31, October 2017

1.India, Italy ink six pacts to bolster bilateral cooperation; discuss joint effort to counter terrorism, cyber crime

Source: Indian Express

Bolstering cooperation between both nations on several fronts, India and Italy signed six pacts, including in areas of railway safety and mutual trade investments.

India-Italy trade ties.

  • India and Italy are two large economies, and the respective strengths of our economies provide us ample opportunities to strengthen our commercial cooperation.
  • Italy is India’s fifth largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade of USD 8.79 billion in 2016-17
  • India’s exports to Italy were at USD 4.90 billion, while its imports were at USD 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade imbalance of about USD 1 billion in favour of India. In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached USD 3.22 billion.
  • The two sides agreed to strengthen the consultation mechanism through regular exchange of assessments and information, training and capacity building programmes in the sphere of counter-terrorism.
  • The leaders also resolved to enhance cooperation to take “decisive and concerted actions” against the al-Qaeda and ISIS, the joint statement said.
  • India-Italy Relations India and Italy are ancient civilizations and have known, interacted and traded with each other for over 2000 years.
  • Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947. The two countries enjoy cordial relationship
  • India-Italy diplomatic ties took a hit after two Italian marines — Salvatore Girone and Latorre Massimiliano on board ship named Enrica Lexie, were arrested for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off coast of Kerala in 2012.
  • Italy has supported India’s candidature at Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016 and at FATF (Financial Action Task Force).
  • Italy’s support is also crucial for India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership and EU-India FTA (Free Trade Agreement).

Singed Agreements are

  • MoU on cooperation in field of Energy.
  • Executive Protocol on Cultural Cooperation.
  • Joint Declaration of Intent of Cooperation for Safety in Railway sector.
  • MoU for promoting mutual investments between Italian Trade Agency and Invest India
  • MoU on 70 years of diplomatic relations between Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Italy
  • MoU between Training Unit of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Government of Italy and Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry External Affairs.

2.Employment growth has not kept up pace with economic growth, says rating agency Care

Source: Indian Express

The rating agency said the services sector has extended some relief, but manufacturing has failed to create jobs in recent times and called for proactive measures from the government

Key facts:

  • Confirming fears of a ‘jobless growth’, domestic rating agency Care Ratings said employment generation had not kept pace with GDP expansion, terming it a “major concern.
  • Such a scenario called for “proactive measures” from the government and the recent infrastructure building efforts would help, it noted and said, “employment growth has not kept pace with economic growth”.
  • The Union labour ministry had also admitted to the problem and had set up a task force. “The current growth is a jobless growth. Many European and Asian countries, including India, are facing it…growth is being reported but it is not reflecting in employment generation.

Jobless Growth:  Employment Study

  • A jobless growth is a situation in which an economy recovers from a recession but the employment market does not. From a sectoral basis, the agency said the services sector had extended some relief, but manufacturing had failed to create jobs in recent times.
  • Banks, IT, retailing and healthcare continue to create jobs, while mining, power and telecom have seen a reduction in employees.
  • The agency, which conducted an employment study in the corporate sector for last five years, asked for the findings to be taken with caution because the unorganised sector and smaller businesses accounted for a large share in the generation of jobs. “It is however believed that these numbers are broadly indicative of the trends witnessed in the last two years,” the report said.
  • Aggregate employees in 1,473 companies grew to 5.18 million in FY17 from 5.01 million in FY15, a growth of a little over 1 percentage point per year compared to over nearly 7 per cent economic growth. Banking is the highest among sectors when it comes to generating employment, with a 21.3 per cent share, and is followed by IT, mining, healthcare and textiles.
  • Sectors that witnessed a fall in employment in FY17 from the previous fiscal included fast moving consumer goods, media and entertainment and paper.
  • Crude oil, infrastructure, trading, automobiles and ancillaries, finance and hospitality, which had recorded negative growth in employment in FY16, also witnessed growth in FY17, the report said.
  • From the cost of employment perspective, Care said the average salary had risen for a sample of 1,473 firms to Rs 8.35 lakh in FY17 from Rs 7.13 lakh in FY15.

Indian Express

3.Law panel moots life term for torture

Source: The Hindu

Recommending life in jail for public servants convicted of torture, the Law Commission on Monday said the government should ratify a United Nations convention to tide over difficulties in getting extradited criminals from foreign countries due to the absence of a law preventing harsh treatment by authorities.

  • Referring to compensation to victims, it said the courts would decide upon a “justiciable compensation” after taking into account various facets of an individual case, such as nature, purpose, extent and manner of injury, including mental agony caused to the victim

Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 recommended by Law Commission:

  • The panel also said that in case the government decided to ratify the UN convention on torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, a Bill should be introduced in Parliament to amend various laws to prevent torture by government officials.
  • The draft Prevention of Torture Bill, 2017 proposed “stringent punishment” to perpetrators to curb the menace of torture and to have a deterrent effect on acts of torture.
  • The punishment could extend up to life imprisonment and include a fine.
  • The report submitted to the Law Ministry said the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, require amendments to accommodate provisions regarding compensation and burden of proof.
  • It recommended an amendment to Section 357B to incorporate payment of compensation, in addition to the payment of fine provided in the Indian Penal Code.
  • The report, now in the public domain, said the Indian Evidence Act required the insertion of a new Section 114B.

Key facts:

  • An effective mechanism must be put in place to protect victims of torture, complainants and witnesses against possible threats, violence or ill-treatment.
  • The Commission recommended the State own the responsibility for injuries caused by its agents on citizens, and the “principle of sovereign immunity cannot override the rights assured by the Constitution”. “While dealing with the plea of sovereign immunity, the Courts will have to bear in mind that it is the citizens who are entitled for fundamental rights, and not the agents of the State.

Law Commission of India- Ministry of Law & Justice

  • In the ancient period, when religious and customary law occupied the field, reform process had been ad hoc and not institutionalised through duly constituted law reform agencies. However, since the third decade of the nineteenth century, Law Commissions were constituted by the Government from time to time and were empowered to recommend legislative reforms with a view to clarify, consolidate and codify particular branches of law where the Government felt the necessity for it.
  • The first such Commission was established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Macaulay which recommended codification of the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and a few other matters.
  • Thereafter, the second, third and fourth Law Commissions were constituted in 1853, 1861 and 1879 respectively which, during a span of fifty years contributed a great deal to enrich the Indian Statute Book with a large variety of legislations on the pattern of the then prevailing English Laws adapted to Indian conditions.
  • The Indian Code of Civil Procedure, the Indian Contract Act, the Indian Evidence Act, the Transfer of Property Act. etc. are products of the labour of the first four Law Commissions

POST-INDEPENDENCE DEVELOPMENTS:

  • After independence, the Constitution of India with its Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy gave a new direction to law reform geared to the needs of a democratic legal order in a plural society. Though the Constitution stipulated the continuation of pre-Constitution Laws (Article 372) till they are amended or repealed, there had been demands in Parliament and outside for establishing a Central Law Commission to recommend revision and updating of the inherited laws to serve the changing needs of the country.

More Details: http://www.lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/main.htm#a6

4.Improvement in ease of doing business ranking to help India attract more FDI

Source: Indian Express

100th rank in World Bank’s ‘ease of doing business’ index

According to the World Bank’s latest annual Ease of Doing Business report, India now ranks 100th among 190 countries.

  • India made a jump in investor protection initiatives, credit availability in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking.
  • Implementation of Goods and Services Tax and host of other reforms, India had been pinning its hopes for a considerable improvement in ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index.
  • The latest development comes as a major relief for the present dispensation, who has been facing mounting criticism over the implementation of the GST as well as demonetisation

Annual report:

  • In its annual report ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’, the World Bank stated that India’s ranking reflects nearly half of the 37 reforms, adopted since 2003, implemented in the last four years. However, the ranking does not take into consideration account business environment post implementation of GST, which subsumed the country of 1.3 billion into one market with one tax and removed inter-state barriers for trade.
  • The GST, which was implemented from July 1, will get reflected only in next year’s ‘ease of doing business’ report.
  • The World Bank report also pointed out that India, which was ranked 130th among the 190 nations, is “one of the top 10 improvers in this year’s assessment, having implemented reforms in 8 out of 10 ‘doing business’ indicators.”
  • This is the first time India has broken into top 100 nations.

What are the Parameters?

  • Among the parameters that witnessed improvement in 2016-17 include India making it faster for start business, reduction in procedures and time required to obtain building permit, easier access to credit, protecting minority investors, ease of paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and making resolving insolvency easier, the World Bank said.
  • The report also pointed out areas where India still lags behind and they include starting a business, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits.
  • With implementation of a series of reforms including enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), India has climbed to fourth position in protecting interest of minority investors, as per the report.

Ease of Doing Business Index:

Overview

  • Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 15th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.
  •  Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.
  • Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business.

Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business:

  • Starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking

Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs finds that entrepreneurs in 119 economies saw improvements in their local regulatory framework last year. Between June 2016 and June 2017, the report, which measures 190 economies worldwide, documented 264 business reforms. Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business and getting credit were the most common in 2016/17.

More Details: http://www.doingbusiness.org/reports/global-reports/doing-business-2018



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