Daily Editorial Analysis for 2nd July 2021

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(Source: The Hindu, Indian Express, The Economic Times, PIB, etc.)

(2ST July 2021)


Relief and recompense

Why in News

  • The Supreme Court has prodded the Union government to perform its statutory duty of fixing a compensation for the families of those who lost their kin to the COVID­19 pandemic.

Key Points

  • The order comes close on the heels of a slew of directions on registering the country’s vast unorganised workforce and its army of inter­State labourers on a national database and ensuring that none of them went hungry.
  • On the issue of making an ex-gratia payment to those affected by the pandemic, a notified disaster under the Disaster Management Act, the Centre initially took the untenable stand that it lacked the financial resources to compensate for every COVID­19 death.
  • However, it later admitted that it was not the adequacy of resources that made it avoid any compensation, but rather its decision to prioritise expenditure in response to the pandemic.
  • Unlike more frequent disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes and floods, a pandemic that has hit every country is not a one­time calamity, but an ongoing and prolonged phenomenon.
  • However, the Court has rightly found that this was not reason enough for the Government to evade its duty to include ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life in its guidelines for “minimum standards of relief” to those hit by the disaster.
  • The Court correctly did not fix a compensation amount for each death, leaving it to a policy decision by the National Disaster Management Authority and the Centre.

Significance of Court’s order

  • The Court dealt with the need for comprehensive registration of all inter­State and unorganised workers in the country.
  • The Supreme Court, while disposing of Suo motu proceedings on the miseries of migrant labourers, has now fixed a deadline of December 31 this year for all States and Union Territories to complete the process.
  • The Centre has been given a deadline of July 31 to make available a portal for its National Database for Unorganised Workers (NDUW) project so that it may be used for registering unorganised workers across the country.
  • However, the Union government, which was directed to make such a common module available to the States as far back as in August 2018, claimed the work on developing the portal was affected due to the fallout of the pandemic.
  • The Court has pulled up the Union Labour Ministry for its “apathy and lackadaisical attitude” and directed that the process of registration should begin by July 31.


  • The verdicts open up the possibility that the inter­State and unorganised workers will at last be able to reap the benefits of welfare laws enacted for them.
  • These interventions signify the rejuvenation and assertion of a court seen as somewhat reticent until recently.


MSMEs & climate cause

Why in News

  • There is increasing evidence that climate change poses severe risks for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs contribute 30 per cent of GDP and are the largest employers after agriculture.
  • According to the GHG Platform India, industry contributes about one-fourth of total GHG (Green House Gas) of the country.
  • Infrastructural damage, regulatory uncertainties, financial risks, market fluctuations, supply chain disruptions and reputational damage are some of the potential risks posed by climate change to businesses.

High investments

  • However, climate action involves high initial capital investments in renewable energy, technology replacements for energy efficient measures, waste and water treatment systems, etc.
  • While large corporate houses have the financial muscle to invest in these areas, MSMEs are confronted with several financial constraints.
  • Limited awareness and technical wherewithal, unsupportive regulatory regime, and complex environmental norms create further challenges for MSMEs.
  • Environmental regulation imposes an unfair financial burden on MSMEs. Offending industrial units are often unaware about the environmental consequences of their processes or lack the institutional support to implement climate smart interventions.
  • The depleting stock of fossil fuels and other raw materials and the associated escalating prices pose operational risks to MSMEs making it crucial to switch to cleaner fuels and resource efficient practices.
  • For MSMEs, a facilitative regulatory framework with incentives could include:
  • Increase access to climate finance at low cost to help MSMEs adopt climate smart technologies and measures quickly.
  • The recently sealed pact between the European Investment Bank and SBI, promises to provide €100 million into equity finance for small businesses focused on climate change and is expected to encourage MSMEs to implement innovative, climate friendly alternatives.
  • Leverage the training and advisory services of organisations such as the CII­ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development to identify material issues across Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) dimensions.
  • This will help MSMEs to prepare respective comprehensive frameworks that are commensurate with reporting frameworks such as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Business Report & Sustainability Report (BRSR), etc.
  • Tailor policies and regulations to create incentives for MSMEs to participate in the SME Climate Hub, a global initiative that has been launched as a one-stop­shop for SMEs to cut carbon emissions and build business resilience.
  • Nineteen Indian MSMEs have committed to science-based targets for climate action, till date.
  • Create synergies between state governments, industry associations, and larger enterprises to establish sector­specific eco­industrial parks.
  • The opportunities of adopting a low-carbon path are immense for businesses of all sizes.


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