The News Editorial Analysis 10 October 2021

The News Editorial Analysis 10 October 2021

The Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

The right balance: On Shaheen Bagh and the right to protest-

  1. Long after Shaheen Bagh became a potent (powerful)symbol of democratic resistance against a discriminatory law, the Supreme Court has ventured to hold that any such indefinite blockade of a public pathway is unacceptable.
  2. And that the administration ought to take action to remove “encroachments (intrusion)and obstructions” placed during such protests.


  1. The Court’s assertion was made even while “appreciating the existence of the right to peaceful protest against a legislation”.
  2. On the face of it, the Court’s view arises from a straightforward balancing of two contrasting rights — the right to protest and the right to free movement.
  3. However, a moot (arguable)question is whether the manner and content of a protest should always conform (satisfy) to forms deemed acceptable by the law.
  4. Protests, by their very nature, are not always rooted in legality, but rather derive legitimacy from the rightness of the underlying causeand the extent of public support.
  5. In many cases, they are against laws and regulationsperceived as unjust.
  6. A flash strike, a spontaneous road block, a call for a complete shutdown, or a campaign to fill up jails by defying prohibitory orders — each of these is not, in a strict sense, legal; but, at the same time, it is an inevitable part of the culture of protest in a democracy.
  7. In this case, the Court rightly notes that the administration neither negotiated with the protesters in Shaheen Bagh nor tried to clear the scene.


  1. Any finding that a peaceful protest had continued too long, or in a place deemed inconvenient to others, should not encourage the administration to seek early curbson the freedom of assembly.
  2. After the pandemic led to the end of the protests, there was little left for adjudication, and the Court’s remarks might come across as a gratuitous(unjustified)offering to administrators looking to de-legitimise protests.
  3. Following the earlier judgment that any ‘bandh’ is illegal, courts routinely stayed sector-wide strikes.
  4. Another aspect of the present ruling is the assertion that protests should be confined to “designated places”.
  5. Such judicial certitude (certainity)may end up undermining the larger democratic need for public expression of dissent in a manner and place that would be most effective.
  6. While notified demonstrations are subject to regulationsregarding time and space, it may not be possible to extend the same to spontaneous, organic and leaderless protests driven by a cause.
  7. The ruling should not form the basis for suppressionof such protests by the force of the state.
  8. Both principles — the need for balance between the right to protest and the right to free movement, and the rule that protests should take place at designated spots — are salutary(beneficial)from an administrative point of view.
  9. But these cannot become unquestionable axioms (principle)to the point of rendering any and all protests that cause inconvenience to others the target of the strong arm of the state.

 CONCLUSION: Sudden, organic protests should not automatically invite the state’s strong arm.

Saving lives under the long shadow of the pandemic-

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has ‘impacted populations around the worldin multiple ways.
  • The fear of being infected and anxiety about an uncertain present and futurehave impacted mental health severely.
  • Lockdowns have led to isolation, in turn heightening anxiety and causing depression in societies, particularly in vulnerable communities’.


  1. While the novel corona virus pandemic is ‘unprecedented in its scope and scale, previous studies suggest an elevated (heightened)risk of suicide during such times’.
  2. There is some evidence that ‘deaths by suicide increased in the US during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic, and among older people in Hong Kong during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic’.
  3. However, it has been noted that a rise in suicides in the wake of the pandemic is not inevitable(unavoidable).
  4. In fact, preliminary information from New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom suggest lower suicidal behaviour at least in the early phaseof the pandemic.
  5. Before the pandemic, India’s progress as one of the fastest growing economies led to large paradigm shifts in the daily lives of its citizens.
  6. Major lifestyle shifts led to the rise of many lifestyle disordersin the last decade.
  7. Mental health disordersare one of the disorders of most concern, which have been swept under the carpet of stigma(shame) and discrimination.
  8. Many suicides are related to psychological disordersand distress.


  1. The pandemic’s massive toll on human well-being — in a physical and mental sense— has completely changed the way people live.
  2. Necessary precautions such as social distancing, limited interactions and mask usage have become the new normal, with huge social, physical, economic and mental consequences.
  3. Unfortunately, India has the dubious distinction of reporting the first COVID-19-related suicide in the world, on February 12, 2020.
  4. While the pandemic has affected the entire country, case incidence rates are the worst in States such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
  5. A worrying overlap reveals itself as some of these States are also major contributors to suicidal deaths per year— Maharashtra (18,916), followed by Tamil Nadu (13,493), West Bengal (12,665), Madhya Pradesh (12,457) and Karnataka (11,288).
  6. Dire(severe)socio-economic conditions arising from the pandemic — mass migration, unemployment and economic distress — make at-risk groups even more vulnerable during these times.


  1. While progress on a COVID-19 vaccine is promising, uncertainty as a result of the pandemic is here to stayfor the foreseeable future.
  2. The fear of getting infected, coupled with a lack of knowledge and the economic fallout has created a new level of stressnot seen by many before.
  3. This is compounded(made difficult)by isolation from the community, causing high levels of mental duress(stress) and ultimately, COVID-19-related suicides for many.
  4. This situation is the worse among vulnerable populationswho are susceptible to greater risks of infections, such as-
    a) health-care workers,
    b) infected people,
    c) the elderly, migrant workers,
    d) those from resource-poor backgrounds,
    e) women facing domestic violence,
    f) individuals with compromised(weak) immunity,
    g) and those suffering from physical or psychological problems.
  5. A case series of newspaper reports of suicide in India during the early lockdown phase found that suicide was associated with the fear of infection, social isolation and pandemic-related economic concerns.
  6. The findings reveal that one in four of these deaths occurred among hospitalised patients, demonstrating the need for extra care and vigilance during institutional treatmentfor either COVID-19 or any other illness.
  7. The sudden closure of alcohol/liquor outlets resulted in an increase in alcohol-related suicides.
  8. As we continue to fight the novel corona virus, there is a growing need to make mental health and suicide preventiona priority.
  9. At an individual level, any early signs of poor mental health such as a sudden change in behaviour, substance use, anxiety, disturbed sleep and difficulty in communication should not be ignored.
  10. While the feeling of uncertainty during this pandemic is normal, being informed and limiting ourselves to authentic sources of information and reducing exposure to distressing news is a good mechanism to help a person cope with the situation.

Remembering Jayaprakash Narayan, the people’s hero

Ravi Shankar Prasad writes: Even though power was within his reach many times, he preferred to work at the grassroots, strengthening India’s democratic foundation.

The News Editorial Analysis 10 October 2021

Jayaprakash Narayan was an outstanding leader of modern India. October 8 marked the 42nd death anniversary of the man who remains a “Lok Nayak” in popular esteem and is affectionately called JP. He was a freedom fighter of great courage and one of the pioneers of the socialist movement in the country. He galvanised support for the Bhoodan movement, worked relentlessly for the poor and the underprivileged and, above all, became a symbol of the national conscience in the fight against corruption, anti-democratic conduct and repressive practices of Indira Gandhi’s government in the 1970s. He was a man of great intellect and ethical values and standards. Power sought him many times but he remained immune to it, because he wanted to work for the people at the grassroots and strengthen democratic foundations.

Hiked bus fares dampen Dasara festivities in AP.

The increased travel expenditure is putting extra financial burden on homebound people this Dasara festival as private travel operators are charging exorbitant rates.

The increased travel expenditure is putting extra financial burden on homebound people this Dasara festival as private travel operators are charging exorbitant rates.

The Corona virus pandemic dampened Dasara festivities last year and now people are all set to celebrate Dasara due to huge fall in Covid-19 infections and people working in other places and states are returning to their native places to celebrate the festival. There is huge demand for bus tickets on October 12, 13 and 14 for Dasara and on October 17 for return journeys. The APSRTC is operating 4,000 buses to cater to the people this Dasara season.


Many people belonging to Andhra Pradesh work in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore and in other states. Further, the locals of north Andhra districts also work in Vijayawada, Guntur and other cities and these populations return to their native places during major festivals Sankranti, Ugadi and Dasara. The commuters are deploring the doubling and tripling of fares by private bus operators this season. Commuters B. Raju and D. Raghu said private bus operators stopped online sale of bus tickets and started a manual system under which they were collecting double and triple fares according to the demand, calling it a flexi-fare system. They further deplored that this robbing turned a bane to them to return native places and put a huge extra financial burden during Dasara.The transport department officials stated that the department conducted a meeting with private transport operators and instructed them not to charge extra fares. The officials warned of stern actions against violators and said checks would be conducted. Meanwhile, APSRTC which was barred from running special buses for the festival due to Corona is now operating 4,000 special buses between October 8 and 18 to ensure hassle-free journey for passengers during Dasara. Buses will be operated to and from Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. APSRTC vice-chairman and managing director Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao said 1,383 of the 4,000 buses were planned from Hyderabad, 277 from Bangalore, 97 from Chennai and remaining 2,243 buses for clearance of traffic within the state.
Dwaraka Tirumala Rao explained that 1,800 buses were operative from October 8 to 14, and remaining 2,200 between October 15 to 18. He said 50 per cent extra would be collected on fares for Dasara special buses.

Responding to the complaints about APSRTC collecting higher fares during festivals, he defended that these special buses were run with almost no passengers on one way and even with one-and-half times fare, APSRTC still incurred losses. He appealed to the people to understand the problem and encourage APSRTC bus services this Dasara season.

 The APSRTC is operating 1,800 buses during pre-Dasara time and 2,200 bus services in post-Dasara time with the highest number of total 830 bus services operating from Krishna district alone.


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