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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.A 5G opportunity for Indian startups

As the world rolls out the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks, or 5G, its appeal in India is limited to being a future-ready feature on a fancy phone that signals the owner’s tech savvy. After all, widespread 5G services are still months, if not years, away in India. However, 5G is a big opportunity for India’s thriving startup ecosystem, to devise and design new use cases, such as the retail industry solution jointly unveiled recently by Verizon Business, Deloitte and SAP. It uses 5G’s capacity for extensive machine-to-machine communication, in conjunction with Edge computing and advanced data analytics to vastly improve the retail store experience for the consumer and to optimise inventory management, both replenishing shelves from stocks and ordering fresh stocks.

Three things make 5G different from 4G: superior speed, superior data throughput and near-zero latency, that is, almost instantaneous response to a signal transmitted over the network. In applications such as remote surgery, gaming or autonomous cars, the zero latency bit is vital. But all use cases need not make use of the latency advantage. The ability to handle large amounts of data, and fast, might be enough, as in the retail solution above. Edge computing refers to the ability to process a lot of data locally, instead of leaving that also to be processed in the cloud. Locally processed data can then be transmitted to the cloud for serious number-crunching involving artificial intelligence, and the results can, for example, be presented to the consumer using augmented reality. The possibilities are truly vast.

The challenge for startups is to marry extensive domain knowledge with intimate knowledge of technological possibilities, to devise new business solutions, that is, to combine experience with youth, a shade different from the normal startup model. The point is to dream up new use cases and roll out pilot projects now, so as to be leaders rather than followers in the new game in town.

2.Courts should curb policymaking instinct

The Kerala High Court directing, in suo motu proceedings, the state government to set up Campus Police Units to tackle drug use in educational institutions and their campuses is a case of judicial overreach and transgression into the executive’s domain. This is not the first time that courts in India have stepped beyond their remit to take on the functions of the executive. The trend undermines the rightful roles of the judiciary, as well as of the executive. The courts should stay the arbiters and upholders of the law and Constitution they were designed to be, not policymakers.

The courts — particularly the high court and Supreme Court — should focus on adjudicating on the basis of statutes and the Constitution. Over last three decades, there has been a tendency to step in for the executive, on the ground that the executive has failed to act. In some cases, it would seem that the executive is not averse to this transgression, as it allows for decisions on politically sensitive matters. But the basis for a court to step in must always be a matter of law since that is its core competence. Courts do not have the technical and administrative competence to provide policy inputs or issue administrative orders. It can, however, call on the executive to take action in order to ensure compliance with laws, regulation and constitutional provisions, while not falling down on its own job of protecting liberty.

Judicial overreach is particularly egregious in the Indian context where judicial accountability is ineffectual, with impeachment by the legislature being the only recourse open to the other organs of the State. Democracy wins when each of its pillar performs its duties to the optimum, without trying to trip the others.

3.No witch hunts: Scrutinise sedition and other charges on Disha Ravi against feeble ground presence of her green group

Delhi police’s arrest of young climate activist Disha Ravi on multiple charges like sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity between groups – alleging her involvement in a farm agitation toolkit publicised by Greta Thunberg – appears disproportionate. Police sought Disha’s custodial remand to ‘unearth’ her purported links to a Khalistani group that allegedly originated the toolkit. Police have claimed that events unfolding in Delhi including the January 26 violence reveal execution of the “action plan” detailed in the toolkit Greta initially posted and then deleted. But this allegation will be scrutinised against the feeble ground presence of Disha’s Fridays For Future India group.

The police’s task is to gauge if the yardsticks for invoking sedition like incitement to imminent violence can be applied against a ragtag bunch of activists led by Disha. Globally, toolkits are used by activist groups to provide basic information about their cause and offer suggestions on social media tags and on-site protests. However, Delhi police has only itself to blame for the public outrage now. Disha’s hush-hush arrest with no clarity on whether a transit remand from a Bengaluru court was obtained and the remand hearing in Delhi where she was represented by a legal aid counsel rather than a lawyer of her choice lead to questions on whether her constitutional rights were prejudiced.

The police action, if intended to quell the domestic and international left-wing support that the farm agitation has evoked, is having the opposite effect of alienating more domestic constituencies like farmers and youth. A youth movement, against what they see as intransigence of older generations on climate change, is gathering pace. If climate activists are misinformed about the farm laws and fail to recognise the culpability of the current MSP regime for groundwater depletion and air pollution, a conversation can be initiated.

If high handed actions are undertaken instead even liberal opinion, which keeps its distance from the Left, will turn. Those supporting the farm laws may prefer silence now, for concern that their principled position on reforms will be misunderstood as support for heavy handed tactics. Certainly, the alleged Khalistani hand can be unravelled without an ungainly hitching of that menace to little known green activists. Arrest the draining away of international soft power, stop seeing activists as seditionists.

4.Hope dims: After dramatic early success, odds shorten painfully on recovering lives from Tapovan tunnel

This weekend, one week after a massive surge of water trapped over 30 persons inside a 1.6km head race tunnel at the Tapovan hydropower plant, rescue teams were finally able to enter 125m inside it. As they brought out six bodies found under the debris, it was grim viewing for the family members waiting outside. Day by day their hopes of their loved ones miraculously surviving the dark airless tunnel swamped by mud, have dimmed.

The previous Sunday Chamoli had seen not only a massive cascade of water and silt leave over 150 persons missing, but also the dramatic rescue of foreman Vijendra Kumar and his team. They showed exceptional presence of mind to survive, clinging to overhead iron rods as the water surged under them. And the way in which Kumar emerged from the debris yodelling Balle Balle and almost dancing in happiness, was so wonderful that the video had to go viral. Another miracle had heavy motor vehicle driver Vipul Kaireni and around 25 others being saved because his mother, who had been working outdoors in a village higher up, called to warn that a swollen Dhauliganga was headed his way.

With every passing day though, the odds of another miracle have retreated. Questions about how safely these hydropower projects are being built aside, the extraordinary challenges of saving lives when people become trapped in them have come to the fore. Relentless labour by SDRF, NDRF, ITBP and the army teams has been thwarted by an indomitable foe. This calls for an environmental reassessment of the hydroelectric projects dotting the fragile Uttarakhand mountains. This deluge was less deadly than the 2013 Kedarnath one, but the next one could be much more so. There is also a crying need for more robust monitoring and early warning mechanisms.

5. Disha Ravi’s arrest is wrong

 

Ms Ravi’s arrest throws up three issues. The first is the role of the State. The second is the role of the judiciary. And finally, there is the role of activists themselves. The executive must be more liberal, the judiciary must act, and activists need to be more careful

Disha Ravi, a 22-year old Bengaluru-based environmental activist, has been accused of sedition, promoting religious enmity and engaging in criminal conspiracy, among other offences. After the Delhi Police detained her in Bengaluru on Saturday, and formally arrested her the next day, a Delhi magistrate has remanded her to a five-day police custody. The principal basis for the allegations against Ms Ravi is that she was involved in framing and editing a “toolkit”, which outlined measures to protest against farm laws; that she provided activist Greta Thunberg the “toolkit”; that the violence on January 26 copied the “action plan” in the toolkit; and this also had the involvement of Khalistani groups.

Ms Ravi’s arrest throws up three issues. The first is the role of the State. The government has decided to politically invest in a narrative of a global foreign conspiracy against India, of which the “toolkit” is evidence. But the evidence to suggest such a conspiracy is limited. Despite its objectionable characterisation of the Indian State in parts, did the “toolkit” — a common technique in both political and civil society campaigns now — really lead to the violence on January 26? Is there direct evidence? At a time when India is facing criticism for growing illiberalism, is arresting young activists the most ethical or prudent course of action? How does it sync with India’s constitutional guarantees on free speech and political activity?

The second is the role of the judiciary. The metropolitan magistrate’s decision to remand Ms Ravi to custody, without her private counsel being present, without questions about the process of her arrest, and without adequate scrutiny of the charges and evidence, does not reflect well. Courts must treat cases involving personal liberty with more rigour, rather than casually send people to jail when bail should be the norm. And finally, there is the role of activists themselves. Dissent is indeed a right, and taking up positions — even if they are logically inconsistent (how environmental activists stand in support of the ecologically unsustainable practices of Punjab’s farmers is a mystery) — is also a right. But often, activists end up getting used in larger political games. The fact that pro-Khalistan groups are actively seeking to leverage the current farm protests is not a secret, which makes it even more important for civil society to maintain its distinct identity and position on the issue.

 

 

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