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Editorial Today (English)

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. As banks fix their act, give MSME equity

The Economic Survey cautions against extended forbearance of credit default, drawing the lesson that extended forbearance in the wake of the 2007-08 global financial crisis led to the build-up of bad loans and dragged down investment rates and economic growth.

If followed through, this would mean a major squeeze on company finances, as they scramble for resources to service loans to avoid bankruptcy, and a big demand on the government to recapitalise the banks it owns, after they recognise and provide for a mass of bad loans.

Regulatory forbearance must be an emergency medicine, not a staple diet, is sound advice. A moratorium by banks on debt service by borrowers has been a part of the Covid cushioning to corporates. Many of these firms would face acute liquidity problems when the moratorium ends.

Fast growth that embraces all businesses would avert a crisis. Such goldilocks perfection rarely materialises in real life. Many companies that could survive with access to liquidity could go under when banks think it is time to do their asset quality reviews. The solution is to provide such companies with capital that does not need to be serviced when they do not make a profit: equity.

Companies would need a whole lot of capital, to service existing loans and to invest in new production, to cater to the demand thrown up by economic revival. The government had promised a fund of funds that would mobilise large volumes of capital to invest in micro, small and medium enterprises.

This is the time to walk the talk. The equity stakes can be sold later, hopefully at a profit. Special situation funds, private equity and allocations from retirement savings can be tapped for the needed capital. Managing the investment is the challenge.

2.For a fiscal policy that’s countercyclical

The Economic Survey’s latest iteration breaks new ground in intelligent policy debate. The first volume takes up several vital themes in economic development, ranging from fiscal policy and banking regulation to promoting innovation and process reform.

It also includes a thorough examination of credit rating conduct by global rating agencies, to debunk their findings and urge the government and other investors to ignore their protests over expansive fiscal policy. The central theme of the Survey is that this is the time for the government to increase expenditure on investment in a big way.

Where does the government find the fund? Borrow, boldly. Will that crowd out private investment? Will that turn off foreign investors? Shed all such worries. The Survey presents a masterly survey of theoretical and empirical research to support its message that the government should borrow and spend, never mind the naysayers. So long as the growth rate exceeds the rate of interest, government debt would continue to fall as a proportion of GDP, that is, debt would be sustainable.

The government did not spend in the early stages of the pandemic-induced slowdown because the supply response was shackled by lockdown and movement restrictions. But now, when things are normalising, boosted with a concerted vaccination drive, large-scale investments by the government would have a large multiplier effect on the economy. Rating agencies have traditionally been biased against India and other emerging markets.

They do influence portfolio flows, but foreign direct investors have not, and will not, be inhibited by these Cassandras, says the Survey. The Survey’s call for swift exit from forbearance of credit delinquency will mean additional demand on the government to find resources to recapitalise the banks.

That means yet more borrowing. A better alternative is to let the banks raise capital from the market, awash with global liquidity. The point is to have sound bank governance and supervision, not fret overmuch over ownership. That calls for a different kind of investment.


3. Stop intimidation: Withdraw criminal cases against journalists

The FIR lodged in Noida – and Bhopal too – against six senior journalists accusing them of several offences ranging from sedition to harming national integrity and promoting communal disharmony smacks of intimidation rather than any real concern for rule of law. Along with police personnel, journalists were also at the frontlines of the chaotic tractor rally on Republic Day and some initial accounts of a protester’s death had presented it as a bullet injury. But when Delhi police released the video of his tractor overturning, those like Rajdeep Sardesai promptly gave credence to the police version.

As the Editors Guild of India has underlined, this is how journalism proceeds, fresh information often overturning earlier accounts, especially when there is action happening on multiple fronts. To construe these actions as malicious and intended to destroy communal harmony and incite violence equates to shooting the messenger. That police in two states lodged similar FIRs on the prodding of private complainants highlights how accusing journalists of sedition is becoming a fairly common tack: Some weeks ago, three journalists in Manipur became its victims. Ironically, this provision used to be invoked by the British Raj against Indian nationalists, accusing them of traitorous behaviour.

Repurposing sedition against journalists negates our democracy’s founding tenets recognising the rights of news media to report without fear or favour. The press has stood tall alongside the organs of the Indian state in discharging its duties. Likening its watchdog duties to sedition betrays a crooked view of democracy. While the private complainants are entitled to their opinion, the UP and MP governments, which surely understand the critical role of free press in invigorating democratic institutions, must withdraw these cases lodged overzealously by police. Additionally, Supreme Court must also take cognisance of how its guidelines narrowing the applicability of sedition have fallen on deaf ears.

4. The duke and you: A rishta beyond the guardian uncles of culture

In the year of pandemic and distress, audiences have found a happier place in Regency era London. The historical romance Bridgerton has become Netflix’s biggest ever global success, grabbing the top spot in India too. Romance has long been disparaged as a frivolous women’s only genre, with a shallow plot and conventional arc that suggests redemption lies with a man more powerful than the heroine. But this is a reductive reading. Romance speaks to the fantasies of the woman reader in complex ways and it is the one genre where her satisfaction is central.

In recent years, romance novels and rom-coms have become more diverse, and inclusive of a whole range of desires. Bridgerton, based on Julia Quinn’s novels, made an even bolder leap into wish-fulfilment with its ‘colour blind’ casting, and its steamy sex scenes. It is not the only border-crossing bodice-ripper that has made it big and there have been other big romance successes on OTT platforms. Witty Korean dramas have also found a new global audience.

Meanwhile in India, the news is rather loveless. An FIR was lodged for A Suitable Boy because a kissing scene in a temple hurt religious feelings. Other shows also have been in the court’s crosshairs despite apologies and deletions. Of course our stories and legends and epics, our cultural legacies do not shy away from love’s many splendours. Just because self-styled guardians have cramped imaginations, why should we have to content ourselves with happier situations in distant times and places?

  1. Internet suspended till Jan 31 at border areas in Delhi amid farmers’ protest

The Centre on Saturday placed a temporary suspension on internet services in Singhu, Ghazipur, and Tikri and their adjoining areas till 11pm, January 31, to “maintain public safety and averting public emergency”.

This is the second such suspension taking place in a week, the first suspension being imposed on January 26, soon after the tractor march of the farmers deviated from its routes and entered the Capital, leading to mayhem at ITO and the Red Fort. Internet services were suspended in several areas in Punjab and Haryana as well.

“If the administration is thinking that by suspending internet services they will be able to stop the movement, they are grossly mistaken. The more they want to muzzle farmers’ voices, the larger the protest will go,” Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said.

On Friday, tempers rose at Singhu border, which is the main site of the farmers’ protest since November, as clashes broke out between farmers and a group of people who came to oust the farmers. The two groups engaged in stone-pelting while Delhi Police had to fire multiple rounds of teas gas shells. During the clash, Delhi Police SHO Pradeep Paliwal was attacked.

‘Restore internet or face more protests’: Farm union to government

The group of people claimed themselves to be locals, though AAP said they were BJP goons. Tikri border too witnessed unrest on Friday as a group of about 50 persons tried to get near the spot where farmers are protesting. But the situation was soon brought under control.

After Friday’s clash at Singhu, the Delhi Police said they have arrested 44 people, including the man who attacked the SHO with a sword.

On Republic Day, the internet disruption affected many parts of Delhi and the services were only restored the next day. Protesters at the border points, however, complained that internet services were not fully restored to them after Republic Day.

The Ghazipur protest site remained peaceful, though the crowd swelled there as several farmers joined the site after Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait’s emotional appeal went viral. On Saturday morning, slow internet was reported from Ghazipur as well, before the MHA ordered temporary suspension.

The tractor march taken out by farmers on Republic Day became a flashpoint in a so-far peaceful protest as a group of protesters entered the Capital, clashed with Police at ITO, marched to the Red Fort and put up Nishan Sahib on top it. The incident put farmers leaders under fire though they alleged BJP conspiracy to derail their “peaceful” movement.

In the aftermath of the Republic Day incident, the Uttar Pradesh Police removed a group of protesters from Baghpat. A similar move was apprehended at the Ghazipur protest site as the Ghaziabad district administration asked the protesters to vacate the area. However, the protesters have not yielded and more protesters joined in the past few days.



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