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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 2nd December 2016


ca-digest



  • Front Page / NATIONAL

  1. Delhi High Court reverses ban on combination drugs

  2. Don’t shut the door on jallikattu

  3. Anthem redux: How it came back in play

  4. Health Ministry to file appeal, points to parallel plea in SC

  5. Imposed only reasonable restrictions, govt. tells SC

  • INTERNATIONAL

  1. We’re willing to wait for talks: Pak. envoy Basit

  2. U.S. for closer defense ties with India

  • Editorial/OPINION

  1. Patriotism by diktat

  2. HIV: The self-test option

  3. Contours of a challenge

  4. The message from Amritsar

  • ECONOMY

  1. Taxman says 85%, experts opine 83.25%

  2. India’s first private moon mission next year

  • Indian Express

  1. The Amritsar opportunity

  • Live Mint

  1. Understanding Pakistan’s new terror strategy

  2. Demonetisation without replacement


Click here to Download 9 PM Daily Brief PDF (2nd Dec. 2016)


Front Page / National


[1] Delhi High Court reverses ban on combination drugs


Context-Delhi High Court has quashed the ban on 344 fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs.

Introduction

  • An FDC is one that contains two or more drugs combined in a fixed ratio of doses and available in a single dosage form.
  • The Centre had imposed the ban under Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • The court said the section gave no complete freedomto impose a ban.
  • The court wondered why the Centre took advice of Kokate Committee and not the Drugs Technical Advisory Body (DTAB) and the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC).

Errors in performing duty

As according to the center, licenses for manufacture of the FDCs between September 1988 and October 2012 were wrongly granted by the State licensing authorities and had no approval of the Drug Controller.

Rather than cancelling those licenses, the manufactures were asked to apply for licenses.

Instead of Drug Controller, 10 committees were constituted to consider the applications and when these committees failed to do their job, the Kokate committee was constituted.

The Kokate committee, instead of considering the applications for approval, went into the aspects of risk to consumers, leading to the notifications.

Government’s power to ban

  • Government cannot exercise power in public interest other than the drug being risky or not having any therapeutic value.
  • Reasons should be scientific on the advice of the Drugs Technical Advisory Body (DTAB) and the Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) constituted under the Drugs Act.

[2] Don’t shut the door on jallikattu


Context – Center has urged Supreme Court not to shut the door on jallikattu.

Introduction

The Supreme Court, in a judgment in 2014, had classified jallikattu as “inherent cruelty.”

It had said that the very act of “taming a bull” was counter to the concept of welfare of the animal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960.

Centers defense

  • Center in its request not to shut the door on JalliKattu have said that Villagers could not be expected to shed their centuries-old culture.
  • The government was defending its January 7, 2016, notification bringing bulls back into the fold of ‘performing animals,’ circumventing the 2014 Supreme Court ban on jallikattu.
  • With this notification, the Centre has re-defined jallikattu. Center has placed stringent prior checks and conditions for its conduct.
  • There will be no alcohol given to the bulls now, nor will anyone hang on to their humps or horns.

[3] Anthem redux: How it came back in play


Context: On November 30, the Supreme Court ruled that all cinemas in the country must play the national anthem prior to the screening of a film, with all doors closed.

Some facts

Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Goa are among the States that have followed the decision.

States have done this under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The Act got presidential assent on December 23, 1971.

Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971

Act has its genesis in Article 51 (a) of the Constitution

Article enjoins a duty on every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.

Act states that whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the national anthem or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Past practice

It was a practice to play the national anthem after a film ended.

But with people walking out even as the anthem was playing, the practice was discontinued.

In Tamil Nadu for instance, the anthem was played in all theatres until about 30 years ago.

Options for appeal against the order

Cinema Owners Exhibitors’ Association of India can plead that the order is in contradiction of an earlier Supreme Court order ordering cinema theatres to keep their doors open, after a fire killed 59 people in Uphaar Theatre in 1997.

Organisations of differently abled people can seek exemptions from the order.


[4] Health Ministry to file appeal, points to parallel plea in SC


Context – Union Health Ministry plans to appeal against the Delhi High Court’s decision to set aside the ban on 344 drugs considered unsafe.

Introduction

  • The Health Ministry had banned the sale and distribution of 344 of them — considered unsafe and with no therapeutic justification — based on the recommendations of the Kokate expert committee.
  • The drugs which were banned by central government for not having the therapeutic justification continue to be sold over the counter after the Delhi High Court provided an interim relief in March, allowing production and sale of the notified drugs.

[5] Imposed only reasonable restrictions, govt. tells SC

Context – Government has recently filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court denying any lack of preparedness in implementing the demonetisation policy.

What does affidavit says?

  • Cancellation of legal tender of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes is only a reasonable restriction and regulatory in nature.
  • Merely because there is a restriction on the public to use the old high denomination notes, the regulation cannot be held to be illegal or unreasonable restriction
  • And there is no infringement of the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • The government said it was incorrect to say that the present banking architecture was inadequate to deal with 1.2 billion population.

Infrastructure

  • Government had the pooled resources of 1,32,834 bank branches, 1,54,939 post office branches, 1,26,495 banking correspondents to distribute cash.
  • Besides, the total number of outstanding debit and credit cards is 73,88,44,727.
  • It said 1.69 lakh ATMs had been recalibrated as on November 28. “By December 2, it is expected that 1.96 lakh ATMs will be recalibrated.

The government denied any lack of preparedness in implementing the demonetisation policy.


INTERNATIONAL 


[1] We’re willing to wait for talks: Pak. envoy Basit


Context- Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit has said that his government “expressed a desire” for a bilateral engagement when Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz visits Amritsar this weekend.

Issue

  • Pakistan is sending Mr. Aziz to Amritsar to attend the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan on December 4.
  • In a recent conference, India and Afghanistan made it clear that they intend to corner Pakistan over the “common problem” of cross-border terrorism both countries face from Pakistan.
  • While Basit responded that Pakistan also had issues on terrorism and alleged an Indian role in Balochistan, adding that the leadership of the terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) lives in Afghanistan.
  • He rejected the idea that the U.S. could mediate between India and Pakistan, which have been a case after conversation between President-elect Donald Trump and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.
  • In conversation, Trump offered to “play any role” in solving Pakistan’s problems.

[2] U.S. for closer defense ties with India


ContextThe National DefenceAuthorisation Act 2017 is scheduled to be passed by the U.S Congress next week.

Introduction

  • The National DefenceAuthorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 scheduled to be passed by the U.S Congress next week seeks executive action to “recognise India’s status as a major defence partner of the United States.”
  •  Recently released draft bill says technology transfer to India and defence cooperation must be “consistent with United States conventional arms transfer policy.”
  • A move supported by a pro-India group to designate India a ‘major non-NATO ally’ in the bill was abandoned earlier this year.
  • Though, U.S has already recognised India as a “major defence partner” in June.
  • Now requests for high technology from India were considered these days with a “presumption of approval” compared to the “presumption of rejection” that used to exist.

Enhanced defense, security ties

  • National DefenceAuthorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 supports enhancing defence and security cooperation with India.
  • It mandates to “designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defense acquisition and technology” to ensure the success of bilateral defence ties and “to help resolve remaining issues impeding” them.
  • It also calls for “strengthening the effectiveness of the U.S.-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative.

Against Pakistan

  • The new law will tighten the screws on Pakistan to take more credible action against the Haqqani terror network.
  • The law will require the Defence Secretary to certify, among other things, that, “Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven”.
  • This step has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani Network senior leaders and mid-level operatives.”

Editorial/ Opinion


[1] Patriotism by diktat


Patriotism by diktat:

Context

Very recently, Supreme Court’s ordered that every cinema hall should play the national anthem before the exhibition of a film.

Introduction

Patriotism is a value that people most people like to cherish, without it’s public demonstration.

  • Some of the recent trends regarding patriotism are, that:-
  1. It should be frequently articulated.
  2. It should be frequently articulated
  3. Manner of enforcement should be like that it becomes a lesson to the odd dissenter.

Existing rules promoting national anthem

  • Singing of National anthem on special occasions, especially in schools and colleges, identifies the anthem with something larger than their daily concerns.
  1. There are clear rules on when the anthem should be played.
  2. Any misuse of the anthem or any willful insult to it is legally prohibited,
  3. And those aggrieved by any such incident can take recourse to the law.

Hence there is no need to make the singing of anthem mandatory through a judicial order.

Past practice:-

  • Cinema halls were required to play the national anthem some decades ago, but the practice has been largely given up.
  • The practice was given up largely as a result of the tendency of a section of the audience to walk out.

Matters with the SC order

  • Reintroduction of this practice will give an impression that cinemas should forever be the main sites for the demonstration of patriotism.
  • Matters such as commercial exploitation and dramatization of the anthem cannot be the subject of blanket interim orders in a public interest petition.
  • While the interpretation of the constitutional obligation towards national anthem is that of having allegiance to the values underlying the Constitution, this is not something that can be enforced by judicial diktat.

[2] HIV: The self-test option


Context: As WHO has released the guidelines on HIV self-testing, a major obstacle in improving access to diagnosis has been cleared.

Facts

  • In 2015, the total number of people with HIV in India was estimated to be 2.1 million.
  • There is 66 per cent drop in incidence in 2015 in India compared with 2000.
  • But Children below 15 years of age alone account for 12 per cent of this number.
  • There are half a million people, who are unaware of their HIV status.
  • Government proposal
  • Taking HIV testing closer to those in need by starting community-based testing.
  • It will be in addition to institutional testing

Need of self-testing

Despite of making HIV testing accessible and free of cost, many infected persons remain unaware of the status of their disease.

Globally, nearly 40 per cent of people with HIV are unaware of their infection

Early diagnosis will help in a prompt start to treatment and enable the infected to live longer and healthier.

OraQuick HIV self-testing

  • WHO-approved OraQuick HIV self-testing is based on HIV antibodies present in oral and blood samples.
  • The test can detect antibodies developed within three months of getting infected.
  • It is a screening test, and a positive result should be reconfirmed though a blood-based test.
  • It makes diagnosis easier and faster, besides ensuring privacy and confidentiality, thus encouraging more people to get tested.

Way ahead

  • Twenty-three countries have in place policies that support HIV self-testing.
  • It is time India adopted it quickly to enable more people to test themselves and help break the transmission cycle.

[3] Contours of a challenge


Context – Supreme Court is slated to commence hearing arguments on a slew of petitions that call into question the correctness, and indeed the constitutional validity, of the Union government’s policy of demonetization.

What does petition says?

  • Demonetization order lacks competency.
  • Government cannot demonetize currency through mere executive fiat absent any legislative support.
  • While the problems caused by order have been described as mere inconvenience by government, it impinges deeply on several fundamental rights, and it should therefore be declared invalid.

SC intervention in economic policies

There is a belief that courts should exhibit restraint in the matters for executive determination.

Historically India’s courts have been reserve in interfering in matters of economic policy.

But this judicial deference should not be seen as part of an immutable doctrine.

The matter which has come in front of SC is definitely complicated but that need not dissuade the court from ruling upon questions of law that go to the root of the policy’s validity.

Here petitioners are not questioning the policy’s financial viability, but for the constitutional consequences and government’s competency in effecting the policy.

Validity of the petition

Petitioner’s arguments

Petitioners assert that under Section 26(2), the government can only withdraw the legal tender of any particular series of a bank note of any denomination.

Government ought to have, at the least, passed an ordinance (as the Morarji Desai-led regime had done in 1978) to implement this policy of demonetisation.

Government can argue against it on the grounds, like:

       Executive power vested in it to withdraw any particular series of bank notes would                    necessarily also include a power to withdraw all the series of bank notes belonging to any        particular denomination.

     RBI, acting under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, has been unequivocally        bestowed with authority to regulate the means and the manner through which money          can be withdrawn, exchanged and deposited.

Other aspect government is accountable on

Only possessing the basic competency to implement the demonetization is not enough. Government must also prove:-

  • Conformation to constitutional standards of fairness in:-
  • The manner of the policy’s enforcement,
  • and the details of the issued notifications

This decision has caused 55 deaths including a suicide committed by Ravi Pradhan, a farmer from Chhattisgarh. Pradhan intended to send the money to his two sons who were working on daily wages in Tamil Nadu.

There are humanitarian costs of liquidity crunch in the informal economy to a common people.

Government’s pitiless response

  • Since the original notification was announced, the rules have been constantly modified (more than 20 times at last count).
  • One of the decision in the row is RBI’s announcement that exchange through banks of the old Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes would be ceased immediately.
  • That was despite the Prime Minister’s explicit promise that limits imposed earlier would be enhanced, and that such exchange would be permitted until the end of the year.

Wrong way of policy making

  • Any policy takes into account the potential injustices that might accrue out of its enforcement.
  • To view policy decisions as merely a product of a balancing of short-term pains against supposed long-term pleasures is to ignore the injustices of the present.
  • Implementation of the demonetization fails to consider the moral abhorrence in treating some lives as more valuable than others.

Conclusion

There is no doubt the executive should be allowed great leeway in using the state as a laboratory for democracy, to borrow Justice Louis Brandeis’s famous aphorism. But such experiments cannot come at the cost of human lives.


[4] The message from Amritsar


Context – India hosts the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar.

About conference

India will host the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference this week in Amritsar.

It is aimed at:-

  • Speeding up reconstruction in war-torn Afghanistan
  • And bringing peace and normalcy to the nation.
  • Need for regional cooperation

It will see participation from 14 states: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan factor:-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will try to put up a united front vis-a-vis Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s envoy to India ShaidaAbdalisuggested that terror must be dealt with effectively, not only for the sake of countries such as India and Afghanistan, but also for people in the country where “terrorism is nurtured”.

While India is looking to isolate Pakistan, Afghanistan has been reviewing its policy towards Pakistan.

Challenges facing Afghanistan

  • Recently Afghanistan PM Ghani called on Pakistan to forego attempts to bring the Taliban to negotiations and take military action against them.
  • Afghanistan is struggling to hold key districts and has failed to hold overdue parliamentary elections.
  • S. President Barack Obama also decided to draw down troops to 8,400 by the end of his term.
  • India’s stand on situation in Afghanistan is:-
  • Dismantling of safe havens and terror sanctuaries in the region
  • Pressing for deeper engagement of various stakeholders for Afghanistan’s stability and security

India’s relations with Afghanistan

Some recent initiatives includes

  • Modi’s visit to Afghanistan to inaugurate the new parliament building last year.
  • Gifting Mi-24 attack helicopters to Afghan forces
  • Signing of TAPI pipeline agreement

China’s initiatives

  • China’s plans to strengthen counter-terror and intelligence cooperation.
  • Enhancing China’s role in the training of Afghan military and civilian personnel

Reasons

  • Increasing extremism and separatism in Xinjiang.
  • China sees security in Afghanistan as key to stability in China.

India and China can cooperate in the matters of security in Afghanistan.

Conclusion

India has shown a willingness to move beyond the binary of economic cooperation and military engagement and evolve a comprehensive policy which involves all dimensions of power.

This has enhanced Indian credibility in Afghanistan which is a tough country.


Economy


[1] Taxman says 85%, experts opine 83.25%


Context – New tax law amendments to implement the latest voluntary income disclosure scheme has been announced by government.

This amendment is being considered as last chance of amnesty.

Issues

The scheme has left tax practitioners puzzled about the effective rate of tax and penalty that will be imposed on those who fail to avail the scheme.

Ambiguity

Section 115 BBE stipulates a 60 per cent tax rate plus 25 per cent of the tax as surcharge, which adds up to about 75 per cent.

With additional 3 per cent of Cess, tax liability comes to 77.25 per cent.

While 271 AAC introduced in the I-T law empowers assessing officers to levy an additional penalty at 10 per cent of tax payable in cases where a person can’t explain the source of income.

There is confusion about this 10% tax, how will it be applied. It makes the effective rate of close to 85 per cent.

Penalty base 

According to officials 10 per cent penalty that an assessing officer can levy would be applicable on the 77.25 per cent of liability payable under section 115BBE, which includes surcharge at 25 per cent of tax and cess. This adds up to 84.95 per cent.


[2] India’s first private moon mission next year


Science and technology

Context– TeamIndus, a Bengaluru-based private aerospace company, has said it will send a spacecraft to the moon on December 28, 2017, aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) rocket.

In 2008, Chandrayaan 1 became the first Indian space mission to send a spacecraft that circled the moon.

About TeamIndus

It is one of the four international teams — and the only one from India — in the running for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million (approx. Rs. 200 crore) competition, to encourage private companies to launch space missions.

Except for the launch vehicle, all of the technology that will power the rover and lander is developed in-house by TeamIndus.

About Google Lunar XPRIZE

The launch agreements are a prerequisite to be in the reckoning for the prize and also require contenders to launch their vehicles before December 28, 2017.

TeamIndus is the only one so far to have announced a firm launch date at a press conference

About mission

ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) would launch the spacecraft in a three-day window centred on December 28 next year.

The mission requires $60 million (approx. Rs. 450 crore).

Aims of the mission

  • Landing spacecraft on the moon.
  • Travelling it at least at 500 metres and beam high- definition video, images and data back to the earth.

Indian Express


[1] The Amritsar opportunity


Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s chief advisor on foreign policy, Sartaj Aziz, has announced that he will be visiting India to represent his country at the Heart of Asia Conference on Afghanistan, at Amritsar.

Should India talk with Pakistan?

Due to the recent terror attacks, it is not easy to hold talks with Pakistan on any issue:-

India should not:-

  • As whole of the India is filled with anger over recent terror attacks on army, questions would be loud and clear.
  • Hence it is advisable not to open talks with Pakistan.

India should talk:-

  • Neighborhood of India can never be changed.
  • India has some intellectual class present in power, which knows the importance of opening talks.

Other side in Pakistan

It is well known that PM Nawaz Sharif is not free enough to take action against the terrorist groups in the country.

The chief justice had also remarked that terrorists were targeting courts in Pakistan in order to instill fear among lawyers and judges.

There are credible reports that Pakistan’s civil society wants the army to stay in the barracks and leave the political system alone.

What should be India’s policy?

  • The hawks on both sides would always want a deadlock in talks between India and Pakistan.
  • But such a policy doesn’t suit India as a nation that is committed to peace and development in the region.
  • India should hold talks with Pakistan, as:-
  • The vision of hawkish elements is decisively blurred.
  • They also think that a tough stand alone will yield better results on the ground.
  • The hawkish elements also feel that the government of India has to act sternly in order to conform with the RSS’s views
  • All countries want India and Pakistan to resume dialogue and solve their problems including Kashmir, bilaterally.
  • India’s hawkish attitude will only weaken the moderate and democratic elements in Pakistan
  • The hawks in Pakistan will get strengthened and their views on expanding terrorist activities

If all of us agree, as we should, that war between the two countries is neither desirable nor possible, then, we must give mutual understanding and peace a chance.


Live Mint


[1] Understanding Pakistan’s new terror strategy


Context –  India’s foreign ministry spokesperson VikasSwarup blamed Pakistan for the recent terrorist attack on the Nagrota army base in Jammu and Kashmir.

About the attack

  • The attack at Nagrota was the biggest terrorist strike since the 18 September Uri attack to which India responded with surgical strikes inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • Nagrota attack also claimed the lives of seven Indian security personnel, including two officers

Difference between Nagrota attack and earlier attacks

  • There are differences between the attack on Indian Parliament (2001), the 26/11 Mumbai attack (2008), and the Pathankot, Uri and Nagrotaattacks.
  • While 26/11 was aimed at civilians, Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota were aimed at specific defence installations.
  • Most of the attacks in the last couple of years have also happened in Jammu and Kashmir—the Gurdaspur attack (2015) was a notable exception.
  • The ceasefire violations have also increased to help push a greater number of infiltrators inside Kashmir to take advantage of the disaffection in the state.

Is Pakistan’s strategy working?

  • But Pakistani army has a good strategy does not mean it is necessarily workingover the years.
  • While the domestic protests in Kashmir have hurt India, Pakistan’s attempt to internationalize “occupation” of Kashmir has not succeeded.
  • All South Asian nations except Pakistan sided with India in boycotting this year’s SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit which was to be held in Islamabad.
  • The surgical strikes were also a big embarrassment for the recently retired Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif.

Way ahead

  • Surgical strikes were a step in the right direction.
  • By responding to Uri—though the surgical strikes were not framed as such officially—India has lowered its threshold for restraint.
  • Nagrota could be an attempt to explore, whether India will reinstate the old strategic restraint.
  • No matter what Pakistan’s motivations are, India needs to keep up the pressure.

[2] Demonetisation without replacement


Context:-While Rs500 notes in circulation, the Rs2,000 note is rejected everywhere. It has simply not taken root as accepted tender.

Legal aspects

Chapter III of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act 1934 assigns to the RBI the sole right to issue currency notes under Section 22.

The right to determine the denominations in which currency notes are to be issued, and the rights of non-issue or discontinuance of particular denominations, are assigned in Section 24 of that chapter to the government, subject to the recommendations of the central board of the RBI.

The recommendatory authority of the central board is paramount

Section 26 says that on recommendation of the Central Board the [Central Government] may, by notification in the Gazette of India, declare that, with effect from such date as may be specified in the notification, any series of bank notes of any denomination shall cease to be legal tender.

RBI central board’s responsibility

  • Every currency note carries a formal promise to redeem (pay) in full its face value, signed by the RBI governor.
  • The authority of the RBI governor to give such a guarantee is backed by powers vested in him by the central board of the RBI.
  • Redemption here means replacement with other notes of equal value and acceptability as legal tender.
  • Responsibility of RBI would have been fulfilled only if replacement currency was stocked and fully available at any of the several surrender nodes for demonetized currency.

Why announcement should have been delayed

  • The immediate reasons told for the announcement of demonetization was that security agencies had reported a massive surge of counterfeit currency all along the border.
  • If the reason is not valid Dec. 30 could have been fixed as a last date.
  • It would have got over the hump of currency requirements for Rabi sowing.
  • All avenues for identification of the source of large-scale conversion of old notes, in either single or serial transactions, could have been put in place for the targeted date
  • After the announcement, currency printing went into overdrive in a manner that clearly shows the RBI was a follower, not in the know, of what happened.

Problems facing Central Board of RBI

There are four vacancies in central board yet to be filled, out of 10 seats for external directors.

This weakens the ability of the board to reflect the considered judgement of various sections of the informed population.

An immediate possibility is for the three external members of the monetary policy committee to be automatically appointed to the board.

Board’s power against decision

Section 30 of the RBI Act does give the Union government the power to supersede the board.

But in such an exigency, the government has to place before Parliament an explanation of the circumstances under which the supersession was done, within three months.

Costs of an unprepared announcement

  • Although hospitals and pharmacies were formally exempted from the demonetisation, they often chose not to cooperate.
  • Half-finished construction works dot the landscape, as labour contractors were left without stocks of Rs100 notes with which to pay wages.
  • Migrant laborers in urban areas returned to their rural points of origin, if they could manage enough legal currency for the bus fare.
  • In rural areas, many stood in line all day for several days at the only bank or post office they had access to.
  • People reportedly died waiting in line for usable currency.
  • Bank employees died from the stress of coping with irate customers.
  • Investment calls for a stable macroeconomic environment, while decisions like this only propagates instability.

Meanwhile, the entrepreneurial Indian population has devised its own methods of coping with the situation. Some traders are reported to have gone back to accepting the old currency, with the formation of chains linking them to authorized acceptance points.

Categories
Daily Editorials for UPSC IAS Exam Preparation

Daily Editorial – Compulsory National Anthem in Cinema Halls


Click here to Download Daily Editorial PDF (2nd Dec. 2016)


The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the National Anthem must be played in public theaters across the country before a movie, minus any dramatization. It also ordered that the national flag be shown on screen when the anthem is played.

The Supreme Court’s decision to consider this PIL followed after a wheelchair-bound man was assaulted by a couple at a cinema hall in Panaji for not standing up during the rendition of the anthem.


Supreme Court’s Ruling


  • Cinema halls must play the national anthem before the screening of films and that all present must “stand up in respect” till the anthem ended.
  • Cinema halls should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played.
  • The Bench said it is the duty of every person to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971.
  • All the doors of cinema halls must be closed when the national anthem is being played to prevent people from entering or exiting.

Ban on commercial uses of national anthem

  • Court issued a complete ban on the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag.
  • The court banned dramatization of the anthem or it to be used in any part of any variety shows or for entertainment purposes.
  • The court banned the display of the national anthem on any “undesirable or disgraceful places.
  • It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the national anthem.

Purpose of Ruling


  • According to SC, practice would “instill a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
  • People should feel that they live in a nation and show respect to the national anthem and the national flag.
  • People should imbibe and express respect to the inherent quality of the anthem and the flag.
  • Too much disrespect of national symbols had been indulged in the name of “individually perceived notions of freedom”

Arguments against the SC Ruling


  • National Anthem is an expression of one’s reverence for the country. It stirs the soul, makes us feel patriotic even when things around us make us angry about the state of the nation.
  • But enforced patriotism is simply transforming a private emotion into a tokenistic public gesture.
  • National anthem before a film with a subject like sexual comedy would not a good option.
  • Now people would be forced to stand up, not because they want to, but because of a fear of being labelled a traitor, or worse, screamed at or assaulted by self-styled nationalists.
  • The same was happened with poet, disability activist and writer SalilChaturvedi, who could not stand up for the national anthem as he was in a wheelchair.

Past Laws


  • In 2003, the Maharashtra Assembly passed an order mandating the playing of the national anthem before the start of a movie.
  • In the 1960s, the national anthem would be played at the end of the film. But as people simply filed out after the movie, this practice was stopped.
  • Last year, the Madras High Court said that in cinema halls, people are not bound to stand for the anthem.

Bijoe Emmanuel vs State of Kerala

The school students were expelled for not singing the national anthem, although they remained standing.

At the time, the Supreme Court had observed, “There is no provision of law which obliges anyone to sing the National Anthem nor is it disrespectful to the National Anthem if a person who stands up respectfully when the National Anthem is sung does not join the singing.”

Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971

Act has its genesis in Article 51 (a) of the Constitution

Article enjoins a duty on every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.

Act states that whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the national anthem or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

  • Thus, none of the directions given by SC have any statutory backing.
  • There is no law which is being implemented, nor are any fundamental rights being violated in the absence of such a law.

Conclusion


Indians have always loved their motherland and never shy of making sacrifices but this kind of imposition is bound to put off even the most patriotic. Hence if any part of the government want to inculcate patriotism in the general public, it must try to change their heart, rather than forcing it.

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Newspaper

Must Read News Articles – December 2


Archives


must-read


The Hindu


Front Page / NATIONAL

Delhi High Court reverses ban on combination drugs: Quashing the ban on 344 Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) drugs, Delhi High Court has said that the Centre had acted in a haphazard manner and did not take the advice of the statutory bodies under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act before issuing the notification.

‘Don’t shut the door on jallikattu’: Urging the Supreme Court not to shut the door on jallikattu, the Centre has said that the tradition is inextricably linked to the rural life of Tamil Nadu.

Anthem redux: How it came back in play: The Supreme Court ruled that all cinemas in the country must play the national anthem prior to the screening of a film, with all doors closed.

Health Ministry to file appeal, points to parallel plea in SC: The Ministry wants all 454 petitions concerning fixed dose combinations (FDCs) to be heard at one place.

Imposed only reasonable restrictions, govt. tells SC: Affidavit in SC denies any lack of preparedness in implementing the demonetisation policy.


INTERNATIONAL


We’re willing to wait for talks: Pak. envoy Basit: Pakistan is sending Mr. Aziz to Amritsar to attend the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan on December 4. It will be his first foreign ministerial visit to India in several years.

U.S. for closer defense ties with India: The National Defense Authorization Act 2017 is scheduled to be passed by the U.S Congress next week. U.S has already recognized India as a “major defense partner”


Editorial/OPINION


Patriotism by diktat: it is hard to understand the rationale for the Supreme Court’s order that every cinema hall should play the national anthem before the exhibition of a film.

HIV: The self-test option: With the World Health Organisation (WHO) releasing guidelines on HIV self-testing, a major obstacle in improving access to diagnosis has been cleared.

Contours of a challenge: The manner of enforcement of demonetisation has visited many consequences upon the people. If it chooses to review them, the judiciary would be overreaching its authority.

The message from Amritsar: The Heart of Asia conference is likely to confirm a new phase in India-Afghanistan ties.


ECONOMY


Taxman says 85%, experts opine 83.25%: The tax law amendments to implement the latest voluntary Income Disclosure Scheme has left tax practitioners puzzled about the effective rate of tax and penalty that will be imposed on those who fail to avail of what is being considered the last chance at amnesty for holders of black money.


Science and Technology


India’s first private moon mission next year: The mission’s aim is to land this spacecraft on the moon, have it travel at least 500 metres and beam high-definition video, images and data back to the earth. Were it to be successful, it would likely pip ISRO’s proposed moon-lander mission – Chandrayaan 2.


Indian Express


The Amritsar opportunity: Sartaj Aziz’s participation in the Heart of Asia Conference on Afghanistan is a chance for India and Pakistan to defuse tensions, so that they can get back to talking with each other.


Live Mint


Understanding Pakistan’s new terror strategy: Rawalpindi’s intent is very clear: attack the “occupying forces” of India in Jammu and Kashmir.

Demonetisation without replacement: This is exactly the kind of policy which negates structural reform in the Indian economy and discourages investment.