QUESTION : How has covid-19 pandemic changed the world economy and Indian economy as well and suggest key measures to revive the global trade again ?
The Hindu Editorial Topic : UNPACKING THE RESILIENCY OF GLOBAL TRADE , YET AGAIN
Covid-19 And World Economy
WHY IN NEWS ?
In the last year, the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic has shrunk the world economy by 4.4% and global trade by 5.3%; job losses have been estimated to be to the tune of 75 million.
- India’s GDP contracted by 7.3% according to the National Statistical Office; and about 10 million jobs were lost according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd.
- Around the world, countries have responded to pandemic-induced shortages with protectionist reactions and nationalist aspirations with the potential to disrupting complex cross-border supply chains.
- These trends make projections for the post-COVID-19 world even more dismal and depressing.
PAST TRENDS FROM GLOBAL CRISES :
- The Second World War created sustaining multilateral institutions; besides the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Trade Organisation (ITO) were created to help rebuild the shattered post-war economy.
o The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was negotiated in 1947 as a means to reducing barriers to international trade.
- The oil shocks of the 1970s led to the establishment of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974 to manage oil supply disruptions and went on to create awareness on the need for global energy security.
- The financial crisis of 2008 led to the G20 Leaders Summit, an elevation from the G20 Finance Ministers forum in 1999, in a bid to take cooperation beyond the G7 in a global quest to control inflation due to fiscal expansion.
- Significance of global crisis: These developments had a consequential impact on global trade, with dramatic surges in volumes; from a mere $60.80 billion in 1950 to $2,049 billion in 1980; $6,452 billion in 2000; $19,014 billion in 2019 (Source: wto.org).
GLOBAL TRADE : OPPORTUNITIES IN COVID-19 CRISIS
- International trade is vital for development and prosperity, while competition is central to generating competence.
o In a post COVID-19 world, members of the World Trade Organization are expected to stitch trade facilitating rules with a collective resolve to discipline errant nations that are known to dumping goods and erecting trade barriers through multilateral rules.
- Data will be the main driver of economic growth in the 21st century. Businesses will aim to harness data for innovation to remain ahead of the curve in a post-COVID-19 world.
o However, increasing use of data and automation will make nations vulnerable to job losses. Rapid growth in e-commerce and the virtual world will demand entirely new skills from the workforce.
o Therefore, economic policies are likely to focus on stronger safety nets for workers; income protection, skill training, health care and educational support for families.
- Stimulus packages and forced savings in several countries in the last year have created financial buffers.
- Global supply chains are expected to be resilient to help revive manufacturing with lower production costs, induce investments and promote technology transfers.
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT (UNCTAD) :
- It was established in 1964 to promote development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
- UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body headquartered at Geneva in Switzerland.
Some of the reports published by it are:
o Trade and Development Report
o World Investment Report
o The Least Developed Countries Report
o Information and Economy Report
o Technology and Innovation Report
o Commodities and Development Report
WAY FORWARD FOR INDIA :
- Unleashing trade potential is expected to have a ripple effect on the economy.
o Merchandise exports would need to remain focussed on value added products, beyond the traditional exports basket comprising refined petroleum products, pharma, gems and jewellery, textiles and garments, engineering items, rice, oil meals and marine products .
- Supporting MSMEs: Beyond the timely stimulus packages for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), supporting them with cheaper input costs, including raw material and intermediate goods would help sustain them with job creation at the local level.
o Developing a synergistic relationship between the big industry and MSMEs is at the core of a successful Atmanirbhar Bharat.
o The former should be encouraged to move into technology space and finished products, while the latter feeds them with locally made inputs at competitive prices.
- Building an ecosystem that incentivises value-added manufacturing and technology-induced finished products should form a part of our long-term strategy.
o Plug and play manufacturing units under Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) schemes, if carefully nurtured, could lead the industry on that path.
- Skills upgradation to global standards should form a part of India’s strategy in a post-COVID-19 world.
- Mutually beneficial trade arrangements that seek deeper economic integration will be entered into at the bilateral and regional levels to create win-win situations for all stakeholders, including consumers, who tend to benefit from lowered barriers and harmonised standards.
The patterns in the past leave much hope for optimism for global trade in the post-COVID-19 crisis in the collective belief that international trade is vital for development and prosperity.
QUESTION : Systemic flaws in the appointment process among other reasons have contributed to vacancies in the judiciary. Comment.
The Hindu Editorial Topic: UNDERMINING JUSTICE
Vacancies in High Courts and Tribunals
WHY IN NEWS ?
Recently, the Supreme Court has voiced concern over the Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the large number of vacancies in High Courts and tribunals.
o Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana confronted the Government with a list of 240 vacancies in various tribunals.
MORE ABOUT THIS NEWS :
- Many tribunals lack presiding officers, and recommendations made by selection committees have not been acted upon.
- The vacancies in High Courts are at a staggering 455, as on August 1.
- The exhortations from the courts, and even a judicial order from the top court in April — fixing time-frames for the Intelligence Bureau and the Government to process names forwarded by the Collegium for making appointments to the High Courts or returning files and for accepting names reiterated by the judges’ body — has not imparted a sense of urgency.
- A two-judge Bench has noted that the Centre’s delay in making appointments to the High Courts is adversely affecting the adjudication of commercial disputes.
- The jurisdiction previously exercised by High Courts is now being exercised by the tribunals, and the failure to adjudicate or dispose of disputes in these fields would amount to denial of justice to the parties.
- The present regime’s eagerness to undermine the independent functioning of tribunals is quite apparent.
o It has been repeatedly framing rules that seek to provide for greater executive control over the tenure, emoluments and conditions of service of those manning the tribunals.
o If specialisation, domain expertise and relatively quicker adjudication are the reasons for which certain kinds of disputes are being resolved through tribunals, these purposes are lost if these bodies are rendered nearly dysfunctional through a large number of vacancies.
- As far as higher judiciary appointments are concerned, there is little to enlighten the public on what is causing the delay. Whether it is a dispute over the undoubtedly problematic memorandum of procedure, or the desire of the executive to subject the Collegium recommendations to its own political scrutiny is not clear.
o In any case, the delay is causing great harm to India’s justice delivery system.
- Lack of Assessment: When a new legislation is formed, there is no judicial impact assessment done by the government on how much burden is going to be casted on the judiciary.
The probabilities of generating more litigations or requirement of more judges is not taken into account.
APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES :
- Article 124(2): President of India Shall appoint the judges after consultation with such a number of Judges of the SC/HC as he deems necessary. For appointment of any Judge of SC (other than CJI), the CJI must be consulted.
- The three Judges case of 1981, 1993 & 1998 has formalised the collegium system for the purpose of consultation.
- The collegium for appointing SC judges consists of the CJI and 4 senior-most judges of SC.
- Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was set up after the Third Judge Case of 1998 to provide the process of how the Collegium would recommend names to the Executive.
- The President of India can either accept the recommendation or send it back for reconsideration. The reconsidered advice must be accepted by the President.
WAY FORWARD :
Streamlining the Appointment System: The vacancies must be filled without any unnecessary delay.
o A proper time frame for the appointment of judges must be laid down and the recommendations must be given in advance.
o The Constitution of the All India Judicial Services is also an important factor which can definitely help India establish a better judicial system.
Use of Technologies: People are becoming more and more aware of their rights and which is why the number of cases filed in court are also increasing.
o To deal with that judicial officers need to be trained, vacancies for the judges must be filled up expeditiously and in addition the use of technology particularly AI must be encouraged.
Out of Court Settlement: Resolving every case within the court premises is not mandatory; other possible systems must also be accessed.
o There is also a need to promote the alternate dispute resolution mechanism for which the arbitration and conciliation act has been amended three times to ensure that people go for commercial litigation mode and sort it out either by mediation, conciliation or arbitration.
A smooth and time-bound process of making appointments would, therefore, require close coordination between the High Courts and the State Public Service Commissions.