View All topics

Monday, November 30, 2015

One place Editorial -28 nov 2015

The Hindu 28 nov 

It is not unusual to see State governments showing reluctance to abide by court orders that rulers deem politically inexpedient or ideologically unpalatable. Maharashtra is perilously close to being seen as wilfully disobedient as it drags its feet on issuing licences to hoteliers to host dance performances more than a month after the Supreme Court stayed its legislation to ban dance bars in Mumbai. The court has now peremptorily told the State government to process within two weeks all the applications it has received. State Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appears reluctant to accept the court’s point that the dance bars are a source of livelihood — or at least they used to be until the Mumbai Police Act was amended in 2005 to ban them — to a large number of women and that it is better to regulate them instead of prohibiting them. While mentioning in a tweet that he respected the Supreme Court order, he made it clear that he was in principle opposed to the idea of opening the dance bars and that he still was thinking of legislative intervention. However, so far such legislation has not found favour with the judiciary. In 2006, the Bombay High Court invalidated the amendment, and the Supreme Court confirmed the judgment in 2013. But the government did not allow the bars to be opened. Instead, the State amended the law again in 2014, assuming that would help it get around the judgment. While staying the amendment last month, the court noted that it was merely a re-enactment of the very provision that had been held invalid earlier.

Mr. Fadnavis would do well to realise that further legislation will not be valid if it is aimed at prohibiting what the court has now come to recognise as a vocation that everyone has a right to carry on under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The present amendment that his regime is trying to defend is unlikely to survive judicial scrutiny, as a similar provision has already been held to violate the right of individuals to engage in a profession of his or her choice. It was also not a reasonable restriction introduced in the public interest. Instead, he should drop his ideological objection to the opening of the dance bars, as this objection is based only on a conservative moral and cultural view of social life, and not necessarily in law or an understanding of social realities. There are reports that more than 75,000 families have been affected by the ban and that hundreds of women took up sex work. The plight of these vulnerable sections ought to pose greater concern to the government than the possibility that society will lapse into depravity by the mere presence of dance bars. The court has already showed the way forward. It has advised the government to bring in regulations, if it so wished, to prevent any obscenity creeping into the performances or any form of exploitation of women employed in these establishments. Governments have many reasonable ways to address their social concerns. Wholesale bans and unhealthy defiance of judicial authority should not be among them.

Business Standard Small steps on sugar

 Of the various bailout packages doled out by the government to the sugar sector in the recent past, the latest is distinctly different in its basic approach and mode of payment. It involves a production subsidy of Rs 4.50 per quintal of sugarcane to be paid directly to cane growers. It will also benefit the sugar industry which will have to pay correspondingly less to farmers. This marks a new beginning, of paying production-linked crop subsidies in India. So far, agricultural subsidies were routed mostly through inputs like fertilisers, power, seeds, or farm machines. Production subsidies, notably, are permissible under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules provided they do not exceed 10 per cent of the total value of crop output. Earlier, the government gave an export subsidy of Rs 4,000 per tonne to the sugar industry to help it ship out raw sugar to raise the cash to pay its dues to farmers - which had mounted to over Rs 21,000 crore by April 2014. But this move had to be retracted as other sugar producing and exporting countries objected, maintaining that such a trade-distorting measure violated WTO norms

In another bid to help the sugar industry clear cane price arrears, the government had offered it a soft loan of Rs 6,000 crore which was to be deposited directly in the cane growers' bank accounts on behalf of the sugar mills. However, these packages yielded only limited results. The cane price arrears pertaining to the last sugar season still stand at an untenably high level, over Rs 7,000 crore, though the new cane crushing season has already begun. This seems to have spurred the government to thinking that it could pay the subsidy directly to farmers as part payment of the cane supplied to the sugar mills. The government is likely to take a hit of over Rs 1,000 crore on this account. Both the cane farmers and the sugar industry have welcomed it, but they are not fully satisfied and feel that more may need to be done by the government to solve the recurring problem of accumulation of cane price arrears. They deem the subsidy to be too little compared to the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of Rs 230 a quintal for cane.

The government should, however, be cautious in dealing with such pleas. There is a danger that an output-linked subsidy of this kind may encourage overproduction of both sugarcane - a water-guzzling crop that depletes groundwater - and sugar, perpetuating the liquidity crisis in the sugar industry. Instead, it should strike at the root cause of the sugar sector's woes, which is the lack of any link between the prices of cane and sugar. The way out is the revenue sharing model suggested by the expert committee on sugar headed by C Rangarajan. According to this, mills have to share with farmers 75 per cent of the revenue realised from the sale of sugar or 70 per cent of the total revenue generated by sugar and its byproducts. Such an approach would result in demanddriven production of both sugarcane and sugar. This will also protect the interests of all players in the sugar sector, including those of consumers.

Indian Express
 Just say yes

Somewhere in the Union home ministry lies a request from the BCCI that begs for an urgent answer to a very simple question: Can India play cricket with Pakistan in Sri Lanka? What should have been an easy, and a quick, “yes” is now seeming like a belaboured “maybe”. This isn’t a rant on redtapeism, it’s about a government that is generally uncertain about Pakistan and specifically undecided about playing cricket with that country. This policy has seen the cricketing relationship between the old rivals go from bad to worse. India-Pakistan encounters had already become rare, Pakistan’s cricketers were kept away from the IPL, and now even commentators and umpires have been made to feel unsafe here

 Ironically, it’s the BCCI that is getting the flak. It is being accused of asking the wrong question at the wrong time — 26/11 has just been marked. But WhatsApp groups, twitter handles and television debates — the modern day rooftops that accommodate every high-decibel rabble-rouser — don’t care about cricketing MoUs or the importance of Pakistan to cricket in the subcontinent or to the global game played by less than 10 nations. The government should know better than to allow them the casting vote. Prime ministers and presidents have often been seen on the sidelines of IndiaPakistan games, they have beamed as they passed shining trophies to champions. These frames have helped them in building images and “optics”. But cricket engagements shouldn’t only be used for political convenience. And they certainly can’t carry the burden of a thaw or spike in the thorny India-Pakistan relationship.

 This unwarranted impasse has aggravated the pain of the cricket fan. India and Pakistan last played a Test in 2007. Their only ODI interaction this year has been on a neutral venue, under ICC supervision, at the World Cup. Cricket’s most-storied rivalry has been sorely missed.

Why banking after engineering ? Best answer for the interview questions