The Hindu Editorial Analysis 10th July 2019

Hindu Editorial Analysis 10th July 2019

OpEd 1 :- Going electric: on plans to switch to electric vehicles

Introduction :-
The Union Budget has announced a bold move to make a transition to electric vehicles, and offered a tax incentive for the early adopters.

Union Budget 2019-20 :-
  • An additional income tax deduction of ₹1.5 lakh is now offered on interest paid on loans to purchase electric vehicles
  • The GST Council has been moved to cut the tax on e-vehicles to 5% from 12%.
  • There is a significant outlay under the second iteration of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing (of Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles (FAME) plan of ₹10,000 crore, to give a fillip to commercial vehicles and to set up charging stations.

Other Measures :-
  • The Ministry of Power issued guidelines and standards for this in December last year, setting technical parameters for public charging stations that can enable normal and fast charging.

What still needs to be done ?
  • Affordable charging will make two-wheeler vehicles and commercial three-wheelers attractive because operating costs are a fraction of petrol and diesel equivalents. 
  • Longer range travel will require more than a charge-at-home facility, and this would have to be in the form of fast charging at parking lots, retrofitted fuel outlets, new public charging stations, hotels, offices and so on. 
  • Swapping the battery at convenient locations with one that is pre-charged, especially for commercial vehicles that run longer and need a quick turnaround, is worth considering.
  • A longer-term policy priority has to be the setting up of lithium battery production and solar charging infrastructure of a scale that matches the ambition. 

Conclusion :-
The budgetary measures will have an immediate impact on the pricing of electric vehicles and bring in more models, but it will take a sustained effort by the Centre, in partnership with State governments, to enable a fast rollout of charging infrastructure.

OpEd 2 :- Rising incidents of hate crimes point to the growing power of the lumpen

Context :- Rising hate crimes
  • Recently, two Muslim men beaten by mobs in Jharkhand and Mumbai, demanding they shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’, one so mercilessly that he died. 
  • Another man, a tribal, lynched in Tripura on suspicion of being a cattle thief. 
  • Most recently, 24 men accused of being cattle smugglers, beaten and made to shout ‘Gau Mata ki Jai’, in Rajasthan.

Concern :- Internationally, India has begun to feature prominently on a growing list of countries marked by hate crime, including hate speech in electoral campaigns.

A rising graph of hate crimes :- Studies of hate crimes in India show that they have steadily risen over the past five years.

Amnesty International India Report :-
  • Amnesty International India documented 721 such incidents between 2015 and 2018. 
  • Last year alone, it tracked 218 hate crimes, 142 of which were against Dalits, 50 against Muslims, 40 against women, and eight each against Christians, Adivasis, and transgenders. 
  • The more common hate crimes, they found, were honour killings — that have sadly occurred for decades — and ‘cow-related violence’, 

Hate Crime Watch :-
  • According to Hate Crime Watch, crimes based on religious identity were in single digits until 2014, when they surged from nine in 2013 to 92 in 2018. 
  • Of the 291 incidents mentioned by the website, 152 occurred in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled States, 40 in Congress-ruled States and the rest in States ruled by regional parties or coalitions. 
  • Uttar Pradesh topped the list of States with the largest number of hate crimes for the third year, followed by Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

Court directives :-
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court directed Central and State governments to make it widely known that lynching and mob violence would ‘invite serious consequence under the law’ (Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India & Ors). 
  • SC also directs to designate a senior police officer in every district to prevent incidents of mob violence and ensure that the police take prompt action, including safety for witnesses
  • To set up fast-track courts in such cases and take action against policemen or officials who failed to comply.

Problem Facing :-
  • In a May 2019 report, Human Rights Watch India pointed out that only some States had complied with the Supreme Court’s orders. In several instances, the police actually obstructed investigations, even filing charges against the victims.
  • We have a number of sections in the Indian Penal Code that can be used to punish or even prevent hate crime, but they are different and few policemen are aware of them. Some of them, fear to use them in areas whose political leaders mobilise through hate speech. 

Key steps needed :-
  • Parliament could enact an omnibus act against hate crime, and the Home Minister could set benchmarks for policemen and administrators to deal with hate crime. 
  • The legislature and political parties could suspend or dismiss members who are implicated in hate crimes or practise hate speech. 
  • The electronic and print media could stop showing or publishing hateful comments and threats. 
  • Priests could preach the values of tolerance and respect that are common to all religions and schools could revitalise courses on the directive principles of our Constitution.

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