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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 02 July 2022


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 02 July 2022


Contents

  1. Reset Mode
  2. Clear Signals the ‘fringe’ Ought to Read

Reset Mode


Context

The GST Council met over two days this week — its first ‘regular’ meeting after a nine­month break —with much on its plate, stemming from four ministerial groups’ recommendations to fix various aspects of the indirect tax regime that remains a work in progress five years on.

Relevance

GS-III: Government Budgeting

Dimensions of the Article

  • Key takeaways from GST
  • Conclusion

Key Takeaways from GST Council Meet

  • It ratified three of the four reports, put off one for further deliberations based on concerns flagged by a State, with a commitment to reassemble and resolve the impasse holistically in little over a month.
  • A new ministerial panel is being tasked with figuring out the long­ pending constitution of an appellate tribunal for GST disputes.
  • Based on an ‘interim’ report of a panel to rationalise tax rates, exemptions have been scrapped on several items and rates altered for others to correct inverted duty structures. This may translate into higher prices on many goods and services although their impact on inflation is difficult to ascertain.
  • However, a larger restructuring of the GST’s multiple rates’ structure, with an increase in levies to bolster revenues  has been put off. With inflation expected to remain buoyant, that exercise may have to wait longer.
  • Apart from the fine print of the Council’s decisions, which include tighter norms on the horizon for registering new firms and closing of tax evasion loopholes, there is a more critical takeaway.
  • That not a single member raised the recent Supreme Court order that some States believed had upheld their rights against ‘arbitrary imposition’ of the Centre’s decisions in Council, displays federal cooperation.
  •  Moreover, over a dozen States brought up an ‘extra agenda item’ — their anxieties about the sunset of assured revenue growth from July 1, on which States spoke up to seek the continuance of GST Compensation for some years.

Conclusion

  • That the deliberations were constructive and not combative, especially amid the brewing trust deficit between the Centre and States in the past few meetings and the prolonged pause since it last met, bodes well for the necessary next steps to make GST deliver on its original hopes.
  • That States are no longer driven by party whips in this critical forum, should enrich the quality of dialogue and outcomes. That the Centre ‘heard them out’ and left the issue open, unlike the last Council meet when its response was akin to an outright ‘No’, is most refreshing.
  • Taking a clear call, one way or the other, on continuing this support, will be ideal for the Centre and States to plan their fiscal math better. Just as sustaining and nurturing this fledgling federal compact is critical to make the GST work better for all, sooner rather than later.

Source – The Hindu


Clear Signals the ‘fringe’ Ought to Read


Context

In reactions to the controversial remarks on the Prophet made by a former spokesperson of the ruling party, there had been 3 public statements being made by three of the most important Indian government functionaries  that  emphasised India’s stronger credentials as a secular democratic polity.

Relevance

GS I: Regionalism & Secularism.

GS II: India and its Neighbouring Countries- Relations

GS III : Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security.

Dimensions of the Article

  • An “Inclusive Upbringing”
  • There and Now
  • Islamism, jihadist landscape
  • Conflict Ecosystem
  • Conclusion

More on News

  • In the first instance, the External Affairs Minister, S.Jaishankar, stated that the negative reactions of many Muslim countries over the controversial remarks on the Prophet “… was an issue where the sensibilities and the sensitivities of people were impacted”.
  • Next was the NSA, Ajit Doval, who candidly accepted that the controversy has damaged India’s global reputation, also argued that “India has been projected or some disinformation has been spread against India — which is far from the reality. Probably there is a need for us to engage them [Muslim world] and talk to them and convince them”.

An ‘inclusive upbringing’

  • Most importantly, we had the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, mentioning in his blog his childhood friend, one Mr. Abbas Ramsada being part of his household, to highlight his mother’s selfless nature.
  • That Mr.Abbas was a part of PM’s household, that Mr. Modi’s mother took care of him just like her own children, must be seen as emphasising Mr. Modi’s inclusive upbringing and the level of societal integration between Hindus and Muslims in India
  • This highlights PM’s reference & indirect acknowledgement that more damage should not be done to India’s image as a country that celebrates its diversity and plurality.
  • And, finally, it was the Supreme Court of India that held the discredited former spokesperson “single­handedly responsible” for igniting emotions while asking her to “apologise to the country”.
  • The Modi government has also taken remarkable initiatives to improve ties with many West Asian/Gulf countries. But there is another dimension that should not be forgotten. It needs to be mentioned that immediately after the controversy erupted, the Al­Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) issued a letter that has warned of suicide bombings in many Indian cities to protect the honour of the Prophet. This shows that there are elements desperate to “fish in troubled waters”.

Then and now

  • Even before and after Independence, communal riots have occurred across India with disturbing regularity. But here, the issues triggering the riots were local.
  • It is now quite difficult to move away after making indecorous remarks against the most respected figure in Islam as Prophet being the uniting figure, the mobilising potential of this issue is ‘transnational’.
  •  While Indian Muslims may have taken to streets protesting the persecution of their co­religionists in conflict zones across the world, they are closely integrated in Indian society, and have never empathised with jihadist organisations and their transnational aims.

Islamism, jihadist landscape

  •  Islamism is not about Islam or Islamic faith, but  is about remaking of the political order. Islamism thrives on a transnationalisation of issues pertaining to the Islamic faith and practices
  • ‘Religionisation of politics’ and ‘politicisation of religion’ is the root of Islamism. And, most disturbingly, what unites Islamists and Jihadists is their vision of a Sharia­based Islamic state as a desired political order.
  • Muslims have always found the charm and the influence of India’s constitutional order premised on secular nationalism more powerful than the fatal attraction of radical Islamism. .Fortunately, India has seen no noticeable increase in number of radicalised recruits despite the growing sense of political alienation among Indian Muslims.

Conflict ecosystem

  • The Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda has often been marked by mutual suspicion. But despite many complexities, they have often adopted successful ways to cooperate for mutual strategic and tactical benefits. After the Taliban’s takeover, al Qaeda’s jubilation has been understandable, notwithstanding distrust, they will still do their best to cooperate and coordinate.
  • The Pakistan factor too comes into play as Pakistan’s security establishment has been a long­time patron of the Afghan Taliban.
  • Also Taliban regime have no incentive to  expell or immobilise al Qaeda despite growing international pressure because their relationship with al Qaeda makes strategic sense for them in collective efforts to combat common foe, ISIS or the IS­K.

Conclusion

Al Qaeda’s ability to navigate Afghanistan’s jihadist landscape, is serious concern for India as it could be an indirect target. Also there’s a possibility of the Taliban and al Qaeda jointly waging a fight against the IS­K in the same operational battlespace that should alarm Indian authorities. The transnationalisation of local tensions and the Islamisation of local politics have always exacerbated deadly conflicts. At a time when three of the most visible faces of the Indian government and the highest judicial institution of the country have directly and indirectly highlighted India’s civilisational heritage of inclusivity and tolerance, as well as the non­discriminatory nature of the current political regime, it must be hoped that the ‘fringe’ elements in the ruling party will be forced to abandon their Islamophobic vocabulary and religious prejudices.

Source – The Hindu


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