The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 14 January 2021

Farmer’s protests

  • The farmers protest in Delhi have been going on for 100 days now and no solution could be reached. Alternative solutions provided to them were not acceptable to them as well. They were also referred to with various terms like Khalistani and Tukde Tukde gang but this did not seem to affect them.
  • The farmers do not trust the Govt and the farm bills as they believe that it will leave them at the mercy of the corporates. Also, they want MSP to be retained and provided with a statutory backing, predominantly for the Rice and the Wheat crop. This, in the absence of mandi system will help them to survive with the corporates. They are also requesting the Mandi System be retained so that their wherewithal for open trade is safe.
  • The author is of the opinion that the higher level of leadership is not present in the deliberation with the farmers and this makes the farmers have less confidence on the Government.
  • Now the solution is the fact that the Supreme Court has intervened in the matter and halted the bills and setup a four-member committee for the same. The setting up of the committee has attracted resentment, setting up of the committee to solve the issue is one thing and setting it up to solve the problem is another. The committee also has been subject to criticism because of the fact that the members of the committee have shown their resentment against the protests.
  • The committee has to play the role of the mediator and it must have the consent of all the parties, and be secure as a mediator and act fair and in neutral manner.
  • The people in the committee have to be neutral and fair, also the Govt should have interface with the committee since it is the final giver of the solution to this issue.
  • If all these aspects are catered to, then the solution will be reached and various concerns have to be addressed in this manner. The protests will eventually come to an end.

 Supreme Court in the Farm laws

  • The Farm laws have been stayed by the Supreme Court and it has appointed committee to reach a solution regarding the same. This committee has attracted resentment by the people and the farmers due to the fact that it consists of people who have criticized the farmer protests and stood in solidarity with the laws.
  • The committee ideally has to be an open minded one and this will instill more confidence in the people also it plays a key in in influencing the decision of the Supreme Court and eventually the Govt.
  • The farmers are wanting that the laws should be repealed in this regard and apart from the fact that laws consist of some controversial clauses, the legality and constitutional nature of the laws are a matter of debate.
  • It was challenged in the Supreme court vis a vis its legal competence in the Parliament. If you remember the voting scenario in the Rajya Sabha we saw that there was a huge uproar and ruckus as the MPs demanded a physical vote and not a voice vote. The Article 100 of the Indian Constitution is seemed to have been violated here as the majority was not seen in the right manner and a voice vote cannot used to determine its majority.
  • Also the Parliament has legislated on the subject in the state list which is out of their competence and can only be done in special circumstances, this can be termed illegal as well.
  • The Article 122 of the Indian Constitution protects the proceedings of the house from judicial review but not if the laws are ultra vires to the constitution or unconstitutional.
  • The court in this scenario can strike down the laws due to their unconstitutional nature and may invalidate the proceedings due to the above reasons. 
  • It will be a good thing as this will be a win-win situation and will provide space for the Govt to begin the proceedings right from the level of Rajya Sabha where the bills could be referred to the select committee and various stakeholders could be roped in to find various creative solutions.
  • This aspect has to be looked at from not just legal point of view but also constitutional, political and social.

Vaccines and Trust

  • Post the pandemic, it is time for the vaccine to rule the roost and we have two vaccines coming out, COVXIN and COVISHIELD. The question is how many people are okay with taking the shot and how many are not?
  • The COVISHIELD is good to go as it is already being used in the UK but the results of trail 3 for COVXIN is not yet out. Hence the public trust is coming into the picture and it is being questioned.
  • There is lack of transparency and public information about the same which is the most important thing that is needed in this regard also public education and participation is also coming into light.
  • Be that as it may, what are general problems that a vaccination drives suffers from?
    • Lack of trust in the vaccine due to common reasons
    • Insufficient information about the vaccine like how are seeing now
    • Limited health literacy of the people
    • Poor understanding of the vaccine and its quality
    • Lack of trust in public institutions like hospitals and others due to previous experiences.
  • What can be the solutions?
    • Open and participative framework has to be bought to bring trust
    • Engage stakeholders from various communities like science, health among others.
    • A national forum has to be created which will provide people with facts and data.
    • Provide information to the people in right and a decentralized manner so it reached remote of the remotest villages.
    • Local leaders and public figures have to be roped in, so that they can herald this to other people.
    • Media, local networks, self help groups and educational institutions need to take part in this actively.
    • People should be allowed to ask questions, give opinions or even criticize.
  • All in all, we need to know that it is the largest vaccination rollout in the world and the strategy regarding the same has to be clearer than what is at present.
  • There should be a wider ground for public participation in this forum and the vaccine rollout should not be used for political interests, image building and other unethical purposes.
  • It should be done in the favor of the people as science has played its role, now it is the role of the people and the Govt.
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