Contents

  1. Ending Inaction
  2. Playing with Learning
  3. Think climate change action, act global
  4. Huge informal economy:  Government should increase spending, not worry about deficit
  5. Changing Government, changing priorities: Need to think differently

ENDING INACTION 

Why in news? 

Justice R.F. Nariman has fixed a three ­month limit for the Manipur Assembly Speaker to decide the disqualification of members under 10th schedule of constitution.

Observations by SC

  1. Parliament should replace the Speaker with a “permanent tribunal” or external mechanism to render quick and impartial decisions on questions of defection.  
  2. Speakers sit on the disqualification matters for a long time
  3. In some cases, the defectors didn’t get timely punishment and enjoy other incentives
  4. Whether courts have the power to direct Speakers to decide petitions seeking disqualification within a fixed time frame

Why such a move? 

The question had arisen because several presiding officers have allowed defectors to bolster the strength of ruling parties and even be sworn in Ministers by merely refraining from adjudicating on complaints against them. 

Previous judgements

  • The reference to a larger Bench, in 2016 in S.A. Sampath Kumar vs. Kale Yadaiah was based on the landmark judgment in Kihoto Hollohan (1992) which upheld the validity of the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule, or the Anti ­defection law.
  • This verdict had also made the Speaker’s order subject to judicial review on limited grounds.
  • It made it clear that the court’s jurisdiction would not come into play unless the Speaker passes an order, leaving no room for intervention prior to adjudication.
  • As “failure to exercise jurisdiction” is a recognised stage at which the court can now intervene, the court has thus opened a window for judicial intervention in cases in which Speakers refuse to act.
  • This augurs well for the enforcement of the law against defection in letter and spirit.

PLAYING WITH LEARNING

Why in news?

ASER report 2019 data on early childhood education in rural areas indicates that, pre-school system is crucial in the development of cognitive abilities among children.

More about the report

  • Annual Status of Education Report 2019 data on early childhood education in rural areas makes the case that the pre-school system fails to give children a strong foundation, especially in government-run facilities.
  • Going by the findings, the percentage of girls in government schools is higher than in private institutions, the cognitive skills of children attending official anganwadi playschools do not match those attending private schools
  • There is a significant percentage of underage children in the first standard of formal school in violation of the stipulated age of six.
  • Lack of proper environment to acquire Cognitive skills which are critical to ability to verbalize, count, calculate and make comparisons
  • ASER data sampled from 26 Indian districts seem to indicate is an apparent imbalance in State policies, which is disadvantaging the less affluent as anganwadis and government schools are poorly resourced.
  • Official policies are also not strict about the age of entry thus many underage students in schools
  • This ASER survey calls for a deeper look at funding of institutions and teacher training for better outcomes
  • It is important for teachers to develop anganwadis as play-and-learn centres aiding children in acquiring cognitive skills
  • two-thirds of those in the second standard cannot read a text at age seven that they were meant to read a year earlier
  • It is a paradox that students appear to fare somewhat better in private schools with poorly paid teachers.
  • The time has come for govt to show more commitment to preprimary and primary education as they are the formative years of any student.

THINK CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION, ACT GLOBAL

Why in news?

  • After the failure of COP25, there emerged more arguments for climate activism  by the states.
  • The wealthy nations are becoming recalcitrant though responsible for using the bulk of the carbon space in the atmosphere, they now disavow their obligations, with some even denying anthropogenic climate change
  • The next COP will be held at Glasgow, U.K. (in late 2020) and there may be little change in the outcomes, as the global political order may not alter much.
  • The scenario will start changing once the younger members could be elected to the U.S. Congress and the Green New Deal could pass sometime in 2021
  • As global deal is stagnating, India has the opportunity to look inwards towards the states and sub state level
  • Here the environmental concerns has been relegated to the periphery as the destruction of ecosystem is taking place at an alarming rate.
  • This has resulted into many catastrophic events and loss of lives in the recent  past
  • Attention to climate change offers co­ benefits to India for development.
    1. Improving energy efficiency in industry reduces costs and local pollution
    2. improving public transport reduces congestion, pollution
    3. improves access using natural farming methods reduces fossil fuel ­based fertilizers, improves soil health and biodiversity

HUGE INFORMAL ECONOMY:  GOVERNMENT SHOULD INCREASE SPENDING, NOT WORRY ABOUT DEFICIT

Details:

  • India is in the midst of a serious economic slowdown is no longer in question
  • Options with Govt:
  • Whether to opt for a fiscal expansion to boost demand or to carry out deep reforms to raise productivity and the growth potential of the economy
  • The recent release by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the growth rate of the GDP in real terms is now 5 per cent the lowest in more than a decade, and that of the nominal GDP is 7.5 per cent — the lowest in four decades
  • 1st, the presence of a large informal sector plays a big role in the discrepancy between the NSS and NAS estimates
  • It accounts for nearly half of the GDP and employs 85 per cent of the labour force
  • 2nd,   presence of the informal sector, expansionary fiscal policy will be more effective than what would appear from official statistics, as a big part of its impact will be felt in the informal sector
  • Income generated in the informal sector will boost demand in the formal sector through consumer demand for mass-consumption items
  • Policies such as personal and corporate income tax cuts, which are being talked about, will achieve precious little as it effects around 4-5 percent of population only.
  • To get the engine of the economy revving, an expansionary fiscal policy that harnesses the energy of the informal sector to boost aggregate demand is the order of the day.

CHANGING GOVERNMENT, CHANGING PRIORITIES: NEED TO THINK DIFFERENTLY

 Context

  • It is time governments start taking responsibility for the actions of their predecessors
  • As the politics start getting polarized, the action of successor govt becomes revengeful
  • For example YSR Congress government  has scrapped the earlier government’s decision to build Amaravati as its state capital, while also cancelling some of the contracts awarded for the ambitious Polavaram dam project.
  • Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Bill and return the land acquired from farmers for an ambitious Tata Nano project but it effectively deprived the state of a real chance to rediscover its industrial base lost during Leftist misrule.
  • A government isn’t a political party and governing a country isn’t the same as managing a party at the hustings.
  • Laws are made and passed by Parliament, which comprises all parties and not just the one in power.
  • The money allocated and spent by the government belongs to the taxpayer, the citizens of the country, and not to the ruling party.

Learning from business corporates

  • The best companies function on the basis of shared responsibility
  • When a new chief executive officer (CEO) takes over, scrapping projects undertaken by his predecessors isn’t one of her priorities
  • Companies recognize that resources are scarce and rolling back an allocation already made is a criminal waste, besides sending the wrong signal to the workforce
  • Intel, one of the most successful corporations in the computer industry, has had just seven CEOs in the 51 years of its existence. Over these decades, the company has undergone a massive transformation, from focusing on semiconductors in its early years to leading the world into microprocessors, and then, finding itself behind the curve when the mobile revolution came
  • Government needs the flexibility of withdrawing a particularly odious piece of regulation or scrapping a project that goes against its principles.
  • However for that, a party should have unambiguously articulated its position on a subject before elections
  • The party must offer viable alternatives. If the Congress feels that high-speed bullet trains aren’t a good idea, it must state its recommendations for the form of locomotion that will achieve the same results.
  • India has fallen too far behind its major rival China in the race for growth to afford the luxury of development being reduced to a ping-pong game between political parties. Investments for the future need the comfort of long-term planning, uninfluenced by politics and populism.
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