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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 24th October 2016


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NATIONAL

[1] Delay in justice delivery keeps investors away

The Hindu

Context

Foreign investors are still wary of India’s delayed justice delivery mechanism.

Delay in justice delivery keeps investors away and henceIndia ranked 130 among 189 countries on ease of doing business despite the push for ‘Make in India’ and increase in foreign reserves.

Global Conference

To improve the business environment of the country NITI Aayog organised a 3 day global conference on ‘National Initiative Towards Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India’, which was attended by chief justices and judges of foreign courts, apart from various Supreme Court judges.

  • This international conference aimed at providing a platform for discussion on critical issues relating to arbitration, experience sharing on international best practices and charting a roadmap to strengthen arbitration and its enforcement in the country

Government has already taken few reforms to facilitate ease of doing business which are listed below

  • robust bankruptcy framework,
  • a new digital payments regulatory regime and
  • Vast reforms in the corporate law statute.

Quality arbitration boosts business

Inspite of these robust reforms delay in justice delivery is keeping investors away from India. Availability of quality arbitration mechanisms is an integral component of ease of doing business. Thus to complement these reforms and for resolving commercial disputesgovernment is focused on promotion of alternate dispute resolution mechanism instead of regular court proceeding.

  • This alternative dispute resolution should simultaneously facilitate arbitration, mediation and conciliation. It will also ease the case load on Indian courts.

Ease of doing business

The ease of doing business index is an index created by the World Bank Group Higher rankings (a low numerical value) indicate better, usually simpler, regulations for businesses and stronger protections of property right.

  • Economies are ranked on their ease of doing business, from 1–189. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.

 [2]. India falls short in female literacy

The Hindu

Context

A new research on female literacy revealed Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have stolen a march over India in quality of school education

For this research, data from nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) is used.

Highlights of the paper

  • Around the world, female literacy rates are improving.
  • India ranks low in global indices of female literacy.
  • India ranks 38th among the 51 developing countries for which comparable data is available
  • Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania — all rank higher than India
  • Ghana is placed at the bottom. According to this study, just seven per cent of female students in Ghana can read after attaining their sixth grade.
  • India’s school education system is under-performing in terms of quality when compared to its neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling and were literate

                                                                    Source: The Hindu

 

India 48%
Nepal 92%
Pakistan 74%
Bangladesh 54%

 

Most countries made improvements in the number of girls finishing primary school, which should lead to more literate women.

But for girls who don’t finish primary school, the trend is not encouraging. Researchers found that little to no progress has been made in increasing basic literacy for the girls who drop out.

The report notes, “Millions of women have spent multiple years in school and emerged unable to read a simple sentence” and “it’s not getting much better over time.

[3]. Centre plans to link varsity autonomy to performance

The Hindu

Context

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is linking the autonomy of higher education institutions to their performance as measured by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).

 Proposal

Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is considering linking the autonomy of higher education institutions to their performance as measured by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF).

Ministry is thinking of dividing universities into three categories — A, B and C — on the basis of their

NIRF rankings

  • The A category will comprise institutions with high NIRF rank and these will be highest on the autonomy scale,
  • The B category will comprise middle-ranking institutions with part autonomy but also government regulation,
  • Category C will mean institutions with low ranking that will require greater regulation and hand-holding for improvement.

What is NIRF?

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is a methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD),to rank all institutions of higher education in India. There are separate rankings for different types of institutions depending on their areas of operation like universities and colleges, engineering institutions, management institutions, pharmacy institutions and architecture institutions.

Parameters used for ranking

  • The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources”, “Research and Professional Practices”, “Graduation Outcomes”, “Outreach and Inclusivity” and “Perception”.
  • NIRF has been given the responsibility of ranking institutions that have applied and submitted their data. The ranking of the Institutions will be done based on the parameters proposed by NIRF for different disciplines.

Editorial/OPINION

[1].Making cities inclusive

The Hindu

Context

UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III

The conference that was held in Quito, Ecuador saw some major issues being discussed. Core theme around which the whole conference was crafted were,

  • The challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world
  • The challenges of providing people with equal opportunities in cities

Participation

The conference witnessed widespread governmental and civil society participation

Review procedure needs strengthening

Need to strengthen process to judge how countries have fared  since two previous conferences on issues such as reducing urban inequality, improving access to housing and sanitation mobility, and securing the rights of women, children, older adults and people with disability.

Relevance to India

In India 31 per cent of the population and 26 per cent of the workforce is urban according to Census 2011, with more people moving to cities and towns each year.

  • Urban governance policies, although mainly in the domain of the States, must be aligned with national commitments on reduction of carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11

Measures taken by Indian government for orderly urbanisation

Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation

Author doubts as to whether above measures are going to prove sufficient in achieving desired aim. He cites examples of lack of adequate parks and public spaces, suitable land for informal workers who offer services in a city, egalitarian and non-polluting mobility options and new approaches to low-cost housing

Housing for all policy

In the national report prepared for the Quito conference, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation identified subsidisedre development of slums (which represented 17 per cent of urban households in 2011) involving private agencies, and low-cost, disaster-resistant, prefabricated constructions as key to the ‘Housing for All’ policy

Solutions

  • Slum redevelopment programme should be pursued with a vigorous annual review that ranks States on the basis of performance.
  • The Centre should also take its own National Urban Transport Policy on developing cities around mobility networks seriously, and liberate cities from the tyranny of traffic.

Review

UN Habitat plans to review country-level progress on its New Urban Agenda in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. India’s performance on improving the quality of life in its cities will be watched.

ECONOMY

[1]. World Bank must aid countries to manage shift away from coal

The Hindu

Context

The World Bank and other global development lenders like the Asian Development Bank must help countries such as India to finance the shift their coal production to more efficient technologies so they can meet their COP21 commitments.

Wrong policy

By not financing coal projects, the World Bank is actually pushing countries to use inefficient technologies leading to higher emissions

  • The World Bank does not invest in coal and so does not invest in super critical and ultra- super critical plants, these countries invested in sub-critical plants, which have much higher CO2 and particulate matter emissions

Benefits of USC & SC plants

Super critical and ultra-super critical (USC) plants (USC) substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions and virtually eliminate particulate matter emissions

  • Drawback: The upfront cost is high

India’s coal demand

India’s Paris commitment includes building more super critical and USC plants and the international banks must help it do that because India’s push towards renewable energy, while lowering the share of coal in the overall energy mix, does not mean that coal is going to be done away with

  • Between now and 2040, electricity supply will triple, coal will almost double and non- hydro renewables will see a 10-times increase

US also needs coal

Even the U.S in its Clean Power Plan says that coal would be about a quarter of its energy mix by 2030. So, even developed nations need coal.

Conclusion

Paris agreement is about reducing the emissions from coal, rather than reducing coal itself. The problem is carbon dioxide, not coal.

[2]. Higher subsidy for airlines connecting two regional airports

The Hindu

Context

The Centre will provide higher a subsidy to airlines that operate flights between two regional airports under the regional connectivity scheme known as UDAN

According to the regional connectivity scheme document

  • Transfer of rights: Airlines will be allowed to transfer its rights or contract to get the subsidy from the government and fly on regional routes to another airline operating a similar type of aircraft
  • Higher subsidy: The subsidy amount given to airlines that operate between two unserved or underserved airports will be 10 per cent higher than the sum offered to airlines that connect only one regional airport. There are 16 airports that have had no flights in the past one year and another 399 airports or airstrips that have not seen flight operations for more than three years
  • 3 year subsidy: The Centre will provide a three-year subsidy to fund the losses of airlines to enable them to offer airfares at Rs.2500 for an hour’s flight on half the seats. The subsidy amount for airlines connecting to one regional airport will vary between Rs.2350 and Rs.5100 per seat depending upon the distance covered between two destinations
  • Bank guarantee: Airlines will be required to submit a bank guarantee equivalent to 5 per cent of the total subsidy amount. An airline operating a 40-seater aircraft to fly thrice a week throughout the year on an 800-km distance flight will need to submit about Rs.8 lakh as bank guarantee, as against an earlier proposal of Rs.50 lakh for each regional route. Airlines will still be required to submit an additional bank guarantee of Rs.1 crore if they seeks to fly from a non-operational airport

[3].The Right To Self-Defence

Indian Express

Context

India’s surgical strikes are in keeping with international law and practice

 inherent right of a nation to protect itself from armed attacks arising from outside its borders, whether the perpetrators are state or non-state actors

International law today is clear that every nation has the right to self-defence, extending to even the use of force.

The right to self-defence can be exercised under both customary international law and the UN Charter and has been resorted to even outside the aegis of the latter. The NATO air strikes during the Kosovo war of 1999 may serve as the best example

Under the UN Charter, a state can take recourse to Article 51 and use force when it becomes a victim of an armed attack. The term “armed attack” does not find mention in the UN Charter.

Two major developments with regard to right to self-defence

  1. The first was the decision of the ICJ in Nicaragua v. US (1986): Court opined that the armed attack did not necessarily have to involve the regular army. It held that the “arming, equipping, financing and supplying” or “otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities” is a “breach” of a nation’s “obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another state”.
  2. The international response in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks: Faced with recurring instances of terrorist attacks like 9/11, the Bali bombing (2002), the Madrid train bombing (2004), the efficacy of the test laid down in the Nicaragua case to meet threats to national security have come under question. The judgement of Justices Kooojiaman and Simma of the ICJ, in Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda (2005), expanding the interpretation of self-defence, reflects this. The justices opined that nations have a right to self-defence against terrorist attacks emanating from the territory of a state, even when the state is not supporting such actions. It is sufficient that it is unable to control them

Instances

The US bombing of a pharmaceutical company in Sudan in 1998 in response to attacks on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were justified under Article 51 of the UN.

  • The right to self-defence got further implicit recognition when the criticism of Israel’s deployment of forces in response to the abduction of two officers, was largely of the disproportionate use of force rather than the right to use force

India’s right to self-defence

Pakistan’s training, financing, arming and allowing the use of its soil to launch terror attacks on India, and the three major attacks on India (in Pathankot, Pampore and Uri) in 2016, gave New Delhi the right to resort to self-defence

  • The Indian response too met the legal requirement of necessity and proportionality. The surgical strike was based on the evidence that terrorist organisations were preparing to attack major cities. The surgical strike was also targeted at terrorist outposts close to the border, specifically and carefully avoiding both civilian and military establishments
  • The surgical strike was restrained, limited in its objective and of such duration as to only prevent an attack on Indian soil, thus clearly meeting the legal requirements of the use of force.

 

 

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