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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 16 February 2022

Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 16 February 2022


Contents:

  1. Gaming and banning
  2. Price to pay

Gaming and banning


Context:

The Karnataka High Court has stuck down the amendments made to the existing regulations that aim to regulate betting and gambling.

Relevance:

GS-II: Judicial Review, Fundamental Rights, Parliament, Indian Constitution, GS III: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Judicial scrutiny on Online gaming
  2. Observations by Karnataka High Court
  3. Analysing these Legislations
  4. Way Forward

Judicial scrutiny on Online gaming:

A similar amendment was made by the Tamil Nadu government last year. The legislation targeted online rummy and poker and it was eventually invalidated by the Madras High Court.

The Karnataka Government has rightly put forward its points to the High count when it said that many have taken their own lives and families ruined as a result of gaming addiction and indebtedness.

Observations by Karnataka High Court:

  • The Karnataka High Court has rejected a key submission that it could be upheld as a ‘public order’ law.
  • It referred to “the menace of cyber games” of epic proportions, and the registration of about 28,000 cases by the police in the State in the last three years.
  • The Court opined that if the objective was to curb the menace of gambling, the Government should prohibit activities that amount to gambling as such, and not the games of skill.
  • The court has drawn attention to the fact that what such bans do is to create “a wholly new category of medium-based regulation, when chance of medium per se does not alter the true nature and content of the games”.
    • In other words, what is targeted is not the gambling part, but the ‘online’ part.

Analysing these Legislations:

  • Paternalistic Role of these Legislations:
    • Though the legislations aimed at protecting the people, especially the youth, from the temptations of online gambling, there is no doubt that it assumed a paternalistic role.
  • Lack of Distinction:
    • The Legislations sought to bring under the proscription all games played online, regardless of the extent to which skill was required.
    • It failed to make a distinction between games of skill and games of chance.
    • The amendments contradicted a general exemption in the original law to ‘games of skill’ by making all online gaming punishable even if they involved skill.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Though the idea of betting and gambling is highly speculative and prone to risks, there is an element of ‘information, expression and entertainment’ that has constitutional protection.
    • Right to Trade: Gaming platforms are also a legitimate business that enjoys the freedom of trade when used for online versions of games of skill.
    • Individual Freedom: It is clear that an absolute embargo on games of skill involving money or stakes could not have been upheld by the court, as the line between individual freedom, both to carry on the business and to participate in it as a consumer, and state action could not have been obliterated.

Way Forward:

  • There is a populist appeal from certain section of the society for legislation from the State to guide and support them.
  • Though there is an addictive element to online gaming, it does not mean that it can take away individual freedom and choice.

-Source: The Hindu


Price to pay


Context:

Recently the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed that retail inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), rose to a seven month high.

Relevance:

GS-III: Growth & Development, Monetary Policy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Present condition of Inflation in India:
  2. Monetary policy committee (MPC)’s Projections
  3. Conclusion

Present condition of Inflation in India:

  • The increase in the retail inflation is above the upper limit of the inflation targeting framework of the RBI.
  • Considering that the RBI expects inflation to average 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter (January-March), CPI will now have to moderate considerably in the next two months to be in line with the target.
  • Food Inflation:
    • The data also shows an increase in the food inflation considerably. The food inflation rose to 5.43 per cent in January, up from 4.05 per cent in December.
    • Items such as cereals, meat and fish, milk products, vegetables witnessed a rise.
  • Core Inflation:
    • The core inflation, which excludes the highly volatile food and fuel prices, has continued to remain elevated.
    • As an outcome, the price pressure is being witnessed across categories such as household goods and services, and clothing and footwear.
    • This indicates the pass-through of higher input costs.
  • The wholesale price index has remained in double digits for the last 10 months.

Monetary policy committee (MPC)’s Projections:

  • The Monetary policy committee has projected CPI at 4.5 per cent in 2022-23, with inflation averaging just under 5 per cent in the first half of the year, followed by 4.1 per cent in the second half.
  • What are the risks associated with this MPC’s projection?
    • Crude Oil Prices:
      • Currently the crude oil prices are following an upward trend.
      • Higher crude oil prices will likely be reflected in higher prices at the pumps, passed on to the consumers, once the state elections are concluded.
      • Government can offset the price rise by cuts in fuel taxes.
    • Easing Restrictions:
      • With restrictions on economic activities being eased, contact-intensive services may also see price pressures.
    • Demand:
      • Demand from the domestic economy can strengthen leading to higher input prices to consumers
    • Inflation:
      • With inflation in developed countries also rising, there is the risk of importing high inflation.

Conclusion:

  • If inflation remains elevated, at levels higher than expected, it increases the risk of RBI being behind the curve.
  • The Reserve Bank of India will be forced to undertake sharper monetary policy adjustments

-Source: The Indian Express


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