Thursday, 24 December 2015

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Editorials with vocab 24/12/2015

Prepared By :Ashok Sharma

The Hindu
An opportunity missed at Nairobi


The Nairobi Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisationconcluded last week after negotiations stretched into an unscheduled fifth day as delegates from the rich nations, emerging market economies and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) sought to hammer out an agreement acceptable to all. The final declaration, while helping salvage the primacy of the WTO as the arbiter of international trade rules, left the LDCs and the emerging nations, especially India, trying to count their gains as the U.S. and EU celebrated the outcome that quietly cast aside the Doha Development Agenda. That member-countries may be prepared to make sacrifices was apparent from the outset after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in his opening remarks, cited 2015 as a year in which nations demonstrated 'unparalleled' cooperation in agreeing on collective approaches to the pressing problems facing humanity. His references to the 'successful' International Conference on Financing for Development, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the 'historic' Paris agreement to combat climate change, heightened delegates' anxiety to conclude a deal. The fact that the WTO body was meeting for the first time in Africa also meant that both developed countries and emerging market economies like India were wary of being seen as deal-breakers. And the surge in bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements, including the most recent Trans-Pacific Partnership, cast its shadow too. The result is a modest one, with the key takeaways being the decisions to end all farm export subsidies and liberalise global trade in information technology products.
From India's point of view, the Nairobi declaration was disappointing on multiple fronts. From its relative pre-eminence among emerging market economies with the principled position on sticking to the Doha agenda, India has returned with very few, if any, of its demands met. There is no concrete agreement on a special safeguards mechanism to protect farmers in the developing countries against sudden import surges, and no short deadline for a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes. And the lack of an unambiguous reaffirmation of the Doha Development Agenda means new issues of interest to developed countries, including competition policy, government procurement and investment are now open for negotiations. The lessons are clear. While negotiators from the developed countries came fully prepared to defend their strategic aims, India's leadership faltered for want of a clear-cut strategy. For the future, the government needs to broaden its preparation: by holding wide-ranging meetings on WTO-related issues with all stakeholders in a bipartisan manner, renewing and strengthening its ties with the developing and LDC economies to protect the development agenda, and finally bolstering its pool of trade negotiators by picking the best and brightest trade experts and lawyers

del·e·gate
A person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference.

hammer out

vb (tr, adverb)
1. to shape or remove with or as if with a hammer
2. to form or produce 


sal·vage
Rescue (a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo) from loss at sea.

ar·bi·ter
A person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter.

ap·par·ent
Clearly visible or understood; obvious.

out·set
The start or beginning of something.

height·en
Make (something) higher

war·y
Feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems.

take·a·way
A key fact, point, or idea to be remembered, typically one emerging from a discussion or meeting.

stockholding
A specific number of stocks or shares owned; "sell holdings he has in corporations

pro·cure·ment
The action of obtaining or procuring something.

bi·par·ti·san
Of or involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties that usually oppose each other's policie

bol·ster
Support or strengthen; prop up.


The Hindu

Law-making amid moral outrage


Legislators acting in response to moral outrage seen on television and during street protests and being apparently influenced by the importunate gaze of victims of crime from the gallery, does not augur well for sound law-making. It may not be right to characterise the quick passage of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill in the Rajya Sabha as a hasty move because it has already been passed in the Lok Sabha in May 2015. The draft too had been slightly modified before that, based on a February 2015 report of a standing committee of Parliament. Yet, it is difficult to overcome the impression that some members may have been gripped by a bout of moral panic after the release of the youngest convict in the Delhi gang rape of December 2012. The seeming sense of urgency was undoubtedly influenced by a section of the media demanding 'justice' after the convict was released from a Special Home on completing his three-year term there. An impression is sought to be created that the country's collective conscience demanded that a tough law be enacted to ensure that juvenile convicts committing heinous crimes do not get away with light sentences. An edifying aspect of this legislative episode is that there are enough voices around that understand that restorative justice is best ensured for this underclass by addressing the fundamental problems that create juvenile offenders in society in the first place, by ensuring universal access to education and social care for all children.
The Bill, which contains progressive aspects such as streamlining adoption procedures and extending the law's protection to orphans and abandoned children, still suffers from the problems highlighted by the parliamentary panel. The government, unfortunately, did not accept the view that children in a particular age group being subjected to the adult criminal justice system will violate their right to equality under Article 14 and the objective of protecting children in Article 15(3) of the Constitution. It, however, dropped a clause that provided for treating those who had committed crimes before reaching the age of 18 but were apprehended after they turned 21, agreeing that it was unconstitutional. It extended the period of preliminary assessment (the original draft called it 'inquiry') by the Juvenile Justice Board to determine whether a juvenile offender should be sent for rehabilitation or tried as an adult, from one month to three months. The board's assessment will still be subject to judicial review and may set off litigation over whether one 16-year-old was let off lightly or another was wrongly sent to an adult court. Such decisions may also be influenced by the prevailing public mood. It would have been wiser to have let the law stand in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which advocates equal treatment of all children under the age of 18. The difference between sober assessment and mercurial action cannot be more starkly emphasised.

out·rage
An extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation

ap·par·ent·ly
As far as one knows or can see.

au·gur
(of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.

hast·y
Done or acting with excessive speed or urgency; hurried.

grip
Take and keep a firm hold of; grasp tightly.

bout
A short period of intense activity of a specified kind.

un·doubt·ed·ly
Without doubt; certainly.

en·act
Make (a bill or other proposal) law

hei·nous
(of a person or wrongful act, especially a crime) utterly odious or wicked.

ed·i·fy·ing
Providing moral or intellectual instruction.

stream·line
Design or provide with a form that presents very little resistance to a flow of air or water, increasing speed and ease of movement.

lit·i·ga·tion
The process of taking legal action.

so·ber
Not affected by alcohol; not drunk.

as·sess·ment
The evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something.

mer·cu·ri·al
(of a person) subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind.

starkly
In a stark manner; "He was starkly unable to achieve coherence"

em·pha·size
Give special importance or prominence to (something) in speaking or writing



Business Standard

Welcome step forward



The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2015, has been introduced in the Lok Sabha and sent to a Joint Committee of Parliament for scrutiny. The Code is a vital step forward for India's economy, in which the mobility of capital has always been a problem. For too long, capital that was tied up in loss-making enterprises struggled to exit. Disputes between debtors, creditors and other stakeholders went unresolved - meaning companies were often shut down without dues being paid, and their assets depreciated wastefully, unused. Sometimes, assets were stripped by unscrupulous promoters and creditors or employees were powerless; in other cases, debt-ridden corporations never had a chance to work their way out of trouble. The purpose of modern bankruptcy legislation, such as the United States' Chapter 11, is to try and ensure that enterprises keep on working and do not lose value because of shut-downs imposed by stakeholders' failure to agree. The new Code meets this requirement.

There are several important provisions to the Code. Decisions for the company will be taken by a "resolution professional" appointed by the National Company Law Tribunal (or a Debt Recovery Tribunal, for individuals), and confirmed by a committee of creditors. A resolution plan for the company will be submitted by the resolution professional to the committee of creditors, who will have to approve it by a 75 per cent majority. The legislation specifies a reasonable and pragmatic 180-day time-frame for the process, with the possibility of extension by 90 days in special circumstances. Overall, the Code ticks most of the right boxes. Previous attempts to deal with the problem of bankruptcy sometimes failed to accept the possibility that some companies would need to shut down - the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction became little more than a location for gridlock. The SARFAESI Act that followed it left out non-institutional creditors.

One important step forward in the Code is that it explicitly requires the creation of an entire supportive ecosystem. First of all, Debt Recovery Tribunals and Company Law Tribunals will have to be provided with significantly greater capacity if the quick timelines specified in the Code are to be met; in this new system, they will essentially replace district courts. It has been reported that the finance ministry is considering how to move as much of this process online as possible - a sensible thought. Second, an entire cadre of resolution professionals will have to be created in double-quick time, supervised by an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board. The success or failure of the new law will depend on whether these two ideas can be executed without any hitch or delay.

In a legislative session starved of good news, the introduction of this law is a welcome development. But there is one major problem. It appears to have been introduced as a Money Bill, which means the Rajya Sabha will have no real rights over it. Clearly the government fears it will not be able to overcome the Opposition's obstruction in the upper house of Parliament. But it should not take recourse to methods that blatantly defy the letter and spirit of the Constitution in response. Declaring legislation on an unrelated matter to be a Money Bill is an unhealthy precedent.
in·sol·ven·cy
The state of being insolvent; inability to pay one's debts.

scru·ti·ny
Critical observation or examination.

vi·tal
Absolutely necessary or important; essential.

strip
Remove all coverings from.

un·scru·pu·lous
Having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair.

prag·mat·ic
Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

explicitly
In an explicit manner; "in his foreword Professor Clark puts it explicitly"

hitch
Move (something) into a different position with a jerk

starve
(of a person or animal) suffer severely or die from hunger

ob·struc·tion
The action of obstructing or the state of being obstructed.

bla·tant·ly
In an unsubtle and unashamed manner.

prec·e·dent
An earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.

 

The Indian EXPRESS

Unfree basics

This summer saw a full-throated battle over a notional toss-up between two goals: Network neutrality — the principle that internet service providers must treat all data on their networks equally — and access for those who cannot afford it, a battle that net neutrality advocates appeared to have fortunately won. But Facebook, having changed the nomenclature of its platform from Internet.org to Free Basics, has made a renewed push in recent weeks to persuade the telecom regulator, Trai, to frame net neutrality rules in a way that would allow mobile carriers to exempt certain applications from counting towards data usage. It has launched a massive publicity campaign that appeals to connected Indians to petition Trai to save Free Basics — arguing that the platform would bring those people online who find the cost of using mobile data prohibitively expensive.
In a country where the growth of fixed internet infrastructure has stalled and hundreds of millions remain offline, this is a persuasive argument. That a lack of internet access widens inequality and limits opportunity is an increasingly accepted notion, and a scheme that purports to narrow, if not bridge, the digital divide is likely to resonate. Yet, creating gatekeeping systems — which a programme like Facebook's does, even if it claims all developers can be part of it as long as they meet certain criteria — has material consequences for how people perceive and experience the internet. The "free" in Free Basics, for instance, is subject entirely to Facebook's, and its mobile operator partners', discretion.
The free-wheeling innovation so central to the spectacular growth of the internet was made possible in no small part by its openness and level playing field, which allowed once-upstarts like Google and Facebook to topple giants. With smartphones and tablets becoming the default gateways to the Web for more and more people, the design of telecom policy is crucial to ensuring India doesn't become home to a stratified, uncompetitive internet.



throated
Having a throat as specified; "deep-throated"; "white-throated"

no·tion·al
Existing only in theory or as a suggestion or idea.

no·men·cla·ture
The devising or choosing of names for things, especially in a science or other discipline.

prohibitively
To a prohibitive degree; "it is prohibitively expensive"

pro·hib·i·tive
(of a price or charge) excessively high; difficult or impossible to pay.

stall
(of a motor vehicle or its engine) stop running, typically because of an overload on the engine.

per·sua·sive
Good at persuading someone to do or believe something through reasoning or the use of temptation.

no·tion
A conception of or belief about something.

res·o·nate
Produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound.

gate·keep·ing
The activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.

dis·cre·tion
The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information.

spec·tac·u·lar
Beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way.

top·ple
Overbalance or become unsteady and fall slowly.


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