Alwar fallout: govt. panel to check cases of mob lynching
- The government said a high-level committee, headed by Union Home Secretary, had been constituted to check cases of “mob lynching.” The committee will submit its recommendations within four weeks.
- The government said a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Union Home Minister will consider the report of the committee and submit its recommendations to Prime Minister.
- Last week, a dairy farmer, Rakbar Khan from Haryana’s Mewat district, was lynched by a group of seven persons in Alwar when he was transporting two cows and their calves.
- The government is concerned at the incidents of violence by mobs in some parts of the country. The government has already condemned such incidents, has made its stand clear in Parliament that it is committed to upholding the rule of law and adopting effective measures to curb such incidents.
- The statement reiterated that, as per the Constitution, ‘Police‘ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects and State governments are responsible for controlling crime, maintaining law and order and protecting the life and property of the citizens. It informed the Rajya Sabha last week that the National Crime Records Bureau does not maintain specific data related with respect to lynching incidents in the country.
- On July 17, the Supreme Court condemned the recent spate of lynchings as “horrendous acts of mobocracy” and told Parliament to make lynching a separate offence.
At least 16 inmates were raped in Bihar shelter
- At least 16 girls at a shelter in Muzaffarpur in Bihar were raped, Senior Superintendent of Police told the media. There were 44 girls living in the home run by an NGO under the supervision of the Social Welfare Department.
- In a social audit report prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in May this year, the inmates had narrated their ordeals of sexual exploitation. Later, based on the 100-page TISS report, the Social Welfare Department filed a police complaint which exposed the plight of the girls.
- The medical report on 21 of the girls have been submitted to the Muzaffarpur police. It confirms 16 cases of rape.
Medical tourists flocking to India
- A rare combination of advanced facilities, skilled doctors, and low cost of treatment has made India a popular hub of medical tourism, attracting a large number of foreign patients every year. The total number of such visitors in 2017 was 4.95 lakh.
- Bangladesh and Afghanistan continued to be the top countries from where the maximum number foreign tourist arrivals (for medical purpose) was seen.
- Other countries from where large numbers of medical tourists came to India include Iraq, Oman, Maldives, Yemen, Uzbekistan and Sudan.
- the provisional estimates of the total foreign exchange earned (FEE) through medical tourism during 2015, 2016 and 2017 were Rs. 1,35,193 crore, Rs. 1,54,146 crore, and Rs. 1,77,874 crore, respectively.
- The NITI Aayog has identified medical value travel as a major source of foreign exchange earnings.
Karnataka sees 300% jump in FDI inflows, T.N. rebounds
- Karnataka registered the biggest increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) last year, as inflows from overseas jumped 300% in the 12 months ended March 2018.
- Tamil Nadu too saw a rebound reversing a slowdown in the preceding period, while Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh all saw a drop in FDI inflows, data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) presented in Parliament show.
- FDI inflows into Gujarat fell almost 38% to $2.09 billion in 2017-18, from $3.37 billion. Andhra Pradesh saw FDI inflows drop 43% to $1.25 billion in 2017/18.
- There was no way to assess whether the inflows were helping a State in its development efforts.
Centre clears air on grant-giving powers
- A new and independent body comprising academics and using an ICT-enabled platform will give grants to universities after the University Grants Commission (UGC) is repealed, Human Resource Development Minister told the Lok Sabha.
- The Ministry would not shift to itself the power of disbursing grants, seeking to silence criticism in recent days from stakeholders, who fear that the government plans to keep the grant-giving powers hitherto vested in the UGC to itself.
- The criticism from teachers had followed the recent announcement by the Ministry that the UGC would be replaced by the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which would have the mandate of ensuring quality of higher education without powers to give grants to universities, something the UGC possesses.
Others wince as Kerala celebrates top slot
- As Kerala trumped high-profile peers such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana to emerge on top of the Public Affairs Index 2018, celebrations in one place have been matched by excuses in others.
- The losers have the argument that the checklist of the Public Affairs Centre, the Bengaluru-based think tank, is skewed in favour of Kerala: its focus is on social development and service delivery rather than big ticket investments. With a top ranking in four of the 10 parameters for big States. These include essential infrastructure, support to human development, women and child development and child-friendly approach.
- The parameters chosen for the study have given an edge for Kerala, a State that has won acclaim for its high human development indices. PAI 2018 comprises 10 broad themes, 30 focus subjects and 100 indicators as well as a special chapter on the children of India. While the theme on essential infrastructure includes power, water, roads and communication and housing, that on support to human development covers education and health.
LS passes Bill on cheque bounce cases
- The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill that allows a court hearing a cheque bounce case to direct the drawer — the person who wrote the cheque — to pay interim compensation to the person who filed the complaint.
- The interim compensation, to be paid within 60 days of the court’s order, can be up to 20% of the value of the cheque. The court may direct the payee to repay the interim compensation, with interest, if the drawer is acquitted.
‘CJI’s courtroom can go live first’
- The government told the Supreme Court that live-streaming of court proceedings should start with the Chief Justice of India’s courtroom.
- It said live-streaming should be initially restricted to constitutional issues decided by the top judge.
- Attorney-General said restricting live-streaming to the CJI’s court would give an opportunity to gauge public response, especially when issues of constitutional significance were heard.
- In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court had said it was ready to go live on camera, while the government had mooted a separate TV channel for live-streaming court proceedings.
- The court had referred to live-streaming as an extension of the “open court” system allowing the public to walk in and watch the court proceedings.
- Chief Justice Misra had said live-streaming would help litigants conveniently follow the court proceedings and assess their lawyers’ performance. People from far-flung States did not have to travel all the way to the national capital for a day’s hearing.
PM in Africa amid a fall in trade
- Prime Minister will encounter challenges of Chinese competition as well as declining Indian trade and investment figures on his three nation, five-day tour to Africa, part of what officials called an “unprecedented engagement” with the continent by his government.
- Despite the ramping up of high-level visits, various studies and statistics show that Indian interest in the Africa growth story has not kept pace, and even declined through most of the period. The greatest slump appears to have been in investment figures.
- According to the “World Investment Report for 2018”, issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Indian FDI in Africa in 2016-17 at $14 billion was even lower than it was in 2011-12 at $16 billion.
- While one of the issues has been the investment climate in African countries itself, which has seen FDI flows drop 21% in 2016-17 according to UNCTAD, India is the only one of the big investors in Africa to have reduced its investment.
- China, for example, increased from 2011-12, when its investment levels were identical to India’s at $16 billion, to a massive $40 billion in 2016-17.
- export and import figures fell from $67.84 billion to $51.96 billion. The China-Africa bilateral trade, in comparison, has hovered around the $170 billion mark.
- One of India’s biggest problems has been its concentration on East African trade and investment opportunities, as well as a dependence on petroleum and LNG, say experts. India’s exports to African countries have also been dominated by petroleum products, and a diversification is needed to broaden economic engagement.
Banks agree to resolve stressed assets quickly
- Leading lenders of the country signed an agreement among themselves to grant power to the lead lender of the consortium to draw up a resolution plan for stressed assets. The plan would be implemented in a time-bound manner before bankruptcy proceedings kick in, as was the mandate of the Reserve Bank.
- The move comes after the banking regulator, in its February 12 circular, dismantled all the existing resolution mechanisms, such as the joint lenders’ forum, and asked lenders to start resolution for the asset even if the default was by one day. It had also mandated that if the resolution plan was not finalised within 180 days, the account had to be referred for bankruptcy proceedings.
- The agreement, known as Inter-Creditor Agreement (ICA) was framed under the aegis of the Indian Banks’ Association and follows the recommendations of the Sunil Mehta Committee on stressed asset resolution. Lenders including State Bank of India, Bank of India, and Corporation Bank have already signed the pact.
- The ICA has been executed by 24 lenders, primarily those who have obtained their board approvals, Other lenders are expected to execute the ICA shortly after getting approval from the respective Boards.
- The ICA is applicable to all corporate borrowers who have availed loans for an amount of Rs. 50 crore or more under consortium lending / multiple banking arrangements, IBA said in a statement. The lender with the highest exposure to a stressed borrower will be authorised to formulate the resolution plan which will be presented to all lenders for their approval.
- “The decision making shall be by way of approval of ‘majority lenders’ (i.e. the lenders with 66% share in the aggregate exposure). Once a resolution plan is approved by the majority…, it shall be binding on all the lenders that are a party to the ICA.
Changing the order of battle
- Increasingly, leaders in both democracies and authoritarian regimes are beginning to take a direct role in matters such as foreign policy, even as they preside over the destiny of their nations.
- Notable among those engaged in summit diplomacy are President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and President Donald Trump of the U.S.
- Diplomacy is one of the world’s oldest professions. Summit diplomacy is, however, a comparatively recent phenomenon. In previous centuries, world leaders met occasionally, and it was the advent of World War II that gave a fillip to summit diplomacy.
- In the immediate post-war years, however, traditional diplomacy seemed to make a comeback — but more recently, given the inability of traditional diplomacy to sort out intractable problems, summit diplomacy has come into its own.
- Summit styles are personal to each leader. One common feature, however, is that Foreign Office mandarins and ministers in charge of foreign affairs are being pushed into the background.
- Personal leadership tends to be highly contextual. At times what appears inappropriate could become the norm. Attitudes also change given different situations.
- Strong leadership and summit diplomacy do not necessarily translate into appropriate responses
- Useless , in more ways than one , you can skip the following part :
- Trump, hardly constrained by diplomatic etiquette, firmly believes in the aphorism, ‘what starts with him changes the world’. He hardly ever debates the question, ‘what will the world look like after you change it?’ He is clearly an advocate of the thesis that ‘a crisis by definition poses problems, but it also presents opportunities’.
- Putin is less mercurial than Mr. Trump. He is, nevertheless, unflinching in his belief that he has the answers to Russia’s problems, and how to take Russia from the low point of the Yelstin years to future glory.
- At the opposite end is Mr. Xi of China, who is in the process of establishing a new political orthodoxy? Mr. Xi’s ‘thought’ is being portrayed as the culmination of a century’s historical process and philosophical refinement, produced through an ongoing dialectic of theory and practice, and encapsulating ‘traditions’ of the Qing dynasty, Maoist socialism and Deng’s policies of reform.
- Relevant again : You can read again from here…
- What the world is surprisingly discovering is that with many more countries sporting ‘maximum leaders’ at the helm, summitry can help cut through the Gordian knot of many existing and past shibboleths. It is uncertain at this time whether this is more make-believe than real.
- The meeting between Mr. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Singapore in mid-June, is a classic example of ‘daredevilry’ at the highest level which could only be attempted by leaders cocooned in their own personal beliefs ignoring past history and current problems.
- The Trump-Putin meeting held in Helsinki last week, in July, has evoked a similarly negative response from the majority of western countries, especially among the diplomatic and policy-making fraternity. Much of the anger seems directed at the sheer gall of Mr. Trump in rejecting conventional wisdom in the West that Russia is Enemy No.1, and in challenging their beliefs by effecting a meeting with the Russian President.
The Indian way?
- Indian Prime Ministers have also experimented on occasion with variants of summit diplomacy.
- Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was in effect his own Minister for External Affairs, conducted policy discussions with a whole range of world leaders, achieving a mixed bag of results. He was successful as the architect of the Non-Aligned Movement, but met with setbacks in his China policy.
- In 1988, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ended a 25-year India-China stalemate by personally taking the initiative to reopen talks with Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese leadership.
- Prime Minister B. Vajpayee achieved a temporary respite from cross-border attacks from Pakistan by engaging with General, later President, Pervez Musharraf.
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh established a fairly successful ‘back-channel’ with Pakistan, thanks to his brand of summit diplomacy with President Musharraf. In the case of Indian Prime Ministers, what is different is that they did not seek to ‘buck the trend’, but while going with the flow use their personal credibility to achieve results.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is, to all intents and purposes, a firm believer in summit diplomacy. He has, however, made no attempt to effect any systematic change in foreign policy, nor talked of establishing a qualitatively new order in the realm of foreign affairs so as to add gloss to Indian foreign policy.
- The informal summits held recently with Mr. Xi (in Wuhan) and Mr. Putin (in Sochi) have contributed to improving the ‘fraying’ relations with China and Russia.
- Summit diplomacy is taking leaders into hitherto uncharted waters, and producing results that traditional diplomacy has struggled for years to achieve — whether they be long-lasting or short-lived. If diplomacy is generally viewed as ‘war by other means’, then summit diplomacy is changing the ‘Order of Battle’ in a bid to succeed where all else has failed. There is no reason why disruption in the area of foreign affairs should not alter staid diplomatic practices that were more relevant to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
The art of writing a judgment
- The fate of the governance of the National Capital Territory of Delhi was decided earlier this month by the Supreme Court.
- But one had to pore over 500 pages of widely awaited judgment in order to understand the demarcation of powers between the Lieutenant Governor and the elected government.
The need for crisp and on-message judgments for many reasons.
- First, erroneously drafted judgments that run into pages and which state the same point repeatedly have been called out several times by critics within and outside the judiciary.
- Second, insensitive comments made in judgments can tarnish the quality of pronouncements. For example, unnecessary remarks have been made on the ‘promiscuous attitude’ and ‘voyeuristic mindset’ of a woman in a bail order of a rape case. The Supreme Court has even frowned on a trial court judgment that rationalised how “wife beating is a normal facet of married life”. Across the judiciary, there are numerous instances of judgments with similar gender-insensitive remarks.
- Third, several judgments do not record submissions or issues raised by both parties, which often results in a reader being unable to make out the link between the legal provisions used to arrive at a judgment and the facts to which they are applied.
- Lastly, in most judgments, a uniform structure (recording of facts, issues, submissions and then reaching the decision) is lacking. Judicial decisions are the law of the land and if the law is unclear, it becomes increasingly difficult to follow or enforce them.
- Solutions: Judicial academies play a significant role in equipping trainee judges to deliver lean, to-the-point judgments. There are now at least four State judicial academies that conduct training. judgment writing is one of the most requisite skills that a judge should possess, there has to be focussed training in this area. Simple, clear and crisp judgments are vital.
- To eliminate bias, training sessions could have diverse socio-economic scenarios which would also help trainee judges apply theories.
- Another useful exercise is in re-writing judgments, particularly those that are difficult to understand due to a seeming lack of structure.
- Issues: The attempt towards improving judgment quality appears to be ineffective as several judgments in lower and higher courts continue to remain verbose.
- Judicial training must lay emphasis on the need for concise and reasoned judgments.
- very few States conduct post-training evaluation of judges.
- Judicial academies must focus on practical-based training. In the interim, higher courts and also the Supreme Court must consider summarising the crux of lengthy decisions into a separate official document. Such summary briefs can be uploaded by the Registry along with the judgment which would help the layperson in understanding the main ideas of the decision.
- The Goods and Services Tax Council has announced a reduction in the tax rates for over 85 goods. The applicable indirect tax rates on consumer durables such as television sets, washing machines and refrigerators, along with a dozen other products, have been slashed from 28% to 18%.
- The tax rate on environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles has been reduced from 28% to 12%, and the compensation cess levied on them dropped.
- This leaves just about 35 products, including tobacco, automobiles and cement, in the highest tax slab of the GST structure.
- Rakhis without semi-precious stones, as well as sanitary napkins that attracted 12% GST, have been exempted from the tax altogether.
- Several other products have been placed in lower tax slabs, including those from employment-intensive sectors such as carpets and handicrafts.
- On the services front, too, there are important tweaks and clarifications.
- Overall, industry and consumers may consider these rate cuts, largely on products and services of mass use, as a stimulus to drive consumption ahead of the festive season.
- The GST Council’s 28th meeting has significantly altered the course of the nearly 13-month-old tax regime. Given that GST rates on more than 200 items were already tweaked in past meetings, the original rate structure has been upended to a great extent. The actual impact of these changes on product prices and consumption demand will be visible soon, but the government’s confidence in such a rate reduction gambit indicates it is now comfortable with revenue yields from the GST.
- If implemented well, the revenue lost could be offset by higher consumption that may lead to more investments over time. Moreover, improvements in compliance can be expected from the Council’s decision to further simplify paperwork for small and medium enterprises.
- But there are two major concerns. First, since the new rates are to kick in from July 27, companies may not have enough time to rework pricing strategies and replace existing market inventory, failing which they could face anti-profiteering action. Second, members of the Council have for the first time questioned its functioning and alleged that not all of the changes and rate cuts were placed on the agenda.
- Distrust between the Centre and the States would make further rationalisation difficult. Such friction must be avoided in a system in which the States have so far worked in tandem with the Centre.
Short spells of heavy showers
- With an increase in heavy rainfall of short durations during the summer monsoon in many places in India, scientists at Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) have coined a new term to define such events — mini-cloud bursts. A mini-cloud burst is defined as rainfall in excess of 50 mm in two consecutive hours.
- Between 1969 and 2015, the researchers found an average of 200 mini-cloud bursts occurring every year in India. Between 1988 and 2007, there were around 265 mini-cloud bursts.
- The India Meteorological Department already recognises cloud bursts — heavy rainfall, irrespective of the amount — in the mountainous regions of Himalayas with its steep slopes, which lead to flash floods, and rainfall over 100 mm per hour in other places.
- Currently, on a 24-hour basis, the IMD classifies rainfall as heavy (over 60.5 mm), very heavy (over 130 mm) and extremely heavy (over 200 mm).
- IITM explained the rationale for classifying rainfall of over 50 mm in two hours as a mini-cloud burst. While extreme rainfall of over 200 mm translates to only 16 mm of rainfall per hour, the intensity of rainfall is far more in the case of mini-cloud bursts.Also, compared with extreme rainfall, the rate of water accumulation exceeding absorption and the probability of flash floods are three times more in the case of mini-cloud bursts.
- Over most parts of India, the highest recorded rainfall in two hours is 100-150 mm, and the locations (other than the mountainous regions of Himalayas) that have recorded rainfall of over 150 mm in two hours are those that also experience cloud bursts. So in these locations, the mechanism responsible for heavy rainfall “persists for more than an hour”.
- The study found that mini-cloud bursts are “very common” in the foothills of the Himalayas. While the west coast records more than three mini-cloud bursts per season, the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Saurashtra region receive two per season. At just one per season, Rajasthan and States to the east of the Western Ghats experience the least number of mini-cloud bursts. For the rest of India, the amount of rainfall per mini-cloud burst is 50-70 mm.
A Law For Children Written by Kailash Satyarthi
- Millions are oppressed every day in brothels, homes, factories and hell-holes of endless violence against children. After rescuing tens of thousands of children, I can vouch that our children cannot wait any longer. I have heard rescued young girls talking about how they had been sold for a price much less than that of a buffalo. Recently, some children who were freed from a jeans factory in Delhi could barely open their eyes because they had not seen the sun for the last three years. Sitting and working for long hours without proper food had left them crippled.
- These are not isolated stories and should be looked against the overarching backdrop of a national emergency where eight children go missing every hour; four are sexually abused and two raped.
- One ray of hope is a strong legal mechanism against trafficking and India is very close to coming up with a legislation that will break the backbone of trafficking.
- The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill is a moral victory for the 12 lakh Indians who marched with me in the 12,000-km Bharat Yatra last year declaring a war on child trafficking and the sexual abuse of children.
- The proposed bill deals a solid blow to the very economics of trafficking as an illicit trade that fuels black money and corruption. Trafficking is the largest illicit trade in the world which is pegged at $150 billion. Every penny earned out of human trafficking is black money.
- To counter this disturbing and growing phenomenon, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 stipulates extremely stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape on minor girls. It is appalling to note that the current pendency for disposing of rape cases in some states is as high as 50 to 100 years.
- Over the last 10 years, India has made phenomenal progress in promulgating and amending several pieces of legislation that will go a long way in upholding the rights of its children — for example, the Right to Education Act (2009), POCSO Act (2012), Juvenile Justice Act (2015), the new child labour law of 2016. In addition, on several occasions during the last decade, the judiciary has delivered landmark judgments related to missing children, the establishment of anti-human trafficking units, recovery of back wages and ensuring compensation for survivors of modern slavery, among others.
- Let me underline that laws and institutions cannot be perfect instruments of justice in one go. There is always room for improvement in any law, and that is how they evolve. But we cannot keep arguing, hoping for a utopic legislation. Laws are the only tools at our disposal for a just and equitable society. Eventually, all stakeholders have to collectively use their hearts, heads and hands to attain justice. The collective conscience of all my fellow citizens is the only way to protect our children and while these laws are the first step they are only the first step. Society must rise collectively to provide protection to our children.
- Article 23(1) in The Constitution Of India Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
- In May 2011, Government of India ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its three protocols. India is one of the five countries in South Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and very recently Nepal, to ratify the UNTOC.
- The UNTOC was adopted by General Assembly in 2000 and came into force in 2003. The Convention is the first comprehensive and global legally binding instrument to fight transnational organized crime. The UNTOC is further supplemented by three Protocols, which target specific forms of organized crime:
- 1) The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children,
- 2) The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air,
- 3) The Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 has the following features:-
- Addresses the issue of trafficking from the point of view of prevention, rescue and rehabilitation.
- Aggravated forms of trafficking, which includes trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, begging, trafficking by administering chemical substance or hormones on a personfor the purpose of early sexual maturity, trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage etc.
- Punishment for promoting or facilitating trafficking of person which includes producing, printing, issuing or distributing unissued, tampered or fake certificates, registration or stickers as proof of compliance with Government requirements; orcommits fraudfor procuring or facilitating the acquisition ofclearances and necessary documents from Government agencies.
- The confidentiality of victims/ witnesses and complainants by not disclosing their identity. Further the confidentiality of the victims is maintained by recording their statement through video conferencing (this also helps in trans-border and inter-State crimes).
- Time bound trial and repatriation of the victims – within a period of one year from taking into cognizance.
- Immediate protection of rescued victims and their rehabilitation. The Victims are entitled to interim relief immediately within 30 days to address their physical, mental trauma etc. and further appropriate relief within 60 days from the date of filing of charge sheet.
- Rehabilitation of the victim which is not contingent upon criminal proceedings being initiated against the accused or the outcome thereof.Rehabilitation Fund created for the first time. To be used for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim including education, skill development, health care/psychological support, legal aid, safe accommodation,etc.
- Designated courts in each district for the speedy trial of the cases.
- The Bill creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at District, State and Central Level. These will be responsible for prevention, protection, investigation and rehabilitation work related to trafficking. National Investigation Agency (NIA) will perform the tasks of Anti-Trafficking Bureau at the national level present under theMHA.
- Punishment ranges from rigorous minimum 10 years to life and fine not less than Rs. 1 lakh.
- In order to break the organized nexus, both at the national and international level, the Bill provides for the attachment & forfeiture of property and also the proceeds for crime.
- The Bill comprehensively addresses the transnational nature of the crime. The National Anti-Trafficking Bureau will perform the functions of international coordination with authorities in foreign countries and international organizations; international assistance in investigation; facilitate inter-State and trans-border transfer of evidence and materials, witnesses and others for expediting prosecution; facilitate inter-state and international video conferencing in judicial proceedings etc.