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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 02 March 2020

A deal that increases uncertainty

  • 29-Feb-2020: U.S.-Taliban agreement
  • leaves the most important issue unresolved: the future relationship between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
  •  All it does is to propose an intra-Afghan dialogue between the Kabul government and the Taliban scheduled to begin on March 10.
  • Durable peace is doubtful.
  • Major reason: the inability of both to speak in one voice
  • Disunity in Government: Ashraf Ghani vs Abdullah Abdullah
  •  Ethnic fissures may descend into open conflict.
  • Taliban: various regional and tribal groups acting semi-autonomously
  • Taliban has pledged not to allow any terrorist organisation, such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, to operate from the territory it controls.
  •  Mr. Trump’s main goal was to demonstrate to his domestic constituency that he was serious about bringing American troops back home.
  • U.S. and NATO troops timeline: withdraw within14 months.
  • Why India should be concerned
  • India has a major stake in the stability of Afghanistan.
  •  India has invested considerable resources in the country's development.
  • Taliban is widely believed to be a protégé of Islamabad.

A big, bad deal

  • Deal sets the stage for America to wind down the longest war in its history.
  • USA went to Afghanistan in October 2001, a few weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks.
  • By giving in to the Taliban’s demand, the U.S. has practically called into question the legitimacy of the government it backs.
  •  The U.S., with some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, has committed to pull them out in a phased manner.
  • Will Taliban respect civil liberties or accept the afghan Constitution?
  •  The Taliban got what it wanted — the withdrawal of foreign troops — without making any major concession.
  •  A weakened Afghan government will have to talk with a resurgent Taliban.
  • Viral economies
  • 2nd wave of the coronavirus: now spread to countries as far apart as Nigeria and New Zealand
  •  The virus has crippled global supply chains, hit air travel and convulsed markets as it appears all set to adversely impact the U.S. economy, the global economic engine.
  • Markets reflected these concerns last week as indices plunged and investors stampeded for the exit, dumping stocks.
  • U.S. companies and their large exposures to the Chinese market or their reliance on suppliers from China.
  • spike in workplace absenteeism,
  • lower productivity,
  • sliding travel,
  •  disrupted supply chains
  • reduced trade and investment
  • Policymakers are sanguine about the impact onthe domestic economy and how they can manage the situation by resorting to the airlifting of materials if the supply chain is disrupted.
  •  Risk averse foreign investors could hold back fresh investments in India. What augurs well though is that Indian companies are not major participants in the global supply chains originating in China.
  • Crude oil prices are slipping which is good newsfor the macroeconomy and inflation.
  •  The government needs to watch the developingsituation and, for now, do all it can to support industries that are reliant on Chinese inputs.

 No country for protesters?

  • The first kind were the rallies and the marches.
  • The second kind of protest is where you occupy aplace indefinitely.
  • Both these forms of non-violent protest seek to put moral pressure on the government by focusing public attention on injustice. Independent India has seen some success stories ofsuch peaceful agitations bearing fruit.
  • The institutional checks and balances between the executive and other arms of the state have become more susceptible to communal polarisation than in the past.
  •  Given the extent of such polarisation in the body politic, there is far less risk of political losses when abuses of the bureaucratic apparatus are directed at members of a minority community.
  •  It is against this backdrop that a dichotomy has emerged: ‘good protests’ versus ‘bad protests’.
  • Recent events suggest that whether a given protest is deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ could depend on who is protesting?
  • During the freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi deployed an array of protest strategies against the British, with an escalating ladder of non-violent militancy, culminating in mass civil disobedience.

Whither tribunal independence?

  •  In November 2019, a Constitution Bench of theSupreme Court, in Rojer Mathew, declared the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualification, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 as unconstitutional for being violative of principles of independency of the judiciary and contrary to earlier decisions of the Supreme Court in the Madras Bar Association series.
  •  In Rojer Mathew, there was also a direction to the central government to reformulate the rules strictly in accordance with principles delineated by the Court in its earlier decisions.
  • Describing the search-cum-selection-committees an attempt to keep the judiciary away from the process of selection and appointment of members, vice-chairman, and chairman of tribunals, the Court held that the executive is a litigating party in most of the litigation and hence cannot be allowed to be a dominant participant in tribunal appointments.
  •  In the 2017 rules, as noted by the Court in RojerMathew, barring the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), the selection committee for all other tribunals was made up either entirely from personnel within or nominated by the Central government or comprised a majority of personnel from the Central government.
  •  While the selection committee for NCLATconsisted of two judges and two secretaries to the Government of India, all other committees comprised only one judge and three secretaries to the Government of India.
  • An equal say for judiciary: The common thread in the Madras Bar Association series and Rojer Mathew decisions is that judiciary must have an equal say in the appointment of members of the tribunals.
  • In other words, to deny the executive an upper hand in appointing members to tribunals, the court ordered to have two judges of the Supreme Court to be a part of the four-member selection committee.
  •  In Madras Bar Association (2010), the Court explicitly held that only judges and advocates can be considered for appointment as judicial member of the tribunal and that persons from the Indian Legal Service cannot be considered for appointment as judicial member.
  • Recently, in Revenue Bar Association (2019), the madras High Court, while dealing with selection and composition of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT), declared Section 110(1)(b)(iii) of the CGST Act, 2017 as unconstitutional for allowing members of Indian Legal Service to be judicial members in GSTAT.
  • Based on this, in Rojer Mathew, the Court held that the term of three years is too short, and by the time members achieve a refined knowledge, expertise and efficiency, one term will be over.
  • Now, in the 2020 rules, the tenure of members has been increased from three years to four years, thereby blatantly violating the directions of the Supreme Court.
  • Since Madras Bar Association (2010), the government has repeatedly violated the directions of the Supreme Court.
  • One by one, the traditional courts, including the HighCourts, have been divested of their jurisdictions and several tribunals have been set up.

 A plural legacy more vital than ever

  •  Debate and dialogue are more than welcome. To his credit as much as to other founders, India is a vibrant and live electoral democracy.
  • The coming of Independence to India in August 1947and the formation of a democratic republic three years hence was no doubt a moment of historic import for the world at large.

 How India chose it to be

  •  whether a people had the right to rule themselves or not and also what mode of rule was best for the world.
  • India chose to follow the democratic path allowing for checks and balances.
  • The leader had to bind over and rule, not divide and reign.
  • Mahatma broke his last fast on January 18, 1948:Unknown to most in India or the world at large, Nehru too was on fast in sympathy with his leader.
  •  The idea of a nation: There was and is more to democracy than the peaceful passage of power via the ballot box.
  • Equally audacious was the idea of nation where all would be equal as citizens.
  •  He had been taken into custody on August 9, 1942and stepped out of gaol on June 15, 1945. This over 1,000-day-long prison term had enabled him to write a treatise of India’s past and future, The Discovery of India.
  •  India’s democratic sensibilities ran deeper than the Constitution.
  • India was envisaged as inclusive, plural and democratic.
  • There was and is much to dispute about Nehru’srecord and legacy.
  •  A plural society has much to learn from Nehru’srecord.

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