The Hindu Editorial Analysis 18th July 2019

The Hindu Editorial Analysis 18th July 2019

OpEd 1 : At UNSC, A three point agenda

Introduction :-
India has been in the UNSC for 14 years, representing roughly a fifth of the time the United Nations (UN) has existed. India must leverage this latest opportunity to project itself as a responsible nation.

India’s singular objective as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22 should be to help build a stable and secure external environment. In doing so, India will promote its own people’s prosperity, regional and global security and growth, and a rule-based world order. It could emerge a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.

At a time when there is a deficit of international leadership on global issues, especially on security, migrant movement, poverty, and climate change, India has an opportunity to promote well-balanced, common solutions.

What India needs to do ?

* First, as a member of the UNSC, India must help guide the Council away from the perils of invoking the principles of humanitarian interventionism or ‘Responsibility to Protect’. Given the fragile and complex international system, which can become even more unpredictable and conflictual, India should work towards a rules-based global order. Sustainable development and promoting peoples’ welfare should become its new drivers.

* Second, India should push to ensure that the UNSC Sanctions Committee targets all those individuals and entities warranting sanctions. Multilateral action by the UNSC has not been possible because of narrowly defined national interest. As on May 21, 2019, 260 individuals and 84 entities are subject to UN sanctions, pursuant to Council resolutions 1267, 1989, and 2253. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains a larger list of individuals and entities subject to U.S. sanctions. The European Union maintains its own sanctions list.

* Third, having good relations with all the great powers, India must lead the way by pursuing inclusion, the rule of law, constitutionalism, and rational internationalism. A harmonised response is the sine qua non for dealing with global problems of climate change, disarmament, terrorism, trade, and development.
India could take on larger burdens to maintain global public goods and build new regional public goods. For example :- India should take the lead in activating the UNSC’s Military Staff Committee, which was never set into motion following the UN’s inception. Without it, the UNSC’s collective security and conflict-resolution roles will continue to remain limited.

OpEd 2 :- Balance and Tilt

Context :- The Supreme Court’s interim order stating that the 15 dissident Karnataka legislators cannot be compelled to attend the House, means they are not bound by any whip relating to the trust vote moved by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

Impact of order :-
  • This gives the numerical advantage in the House to the BJP-led Opposition. Without the support of the 15 lawmakers, the ruling coalition will be reduced to a minority.
  • It amounts to holding that provisions of the anti-defection law, under which parties can issue whips to their members to vote in a particular way, will not be applicable to the 15 MLAs.
  • The other limb of the order permits the Speaker to decide on the resignation of these MLAs in a time-frame he considers appropriate. Although the court says there was an imperative necessity “to maintain the constitutional balance”, the order tilts the odds in favour of the Opposition in the vote.

Setting a dangerous precedent
  • The order raises the concern whether it does not constitute a perilous precedent for granting ad hoc judicial exceptions from constitutional provisions on defection and set the tone for future judicial intervention to suspend the operation of any whip in respect of a few.

Supreme Court burdened :-
  • To be fair to the Supreme Court, it is being burdened with the task of unravelling political knots created by amoral strategems. In this case, the “political thicket” into which the court has been dragged has its origins in manoeuvres to reduce the combined strength of the Janata Dal(S) and the Congress.

Questions in litigation :-
  • Whether it is resignation or disqualification that should get priority.
  • The objective of disqualifying the MLAs rather than allowing them to quit will not save the government, but it will prevent them from taking oath as ministers in an alternative Cabinet.
  • Though the court’s order recognises the Speaker’s authority to rule whether the resignations are genuine, and fixes no time-frame, it is a Pyrrhic victory; for, their continuance as members puts them under no obligation to vote for the government in view of the allowance given to stay away during the vote.

Conclusion :- The dissident MLAs risk nothing other than their seats, certainly not the opportunity to join the Cabinet of a successor-government. When the court takes up the substantive questions of law for adjudication, it should squarely address the new-found interplay between issues of resignation and disqualification, lest it become a perennial source of political controversy.


OpEd 3 :- Sword against Pen

Journalists are facing heightened threats around the globe, according to the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), covering 180 countries and territories.

Threats to journalist
  • It notes that the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists is on the decline; this should be a wake-up call. 
India's Scenario :-
  • In 2018, at least six Indian journalists were killed in the line of their work, the report said. India’s rank fell by two places to 140 from 138 — in 2016 it was 133 and in 2017 it was 136.
  • In 2014 India’s ranking was 140, but this year’s setback is qualitatively different.

Reasons for the decline in ranking :-
  • The report notes that organised campaigns by supporters of Hindutva “to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate” is putting journalists in danger.
  • Women journalists are particularly at the receiving end, and covering sensitive but important topics of public interest such as separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoist insurgency has become more difficult.
  • Authorities use anachronistic sedition laws against journalists, who also face the wrath of militants and criminal gangs.

Hyper-nationalist politics  :-
  • Hostility towards the media is a defining feature of hyper-nationalist politics in many countries.
  • In India, the Centre and several State governments have not merely shown extreme intolerance towards objective and critical reporting but also taken unprecedented measures to restrict journalism.

Recent Events :-
  • The Finance Minister’s recent order barring credentialed reporters from the Ministry’s premises is a case in point but this is not an isolated measure.
  • There is a systematic attempt to limit the scope of journalism in India through physical restrictions, denial of information and hostile rhetoric against journalists by senior government functionaries.
  • The government is unlikely to take the RSF report seriously.

Perception’s Importance :-
While expression of concern by foreign countries or global bodies regarding human rights, religious violence or media freedom is routinely dismissed as external interference in India’s sovereignty, the government knows all too well that in a globalised world these perceptions matter.

Conclusion :- What else would explain the Prime Minister’s single-minded pursuit to improve India’s position in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business ranking?
If India is concerned about its reputation in terms of business and investment, it should be equally or even more concerned about its standing as a democratic, pluralist country with a free and dynamic press.
That is not so much for the inflow of investment or luring global corporations, which may care little about a destination-country’s democratic credentials — but for India’s well-being

Post a Comment

0 Comments