News & Events
in this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The livemint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition.
1.Predictably running to stand still
Monetary policy has run fast to stand still. Policy rates remain static and the stance of monetary policy would stay accommodative to support much-needed economic recovery. The Reserve Bank of India estimates that even as growth accelerates in the coming fiscal to 10.5% in real terms, consumer price inflation would stay well below 6%, the upper bound of the central bank’s comfort zone for inflation. This, despite the hardening of crude and commodity prices across the world. There is, however, no conflict between rising input costs and expectation of low inflation in a context of rapid economic growth. This has to do with vast unutilised capacity across the board.
In India, capacity utilisation is well below 70%. Rise in prices would trigger increased output. That goes for commodities as well. Crude prices are soaring because of production cuts by Saudi Arabia. If America under President Biden revives the Iran nuclear deal, as Tehran desperately wants to, lots of additional oil would come into production. Commodity prices are rising because, in part, of scarce shipping capacity. The pandemic-stricken global logistics industry has cut back on operational fleet capacity. Locked-down production in the world outside China has made it unnecessary for cargo ships to travel to China, laden with normal exports. This has resulted in Chinese output, robust enough in its domestic production, not being able to be shipped out of China. These kinds of restrictions on supply would ease, with vaccination’s progress. The prospect of supply restrictions easing would take out the speculative layer in commodity prices, forcing them down. It makes eminent sense for the central bank to look through these price changes.
Giving direct access to retail investors to government bonds is a major step forward. At a time when retail investors are clueless as to where to put their savings, direct access to the safest instruments possible would be of great help, particularly for things like inflation-adjusted bonds targeted at senior citizens.
2.For solidarity with the people of Myanmar
The military coup in Myanmar curtails democracy, limited and imperfect as it was, in one of the poorest countries. The military takeover came hours ahead of the swearing in of the newly elected parliament. India has, along with other countries, expressed concern at the developments and called for upholding the rule of law and democratic process. Democracy requires work and support. Stronger, more mature democracies must provide support required by newer democracies, without becoming prescriptive.
The coup is no bolt from the blue. The military never relinquished power. Under the 2010 constitution, day-to-day functioning of the government had been handed over to an elected president and parliament. However, the military retained a decisive position — 25% of seats in parliament were reserved for the military. The contest between Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military that had marked the previous 30-odd years continued. Myanmar has had two elections since, Suu Kyi’s NLD won both. At 399 seats, the 2020 tally is an improvement over the 2015 one and had the potential to intensify the contest with Suu Kyi pushing for constitutional changes. China’s blocking of a UN Security Council statement on Myanmar complicates the situation, particularly in the region.
India has made clear its support for restoration of democracy. In the long run, the people prevail over dictatorial regimes and it pays to forge ties of solidarity with the people. At the same time, India must respect the sovereignty of nations and the wrong-headedness of outsiders trying to export democracy to a nation. New Delhi has to deal with whatever government is in charge at the moment, and work with other democracies, to herald the desired change.
3.Indore to Delhi: Munawar Faruqui’s late bail highlights systemic rot
After three bail rejections by a magistrate, sessions court and high court, Supreme Court’s immediate readiness to free comedian Munawar Faruqui should by itself send a signal to all courts that “bail, not jail” should be the judiciary’s primary instinct. Without even scrutinising the violation of fundamental right to free speech, the apex court decided the other fundamental issue: Was arrest necessary? Its markedly different approach is a lesson to courts below.
Madhya Pradesh HC’s Indore bench had preferred to dissect IPC Section 295A against Faruqui that criminalises malicious and deliberate acts intended to hurt religious beliefs. The judge ruled that “under the garb of standup comedy” Faruqui had prima facie violated this section. Such judicial criminalising of humour is worrisome. In contrast, Justices Nariman and Gavai cast Faruqui’s arrest against SC’s 2014 Arnesh Kumar judgment. In it, SC had warned police officers against unnecessary arrests and magistrates against authorising such detentions in non-bailable and cognisable offences prescribing less than seven years imprisonment. Police were directed to certify the necessity of arrests against a five-point checklist: possibility of committing another offence, proper investigation of present offence, preventing evidence from disappearing, threat to witnesses, and possibility of accused absconding.
It is tragic that such eminently sensible prescriptions are neglected. A whopping two-third of the jail population comprises under-trial prisoners. Faruqui and five associates – Nalin Yadav, Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Sadakat Khan – spending 35 days in jail, exemplifies the casual disregard for liberties. SC issuing notice to MP on Faruqui’s plea challenging the FIR engenders hope that abuse of Section 295A and in turn the onslaught on free speech can be dialled back. Faruqui and co shouldn’t have needed Supreme Court to free them: a magistrate was sufficient. Amid relief, that’s the souring thought.
4.Pink ribbon warning: Breast cancer overtakes them all
Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, making up 11.7% of all new cancer diagnoses. In India too, it is rapidly rising. Today, one in 22 urban women and one in 60 rural women is at risk of the disease. In the West, dogged activism by women’s groups has destigmatised breast cancer. It has been branded with a pink ribbon; philanthropic campaigns, advertising and marathons have raised awareness; vast sums of money have been mobilised against it. But research suggests that Indian women are likely to get the disease earlier and at more advanced stages.
Delays in detection and treatment are the main reasons it becomes a more complex and life-threatening situation here. Cancer is an especially dreaded diagnosis for the poor. The gender disparity in access to healthcare is also well-documented. Women under-use health services because of lack of affordability, lack of transport, having less money and less time than men, and also most fundamentally, because the world is not set up to attend to their well-being.
Families and institutions, even women themselves, underplay their physical suffering. Diseases that specifically affect women are under-researched, and women are less commonly screened for common conditions like heart disease, or even mental illness. Women are also under-studied in clinical trials, which assume the male body as the standard, hampering the efficacy of drugs for women. We need to undo this skew urgently, so that all women have a fighting chance of a full life.