1 August 2020: The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
1) Barbed wire-
- The Supreme Court disposed(disapprove) of a petition by J&K Congress leader Saifuddin Soz’s wife challenging his “illegal detention”
- It accepted the government’s contention that he was under no restrictions.
- It frames the Soz speaking to reporters, from behind a boundary wall, before being pulled away by police personnel, at his residence in Srinagar.
- It did not deem necessary to listen to what Soz had to say across the wall.
- It is not only: Why did the J&K administration take liberty with the facts in court?
- It is also, and more: Why did the court accept the J&K administration’s word for it?
- Why did it accept the state’s definition of freedom when it is clearly in conflict with the citizen’s?
- Unfortunately, that latter question is now embedded(fixed) in a recurring pattern.
- In case after case involving citizens’ fundamental liberties and alleged transgressions(violation) by the state, the courts seem to give the government the benefit of the doubt.
A SIMILAR PATTERN:
- On Jammu and Kashmir, a marker of this pattern came last year on October 1, when, petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the August 5 decision to abrogate(end) J&K’s special status, were filed.
- Five-judge Constitution bench of the SC refused to order a stay and adjourned the hearing to November 4.
- The pattern has continued through the Court’s treatment of habeas corpus petitions related to politicians, business leaders, lawyers and journalists.
- Its lack of alacrity(liveliness), its adjournments(postpone), effectively extended those detentions.
- In May, the SC order declining pleas for restoration of 4G internet services was disturbing not just for continuing the denial of such services but also because it seemed to cede(give up) its own powers of judicial review.
- A special committee headed by the Union home secretary — the very departments whose orders were in question would adjudicate(decide) on the validity of the curbs on citizens’ freedoms imposed by them.
- Soz’s is a test case because there are many like him.
- Trapped in a zone between arrest and detention, unofficial and official, verbal and formal, at the mercy of the policeman at the gate.
- This is exactly the zone tailor-made for abuse, where the apex court needs to shine the light, clear the air.
- All the more reason for the court, as the custodian(protector) of constitutionally mandated individual liberties, to ask more questions to the administration that wields the power.
SC needs to ask tougher questions, of those who wield(possess) power — before it dismisses an 83-year-old citizen's plea for freedom.
2) The Digital Lifelines-
GS 3- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life; Achievements of Indians in science & technology
- In a recent address to leaders of the US-India Business Council, Prime Minister highlighted the growth and gaps in India’s digital economy.
- Nearly 500 million Indians today are active internet users, he said, but another 500 million have yet to come online.
- Doubling the size of digital India requires bridging this divide and expanding access to tools and platforms that power India’s digital economy today.
UNIFIED PAYMENTS INTERFACE:
- Foremost among these platforms is the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system.
- More than four years ago, Modi launched this ground-breaking initiative to enable Indian citizens to make digital payments to one another and to the more than 60 million Indian small businesses.
- The UPI system set a national open standard for all of India’s banks (155 and counting) that technology companies can adopt on an equal and level-playing field.
- This approach means that no one company, foreign or domestic, can write the rules for the other. Everyone has to meet the same standards set in India.
- This project has been very successful in just four years. Since its launch, the UPI system has grown to manage a 100 million-strong user base, and it is just scratching the surface.
- Meanwhile, it has set important new frameworks around security and efficiency.
- Because of the strong rules that India has put in place, payment transaction information remains with the banks and within the country.
- And as a platform built on Indian technology and governed by Indian rules, UPI benefits Indians now and holds great potential for further innovation and commerce.
NEED OF HOUR:
- Rapidly scaling UPI is the need of the hour and one of the best ways to strengthen India’s digital economy.
- Today people can send money to their aged parents, isolated during this time of physical distancing. Migrant workers can support their families.
- Farmers can sell their products outside the market.
- With UPI, technology companies can partner with local technology leaders, and Indian financial institutions, to serve the unique needs of India’s diverse users.
- In fact, NPCI has also set a goal to increase UPI’s user base to 500 million by 2022, which if achieved, would be a true game changer for Digital India.
- We are eager to contribute to this effort by launching payments on WhatsApp across India and help power a new wave of fintech innovation and financial inclusion.
- The UPI infrastructure was built for scale and to reach hundreds of millions of people without the risk of any one company grabbing an unfair share.
- Given the limited number of people who are able to send money to friends and loved ones even today, it is imperative(need) more tech companies are able to leverage(take advantage) the power of UPI to expand the digital ecosystem to accelerate financial inclusion.
SOLUTION TO MANY:
- Indeed, UPI is a world-class payments system that can also anchor a broader suite of fintech applications like micro-pensions, digital insurance products, and flexible loans which WhatsApp can facilitate.
- These are custom solutions created by Indian technology companies, on the public infrastructure of UPI, that will first solve large social, business and financial problems in India and then become templates for other countries to deploy.
- These powerful tools can build on the extraordinary success India has made in lifting millions of people out of poverty and build resilience to future economic shocks.
- COVID-19 has only underscored(focussed) the importance of these tools that will serve as critical lifelines for small and micro-enterprises and individuals as they look to recover from the pandemic.
- Even amid global uncertainty, once can be profoundly optimistic(positive) about India’s future growth, and we share Prime Minister Modi’s belief that “there has never been a better time to invest in India.”
- While the world grapples(suffers) with COVID-19, India continues to stride forward.
- We see a nation that is determined to meet its moment and the unique needs of all of its citizens.
- With courage, ambition, and boundless potential, India can emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before — a leading democratic digital powerhouse that will lead the world in the 21st century.