Blog

INDIAN EXPRESS EDITORIALS AND EXPLAINED 31st December 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

ISSUE: HOW TO BOOST BANKERS CONFIDENCE

Editorial highlights that for improving bankers confidence they need to be free of  fear from the three dreaded Cs — Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General.

At a meeting with bankers over the weekend, Nirmala Sitharaman while conceding that decision-making in banks was getting impacted because of the fear of the 3Cs attempted to assuage the apprehensions, saying that the government and its investigative agencies have put in place measures to address their concerns.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has blamed what he termed as the “malafide unless proven otherwise” doctrine of governance of the NDA Government for the breakdown of trust between institutions and the government. Bankers may tend to agree, especially when basic questions such as the definition of a bonafide decision and who should sit in judgement on loan approvals granted by banks years ago remain unclear even now.

EDITORIAL’S SUGGESTION

An enduring solution requires a significant lowering of state holding by the government in scores of banks — well below the threshold of 51 per cent — to free bankers from the purview of the three Cs, or privatisation.

The second best but sub-optimal solution would be to empower bankers and professional bank boards to decide on whether a decision to approve a loan was bonafide or malafide.

The perceived morality play reflected in punishing so-called rogue bankers and businessmen — a political response to Rahul Gandhi’s suit boot sarkar jibe — has already hurt banking and industry.

ISSUE: POST OF CHIEF OF DEFENSE STAFF

WHY IN NEWS?

The appointment of General Bipin Rawat, the current Chief of Army Staff, as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on August 15 the creation of the CDS.

WHY POST OF CDS IS IMPORTANT?

The decision to appoint a CDS is a huge step towards achieving seamless coordination and greater effectiveness in higher defence management structures by creating an enabling architecture that permits fuller expression on the part of our professional armed forces.

The Kargil Review Committee’s report in 2000 and the Group of Ministers’ Report of 2001 had recommended that serious steps be taken towards integration of our armed forces.

This is the first time in the history of independent India that a uniformed individual will head a government department. The CDS is not a ministerial position. He will be empowered under the Allocation of Business Rules to run his department. The highest form of supervisory mandate that can be delegated to him is at the level of a secretary. The defence secretary and the three chiefs occupy important positions in the government’s pantheon. This will not change when a fourth officer joins as CDS at the four-star level.

The key point is that the new CDS will be the head of a newly-minted Department of Military Affairs within the existing architecture of the Ministry of Defence, which already has four departments — Department of Defence, Department of Defence Production, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and the DRDO.

ROLE OF CDS

All matters that are purely military affairs involving the army, navy and the air force, including the territorial army, especially jointness in tri-service matters pertaining to training, transport, staffing, logistics, communications, repairs and maintenance and even jointness in procurement, would henceforth be handled by the CDS.

The CDS will also be a member of the Defence Planning Committee and the Defence Acquisition Council, besides functioning as the military adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority. He would ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure, facilitate restructuring of military commands including establishment of joint/theatre commands, promote indigenisation and work on “out of area contingencies”. Preparation of strategy papers and rationalisation and reforms in the functioning of the armed forces would be part of his mandate.

The CDS, who will also be the permanent chairman COSC, will not exercise any operational command, including over the three service chiefs. The three service chiefs will continue to retain full command over their services, and give independent military advice to the raksha mantri on matters concerning their respective services. The CDS, in turn, will do what no service chief can do, that is, reconcile the viewpoints of all the three services. This feature will improve his ability to provide impartial advice since his service loyalties will no longer colour his advice. The defence secretary will continue to deal with defence policy, strategy and diplomacy. He will also be responsible for capital acquisitions, defence land, defence accounts, cantonments, border roads, coast guard and a host of other important areas.

ISSUE: HOW INDIA’S INTERNAL POLITICS AFFECTS INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

In the 21st century, two important factors have boosted India’s international relations. One is India’s rapid economic growth stemming from the reforms of the 1990s. It put India on the course to join the league of major powers. The expanding size of the economy and the attractiveness of its market was reinforced by another important factor.

India’s growing economic weight, many in the world believed, would translate sooner than later into military power and that, in turn, could make Delhi an important player in shaping the regional balance of power in Asia and the Indian Ocean: This would eventually reshape the structure of the international system. The rise of India’s hard power capabilities was complemented by its soft power — defined by India’s democratic values, the spread of Indian culture and the positive influence of its diaspora.

Besides the question of democracy, India’s ability to live with religious, linguistic and ethnic differences highlighted its political exceptionalism amidst the proliferation of intra-national conflicts and civil wars around the world.

If the economic slowdown and the perceived antipathy to trade might be limiting India’s attractiveness as a commercial partner, the sense of creeping Hindu majoritarianism has begun to generate concern among a range of groups from the liberal international media, the US Congress, to the Islamic world.

The sharpening religious divide within the country coupled with the renewed confrontation with Pakistan is generating major headaches for the conduct of India’s external relations.

Just when India seemed to be pulling away from Pakistan — in terms of economic performance, internal unity and international salience — and poised for a larger global role, Delhi appears to be sliding back into a regional conflict with Islamabad and, more dangerously, towards a Hindu-Muslim conflict at home.

To be sure, the theory is that all states are sovereign and free to do what they want at home and free to conduct foreign policies as they like. The reality, though, is quite different. Through the ages, statesmen have sought ways to manage the complex interdependence between the internal and the external: Those who pretended that there is no relationship between the two had to pay a high price.

All governments in Delhi have struggled to cope with the bitter legacies of Partition. The very nature of these challenges inevitably produced much ambiguity, self-doubt and vacillation in India’s engagement with Pakistan and Bangladesh. It will be a great tragedy if the NDA government’s attempts to answer some of these challenges ends up exacerbating them.

ISSUE: PAYMENT FOR DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY

In its crackdown on protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Uttar Pradesh government has directed district administrations to serve notices on persons allegedly involved in arson and damage of public property, and direct them to pay a penalty. The quantum of the penalty is being determined according to the total cost of the damaged property, according to the FIR lodged by the police.

While issuing these notices, the administration has said it derives such powers on the basis of an Allahabad High Court order of December 2, 2010 in Mohammad Shujauddin vs State of Uttar Pradesh. It has said the police are empowered to take penal action under The Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. The High Court order, due to lacunae in the 1984 Act, has also empowered the civil administration to take action against the accused.

SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT

The Supreme Court had issued guidelines on the basis of recommendations made by two committees, headed by former Supreme Court Justice K T Thomas and senior advocate Fali Nariman. In particular, the Nariman Committee’s recommendations had dealt with extracting damages for destruction. Accepting the recommendations, the Supreme Court had said that the rioters would be made strictly liable for the damage, and compensation would be collected to “make good” the damage.

What directions did the HC issue?

On the basis of the Supreme Court observations, the High Court directed that:

🔴As and when any incident of damage of public property takes place, if such agitation has been called at the “invitation of a political party or a sitting or former people’s representative”, a “report” shall be registered by the police against the political party/person by name.

A “concerned department, local body, public corporation” — that is, the owner of the property — would assess the damage and shall file a claim for realization of such amount before a “competent authority”. The competent authority will be nominated by the government, and claims have to be filed within seven days after the nomination.

🔴“Any person” belonging to the area where the public property is damaged can also approach the competent authority. However, when the money is awarded, it has to be furnished only to the concerned department to whom the property belongs.

🔴There will be an “opportunity of hearing” against whom the claims is filed; and the competent authority is mandated to pass the “appropriate order” with a month after the hearing is complete.

🔴If the person is found guilty by the competent authority (an official of the rank of Additional District Magistrate will be responsible for collecting the amount), and if the guilty is unable to pay the entire amount in a single instalment, the district magistrate has to issue a certificate, by which the person is made to pay in arrears under the relevant provisions of the the Revenue Recovery Act.

 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
%d bloggers like this: