Pew Research Center, using World Bank data, has estimated that the number of poor in India (with income of $2 per day or less in purchasing power parity) has more than doubled from 60 million to 134 million in just a year because the pandemic-induced recession. This means India is back in a situation to be called a “country of mass poverty” after 45 years.
Recently, the Haryana government announced its policy of reserving 75 per cent of the State’s jobs in the private sector for candidates who are domiciled in the State. This is not a new case as the Andhra Pradesh government had passed similar legislation in 2019 and many States in India are in the line to enact such legislation to ensure employment to its unemployed population. The recent trend of ‘the locals first’ policy in job is more about fulfilling poll promises than ensuring job to the unemployed and it has several implications for the State, and the country as a whole. It not only acts as a hurdle to the hopes of the inter-state migratory population but also brings into question some of the constitutional dimensions which grant certain rights to all the citizens of India.
As India is preparing to vaccinate most of its population against the COVID-19 disease, India’s immunisation programme and its readiness have come to the fore as a matter of discussion. Immunisation is a proven tool to control and eliminate life-threatening diseases. India has numerous schemes and programmes to save its population from various diseases and it has the legacy of adhering to reach the goals it set for itself. The Government of India in collaboration with the States runs various immunisation programmes throughout the country and ensures the health and wellness of its population. At the same, the country faces several challenges in delivering vaccines to targeted beneficiaries and thus it will be keenly observed how the nation deals with the challenges in administering its immunisation programmes.
The Indian judiciary has a host of problems acting as hurdles in the speedy delivery of justice. Pendency of cases is one such problem that has been ailing the judiciary for a long time. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem has increased three-fold. Recently, the Supreme Court of India observed that the pendency of cases “has gone out of control”, and said it will issue guidelines for the appointment of temporary judges to help address the backlog. This is not only the situation during the pandemic rather the backlog of pending cases in India has become a burning problem for a long time which denies the people the right to access timely justice. This impacts not just the administration of justice, but it has tremendous consequences for the economy and the functioning of businesses across India as well.
In a recent webinar, the Prime Minister of India stated that in recent years, India has added 139 Giga Watts capacity and reached the goal of one nation-one grid-one frequency. He added that reforms like the UDAY scheme were undertaken to improve financial and operational efficiencies. He further added that India has become a power surplus country from a power deficit one. The idea of One Nation, One Grid has been making rounds in the news for the last few years. However, the idea is not new to us. To reach the ambitious goal of India becoming a nation using renewable energy sources for most of its needs, the idea of One Nation, One Grid is vital. The energy sector plays a crucial role in the progress of the country and influences both ease of living and ease of doing business. To fulfil the goals, the nation needs to have last-mile connectivity and One Nation, One Grid is a step forward in this direction.
Due to its high dependence on roads for the goods’ movement, India had long suffered from high logistics costs and slow economic progress. This situation is expected to change next year when Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor are set to be operationalised after the completion of the first phase of the DFC project.
Vehicle scrappage programs serve multiple purposes like reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, pressure on mines, etc. However, it is also a key tool for economic revival as it has a direct bearing on the automobile sector– a critical determinant of economic growth. Many countries used it in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to aid their recovery. Recently, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the draft Vehicle Scrappage Policy. This could serve as a much needed leg up for the Indian auto industry and post-COVID economy.
Recent desertions and defections in the Puducherry assembly have yet again highlighted the absurdity of the anti-defection law. Many MLAs from the treasury benches resigned, decreasing the numbers needed for a no-confidence motion to succeed in the Puducherry Assembly. This practice has also been seen recently in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Thus an MP (or MLA) has absolutely zero freedom to vote their judgement on any issue. They have to blindly follow what the party directs them to do so. This provision goes against the concept of representative democracy.
In a recent development, the High Court of Gujarat proposed a set of nine-point guidelines to combat the problem of menstrual taboo in India. The bench also sought the opinion of the state and centre on the proposed set of guidelines. This has brought the issue of menstrual hygiene to the centre of discussion. Menstrual taboo and hygiene have been a topic of discussion for a long time in India yet there has been very little progress noticed in this domain. Taboos related to menstruation have multi-dimensional effects on a woman’s life and health. There is a lack of awareness among Indian women regarding menstrual hygiene. Given such a grim situation, it has become important that these issues are taken for discussion and appropriate measures are taken to address these issues.