News & Editorial Analysis 8 February 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Noise Pollution:
GS III Environmental Conservation related issues
What is noise pollution, according to Indian law:
Noise is defined as any disagreeable sound, according to the Central Pollution Control Board. Noise is defined as any unwelcome sound that irritates, irritates, or hurts the human ear.
What is the greatest noise level that can be tolerated:
The permissible levels of noise in various locations during the day and night have been established by rules. Daytime begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m., while nighttime begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m.
During the day, the noise limit in business zones is 65 decibels, and at night, it is 55 decibels. In residential areas, the noise levels are 55 dB during the day and 45 dB at night.
In industrial regions, the ceiling is set at 75dB during the day and 70dB at night, respectively, whereas in quiet zones, the ceiling is set at 50dB and 40dB.
The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules of 2000 are a collection of regulations governing noise pollution regulation and control.
Section 2 (a) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 classifies noise as a “air contaminant.” According to reports, a “air pollutant” is any solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical that is or tends to be harmful to humans, other living beings, plants, property, or the environment when present in the atmosphere in concentrations that are or tend to be harmful to humans, other living beings, plants, property, or the environment.
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, contains the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, which regulate and control noise pollution and its causes.
The Act, among other things, imposes a set ambient tolerable noise level and limits the use of loudspeakers, sound-emitting construction equipment, horns, and cracker cracking.
What are the rules and requirements for loudspeakers?
Noise pollution offences, such as the use of loudspeakers or public addresses, can result in a Rs 10,000 fine, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
When a loudspeaker, public address system, or other noise source is used, the noise level at the public place’s perimeter must not exceed 10 decibels (A) above the area’s ambient noise restrictions, or 75 decibels (A), whichever is lower.
According to the guidelines, a loudspeaker or public address system may only be used with explicit permission from the appropriate authority.
Exemption: During any cultural or religious festive occasion that lasts less than 15 days in a calendar year, the state government may provide an exemption for a limited time.
What is the impact of noise pollution on one’s health:
While noise pollution is less well-known than air and water pollution, it is known to be harmful to people’s health.
According to the World Health Organization, over 1.1 billion young people (aged 12–35 years) are at risk of hearing loss as a result of noise exposure (WHO).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is sufficient evidence that nighttime noise exposure causes self-reported sleep disturbance and that noise-induced sleep disturbance is a health concern.
There is evidence that interrupted sleep causes weariness, accidents, and lower performance, according to the WHO, albeit the evidence is limited.
Physical disorders caused by increased noise include temporary hearing loss, headaches, and a rise in blood pressure.
2 – Extradition:
GS II International Relations
L K Advani, then-Deputy Prime Minister, told the Portuguese government in December 2002 that the maximum sentence for gangster Abu Salem would not exceed 25 years.
Extradition is defined as follows:
According to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, “extradition is the surrender by one state to another of persons whom it is intended to deal with for crimes of which they have been accused or convicted and are justifiable in the courts of the other state.”
When will one be able to begin it:
An extradition request may be made in the case of under-investigation, under-trial, and convicted criminals.
In circumstances when a law enforcement agency is investigating, it must take great care to ensure that it has prima facie evidence to support the claim in a foreign state’s court of law.
What is the legal basis for extradition in India:
India’s legal basis for extradition is established under the Extradition Act of 1962. It standardised the procedures for extraditing convicts from India to other countries. The Indian Extradition Act of 1962 was significantly altered by Act 66 of 1993.
Who is the central authority for extradition in India:
The Ministry of External Affairs’ Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) Division is the Central/Nodal Authority that administers the Extradition Act and processes incoming and outgoing Extradition Requests.
An alleged criminal may not be extradited to the requesting state in the following circumstances:
If there is no treaty in force, states are not obligated to extradite immigrants or nationals.
Extradition is usually limited to crimes listed in the treaty that may differ in reference to one State against another, as the treaty stipulates.
Military and Political Offenses – Extradition may be forbidden primarily for military and political offences. Terrorist activities and violent crimes are not included in the definition of political crimes for the purposes of extradition treaties.
Lack of Dual Criminality – Dual criminality occurs when the act that causes the offence is criminal in both India and the other country.
If the procedural criteria of the Extradition Act of 1962 are not met, extradition may be denied.
3 – Draft Protection and Enforcement of Interests in Aircraft Objects Bill 2022
GS II Government Policies and Interventions
Some of the bill’s highlights are as follows:
The bill implements the terms of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and Protocol on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, which were passed at a meeting in Cape Town in 2001.
Both instruments were signed by India in 2008.
Creditor default remedies are provided, as well as a legal framework for settling disputes.
When fully implemented, the rule will make it simpler for international aircraft leasing companies to repossess and transfer planes out of India in the case of a financial dispute with an Indian airline, at a time when many regional airlines are unable to hire jets.
The proposed law allows for the repossession of an aviation object, its sale or lease, or the collection of money from its use, as well as the de-registration and export of planes.
It also provides remedies while a claim is being adjudicated and protects a debtor’s claim from an Indian buyer during bankruptcy procedures.
A prerequisite for:
Several Indian laws, such as the Companies Act of 2013 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code,
According to the government, the Bankruptcy Code of 2016 is in contravention of the Cape Town Convention and Protocol.
According to the research, international financial institutions’ demands for regulatory enactment have harmed Indian businesses.
The Cape Town Convention on International Mobile Equipment Interests:
It is an international treaty aimed at making the transfer of movable property easier.
83 nations, including India, have signed and ratified the Convention and Protocol.
The treaty defines international standards for the registration of contracts of sale, security interests, leases, and conditional sales contracts, as well as a variety of legal remedies for default in financing agreements, such as repossession and the impact of individual state bankruptcy laws.
The convention comprises four protocols, each of which is tailored to a certain type of mobile equipment:
Instrumentation for aircraft (aircraft and aircraft engines; signed in 2001).
Railway rolling stock is a type of rolling stock that is used on trains (signed in 2007).
Assets in orbit (signed in 2012).
Mining, agriculture, and construction equipment (signed in 2019).
4 – China Pakistan Economic Corridor:
GS II International Relations
The CPEC Authority was established in 2019 by an ordinance with the purpose of accelerating CPEC-related operations, identifying new growth drivers, and exploiting the potential of interconnected production networks and global value chains via regional and global connections.
CPEC is an acronym for Comprehensive Plan for Environmental Control.
The CPEC, which began operations in 2015, is the centrepiece of China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is President Xi Jinping’s favourite project aimed at strengthening Beijing’s worldwide influence through China-funded infrastructure projects.
The 3,000-kilometer China–Pakistan Economic Corridor is made up of highways, railroads, and pipelines (CPEC).
CPEC aims to link the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan with China’s Xinjiang region in the northwestern province of Xinjiang via a massive network of motorways and trains.
The proposed project would be financed using heavily subsidised Chinese bank loans that will be distributed to the Pakistani government.
India is concerned for several reasons:
It progresses through PoK.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is predicated on a Chinese goal to secure and shorten supply routes through Gwadar, as well as a larger presence in the Indian Ocean. As a result, it is widely thought that after CPEC is done, India’s influence will be weakened by a major Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean.
According to others, if the CPEC succeeds in altering Pakistan’s economy, it will be a “red rag” for India, which will continue to benefit from a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
Furthermore, both China and Pakistan have a substantial trust deficit with India, as well as a history of conflict with both. As a result, despite appeals for a more pragmatic approach to the project, no advocate has been able to overcome the basic tension threads that continue to afflict India’s relations with China and Pakistan.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
The Freedom Of Speech And An Adolescent India
The capacity of its population to act responsibly in the face of societal change was how Tocqueville assessed the maturity of a country.
Because of the swift ascent to power of the country and the unrestricted freedom of economic power, Indians today have something that our ancestors never had.
The wave of events that simultaneously shook the world and India did not spare them. In light of everything said, what does this signify for India’s behaviour? Can India do it? Let’s put this to the test in terms of the right to free expression.
Freedom of speech and expression (FSE):
The ability to express oneself freely is among the most treasured human liberties. Although the Indian Constitution recognises that this freedom is a fundamental human right, it also states that it must not be allowed to compromise India’s sovereignty or integrity.
We presume that the Constitution’s framers approved of this compromise of this fundamental right because they did not understand the concept of full freedom of expression.
Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution states that:
(1) Every citizen shall have the right to:
(a) to exercise their right to expression;
b) assemble peacefully and without weapons;
(b) to establish groups or unions;
d) be free to move about India without restrictions;
(e) to live on Indian territory and build a permanent home there; and
(f) to engage in any activity related to a profession, trade, or business.
It is an unalienable right that the legal system upholds.
The evolution of the free speech movement:
Free speech is a concept that originated in the West. Despite the possibility that some form of freedom existed in ancient Greece, Voltaire and Rousseau are credited with developing the idea of true free speech as we know it today. Voltaire did not refer to the liberalism-based freedom when he said, “I entirely disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to voice it.”
Nothing in our soil demonstrates that this freedom took root here. B.R. Ambedkar notes the following about ancient India in his Writings and Speeches: “As to freedom of speech, it exists. It is, however, restricted to those who uphold the social order.
There is evidence that the right to free speech existed within government-built facilities. The conversation subjects between Adi Shankara and Saint Thirugnana Sambandar appear to be very open. The king or his regal policies were not subject to criticism as a result of this independence. A man who insulted a monarch did not live long enough to see the results of his actions. As a result, only those places were allowed for free expression.
On the other hand, western philosophers were inspired by their liberation from these limitations. Bertrand Russell charts the evolution of free thought to the point where exercising one’s freedom to free thought comes before abiding by the law in his masterpiece on western philosophy. The freedom to express one’s disagreement with the government and to form one’s own opinions is highly valued in Western ideas of democracy.
Under the British Raj, free speech was categorically not tolerated, and up until 1947, our minds were controlled. Our nation was established in 1947, and suddenly, in 1950, we were given the right to express ourselves.
That which has been lagging forward:
The first 50 years of independence were spent establishing its bounds. A number of court decisions that limited its recognition and characterised it more as an exception than a norm helped to refine the precise understanding of this freedom. This faltering progress is characteristic of a young nation attempting to define its relationship with its citizens.
We arrived to the current decade as a result of the transition from childhood to adolescence and the unprecedented economic success of the 1990s and 2000s. This puberty hasn’t ushered in free thought; instead, it has been roundly rejected by other Indians who have different beliefs.
Through the use of mob power, defamation lawsuits, social media blackouts, vetoes, and other strategies, unpopular ideas are being silenced. Requests for book and movie bans and boycotts are made for the most ridiculous reasons.
Consequently, we notice for the first time that dangers to the right to free speech originate from the state as well as on a more general level (that is to say, from other citizens).
Free speech is unpopular when it upsets the status quo. People grow uneasy when someone stands up and claims that we have been acting improperly and that things need to change.
As a result, people suppress oppositional expression in order to maintain the status quo. This enables the government to define the boundaries of free expression. We are left with nothing more than the impression of free expression when this happens, and actual freedom is lost.
The dangers of the gang:
Indians attempt to quiet people when they see their ideas and actions to be a danger. All of the oppressive behaviours we’ve seen above are manifestations of the insecurity and rage that define adolescence. We search for strength in numbers. We can silence divergent opinions and ideologies thanks to the security and anonymity provided by the mob. Until all opposing thought is muted, we will only be able to find perspectives that accord with our own.
A nation’s citizens may cede their independence to a totalitarian popular opinion if this tendency persists. This results in people becoming totally dependent on a kind, parental, guardian state.
The Supreme Court of India ruled in the Kaushal Kishore case in 2023, stating that the basic rights of Indians can be exercised both vertically and horizontally.
The Supreme Court had to determine whether fundamental rights, like the right to free speech, may be invoked against entities other than the government or its agents in this case. The Court came to the judgement that people other than the government and its representatives could be punished using these fundamental rights.
The key to India’s transition out of adolescence lies in this decision. If every citizen fiercely defends their fundamental rights both against the government and other people, we will regain the ability to define our own liberty. If we don’t do this, the population will become obedient and implicitly believe that nothing can be done unless it is explicitly authorised.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
The Growth Triad
Everybody acknowledges that infrastructure plays a significant role in growth. Despite the fact that in the past, infrastructure referred to physical assets like roads, ports, power lines, etc. However, since 2014, India’s development has been closely linked to a focus on social and digital infrastructure in addition to its physical infrastructure.
Budget 2023 places a heavy emphasis on these three components of infrastructure development, and when taken together, they hasten inclusive growth.
The Indian government’s capital spending as a percentage of GDP increased from 1.7% in 2014 to almost 2.9% in 2022–2023.
In the budget year 2023–24, funding for infrastructure grew three times from 2019 to Rs. 10 lakh crore (3.3% of GDP).
The biggest allocation ever provided to the Ministry of Railways was Rs 2.4 lakh crore, or almost nine times what it received in 2013–14.
To around Rs 2.7 lakh crore, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ budget jumped by 36%.
These targeted investments will not only enhance connectivity and construct crucial physical infrastructure that will speed up the movement of people and commodities, but they will also create jobs, promote private investment, and serve as a safeguard against global headwinds.
In addition to the direct capital investment by the Centre, the 50-year interest-free loan to state governments has been extended for an additional year at a much higher cost of Rs 1.3 lakh crore in order to encourage infrastructure investment and reward complementary policy efforts.
This will lead to regionally decentralised infrastructure development in urban and peri-urban areas.
A 66% increase in financing for the PM Awas Yojana would create jobs in rural regions in addition to providing dwellings.
It is appropriate to note that every rupee spent on infrastructure and capital projects generates a multiplier of 2.95. In contrast, when money is provided through revenue expenditure, less than one rupee is received for every rupee spent.
Over the past eight years, the digital divide between urban and rural areas has been less pronounced. India has had amazing success building user-rich platforms soon after its inception.
India is undergoing a two-stage digital transition.
The first phase, which began in 2015, was led by the JAM trinity, which includes Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile connectivity, and the Digital India programme.
This greatly benefited the country through increasing use of government programmes and successful financial inclusion.
Affordable accessibility (Aadhaar), the success of citizen-centric services like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), widespread adoption and reach (DigiLocker, MyGov), and the path towards vaccines are all noteworthy and successful milestones in India’s first phase of building public digital infrastructure (CoWin).
The second stage of the digital revolution is now being driven by the development, application, and mainstream use of cutting-edge technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, mechatronics, robotics, and more.
Government emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI):
The government is currently focusing on developing open AI resources, which is a vital sector. In a country like India with its unrivalled linguistic and cultural variety, AI has enormous potential as a tool for reducing language barriers.
The digital era in India An open-source, API-based digital platform called the Bhashini portal provides 260 text-to-speech, machine translation, and speech-to-text models in 11 Indian languages and English. Thanks to Bhashini, millions of Indians now have access to the internet and other digital resources in their own languages. MSMEs and lone business owners in rural areas will therefore be able to benefit from Natural Language Processing and get over linguistic barriers that currently hinder access to technology.
Similar to this, the Agriculture Accelerator Fund, which was mentioned in the budget, will enable the Indian agricultural ecosystem (startups, businesses, and farmers) to work together and discover knowledge-based and farmer-centric solutions to benefit a sector that employs nearly half of the workforce in the nation.
Investments in social infrastructure, such as public health, nutrition, drinking water, and sanitation, can increase social mobility, create a workforce that is more productive and skilled, decrease mortality and stunting, and generally improve health and quality of life. Both comprehensive development and a more robust, inclusive economy are supported by these factors.
The total amount spent by the national government on social infrastructure increased by 134% from Rs 9.1 lakh crore in 2016 to Rs 21.3 lakh crore in 2023 in support of these fundamental rights.
The Aspirational Districts Programme, an NITI Aayog initiative that focuses on neglected areas, has regularly improved important socioeconomic indicators at the district level.
The emphasis on digital land records is a structural reform in rural land management that supports individual economic empowerment under the SVAMITVA Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Targeted initiatives such as the Mission to End Sickle Cell Anemia will raise awareness of the rarely fatal ailment, and screening seven crore people between the ages of 0 and 40 will significantly improve the tribal populations who are affected.
The number of non-communicable illness clinics rose by 223% between 2014 and 2022, and the number of districts covered by the PM National Dialysis Programme rose by 320%. The government has continued to identify and deal with fresh public health problems notwithstanding these increases.
Building, maintaining, and expanding physical, digital, and social infrastructure has emerged as one of India’s unique development model’s top priorities. A “Viksit Bharat” cannot forsake any citizen by 2047. This infrastructure triangle will create new possibilities and encourage development. Additionally, any story about the development of infrastructure must be centred on people, as the Prime Minister has stated. The Amrit Kaal’s motto is this.
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