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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 21st September ’21 | PDF Download


  • Nobel Laureate Paul Romer describes technology as a different recipe rather than more cooks in the kitchen.
  • Cities are a technology for poverty reduction.
  • New York City’s GDP equals that of Russia with 6 per cent of the people and 0.00005 per cent of the land.
  • Covid has catalysed a naive or hypocritical romanticism of villages.
  • Belief: cities are undesirable technology because of their
    • hostility to migrants
    • infection hotspot tendency
    • diminished centrality to the future of work due to digitization
  • Covid is an opportunity to catalyse good urbanisation by empowering our cities with more power and funds.
  • The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles Mann.
  • Norman Borlaug — the wizard — is a Nobel-winning scientist who believed science and technology will overcome challenges and he kickstarted the agricultural Green Revolution.
  • William Vogt — the prophet — believed that prosperity would lead humans to ruin without cutting back and he kickstarted the environment movement.
  • One says innovate; the other says retreat.
  • But cutting back on urbanisation would hurt the three transitions that are raising per capita incomes.
    • farm to non-farm
    • informal to formal
    • school to work
  • India’s problem is not land, labour or capital
  • If 50 per cent of our population in rural areas generate only 18 per cent of the GDP, they are condemned to poverty.
  • Our challenge is the productivity upside of good urbanisation.
  • Urbanisation gets a bad name in rich and poor countries because megacities — 10 million-plus populations — are unpleasant places to live for people who are not rich or powerful.
  • Twenty-six of the world’s 33 megacities are in developing countries because their rural areas lack rule of law, infrastructure and productive commerce.
  • Migrant workers not running towards cities, but running away from sub-scale economic wastelands.
  • Even our non-megacities have inadequate planning, non-scalable infrastructure, unaffordable housing, and poor public transport.
  • Megacities are not cursed.
  • Tokyo has a third of Japan’s population but planning and investments have ensured that essential workers like teachers, nurses, and policemen don’t commute two hours.
  • Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti – 30 minutes has been the most acceptable
  • The Marchetti constant is almost impossible in Bengaluru where taxi and auto speeds average 8 km/hour.
  • The annual spend of our central government is about Rs 34 lakh crore and of 28 state governments is about Rs 40 lakh crore.
  • But the 15th Finance Commission estimates our 2.5 lakh plus local government bodies only spend Rs 3.7 lakh crore annually.
  • Local government is curtailed by state government departments in water, power, schools, healthcare, etc.
  • Only 13 per cent and 44 per cent of the budget of rural and urban bodies was raised themselves.
  • Department of Local Self Government in the states has almost unlimited powers (suspension/removal of mayors and other elected representatives or supercession of elected local bodies is almost routine in most states).
  • Having separate central rural and urban ministries distorts policy.
  • Ambitious and talented individuals aren’t attracted to city leadership.
  • Most Chinese premiers since 1978 apprenticed as mayors just like Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad and Chittaranjan Das did in 1924.
  • Path dependence: unlike others, our democracy didn’t evolve bottom-up with local government rolling up into state governments that came together as a nation.
  • India inherited a nationally centralised structure (a must for a colonial power) and princely states (with legitimacy, structures and resources) got strong powers in the constitution.
  • Consequently, empowering local governments has been seen as a “favour”.
  • Good urbanisation is also crucial to delivering economic justice for women, children and Dalits.
  • Poor quality urbanisation has meant men-only migration.
  • Most painfully, Dalits in villages are often denied the dignity that urban anonymity provides.
  • Good urbanisation — getting power and funds to cities — needs chief ministers to sacrifice self-interest.
  • As the post-Covid urbanisation debate gains momentum, we hope the wizards will again prevail over the prophets.
  • IBC improved India’s ranking on the “Ease of Doing Business” Index
  • While hearing a challenge to the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the government of India.
  • A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana observed that National Company Law Tribunals (NCLT), and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) are hamstrung by vacancies not being filled on time.
  • Vacancies in the tribunals have slowed down insolvency resolution due to the huge pendency of cases.
  • When the SC made its observations, the NCLT had only 30 members against a total strength of 63.
  • The NCLAT had a sanctioned strength of a chairperson plus 11 members but its functioning strength was of eight members.
  • Both the NCLT and NCLAT have been without chairpersons for six and nine months respectively.
  • On September 11, the government appointed 18 more members to the NCLT — 8 judicial and 10 technical.
  • The same day, the NCLAT got another acting chairperson with the retirement of the last incumbent.
  • These vacancies are concerning because as of May 31, 13,170 insolvency petitions were pending before benches of the NCLT.
  • Of these, 2,785 petitions have been filed by financial creditors and 5,973 by operational creditors.
  • More than 70 per cent of petitions were pending adjudication for over six months as of May 31.
  • While the number of petitions filed by operational creditors is likely to reduce because of the increase in default threshold from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore, petitions by financial creditors are only likely to rise now that the moratorium on filing fresh petitions has been lifted by the government.
  • As far as the NCLAT is concerned, 1,000 appeals under the IBC were pending adjudication as on May 31.
  • National E-Governance Services Ltd. (NeSL)
  • According to the evidence provided by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in August, NeSL data as of May 31 shows that the number of debtors in India stood at 93.02 lakh.
  • The amount of underlying debt is Rs 136 lakh crore.
  • While NeSL has issued 41,094 default certificates, the number of defaults is likely to be much higher as not all creditors report debts and defaults to NeSL as it is not mandatory to file default certificates issued by it with the NCLT while filing petitions to commence CIRP.
  • While financial creditors are facing criticism for taking haircuts as high as 90 per cent against their claims.
  • Resolution applicants take a higher risk if the process is uncertain and if there is no fixed time for transfer of control of a corporate debtor to the successful applicant.
  • This uncertainty can be cured by a faster approval process by the NCLTs by the creation of more benches and filling up of current vacancies.
  • While filling up vacancies, the members being appointed must have sufficient domain expertise.
  • The SC had granted time to the government till September 13 to take substantial steps in this regard, which was partially complied with by appointing 18 members.
  • The government, however, failed to avoid embarrassment as on September 15, the CJI expressed his anger at the appointment process which had ignored candidates recommended by the selection committee.
  • To underline the gravity of the situation, on September 16, the SC came down heavily on the government for premature termination of the tenure of the acting chairperson of the NCLAT and threatened to stay the Tribunal Reforms Act, 2021.
  • Sarbananda Sonowal virtually flags off dwarf container train service from JNPT
  • Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya releases FSSAI’s 3rd State Food Safety Index
  • PM Modi meets Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
  • President of Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad Narendra Giri found dead in Prayagraj
  • Russia: Eight persons killed in a shooting at Perm university
  • India, US discuss issues pertaining to bilateral defence cooperation and regional matters including situation in Afghanistan
  • India climbs two spots to rank 46th in Global Innovation Index 2021
  • Government to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports to COVAX under Vaccine Maitri
  • National COVID vaccination crosses another milestone with administration of over 81 cr vaccination; recovery rate stands at 97.68%
  • President Kovind confers National Florence Nightingale Award 2020
  • Govt aims to make Brand India representative of quality, productivity, talent and innovation
  • Union Minister Anurag Thakur discusses promotion of sports with Sports Ministers of States, UTs

Q.) Which country has said it will not allow the Islamic State group to establish a presence on the country’s border with Afghanistan?

  • Iran
  • Pakistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

Q.) Who has been sworn in as the new governor of Tamil Nadu?

  • R.N. Ravi
  • PS Sreeharan Pillai
  • Ramesh Bais
  • Bandaru Dattatraya

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