We have launched our mobile app, get it now. Call : 9354229384, 9354252518, 9999830584.  

Current Affairs

Filter By Article

Filter By Article

The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 15 October 2020

Divine Delusions

  • Maharashtra governor BS Koshyari’s letter to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray does huge disservice to the constitutional office he holds.
  • Koshyari was within his rights to forward representations he received, requesting places of worship to open.
  • But the letter’s aggressive tone and tenor mark a new low in public discourse.
  • Koshyari sought to know whether Thackeray was receiving divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening or had “suddenly turned secular yourself, the term you hated”.
  • But coming from a constitutional functionary acting as the Union of India’s high representative, and therefore someone whose allegiance to the Constitution ought to supersede political positions, it cannot pass muster.
  • Indeed the Constitution’s Article 25 guarantees the freedom to practise religion, subject to public order and health.
  • Let the governor stick to his constitutional functions, let not zealotry determine policy.
  • During the 1980s India under Rajiv Gandhi and Pakistan under Zia ul Haq allowed religion to dictate state policy, with ruinous consequences down the line.

Unpleasant spectacle

  • Andhra Govt vs Judiciary
  • With the CM, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, writing to the Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde, complaining about the allegedly hostile attitude of the Andhra Pradesh High Court against him and his government, and making public details of the letter that contains explosive allegations against a serving Supreme Court judge, the conflict is embarrassingly out in the open.
  • Meanwhile, the High Court has directed the CBI to take over the investigation into the registry’s complaints against allegedly defamatory, inciting and derogatory social media posts against the judiciary as well as individual judges, and to examine whether these attacks were part of a larger conspiracy.
  • The CM alleges that the High Court is being controlled by loyalists of his predecessor in office and political rival, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and has passed a slew of orders against his regime and its actions.
  • It is disturbing enough that some judicial orders are seen in a political light, or lend themselves to such an interpretation.
  • The government has sought to ease the situation by offering no objection to the CBI inquiry.
  • CJI is also in a catch 22 situation now
  • The right thing would probably be for the CJI to order an inquiry into the letter in accordance with the apex court’s internal procedure.
  • India can ill-afford a public perception that judges have strong political loyalties.
  • For, that will undermine faith in an independent judiciary.

 

A weak link in the elementary education chain

  • For nearly 30 years - NGOs are intensively engaged in the task of improving elementary education in the country.
  • There are now more than 12 lakh NGO workers engaged in education.
  • It is most probable that these workers are engaged in direct teaching in classrooms, demonstrating various activities and methods to teachers, conducting teacher workshops and so on.
  • Most NGOs and large foundations believe that these people work as catalysts and influence the functioning of the system.
  • For various reasons, they are supposed to be more effective than regular employees in the government system.
  • There is a lot of discussion around education and the Continuous Professional Development of Teachers (CPDT).
  • We should be asking ourselves whether these workers are adequately prepared for this difficult task.
  • As an example, let us take quality improvement, which is currently the biggest concern in education.
  • Suppose the curriculum is irrelevant to the life of people (as it is often claimed), would it still indicate high quality?
  • Further, suppose that high scoring is achieved by subjecting children to severe punishment and stress, would it still remain an indicator of high quality?
  • If the response to last two questions is negative, then we can conclude that appropriateness of curriculum and pedagogy also need to be considered in defining quality of education.
  • But how do we know what good or appropriate curriculum and pedagogy are?
  • On what criteria can we decide that?
  • The 4 documents currently providing a framework of principles, guidelines and legal stipulations to deal with such questions are the
    1. National Curriculum Framework 2005 (NCF)
    2. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE)
    3. The National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education 2009 (NCFTE)
    4. The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020)
  • Regarding pedagogy, the RTE, in Section 29(e), recommends “learning through activities, discovery and exploration in a child friendly and child-centered manner”.
  • Further, the NCF recommends constructivist pedagogy.
  • NEP 2020, paragraph 4.23 says “certain subjects, skills, and capacities should be learned by all students to become good, successful, innovative, adaptable, and productive human beings in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking;
  • Creativity and innovativeness;
  • Sense of aesthetics and art;
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Health and nutrition; Physical education, fitness, wellness, and sports;
  • Collaboration and teamwork;
  • Problem solving and logical reasoning;
  • Vocational exposure and skills;
  • Digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking;
  • Ethical and moral reasoning;
  • Knowledge and practice of human and constitutional values;
  • Gender sensitivity;
  • Fundamental duties;
  • Citizenship skills and values
  • Do the NCF and NEP need to be consistent with each other?
  • Do they have any relative weightage?
  • What if some schools produce children who are highly successful, innovative, adaptable, productive, extremely competitive, and uncaring for others?
  • Would we be happy to call them “good” and consider such an education to be high quality education?
  • The last example, the NCFTE (page 23), says that we need teachers who “[P]romote values of peace, democratic way of life, equality, justice, liberty, fraternity, secularism and zeal for social reconstruction”. Are these two quotes, one from NEP 2020 and the other from the NCFTE, compatible with each other?
  • If the argument outlined so far is even tentatively acceptable, then a strong programme for capacity building of NGO workers engaged in educational improvement becomes an urgent need.
  • If we want to implement NEP 2020 — presently leaving its merits and demerits aside — and really want to see improvement in the quality of education available to our children, we need to pay very close attention to capacity building of this vast workforce engaged in the field.

Labour’s data lost

  • In August 2019, the Code on Wages was passed.
  • Last month, the Code on Social Security; the Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions; and the Code on Industrial Relations were passed in Parliament with little debate.
  • The four codes together subsume more than 40 labour laws.
  • The mission statement from the Ministry of Labour and Employment reads: “Improving the working conditions and the quality of life of workers through laying down and implementing policies/ programmes/ schemes/ projects for providing social security and welfare measures, regulating conditions of work, occupational health and safety of workers, eliminating child labour from hazardous occupations and processes, strengthening enforcement of labour laws and promoting skill development and employment services”.
  • Indian Labour Conference (ILC), the apex level consultative committee concerned with labour, last met in 2015.
  • Isn’t it odd that even a nationally constituted body such as the ILC was not consulted before the passage of codes that are going to affect 90% of the workforce?
  • For the nearly 50 crore ‘informal’ workers in India, the codes come as another cruel joke when the embers of the largest crisis for workers have not died down.
  • On September 14, in response to questions in Parliament concerning the deaths of migrant workers during the lockdown, the Labour Minister simply said that no data were available.
  • It is ironic that a government that is obsessed with surveillance purportedly for the welfare of its citizens has not kept track of data that actually matter.
  • The order by the Home Ministry (March 29) asking employers to pay employees during the lockdown also stood toothless.
  • Indeed, the Central government violated its own orders by not paying all MGNREGA job card holders as technically the Central government employs them.
  • Lax legal enforcement cannot be a justification to whittle them down further.
  • Informal workers contribute to nearly 50% of the GDP and inter-State migrant workers contribute to about 6% of the GDP.
  • The unacceptably high levels of informal employment have negative impacts not just on the workers but also on the country.
  • First, the informal sector does not provide learning and training opportunities and invests little on their workers, hindering their chances to upgrade.
  • Second, it compounds the existing inequality in the country. It presents itself as a source of income for poor families, whose children often drop out from education to help support their families. In doing so, they halt their own development in formal education or training, leading to sustained low wages.

The Race To The Finish Line

When will this pandemic come to an end?

  • However, one thing that has become abundantly clear through this crisis is that diseases like COVID-19 do not respect borders.
  • It can take only a few months for a health emergency in one country to become a global crisis on a scale we have never seen before.
  • Collaboration is going to be the cornerstone of a strategy that can potentially end this pandemic.

  • This is especially true when it comes to the development of a potential vaccine against COVID-19
  • Globally 42 vaccines are in various phases of clinical trials.
  • In India, there are over three vaccine candidates at advanced stages of development.
  • One of them, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or ChAdOx1 — in Phase 3 human trial — is supported by the Serum Institute of India.
  • Indigenous vaccines like COVAXIN (developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR) and ZyCoV-D (developed by Zydus Cadila) are in Phase 2/3 trials.
  • No matter when and where a vaccine is developed, India is bound to play a pivotal role.
  • India is one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world in terms of volume.
  • Approximately 70 per cent of vaccines for low and middle income countries are manufactured in India and delivered through partnerships with UNICEF and Gavi.
  • Governments, private sector companies, multilateral institutions and civil society organisations are all trying to find a solution.
  • However, there is one conclusive answer for reducing the impact of the next health catastrophe.
  • We need to forge long-term partnerships and increase R&D investments as they will determine the scientific tools at our disposal when faced with future pandemics and other global health emergencies.

NEWS

  • Cabinet announces special package of Rs. 520 Crore for J&K, Ladakh under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana
    • The Union Cabinet  has approved  special package worth  Rs. 520 crore rupees for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for a period of five years till 2023-24 under  Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
    • India crosses 9 Crore mark of Covid-19 testing; recovery rate reaches 87.05%
  • Cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes reopening today with 50% seating capacity
  • Heavy rains throw life out of gear in Telangana, AP, Karnataka
  • Central Pollution Control Board deputes 50 teams to report major air polluting sources in Delhi, NCR
  • Nitin Gadkari to start ZojiLa Tunnel works with ceremonial blast tomorrow
  • Railway Protection Force issues guidelines for travellers for festive season
  • EAM S Jaishankar co-chairs ministerial review with his Portugal counterpart
  • India gets re-elected as President of International Solar Alliance
  • Film on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib to be completed within Mujib centenary year: Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud
  • East China’s Qingdao city reports 12 new COVID-19 cases