal money is?
- Fiscal money would provide a source of liquidity for governments, bypassing the bond markets.
- It would limit the extent to which government borrowing fuels inter-bank money creation.
- And by competing with the banks’ payment system, it would reduce the cost of fees customers currently pay
- Fiscal money constitutes a transparent, transaction-cost-free, public payment system monitored by every citizen (and non-citizen) who participates in it.
- Fiscal money is politically attractive as well. Governments could use any slack in money supply to top up the FTN-linked accounts of families in need, or to pay for public works, making it appealing to progressives.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971 does not allow abortion if the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks. Under the 1971 law, an exception to the 20-week cap is made if a registered medical practitioner certifies to a court that the continued pregnancy is life-threatening for either the mother or the baby. This was meant to be a safeguard against female foeticide.