There are two aspects to the news- knowing the headline and understanding the intricacies of it. We at The Connectere focus on both. While The First Forum edition gives a brief about the headlines, The Weekly Analysis Edition is meant to educate the reader on what do various news mean and what are their intricacies. This initiative is meant to educate the reader on how to understand the important news. In the Forty First Edition we are covering the following news:
- What’s the cure for financial stress?
- Farm agitation lies in political domains; not judiciary’s strong suit
- A Second Impeachment?
- Targeting the Hazaras
The latest Financial Stability Report put out by the RBI does assert that the worst is behind us, in judging the pandemic’s impact, but adds that recovery path remains uncertain. According to the report, timely measures across monetary, liquidity and banking regulatory domains have kept the financial system smoothly functioning for now.
However, the current, restraint-induced easing of risk indicators would reverse when regulation normalises and the only way to avert a serious financial problem is for the economy to grow robustly. In such a scenario, fresh revenue and earnings will enable companies to service their loans. This calls for bold fiscal support to boost growth.
The report asserts that credit support packages would need to be relaxed in a calibrated fashion, hence, it calls for focused financial development and risk-mitigation efforts to better manage economic recovery and it also states that while performance indicators and asset quality of scheduled commercial banks have improved of late, the capital ratios could change in a non-linear fashion due to uncertainties in recovery.
The gross non-performing assets of scheduled commercial banks have come down to 7.5% as of September, and net NPAs have declined to 2.1%. This is credible but mostly due to regulatory forbearance. Another point of interest is the sharp drop in the slippage ratio to 0.15, which shows new accretion to NPAs in a quarter as a ratio of standard advances in the beginning of the quarter. The need of the hour is sector-specific policy initiatives to boost performance in the corporate sector, including in travel, tourism, hospitality and real estate, and improve incomes of households. We need bold, concerted action.
The Supreme Court is set on a pretty rare path for judiciary with its decision to stay on the implementation of the three farm laws, while setting up an expert committee to hold talks with stakeholders. The Apex court has been voicing its unhappiness with the government’s mishandling of the farm agitation at Delhi’s borders since December and has expressed concern for the physical and mental health of protesters and lack of wide consultations while tabling the bills. However, the noble intent on all these aspects can’t detract from the constitutional scheme of separation of powers.
The political and socio-economic issues driving the farm agitation are the executive’s headache. The justiciable elements in this include competence of Parliament to legislate on agriculture, undermining of state levies on farm trade, and denying farmers right to judicial recourse for enforcement of contracts. Suspending laws passed by Parliament requires invoking legal and constitutional principles at the outset so courts have ordinarily let laws be or allowed governments to hold them in abeyance while hearing legal challenges against them.
Originally, the SC expert panel’s mandate to talk with farmers was a parliamentary committee’s remit, bypassing which damaged the government politically. The experts may inform SC about qualitative aspects of the new farm policy but those are choices best left to governments. Judiciary acting on experts’ policy advices can complicate the situation where some farmers demand repeal and others offer support because the expert committee’s report and its negotiations deciding the fate of laws or the course of agitations can send subversive signals too.
The take-charge attitude on the farm agitation is at odds with the passivity in determining constitutionality of recent anti-interfaith marriage laws, CAA, or even the sedition law. In sedition the narrow guardrails erected by SC are frequently disregarded when authorities haul up citizens for dissent. Laws that smack of executive overreach are always primary candidates for SC scrutiny. In contrast, stepping out of its judicial comfort zone to quell agitations without the executive’s resources is a needless risk.
US President Donal Trump, not for long might I add, is all set to make history. And we must all, some if not all, should be happy about it. The 45th President of the United States of America the pioneer for growth and development is set to be impeached twice. A week after he incited mobs of loyalists to storm the capitol and hinder the congressional proceedings while the senate sat down to confirm Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America, people have called this Trump’s betrayal of the United States.
The Congress this week returned to a heavily fortified capitol which was protected by thousands of security troops and sat down to debate on an article of impeachment that accuses the President of inciting an insurrection that led to rampage by his supporters. It would not be wrong to add that President Trump has robbed America of the values it stood for, he made the sacrifices of those that died during the civil war almost worthless. Calling him a tyrant would not be too much and this great nation can no longer look away and can no longer forgive the President for the sins that he has committed and for the absolute misuse of power. The power vested in the President expects him to uphold and protect the constitution of this great nation, but when he calls a fair election fraudulent, takes the matter into his own hands when the court could no longer help him and sets mobsters on the senate he blatantly abuses that same constitution that granted him that power.
The damage done throughout the years of the Trump Presidency poses a challenge for President elect Joe Biden because all the damage done might not really be reparable. What would be interesting and important to see would be how would Joe Biden go about correcting the errors President Trump committed and if he can uphold the sanctity of the constitution.
The Hazaras from Pakistan are a Shiite community and have been at the receiving end of the atrocities of the Islamic State of Pakistan which is a Sunni majority nation. They have been targeted not only in Pakistan but also in neighbouring Afghanistan. Last Saturday, Pakistan’s Hazaras finally ended a protest and agreed to bury the bodies of 11 coal miners from the community killed by the Islamic State on January 3. The stir came to an end only after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited the mourners in Quetta and promised compensation for the dead.
Around 1773, the regions of Hazarajat were annexed and made part of the Afghan empire under a Pashtun ruler. The Sunni Muslim majority under the Pashtun ruler resulted in further marginilisation of the Shiite Hazara community, to the extent that in the 18th and 19th century, they were forced to leave fertile lowlands in central Afghanistan and make the dry, arid mountainous landscape their new home. In the 19th century, the Hazara community constituted approximately 67 per cent of Afghanistan’s total population.
Since then, primarily due to violence, oppression and targeted massacres, that number has come down to a little as 10 to 20 per cent of the population now. The attacks reached a crescendo in 2013, when three separate bombings killed more than 200 people in Hazara neighbourhoods of Quetta. In the aftermath of this incident, the Shia community in Pakistan had erupted in anger over the Pakistani government’s lack of protection of the city and had refused to bury the dead till the government made steps to improve security. The Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed one of the three deadly attacks.