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19 January 2021: The Hindu Editorial Analysis

1) Being tethered to bars during a pandemic.

In India, COVID-19 must lead to an immediate review of the vulnerability of those in jail and the issue of decongestion.

GS-2:  Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources.

GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.


CONTEXT:

1. The jail and the issue of decongestion in the time of   COVID-19.

2. Rights of prisoners in different part of world and how its handle the ”pandemic”

3. Prison reform and Violation of its rights and what preparedness and effective management for new and emerging threats such as pandemic like Covid-19.

 

Prisoner’s situation in world and in India:

1. In USA By September, 44 of 50 COVID-19 clusters were found to be located in prisons.

2. detention centers “breeding grounds for uncontrolled transmission”

3. England and Wales have 121 prisons housing about 79,000 prisoners. By October the number rose to 1,529, tested positive of COVID with five deaths.

4. In INDIA 1,400 found positive of COVID, so prisons, ‘housing’ over 4.5 lakh prisoners are breeding grounds for the virus does not occupy our thoughts, even our virus-related thoughts.

 

What are the rights of prisoners in India?

Fundamental rights:

1. under Article, 14, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India impliedly deal with the rights of prisoners.

2. Article 14 deals with right to equality which provides equality before law and equal protection of law to all persons.

3.  Article 21 deals with right to life and personal liberty.

 

LEGAL RIGHT:

1. In the case of Charles Sobraj through Marie Andre’o vs. The Superintendent, Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi (1978), : “..Imprisonment does not spell farewell to fundamental rights although, by a realistic re-appraisal, Courts will refuse to recognise the full panoply of Part III enjoyed by a free citizen”.

2. the case of Sheela Barse vs. State of Maharashtra (1983) : the Supreme Court took cognizance of the matter regarding the ill-treatment and poor conditions of the prisoners in the jail and issued certain directions  under article 21.

3. Right under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 to be medically examined.

4.  the case of Pramod Kumar Saxena vs. Union of India and Others(2008): “The Supreme Court held that he must be released on bail so that he can make arrangements for the repayment of amount and also defend cases registered against him.”

5. Statutory rights available to the prisoners. The Prisons Act, 1894:

  1. Section 4 of the Prisons Act provides for accommodation and sanitary conditions for prisoners.
  2.  Section 7 provides for shelter and safe custody of the excess number of prisoners who cannot be safely kept in any prison. 
  3. Section 24(2) provides for examination of prisoners by qualified medical officers.
  4. Section 31 provides for separation of prisoners containing female and male prisoners, civil and criminal prisoners and convicted and undertrial prisoners.
  5. Section 33 provides that every civil and unconvicted prisoner, unable to provide himself with sufficient clothing and bedding, shall be supplied with such clothing and bedding.
  6.  Section 35 provides for treatment of undertrials, civil prisoners, parole and temporary release of prisoners.
  7. Section 37 provides that a prisoner must be provided with a medical officer if he is in need or if he appears out of health in mind or body.

Criminal and prisons reform in India:

1. Mulla Committee: In 1980, the Government of India set-up a Committee on Jail Reform, under the chairmanship of Justice AN. Mulla:

Important recommendations

1. The condition of prisons should be improved by making Adequate arrangements for food, clothing, sanitation,Ventilation etc.

2. The prison staff should be properly trained and organized into different cadres. It would be advisable to constitute an All India Service called the Indian Prisons and Correctional Service for recruitment of Prison officials.

3. After-care, rehabilitation and probation should constitute an integral part of prison service. Unfortunately, Probation law is not being properly implemented in the Country.

4. The media and public men should be allowed to visit prisons and allied correctional institutions periodically so that public may have first-hand information about conditions inside prisons and be willing to co-operate with prison officials in rehabilitation work.

5. Lodging of under trials in jail should be reduced to bare minimum and they should be kept separate from the convicted prisoners. Since under trials constitute a sizable portion of prison population, their number can be reduced by speedy trials and liberalization of bail provisions.

6. The Government should make an Endeavour to provide Adequate resources and funds for prison reforms

 

The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005:

1. Section 436-A has been introduced in the CrPC. Excluding offences for which capital punishment is envisaged.

2. it provides for an under-trial to be released on a personal bond, with or without sureties if the period spent in detention by the under-trial has been for more than half the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed for that offence.

3. Aim one, de-congestion and two, fairness. Today, in our COVID-19 times, if congestion is per se held to be dangerous, de-congestion in prisons through a prescribed legal procedure becomes not just desirability but a duty.

4. And I urge the immediate and massive activation of Section 436-A without sureties so as to benefit all under-trials eligible for it.

 

WAY FORWARD:

1. The governments of state and centre have the responsibility to not only provide infrastructure, man-power and humane conditions for rehabilitation and

2. The rightful survival of prisoners, but also to provide information of rights to prisoners at the right time, to avoid possible, potential and excessive abuse of prisoners by powerful inside the prisons.

3. The rights’ information to prisoners, vast publicity of prisoner’s right in media and corner to corner surveillance in prisons could be the keys for upholding prisoners’ rights in India.

4. While ‘Prisons’ is in the ‘State List’, as is ‘Public Health’, the Constitutional responsibility of handling infectious and contagious diseases figures in the Concurrent List. It is the Centre that must show the States its concern in this and lead from the front.

 

2) Mining in India equals selling the family gold.

 Treating mineral sale proceeds as revenue or income hides the real transaction — the sale of inherited wealth.

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

GS-3: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

GS-4: Probity in Governance: challenges of corruption.


CONTEXT:

1. India’s National Mineral Policy 2019 states: “natural resources, including minerals, are a shared inheritance where the state is the trustee on behalf of the people to ensure that future generations receive the benefit of inheritance.”

2. The principle that the economy must be “sustainable”. The Climate change and high levels of consumption already threaten to rob future generations of a planet that is livable.

3. To consume what we have inherited without a thought for generations to come will leave the whole world poorer.

 

How it is unsustainable?(Issue in current policy?)

1.  The natural resources, including minerals and mines make the state is only trustee on behalf of the people stated under The National Mineral Policy 2019.

2. The main objective of a trustee/manager is to maintain the corpus of the trust, the shared inheritance of natural resources.

3. The mineral sale proceeds as revenue or income modal, a big error which hides the real transaction — a sale of wealthy resource.

4. The revenue share modal results in governments selling minerals at prices significantly lower than what they are worth, driven by lobbying, political donations and corruption.

5. It is estimated from the annual reports of Vedanta that over eight years (2004-2012), the State of Goa lost more than 95% of the value of its minerals.

 

MINERALS REGULATED BY:

1. Management of mineral resources is the responsibility of both the central and state governments in terms of entry 54 of the Union List (List I) and entry 23 of the State List (List II) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

2.  In order to make the regulatory environment conducive to ease of doing business, the procedures for grant of mineral concessions shall be transparent and seamless with an assured security of tenure along with transferability of concessions playing a key role in mineral sector development.

3. To ensure enforcement of mining plans, the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and the State Directorates of Mining & Geology will be strengthened with adequate man power, equipment and skill sets upgraded to state-of-the-art levels.

4. Incorporating E-Governance, including satellite and remote sensing applications is strengthening the regulatory mechanism. Provisions shall be made for end-to-end accounting of mineral/ore in the supply chain with use of IT enabled systems.

 

What is The National Mineral Policy, 2019?

1. Introduction The Right of First Refusal for RP/PL holders,

2. Encouraging the private sector to take up exploration,

3. Auctioning in virgin areas for composite RP cum PL cum ML on revenue share basis,

4. Encouragement of merger and acquisition of mining entities .

5. Transfer of mining leases and creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private sector mining areas.

6. The 2019 Policy proposes to grant status of industry to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by private sector.

7. It also mentions that Long term import export policy for mineral will help private sector in better planning and stability in business.

8. The Policy also mentions rationalize reserved areas given to PSUs which have not been used and to put these areas to auction, which will give more opportunity to private sector for participation.

9. The Policy also mentions to make efforts to harmonize taxes, levies & royalty with world benchmarks to help private sector.

 

The benefit of the New National Mineral

1. The Policy will ensure more effective regulation.  It will lead to sustainable mining sector development in future while addressing the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas.

2. The focus on make in India initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision.  In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated. 

 

Is Losses and error in accounting?

1. The  evidence : from the International Monetary Fund that many governments of resource-rich nations, including the United Kingdom and Norway, face declining and losses in public sector net worth, in this new modal of policy.

2. Example: the people and future generations of Goa have sold mineral wealth worth ?100 for ?5, a loss of ?95 of revenue .

3. Environmental losses: Trees, tigers and tribal’s are losses more and labeled as anti-development or anti-national

4. Since extraction is not recognized as the sale of inherited wealth, the true loss of ?95 out of ?100 is hidden. More mining would make a bad situation significantly worse.

5. The Accounting Standards Advisory Board does not correct this error in the standards for public sector accounting and reporting for mineral wealth, politicians and voters will advocate increasing extraction.

6. This will lead to every bit of mineral being extracted if there are no moral or legal safeguards against such wanton loot.

 

 Solution:

1. Major mineral extraction increase by 200% must be differentiate between which mineral is extract and which is not and save for future.

2. Need policy on differentiates between minerals as a “shared inheritance”, and not a source of “windfall revenue”.

3. Government must also recognize that with this inaccurate nomenclature come significant environmental, social and ecological losses, some of which are still not within the full purview of our accounting systems.

4. ll accounting bodies of center and State governments to recognize the urgent need to reform our treatment and definition of non-renewable resources and their sale proceeds to ensure a sustainable and equitable economic outcome.

5. The principal of “Belong to all, save all for future, share all (income distribution) “modal may help to curve losses.

6. if we extract and sell our mineral wealth, the explicit objective must be to achieve zero loss in value means.

7. The real income of a fund of this nature may be distributed only as a citizens’ dividend, equally to all as owners

 

Way forward:

1. The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

2. The Committee of under the chairmanship of Dr. K Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines to review NMP 2008.Recommendation over “District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up as a non-profit body, in those districts affected by the mining works, most be full implemented .

3. Today our duties to our future generations. Let us be the generation that changes the course of history for the better, not the one that consumed the planet.

4. Mine development and mineral conservation as governed by the rules and regulations will be on good scientific basis.

 

3) The limits of Biden (The Hindu)

“His margin for manoeuvre will be narrow”

GS-2: International Relations

GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.


CONTEXT:

1. Mr. Biden’s political energies mainly challenges at domestic policy instead of global policy.

2. Altering the policy of protectionism “America first policy” into liberal democratic values and humanity.  

3.  The impact of the COVID crisis on GDP, social, political and new world order.

4. Important check & balance on India-US relations and differences over issues.

 

Challenges of domestic policy in USA:

After COVID:

1. Emphasis on the middle class is very important to reaffirming income inequality at home and a domestic investment and industrial strategy his Title-“Making US Foreign Policy Work Better for the Middle Class”.

2. Trade liberalization, Climate change and Immigration, Positive forces of nationalism, isolationism, and populism.

3. Restoring US primacy in a unipolar world, escalating a new Cold War with China, or waging a cosmic struggle between the world’s democracies and authoritarian governments.”

4. Vision that economic security should be  national security.

5. Practice US trade policy must benefit regular Americans, communities and workers & that will help recognizing that people are not just consumers but also workers and wage earners.”

 

Limitation of Mr. Biden’s:

1. Mr. Biden had early on in life learnt from political philosophy that the rise of a more workable political and public humanism depends singularly on Arendt’s “free spectators of action” who determine the meaning of action and its public relevance that saves humans from the abyss of a miserable existence.

2. Totalitarianism and the nature of the human condition in times of crises, Mr. Biden is the right choice for President who hopefully, has the vision for an exceptionally progressive change.

3. To change in “Quiet and Dangerous Way U.S. Politics Becoming Europeanized”

4. Not easy to altering the policy of Trump administration and ”America first policy”.

5. The Biden administration will continue Trump administrations trade policy- reducing the trade deficit, ensuring a level-playing field, keeping a keen eye on technology rivalry etc

 

Challenge in India-US relations:

1. India has been referred by the US, as “tariff king” that imposes “tremendously high” import duties.

2. India’s benefits under the “Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme,” but it no longer more how its overcome it.

3. India produces around 20 per cent of the global requirement for generic drugs by volume and every third tablet of generics consumed in the US.

4. There is potential to enhance mutual opportunities in the 5G tech sector.

5. With the ascendancy of the Indo-Pacific paradigm and the Quad and Quad Plus, a successor to the TPP could include a wider canvas.

6. The Biden administration’s approach to India will be shaped by its position towards China.

7. Indians hold the majority of H1B visas and L-1 visas. The current move is aimed at bringing back the original intent of H1B visas.

8. The  alter an executive order of Trump formally withdrawing the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

 

Areas of Cooperation with USA:

1. Delhi Declaration of Friendship is been adopted as Joint Strategic Vision for Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region.

2. The bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement was finalized between both the countries..

3. Defense relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India-U.S. strategic partnership with the signing of ‘New Framework for India-U.S. Defense Relations’, the resulting intensification in defense trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services.

4. Cooperation in counter-terrorism has seen considerable progress with intelligence sharing, information exchange, operational cooperation, counter-terrorism technology and equipment.

5. The United States seeks an expanded trade relationship that is reciprocal and fair. Bilateral trade in 2018 was 142billion, a 12.6 percent increase from 2017

6. The U.S.-India Energy Dialogue was launched to promote trade and investment in the energy sector. There are six working groups in oil & gas, coal, power and energy efficiency, new technologies& renewable energy, civil nuclear co-operation and sustainable development under the Energy Dialogue.

 

Conclusion:

1. Both countries should treat the economic and commercial dimension with as much priority as the strategic dimension. Both governments should embrace the prosperity-creating potential of such an approach.

2. Both country need domestic actions regarding the reduction of environment clearance rules reflect his non serious attitude towards climate change.

3. India should come out with well defines Strategic Policy in its western sphere, which includes maritime arena also (Western Indian Ocean).