SC asked GoI - would you pause the implementation of the farm laws, or else the court would
Dialogue is the only way out
Dissent needed its space
Standing Committee’s scrutiny
A GST-like consensus involving the Centre and States
Agriculture-related issues come under the State List in Schedule VII of the Constitution
MSP itself becoming unremunerative given the rising input costs
Small and marginal farmers - limited resources to transport their goods to the local mandis, leave alone to bigger markets
Lack of warehousing and processing
A safety net
UNESCO - 320 million students were locked out of schools globally
Union Education Ministry’s directive to the States
Launch a mission to avoid large-scale dropouts in schools
Relaxing the detention policy
Indian school education system remains top-down in making policy
Database - plan incentives - prevent dropouts
Education continues to be covered by a cess on tax
Centre’s Samagra Shiksha scheme and other COVID-19 relief plans
February 2020 - Ramesh Pokhriyal - among the reasons for children remaining out-of-school or dropping out were poverty, economic reasons, and ill-health
Digital divide witnessed in online education
This is the time to create a safety net for education, letting no student fall through.
Bridging the Gulf
Saudi Arabia + UAE + Bahrain + Egypt decided to end blockade on Qatar
2017 - blockade and severed diplomatic ties
These 4 nations said Qatar supported terrorism
13 demands - shutting down Al Jazeera + closing a Turkish military base + reducing diplomatic relations with Iran
The 13 specific demands were replaced by a broad agreement on non-intervention in other countries’ internal affairs and cooperating to ensure regional stability and security.
While ending the feud is welcome, it cannot be overlooked that this unnecessary crisis was born out of an ill-thought-out Saudi-Emirati strategy of coercion.
The mechanics of all elections are flawed.
Each country has different rules regarding its voting systems, and each set of rules is necessarily a compromise.
Some countries use ‘first past the post’ systems, while others use electoral colleges.
The mathematician Kenneth Arrow laid bare the flaws in elections.
Arrow’s Paradox in the age of social media
Arrow’s doctoral thesis, completed in the 1950s, identified that in any electoral system where three or more preferences exist, a curious paradox comes into play: proponents of the minority voice can dictate the broader choice.
His finding is now called Arrow’s Paradox.
Let’s say a population participates in an election in which candidate ‘A’ says let’s go to war and candidate ‘B’ says let’s not go to war.
While there are only two choices (war or peace), the voting populace may be distributed along 3 lines
Hawks who are in a minority but want war
The majority of the voters, comprising those who don’t want war
The majority is more or less evenly split into the doves who prefer not to go to war ever and the realists who don’t want to go to war unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The Internet, and especially social media, help this minority instigate a large part of the populace.
In today’s digital world, humans are constantly bombarded with messaging of all kinds, and our attention spans have dwindled.
We make up our minds in ever smaller bits of time — often within the first few seconds of viewing an Internet-based message or video.
California’s referendum on Proposition 22, which was critically important to companies such as Uber and Lyft.
These businesses wanted their drivers to be classified as contractors and not as employees.
Employee classification would have given rise to a slew of labour rights that today’s gig workers do not enjoy as ‘independent contractors’.
Reframing India’s foreign policy priorities
EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
In one swift move, Europe has thus shattered all hope that China would remain ostracised in 2021.
Many countries likely to seek closer economic relations with China now
The year 2021, begins on a triumphal note for China
Only major country - positive rate of growth
Its economy is poised to grow even faster in 2021
Indo-Pacific Ocean - third aircraft carrier in 2021
Military coordination with Russia
Europe values its economy more than its politics
Russia is beginning to display greater interest in the affairs of countries on its periphery and, together with strengthening ties with China and reaching an entente with Turkey, this seems to signal reduced interest in countries such as India.
The confrontation between Indian and Chinese armed forces is expected to continue in 2021
India currently plays no significant role in West Asia.
India-Iran relations today lack warmth.
In Afghanistan, India has been marginalised as far as the peace process is concerned.
One key takeaway is that as India-China relations deteriorate, India’s neighbours are not averse to taking sides, increasing India’s isolation.
India’s foreign policy objectives are to widen its sphere of influence, enhance its role across nations, and make its presence felt as an emerging power in an increasingly disruptive global system.
Today, India’s voice and counsel are seldom sought, or listened to.
A less obvious, but perhaps more relevant aspect, could also be that India’s foreign policy suffers from an ideational vacuum.
It is not the sharp decline in the economy, problems caused on account of the pandemic, or the growing polarisation in values across nations and societies, but more possibly India’s inability or failure in the ideational realm that lies at the root of our foreign policy inadequacies.
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), have hardly been successful
As part of the ideational restructuring of India’s foreign policy, what is urgently required, apart from competent statecraft, is the adoption of prudent policies, pursuit of realistically achievable objectives, and, above all, a demonstration of continuity of policy, irrespective of changes in the nature of the Administration.
These may be time consuming, but are a surer recipe for success in attaining foreign policy objectives.
Finals of National Youth Parliament Festival 2021 held yesterday; PM to address valedictory function today
COVID-19 recovery rate in country reaches 96.43%
ISRO to adopt 100 Atal Tinkering Labs across country to promote education
BRO deploys 67% of its workforce in Northern borders, says Defence Minister
PM Modi says state govts will not have to bear any cost towards vaccinating 3 crore Health Workers and Front Line Workers in first stage
India aims to achieve vaccination for 30 crore people in the next few months, says Prime Minister
Ministry of Finance releases 11th weekly installment of six thousand crore rupees to states to meet GST revenue shortfall
Bird Flu confirmed in 10 states of the country
Indian Navy to coordinate largest coastal defence exercise Sea Vigil-21