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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 2nd September 2016


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NATIONAL

 

[1]. IMD gets its August forecast wrong

The Hindu

Context:- The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has erred on its forecast for monsoon rain in August.

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What had IMD predicted?

In June, it said that India would get more rain than it usually did but as of August 31, the country got significantly less (8.5 % less rain), than what’s normal for the month.

What does this imply?

While this wouldn’t affect water availability for agriculture and the storage in reservoirs, it suggests that the agency’s weather models are still not robust enough to capture changes in global climate that could affect the Indian monsoon 

Forecasting rainfall

 What is LPA?
Long Period Average (or LPA) is defined as the average of the rainfall received during a fifty year period between 1951 and 2000, which comes to about 89 cm. 

How does IMD give out its forecasts?
IMD classifies its rainfall forecast into five ‘ranges’ based on the percentage value of its LPA: deficient (less than 90), below normal (90-96), normal (96-104), above normal (104-110) and excess (more than 110). 

How good have these forecasts been in the past?
An analysis of ten years’ forecast data shows that the IMD’s April forecast got the ‘rainfall range’ wrong 70 per cent of the times. The June-July forecast, considered a revised and a more accurate monsoon forecast got the ‘rainfall range’ wrong 60 per cent of the times. In other words, if the IMD said that rainfall would be ‘below normal’, it could turn out to be ‘deficient’. There have also been a few years when despite a prediction of below-normal rainfall, rainfall was above normal, with many regions experiencing devastating floods.

What is now casting?

A weather forecast in which the details about the current weather and forecasts up to a few hours ahead (but less than 24 hours) are given.

What is short range weather forecasting?

Short range weather forecasts are weather forecasts valid up to 72 hours ahead.

What are medium range forecasts?

These are weather forecasts valid for a period of 4 to 10 days. In this, the average weather conditions and the weather on each day will be prescribed with progressively lesser details and accuracy than that of the short range forecasts.

What is long range forecast?

As per the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) definition, long range forecast is defined as the forecast from 30 days‘ up to one season‘s description of averaged weather parameters. The monthly and seasonal forecast comes under long range forecast

 

EDITORIAL 

[1]. The road to genuine reform

The Hindu

Context:- Author tries to bring home the point that increase in judicial vacancies is not solely because of thecurrent impasse over judicial appointments. Moreover, the delay in judicial vacancies is not the only  reason for high number of pendency of cases in courts.

Setting aside NJAC, a legislation to replace the collegium system in October 2015, the SC bench headed by Justice JagdishKhehar had asked the government to prepare a revised Memorandum of Procedure in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Why the impasse?

  • The government and the collegium have been unable to agree on a Memorandum of Procedure (a guideline for selection of High Court judges) for appointment of judges
  • The government has neither cleared nor returned the files sent by the collegium regarding several high court appointments and transfers

If we will compare the existing vacancies to the one that existed in 2012 we will see that the vacancies have increased but it is interesting to note that sizeable vacancies existed even before this whole NJAC vs collegium debate began 

In 2012

SC – 4; HC – 280 

In 2016

SC – 2; HC – 432

These figures point out at two things,

  1. High vacancies are not solely caused by this current impasse over method of appointment of judges
  2. Even if the current impasse between the executive and judiciary were to end, vacancies would not be even substantially filled. Why?

Because of the following two reasons,

  1. Vacancies are a result of the systemic lack of any incentives to persons of high integrity and quality to become judges. Indian judiciary is marred by low pay and poorer pensions
  2. Judges of high caliber are not sure that they will ever get promoted to Supreme Court due to closed and opaque nature of appointments through collegium.

Vacancies not the sole reason for delay in justice

Delay in the judiciary is a multifaceted problem which differs also from court to court, State to State. Some common factors responsible for delays are,

  • Law, as laid down by the Supreme Court and high courts in a large number of areas, is unclear and inconsistent, resulting in multiple appeals. Moreover, no strict timeline is followed to dispose off cases thereby causing many adjournments (remember Sunny Deol thundering the famous dialogue “Tareekh pe tareekh pe tareekh”!)
  • Quality of justice served in lower judiciary is perceived to be unsatisfactory
  • Alternative Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanisms to reduce judicial delays have not been explored owing to the constant interference of courts. SC admits 41% of all the cases filed before it. It is no wonder that litigants always want to appeal to the highest court of the country to take their chances.

All the above factors, unlike the increase of vacancies, are totally in the control of courts.

Power struggle

Author points out that the ongoing tussle over judicial appointments between executive and judiciary is an example of power struggle and nothing more. SC failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to reform a system that it itself has held to be flawed. Instead it struck down the NJAC entirely and simultaneously criticized both the political class and the government as a whole.

Suggestions by centre

Centre had proposed,

  • A Screening committee consisting of eminent persons and retired judges to ensure criteria-based selections& to ensure accountability
  • National security veto – Concerns regarding this point is discernable as centre can use this tool to derail any appointment as per its desire, citing national security. Instead a healthy convention should be adopted by the collegium that ordinarily a rejection by the government on these grounds will be heard, provided they are subjectively satisfied.

Formulation process for Memorandum of Procedure is flawed

Currently centre prepares the MoP and collegium rejects it citing one or two reasons. Moreover, such reasons o points of conflict are not made public which further adds to the shady nature about the ways collegium functions.

As per author’s suggestion, all the future correspondence regarding MoP should be made public so as to ensure transparency.

Conclusion

Both centre and the judiciary should understand that the more they delay this whole matter, justice will take longer to be served to the needy and as they say “Justice delayed is justice denied”

[2].A city is for all its citizens

The Hindu  

Context:- Author talks about the Delhi Jal Boards’ new initiative “Jal Adhikar Connection”, a universal access to a basic human need i.e. water

What is Jal Adhikar connection?

It is a connection policy unveiled recently by Delhi Jal Board under which households within slums in Delhi can apply for legal, metered water connections “irrespective of the status of their residence.” 

Biggest impediment is recognition of resident status

Author says that,

Biggest roadblock in ensuring universal access any sector is not lack of money or technology but it is the very fact that large number of our fellow urban residents are not considered urban residents at all because majority of residents in a city do not reside in well planned colonies of the state, rather they live in slums, unauthorised colonies &bordering villages.

  • In last survey conducted in Delhi in 2000, only 24% of the city lived in a planned colony meaning 3/4th of the city lived away in some form of unplanned colony or residence (spatial illegality) & when three-fourths of a people find themselves violating law, it is the law itself that is broken.

Legal view

In multiple legal challenges, courts have refused to acknowledge the urban right to water citing spatial illegality even if this leaves the basic needs of thousands unmet.

A game of political patronage

Which colony shall be endowed with even basic infrastructure & which won’t be, has become a question of political patronage and power thereby spreading social inequality in the city

Benefits of Jal Adhikar connection

The DJB’s financial health and self-sufficiency will gain enormously when thousands of new households give revenue to the public utility instead of to tankers and private suppliers 

Examples of such models

  • Bangalore: When the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board introduced a category of “shared taps” to precisely open up water connections into slums, it saw its financial health improve alongside the improvements in the city’s overall indicators of health, work, housing quality and poverty.
  • Ahmedabad: When Ahmedabad gave networked infrastructure to its slums, overall indicators of access slowly rose for the city as a whole.

Conclusion

Public services like water, health etc are there to be served to the entire gamut of residents of a city and excluding majority of the people from its ambit just because they are forced to reside in unplanned areas is not right at all. DJB has taken a right step forward to ensure that its very nature of being a public utility is maintained by enabling universal access to basic human needs such as water.

 

BUSINESS

[1]. India to clock 8-10% growth

The Hindu

Context:-  Despite registering the slowest growth rate in the last six quarters in April-June period, India has the potential to sustain 8 to 10 per cent growth rate during the next two to three years, said Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor.

In the first quarter India’s GDP growth rate has been 7.1%

As per the Chief Economic Adviser,

India can register a GDP growth rate in double digits in next 2-3 years, provided government follows its current policies and world economy picks up a little bit as it did in 2000

  • Bringing out of laws such as Bankruptcy law to provide a safe exit to unviable enterprises will also boost the growth rate

Growth trajectory vis-à-vis China

China has been growing at 10.5 per cent for last 25 years.

  • India, since mid-1970 or 1980, has been growing at 6 per cent.
  • Till 1980, we were growing at 3 per cent which is called Hindu rate of growth. After that we have grown at significantly higher rate. But, it is well below the growth rate of China.

What is Hindu Growth rate?

The Hindu rate of growth is a term referring to the low annual growth rate of the planned economy of India before the liberalisation of 1991, which stagnatedaround 3.5% from 1950s to 1980s.

Professor Rajkrishna, an Indian economist, coined the term ‘Hindu rate of growth‘ in 1978

 

INTERNATIONAL

[1]. The youth need to be part of reconciliation, says Ban

The Hindu

Context:-  Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary General, currently on a three-day visit to Sri Lanka, his second since May 2009 when he was here days after war ended, said that youth should be included in the peace building process

Social justice

Emphasizing the need for greater investment targeted at the youth, who make up one fifth of Sri Lanka’s population, he said: “Most of you were born and lived your early lives during conflict, terror and displacement. Many of you suffered deprivations and injustice.”

A bottom-up approach

Involvement of youngsters in peace-building, reconciliation and post-conflict transformation provides an opportunity for them to emerge from the trauma inflicted through war and play a part in creating a better future.

Sri Lankan conflict

It has been 8 years since the Sri Lankan conflict ended. Present government is tasked with difficult challenge of ensuring the Northern provinces join the mainstream. For this very purpose Sri Lankan PM expressed his desire to implement 13th Amendmentwhich came out of the India-Sri Lanka accord of 1987 and created provincial councils.

 

[2].Nice court suspends burkini ban

The Hindu
Context:- A French court has ruled against the ban on burkini.

Background

The French Riviera resort Cannes was the first to temporarily ban the burkini on July 28, in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks in France by Muslim extremists. Since then, 14 other French cities imposed similar bans.

France’s highest administrative court had suspended the ban on Burkini but it was ignored by the several towns and kept their bans in place in the midst of a raging debate over religious clothing in secular France.

What is a Burkini?

It is a full-body swimwear Muslim women wear at public beaches and pools.

The debate is centered on French notion of Secularism

Lets have a brief look at this model

Laïcité(pronounced as Laisite)

It is France’s principle of secularism in public affairs, aimed at fostering a post-religious society. It developed during the French Revolution, which sought to dismantle the Catholic Church in France along with the monarchy, and was enshrined in the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.

  • Broadly, the idea refers to the freedom of citizens and of public institutions from the influence of organized religion. (“Laïcité” derives from the French term for laity—non-clergy or lay people)
  • It goes further than the separation of religion and state in other nations, however, by prohibiting religious expression in the public sphere
  • France passed a law in 2004 banning religious symbols and clothing, like crosses and headscarves, in public schools. It had the effect of increasing the demand for private Muslim schools, keeping Muslims out of the mainstream instead of integrating them. A similar law banning the burqa in public spaces was passed in 2010.

Seen in the above light, the recent Burkini ban can be understood as a mere enforcement of Laicite. The rationale behind the ban is that, Burkini, instead of a swimwear, is a show of religion in public sphere.

What kind of model of secularism India follows?

India currently follows a model of secularism that can be titled as principled secularism wherein it maintains a distance from religious interference but if need arises it intermediates so that no one is discriminated on the basis of religion. All religions are treated at par by the government.

  • Display of religious symbols is not banned in India as it believes that religious freedom only strengthens the societal unity.

Conclusion

The recent controversy over the Burkini comes to forefront the totalitarian model of secularism that France has been following. It should recognize the ground realities & understand that the principle of Laicite can only work in a homogenous society, which France was during 20th century but now it is heterogeneous mux of different cultures. Following a Laicite would not be a wise policy in modern times as it would only lead to further alienation giving a fillip to the agendas of terror groups who thrive on such social isolation of minorities.

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