“We managed to reach the Red Fort even though they tried to stop us. We will not stop until we reach our goal — the repeal of the three farm laws.”
Red Fort - threw down the Tricolour
A version of the Capitol Hill incident of January 6
Hunt down the last of the goons masquerading as farmers and bring them to book
Electronic Voting Machine has survived intense scrutiny
This is besides several technological and administrative safeguards to ensure that the machine is not tampered with.
Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to the EVM added “audit-ability”
The announcement by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora that the ECI is commencing trials of a “remote voting project” is sure to bring back scrutiny.
The system is being developed by IIT-Madras
Remote voting, as an option, has gained some priority during the COVID-19 pandemic
U.S., the mail-in ballot system, where registered voters received ballots and returned it via post or dropped it off at secure “drop boxes” or voting centers
The blockchain method implements an online public bulletin board that allows for a linear ordering of data to which a user can only further append data.
While this system, with its cryptographic features, promises data security and verifiability, the fact that it will depend upon a network and devices could introduce vulnerabilities that are present in any Internet-based system.
November 2020 - MIT and Harvard researchers has raised concerns about the designs of a remote block-chain-based voting system and pointed to serious vulnerabilities in some instances where it was tried out.
Groping case | Tribune
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
Groping a minor’s breast without ‘skin to skin contact’ cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act
In another case from Maharashtra, a special POCSO court recently sentenced an autorickshaw driver to rigorous imprisonment for life for sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl.
Many such cases go unreported due to familial and societal pressures
Kids are vulnerable to sexual crime
Such an experience can leave a child psychologically scarred for life.
A relatively mild punishment will only embolden the predators and discourage the little victims.
The Centre’s proposed policy to raise road tax on vehicles of a certain age from April 1 next year
Reducing air pollution
Raising fuel efficiency
Improving safety standards
Commercial transport vehicles will have to pay 10%-25% extra on road tax after eight years when renewing the fitness certificate, and, similarly, personal vehicles after 15 years
Public transport is given concessions
While hybrids, electrics and farm vehicles are exempt
Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari envisioned a reduction in automobile prices of 20% to 30%, driven by recovery of scrap steel, aluminium and plastic, all of which would be recycled.
Building capacities in the organised sector to manage the task of efficient materials recovery
New vehicles and cleaner fuels should help clear the toxic air in cities and towns and make roads safer.
Roots to government-private thought partnerships
15-1-21: Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 3.0 was launched
1st phase was launched in 2015 to give a boost to skilling in the country.
Focus of 3rd version - matching local skilling requirements with local job opportunities
Empowering States and districts to implement skilling schemes by making regional-level plans
Joint work of different entities, including collaboration between the government and external partners
Induction of private individuals into the system – Lateral entry
Several central government ministries and entities, such as NITI Aayog, routinely recruit private individuals as consultants, officers on special duty or young professionals
Public Private Partnership
THOUGHTPARTNERSHIPS are a structured mechanism for private entities to lend relevant strategic expertise to the government on policy design, evaluation and implementation.
The good news is that several domestic and international philanthropies and impact investing firms are already investing billions of dollars into critical sectors in developing countries including India.
The not-so-good news is that much of this funding goes into supporting projects or interventions that work in limited, contextual settings rather than systemic or sectoral transformation programmes.
In 2005, the Ashok Lahiri Committee, constituted by the Ministry of Finance, came out with a report which stated that there was not enough knowledge about external capital flows and controls in India.
The committee’s recommendation resulted in the establishment of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Department of Economic Affairs research programme.
The programme led to the creation of a rich body of world-class research on capital controls and flows in India, developed by Indian researchers, that was used to inform government policy on the matter.
In 2015, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs constituted a research secretariat headed by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, to support the Companies Law Committee to make “informed decisions…on the principles involved as well as international practices in the areas of insolvency, raising of capital, penalties, related party transactions and other areas”.
The National Institute of Financial Management is working with the Department of Economic Affairs to provide legal research and technical assistance on Indian and foreign financial markets, policy analysis, formulation as well as conduct of impact assessment studies on decisions taken by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
In late-2018, the MSDE itself started engaging with multiple private firms such as Dalberg Global Development Advisors and Samagra-Transforming Governance to conceptualise and design its vision for 2025.
These attempts at establishing thought partnerships between the government and private entities,while instructive, are largely disparate and episodic.
They do not provide the definitive way forward on government-private collaboration.
India faces a dearth of scholars and practitioners who are singularly focused on researching and solving India’s problems.
As such, policy choices made in isolation from the rigorous debate, research and questioning which thought partnerships facilitate, can produce suboptimal results.
It is therefore in the public interest that more such partnerships are forged and funded to channel external expertise and skills towards finding scalable solutions to the pressing policy challenges the country faces.
Reshape spending, at the Centre and in states | HT
Public spending is very large in the most successful economies of the world, namely in Europe and the US.
We need public goods to make us more productive and to have a better life.
Roads and bridges would fall in the first category and parks and sanitation in the second.
In addition to public goods, there are some private goods which attract public expenditure as they give rise to positive externalities, or favourable spillovers for the social good.
In last decade, combined spend on capital goods and the social sector has hovered around 20%
But only about a fifth of public expenditure goes towards capital spending and the social sector
Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management Act
3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The trouble is that with our eyes riveted on the fiscal deficit, we lose sight of where public expenditure is going.
The average share of health expenditure in the total budgetary spending of the states was barely 5% in 2018-19.
This was a slightly higher share than that of the Centre in that year but not much more, and nowhere near what it should be given both the importance of health and that it is a state subject.
There is a substantial variation in the mortality from Covid-19 across the states of India.
The richer states of India have chosen to spend less in relation to their capacity than the poorer states, with deadly consequences.
In the season of budget presentations, with the economy reeling under the impact of Covid-19, we will, of course, expect the Centre to step up its expenditure.
However, states must play a significant role too.
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Delhi police registers cases against offenders following violence during farmers' protest in national capital