1) Central Bureau of Investigation: Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has announced that it has withdrawn the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
Need for institutional reforms in the CBI:
- Independence and Autonomy: Establishing the CBI as an independent investigative agency separate from the administrative control of the Central Government.
- Jurisdiction and Coordination: Clarifying its jurisdictional boundaries to avoid conflicts with state police forces and ensuring smooth coordination and strengthening collaboration and information sharing with state agencies to streamline investigations.
- Legal Framework: Reviewing and updating existing laws to enhance its investigative powers, providing statutory backing to investigative techniques, and streamlining legal procedures to expedite investigations and trials.
- Technological Upgradation: Investing in advanced technology and infrastructure to equip the CBI with modern tools for digital forensics, data analysis, and crime mapping.
2) Ceiling on Stocks of Wheat and Pulses: Recently, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has imposed limits on Stock of Wheat that can be held by traders, wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers and processors to manage the overall food security and to prevent hoarding and unscrupulous speculation.
- The Ministry has also imposed stock limits on Tur and Urad by invoking the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 due to same reasons.
Reasons for stock limits:
- Concerns over Wheat Production: Unseasonal rains, hailstorms, and higher temperatures in Feb 2023 raised concerns about the overall wheat output. There are indications of a potential 20% decrease in wheat procurement compared to initial estimate.
- Invoking ECA 1955 for Tur and Urad: Tur prices have risen since mid-July 2022 amid slow progress in Kharif sowing as compared to 2021 due to excess rainfalls and water logging conditions in some parts of major Tur growing states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and MP.
3) Oslo Forum and Afghan Peace Talks: Recently, for the first time, India participated in Norway’s Oslo forum organized for peace talks on Afghanistan.
How should India handle the situation:
- Maintain a Balanced Approach: India should adopt a balanced approach in its dealings with Afghanistan, avoiding excessive alignment or confrontation. While expressing concerns about human rights, terrorism, and the treatment of minorities, India can also explore areas of common interest such as trade, cultural exchange, and regional connectivity.
- Support Afghan Reconciliation: India can actively support efforts for an inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan. This involves advocating for an inclusive political process that accommodates the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in the country.
- Engage with Regional Players: India should engage with regional players, particularly neighbouring countries, to coordinate their efforts and ensure a collective approach to stability in Afghanistan.
- Focus on Development Assistance: India has been a significant contributor to Afghanistan’s development, providing infrastructure projects, education, and humanitarian aid.
- Strengthen International Partnerships: India should work closely with international partners, including the United States, European Union, United Nations, and regional organizations like the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), to collectively address the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Collaborative efforts can help shape a more stable and secure environment in the country.