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.Quota for ‘locals’: A Haryana vs India law that must go
The Haryana government has approved 75% of jobs in private companies offering a salary of less than ₹50,000 a month for ‘locals’. So, regression is not confined to the Lalaland of pre-liberalisation India or post-Brexit Britain. With the BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) government making ‘nativism’ an economic policy, this is ‘vocal for local’ gone crazy. It not only flies in the face of GoI’s measures to actually strengthen intra-state movement of labour like ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ and goes against the spirit of a unified Indian market embedded in GST, but it also makes a mockery of the Constitution — equality of law irrespective of place of birth (Article 14), against discrimination in (public) employment (Article 15), and free movement to all Indian citizens across India (Article 19).
The supply of labour, especially in the urban hotbeds of industry, has to be based on market demand, not on atavistic parameters like the history of one’s place of residence — the new law defines ‘locals’ as those who have stayed in Haryana for 15 or more years. The 2014 ‘Charu Khurana vs Union of India’ case, in which a trade union had debarred a worker as she had not lived in Maharashtra for ‘at least five years’, is a precedent that must be rustled up to challenge the Haryana Ordinance.
There is a double irony in the move. One, after Covid lockdowns last year, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar had appealed to migrant workers not to leave Haryana. Two, and more tellingly, there is no bogey of ‘outsiders taking jobs’ for which such a Lakshman rekha has been purportedly been enacted. The 2011 census shows that interstate migrants in the urban workforce in 2001-11 formed a national average of only about 8%, much of the migration actually being intra-state. Reserving jobs for ‘locals’ blunts competitiveness and kills skill availability. At a time when India is throwing its arms open to welcome talent from the world, to have parts of it go into self-quarantine is not just fatuous but dangerous. Haryana must scrap the self-defeating law.
2.Investment from China: The issue is control, not insulating sector
Can India draw in investment from China without compromising national security? Rather than sectors or levels of investment, policy must focus on control. Indeed, a growing economy like India should be happy to make use of capital from all across the world, including from China. However, such capital must come on terms that India determines to advance national security. And control is the key element in determining the capacity of a foreign investor to do anything more than rake in profits.
Can Chinese capital be allowed in national highways or ports or electricity grids? These are no longer passive infrastructure: all of them have control systems linked to programmable logic controllers, whose command can, in theory, be taken over by a hostile alien, particularly if routers or bits of software installed in the infrastructure contain Trojans meant to facilitate such hijacking. What kit procured from where and installed by whom under whose supervision is the key question. This is not determined by the national origin or level of foreign capital in the project. Rather, the issue is control over the relevant decision-making, and intelligent, enforced guidelines on what kind of gear can be deployed, backed up by the capacity to test kit for vulnerability from frequent random samples.
Indian infrastructure companies that seek foreign investment must have shares with differential voting rights, and retain control with Indians who will not sign away economic interest and voting rights associated with the shares registered in their names. The ability to conduct forensic audit of not just accounts but also technical equipment is another prerequisite. Putting these in place is vital to give entrepreneurs broad access to global capital.
3.Rabbits from hats: Judgment eloquently highlights shoddy investigations in Delhi riots case
A northeast Delhi riots case where police arraigned two men as accused for attempted murder speaks volumes about criminal investigation in the country. Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat discharging Babu and Imran for the attempted murder charge, but accepting prima facie evidence to charge them with rioting and similar offences said: “The gunshot injury is stated to be caused to Rahul but where is he? His statement is not on record… The state is categorical in saying that the police never saw Rahul. That being the case, who is going to say who shot whom and by whom and where?”
With no victim in the crime, the bitter irony is that the shoddy investigation may have produced two victims. Proponents of encounter killings may want to rethink – in the light of such cases – the perils of investing cops with powers of judge and executioner too. Judge Rawat evocatively quotes Dostoevsky in his judgment: “From a hundred rabbits you can’t make a horse, a hundred suspicions don’t make a proof.” Babu and Imran were in jail until November when they secured bail. With the most serious charge against them in a half-baked chargesheet failing, their trial for other offences must be expedited. The innocent until proven guilty dictum is rarely subscribed to, evident in jails packed with undertrial prisoners.
Such false or poorly investigated cases also highlight the dangers of media trials, with police or netas having vested interest in shaping public opinion on probes in a certain way. Activists accused of criminal conspiracy in the northeast Delhi riots have charged police with leaking chargesheets to the media before courts took cognisance and copies were furnished to them. The media must be alive to the possibility of unprofessional or unethical policing, which endangers the rights of accused to a fair trial.
On many such fronts, be it Supreme Court directing CCTV camera installations with night vision and audio recording at police stations and other investigating agencies covering interrogation rooms, lockups, entries and exits, police reforms are low priority for the political class. Accountability to citizens for law and order failures lies with elected leadership, but that doesn’t imply they exercise stifling control over policing. It is also the political class that must take the blame for recurring communal riots in India, stemming from shoddy investigations that often incriminate innocents while failing to catch and punish the actual rioters.
4.Appeasing nativism: Haryana’s decision to reserve jobs for locals in private sector is a retrograde step
Haryana has notified the State Employment of Local Candidates Act 2020, which reserves jobs for locals. It is a retrograde development which can catalyse the balkanisation of India’s labour market. The law applies to all organisations which employ ten or more people. It’s obligatory for employers to adjust recruitment in a way that 75% of jobs that pay a gross monthly salary of up to Rs 50,000 are reserved for locals.
To put it in context, Haryana has reserved 75% of jobs that pay up to almost five times India’s monthly per capita income. This move will have a number of adverse effects. Among the more important ones is that it will defeat the underlying purpose of the legislation. It will drive jobs out of the state as it makes it unviable for businesses to follow the law in letter and spirit, reducing the total number of jobs available. The other consequence is that it will encourage informalisation of labour, as employers look for ways to both compete in the market and follow the law.
The law does carve out exceptions by allowing employers to seek permission for waivers if there are not enough qualified locals available. However, that opens the door to a licence-permit-quota raj and corruption is almost inevitable in its train. Haryana is not an exception. Andhra Pradesh assembly in 2019 passed a similar law. Nativism weakens the bonds that unite India and violates the fundamental right of Indians to seek a livelihood anywhere in the country. Haryana has resorted to this step despite having a BJP chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar. BJP, a party that claims to be nationalist, shouldn’t pander to nativism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should persuade his colleague to see reason in national interest.