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The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 09 August 2021

Putting an end to police brutality | IE

  • The death of a fruit stall owner, 47-year-old A Murugesan, allegedly as a result of a brutal thrashing by a special sub-inspector of Tamil Nadu police in Vazhapadi in Salem district on June 22, has revived memories of Bennix and his father Jayaraj who died in custody last year in June in Thoothukudi.
  • While two other policemen stood watching the gory scene, Murugesan’s friends pleaded for him to be spared but to no avail.
  • An army man Resham Singh was brutally tortured while his mother and two sisters in Pilibhit, UP, were humiliated on May 3, drawing the Allahabad High Court’s ire.
  • Two sub-inspectors and six constables were booked, and the station house officer sent to lines.
  • Singh’s medical report confirmed injuries due to brutal torture.
  • On May 21, an 18-year-old vegetable vendor Faisal Hussain was allegedly beaten to death in Bangarmau police station in UP’s Unnao district for violation of Covid-19 directives.
  • Though the market in the town was open, Hussain was beaten up and taken to a police station from where he was shifted to a hospital.
  • He was declared dead on arrival.
  • The post-mortem report attributed his death to head injuries. Two police constables and a home guard have been charged with murder.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while speaking at the inauguration of the Centre of Excellence for Research and Analysis of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances of the National Forensic Sciences University in Ahmedabad on July 12, said that the police in our country are accused of either “No Action” or “Extreme Action”.
  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 100 cases of custodial deaths were reported in 2017, 42 of which were in police custody.
  • Thirty-three policemen were arrested while 27 were charge-sheeted.
  • Forty-eight police personnel were charge-sheeted and three convicted in cases of human rights violation.
  • Overall, 2,005 cases were registered against police personnel, 1,000 of whom were charge-sheeted.
  • With 456 cases, Maharashtra topped the list, while Gujarat and Rajasthan followed with 191 and 169 cases, respectively; 128 personnel were convicted.
  • According to the NCRB’s 2019 figures, 85 cases of custodial deaths were reported in the year with Tamil Nadu registering the highest number of cases followed by Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan and Odisha.
  • No policeman was convicted, though 14 personnel of Gujarat were arrested, and charge-sheeted.
  • For six custodial deaths in Rajasthan, three magisterial inquiries and two judicial inquiries were initiated against erring policemen.
  • In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, the former Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy stated that 1,697 custodial deaths were registered between April 2019 and March 2020, of which 1,584 deaths were in judicial custody while the rest (113) were in police custody.
  • Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 400 custodial deaths followed by Madhya Pradesh (143).
  • This meant that about five custodial deaths took place every day in our country.
  • But on August 3, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai stated in the Lok Sabha that 348 custodial deaths and 1,189 cases of torture by police were reported across the country in the last three years.
  • While several policemen do get convicted, there are good reasons to believe that many go scot free — by manipulating records, intimidating complainants or political patronage.
  • It’s up to senior officers to ensure that prompt actions are initiated against policemen who resort to brutal torture.
  • When erring personnel are promptly punished, the message goes out loud and clear to other rogue policemen that the law will catch up with them.
  • In the case of custodial deaths, those guilty should be tried for murder.
  • Police personnel who remain spectators when people in custody are being tortured are also complicit in the crime.
  • Sub divisional police officers and superintendents of police should be held accountable for the impropriety committed by those under their supervision.

The looking glass of history in Afghanistan | TH

  • Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in March 1985. By then Soviet forces had been in Afghanistan for over five years.
  • They had failed to successfully combat the mujahideen groups, most of whom were based in Pakistan.
  • The mujahideen received crucial support from the United States but the critical factor was their Pakistan base.
  • Secure with the U.S. fully behind it, Pakistan knew that the Soviet Union would not risk crossing the Durand Line to take armed action on Pakistani territory.
  • Immediately after becoming the Soviet Union’s supreme leader, Mr. Gorbachev had met the Pakistani dictator in Moscow.
  • He had warned him that “Moscow would ensure that Pakistan faces the consequences of backing the mujahideen”. Zia was unfazed by the threat because he knew that the new Soviet leader was posturing.
  • Thirty-two years later, the wheel of history had turned. It was the United States which was bogged down in Afghanistan.
  • USA could not carry the war into the territory of Pakistan, now armed with nuclear weapons.
  • “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbo[u]r criminals and terrorists.” Trump
  • Within a year of taking over, Mr. Gorbachev was convinced that the Soviet Union’s Afghan quest was futile. In February 1986 he told the Communist Party that Afghanistan had become a “bleeding wound”.
  • Fourteen months after warning Pakistan of serious consequences in his August 2017 policy announcement, Mr. Trump too caved in and authorised talks between U.S. diplomats and Taliban representatives in Doha.
  • The February 2020 U.S.-Taliban agreement (https://bit.ly/3xw1yFG), which Mr. Trump’s successor President Joe Biden has honoured, marked the strategic defeat of the world’s pre-eminent global power.
  • Significantly, India too advocated a broad-based government and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was in the forefront in advocating it.
  • India took active measures, including contacting the former King Zahir Shah, living in exile in Rome, to lead it.
  • This annoyed the U.S. and Pakistan.
  • Both wanted India to assume a non-operational position on Afghan developments and restrict its role to pressing the Soviets to leave.
  • Once it became clear that Pakistan wanted a mujahideen government without Najibullah’s participation or Zahir Shah’s leadership, India decided to fully support the Najibullah government.
  • This even before the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan in February 1989.
  • Mr. Bhattacherjee records, “To Galbraith’s surprise, Rajiv said that India had reached out to all sections, including the mujahideen inside Pakistan and Afghanistan and was now assessing the entire formula for a broad-based government in Kabul”.
  • In 1989, Kabul was led by a strong Afghan leader, Najibullah, who had the capacity to hold the situation together with Soviet assistance.
  • Now, like Rajiv Gandhi in the 1986-1988 period, Indian foreign policy and security managers are advocating the formation of an inclusive government.
  • The problem is that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is no Najibullah. His capacity to hold Kabul together is questionable.
  • Besides, the Kabul political elite is at odds with itself and if it frays, will the Afghan National Security Forces remain united?
  • The extent to which the U.S. will be willing to support Kabul post August 31 (the date of complete withdrawal) remains to be seen.
  • Notwithstanding all the appropriate diplomatic noises India may make, it has now no real capacity to impact the ground situation in Afghanistan.
  • And, even if the best option for India comes to pass — the formation of an inclusive government — its absence of open contacts with the Taliban will place it at a great disadvantage.

Tightrope walk | TH

  • Governor Shaktikanta Das’s statement accompanying the RBI’s latest policy announcement highlights the bind that monetary authorities find themselves in.
  • While the central bank’s growth supportive actions maintaining the benchmark interest rate at a decade low, ensuring ample liquidity and an accommodative policy stance — are yet to help engender a meaningful recovery, inflation continues to disquietingly hover around the 6% upper bound of its mandated target.
  • “Before the onset of the pandemic, headline inflation and inflationary expectations were well anchored at 4%, the gains from which need to be consolidated and preserved. Stability in inflation rate fosters credibility of the monetary policy framework and augurs well for anchoring inflation expectations. This, in turn, reduces uncertainty for investors... increases external competitiveness and, thus, is growth-promoting.”
  • It is this vital inflation targeting remit that the Monetary Policy Committee has temporarily set aside in the wake of COVID-19 and its brutal impact, while the central bank focuses its efforts on using all available policy tools to simultaneously preserve financial stability and support a durable economic revival.
  • Still, the central bank’s outlook for growth and inflation shows it is cognisant of the ground realities and the limits to its policy options.
  • Asserting that domestic economic activity has started to recover with the ‘ebbing of the second wave’, the MPC is hopeful of a bounce back in rural demand on the back of agricultural output remaining resilient, coupled with urban consumption recovering as the manufacturing and service sectors rebound with a lag, and as increased vaccinations help release pent-up demand.
  • However, given that underlying conditions are still weak and the Current Situation Index of consumer confidence in its own July survey is still stuck near the all-time low polled in May, the RBI has retained its full-year GDP growth forecast at 9.5%.
  • The fact that it has at the same time lowered the Q2, Q3 and Q4 growth projections it made just two months ago, by between 0.5 and 0.9 percentage points, belies the uncertainty in its outlook.
  • With the monsoon rainfall deficit once again widening to minus 4% as on August 8, latest kharif sowing estimates revealing an almost 23% shortfall and composite PMI data for July showing a persistent contraction in business activity and continuing job losses, it is hard to see either a near-term revival in demand or an easing in inflationary pressures from cereal and edible oil prices.
  • Admitting the price pressures, the RBI has also raised its fiscal-year inflation projection by 60 basis points to 5.7%.
  • Also, with one of the six members of the MPC dissenting and voting against the language of the policy stance, it seems clear the central bank may sooner than later have to bite the bullet and start normalising rates if it wants to avoid undermining its own credibility by delaying steps to rein in inflation.

RBI walks the extra mile for growth | FE

  • RBI clearly remains committed to continue supporting growth, given the nascent and uneven nature of recovery.
  • The MPC looks set to keep the key policy rates unchanged in the near future.
  • One expects them to maintain status quo on the repo rate at least during the remaining months of 2021-22, if not longer.
  • While RBI has reaffirmed its FY22 GDP growth forecast of 9.5%, the quarterly path of growth projections remains an interesting one.
  • The central bank has revised its GDP growth forecast for Q1 FY22 upwards by nearly 300 basis points (bps), while forecasts for each of the three subsequent quarters have been revised lower by 50-90 bps from the levels projected earlier.
  • Importantly, RBI projects a low 6% GDP growth during the second half of the current financial year, despite a meagre 1.1% growth during the second half of FY21.
  • RBI’s own surveys suggest that urban consumer confidence reached a multi-year low during the first wave of Covid-19 about a year back and barely improved since then.
  • Household sentiment suffered a stronger beating in the rural areas during the second wave.
  • Thus, once the base-effect-related disruption fades, one can expect only modest recovery in real private consumption demand, which typically constitutes two-third of India’s GDP.
  • Given a stronger global recovery, uptick in commodity prices, sticky food inflation and rise in domestic fuel prices, inflation may stay too high for RBI’s comfort.
  • CPI averaged 5.7% in Q1 and is projected at 5.9% in Q2.
  • While RBI’s CPI forecasts are higher than street expectations, their assessment of balanced risks to this forecast of 5.7% for FY22 does not rule out further upside.
  • Extension of the “On-Tap TLTRO” window, relaxation in MSF financing for another three months, and extending the deadline for achieving the financial parameters under the resolution framework for Covid-related stress by another six months are welcome steps in the context of reviving small businesses and stressed entities.
  • Ensuring stability and smooth functioning in financial markets had been one of the priorities for RBI throughout the pandemic.
  • As recovery still stays tentative and uneven, it is important for policymakers to continue supporting growth and to keep focusing on policy initiatives towards better credit flow, including to MSMEs, smaller businesses and stressed sectors, likely relying more on unconventional tools.

NEWS

  • PM Modi to release next installment of financial benefit under PM-KISAN scheme today
  • PM Modi to preside over high level virtual open debate of UNSC on Aug 9
  • Over 50 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country so far; Recovery rate stands at 97.39 per cent
  • Delhi Govt allows schools to partially open for class 10th & 12th from today
  • MET department warns of heavy rain and lightning in different parts of Bihar for the next 2 days
  • Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy inaugurates exhibition on Quit India Movement
  • Indian Navy band live performance enthrals audience at Visakhapatnam
  • PM Modi to launch 2nd phase of PMUY- Ujjwala 2.0 by handing over LPG connections
  • Indian Navy undertakes bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar 2021’ with UAE Navy
  • PM Modi to chair High-level Open Debate on Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation today
  • EAM S Jaishankar shares concerns over Afghanistan’s security situation during meeting with Qatar’s Special Envoy
  • Homes and shops attacked, temple vandalised in Khulna, Bangladesh
  • Argentines take to streets of Buenos Aires to protest against poverty, unemployment, economic crisis
  • 32nd Summer Games conclude with closing ceremony at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

ANS

Which former Finance Minister introduced Restrospective Taxation in India?

  • Pranab Mukherjee
  • Arun Jaitley
  • Manmohan Singh
  • P. Chidambaram

Q.) The final resting place of which Mughal prince remains a mystery, with the Archaeological Survey of India saying it has not located the grave within the Humanyun’s Tomb complex over a year after a committee was formed for the job?

  • Sulaiman Shikoh
  • Sah Shuja
  • Dara Shikoh
  • Mura Bakhsh