IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 5th November, 2016
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora
BRICS – Need to show the real potential
What is BRICS?
An acronym for an association of five major emerging global economies namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
All members are emerging economies and a part of the G-20.
Originally invented as a four member country grouping by Jim O’Neill, from the research department of Goldman Sachs in 2001 comprising of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
First formal summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia in the post global recession era in the year 2009.
Changed from BRIC to BRICS after the inclusion of South Africa in 2011.
In October 2016, India hosted the eighth annual summit at Goa.
Origin and Progress
BRICS was originally set up with an objective of achieving economic pre-eminence for the group over a period of 50 years. However, only 15 years down the line, the vision looks quite askew. The grouping does not seem very close to its initial objective. The reasons for this lie on the individual constraints as well as the challenges attached to make a grouping like this function effectively.
The challenges which these nations face are:
Currency depreciation with respect to the US Dollars
Slowing down of Chinese economic growth rate
Ripple effect of Chinese slowdown on Brazil and Russia which are exporter of resources to China.
BRICS recognises the importance of wider global partnerships and it indicated intent to develop other avenues of mutual economic assistance. However, it has faced the following challenges:
Politically dominant member which has robustly survived its transformation from a socialist to a market-based economic system
No interest in group identity to define its global presence
Its focus is on restoring it’s geostrategic might
More interested in bilateral deals with individual BRICS members especially defence equipment deals.
Economically dominant member
High investment in physical and human capital
A very strong asset base in physical infrastructure, energy, health and education
Founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with roughly the same size of authorized capital as New Development Bank (NDB) but a much wider country membership extending beyond Asia.
Targeting the world economy with it One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative in search of raw materials and is not restricting itself to any group identity.
Funding and economic co-operation
The BRICS initiatives will bear fruits and show impact if they get an impetus from the combined economic capacity and evidence of economic cooperation of BRICS. The results from the latest summit declaration against terror will remain uncertain given the funding patterns for terror.
Various Indian initiatives could have been effectively implemented and would have been progressive if a more important role regarding BRICS was separately handed over to a group including the NITI Aayog, the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance instead of just the Ministry of External Affairs.
BRICS and Doing Business Report
The 2017 edition of the World Bank Doing Business Report shows very little change from 2016 in the relative standing of BRICS countries. Though the index of doing business has a limitation of confinement of data collection to the largest city in each country, still there has not been much improvement.
Each country fares well in a distinct filed in the rankings of the Doing Business Report. Hence, this provides a reasons and areas for mutual consultation and learning.
Need to set up working groups and committees which would meet sequentially in different countries to redress matters of concern for each country within particular sectors.
Ensure meetings to be content heavy and fruitful rather than a mere formality.
New Development Bank (NDB):Itwas set upfor infrastructure lending and focuses on renewable energy. It has made an initial set of project loans in all five member countries, and has successfully concluded a bond flotation in the Chinese market.
BRICS Currency Reserve Arrangement (CRA): Amounting to $100 billion, it operationalized in July 2015. Access for members to short-term liquidity to tide over external crises.
BRICS Credit Rating Agency: Aims to encourage competition in the sovereign rating space.
National Export-Import Banks Cooperation: To occur between the five countries and the NDB. It will augment infrastructure loans with trade finance for construction exports.
There is lot of potential which can be tapped if only policy makers can get past the wilful blindness. The members of BRICS need to display the statesmanship required to rise above political differences and see the advantages of mutual cooperation.
Connecting the dots
BRICS nations are capable of defining a new world order. Discuss how these nations can achieve this successfully and the challenges they face in their journey.
TOPIC:General Studies 2
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Creation of All India Judicial Services- a road towards judicial transformation
In news: Recently, Prime Minister pitched for an All India Judicial Service, linking it with the inclusion of Dalits and disadvantaged sections “in this system”. This once again revisits the possibility of recruiting judges through an All India Judicial Service (AIJS).
For decades, the judiciary has been asked to do something about judicial recruitments, but it always stops short of taking an initiative in the formation of an AIJS. The Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India have raised red flags about the problems that plague the courts. Hence, there is no time better than now to start doing something about these problems.
The AIJS is an attempt to ensure that younger judges are promoted to the SC and HCs. In the existing system, recruits join as magistrates in the subordinate judiciary and take at least 10 years to become district judges. The committee of secretaries had earlier recommended enhancing the quota for recruitment to the higher judiciary through the proposed AIJS to 50%.
Knowing the problems
It has been often observed that public debate focuses more on number of judges but it rarely considers the quality of judges themselves.
Thus, the real question that arises is that if the judiciary is in a position to recruit the best talent required for fulfilling the role that is demanded of a judge.
The judiciary has been facing constant problem of vacancy for many years now. There are always 20% vacancies in the courts as vacancies are never filled in time.
The reason is that the judiciary is not able to attract the talent. In addition to it, the subordinate judiciary depends entirely on state recruitment. But the brighter law students do not join the state judicial services because they are not attractive.
The state judicial recruitment provides for post of additional district judge but as it is not so career progressive and one has to deal with hassles of transfers and postings, the quality of the subordinate judiciary is by and large average, although there are some bright exceptions.
By extension, at least one-third of high court judges elevated from the subordinate judiciary are also mostly average. As a result, the litigants are left to suffer.
Attracting the talent and improving the judiciary
In the French model, students pick the judiciary as a stream early in their legal studies itself. Thus, just as dentistry is a specialisation in medicine, judging is a specialisation in law.
On similar lines, Delhi High Court planned to introduce one-year diploma on “judging” in law schools, with the eventual idea to have a full-fledged course for judges. However, it did not take off.
Hence, now is the need to answer judicial problems in India via an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) which had been on reform agenda for long.
Debates on formation of AJIS
When the constitution was drafted, AJIS got sidelined. In the end, under Art 235, the entire judicial machinery at the subordinate level was given under the control of the high courts.
The Constitution drafting committees also discussed Article 312, conferring power on the Parliament to create All India Services. But it was doubtful at that time if the judicial services could be organised on a national scale under Article 312.
However, after the Swaran Singh Committee’s recommendations in 1976, Article 312 was modified to include the judicial services, but it excluded anyone below the rank of district judge. Thus, the trial courts were completely eliminated.
Law Commission report
Meanwhile, the First Law Commission of India (LCI) came out with its comprehensive 14thReport on Reforms on the Judicial Administration, which recommended an AIJS in the interests of efficiency of the judiciary.
However, once again the report was rejected by declaring it impractical. In reality, the opposition came out of inertia, not from an assessment of whether it was feasible or not; and it came mainly from the judiciary.
In its 77th Report, dealing with “Delay and arrears in trial courts”, the LCI once again said the AIJS needed serious consideration.
In Chief Ministers’ conference held in 1982, the idea of AIJS was approved whereby most states were in agreement.
But there were few points which were constantly raised in opposition
Lack of knowledge of regional languages would affect judicial efficiency
Avenues for promotion would be curtailed for those who had already entered through the state services
This would lead to an erosion of the control of the high courts over the subordinate judiciary, which would, in turn, affect the judiciary’s independence.
Each of these grounds was dealt by the LCI’s 116th Report on the “Formation of an All India Judicial Service”. If 116th report was implemented:
Direct recruitment of judges from the entry level onwards would be handled by an independent and impartial agency.
The process of recruitment would be through open competition designed with the right incentives of pay, promotion and career progression and thereby potentially become an attractive employment avenue for bright and capable young law graduates.
The AIJS idea is not solely promoted by Law Commission. The Supreme Court has itself said that an AIJS should be set up, and has directed the Union of India to take appropriate steps in this regard.
The judicial side of the court machinery is entirely in favour of an AIJSbut the administrative side that has been opposing this idea. Hence it is disappointing that the opposition is coming from within the judiciary itself, with certain high courts opposing the idea without understanding the issues properly.
In long term, uniformity in selection processes and standards which is expected to be offered by AIJS has many advantages.
It will improve the quality of judicial officers in high courts
One-third of the judges would enter the high courts through the route of promotion from subordinate courts.By extension, judges of the Supreme Court are drawn from the high courts.
In this process, the persons eventually selected into the judiciary would be of proven competence.
The quality of adjudication and the dispensation of justice would undergo transformative changes across the judicial system.
A staunch career in judicial service will make the judiciary more accountable, more professional and also more equitable.
This is expected to have far reaching impact on the quality of justice, and on people’s access to justice as well.
Connecting the dots:
Will All India Judicial Service solve the judicial problems? Critically evaluate.
An important judiciary reform decision should not be aimed at playing vote-bank politics. In light of the above statement, discuss how reservation in judiciary can affect the independence and reliability of judiciary.