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.With vaccine trials nearing completion, prepare plans for vaccination drive for children
Reports that two vaccines for children could secure emergency use authorisation by September will be met with a huge sigh of relief. After 17 months of being restricted to indoors and forced into online learning, this is a big breakthrough for the young ones. So far, most states are reluctant to restart schools despite detected infections falling massively.
Covaxin and Zydus-Cadila’s three-dose vaccine are the two candidates that will hit the market first. Corbevax from Biological E and Baylor School of Medicine is also suitable for children according to its makers. Covaxin has been tested on children between ages 2 and 18. So all school going children will be eligible for it. But it is incumbent on Covaxin to massively scale up production over the next month. So far, Covaxin has struggled to keep up with its commitments. A long drawn out affair will not help children raring to get back to school.
The other vaccine, Zydus-Cadila has been tested for the 12-plus age group and it will take a while for scale-up. With many women preferring Covaxin, going forward GoI should consider reserving its doses for women and children so that these two groups will get maximum benefit. Preorders for J&J and Covovax will grow the vaccine bouquet and ease the pressures on Covishield and Covaxin. Safely reopening schools must be given utmost priority now. Every day of schooling that children lose is also diminishing the country’s economic and human capital.
2.Wanted: More sleuths: Madras HC’s CBI reform ideas may be unpalatable to GoI. But change along similar lines is sorely needed
Madras high court’s 12 directions – to CBI to apprise GoI of its infrastructure, personnel and funding requirements and the Centre to pursue structural reform making the agency an independent body like EC and CAG – will gladden those left disappointed by CBI’s track record. In all likelihood, GoI will seek a stay on the ruling, as it had done when Gauhati HC had held CBI’s creation unconstitutional. Madras HC’s inquiry into CBI’s affairs was provoked by its claim of lacking resources to investigate a Rs 300 crore cheating case after a victim raised doubts about the state police probe.
Facing flak from courts, hemmed in by GoI, distrusted by opposition netas, but still in good demand among those appalled by local police shortcomings, CBI is becoming everyone’s favourite whipping horse – and it reflects poorly on governance in India. In too many cases, CBI has taken similar pitiful stances pleading overburden. While jurisdiction can be a legitimate excuse, begging off probes citing such reasons will dent the agency’s residual public standing. Data submitted to Madras HC indicates that between 2001 and 2020, its conviction rate topped 65% in most years. However, against 20,804 cases registered in this period, only 7,539 cases were seen through trial, indicating a high backlog.
Not enough investigators is a problem. Despite India’s massive economic growth between 2000 and 2020, CBI’s manpower has only marginally risen from 5,796 personnel to 7,273. The agency has flagged forensics as the area where investigations face huge delays. The court consequently asked GoI to pursue the option of new CFSLs in the country’s four geographic zones. The court also sought appointment of more personnel with qualifications suited for probing economic offences. While GoI will bristle at the court entering the administrative turf, it is for governments to proactively take steps that meet a premier national investigating agency’s needs.
Successive governments haven’t shown interest in bringing the agency, currently operating through the sketchy Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under a proper law governing its functioning, funding and accountability. Haphazardness is also writ large in recruitment. State police inspectors and IPS officers on deputation, even when they don’t have long-term stakes, get preference over CBI cadre in promotions to top echelons. Long-standing political fears of CBI unravelling political skulduggery are coming in the way of justice for ordinary citizens where a crack central agency immune to local policing pressures is greatly needed. Who’ll set the caged parrot free?
3.Supreme Court: Bridge the gender gap
Justice BV Nagarathna’s nomination to the top court will mark a significant step in equity. The judiciary must show the way
2027 may well become the year that the country sees the first woman Chief Justice of India (CJI). On Wednesday, the Supreme Court (SC) collegium cleared nine names for appointments to the apex court. One name stands out. As this newsaper had reported, Justice BV Nagarathna, if elevated to the SC, could become India’s first woman CJI. To be sure, these collegium recommendations, now sent to the Union law ministry for approval, haven’t been formally appointments yet. Additionally, Justice Nagarathna will be CJI only for a month. Nonetheless, it is a symbolic and substantive achievement.
The Indian judiciary lags greatly in terms of gender parity. In 1980, Justice M Fathima Beevi became the first woman judge to be appointed to the SC. Today, of the 27 judges in the SC, there is only one woman, Justice Indira Banerjee (who is set to retire in 2022). In its 71-year history, of the total of 247 judges appointed to the SC, there have been only eight women (constituting a mere 3.2%). The average percentage of women judges in all high courts (HCs) is 11.8%, with Madras HC having the highest number of women judges, and five HCs not having a single woman judge. Further, of the 416 persons designated as senior advocates by the SC to date, only 18 are women (4.05%). There are more women judges in the lower judiciary, but their elevation remains few and far between due to institutional biases. Gender diversity in the SC has the potential to change this, make the judiciary more diverse, ensure sensitisation, and add to faith in the system.