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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 07 September 2020

 

 

Too close for comfort

  • Defence Ministers of India and China met at Moscow.
  • The prospects of an imminent diplomatic solution do not appear bright.
  • The statements issued by the two sides have underlined the sharp differences in how New Delhi and Beijing have continued to view the unprecedented developments along the border since May.
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh “categorically conveyed” India’s stand, emphasising that China’s actions “were in violation of the bilateral agreements”.
  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar: diplomacy is the only way out of the crisis, and that can only happen “if both sides understand that it is in each of their best interests if the events of this summer are not repeated”.
  • The problem, so far, has been a stark mismatch between China’s statements and the actions of its troops.
  • September 10: Mr. Jaishankar will likely meet his counterpart, Wang Yi, at a meeting of SCO Foreign Ministers.

Court’s drift and chinks in the judiciary’s armour

  • The chinks in the armour of the Supreme Court.
    1. Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case
    2. Retirement of Justice Arun Mishra
  • Court: “reflects adamance and ego, which has no place to exist in the system of administration of justice and in noble profession, and no remorse is shown for the harm done to the institution to which he belongs”.
  • Court chose to relentlessly pursue Mr. Bhushan in a petty exhibition of arrogance itself.
  • Mr. Bhushan, with appropriate decorum and honesty, admitted that any apology from him in the circumstances would be insincere.
  • Justice Mishra’s last few decisions as a member of the Supreme Court, before he retired on September 2.
  • One consistent feature has revealed itself throughout, which is the kinds of cases that were assigned to the Benches he was on, and the kinds of decisions he issued.
  • Politically sensitive cases
  • In recent times, many columnists, leading scholars, and legal luminaries have speculated on the marked drift of the Supreme Court away from rights-based court to an executive court.
  • Justice Kurian Joseph suggesting that the assignment of work in the Court during Justice Dipak Misra’s tenure was “remote controlled”.
  • National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act was struck down
  • But surely, this judgment is of no use if executive interference is anyway possible in more subtle ways.
  • Finding over 30 judges who think alike would anyway be difficult, if not impossible.
  • All that is needed is to ensure that certain “favourableconditions exist in the Court: these include a CJI who is on your side, and a handful of other judges on the Bench who are “reliable”.
  • The combination of opaque systems like the “master of the roster”, and a certain kind of CJI are sufficient to destroy all that is considered precious by an independent judiciary.
  • Of course, this is far from being a hypothetical scenario, and is, in fact, playing out in India right now.
  • The medical admissions scam case during Justice Dipak Misra’s tenure as CJI was handed over to Justice Arun Mishra’s Bench.
  • Similarly, the infamous hearing of Justice Gogoi’s sexual harassment case included Justice Arun Mishra.
  • The European example: A case allocation system that is neutral and rules-based will prevent bench packing, and demonstrate neutrality, impartiality, and transparency.
  • There is enough evidence that the “master of the roster” system does not work any more.
  • There is a tendency to view the threat to judicial independence in India as emerging from the executive branch, and occasionally the legislature.
  • But when persons within the judiciary become pliable to the other branches, it is a different story altogether.
  • Today, we have a situation which was foreseen many decades ago, by CJI Y.V. Chandrachud, when, in 1985, he observed, “There is greater threat to the independence of the judiciary from within than without ....”

Mixed messaging

  • U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum: Prime Minister Modi elaborately pitched India as an investment destination that could serve as a manufacturing hub at the heart of global supply chains.
  • Especially we are trying to woo those looking to relocate from China, to India.
  • Even a few multinational enterprises can be drawn to set up manufacturing bases, either by shifting facilities or as new additional plants, then not only does the Indian economy stand to gain FDI, new jobs and tax revenue but it also makes a statement.
  • The thrust of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative is evidently ‘import substitution’.
  • Mr. Modi took pains to stress that the push for self-reliance should not be interpreted as India turning its back on the world.
  • Attracting FDI into manufacturing will require the government to convince investors that it is committed not merely in words but in deeds as well to an open, barrier-free global trade and investment order.

The many challenges in estimating deaths

  • There is a debate on the number of deaths in India caused by COVID-19.
  • The official number as on August 26 was 59,449.
  • There is also a campaign by activists asking the government to put COVID-19 deaths-related data in the public domain.
  • There are two kinds of challenges in estimating the number of deaths due to COVID-19
    1. Weaknesses in our mortality surveillance system
    2. COVID-19 specific issues
  • In an ideal world, we would be able to count all deaths and have a certified cause of death in all the cases. In the real world, we have neither.
  • According to the Civil Registration Scheme report for 2018, 86% of all deaths were registered, with 34% being through hospitals.
  • However, this would not be a good source for cause of death as it is as reported by the next of kin at the time of registration.
  • The second source of cause of death is the medical certification of cause of death (MCCD).
  • As per the report released by the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI) in 2018, 1.45 million deaths (21% of all registered deaths and hence, multiplication by five suggested by the scientists) were medically certified.
  • MCCD has an urban bias and there are also issues related to quality of death certification by doctors.
  • All identified deaths are noted by a trained worker using standard procedures to generate information which is reviewed by a doctor to arrive at a cause of death.
  • In addition, COVID-19 has adversely impacted death registrations due to lockdowns, travel restrictions as well as social stigma resulting in people hiding these deaths.
  • As COVID-19 moves to rural areas, these challenges are going to worsen.
  • Also, as many of these systems are not yet fully electronic, there will be a delay in the availability of these data even after registration.
  • Thus, it is quite likely that the data available with the ORGI for 2020 will need evaluation for its usefulness for estimation procedures, even if made public.
  • For the swine flu pandemic of 2009, an estimate published in The Lancet in 2012 indicated that the real mortality was 15 times higher than the globally reported laboratory-confirmed cases.
  • Even countries with near-complete registration of deaths in normal times have acknowledged that their officially recorded COVID-19 death tolls might be underestimates and they are now focusing on excess mortality – the number of deaths above that expected during ‘normal’ times.
  • Thus, the estimation of ‘true’ mortality due to COVID-19 is likely to pose significant methodological and systemic challenges.

Financing economic recovery

  • As the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic spread across Asia and the Pacific, finance ministries are continuing their efforts to inject trillions of dollars for emergency health responses and fiscal packages.
  • Policymakers are tackling difficult choices over how to prioritise development spending, while continuing to expand their squeezed fiscal space.
  1. Address the challenge of diminished fiscal space and debt vulnerability.
  2. To ensure sustainable recovery
  3. Regional cooperation
  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has recently launched its first-ever Regional Conversation Series on Building Back Better.
  • We are joining forces with ministers, decision-makers, private sectors and heads of international agencies to share collective insights on sharing pathways to resilient recovery from health pandemic and economic collapse.
  • To improve the fiscal space and manage high levels of debt distress, a growing call for extending the debt moratorium under global initiatives like the Debt Service Suspension initiative is timely.

NEWS

  • President, PM Modi to address Governors’ Conference on National Education Policy today
  • Metro services resume across the country after a gap of over five months
  • Airlines to fully refund air tickets booked during lockdown, Centre tells Supreme Court
  • G-20 countries reaffirm their commitment to ensure education continuity and safety for all
  • US Open: Indo-Canadian duo of Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov to play men's doubles quarterfinals
  • Experts join efforts to salvage burning tanker off Sri Lanka
  • Bangladesh mosque AC explosion toll goes up to 16
  • Multiple people injured in series of stabbings in central England
  • First trial run on newly opened inland waterways from Daudkandi in Bangladesh to Sonamura in India completes successfully
  • Chandrayaan-3 launch likely in early 2021, says Minister of State for Space Dr Jitendra Singh
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh holds bilateral talks with his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Amir Hatami in Tehran
  • Prakash Javadekar to chair webinar tomorrow on first-ever International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies
  • Sushant Singh Rajput case: CBI questions sister Meetu Singh at DRDO guest house
  • India achieves record 10 lakh COVID tests for four days in a row