Current Affairs Current Affairs - 29 August 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 29 August 2018

General Affairs 

Top Court Says Voters Have Right To Know Criminal Records Of Candidates
  • The Supreme Court today said the voters have a right to know the antecedents of candidates and the Election Commission could be asked to direct political parties to ensure that persons, facing criminal charges, do not contest on their tickets using their poll symbols.

    After making these observations, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved the judgement on a clutch of petitions after the parties including the poll panel and the Centre concluded their arguments.

    The top court is dealing with the question whether a legislator facing criminal trial can be disqualified at the stage of framing of charges in a case. Presently, lawmakers are barred at the time of conviction.

    The bench's observation on the voters' right to know the candidates came in the backdrop of strong opposition from the Centre that the judiciary should not venture into the legislative arena by creating a pre-condition which would adversely affect the right of the candidates to participate in polls.

    "The intention of the Lordships is laudable. But the question is whether the court can do it. The answer is 'no'," Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, told the bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

    He was responding to a suggestion by the bench that persons, facing criminal charges, would be free to contest, but they cannot do so on party ticket using the party election symbol.

    "The voters have the right to know the candidates. Actually, a party can allow a person to contest on its ticket. But a person cannot contest on its ticket if he discloses the criminal antecedent," the bench said, adding that this direction may be given by the Election Commission to the political parties.

    "They (people facing criminal charges) can contest elections, but they will not contest on the party ticket because he has this kind of stigma," the bench said.

    Referring to the concept of presumption of innocence until a person is proven guilty, Mr Venugopal said depriving a person from contesting elections on a party ticket would amount to denial of the right to vote, which also included the right to contest.

    He referred to various judgements and said the expression of criminal antecedent was "extremely vague". Moreover, "presumption of innocence is central to our criminal jurisprudence. A person is innocent until proven guilty."

    The courts will have to presume innocence in view of the fact that in 70 per cent cases, accused are being acquitted, he said, adding that the high rate of acquittals could be due to deficiencies in the judicial system.

    Parliament has made a distinction between an accused and a convict and there has been a provision for disqualification in the Representation of Peoples Act upon conviction of a lawmaker, he said.

    The bench took note of Mr Venugopal's submissions and asked his son and senior advocate Krishnan Vengopal, who is representing a PIL petitioner, to address on the objections raised by the government.

    "The arguments (of the Centre), if I understood correctly, is two folds. Going back from the conviction stage to charge framing stage (for disqualifying a lawmaker) is against the concept of presumption of innocence," Justice Nariman said.

    The judge also posed whether the court would not be "creating another" kind of  disqualification by denying a person facing criminal charges to contest on a party ticket and symbol.

    "Can we add or attach more conditions," the bench asked, adding whether the court, expressing concern over rising population, can ask the poll panel to ensure that candidates, having more than two children, do not contest panchayat polls.

    Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the poll panel, took a view which was apparently opposite to the Centre and said the recommendations for decriminalising politics were made by the Election Commission and the Law Commission way back in 1997 and 1998, but no action was taken on them.

    She exhorted the court to issue the direction in the matter besides asking Parliament to make the suitable law.

    "We cannot comment on Parliament," the bench said, while reserving the order.

    The bench was hearing the PILs filed by NGO 'Public Interest Foundation' and Upadhyay.

    Senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, appearing for BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, said the court may ask the poll panel to ask political parties not to allow tainted candidates to contest on their tickets and symbols. "Can the court allow a person, against whom charges have been framed, to become a judge. The answer is 'no'".

    The principle that "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion" should be made applicable in case of politicians also, he said.

    The bench responded by saying that due to this, it was contemplating that political parties be asked to disclose the antecedents of their members so that the electors "have the right to informed choice".

    "We will see as to what we can do on disclosure," the bench said, adding that the parties may be asked to put the information about their members well in advance before the elections.

On Assam List, Top Court Orders Re-Verification Of 10% People Excluded
  • The Supreme Court today ordered re-verification of 10 per cent of the people in Assam who were excluded from draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published recently.

    A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said the re-verification of those excluded from NRC was a "sample survey" for the satisfaction of the court and its schedule would be decided later.

    The apex court also deferred the scheduled date of August 30 for receipt of claims and objections to the draft NRC, as it pointed out certain contradictions in the Centre's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the filing them.

    The top court raised doubts over the Centre's proposal to allow a claimant to change his legacy document for inclusion in the draft.

    The second draft NRC list was published on July 30 in which out of 3.29 crore people, the names of 2.89 crore were included. The names of 40,70,707 people do not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.

    On July 31, the apex court had made it clear that there will be no coercive action by authorities against over 40 lakh people, whose names do not figure in the NRC while observing that it was merely a draft.

    It had then asked the Centre to formulate modalities and the SOPs including timelines for deciding claims and objections arising out of the publication of the draft.

    Earlier, the apex court had asked the Assam NRC coordinator to place before it the data of district-wise percentage of population excluded from the draft in the state.

    On August 14, the Centre had told the apex court that distinct IDs will be created by collecting biometric details of 40 lakh people filing claims and objections with respect to the NRC.

    It had said that after the publication of the final list of NRC, those people whose names will figure in it will be given usual Aadhaar number as applicable to legal residents in the country.

    The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 in accordance with the top court's direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.

    Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.

Swachh Bharat, Gram Swaraj Projects In Focus At BJP Chief Ministers' Meet
  • BJP president Amit Shah today inaugurated a day-long meeting of the party's chief ministers in which it was decided to meet targets of the 'Swachh Bharat' scheme in a time-bound manner.

    The ongoing 'Gram Swaraj' project in over 48,000 villages was also discussed in the meeting.

    Party sources said the meeting also passed a condolence message commemorating former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a leader who brought to fruition the concept of good governance and in whose death the country lost a visionary.

    BJP leaders also remembered Mr Vajpayee's work to develop the northeast region and also create three new states as they paid him tributes.

    Sources said it was decided in the meeting that the targets set for the 'Swachh Bharat' (Clean India) project should be met within a specified period.

    Leaders also took stock of implementation of seven central welfare schemes, including distribution of cooking gas connection and LED bulbs among the poor and also their coverage under insurance schemes, in over 48000 villages.

    The meeting has assumed significance due to the upcoming assembly polls in three BJP-ruled states and the Lok Sabha elections, which are less than eight months away.

3 Indians Likely To Be Part Of Country's First Manned Space Mission
  • India's first manned space flight - Gaganyaan - is expected to send three persons into the space for seven days and the spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km.

    Giving details of the programme at a press conference, Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh said GSLV Mk III, the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle, will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability. 

    He said two unmanned Gaganyaan missions will be undertaken prior to sending humans. 

    "The total programme is expected to be completed before 2022 with the first unmanned flight within 30 months. The mission will aim to send a three-person crew to space for a period of seven days. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km. The programme is expected to cost less than Rs. 10,000 crore," Mr Singh said. 

    The Gaganyaan mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address. He had said that by 2022 or even before that, some of the young boys and girls will unfurl the Tricolour in space.

    Mr Sing said the complex programme will truly be a national endeavour with the participation of ISRO, academia, industry as well as other government and private agencies as stake holders. 

    "The mission will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission," Mr Singh said.

    To accelerate the programme, ISRO may consider seeking collaborations with space agencies from friendly countries and advanced space programmes, he said.

Russia To Hold Biggest Military Drills Since Cold War Next Month
  • Russia will next month hold its biggest war games since at least the 1980s, with around 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, the defence minister said Tuesday.

    The Vostok-2018 exercises will be carried out from September 11 to 15 in the country's east with the participation of China and Mongolia.

    "This will be something of a repeat of Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger," Sergei Shoigu said of the 1981 war games in Eastern Europe, in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

    He said "more than 1,000 aircraft, almost 300,000 troops and almost all the ranges of the Central and Eastern military districts" would be involved in the exercises.

    "Imagine 36,000 pieces of military equipment moving together at the same time -- tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. And all of this, of course, in conditions as close to combat as possible."

    Moscow said last year's Zapad-2017 military drills, conducted in ally Belarus and regions of Russia, saw the participation of roughly 12,700 troops.

    But NATO claimed Russia could have been massively under-reporting the scale of the exercises, which some of the alliance's eastern members said involved more than 100,000 servicemen.

Business Affairs

Google to slug it out with Paytm, WhatsApp to lead India's digital payments market
  • Digital payments in India, already witnessing unprecedented activity since the government's surprise demonetisation announcement in 2016, is now poised for a great leap forward as global tech giants slug it out for a bigger slice of the pie.

    Though digital payments in the country grew 55 per cent in volume and 24.2 per cent in value in FY2016/17 over the previous fiscal, it is still at a nascent stage. "Digital payments currently aggregate less than $200 billion, of which mobile is still at just $10 billion in financial year 2018 (estimated)," Credit Suisse said in a report released earlier this year, adding that cash still accounts for 70 per cent of all Indian transactions by value. And that is what makes India such a promising market.

    Significantly, the investment banking firm believes that payment integration into popular apps in the country will drive the digital payment market in India to $1 trillion over the next five years. No wonder the space is already getting crowded - domestic players like Paytm, Flipkart's PhonePe  and the government's BHIM are vying for users against the likes of Google Pay and Facebook's WhatsApp Payments.

    However, Vinayak HV, a Singapore-based senior partner at McKinsey & Co, told Bloomberg that profitability isn't close on the horizon for the industry. Nonetheless, here's a look at how the various options available to Indians stack up.


    India's largest digital financial services provider, which already counts behemoths like China's Alibaba Group Holdings and Japan's Softbank Vision Fund among its shareholders, now also has the Oracle of Omaha backing it. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has just picked up a stake in Paytm parent One97 Communications - possibly the first direct investment in India by the legendary investor. According to the news agency, Paytm claims to have 150 million app downloads.

    Pros: This homegrown startup became a household name post Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetization drive in 2016 because of its mobile wallet business model. The company has since built a wide network of merchants and outlets with a robust system of cashbacks and discounts to keep users locked in.

    In fact, Paytm has built an entire ecosystem. It launched a payments bank in 2017 - the wallet, first launched in 2014, is now part of the bank - and it is also looking to launch its mutual fund distribution platform under Paytm Money Ltd.

    Last month, digital payments major had claimed that it has achieved annual run rate of 5 billion transactions and registered $50 billion gross transaction value (GTV) in a year. GTV refers to the total transaction value through the platform in a given time period.

    Cons: Given that it is a licenced payments bank, Paytm's users have to go through a multi-step enrollment process - a hassle many of its rivals don't require. Moreover, the RBI had recently directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop enrolling new customers temporarily for non-compliance with full-KYC norms, although it has since reportedly responded to the regulator's concerns.

    Google Pay, previously known as Tez

    According to the news agency, Google's India payment app crossed 50 million app downloads a few weeks ago. Today, during its annual event, Google for India, the company rebranded the app as Google Pay, and also launched its new features. The service will soon be available on over 2,000 online merchants and websites and over 15,000 retail stores in India. The company added that 22 million people use the UPI-based payment platform every month, and since launch it has seen 750 million transactions worth $30 billion.

    Pros: The payments app has localized, supporting several Indian languages, and is chasing young users with games that offer cashbacks. Google today also announced that users will now be able to avail instant loans using Google Pay app. It has tied up with private lenders like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Federal Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank to offer customised loans, which will involve minimum paperwork.

    Cons: Although Google has belatedly introduced a chat feature, it is lagging rival WhatsApp whose strong base of users come from its messaging service.

    Facebook's WhatsApp Payments

    India was one of the first markets to get the much-talked about service. After a beta launch in February this year, the company started its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments on the UPI platform but it is reportedly restricted to only about 10 lakh users.

    Pros: The biggest advantage WhatsApp enjoys, even before it gets going, is its ready user base - it doesn't need to put in cash to acquire customers and that's a massive advantage. Currently the most popular messaging platform, it enjoys over 250 million monthly active users, including a huge number of first-generation internet users, which bodes well for financial inclusion.

    Cons: The service has hit a roadblock over the ongoing domestic debate on data localisation and the impasse between the company and the government over offering traceability of messages in the domestic market. The buzz is that the government now wants WhatsApp to prioritise curbing of fake news on its platform over any other plan and is far from satisfied by its damage-control measures.

    Making matters worse for WhatsApp, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the company yesterday, asking why it has not appointed a grievance officer in India yet. This may spell trouble for the Facebook-owned company, which has big plans for India - its biggest market in terms of the customer base.

    Flipkart's PhonePe

    The nearly three-year-old payments start-up acquired by Flipkart in 2016 claims to be among India's first UPI apps. According to the news portal, PhonePe has 133 million app downloads.

    Pros: When Walmart Inc. acquired a majority stake in PhonePe's parent Flipkart Online Services Pvt., the payments app also acquired a global backer. There are already tell-tale signs that PhonePe is gaining from Walmart's financial heft - in July, Flipkart infused about $66 million into the platform to help it take on the increasing competition.

    Cons: Flipkart arch-rival Amazon has been steadily pumping capital into its own wallet, Amazon Pay, and increasing its user base.

    Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM)

    Designed by UPI, this is the government's own play in digital payments and reportedly has 32 million app downloads. Being simple and fast, the app appeals to non-technologically savvy users in Tier 2 cities and beyond, including rural areas.

    Pros: The government has been actively pushing BHIM, using Modi's face to promote its brand. In June, while interacting with beneficiaries of the various Digital India efforts, Modi had asked them to press traders and shopkeepers to install the BHIM app to facilitate paying for goods and services digitally. Moreover, in order to boost the user base, transaction targets are being laid down for banks and state-owned utilities.

    Cons: It is being stymied by deep-pocketed rivals, constantly innovating and offering a broader reach of services.

LIC assures Delhi HC to hold proposed acquisition of stake in IDBI till August 30
  • The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that it will not take any steps till August 30 towards its proposed acquisition of 51 per cent stake in the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI). The oral assurance by the LIC was given before Justice Vibhu Bakhru as he appeared inclined to pass orders restraining the state-run insurance company from making any investment in the IDBI in which the government intends to dilute its shareholding below 51 per cent.

    "You (LIC) will not present us with a fait accompli," the court said after which Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya, appearing for the Centre and the LIC, urged that no order be passed and the matter be listed for hearing on August 30 as till then nothing will happen. The ASG also sought time to file an affidavit indicating the reasons behind the government and LIC's decision.

    The court gave LIC time till August 30 to file the affidavit in which the insurance company was asked to also indicate its Board's minutes of meeting and agenda papers pertaining to the proposed investment in the IDBI. The order came on a plea moved by the All India IDBI Officers Association which has challenged the LIC's move to acquire 51 per cent stake in the bank.

    In their plea moved through advocates, Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, the association has said that the change in shareholding could take away the public sector bank status of the IDBI which in turn could affect their employment conditions.

    The petition also claims that the change in shareholding was not in public interest as it "exposes the investments made by the public in the IDBI and corrodes the ability of the LIC to pay back its policy holders since it will have to invest an amount of Rs 13,000 crore to acquire the 51 per cent stake".

    "Further they said acquisition is not a financially prudent decision for the LIC given the fact that IDBI Bank Ltd has gross non-performing assets amounting to a whopping Rs 55,588.26 crore. "The said investment will be made from the funds of 38 crore policy holders of the LIC who have invested their hard earned money to secure their own futures. The said investment made by the LIC will adversely hamper its own abilities to pay its insurance holders," the petition has said.

Drones get legal! Here's what you can do, what you can't do
  • The government on Monday launched a drone regulation policy that will allow drones to be used for safe and commercial use in India. The new rules will come into effect on December 1. All drone operations will have to be approved by the Digital Sky Platform, the details about which will be available on the DGCA website. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's digital push, no paper-based process is needed for registering and operating drones. However, one has to do a one-time registration of drones, pilots and owners on the Digital Sky Platform. The platform is an unmanned traffic management system, which will work as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace. It will also coordinate closely with the defence and civilian air traffic authorities to ensure drones don't enter in restricted areas.

    These norms will allow drones to be used to address various problems and simplify processes in areas such as photography, agriculture, infrastructure asset maintenance, and insurance, among others. However, there are certain rules that must be followed in order to own and operate a drone. Any violation of these norms may put you in trouble under relevant sections of the Aircraft Act 1934 and the Indian Penal Code.

    What you can do

    You can only fly drones that fit into these five categories based on their weight -- nano, micro, small, medium and large.
    You will be allowed to operate drones on specific colour zones, including green and yellow zones, while permission is restricted in red zone areas.
    Green zone is the area that has uncontrolled airspace, and you can get automatic permission to fly in it on the digital sky platform.
    You can also fly in yellow zone areas but only after certain permission as they come under controlled airspace, which means you have to prepare a flight plan and obtain air defence clearance.
    You can only fly drones that are registered and issued with a Unique Identification Number (UIN). The rule does not apply for nano and those owned by the National Technical Research Organisation, and central intelligence agencies.
    You don't need a permission to operate 'nano drones' below 50 ft and microdrones operating below 200 ft.
    You can fly drones only in a visual line of sight during the daytime up to a maximum altitude of 400ft.
    What you can't do

    You can't fly a drone without seeking permission through the digital sky platform.
    If the area comes in a red zone, flying is not permitted due to security reasons.
    You can't fly a drone without a permit. All small, medium and large drone operators need to get an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit to be able to fly it.
    No drone is allowed to fly without mandatory equipment like GPS system, return-to-home system, anti-collision light, ID-plate, flight data logging system, and radio frequency identification.
    The regulation defines 'No Drone Zones' around airports -- near an international border; Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations or vital and military installations. Anyone flying a drone in these areas may face strict action.

Sensex closes shy of 38,900 level, Nifty ends above 11,700 for first time; Vedanta, Adani Ports, Reliance Industries top gainers
  • The Sensex and Nifty closed at fresh peaks in trade today on gains in large cap stocks such as Vedanta, Adani Ports and Reliance Industries.

    While the Sensex hit an all time high of 38,920, the Nifty touched new peak of 11,760.  The Sensex has gained over 14% since the beginning of this year. The Nifty too has not been far behind. The index is up 11.50% since the beginning of 2018.

    The Sensex closed 202 points or 0.52% higher at 38,896 level, crossing 38,900 level for the first time in intra day trade.

    The Nifty which marked an all time high of 11,760 in intra day trade closed 46 points or 0.40% higher at 11,738 level. The rally was led by large cap stocks with midcap stocks sulking during the last two hours of trade.

    The BSE midcap index closed 59 points or 0.35% lower at 16,671 level.

    However, the small cap index gained 61 points to close at 17,043 level.

    Metal stocks closed higher with the BSE metals index gaining 1.89% or 252 points at 13,649 level.

    Vedanta (2.20%), Adani Ports (2.20%), Reliance Industries (2.06%) , Maruti (1.72%) , Axis Bank (1.62%) and HDFC (1.48%) were the top Sensex gainers.

    YES Bank (3.07%), SBI (1.07%) and HUL (1.04%) were the top Sensex losers.

    The Reliance Industries stock hit an all time high of 1323 level in trade today.

    The stock closed 2.06% or 26 points higher at 1318 level on the BSE.  The stock was the volume topper among Sensex stocks logging Rs 63.54 crore worth of trade with 484,736 shares changing hands today.
    However, market breadth was negative with 1188 stocks closing higher compared to 1508 stocks ending in the red.

    Global markets

    Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday after the White House said it reached a preliminary agreement with Mexico on replacing a North American free-trade deal.

    France's CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent in early trading to 5,485.39, while Germany's DAX was up 0.2 percent at 12,561.44. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent to 7,630.36. U.S. shares were set to be flat with Dow futures virtually unchanged at 27,078. S&P 500 futures gained less than 0.1 percent to 2,899.

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 finished at 22,813.47, up 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 percent to 6,304.70. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2 percent to 2,303.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 28,333.14 after fluctuating throughout the day. The Shanghai Composite index inched down 0.1 percent to 2,777.98, adjusting from its gains the previous day.

    Asian economies generally benefit from trade deals that will encourage exports to the US. The Nasdaq composite index topped 8,000 for the first time after the North American Free Trade Agreement news, although the trade deal isn't final. The US still needs to reach an understanding with Canada, the third party in the accord.

Kerala flood relief donations cross Rs 713.9 crore in 14 days
  • As Kerala comes to terms with worst ever floods in nearly a century, the contribution to chief minister's distress relief fund (CMDRF) has clocked Rs 713.92 crore in just a fortnight. This figure is way more than Rs 600 crore initial aid offered by the central government so far.

    According to a report in The Times of India, as many as 3.91 lakh persons have so far contributed to CMDRF since August 14. The humanitarian aid received by the state's CMDRF has surpassed all other relief funds.

    Donations to CMDRF on Monday alone accounted at Rs 5.6 crore. Of the Rs 713.92 crore, Rs 132.62 crore was received through banks and UPIs linked with CMDRF gateway. The CMDRF's account with State Bank of India got Rs 518.24 crore as deposits, the report said.

    Rs 43 crore came through Paytm as well as online contributions such as wallets/apps. The chief minister's office has received cash, checks and drafts worth Rs 20 crore to the relief fund, it added.

    Tech giant Google and its employees have contributed over Rs 7.01 crore ($1 million) to help flood relief efforts in Kerala and Karnataka.

    With the state struggling to get back on its feet in the wake of the massive damage caused by floods, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged Malayalees across the world to pitch in with a month's salary.

    His appeal on Facebook added that "Malayalees should be united to build a new Kerala. Kerala's strength is not its treasury but the support of the world". For those who can't afford to donate a full month's salary at a go, Vijayan suggested donating three days' salary for a period of 10 months instead.

    In a statement released last Friday, Vijayan had said that as per initial estimates the total damage in the state stood around Rs 20,000 crore.

General Awareness

    China may scrap limit on number of children
    • What to study?

      For Prelims: Key facts on one- child and two- child policies of China.
      For Mains: Need, concerns associated with such policies, can such policies be adopted by India?

      Context: China is planning to scrap the limit on the number of children couples can have. A draft civil code that would end decades of controversial family planning policies has been prepared.


      The code would get rid of a policy that has been enforced through fines but was also notorious for cases of forced abortions and sterilisation in the world’s most populous country.
      The code omits any reference to “family planning” — the current policy which limits couples to having no more than two children.
      Other proposed changes include a one-month cooling off period before a divorce, during which either party can withdraw their application.

      The long history of limits on the number of children a couple can have:

      The Communist Party began enforcing a one-child policy in 1979 to slow population growth. The limit was raised to two children in 2016 as the nation scrambled to rejuvenate its greying population of some 1.4 billion.

      The need for removal of restrictions:

      Concerns are mounting that an ageing and shrinking workforce could slow down its economy, while gender imbalances could lead to social problems. Also, childbirths have not increased as much as forecast since the two-child policy came into force.

      Why One Child Policy was adopted by China?

      One child policy was adopted by China in 1979 out of the Malthusian fears that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.

      What is Malthusian theory all about?

      Thomas Robert Malthus was the first economist to propose a systematic theory of population. He articulated his views regarding population in his famous book, Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), for which he collected empirical data to support his thesis. He argued that if left unchecked, a population will outgrow its resources, leading to a host of problems.

      Why China changed its policy?

      China has a population of over 1.4 billion, 30% of which is over the age of 50. There is also huge gender imbalance. Now, China needs more people for joining workforce. The working population in China is coming down and elderly population is going up. So Communist Party of China has changed one-child policy to a two-child policy as the country is looking further ahead that China to have larger families.

      What’s good about One Child Policy?

      Helps to ease the over population problems.
      It is seen as practical by some families.
      Lowers the poverty rate.

      Why it isn’t a good idea?

      The enforcement is unequal.
      It is a human rights violation.
      Shrinking work population.
      Gender imbalance due to the strong cultural preference of boys for labor and work.
      Increase in abortions and female infanticide.
      Extra babies end up being illegal and never becoming a citizen, due to fines.
      Intrudes on people’s personal values and opinions.

      Why such policies are not suitable for India?

      The implications of such a policy being enforced in India would surely have been more disastrous than it did in China.

      India is way behind China in basic development indicators like life expectancy, IMR and maternal mortality rate. The preference of a male child, the regional disparities in development, and the growing intolerance against minorities in the present milieu would be further magnified with the state entering homes and enforcing such strict norms.
      The fact that women are at the receiving end of such policies in a patriarchal society is another story in itself. The burden of limiting family size falls on the woman, and most often female sterilisations are promoted rather than giving the couple the choice of contraception.
      Limiting family size cannot be an end in itself at the neglect of basic needs and services like food security, housing, education, and health. It is important for a state to universalise these basic services than to impose a diktat of population control. When China imposed a one-child policy, it had already created a strong base for its population, despite which the consequences were severe. Therefore, it would be disastrous for India to even walk that path.

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