26th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 26th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu 

Editorial : Murder at noon

Context:

A Central Reserve Police Force battalion was ambushed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district leading to the death of 25 personnel, the worst such attack in 7 years

Important Points:

  • At least 25 CRPF personnel were killed near the Burkapal camp in south Sukma while out on duty to provide protection for road construction on the Dornapal-Jagargunda belt when the Maoists struck.
  • Around 300 armed insurgents swooped down on the battalion around 1 p.m., when the soldiers were taking a break for lunch and their guard was presumed to have been down. 
  • The Maoists used automatic weapons that they had stolen a month ago when they ambushed and killed a dozen CRPF men not very far from this encounter site.
  • This shocking attack points to a few things,
  • It is a tragic reminder of the failure of the Indian state to effectively address the security challenge the Maoists
  • The recent spate of attacks and ambushes indicates a breakdown in intelligence-gathering, possibly on account of a lack of effective coordination between the State police and paramilitary forces.
  • The State police forces in Maoist-affected areas have more or less abdicated their duties of law and order, leaving the job almost entirely to the paramilitary forces.
  • It is consistent with the Maoist strategy of blowing up infrastructure that enables connectivity, such as roads and bridges, or establishes the presence of the state, such as schools. The road being built would’ve provided easy access to the backward region of the State, where Maoists have for long held sway.
  • The post of the Director General of the CRPF continues to be vacant and that is a major administrative inadequacy and the fault lies at the door of the Central government.
  • It also raises questions about the Standard Operating Procedures and precautions adopted by the CRPF.
  • What shall be the response?
  • The response must be to double down to extend the presence of the administration in Bastar, to break the isolation and reach social services to the people.
  • The Centre needs to put in place measures to strengthen, expand and arm the State police, most of all in Chhattisgarh.
  • This needs the State governments to show far more political will to persuade local communities than they currently do. 
  • There is also the need to boost the morale of the security and police forces.

The Maoists long ago lost the argument when they resorted to violence but the state is yet to win that argument by addressing the people’s security and welfare needs.

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25th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 25th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu / The Indian Express

Editorial : The best laid plans: On NITI AayogNew India?

Context:

The meeting of the NITI Aayog Governing Council chaired by the Prime Minister amidst a climate of attacks by so-called “gau rakshaks” on people from minority community

Important Points:

  • The 12th Five Year Plan ended on March 31, 2017 and with it was expected that a new era of cooperative federalism would kick in with a three-year action plan, which was to be a part of a seven-year strategy that would in turn help realise a 15-year long-term vision, all under the guidance of NITI Aayog but fulfilled by the states.
  • However, in the recent meeting of the NITI Aayog Governing Council, a draft action agenda for the three years till 2019-20 was handed out to CMs, with 300 specific action points. This agenda is meant to be the first step towards attaining the envisioned outcomes by 2031-32. 
  • Some optimistic numerical extrapolation by the Aayog has led to assumptions of 8% growth annually leading to a rise in India’s GDP by ₹332 lakh crore in the next 15 years.
  • However, without a larger strategy and vision in place, the three-year action plan is likely to be more of an abstract wish list.
  • The Chief Ministers will now evaluate and revert on this and until this is done there is policy vacuum in India.
  • To make cooperative federalism truly effective, the Council must more often and not after a gap of two years like it happened now.
  • However, along with this vision and agenda for growth what is required is securing the rights of individuals so that it can lead to development.
  • Economic growth turns meaningless in the face of extra-legal attacks in the name of cow vigilantism by goons taking law in their own hands. Not just this, it is the impunity with which they get away while targeting a particular community and breaking the law that is worrisome.
  • The state becomes complicit in this by going easy on the attackers and filing an FIR against the victims as well. This deteriorating condition of law and order is not just a concern for BJP-ruled states but also other states as such action tendencies could spread to other areas, from Rajasthan and UP now, and stoke fears and anxiety of the minority community.
  • Growth cannot be separated from development and “development” is a meaningless catchword unless the state guarantees that the right to safety, security and dignity of all citizens will be protected.

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24th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 24th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : Tale of two sections

Context:

A case had been filed against MS Dhoni under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for appearing in the likeness of a deity on the cover of a magazine.

Important Points:

  • The Supreme Court while exempting MS Dhoni from appearance during proceedings resorted to the interpretation given to Section 295A by a Constitution Bench in 1957, that it only “punishes the aggravated form of insult to religion when it is perpetrated with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class”.
  • At a time when the country is at its most sensitive and ready to take offence at the slightest bit, it is time the lower courts stop taking cognizance of such trivial or vexatious cases filed on the grounds of being offensive to religion, caste, community, cultural group.
  • A similar provision is section 153A of the Indian Penal Code that seeks to punish those who promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language, and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
  • This has been misused to harass writers and artists and cast a chill on free expression.
  • These laws, albeit secular in nature because they apply to all religions, are highly subjective in nature. There is no guessing what will cause insult/offence to a community and what the judge will find scandalous.
  • Both of them being misused, overused and the arbitrariness in their use lead to something called a “marketplace of outrage” — an economy that feeds on anger and hostility.
  • What we need is for them to be read down, their scope narrowed in a way that moral vigilantes and those who claim to be emotional victims can no longer exploit the law to serve their narrow chauvinistic ends.

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21st April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 21st Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : Beacons curb: Red, blue, ordinary

Context:

End of use of red-beacons; blue-beacons allowed on emergency vehicles only

Important Points:

  • The Union Cabinet led by the PM has decided to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules of 1989 so that the Central and State governments lose the power to nominate categories of persons for the red-beacon distinction.
  • From May 1 onwards, only vehicles on emergency services, such as ambulances, fire trucks and police cars, will be permitted the use of a blue beacon.
  • This dismantling of the use of red beacons, symbolising the VIP cult in the country, is a welcome move.
  • Red-beacons atop vehicles in India signifies that one has “made it”, be it political class or the bureaucracy. As a corollary, disallowing the use of red beacons makes the government appear pro-masses, as highlighted by the decisions taken by state assemblies of Delhi, Punjab and U.P.
  • However, the symbolic manifestation of ruler-subject hierarchy is visible in other forms such as privileges and exemptions offered at airport security checks and toll plazas.
  • Apart from this, officialdom or proximity to it manifests in the form of other services such as securing a bed at a state hospital, or a seat for one’s child in school, to cutting the waiting time for a passport.
  • This culture of being a VIP has to be demolished from the minds of the power-holders as well as the masses. Only then will our democracy guarantee a level playing field to all its citizens.
  • Alas, incidents such as the one involving Mr. Gaekwad and the impunity with which they are let off do no good to the government’s efforts of ending VIP culture

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19th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 19th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : Lines of defence for using EVMs

Context:

The Election Commission has asked the government to release funds to be used for the manufacture of VVPAT EVMs

Important Points:

  • The EC had successfully brushed aside complaints of BSP and AAP after their electoral losses but a clutch of other parties have joined the chorus and hence the EC has asked the government to urgently release the money required for getting the process of manufacturing of VVPAT EVMs started, for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • The use of VVPAT EVMs across India would require roughly 16 lakh such machines costing about Rs 3,174 crore in manufacturing costs.
  • The EC has repeatedly assured voters that there are enough procedural and technical safeguards to prevent large-scale tampering or manipulation of EVMs.

Technical security features

  • Since 2006, elections have witnessed the use of upgraded EVMs — Model 2 machines, with security features such as dynamic coding of key codes on ballot units and their transfer as messages to the control unit in an encrypted manner. 
  • EVMs feature encoded software that is burnt one-time on to programmable chips, enabling them to be used as stand-alone machines rather than computer-connected units, thus preventing any hacking by remote devices.
  • Model 3 machines produced after 2013 have additional features such as tamper detection.

Procedural security features

  • Locking and storing EVMs before and after polling, besides functional checks and tests in the presence of representatives of political parties.

Analysis:

  • Paper trails were supposed to corroborate the votes polled in certain constituencies only and was not conceived as something to be taken up at a pan-India scale. Hence, the exercise of having VVPAT EVMs pan-India seems unnecessary and expensive.
  • The addition of the VVPAT machine to the process is to allow for cross-checking of EVM results through a paper audit, completing another layer of accountability, in addition to technical and procedural safeguards.
  • Contrary to claims by political parties, studies show the introduction of EVMs has resulted in a drastic reduction in electoral fraud (rigging, stuffing of ballot boxes, etc.) and allowed for greater voter participation.

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18th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 18th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu

Editorial : HIV/AIDS Bill

Context:

Passing of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill

Important Points:

  • The population of HIV/AIDS infected people in India is estimated at 21 lakh.
  • The legislation empowers those who have contracted the infection in a variety of ways: such as protecting against discrimination in employment, education, health-care services, getting insurance and renting property. 
  • Data for 2015 published by the Ministry show that two-thirds of HIV-positive cases are confined to seven States, while three others have more than one lakh cases each.
  • Centre should initiate active public consultations to draw up the guidelines to govern the operation of the law. The West has a history of community involvement in policymaking for HIV/AIDS
  • The Supreme Court has played its role by ruling against patent extensions on frivolous grounds, putting the generic drugs industry, which is very crucial for HIV treatment, on a firm footing. 

Critical Analysis:

  • The said Bill does not guarantee access to anti-retroviral drugs and treatment for opportunistic infections. On this ground, the affected community are disappointed.
  • The law enjoins the States to provide access “as far as possible”.
  • The onus is now on states to show political will for its effective implementation and appoint ombudsman to look into complaints of violations.
  • Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare noted that State rules should prescribe a reasonable time limit for inquiries into complaints.
  • To achieve Goal 3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals — to “end the epidemic of AIDS” (among others) by 2030 — a rapid scaling up of interventions to prevent new cases and to offer free universal treatment is critical. 
  • Publicly funded insurance is required to bring this subset of care-seekers into the overall risk pool.

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13th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 13th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu

Editorial : Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill

Context:

Changes proposed to the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act of 1988

Important Points:

  • The Central government has introduced the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill, 1988 which has been passed by the Lok Sabha but could not pass the Upper House in this session.
  • The said Bill seeks to give the Centre a direct role in the reforms proposed, since it will introduce guidelines that bind State governments in several areas, notably in creating a framework for taxicab aggregators, financing insurance to treat the injured and to compensate families of the dead in hit-and-run cases, prescribing standards for electronically monitoring highways and urban roads for enforcement and modernising driver licensing. 
  • The changes proposed by the Centre hinge on the concurrent nature of road transport giving centre the legal authority to introduce changes but stifling the room for federal spirit.
  • To its credit, the Central government had, however, introduced a consultative mechanism of state transport ministers who have collectively arrived at the changes.
  • The changes proposed steeply increase the penalties for several offences, notably drunken driving, speeding, jumping red lights etc but the current situation of lax implementation fails to make heavy penalties a deterrent for offenders.
  • What we need is an accountable and professional police to for effective enforcement of these rules so that accident fatalities can be brought down from almost 1,50,000 in 2015
  • The states should now buck up and improve their capacities and take the entire process of issuing driving licenses online.
  • Another important area of reform is the good Samaritan law which needs to encourage bystanders to rush to the aid of accident victims without fear of being embroiled in the legal process afterwards.

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12th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 12th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu

Editorial : Kulbushan Jadhav death sentence

Context:

The decision of a Pakistani military court finding Mr. Kulbushan Jadhav guilty of espionage and fomenting protests in Baluchistan against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Important Points:

  • A Field General Court Martial has sentenced to death former Indian naval officer Kulbushan Jadhav on the grounds of espionage
  • The entire prosecution process was very secretive and there are glaring holes in the procedures followed.
  • The so-called confession tapes of Mr. Jadhav belie the fact that he was tutored for the same and beyond this self-confession no further evidence has been presented by Pakistan despite multiple requests by the Indian government for consular access.
  • Human rights organizations have also condemned the opaque nature of the process and for justice to prevail Mr Jadhav should be given a re-trial in a civil court
  • This kind of a step from Pakistan only exposes the failure of bilateral interaction between the two nations. There are no backchannels where communication may take place and such tensions de-escalated.
  • Indian government has refused talks with Pakistan after the Pathankot attacks in January last year.
  • The response to such a situation has to be firm and three-pronged: impress upon Pakistan not to carry out the hanging, explain to the international community the flaws in the trial process and send interlocutors to Pakistan to open backchannels for diplomatic engagement.

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11th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 11th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu / The India Express

Editorial : Sheikh Hasina India visit Second Best Friend 

Context:

PM Ms. Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi and the conclusion of a few important agreements except for one on Teesta

Important Points:

  • PM Modi has assured the visiting PM of Bangladesh Ms. Sheikh Hasina of an early resolution to the Teesta water dispute. It highlights India’s commitment to conclude an agreement for the same for which a framework was initialled in 2011.
  • India’s steady improvement of ties with Bangladesh started during the tenure of PM Manmohan Singh wherein agreements on cooperation on terrorism, and the frameworks for the land swap and water-sharing arrangements were signed.
  • This need for bipartisanship was stressed on by Ms. Hasina and this is exactly what we need to come up with a solution for Teesta, just like we passed the Constitutional Amendment Act for the Land Boundary Agreement.
  • Taking the energy and synergy forward, the two PMs have concluded agreements on energy cooperation and connectivity, in the field of private investment, an MoU on a framework for defence cooperation – essentially formalised existing arrangements for defence exchanges, military training and high-level defence visits, and an agreement of cooperation on peaceful uses of nuclear energy which endorsed the existing training programmes for Bangladeshi scientists at Indian facilities.
  • India’s has also announced further lines of credit of $5 billion, including $500 million for defence purchases, the largest such LoC extended to any country so far
  • Other agreements include a bus service that will run between Kolkata, Khulna and Dhaka, a new passenger train service and a new rail link for running goods trains. India will also finance a diesel oil pipeline from Numaligarh to Parbatipur and Indian companies will enter into a long-term agreement for the supply of diesel
  • In a context where China is taking the lead with its Belt & Road initiative, India has chosen well to extend funds to rebuild old railway lines, and construct bridges, power plants, ports and roads in Bangladesh
  • Plans to revive inland waterway channels are also under way, and hold the potential to increase connectivity with Nepal and Bhutan
  • These will not only improve connectivity with Bangladesh but with India, the North-East, as well.
  • PM Modi remarked that India’s allocation for Bangladesh had reached $8 billion in the last 6 years, which pales as compared to the $24 billion offered by President Xi last year when Bangladesh endorsed his One Belt One Road initiative. India might not be able to match the economic clout of China and so for that reason it becomes all the more important to resolve the Teesta issue to generate goodwill for India in the people of Bangladesh.
  • It is imperative to find an amicable solution to the issue to truly transform Indo-Bangladesh ties.

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10th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 10th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers. 

The Hindu

Editorial : US missile attack on Syria

Context:
US missile attack on a Syrian airbase
Important Points:

  • President Trump ordered the launch of Tomahawk missiles on Syria after news broke of the use of chemical weapons by Syria in Khan Shaykhun.
  • This bombing of Syria is a departure from President Obama’s policy who desisted from bombing because he wanted to focus on eliminating ISIS from Iraq and Syria and secondly he did not want to get into direct confrontation with Russia which backs the regime of President Assad.
  • When the dust settles around President Trump’s move, the question that will need to be asked is whether the bombing has had any deterrence effect on Syria or has it mitigated the pains of Syrians in the long run or has it brought the civil war to an end?
  • Trump did not wait for the UN to investigate the chemical attack in Syria and launched missiles despite the UN charter clearly stating that any attack on another country need approval by the Security Council. President Trump could have used the time taken for investigation to build consensus over Syria.
  • Instead, by attacking he has pushed Moscow in a deeper embrace with Damascus, wherein Moscow has sent a warship to the Mediterranean and has threatened to halt a direct line between the defence ministers of USA and Russia that was established to avoid any direct confrontation in Syria.
  • The Syrian crisis – which has political, sectarian, geopolitical dimensions – has no quick fix solution. The focus of the international community should be on ending the war, with or without replacing the regime of Mr. Assad.

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