The Indian Express
Editorial : Handle with care
The non-local students have been boycotting classes in NIT Srinagar since Monday after clashes with Kashmiri students who celebrated West Indies’ victory over India in the World T20 semi final.. In reaction to the celebrations by Kashmiri students following India’s defeat, non-Kashmiri students waved the tricolour on campus and tried to hoist it near NIT’s administrative block. Amid slogan shouting, Non locals tried to take the protest outside the college which was brutally suppressed by police
Important Points :
- After Hyderabad University and JNU, NIT Srinagar has become latest ground to check perceived sense of Indian Nationhood
- Such jingoism in unacceptable, more so in Srinagar; such instances can polarize two regions of the state- Jammu and Kashmir valley
- Situation in J&K is changing; coalition govt of hardline nationalists and soft nationalists; a new ‘indigenous’ militancy and attacks in neighboring Punjab from across the border
- Situation calls for wisdom and deft handling; hardly seen in statements made by BJP MP who called for action against erring parties including police officials (who beat students) and warn kashmiris of backlash in rest of India
- Country can ill afford another JNU
Editorial : Act now
Supreme Court on Wednesday has rapped central govt for not doing enough for drought hit states; neither in terms of relief nor in effective implementation of National Food Security Act
Important Points :
- Country is suffering from extended bout of El Nino; no rains, no drinking water and low agricultural productivity. On top of it govt is delaying payment of MGNREGA (worth 10,588 crores) which is compounding rural distress
- Food prices are low, rather than soaring as scarcity normally exert upward pressure on prices (retail inflation 5-6 percent). Reason is depressed global commodity prices resulting in ineffective price realization
- Every major agrarian crisis has lead to a new revolution (for ex Green revolution). Time is ripe for another one; based on water use efficiency
- Centre must focus on drip irrigation projects, increased ground water recharge, farm ponds etc rather than high cost large irrigation projects.
Important Points :
- About 11 Million secret documents from Panama based law firm Mossack Fonesca leaked. Intial investigations have yet again pointed towards lack of effective regulation of global finance and usage of tax heavens by the corrupt people.
- India is accused of hazy laws in the context of global finance especially on buying of off-shore companies. RBI guidelines have been largely reactive and ineffective.
- Global investigations have time and again revealed large scale tax avoidance and parking of funds in shell companies, clearly wanting better regulation.
- The NDA government has provided one time compliance window to declare foreign assets under Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets ( Imposition of Tax) Act, 2015 but with little success
- It is suggested that global finance requires a well coordinated regulation.
- The problem of black money is to be dealt at multilateral level through tightened capital flows and zero tolerance to illegality domestically.
Editorial : The language of violence
Important Points :
- Recently issues such as chanting of Bharat Mata ki Jai, trying to terrorise those who do not chant it and counter fire from non-compliant groups have spread all across the country. These literally non issues are creating conditions stimulating violence in the society.
- Yoga guru Ramdev threatened beheading of people for refusing the chant. Owaisi had earlier said he wouldn’t say Bharat Mata ki Jai even if a knife was put to his throat
- The worst part is these kind of hate speeches are met with accepting silence by those in power.
- IPC Section 295 A which deals with hate speech and the like is routinely used against authors etc but never invoked against the gurus etc. The editor suggests that likes of Ramdev should be made to understand this provision of law.
Editorial : Legislative impropriety
The law governing Foreign Contributions to Indian Political Parties is to be amended. The editorial discusses what are its implications and if it’s right or wrong?
Which law is being amended?
Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA)
When and How?
- In the ongoing Budget session as a Finance Bill.
- The amendments will be made effective from a past date, that is, retrospectively from 2010.
What does FCRA do?
The FCRA bans political parties from receiving funds from a foreign entity.
What are the amendments proposed?
The donations to political parties by Indian companies with FDI (within certain specified limits) will NO LONGER be considered “foreign contributions”.
What is wrong with this proposal?
- In 2014 BJP and Congress were held guilty for violating FCRA rules by accepting funds from London headquartered Vedanta Group.
- Amendments will free these parties from the punishments.
- Another issue is that it has been presented as a Money Bill.
What’s wrong if bill is presented as a Money Bill?
- This means Rajya Sabha can be bypassed.
- The bill can’t be referred to a joint committee of the Houses.
- This is done because of the ruling coalition lacks numbers in Rajya Sabha.
Who certifies if the bill is a Money Bill?
Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
But does the bill look like a Money Bill?
- Because the FCRA falls under the home ministry, not the finance ministry.
- It is an issue involving political party funding and not taxation or expenditure or borrowing of the Government of India or any appropriation or receipts to the Consolidated Fund of India.
What about “retrospective” application of law? Is it good or bad?
- Looks like govt is using backdated legislation to suit its narrow purposes
- Unlikely to reassure global investor community about government’s consistency. That it can change laws any moment and then make them applicable from a back date.
- It diminishes the reputation of the Congress as an effective opposition party.
Editorial : A long hot summer
The central and state governments need to take IMD’s warning seriously and initiate timely action to minimise the coming summer’s impact.
Reasons of unusually hot summers :
- IMD believes heat waves are linked with global warming. Because :
- Increasing greenhouse gas emissions
- Warming up of waters of equatorial Indian and Pacific Oceans due to El Nino.
Impact of unusually hot summers :
- Ill effects on Human and livestock health, leading to high mortality.
- Shortages of drinking water.
- Shortages of fodder.
- High heat tends to lower living being’s productivity.
- Low water levels in reservoirs adversely impacting the prospects of power generation.
- Water scarcity may affect coal-based power plants. As they require large amounts of water for steam generation.
- Shortage of power may impact manufacturing sector and the economy in general.
What could be done to minimize impact of unusually hot summers :
- Curb misuse of water.
- Curb misuse of electricity.
- Mitigate thermal stress on livestock and human beings.
- Local authorities should launch public awareness campaigns on ways to escape heat-related hazards.
- Medical and paramilitary personnel need to be trained to deal with cases of heat stroke.
- Setting up temporary ‘day shelters’, on the lines of the ‘night shelters’ in winters.
- Provision of potable drinking water.