07th October 2019 – The Hindu Editorials Notes- Mains Sure Shot
Question – What is citizenship? In this context analyse the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019.( 250 words)
Context – the protest over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019.
What is citizenship?
- Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to protection.
What does the Indian constitution say about citizenship?
- The constitution does not contain any elaborate provision about citizenship. It only recognises those people as citizens who became citizens of India at its commencement (i.e. January 26, 1950).
- Rest it leaves it to the parliament to enact laws to deal with citizenship and other issues involving it.
What is Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019?
- It makes an amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, which is an umbrella law that sets out the basic elements of Indian citizenship.
- The bill aims to grant Indian citizenship to all persecuted religious minorities like Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis from three neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- The bill is applicable to all states and union territories of the country.
- The bill when passed will provide relief to the persecuted migrants who have come through western borders of the country to States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and other states. As the bill states that “persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan… shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of that Act”. These individuals are made eligible to be Indian citizens via naturalisation.
- And also the normal precondition for naturalisation — having spent 12 years in the country — is halved to six years.
- And it is likely that the government would set the cut off date at December 31, 2014, to provide citizenship to persecuted religious minorities.
Why is the Bill being protested?
- The protestors say that the Bill does two things- first it shields a set of individuals from being declared illegal migrants, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan (which means they wont have to face detention or deportation) and second, it creates a fast-track to citizenship for these individuals. (because reduced from 12 years to 6 years.)
- They say that when the Bill specifically mentions that it is to protect the minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh then it automatically means that since all these countries are muslim majority countries so muslims from these countries do not need protection. But it overlooks that fact that certain minorities among the Muslim community itself like the Ahmadis in Pakistan are persecuted and hence they come to India for refuge. So they in other terms should be recognised by the government as minorities too.
- It also does not include the Jews and Atheists.
- According to them the Bill also introduces communal bias and by dividing (alleged) migrants into Muslims and non-Muslims, and thereby going against the constitution’s long-standing, secular constitutional ethos.
- It will also be the first time that religion or ethnicity will be made the basis of citizenship. That would do grave damage to the very idea of India as an inclusive and diverse polity, where religion has no bearing on who can become a full member of society
- They also say that it violates Article 14 of the constitution.
- They are also apprehensive about the efficiency of a nation-wide NRC. They site the example of the discrepancies in Assam in implementation of NRC.
- They also argue that Assam NRC arose out of a very specific historical experience, and Assam’s own position as a border State but applying it to the other states on nation-wide scale is not justified.
What can be done/ need/ way forward:
- The government needs to carefully access all aspects of the bill, including the criticisms before taking a final decision.
- And whatever decision is taken, provisions have to be there so that it can be implemented efficiently.
Question- why is a revival and growth of the agricultural sector essential for reviving economic growth? Explain( 250 words)
Context – The economic slowdown.
Note: read this article along with the article of 1st October.
The present scenario:
- India is facing an economic slowdown. The RBI has cut the GDP growth forecast to 6.1% for 2019-20, which is the lowest in the last six years. And, there has been a sharp decline in the performance of key sectors like automobiles and real estate.
- There are two sets of people who see this slowdown in two different ways: according to one group this slowdown is just cyclical (i.e. period of prosperity followed by period of slump again followed by prosperity and it continues) and will bounce back. While the other group feels that this as a gross failure of economic reforms and even a colonial legacy. But whatever is the reason we will have to look out for ways for coming out of it and achieving a sustainable and inclusive growth.
- For this the need is to see the root cause of the problem otherwise the remedies might revive the economy in the short run but the problem can reemerge.
- In this context the author says that the focus should be to revive not only the sectors like automobiles and real estate but more on the primary sectors like agriculture because it is from the rural areas that the demand is not going to originate (why and how already discussed earlier).
The present condition of the primary sector (agricultural sector):
- Real agricultural and allied gross value added (GVA) grew by 2.9% during 2011-12 to 2017-18, while in the National Agricultural Policy (2000), it should have been around 4%, to attain an overall economic growth of 8%.
- A highly skewed and unprecedented monsoon, erratic rainfall, and extreme natural events are creating havoc as far as farms and farmers are concerned which in turn are likely to disrupt supply chains, fuel inflation and have a negative impact on consumption, all of which can further dampen the prospects of revival of the economy.
- In addition, the current growth rate in the farm sector is less than adequate to take on developmental challenges originating from the Sustainable Development Goals, mainly zero hunger, no poverty, life on land, and gender equality.
What needs to be done:
- There is a need to recognise the vital role played by the agricultural sector in the economy and deeply access the inherent issues faced by it.
- The sector is a potential enabler and employer for more than 50% of the population.
- As the target to double farmers’ income by 2022 is nearing, there must be fast-lane options and swift actions to ensure curated reforms on land, market, price, and ameliorate supply side constraints.
- An Agricultural Developmental Council (ADC) in line with the GST Council is a dire need to make agricultural reforms more expressive and representative.
- For better income distribution, there is also a need to revisit regional crop planning and the agro-climatic zone model at the highest possible level so as to make agriculture the engine of sustainable economic growth in India 2.0 by 2022.
- Also there is a need to revive other sectors apart from farming like handloom, handicrafts and others that are less influenced in case of an economic slowdown.
- In addition to these, it is stated in the Economic Survey 2018-19, that the working age population will continue to rise through 2041. Therefore, there is urgent need to increase the job-to-investment ratio which is currently very low. Some estimates say that ₹1 crore investment in India can create only four formal jobs.
- Also inter-state migration in the context of employment also affects consumption in both the states. So giving a policy nudge to in-situ employment creation is a must for a stable income and spending.
- Also, there must be efforts to have an accurate picture of unemployment data in order to have policy that is closer to facts.
- There is a need to reconsider the few distorting reforms that are often stated to revive the short-term chaos in the long run. Finally, the sweet spot created by low oil prices in the past is slowly taking its turn to hit the economy to further cut down aggregate demand.
- Overall a blend of efforts from a range of sectors, agriculture and allied sectors is needed to enable overall growth.