Dear Reader,

India has been traditionally a challenging ecosystem for doing business, with red tape, archaic rules and corruption in plain sight sapping energies and synergies. In the recent past, the government has made a concerted effort to bolster the ‘ease of doing business’, resulting in India jumping 14 places to the 63rd position, as per the 'Doing Business 2020’ report (now discontinued) of the World Bank.

As a further measure to provide a fillip to ease of business, this year, the Union government brought in legislation in the form of the ‘Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023' which decriminalised forty-two “minor offences” that it said would protect businesses from prosecution for petty transgressions.

However, The India Forum says that a “chaotic pre-legislative process” and a less than par parliamentary format, which restricted consultations to government’s bureaucrats, has meant that the Act has “been hijacked by powerful lobbies” to leverage it for minimising their accountability.

The Government’s less-than-optimum processes and understanding of issues has also afflicted its "cloud policy”, announced a decade ago. Then, the government benchmarked the ‘Cloud’ as the preponderant enabler, especially in designated ‘critical Information’ sectors, like health, energy, power, transport, telecom, etc., – areas which have a clear impact on national security and India’s geo-strategic positioning.

However, MediaNama cites a study by a New Delhi-based think tank to point out that there is a certain coyness in using the Cloud for safe storage, as there is a misconception in India that data is safest in physical servers within the premises of the entity.

This is a myth that needs to be debunked, as the massive data breach at one of India’s premier institutions, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) recently, brought home. Contrary to the fiction, not only are ‘Clouds’ more secure as they incorporate the latest security controls but also keep abreast of the latest threats, and are more in sync with regulations, other than being always on and remotely accessible. This is what needs to be internalised and drummed down.

Meanwhile, an unemotional state’s apathy towards the displaced, continues to plague India and its citizens. In April this year, in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in the national capital, a demolition drive was undertaken in the Churiya Mohalla near New Delhi’s 14th century Tughlakhabad Fort. Over 2,000 homes were razed. Six months after the event, when Article 14 visited the site, it was only rubble and displaced families they saw. With nowhere to go, the first and immediate casualty is the children of the displaced families who are now out of school, and an education.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the ‘first among equals’ in the hierarchy of the Supreme Court. In recent decades, this status has been underlined and accentuated because of the Chief Justice’s role as the ‘master of the roster’ and the office’s prerogative to constitute constitutional benches of the apex Court.

This may be both a happy tiding and at the same time a point of concern. While the powers of the CJI confer on the incumbent the powers to right a wrong – for instance, reintroducing Constitutional benches – there is, however, the anxiety that an all-powerful Chief may also play to the galleries and be prone to pack the benches with judges who are in line with his or her own ideological positions. Supreme Court Observer discusses the points in case.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Jan Vishwas Act, 2023: Symbol of a Broken Legislative Process

The India Forum says that what would have been a very useful legislation for bolstering ease of doing business in India -- the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Act, 2023 -- has been eroded by vested interests and “powerful lobbies”.

Read Here

Towards Greater Cloud Adoption In CII Sectors

The government’s drive to push the adoption of the ‘Cloud’ for rendering government services and protecting other critical components of the economy, which has a significant impact on national security, has been met with lethargy and scepticism. MediaNama cites a recent study to tell us what afflicts the effort.

Read Here

Families In Distress, Children Drop Out Of School, As Hundreds At Site Of Largest Delhi Demolition Struggle To Get By

About two thousand homes were razed to the ground in Churiya Mohalla near New Delhi’s 14th-century Tughlakhabad Fort in April this year. Article 14 finds that six months later, the site lies in rubble and the children of the displaced families have been forced out of their schools and basic necessities.

Read Here

The “disproportionate” power of the Chief Justice of India

Is the increasing power of the Chief Justice of India’s Supreme Court a happy augury or does it have a downside? Supreme Court Observer discusses.

Read Here

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