Iasfunda

Learn everything about IAS..

Month: November 2017

Niti Aayog’s recommendation on strategy for making electronics products in India

Niti Aayog’s recommendation on strategy for making electronics products in India

  • In a bid to boost manufacturing of electronic products in India, Niti Aayog has recommended a strategy for making electronics products in India
  • It said that the govt should not shy away from pushing production of low value products in India that add value due to huge volumes o If produced on a large scale, low value addition per unit translates in a large total value addition & large number of jobs
  • It has also proposed that the Dept of Electronics & IT (Deity) & the Dept of Revenue should work towards ending tax uncertainty & simplify the tax regime
  • It also pitched for a 10-yr tax holiday for a firm that invests a substantial sum & generates a large employment within coastal economic zones. For this purpose an investment threshold of $1 bn with the employment of 20,000 may be considered o While this is part of the Aayog’s recommendations to spur exports, it has suggested a similar sop to substitute imports by offering a 10-yr tax holiday to anyone investing about $1 bn & creating around 15,000 jobs in the electronics industry
  • It also made a proposal to modify preferential market access policy of Deity to allow preference in govt procurement, especially in the area of defence o The preferential market access policy mandates all state depts, organisations & agencies to procure at least 30% of their equipment from the domestic market

Draft National Water Framework Bill

Draft National Water Framework Bill

  • The draft law, prepared by the Water Resources Ministry, is being proposed as a model legislation that can be adopted by states, since water is in the jurisdiction of the state govts
  • The draft law tries to build a comprehensive governance structure on water, dealing with its conservation & preservation, regulation of use, pollution prevention & abatement, pricing, administration, & river & aquifer management
  • “It shall be the duty of the state at all levels, the citizens, & all category of water users to protect, preserve & conserve water sources, & pass them on to the next generation,” it says
  • It says that the state “at all levels” would hold water “in public trust” for the people, & “water for life” would take precedence over all other uses, including agricultural, industrial & commercial
  • The proposed law wants to introduce a “graded pricing system” for domestic water supply, with full cost recovery pricing for high-income groups, “affordable pricing” for middle-income, and a “certain quantum of free supply” to the poor. Alternatively, a minimal quantum of water may be supplied free to all o It says every person would be entitled to “water for life” that shall not be denied to anyone on the ground of inability to pay
  • It defines this “water for life” as that basic requirement that is necessary for the “fundamental right of life of each human being, including drinking, cooking, bathing, sanitation, personal hygiene & related personal & domestic uses”. This would also include the additional requirement for women “for their special needs” & the water required by domestic livestock
  • This minimum water requirement would be determined by the “appropriate” govts from time to time
  • A “binding” national water quality standards for every kind of use is proposed to be introduced
  • A “binding” national water footprint standards for “every activity or product” are also sought to be evolved. The draft law says it would be the “duty” of everyone to strive towards reducing their “water footprint” o Industries, in particular, will be asked to state their water footprint in their annual reports, along with an action plan to progressively reduce it over time o “There shall be prohibitive penalties to discourage profligate use, with denial of water supply services beyond a threshold…,” a provision related to industrial use of water says
  • Recognising that water in all its forms “constitutes a hydrological unity”, the draft law asks govts to strive for rejuvenation of river systems by ensuring Aviral Dhara (continuous flow), Nirmal Dhara (unpolluted flow), & Swachh Kinara (clean & aesthetic river banks) o An integrated river basin development & management plan in each of the basins is supposed to be drawn up, & all water-resource projects in that basin or its sub-basins need to conform to that plan o To deal with inter-state water disputes, the draft law proposes the establishment of “appropriate institutional arrangements”. “The upper basin state shall adopt a cautious & minimalist approach to major interventions in the inter-state rivers…,” it says, while stressing that none of the states in a basin “owns the river”

Judicial activism & overreach

Judicial activism & overreach

  • Supreme Court is increasingly, & controversially, asserting control over the executive & legislature
  • The Union Finance Minister recently cautioned legislators against ceding more powers to the judiciary
  • When the Emergency came to an end in 1977, the Supreme Court, as if to refurbish its image in a new political climate, became more responsive to socio-economic changes in legislation o The right to property was deleted from the chapter of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution (44th Amendment

Act, 1978), leaving no scope for invalidation of property laws by the courts o Thereafter, by a process of reinterpretation of two fundamental rights — the Right to Personal Liberty in Article 21 & the Right to Equality before Law in Article 14 — the court gave the judiciary an enlarged power of review to protect the basic rights of citizens o The Supreme Court, in Maneka Gandhi (a minor case of the govt not granting a passport in 1978) & other cases, overruled Gopalan v State of Madras (1950)

  • The “procedure established by law” of Article 21 now meant that the law or action by the govt must be just, reasonable & fair
  • SC also adopted a revisionist interpretation of “life” in Article 21, by enlarging its dimensions also as an affirmative guarantee for the dignity of the individual & the worth of the human life
  • This interpretation enabled the court to assume jurisdiction in almost all matters for the purpose of ensuring good human existence
  • SC in a new interpretation of the Right to Equality before law in Article 14, imposed the condition of reasonableness on every law & action of the govt
  • The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was originally conceived as a jurisdiction firmly grounded on the enforcement of basic human rights of the disadvantaged unable to reach courts on their own under Article 32 o The courts’ function was to supplement the other govt depts in improving the social & economic conditions of the marginalised sections o It did not assume the functions of supervising & correcting the omissions & actions of govt or public bodies; it, rather, joined them in a cooperative effort to achieve constitutional goals o This activism, soon came to be widely appreciated & even imitated by other common law jurisdictions o The court’s intervention is now not sought for enforcing the rights of the disadvantaged but to simply correct the actions or omissions of public officials, govt depts or other public bodies
  • For eg. SC was moved by petitioners to lay down rules for the conduct of important public institutions & authorities. It gave directions to the Election Commission to order candidates to disclose their criminal convictions, their assets & liabilities at the time of elections, called for quotas in medical & engineering colleges & issued orders to safeguard women from sexual harassment at workplaces. It ordered control over automobile emissions, mandatory wearing of seat belts & helmets, action plans to control & prevent the menace of monkeys in cities & towns, among others
  • The SC also monitors the conduct of investigating & prosecution agencies, a process which began in Vineet Narain vs CBI (1998)
  • SC also directed the govt to set up a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), with statutory status, & gave orders for the selection of its commissioner
  • In several PILS concerning the environment & the welfare of those disadvantaged, the court has directed policy changes in administration
  • As a result, over the years, the judiciary in India has acquired the supremacy over the legislature & the executive Conclusion
  • The SC has original jurisdiction only to entertain petitions for breach of fundamental rights under Article 32 of the Constitution. In reality, no legal issues are involved in most petitions; the court is only moved for better governance & administration in such cases, which does not involve the exercise of any judicial function

Centre of gravity of today’s nuclear world is shifting to the Asia-Pacific

  • The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was concluded with Russia in 2010 limiting both countries to 800 launchers (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles & heavy long-range bombers) & 1 550 warheads each
  • But the US has announced ambitious plans to spend $1 trillion for modernisation of its nuclear arsenal over the next 3 decades o In a Nuclear Posture Review, the US has maintained the right of “first-use” of nuclear weapons though limited to

“extreme circumstances”

  • The North Korea’s nuclear programme & the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons by Pakistan are the most worrying aspects of the current global nuclear threat
  • Since 2006, North Korea has conducted 4 nuclear tests, the latest in Jan 2016, claiming it as a hydrogen bomb. Sanctions have not been effective & there are clear limits to which China will push the North Korean regime o But the North Korean threat is indirectly serving a US purpose; the US maintains nearly 30,000 soldiers in South

Korea & deploys modern systems including ballistic missile defences which certainly curbs nuclear ambitions in Japan, South Korea & Taiwan

Total nuclear abolition

  • The horrors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki have helped generate a norm against the use of nuclear weapons though nuclear abolition remains a distant goal
  • The idea of the military utility of nuclear weapons has been a key driver for the pursuit of nuclear weapons & set the stage for the obscene accumulation of > 70,000 weapons by the US & the Soviet Union during the 1970s & 1980s
  • During the Cold War, the idea that the best route to nuclear disarmament was through non-proliferation & the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) o The truth is that the NPT has had no impact on nuclear arms reductions o Bcz though it recognises only 5 nuclear weapon states (the US, Russia, the UK, France & China) but is unable to deal with the reality of India, Pakistan, Israel & North Korea’s weapon programmes

Global Slavery Index 2016

Global Slavery Index 2016

  • According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index released by Australia-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation, an estimated 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world, compared to 35.8 million in 2014
  • The Index presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery
  • The countries with the highest estimated prevalence of modern slavery by the proportion of their population are North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Cambodia, India, & Qatar
  • India topped the list of countries with the highest absolute number of people enslaved, estimated at about 18 million modern slaves. In the last report in 2014, India had nearly 14.3 million people enslaved
  • Asian countries occupy the top 5 for people trapped in slavery. Behind India was China (3.39m), Pakistan (2.13m), Bangladesh (1.53m) & Uzbekistan (1.23m)
  • Modern slavery refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot leave coz of threats, violence, coercion, abuse of power or deception
  • But India has made significant progress in introducing measures to tackle the problem o It has criminalised trafficking, slavery, forced labour, child prostitution & forced marriage o The govt is currently tightening legislation against human trafficking, with tougher punishment for repeat offenders. It will offer victims protection & recovery support o Ambitious programmes of legal & social reform are being undertaken across the board, from regulation of labour relations to systems of social insurance for the most vulnerable
  • The prevalence of slavery severely affects the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination o Companies should closely look at their own supply chains & eliminate instances of bonded or forced labour o Eliminating bonded or forced labour is part of corporate governance & is a sound business practice o Companies could suffer in the international market for including a business that even accidentally uses bonded labour

 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

www.000webhost.com