Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 30 July, 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.

Omar’s choice

“NC leader acknowledges constraints August 5 decision casts on mainstream politics in Kashmir — and challenge ahead,” read the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “In an extraordinarily candid and reflective interview and a signed article in The Indian Express, breaking his silence since his detention last year, the former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, spoke of the “betrayal” of August 5, 2019, how it had destroyed the bridge between a mainstream party like the National Conference and the Centre, and reduced such parties, seen to have carried the can for Delhi, into “elements of ridicule”,’ read the full editorial here.


A home for tiger

“Survey shows a third of India’s tiger reserves are nearing peak capacity. Creative solutions can reduce human-animal conflict,” reads the Editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, ” Last year, India’s tiger census revealed that the country is home to nearly 3,000 of these big cats. That was rightly considered a significant achievement given that India’s tiger population had come down to around 1,400 in 2006 and the animal had been completely wiped out of reserves such as Sariska. A survey by the Union environment ministry, whose report was released on Tuesday, also celebrates this success. But it adds a caveat: Seventeen of India’s 50 tiger reserves are approaching their peak carrying capacity. In fact, nearly a third of the country’s tigers today live outside protected areas (PA). As these carnivores spill out of the national parks, they come into proximity with human settlements. This is a major reason for the rise in human-animal conflicts in the past five years,” read the full editorial here.

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“COVID-19 claims an ageing victim — the railway dak carrier who bore sensitive letters from the burra sahibs,” read the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “It’s like executing a dead horse, just to make sure it stays dead. The dak carriers who bore messages across the world’s biggest railway system were already superannuated as the officers they served turned to email. But now, the financial belt-tightening in response to the pandemic has closed around their throats like a noose. They have been replaced by digital communications. The idea of a dak carrier seems impossibly quaint now, but back in the day, they served the same purpose as 128-bit encryption. We have forgotten that India’s railway system was laid out after the uprising of 1857. Its first priority was rapid troop movement. Its second was the efficient carriage of goods and produce from the hinterland to industrial centres and ports. Paying passengers came a distant third. With people, the railway also carried the flu and the plague across the country. And it carried Mahatma Gandhi in third-class compartments, protesting about filthy loos and bearing word of freedom. But originally, the railway was a strategic asset of the empire, and information and orders would have had to be delivered by trusted carriers, in the interest of security,” read the full editorial here.

Towards a floor test

“Rajasthan Governor agrees to call House session on August 14,” read the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “The farcical state of affairs in Rajasthan in the past few days was not only a new low for Indian democracy but also a brazen affront to the Constitution. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was in a tearing hurry to hold an Assembly session, but was reluctant to seek the all-important trust vote — the only recourse to conclusively prove whether his government still enjoyed majority on the floor of the House amid the revolt led by his former deputy, Sachin Pilot. Gehlot was locked in an unsavoury tussle with Governor Kalraj Mishra, who repeatedly returned the Congress government’s proposal for urgently convening an Assembly session. The impasse indicated that both the CM and the Governor were not acquitting themselves in accordance with the responsibilities of their constitutional offices. Similar discord was witnessed in Maharashtra late last year and in Madhya Pradesh a few months ago; in both cases, it was only after the Supreme Court’s intervention that the crisis subsided,’ read the full editorial here.


Covid drug cartel

“Check illegal trade, maintain supply chain,” read the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “The treatment for coronavirus has thrown up its own set of problems. With no known protocol for treating the disease, the pandemic has seen a renewed thrust being laid on public healthcare, with facilities being ramped up in government hospitals, while private hospitals have been providing care amid charges of being unaffordable. Another dimension has now been added to the problem with the revelation that a drug smuggling cartel has been busted in Gurugram that not only hoarded medicines for Covid treatment but also was to smuggle these on a Vande Bharat flight. What is worse is that the cartel managed to procure the list of travellers and planned to send the medicines in small batches with Iraqi nationals,” read the full editorial here.


Rising burden: bank NPAs to mount

“In case of severe stress, RBI believes, five banks will not be able to meet minimum capital requirement,” reads the editorial of The Telegraph. It further reads, “In its recently released Financial Stability Report, the Reserve Bank of India has analysed the possible impact of Covid-19 on the financial health of commercial banks in the near future. The RBI expects gross non-performing assets of banks to go up significantly by March 2021. Financial institutions, including the RBI, often conduct stress tests that try to estimate the effect of macroeconomic changes on loan repayment patterns. After conducting stress tests for scheduled commercial banks, the RBI has found that if the status quo were to persist — this is called the baseline scenario — the gross NPA ratio may go up from 8.5 per cent in March 2020 to 12.5 per cent in March 2021. Hence, in the least risky scenario, the rise could still be to the tune of 4 per cent. If the macroeconomic situation worsens, under what is called a severe stress scenario, the NPA ratio may climb to 14.7 per cent in March 2021. As expected, the condition of public sector banks will be worse than the national average for all commercial banks, climbing from 11.3 per cent in March 2020 to 15.2 per cent in March 2021. The corresponding figures for private sector banks and foreign banks operating in India are 4.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent to 3.9 per cent, respectively,” read the full editorial here.

Courtley ire: criticism of judiciary

“The law against contempt of courts needs to evolve with expanding democracy,” read the editorial of The telegraph. It further reads, “Critics and commentators have grown in proportion to the burgeoning of social media — everyone has something to say about everything. It is, trolls notwithstanding, apparently an aspect of democratic freedom. The comments are often of serious import, sometimes criticism and the questioning of institutions, even of the courts and the judiciary. The thorny question is whether the criticism of courts should be penalized in a democracy, as dissent is now being stifled when directed against policies and actions of the dominant regime. The law against contempt of courts applied to such criticism — most recently against two tweets commenting on the role of a number of chief justices of the Supreme Court — can be taken suo motu notice of by the court. ‘Scandalizing’ the court and thus lowering its authority and dignity in the eyes of the people by speech, message or other means, is seen by this law as an attempt to damage the trust of the people in the courts, which hurts their interest. It is criminal contempt. That includes trying to prejudice or obstruct judicial proceedings or the administration of justice,” read the full editorial here.



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