Comprehensive News Analysis - 04 March 2016

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. New, strong and clear outreach

2. Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

3. ‘Aim is to link Asia through Indian Railways’

4. Connectivity plans not unilateral: Sushma

5. ASEAN-Plus military drill begins in Pune

6. Indian firm to partner Israel for anti-tank missiles

7. Four-nation counter-terror mechanism to guard Silk Road

8. ‘Maldives is sitting on a time bomb’

C. GS3 Related:

1. Low-wage earners face EPF tax blow

2. Commerce ministry to take up differential MAT on SEZs

D. GS4 Related:
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

1. Reviving the politics of remission

2. Welcome release, strange remarks

3. No freedom without dissent

Others:

The Indian Express

4. ‘Aadhaar’s basis’:

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
G. Practice Questions
H. Archive

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related

— Nothing here today, folks! —

B. GS2 Related

1. New, strong and clear outreach

Topic: International Relations

Category: Indian diaspora, Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Location: The Hindu, Page 13

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Key Points:

  • Classically defined, the foreign policy of a country is the product of both geography and history. Changes in leadership or government do not essentially alter its basic and underlying premises. What Mr. Modi has done is to bring the stamp of his zeal and personality to impact well-entrenched policies, imparting more determination to the process. But the shadows of history and geopolitics are omnipresent.
  • Modi’s challenge is to ensure that his country can be a great democracy and also a substantive global power. His task is to align these twin goals to reinforce the idea of India.
  • Outcomes must ensure both power for the country and happiness for its people. Translated into the language of Kautilya, power embodies strength, the power of leadership, the state of the economy and the military, the ability to deploy national strength for national aims. Happiness would signify that which is attained by the effective and wise use of power: righteousness and internal stability.
  • Unlike many of his predecessors, Mr. Modi does not come to the arena of foreign policy with decades of exposure through parliamentary experience or extensive cosmopolitan, global interaction. Yet,his gift of communication skills, his grasp of strategically targeted image-building, and his innate assertiveness, combine to make for an impressive effect. In Kautilyan terms, he is the vijigishu, the ambitious king or leader.

The ‘neighbourhood first’ policy

CHINA-INDIA-POLITICS-MODI

  • His outreach to leaders in the subcontinent, to attend his assumption of office, was an embrace of risk and openness to fresh solutions.
  • In the South Asian context, the centrifuge operated by India-Pakistan relations draws the region apart.
    Modi inherited a difficult hand in this regard, and the reversal of historic trends is not easy to realise.
  • The Inchcape Rock of India’s neighbourhood policy is Pakistan.
    Many a visionary initiative has run aground and the terrain is difficult, the atmosphere dystopian.
    Prime Minister Modi commenced his term seeking the ways of peace rather than tension or conflict. But he too cannot wish away the interminable contradictions in India-Pakistan relations. For successive Indian governments, the defence of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty against the hubris of Pakistan’s generals and intelligence operatives is a constant challenge.
  • The spectacle of terror never fades and Pakistan-based and nurtured terror groups chaperone Pakistan’s diplomacy with a malevolent eye. The recent attacks in Pathankot bear testimony to this continued trend
  • The challenge is at the same time, to work for balance and equilibrium — within South Asia. Greater economic integration even if it cannot include an unwilling Pakistan, the absence of tension in relationships with India’s other neighbours, care not to cede strategic space, and catalysing South Asian regional cooperation in trade, economy and infrastructure is how this balance can be defined. If India’s smaller neighbours (as was the recent case with Nepal) perceive the outcomes of their relationship with her as unequal or unfair, then cooperation will be difficult to secure, defeating the realisation of a South Asian ‘commons’.
  • Breakthrough diplomacy on the land boundary with Bangladesh and acceptance of the verdict of international arbitration on the maritime boundary case with the same country has had a salutary impact.
  • In Sri Lanka, there is need for greater effort to encourage the implementation of initiatives for constitutional reform and devolution that steer clear of both Sinhala hyper-nationalism and Tamil chauvinism, and gain the middle ground on both sides of the ethnic divide. Similarly, ties in the defence and strategic sector need to be consolidated with greater confidence.

 

Linking Central Asia via Iran

  • In Afghanistan, South Asia’s gateway to Central Asia, the real challenge is the scenario that ensues after the withdrawal of foreign troops and the threat to nationhood if the war with the Taliban and Islamist radical and terrorist elements persists.
  • Indian projects and development initiatives in Afghanistan will be further jeopardised, putting paid to 15 years of dedicated ground-level efforts to build friendship and goodwill.In a situation of protracted contest and conflict that is harmful to Indian interests, India needs to step up efforts in concert with other like-minded regional partners to ensure a relatively stable and united Afghanistan.
  • For years there has been talk of India’s participation in the development of Chabahar port in Iran: this is a project that has now become the responsibility of the Modi government to complete and must acquire critical mass and momentum.
  • It will provide much-needed access through Iran into Afghanistan for trade and transit (given the blockages that are Pakistan-created for the entry and exit of Indo-Afghan trade across Pakistani territory.) It also ensures connectivity into Central Asia, thus becoming a vital point of access for energy exports from the region and facilitating a re-imaging of historical geographies that linked India and Central Asia.

Building an Indo-Pacific entente

  • “The future of India will undoubtedly be decided by the sea.” This quote of scholar-diplomat K.M. Panikkar rings true despite the passage of time.
  • The morphing of the Look East policy into an Act East policy, as also Mr. Modi’s visits to Mauritius and the Seychelles, together with Sri Lanka, have helped spell out a more coherently defined maritime policy in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The visit to Fiji in the far reaches of the Pacific, an island nation with a significant population of Indian origin, conjoins Indian interests and concerns in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, providing ballast to the term originally coined by the Japanese of the “Indo-Pacific”.
  • As India’s foreign and external security policy grows its maritime dimension, besides ties with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Mr. Modi must concentrate on the development of bilateral and regional ties with both the African littoral and hinterland in the Indian Ocean region.
  • He has made a good beginning both with some visits, as to Mauritius and the Seychelles, as well as the successful India-Africa Summit in Delhi last autumn, but the effort must be intensified through more top leadership-level visits and concrete development diplomacy targeted at Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

Ties with China

  • The continuity of policy over the last three decades, despite changes of government in India, has worked towards the avoidance of conflict, the consolidation of confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the border areas, regular leadership-level dialogue and the exponential growth in trade and commercial ties between the two countries.
  • Cooperation and competition have defined the relationship and a rising India’s projected economic growth and increased strategic and military capabilities provide the best balancer effect to a consciously assertive China and its growing sense of entitlement. India’s ties with Japan, Australia and the United States are of particular salience in this context.
  • In this context, China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) concept that combines both the continental and maritime dimensions of connectivity in a structure reminiscent of the ancient Chinese definition oftianxia — a space wherein peoples of varied cultural and regional backgrounds were brought together under the authority of a single ruler or ruling house — merits close scrutiny.

BRITAIN-INDIA-DIPLOMACY

  • India has in some ways affirmed the OBOR initiative with its membership stake in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an institution where essentially China takes the lead. A complicating factor is theChina-Pakistan Economic Corridor arm of the OBOR that bridges Pakistan and China through territory in the Karakoram, claimed by India.
  • The ‘wiggle’ for India in this scenario is to move with clear-headedness to completing the Chabahar project, and also concretising initiatives under the BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Corridor so that she is not excluded from the connectivity superstructure that is implied in the OBOR initiative.
  • Simultaneously, India can ill-afford to neglect her Central Asia policy or her maritime vision for the Indian Ocean. Mr. Modi’s outreach to the Central Asian nations is important and timely and must be further consolidated. India’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a stepping stone to a more active role for the country in building a strong stakeholder role in connectivity and counter-terrorism strategies for the region.

Natural partners to best partners

  • The India-United States relationship has been one of the star performers in Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy repertoire despite the persisting irritant of U.S. defence sales to Pakistan.
  • Trade, investment and economic ties fuel this relationship, but the strategic aspect is of accelerating importance, leading one American official to recently call this a future anchor of global security. The United States is a major defence partner of India today, and the two countries must engage with less hesitation and more closely in this field — further empowering India’s outreach in terms of Icarian (air power) as well as maritime (sea power) capability in the Indian Ocean.

U.S. President Obama and India's PM Modi talk as they have coffee and tea together in the gardens at Hyderabad House in New Delhi

 

  • India’s almost 30-million-strong population of persons of Indian origin across the continents has become an important player in the scheme of foreign policy priorities for the country.
  • Prime Minister Modi has astutely understood the need to consolidate the linkages between Mother India and this vast immigrant presence abroad of people from ‘home’. Mega shows at Madison Square Garden or at Wembley Stadium go beyond mere spectacle; they embody Mr. Modi’s ability to embrace this strategic asset for India with confidence and long-term vision, asserting blood ties over mere economic necessity and buttressing a more participatory role for the overseas Indian community in the building of India’s future.
  • There are new slogans and symbolism: Neighbourhood First becomes a signature segment of foreign policy; Act East replaces Look East; yoga becomes a leitmotif of Indian soft power; and even on climate change, heritage and lifestyle are introduced into conversations on the subject. There is a new stress on “obtaining recognition of India’s great power status”.
  • And yet, running through all this is the inexorable unspooling of a thread known as India’s foreign policy. Core interests and concerns for a nation do not change. Hand-holding does not solve strategic headaches. The limited size of the Foreign Service continues to pose a challenge. Optics do well in diplomacy but cannot usurp the show itself. Tangible outcomes are what the people will ultimately seek.

 

2. Aadhaar Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

Topic: Indian Polity, Governance

Category: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services

Location: The Hindu, Page 14

Key Points:

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced ‘The Aadhaar (Target Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016’ amid protests by Congress over the legislation being categorised as a money bill which does not need approval of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Bill provides statutory backing to Aadhaar, the unique identity number through which the government plans to target delivery of subsidy benefits and services. The expenditure for the nationwide Aadhaar exercise is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The Bill provides for the establishing of the Unified Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the establishment, operation and maintenance of the Central Identity Data Repository. The Authority shall ensure the security, confidentiality and protection of identity information and authentication records of individuals in its possession or control, including the information stored in the repository, according to the Bill. These include biometric information collected, created and stored in electronic form.
  • The government expects to address, through the proposed legislation, concerns that have been raised on the mandatory use of Aadhaar in government schemes. The Supreme Court has restricted the use of the Aadhaar number until a Constitution Bench delivers its verdict on a number of cases concerning privacy and other issues.
  • Under the provisions of the Bill, the Aadhaar number cannot confer right of or proof of citizenship of domicile.

 

3. ‘Aim is to link Asia through Indian Railways’

Topic: International Relations

Category: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests, India and its neighborhood- relations.

Location: The Hindu, Page 14

Key Points:

  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday that the government’s vision was to connect Asia through the Indian Railway network.
  • Prabhu talked about the possibility of running tourist trains to connect other parts of Asia.

 

4. Connectivity plans not unilateral: Sushma

Topic: International Relations

Category: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests, India and its neighborhood- relations.

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

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Key Points:

  • India projected its own plans in the Indian Ocean and across Central Asia as a counter to China’s estimated 1-trillion dollar One Belt One Road (OBOR) project during the Ministry of External Affairs’ first ‘Raisina Dialogue’ international conference.
  • The theme of the conference was ‘Asian connectivity’, which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said was “central to the globalisation process” and “particularly important for Asia’s growth and development.”
  • Comparing India’s approach to China’s (without referring directly to either China or the OBOR), the Minister said that India’s plans for connectivity were “cooperative rather than a unilateral approach”, adding that an “environment of trust and confidence is the pre-requisite for a more inter-connected world.”

 

5. ASEAN-Plus military drill begins in Pune

Topic: International Relations

Category: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests, India and its neighborhood- relations.

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • Military personnel of adversarial world powers converged upon the Aundh Military Station in Pune to thrall spectators with the largest Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) ever conducted on Indian soil.
  • The week-long exercise, being held from March 2 to 8, is christened ‘Force 18’ (initially labelled ‘FTX-2016’).
  • The spectacle is an elaborate and ambitious military training exercise involving Army units from eighteen countries, often locked as adversaries in the arena of global realpolitik.
  • They include nine members of the Association of South East Asian Nations and eight observer States, that include India, Japan, Korea, China, Russia, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Myanmar was compelled to back out owing to elections and security issues pertaining to border infiltration.
  • The broad objective of ‘Force 18’ was to build common understanding and achieve inter-operability among the 18 ASEAN-Plus countries.
  • A unique facet of the exercise is that the Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a woman officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a multinational exercise.

 

6. Indian firm to partner Israel for anti-tank missiles

Topic: International Relations

Category: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Location: The Hindu, Page 15

Key Points:

  • Rafael of Israel and Kalyani group are setting up a joint venture (JV), Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems, to build weapon systems in India. It could start with the production of Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) which the Indian Army is in the process of procuring.
  • Under a tripartite agreement the JV is expected to manufacture sub-assemblies and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will do electro optics and do hot integration at its Hyderabad facility which currently manufactures French Milan ATGMs.
  • “The initiative is in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy and will enable the development and production of high end technology systems within the country,” Rafael said in a statement.

 

7. Four-nation counter-terror mechanism to guard Silk Road

Topic: International Relations

Category: Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Location: The Hindu, Page 16

Key Points:

  • A top General of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has visited Afghanistan to work out a regional counter-terrorism mechanism with an eye on safeguarding the ‘One Belt One Road’ connectivity initiative in Eurasia.
  • General Fang Fenghui, PLA’s Chief of General Staff and member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) — the apex body steering the armed forces — has proposed formation of a regional counter-terrorism mechanism that will also include Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as members.
  • Ghani acknowledged the “great significance” of the initiative to the entire region. Besides, the Afghan side also welcomed the Chinese proposal for a four-nation regional counter-terrorism mechanism.
  • China is threatened by terror strikes from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), especially in its Xinjiang province. However, the rise of the Khorasan Province (ISIL-K) — a branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan — has fuelled further anxieties on its likely impact on the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative.

 

8. ‘Maldives is sitting on a time bomb’

Topic: International Relations

Category: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Location: The Hindu, Page 16

Nasheed_AP_2761094f

 

Key Points:

  • India can play an important role in the restoration of democracy in the Maldives but the appeasement of dictators is not the way to do it, Mohamed Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives, told The Hindu in an interview.
  • Nasheed, the first democratically elected President of the Maldives, has been sentenced to 13 years in prisonon terrorism charges.
  • The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had recently ruled that Mr. Nasheed’s trial was flawed, and called for his release, a call that President Abdulla Yameen has refused to accept.

Excerpts from the Interview

  • “We would expect all countries in the region to be decent and supportive of democratic processes, and India too. Irrespective of India’s policies, we would still argue for an India-first policy. This is not to do with India, it is to do with the Maldives, with us. I am under pressure from within my own party by those who tell me that we keep articulating the same thing, while President Yameen says he is going to be let off the hook by India and Pakistan.”
  • “Our view is this – whatever India does, our views and principles are not based on our fortunes. We would want to have good relations with India and always argue for an India-first foreign policy.”
  • “Mr. Modi has not gone to Maldives. He has the sophistication, the tools, the knowledge and the leverage to do it. And I think he will do it. Not because of any favours to any particular group in the Maldives — I don’t take that view. They [the Indians] will talk to everybody. But they cannot agree to people being arrested on the basis of unfair trials.”

 

C. GS3 Related

1. Low-wage earners face EPF tax blow

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Government Budgeting

Location: The Hindu, Page 17

Rupee_AP_2380181g

 

Key Points:

  • Union Budget 2016-17 holds another tax whammy for employees’ provident fund savings which will particularly hurt millions of low-income workers earning as little as Rs.5,000 a month.
  • Such employees would be taxed at the highest marginal income tax rate of 34.6 per cent if they withdraw EPF savings of Rs 50,000 or more, before completing five years of continuous service. The tax, officials said, is to be levied at the highest personal tax rate for those members who don’t have a PAN card, according to the Finance Ministry. For those with a PAN card, the tax is levied at 10.3 per cent.
  • An EPF account is mandatory for all employees earning up to Rs.15,000 per month (raised recently from Rs.6,500 per month) in firms employing over 20 workers. As per the law, 24 per cent of an employee’s salary is contributed to EPFO as a social security net for old age – a part of that (8.33 per cent) is diverted to an employees’ pension scheme (EPS).

 

2. Commerce ministry to take up differential MAT on SEZs

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth

Location: The Hindu, Page 18

04TH_BU_GIFT_CITY__2760992f

 

Key Points:

  • The Commerce Ministry may soon raise with the Finance Ministry its concern over the differential tax rate proposed in the budget for the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) to come up in a Special Economic Zone in Gujarat, and the rest of the SEZs.
  • IFSC comes under the ambit of the SEZ Act as the legislation defines it and states that the Centre may approve the setting up of an IFSC in an SEZ and prescribe requirements. The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in Gandhinagar (Gujarat) is the only IFSC in India.
  • In pre-Budget discussions with the finance ministry, the commerce ministry had pitched for removal or reduction of MAT on all SEZ developers and units. The ministry had sought an SEZ-specific package to make sure that these tax-free enclaves are the focal point of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

 

C. GS3 Related

— Nothing here today, folks! —

E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance

1. Reviving the politics of remission

Topic: Indian Polity, Governance

Category: Judiciary, functioning of the Executive

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

Key Points:

  • On February 18, 2014, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of three conspiratorsin the Rajiv Gandhi case to life terms on the ground that there was an unreasonable delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions.
  • The very next day the AIADMK government declared that it would release all seven life convicts in the case and gave a three-day deadline to the Centre to give its views, marking a dramatic leap from capital punishment to en masse release, within 24 hours.
  • The Supreme Court intervened to stay their release after the Congress-led government of the day challenged the decision. A Constitution Bench settled the substantive questionsof law arising from the issue, holding on December 2, 2015, that the Centre had ‘primacy’ in according remission to life convicts in a case that involves consultation between the Centre and the State. It observed that the remission law should not be used for the ‘rescue’ of ‘hardened and heartless offenders’.
  • Commuting death sentence to life imprisonment is an act of compassion.
  • Releasing the beneficiaries of such commutation, on the other hand, requires careful consideration on a case-by-case basis. It can be nobody’s argument that life convicts should be locked away for life.
  • At the same time, it is noteworthy that lifelong imprisonment is now seen as an alternative to the death penalty.
  • There may be instances when the death sentence is deemed excessive, while a regular life term, which has scope for remission after 14 years, seems inadequate.
  • In such cases, imprisonment for the rest of one’s natural life may be the appropriate punishment. Any decision on releasing such convicts will have to be made after evaluating the gravity of the crime, the probable effect of their release on society, and the essential inhumanity of prolonged incarceration without even a sliver of hope of freedom.
  • Some may believe it is time to set free the Rajiv case prisoners as they were mere accessories in the assassination, while the masterminds are dead. But there can be no omnibus order covering everyone.

 

 

2. Welcome release, strange remarks

Topic: Indian Polity, Governance

Category: Constitutional Features, Judiciary

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

Key Points:

  • According to a Delhi High Court order, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was released on interim bailfor six months.
  • It is a curious bail order. In many respects, it accepts the prosecution’s case. It concludes that the activities at the event were anti-national, but does not say if the essential ingredients for invoking the sedition charge were present.
  • It declares that Mr. Kumar cannot invoke the freedom of speech under Article 19(1) (a), and appears to anchor its decision to grant bail on the sole ground that he should “remain in the mainstream”.
  • The court’s condition that Mr. Kumar should furnish an undertaking that he would not actively or passively participate in any activity that may be termed anti-national is a vague stipulation.
  • In a democracy, the court should seek to have a restraining influence on the executive, but should not be seen as contributing to any partisan discourse that pits radical campus politics against a narrow notion of nationalism.
  • The country is witnessing a disturbing trend of left-wing students, and liberal intellectuals backing their right to practise their brand of politics, being dubbed ‘anti-national’, while the Army and its admirers are placed in patriotic counterposition to them.
  • Courts should not give the judicial imprimatur to the bogus binary sought to be created between ‘seditious students’ and ‘selfless soldiers’.
  • Student activists cannot be portrayed as enemies of the families of martyred soldiers. The government must see reason and drop its attempts to criminalise contrarian views, especially when there is no proof of actual incitement to subversive violence. It should give up the use of Section 124-A, which covers sedition.
  • The provision deserves a place only in history books, not the statute book.

 

 

3. No freedom without dissent

Topic: Indian Polity, Governance

Category: Constitutional Features, Judiciary

Location: The Hindu, Page 12

JNU_protest_2761109f

 

Key Points:

  • Last year, the Supreme Court, court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act in the Shreya Singhal case. It freed online speech in India from the threat of arrests and prosecution.
  • Dissent is not anti-national. This nation has been built on dissents expressed at crucial times in its history.
  • Kautilya dissented against the Nandas of Magadh, who were complacent in the face of Alexander’s invasions.
  • He created the Mauryan empire. The Buddha dissented against the orthodoxy of his times, and the eightfold path stood revealed.
  • Adi Shankara dissented against the fading of sanatana dharma and resurrected it.
  • Shivaji dissented against the kingdoms of the Deccan and the might of the Mughal empire to lay the foundation of the Maratha empire.
  • The dissent of the soldiers at Barrackpore and Meerut led to the First War of Independence in 1857.
  • A long line of dissenters thereafter, from Lokmanya Tilak to Bose, Nehru and Gandhi, gave us our path to an independent India.
  • Ambedkar, a man who dissented from even Mahatma Gandhi, gave us a Constitution that has endured all these years.
  • During the Emergency, Justice H.R. Khanna dissented in the ADM Jabalpur case and held that the right to life was inherent in humans and not a gift of the Constitution which could be suspended. The judgment cost him the office of the Chief Justice of India.
  • A democracy without a dissenter in it is impossible. Free men, in the exercise of free thought, will give vent in free speech. No matter how abhorrent the thought, or its manner of expression, a mature democracy will tolerate it, and even encourage its publication. It is better for an imperfect thought to be voiced and rejected in the marketplace of ideas, than for it to fester within the warehouses of inexpressible thought.
  • After all there is no greater idea of democracy than free men, freely and voluntarily, committing to the requirements of citizenship of a free country. Only totalitarian regimes suppress dissent and dissidents. Only a country not yet rid of its colonial hangover of a government that commands and controls, labels dissent as seditious. A truly free nation will confidently view even its advocated destruction as a bad idea that will fail in the marketplace of ideas.

 

Others:

The Indian Express

4. Aadhaar’s basis’:

Topic: Indian Economy

Category: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Location: The Indian Express, Page 14

Arun Jaitley

 

Key Points:

  • A law defining biometric IDs and the parameters within which they can be legally used would have annulled the first argument against the project, concerning privacy. There is little disagreement about its utility and appropriateness for promoting financial inclusion and leakproofing direct benefit transfers from government, and the NDA has rightly forged ahead to give Aadhaar a statutory basis as an opt-in system for securing benefits.
  • The government has prudently moved a money bill, which means that its lack of numbers in the Upper House will not be an impediment. The Rajya Sabha’s role is limited to returning the Aadhaar Bill to the Lok Sabha with recommendations within a set timeframe. It cannot block or alter the legislation, but can sound warnings.
  • If it does, the government should pay heed, or it would run the risk of detracting from the perceived legitimacy of Aadhaar. While pushing Aadhaar through as a money bill is tactically sound, for it will be signed into law, the government must know that it is sidestepping extended parliamentary debate.
  • In the legislature, discussion confers credibility more surely than numbers, and being responsive to objections about Aadhaar would strengthen the ID. Resistance to Aadhaar partly owes to the perception that it was neither secure nor voluntary, and activism and lawsuits retarding its deployment resulted.
  • The bill goes into privacy issues, but it cannot be assumed that matters on these questions pending before a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will melt away. However, the bill is a decisive step towards a leakproof subsidy regime and, eventually, a cashless economy. The latter should be the political goal of Aadhaar — a financial system where money is dematerialised, value is transferred electronically and the lack of cash makes corruption unrewarding. Politically, that is a target worth shooting for.

 

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:

i.   BCIM (Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar) Corridor

ii.  One Belt One Road (OBOR) project

iii.  Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX)

iv.  Article 19(1) (a)

v.  Section 124-A

G. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
To be Updated

Check Your Answers

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