News & Events
in this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,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.Making Alternatives Mainstream Investment
The recent move of capital markets regulator Sebi to amend norms for Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) is forward-looking, designed to shore up transparency and boost efficiency. The alternatives typically tend to perform differently than stocks and bonds, and adding them to an investment portfolio can well provide broader diversification of risks and, in tandem, enhanced returns.
An AIF is a privately pooled investment vehicle that is supposed to collect funds from savvy investors. Note that Category I AIFs include venture capital funds (and angel funds), infrastructure funds and small and medium enterprise funds, while real estate funds, private equity funds and funds for distressed assets are classified as Category II AIFs.
The new Sebi norms, for starters, harmonise the definition of startups with that of the Centre for the purpose of investment by early-stage angel funds. Next, the list of restricted activities or sectors for venture capital undertakings has been removed, to duly provide investment flexibility for VC funds. And AIFs, including funds of AIFs, now have the go-ahead to simultaneously invest in units of other AIFs, and can also do so directly in the securities of investee companies. The policy intention is to diversify investments, better manage risks and augment returns.
Further, Sebi has prescribed a Code of Conduct for AIF trustees and directors, as also members of the investment committees of the funds. The norms also provide clarity on the scope of responsibilities of managers of ICs, to stem opacity in private investment vehicles. In India’s maturing capital markets, revamped rules for AIFs would raise inflows into them, better allocate resources, diversify risks and gainfully rev up overall returns.
2.No More Lockdowns, Shed Covid Fatigue
A man steps in the same river twice, held Greek philosopher Heraclitus, on the ground that constant flow has changed the water of the river and that the man himself has changed. It is futile to try and contain the second wave of Covid visible now in some parts of the country with the lockdown that was imposed to contain the virus in the initial phase of the pandemic outbreak. Containing the virus now calls for not lockdowns but a combination of rigorous enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour and intensification of the vaccination drive.
Immunity kicks in within a couple of weeks of receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Millions of people have been vaccinated and are immune in the regions where the virus is running amok now. Instead of a generalised clampdown on activity, what is called for is getting those vaccinated to lead the country’s journey to a post-pandemic world, and to increase the numbers of those vaccinated, by enhancing vaccine supplies. Those infected must be treated at home, if their symptoms do not warrant hospitalisation, and those homes must serve as micro containment zones, to prevent Covid spreading further. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance have been sacrificed in the election campaigns. It is time for the same politicians who did not bat an eyelid while addressing unmasked crowds to now demand that their followers wear masks and avoid forming large groups. Political parties and their associated youth and student organisations should campaign for shedding Covid fatigue and community adoption of masking, social distancing and frequent sanitisation of one’s self and surroundings.
Increasing vaccine supplies is key to stepping up the pace of vaccination. Regulators must grant emergency authorisation to vaccines that have found approval in jurisdictions with sound regulatory practices. The government must issue compulsory licences to manufacture some of these vaccines at scale. The EU is fighting to corner a larger share of the vaccine output. But the real challenge is to increase the supply of vaccines.
3. Southern duopolies: Decades of DMK-AIADMK and LDF-UDF rivalry head into another pulsating contest
Elections to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry assemblies today will decide the political fortunes of CMs EK Palaniswami and Pinarayi Vijayan, both seeking victory to continue unchallenged at the helm of their respective parties. An unfancied Palaniswami was entrusted the reins of government by VK Sasikala who counted him as a servile loyalist. But she soon landed in prison allowing EPS to prove himself an able administrator and astute politician, deftly taking control of the party too after ousting Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran.
Despite EPS’s performance as a competent successor to the redoubtable Jayalalithaa, this is MK Stalin’s election to lose with most opinion polls giving DMK the edge. After two successive terms, many AIADMK legislators are feeling the heat of anti-incumbency: Complaints of inaccessibility, neglect of constituencies and graft are galore. EPS may also have overplayed a populist card in the exclusive 10.5% reservation to Vanniyars within the MBC quota, prompting a backlash and potential reverse consolidation by other MBC groups. Factionalism is another headache for EPS.
Meanwhile, Kerala could potentially go down to the wire. A comfortable victory in local body polls four months ago inspired the “LDF For Sure” campaign theme. But UDF has been energised by good candidate selection as well as a raft of corruption allegations against LDF. Kerala’s floating voter phenomenon, which keeps booting out incumbents, has been thrown into doubt with LDF’s strong welfarist credentials and the coming of the strongman cult to Kerala. Vijayan’s unquestioned grip over government and party is a novel experience for the Malayali even as TN, long governed by larger than life figures, appears to be moving in the opposite direction now.
The tri-state elections are also critical for BJP’s long term plans. It needs to convert AIADMK’s generous offer of 20 seats into a decent number of wins. In adjoining Puducherry, BJP edged out AIADMK as the second largest party in NDA contesting 9 seats against 5 for AIADMK and 16 to NR Congress. With the lieutenant governor’s powers to nominate three MLAs, BJP/ NDA starts 3-0. BJP is in strong reckoning in 6 seats in Kerala, but failure to expand its 15% vote share from last time will hurt. For Congress, the Assam-Kerala outcome will influence the upcoming AICC polls and the next moves of Rahul Gandhi, who has campaigned extensively. Meanwhile, spare a thought for Bengal which must endure five more tiresome, tortuous phases of polling.
4.Red scourge: Political unity and tribal-centric development needed to defeat Maoists
The deadly attack in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region that killed 22 security personnel and injured another 33 shows that the Maoist threat remains potent. Around 2,000 security troops had been mobilised for an operation deep in the jungles of Bijapur based on information that a large number of Maoists were holding a meeting there. A total of 10 security teams were launched comprising the CRPF and its elite COBRA unit, District Reserve Guard, District Force and Special Task Force of the Chhattisgarh police.
But according to jawans who survived the encounter, they didn’t find anything when they reached the targeted spot. And it was while they were returning that they were ambushed in the deserted Tekulguda village where the ultras had set up firing positions. All of this indicates that the security forces had walked into a Maoist trap. This necessitates a thorough evaluation of the intelligence inputs that led to the launch of the security operation in the first place. There have been suspicions for a while that Maoists have been gaming police intercepts, particularly through the Dantewada listening post. Second, large operations with 1,000-plus troops need to be reviewed as they attract too much attention. And third, forces must also review chasing phantom Maoist figures like Madvi Hidma whose alleged presence had launched the massive security mobilisation.
There are structural issues that need to be addressed as well. Security operations have to go hand in hand with development initiatives that keep tribals at the centre. This is needed to undermine local support for Maoists. Plus, there needs to be political unity on tackling the Maoist menace. Some BJP netas sniping at Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel after the attack is unhelpful. In fact, states and Centre should work together to plan and execute both security operations and development initiatives to defeat the Maoist scourge.
5. At stake, the future of the Indian polity | HT Editorial
On Tuesday, voters in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Assam and West Bengal will choose elected representatives for their state assemblies (Bengal’s polls will continue through the month). What voters decide on April 6 will play a key role in determining the future of the Indian polity in two fundamental ways.
One, the polls will shape the distribution of political power in the system. If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins Assam and Bengal, and is able to retain Tamil Nadu with its ally in the state, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, it will mark the continued eastern and southern expansion of the party. It will also mark the continued centralisation of the polity, where the idea of a “double engine” government — having the same party in power at the Centre and in the state — has voter approval. This will shrink the space for the Opposition and impact the balance in the federal system. Alternatively, if the Congress wins Assam, the Trinamool Congress retains Bengal, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam comes back to power in Tamil Nadu, and irrespective of whether the Left or the Congress leads the next government in Kerala, power will get diffused, the Opposition will get energised, and the BJP will face challenges.