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9 PM Daily Brief – 15 March 2016

Brief of newspaper articles for the day bearing
relevance to Civil Services preparation

What is 9 PM brief?


GS PAPER 1


[1]. Why marital rape must be a crime

The Hindu

Issue
Should marital rape be criminalised?

 

Stand of the Ministry of Child and Development
Marital rape should not be criminalised.

Because the concept of marital rape as understood internationally cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context.

Due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs [and the] mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.

 

Justice J.S.Verma Committee’s view
It called for marital rape to be an offense but this provision was not implemented.

The exemption given to marital rape, as Justice Verma noted, “stems from a long out-dated notion of marriage which regarded wives as no more than the property of their husbands”.

 

Current Indian Law regarding Marital Rape
The present Indian law exempts non-consensual sex between a husband and wife, not being less than 15 years of age, from being charged with rape.

However, by another provision it makes rape of a wife who is living separately a criminal offence.

 

Problem regarding age limit of ‘15 years’

The age limit of 15 years above which marital rape is not an offence is inherently problematic, as normally sex with a girl up to the age of 18 is an offence regardless of consent.

 

Objections
Perceived threat to the integrity of the marital union.

The possibility of misuse of the penal provisions.

 

Conclusion
The law against domestic violence already covers both physical and sexual abuse as grounds for the legal system to intervene. It is difficult to argue that a complaint of marital rape will ruin a marriage, while a complaint of domestic violence against a spouse will not.

The law must uphold the bodily autonomy of all women, irrespective of their marital status.

 


GS PAPER 2


[1]. Interest of child comes first: SC

The Hindu

Issue

New Adoption Law

 

Directions of the Supreme Court
SC has directed the Centre and the States to frame regulations under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 to implement the new guidelines for in-country and inter-country adoption to make the process transparent, friendly and fool-proof.

The interest of the child should be supreme.

 

Definition of Adoption

The new juvenile law defines “adoption” as the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and becomes the lawful child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child.

 

What the new law seeks to do?
It puts in place safeguards against trafficking of children in the name of adoption.

According to SC,  new law and its guidelines are “comprehensive” and in line with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989.

 

[2]. Jan dhan-Aadhaar link posses hurdles

The hindu

Issue

People say that Aadhar card is not helping them.

Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY)

Aadhaar card faces authentication issues, leading to failed transactions.

BMs (Bank Mitras) too prefer to open accounts through the e-KYC due to the simplicity and robustness of the account opening procedures.

 

BMs report that the biometric signature of these customers is often rejected, leading to transaction denial

 

Only 62 per cent of the respondents with Aadhaar numbers said it helped make financial transactions easier.

 

Why Government want to use Aadhar card in DBT?

Targeting the LPG subsidy through Aadhaar had resulted in savings of over Rs.15,000 crore by the Centre. Four States which had started PDS delivery by a similar exercise on a pilot basis had saved more than Rs.2,300 crore.

 

What benefit people felt using Aadhar?

Benefit they saw was in easing the process of receiving government subsidies, the very reason the government wants to use Aadhaar.

 

It also served as a strong proof of identity.

[3] The Aadhaar coup

The hindu

Aadhaar was made mandatory for an ever-widening range of facilities and services.

The Aadhaar Bill, tabled last week as a money bill in the Lok Sabha and passed by it.

The Bill allows the government to make Aadhaar authentication compulsory for salary payments, old-age pensions, school enrolment, train bookings, marriage certificates, getting a driving licence, buying a SIM card, using a cybercafé — virtually anything.

Why is this problematic?

Mass surveillance Most Important

Right to privacy is an essential foundation of the freedom to dissent.It will threatens the historic expansion of civil liberties and personal freedom.

Unreliability of biometrics to possible breaches of confidentiality

Uncertain benefits

Public Distribution System (PDS), which have little to do with identity fraud will not be helpful.

Aadhaar applications (in the PDS, MGNREGS, and even the banking system) have had poor results in Jharkhand, and caused much disruptions.

Seven years after it was formed, the UIDAI has failed to produce significant evidence of Aadhaar having benefits that would justify the risks.

Conclusion

The wizards of Aadhaar are fond of telling us that we are on the threshold of a “revolution”. With due respect for their zeal, a coup would be a more appropriate term. The Aadhaar Bill enables the government to evade the Supreme Court orders and build an infrastructure of social control. Further, it does so by masquerading as a money bill, pre-empting any serious discussion of these issues.

[4] An anaemic prescription

Indian express

Many hoped for Budget 2016 to be a renewed opportunity for the implementation of universal health coverage.

Although the increase in the total allocation to the health sector represents an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year, this is only because of the significant cut in last year’s budget and, in real terms, is even less than what was allocated in 2014-15.

Troubling facts

First, the beefed-up health insurance scheme needs to cover out-patient expenditure, not least on drugs and diagnostics, as these account for the major share of out-of-pocket health expenditure.

Second, there needs to be a strengthening of the mechanism to hold the private sector accountable.

Finally, if the health insurance scheme only targets those who live below the poverty line, the significant impact of catastrophic health expenditure on the impoverishment of those who live above this arbitrary line would not be dented at all.

 

In the context of the abysmal contribution of health research in India either to global science or to solve the vexing problems facing our healthcare system, the government has allocated just 2.9 per cent of its health budget to research.

 

Beedis, the most widely used tobacco product in India, now well recognised as being just as deadly, if not more, as ordinary cigarettes, escape taxation.

The failure to hike taxes on the high-sugar food industry whose products include cola beverages, even though their association with diabetes and obesity is now well documented, remains perplexing.


GS PAPER 3


[1].How reforms killed Indian manufacturing

The Hindu 

Context:
This year marks 25 years since the so-called “economic reforms” were launched in July 1991.

 

Broad contours of the policies and practices that characterised such reforms

Radical deregulation

Marketisation and privatisation of the industrial, technological and financial sectors

And across-the-board induction of foreign direct investment and foreign institutional investment, etc.

 

“Reforms” which led to Deindustrialisation
Examples of the indigenous industries which had to suffer because of the reforms:

 

  1. Optic Fibre Telecommunication Systems
  2. A dozen electronics corporations producing a range of high-tech radio communication equipment, industrial electronics and control and instrumentation equipment.
  3. Cell-phone handsets
    4. Television Market
  4. Heavy electrical equipment industry led by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

 

Reason for Deindustrialisation
Mainly, because of reduction in custom duties, which led to a glut of imports.
Specific Policy for phased manufacture were not adopted.

Lobbying by the foreign investors with the government.

Anti-dumping duties were not imposed on the products which were distorting the market and anticompetitive in nature by following the predatory pricings.

 

Next Step?
The negative impact this deindustrialisation has had on employment and on our economy is gigantic.

The government must act immediately to halt the destruction of domestic industry on such a massive scale instead of merely tom-tomming its “Make in India” policy.

 

[2].RBI Governor’s message

Indian Express 

Event
RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan delivered the first Ramnath Goenka lecture.

 

Issue
He spoke on how India should engage with the global economy at a time when economies around the world are going through a turbulent phase.Rajan laid out three key ideas.

 

Importance of macroeconomic stability

India has faced growth deceleration, steep current account deficits, sharp rise in inflation and expanding fiscal deficits in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-09.

But  India has staged a remarkable comeback — despite two back-to-back droughts — on the count of macroeconomic stability.

As against 2013, India’s inflation and deficits are well within prudential limits.

“The last leg of this stabilisation agenda is to clean up the stressed assets in the banking sector so that banks can lend again,” said Rajan, reiterating the March 2017 deadline.

 

Structural Reforms
Structural reforms, typically ones that increase competition, foster innovation, and drive institutional change” will provide the sufficient condition for economic growth.
India is better placed than developed countries to raise productivity.

That’s because unlike firms in developed countries, which are already working at the productivity frontier and can increase it only through innovation, in India, such improvements can happen by simply removing existing bottlenecks.

For example: Improving human capital, with better educational and vocational institutions, simplifying business regulation and taxation, and increasing access to finance.

 

India at Global forums

Today, it is an unfortunate reality that international meets are still dominated by the old powers.

India must also change the manner in which it deliberates at global forums.

India needs to raise its intellectual capacity, through better think-tanks and universities, as well as build coalitions with other countries, to push its agenda effectively.

 

 

[3] Is the rupee close to its goldilocks rate? Yes suggest Raghuram Rajan

Livemint 

Goldilocks

Goldilocks is an economy that is not so hot that it causes inflation, and not so cold that it causes a recession. There are no exact markers of a Goldilocks economy, but it is characterized by a low unemployment rate, increasing asset prices (stocks, real estate, etc.), low interest rates, brisk but steady GDP growth and low inflation.

 

Rajan’s take on the rupee

He dispelled fears that the overvaluation of the currency is to blame for the slowdown in Indian exports.

According to him, Indian Rupee is neither undervalued or overvalued and  the Indian currency may be moving in a band close to what he terms as “the Goldilocks rate”.

The exchange rate is not responsible for our export slowdown.

It is hard to pin down the blame for the fall in merchandise exports to the exchange rate.

 

RBI’s intent

The governor reiterated that RBI does not stand in the way of any required adjustment in the rupee and allows market forces to determine the rate. It only intervenes to smooth out any volatile patch in the currency.

Its intent is to prevent overshooting and undue volatility, rather than to stand in the way of the needed adjustment.

 

Some relief

The Indian rupee fell to within a whisker of its all-time low of 68.85 per dollar ahead of the budget. The currency, however, rebounded after the government pegged its fiscal deficit target for 2016-17 at 3.5%, reassuring markets that it would not give up on the fiscal consolidation path.

 

[4] Real GDP is growing at 5%, not 7.1%

Indian Express

Methodology to count GDP is flawed, yielding exaggerated estimates of the speed at which the economy is growing.

the real numbers are derived by taking nominal data on the economy and deflating them by price indices.

So, if inflation is understated, then real growth is going to be overstated. And this is what has been happening.

CSO is saying that despite India’s booming economy, producer inflation is lower than that of the recession-wracked economies of the West, or even that of Japan, which has been wrestling with deflation since the 1990s.

How could the CSO have come to such a conclusion?

Because it has proxied the deflator by using the wholesale price index (WPI).

This approach is problematic. For one thing, the WPI and the GVA deflator can move in different directions. We do not have good data on wages, but we know that they have been going up. Yet, the WPI has been going down—by 1.5% in the third quarter.

Next, we turn to value added from the production side. When commodity prices decline, the commodity-heavy WPI will decline, as we have just seen. But the GVA deflator will need to increase.

In other words, by relying heavily on the WPI, the CSO has been led astray from the true deflator. As a result, the growth estimates have also strayed from reality. Over the past year, the dynamos of the economy—investment and exports—have remained mired in a slump.

If the WPI is such a poor proxy for the deflator, what numbers should be used in its place?

For the service sectors

one can look at the consumer price index (CPI) for services such as health and education.

For manufacturing sector,

one can take the CPI for clothing/footwear and miscellaneous household goods.

So, let us be conservative and use 5% as the deflator for finance and manufacturing. In that case, financial real GVA would show a growth rate of 2.6% as opposed to the reported 9.9%.

In other words, the economy is struggling, not racing ahead. Now, that seems consistent with what we are seeing.

[5] Manufacturing isn’t the villain in India’s jobless growth story

Livemint

Criticism of India’s growth

One of the biggest criticisms of India’s high growth trajectory this century has been its failure to generate jobs.

Economists attribute this phenomenon to a decline in employment elasticity of output, which means that the same amount of output growth creates fewer jobs than it used to.

This is not because of change in the nature of technology from labour-intensive to capital-intensive and manufacturing sector cannot be held responsible for the deceleration in job growth.

Agriculture is the Villain

According to a recent survey it is agriculture that has made the biggest negative contribution to aggregate employment elasticity in recent years.

This is both understandable and desirable, since agriculture employs a disproportionately large number of people in India. Manufacturing, on the other hand, is the biggest positive contributor to aggregate employment elasticity in the country,

 

So, what explains jobless growth in India?

It is explained by differentiating between sectoral employment elasticity and aggregate employment elasticity of the economy.

The survey  shows that aggregate employment elasticity depends on three factors: sectoral employment elasticity, relative growth of a sector and its employment share. So, even though manufacturing has the highest employment elasticity, its overall impact has been muted because of slow increase in employment share and low relative growth (ratio between growth of manufacturing and overall economy). By the same logic, agriculture is having a large negative impact on employment generation.

 


BY: ForumIAS Editorial Team 

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