GS 2- Polity & Governance
PM pitches for ‘One Nation, One Election’

Why in News?

Prime Minister of India again pitched for ‘One Nation, One Election’, it is the need of the country as elections taking place every few months hamper development works.

Context

  • He was addressing the concluding session of the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference via videoconference.
  • He also said there should be a single voter list for all polls in the country.
  • The Prime Minister asked the presiding officers attending the meet to apply their mind to simplify the language of statute books and allow for an easier process to weed out redundant laws.
  • ‘One Nation, One Election’ isn’t just an issue of deliberation but also a need of the country.
  • Elections are held at different places every few months and it hampers the developmental work and all of you know about it.
  • Therefore, it’s a must to have a deep study and deliberation on ‘One Nation, One Election’.
  • On one voter list: “Only one voter list should be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections. Why are we wasting time and money?”
  • Emphasising the need for coordination between all three wings of the state — legislature, executive and judiciary – that everything, from their role to their decorum, was described in the Constitution itself.
  • In the 1970s, we saw how there was an attempt to breach the dignity of separation of power, but the country got the answer only from the Constitution.
  • After that period of Emergency, the system of checks and balances became stronger and stronger.
  • The legislature, the executive and the judiciary, all three, learned a lot from that period and moved forward.

 

GS 2- Polity & Governance
Beneficiaries of Roshni Act move SC

Why in News?

As the J&K administration continues to make the names of the beneficiaries of the now-nullified Roshni Act public, a petition has been filed before the Supreme Court by the beneficiaries claiming they “were not even heard by the J&K High Court as it passed the directions.”

Context

  • We were not given an opportunity of being heard. Our rights acquired under the Act enacted by a competent legislature were extinguished by the peremptory order.
  • Apart from our civil rights, it raises questions of distribution of power between the executive, judiciary and the legislature.
  • The credibility of all the governments will be lost if the practice of retrospective annulment of laws, without saving the action taken, is allowed to prevail.
  • Roshni Act was passed by J&K legislature in 2001 to confer ownership rights on occupants of State land to raise ₹25,000 crore for hydel projects, but only ₹76 crore was collected.
  • In 2018, the then Lieutenant Governor repealed the Act. Later, the High Court also scrapped the Act and directed the authorities to retrieve the land from the occupants.

 

GS 3- Economy
Recovery’s momentum is stronger-than-expected: Das

Why in News?
India’s economy has exhibited a stronger-than-expected pick up in momentum of recovery following a multi-speed normalisation of activity in the second quarter, Reserve Bank of India Governor.

Context

  • The global economy has also witnessed a stronger than expected rebound in activity.
  • The IMF has accordingly revised its assessment for global growth in 2020 to a less severe contraction than what was assessed in June.
  • However, cautioned that even as the economic outlook had improved, downside risks to growth continued due to a recent surge in COVID-19 infections in advanced economies and parts of India.

Post-festival activity

  • We need to be watchful about the sustainability of demand after festivals and a possible reassessment of market expectations surrounding the vaccine.
  • The monetary policy guidance in October emphasised the need to see through temporary inflation pressures and also maintain the accommodative stance at least during the current financial year and into the next” fiscal.
  • A key source of resilience had been the comfortable external balance position supported by surplus current account balances over two consecutive quarters, resumption of portfolio capital flows on the back of robust FDI inflows, and sustained build-up of foreign exchange reserves.

 

GS 2- Polity & Governance
Those in high offices should be above prejudices: President

Why in News?

President of India said persons occupying high constitutional posts should strive to set an example by rising above partisanship and prejudices.

Context

  • I have always held that the time for congratulation is not when a man is appointed to an office, but when he retires.
  • President commended the Supreme Court for delivering justice even during the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of technology.
  • Chief Justice of India, speaking on the occasion, said the pandemic had generated a “new kind of inequality”: the inequality between those who have access to technology and those who do not.
  • The Chief Justice said visits to districts revealed to him that for many who had no access to technology, the courts “simply did not exist”.
  • The top judge said the Supreme Court, which did not stop functioning even for a day during the pandemic, had been making access to virtual courts easier for lawyers and litigants through the installation of kiosks and mobile vans.

Backlog of cases

  • Chief Justice, said the judiciary and the government had to work in tandem to meet an explosion of filings and the ensuing increase in backlog once the pandemic fades out.
  • The CJI mooted the idea of “pre-litigation mediation with the force of a decree” as a solution to pendency.
  • Attorney-General recommended the judiciary, government and lawyers to “pull up their socks” and devise a way out of the existing pendency.

Digital hearing

  • Union Law Minister commended the digital hearing and disposal rate of cases by the judiciary during the past months of the health crisis.
  • The Supreme Court had digitally heard and disposed of over 30,000 cases; the High Courts had dealt with 13.74 lakh cases while the District Courts had dealt with 35.93 lakh matters.
  • Attorney-General suggested setting up of four Benches of a Court of Appeal with 15 judges to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court.

 

GS 2- International Relations

With self-reliance push, China looks to reset ties with world

Why in News?

Call it Atmanirbhar China. Self-reliance isn’t only the flavour of the moment in India, but increasingly the phrase of choice in China, where a leadership, chastened by the impact of COVID-19, a trade war with the U.S., and a reassessment by many countries of their dependence on Chinese supply-chains, is making an accelerated push to reframe the nature of China’s engagement with the world.

Context

  • President is an aim to essentially make China less reliant on the world and to make the world more reliant on China.
  • In a particularly important when it comes to what he described as “trump card” technologies that can be decisive in a conflict.

‘Dual circulation’

  • “Dual circulation” is the name that Beijing boosted the domestic economy (or internal circulation) while recalibrating China’s external relations (the other circulation) – an anodyne term that blurs the increasing importance of self-reliance.
  • The strategy of domestic demand expansion should be China’s priority, and building a complete internal demand system bears on China’s long-term development and long-term peace and stability.
  • Economic globalisation has encountered headwinds, and this pandemic may intensify counter-globalisation trends.
  • With inward-turning tendencies clearly on the rise among nations, there could be significant changes in the external environment facing China’s development.
  • Implementing the internal demand expansion strategy is a necessity for responding to the pandemic’s impact.
  • The second pillar of this strategy, as he put it, was to optimise and stabilise production chains and supply chains.
  • The pandemic, was “a stress test under combat conditions” and had served warnings of the dangers of decoupling.
  • In order to safeguard China’s industrial security and national security, we must focus on building production chains and supply chains that are independently controllable, secure and reliable, and strive for important products and supply channels to all have at least one alternative source,” listing sectors such as high-speed rail, electric power equipment, new energy, and communications equipment where China needed to preserve its advantages.
  • The most revealing part of China must tighten international production chains dependence on China” with the aim of “forming powerful countermeasures and deterrent capabilities”.
  • This would give China leverage should countries threaten to limit access to key technologies, as the U.S. has done with semiconductors.
  • The idea, in his view, is for China to “rely more on the domestic market”.
  • There was “no contradiction” between doing so and opening up, because domestic and external “circulation” would be “mutually reinforcing”.

Self-sufficiency

  • However, is not how India and many of China’s biggest trading partners see it, instead viewing a push that will increasingly prioritise self-sufficiency.
  • The key difference with India’s own “self-reliant” emphasis is that China is at the same time embracing new trading arrangements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), from which India withdrew last year, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the other big regional trading bloc that succeeded the TPP after America’s withdrawal, which has expressed interest in joining.
  • In Beijing’s view, will open new markets and help increase trade dependencies on China overseas – China is already the biggest trading partner for many of the RCEP’s members – even while China is moving to erect ever higher non-tariff barriers for foreign firms, particularly in sensitive sectors – all while positioning itself as a defender of globalisation.
  • In fact, agreements like the RCEP failing to adequately address this contradiction was one key reason why India ultimately withdrew from the negotiations, receiving no assurances of a level playing field, even as it was asked to open up its economy.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

  • The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • The CPTPP will enter into force for Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia and Peru 60 days after they complete their respective ratification processes. This website will be updated to reflect the entry into force dates for each of these countries.
  • This Agreement is a separate treaty that incorporates, by reference, the provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement (signed but not yet in force), with the exception of a limited set of suspended provisions.
  • The 11 countries have a shared vision of the CPTPP as a platform that is open to others to join if they are able to meet its high standards.
  • Importantly for Australia, the CPTPP ensures that the substantial market access package secured in the original TPP is maintained (i.e. covering goods and services market openings and commitments on regulations on foreign investment).
  • This market access package will be implemented among the CPTPP Parties, delivering major new opportunities for Australian exporters, investors and firms engaged in international business.
  • The CPTPP maintains the ambitious scope and high-quality standards and rules of the original TPP.

 

GS 3- Economy
GDP contracted 10.7% in Q2

Why in News?
India’s GDP likely contracted 10.7% in the second quarter, with a further recovery likely in the third quarter, SBI Research report, citing improvements in economic indicators over October and November.

Context

  • After witnessing a decline of 23.9% in real GDP in Q1 FY21, we expect Q2 GDP growth at -10.7% (earlier: -12.5%) with positive bias, based on our ‘Nowcasting’ model with 41 high frequency indicators, associated with industry activity, service activity, and global economy.
  • The SBI business activity index also shows that there is continuous improvement and Q3 numbers could be even better.
  • However, the extent of recovery in subsequent quarters can only be gauged after the actual Q2 numbers are published.

Moderate growth

  • The yearly SBI Composite Index reached a 19-month high of 53.9 (reflecting moderate growth) this month, compared to 53 in October.
  • The monthly index has touched an all-time high of 62.1 (reflecting high growth) in November, from 59.3 in October, the report’s author pointed out.

GST collections to rise

  • SBI projected that the index of industrial production (IIP) and manufacturing sector output may grow by 2-3% in October 2020 and 3.5-4.5% in November.
  • Goods and Services Tax collections were expected to improve further in November.
  • We project November GST collections at a 10-month high of ₹1.08 lakh crore as compared to ₹1.05 lakh crore in October.
  • The excellent improvement in GST is mainly due to traction in economic activities and services in festive month of November.