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With ‘Sabka Vikas’, there must be ‘Sabka Nyay’, says PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expanded his government’s ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ motto to include ‘Sabka Nyay’, assuring free legal aid for the vulnerable sections of the society.

I believe in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and with that there must be ‘Sabka Nyay,” Modi said, urging that the spread of legal awareness should be merged with awareness about judicial institutions.

“Along with legal awareness, there must be institutional awareness. People must know systems that are in place.”

Addressing the legal fraternity on Legal Services Day, Modi said people were unaware of services rendered by the judiciary and legal in promoting legal literacy and securing the rights of the most disadvantaged sections of the society.

He admitted that he himself was not aware of this dimension of judiciary until now.

Appreciating the more than 8.5 crore cases settled by Lok Adalats since the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) was constituted on December 5, 1995, Modi said they should be part of research projects for students in the national law universities so that they understand their functioning during the course of their education.

He said students should do research on Lok Adalats in different areas and submit their project reports with suggestions.

Pointing out that no institution can remain in a situation of status quo, Modi said everything must change as status quoist situation was fraught with stagnation.

He gave the instance of the successful implementation ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yogna’ where 40 percent people were brought within the fold of country’s banking system by opening their accounts with zero balance.

Recalling the contribution of the NALSA in spreading legal awareness, Justice T.S. Thakur, who will succeed Chief Justice H.L. Dattu as Chief Justice of India on December 3, said: “No system, no society, no polity can survive if you don’t ensure justice to poor.

“It (justice to poor) is upholding the constitutional mandate.”

Justice T.S. Thakur said the settlement of cases through Lok Adalats was not just a win-win situation for parties to the dispute, it also reduced the burden of many cases as matters settled before Lok Adalats cannot be challenged.

He dwelt on the seven areas on which the NALSA will now focus involving women and child trafficking, drug abuse, securing the rights of unorganised workers and mentally sick, effective implementation of poverty alleviation schemes and child friendly legal services.

Justice Anil R. Dave, chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC), pointed to the ever increasing burden of pending litigations in courts, saying one of the reasons was less number of judges.

While in the US, there are 104 judges for every 10 lakh population and 75 judges for 10 lakh people in Canada, Justice Dave said that in India, it was just 15 judges for that many people.

“That is one of the reasons for our arrears,” he said.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said every lawyer’s contribution to free legal aid must be counted before designating him as a senior lawyer and subsequently considering him for appointment as a judge.

In his message, Chief Justice Dattu said: “A robust and effective legal system, that fearless upholds the rule, of law is one of the foundational pillars of democracy.”

“It is of equal importance that the legal system itself is democratised, which would ensure that every citizen of our country has equal access to the legal system – equally swift, equally effective and equally impartial.”

Pointing to the “diversity and complexity” of the society, Chief Justice Dattu said that while great strides have been made in breaking down area old barriers but many sections of our society continue to be vulnerable to abuse and exploration in various forms.

“It is essential that these vulnerable sections be provided equal and effective access to Justice” and the same is the mandate of the Article 39A of the constitution, he said.

(IANS)

Next Story

Are There Enough Jobs In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Led India?

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

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VOA
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. Pixabay

For people streaming in from rural areas around New Delhi, the first stop is a collection of busy city intersections where contractors select daily wage labor from the crowds of young and old waiting every morning to get work.

Many standing at these intersections say they get work for barely half the month. “I have the ability to work hard. I never turn down any work. But I would prefer to get a cleaner, permanent job,” says 29-year-old Tek Chand. “The problem is one day I have money to buy rations, the next day I don’t.” Like millions of others, he migrated from his village three years ago to seek work and a better life in the city.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center, arrives with his cabinet colleagues on the opening day of the budget session of the Indian Parliament, in New Delhi, Jan. 31, 2019. VOA
As India prepares for general elections on April 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being attacked by opposition parties for failing to make good on a promise he made in 2014 to create millions of jobs for India’s huge young population. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party rebuts that criticism and says India is generating new opportunities as it becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies.

Job creation is a massive challenge for a nation with one of the world’s youngest populations — half the country’s 1.3 billion people are under the age of 25.

Recent data shows that joblessness has soared to record high levels. Opposition parties have made joblessness one of their principal election planks and have accused the prime minister of failing the estimated 8 to 10 million young people who enter the workforce every year.

The independent Mumbai-based Center for Monitoring Indian Economy estimates that unemployment reached 7.2 percent last month and that 11 million jobs were lost in 2018. With a working population of 500 million, that translates into more than 30 million people waiting for jobs. An unpublished official survey that showed unemployment at a 45-year-high has also been widely quoted by Indian media.

India's main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019.
India’s main opposition Congress party President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a public meeting at Adalaj in Gandhinagar, India, March 12, 2019. VOA

On the campaign trail, the head of the main opposition Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as Modi’s principal challenger, talks repeatedly about a “jobs crisis.”

“Our government is refusing to accept that we have a massive crisis and potential disaster in front of us,” Gandhi told a group of university students in New Delhi recently, many who will be first time voters.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party dismisses concerns about the job data saying it does not capture the real picture because it focuses only on the 15 percent of Indians who work in the formal economy. It points to a recent industry report that jobs have been created in the medium and small sectors.

The BJP says millions of people have found work in the transport and infrastructure sectors or as delivery boys in booming online businesses as India becomes one of the world’s fastest growing major economies. They point out that the issue is not jobs but livelihoods, and point to millions of people who are not counted in job data.

They are self-employed people like cab owner Chain Pal Singh. As the app based taxi business boomed, Singh’s friend, who operated a cab, persuaded him to quit his job and take out a loan to buy a car. His decision has paid off — in four years he has earned enough money to invest in two more cabs.

Singh says he is much better off than when he held a job. “I used to earn about $225 dollars a month. Now in some months I can earn almost double that amount. Its beneficial for me.”

Following defeats in key state elections in December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told parliament last month, “This truth has to be acknowledged. The unorganized sector has 80 to 85 percent of the employment.” He pointed to millions of commercial vehicles sold in recent years and questioned if they had not generated jobs for drivers.

Economists admit India’s large informal sector has made it difficult to calculate employment, but they say joblessness or underemployment remains the country’s biggest challenge. While scarcity of jobs is not a new problem, two disruptive economic steps in the last two years exacerbated the problem.

In 2016 a sweeping currency ban meant to tackle the problem of illegal cash, dried up jobs as it created huge currency shortages, particularly in small businesses and in the countryside. A poorly-implemented tax reform known as the Goods and Services Tax a few months later was another blow to businesses.

Meanwhile, Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which aimed at making India a manufacturing hub like China, has made a slow start and sluggish labor-intensive sectors cannot cater to growing numbers of job seekers.

“We can’t keep patting ourselves on the back that we are the fastest growing economy specially if all these other indicators are not growing at a rate that will absorb the growing labor force,” says Santosh Mehrotra, a human development economist at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

“More young people are entering the labor force, millions want to leave agriculture but can’t find construction work because construction activity has slowed down because the investment rate in the economy has slowed down.”

Also Read: The Mental Health ‘Epidemic’: About Six in Ten Teen Say, They Feel A Lot Of Pressure To Get Good Grades

He points out that exports, another sector that created a number of jobs has also not been performing well.

As the campaign heats up, the opposition will try to keep the spotlight on jobs, or lack of them, even as the BJP tries to focus on national security following a recent confrontation with Pakistan. The final verdict on whether to give Prime Minister Modi a second term in office will be delivered by millions of voters when they cast their ballots. (VOA)