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30th & 31st August – Editorials/Opinions Analyses?

Contents

  1. UN on Social Justice for people with Disabilities
  2. What to look for in GDP data?
  3. Japan and Supply Chain Resilience Initiative
  4. On sub-classification among SCs

UN ON SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Introduction

  • The United Nations has released its first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities to make it easier for them to access justice systems around the world.
  • The guidelines outline a set of 10 principles and detail the steps for implementation.

The 10 principles

  1. Principle 1 All persons with disabilities have legal capacity and, therefore, no one shall be denied access to justice on the basis of disability.
  2. Principle 2 Facilities and services must be universally accessible to ensure equal access to justice without discrimination of persons with disabilities.
  3. Principle 3 Persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, have the right to appropriate procedural accommodations.
  4. Principle 4 Persons with disabilities have the right to access legal notices and information in a timely and accessible manner on an equal basis with others.
  5. Principle 5 Persons with disabilities are entitled to all substantive and procedural safeguards recognized in international law on an equal basis with others, and States must provide the necessary accommodations to guarantee due process.
  6. Principle 6 Persons with disabilities have the right to free or affordable legal assistance.
  7. Principle 7 Persons with disabilities have the right to participate in the administration of justice on an equal basis with others.
  8. Principle 8 Persons with disabilities have the rights to report complaints and initiate legal proceedings concerning human rights violations and crimes, have their complaints investigated and be afforded effective remedies.
  9. Principle 9 Effective and robust monitoring mechanisms play a critical role in supporting access to justice for persons with disabilities.
  10. Principle 10 All those working in the justice system must be provided with awareness-raising and training programmes addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular in the context of access to justice.

How does the UN define a person with a disability?

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted in 2007 as the first major instrument of human rights in the 21st century, defines persons with disabilities as those “who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

What does discrimination on the basis of disability mean?

  • “‘Discrimination on the basis of disability’ means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
  • It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation”, states the UN.
  • Reasonable accommodation means the modification and adjustment in a particular case so that persons with disabilities can enjoy and exercise human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.

How many people are disabled in India?

  • As per statistics maintained by the UN, in India 2.4 per cent of males are disabled and two per cent of females from all age groups are disabled.
  • Disabilities include psychological impairment, intellectual impairment, speaking, multiple impairments, hearing, seeing among others.

-Source: Indian Express


WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN GDP DATA?

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Introduction

The National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) will come out with the GDP estimates for the first quarter (April, May, June) of 2020.

What do we know about the current state of economy?

RBI Annual Report

The RBI’s annual year is different from the regular financial year.

  • For RBI the annual report of 2019-20 pertains to the period between July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, whereas for the financial year 2019-20- the period is between, April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.
  • The first quarter of the current Financial Year (Q1FY21) is the quarter that saw the maximum disruption of economic activity.

Review of ease-of-doing-business rankings

Recently the World Bank issued a statement saying that it has ordered a “systematic review” and “internal audit” of its data and methodology used for compiling the Ease of Doing Business rankings that were published in 2017 and 2019.

Export Preparedness Index

  • The index launched by NITI Aayog ranked Indian states and Union Territories in the context of export preparedness in terms of policy environment, infrastructure etc.
  • The top performers were mostly coastal states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha but there was one landlocked state that managed to sneak into the top 5 list and it was Rajasthan.
  • A crucial takeaway from this report was the need for states to work on their unique strategy for boosting exports.

How difficult is it to make estimates GST and what is their significance?

  • It is true that GDP projections over the past year or so have increasingly shortened shelf life.
  • In this financial year, making these estimates and projections is even more difficult because Covid’s spread in India has been much worse than the government’s expectation.

-Source: Indian Express


JAPAN AND SUPPLY CHAIN RESILIENCE INITIATIVE

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Introduction

  • With COVID-19 and trade tensions between China and the United States threatening supply chains or actually causing bottlenecks, Japan has mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade, with India and Australia as the other two partners.
  • The initiative is at the strategy stage and has some way to go before participants can realise trade benefits.

What does supply chain resilience mean?

  • In the context of international trade, supply chain resilience is an approach that helps a country to ensure that it has diversified its supply risk across a clutch of supplying nations instead of being dependent on just one or a few.
  • Unanticipated events — whether natural, such as volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes or even a pandemic; or manmade, such as an armed conflict in a region — that disrupt supplies from a particular country or even intentional halts to trade, could adversely impact economic activity in the destination country.

What is Japan proposing?

  • It is significant that Japan has taken the initiative to include India and Australia, and potentially other Asian and Pacific Rim nations later, in a strategic dialogue, despite India having pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that Japan helped stitch together.
  • What has changed now is that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus what was already known — that when assembly lines are heavily dependent on supplies from one country, the impact on importing nations could be crippling if that source stops production for involuntary reasons, or even as a conscious measure of economic coercion.
  • Any halt to supplies (as it happened when China had to shut down factories in regions hit by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic) could potentially impair economic activity in Japan.
  • In addition, the U.S.-China trade tensions have caused alarm in Japanese trade circles for a while now.

What is likely to have spurred Japan to eye India as a partner for the SCRI?

  • Japan is the fourth-largest investor in India with cumulative foreign direct investments touching $33.5 billion in the 2000-2020 period accounting for 7.2% of inflows in that period, according to quasi government agency India Invest.
  • Imports from Japan into India more than doubled over 12 years to $12.8 billion in FY19.
  • Exports from India to the world’s third-largest economy stood at $4.9 billion that year, data from the agency showed.

Where does Australia stand?

  • Australia, Japan and India are already part of another informal grouping, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad, which includes the U.S.
  • Media reports indicate that China has been Australia’s largest trading partner and that it counts for 32.6% of Australia’s exports, with iron ore, coal and gas dominating the products shipped to Asia’s largest economy.
  • But relations including trade ties between the two have been deteriorating for a while now.
  • China banned beef imports from four Australian firms, and levied import tariffs on Australian barley.

What does India stand to gain, or lose?

  • Following the border tensions between the two highly populous Asian neighbours, partners such as Japan have sensed that India may be ready for dialogue on alternative supply chains. Earlier, India would have done little to overtly antagonise China.
  • But an internal push to suddenly cut links with China would be impractical. China’s share of imports into India in 2018 (considering the top 20 items supplied by China) stood at 14.5%, according to an impact analysis by the Confederation of Indian Industry in February 2020.
  • Chinese supplies dominate segments of the Indian economy. Sectors that have been impacted by supply chain issues arising out of the pandemic include pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, electronics, shipping, chemicals and textiles.
  • Over time, if India enhances self-reliance or works with exporting nations other than China, it could build resilience into the economy’s supply networks.
  • While India appears an attractive option for potential investors both as a market and as a manufacturing base, trade experts point to the need for India to accelerate progress in ease of doing business and in skill building.
  • Tax incentives, as the one recently announced to compete with the likes of Vietnam and the Philippines for investments in manufacturing, alone may not suffice.

-Source: The Hindu


ON SUB-CLASSIFICATION AMONG SCs

Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Introduction

  • The Supreme Court’s five-judge Bench has affirmed the competence of the States to give preferential treatment to the weakest among the Scheduled Castes without depriving other castes of any benefit.
  • The Court has noted that the SC list contains many castes and cannot be treated as a homogeneous group.
  • It has recognised the obligation of States to identify for preferential treatment those sections within the SC communities to whom reservation benefits had not trickled down, and were in the same state of backwardness for decades.
  • In the present case, the affected State was Punjab, which wanted to give preference to Balmikies and Mazhabi Sikhs among seats reserved for SC candidates, but the measure was struck down by the High Court, citing E.V. Chinnaiah. Tamil Nadu has also carved out 3% compartment for Arundhatiyars within the 18% SC quota.

The Disagreement

  • The Bench has disagreed with the formulation in E.V. Chinnaiah vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (2004) that classifying Scheduled Castes into groups amounts to ‘tinkering’ with the Presidential list.
  • Also, the Constitution has been amended in 2018 to introduce Article 342A under which the President notifies, in consultation with the States, the list of Backward Classes, with a caveat similar to the ones in respect of Scheduled Castes (Article 341) and Scheduled Tribes (Article 342) that Parliament can make inclusions or exclusions in this list, and that once such a change is notified, “it shall not be varied by any subsequent notification”.
  • The Court says this could mean that just as the BC list can be divided into ‘backward’ and ‘more backward’, the same could be done among SCs too.

The impact

  • This judgement would provide welcome relief to States that wish to fulfil their obligation to the castes within the SC communities that have made the least progress.
  • Recent jurisprudence is veering towards the view that the ‘creamy layer’ concept should be applied to SC/ST candidates too.
  • Given the oppression and marginalisation Dalits continue to face, it is a moot question whether this is the appropriate time to begin excluding some of them on the ground that they are better off than the rest of the community.

-Source: The Hindu

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