A) Upheld at The Hague

By winning a preliminary order from the International Court of Justice that prevents Pakistan from carrying out the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, India has won the battle of perceptions among members of the international community. It has achieved its immediate objective in approaching the ICJ, which has outlined provisional measures that enjoin Pakistan to take all steps needed to ensure that Mr. Jadhav, a former naval officer under death sentence in Pakistan, is not executed pending adjudication of the matter. Pakistan should now inform the court about the steps it takes to implement the order. The ICJ judges are clear that these provisional measures are binding and create international legal obligations for the country to which they are addressed. The ICJ has rejected Pakistan’s objections regarding the urgency of the matter. It rejected Pakistan’s own jurisdiction to take up the case and its claim that a 2008 bilateral agreement between the two countries precluded the matter from being raised before the ICJ. At this early stage, the court was unwilling to let doubts over jurisdiction trump the larger, humanitarian issue of Mr. Jadhav’s execution. It noted that irreparable prejudice would be caused if the court did not indicate provisional measures, especially in the absence of any assurance from Pakistan that he would not be executed before the final decision. It may appear to be a complete victory for India on the questions of jurisdiction, urgency and the core charge that Pakistan violated the Vienna Convention. However, this is a preliminary ruling and all issues are open for adjudication at the final stage. For now, the court has taken into account the allegation of denial of consular access, and ruled that prima facie, this brought the issue within the purview of Article I of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention, which says disputes regarding the interpretation or application of the Convention would be subject to the ‘compulsory jurisdiction’ of the ICJ. Further, it has noted that there is no exception to the consular access rule for those allegedly involved in ‘espionage’. As an immediate consequence, Pakistan is now under an obligation to grant consular access to Mr. Jadhav. Though it is theoretically possible for Pakistan to ignore the ICJ’s order and go ahead with its internal processes for the disposal of appeals and clemency petitions, it is unlikely to do so. Such a course of action would undermine its international credibility. India will have to leverage the moral and diplomatic advantage it has obtained through this ruling to help Mr. Jadhav prove his innocence before a civilian court and win his freedom. Pakistan must act responsibly and abide by the fundamental norms of international law.

B) Where the jobs are

News reports over the last few weeks suggest that the Central government may finally be starting to think seriously about jobs. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam recently pointed to the need to achieve higher economic growth, in the range of 8% to 10%, to solve the problem of jobless growth. In particular, he flagged the underperformance of the information technology, construction and agricultural sectors, which earlier served as huge job-creators for the economy. It is worth noting that India added just 1.35 lakh jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors in 2015, compared to the 9.3 lakh jobs that were created in 2011, according to Labour Bureau figures. The rate of unemployment grew steadily from 3.8% in 2011-12 to 5% in 2015-16. Union Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has downplayed the gloomy job situation as being a temporary one. His focus instead is on the new National Employment Policy which, he says, would be released later this year and focus on shifting jobs from the informal to the formal sector. NITI Aayog too has dismissed concerns over jobless growth, saying the real problem is underemployment rather than unemployment. Nevertheless, this month the government set up a high-level task force headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to obtain reliable data on employment trends to aid policymaking. The focus on jobs is obviously vital. However, higher economic growth alone will not solve the jobs problem. Jobs can be created when growth comes from the transition of labour from informal sectors like agriculture to the more formal manufacturing and service sectors. Such extensive growth, however, runs the risk of stagnation once the available stock of informal labour is exhausted — as some Southeast Asian countries found out the hard way in the late 1990s. On the other hand, growth can come about without any substantial job creation in the formal sectors of the economy, but through improvements in productivity. The growth record of several developed economies even after the modernisation of their labour force explains such intensive growth. India should aim at growth that is driven both by improvements in productivity and modernisation of its labour force — especially since better jobs are crucial to improving the lives of millions who are employed, indeed underemployed, in low-paying jobs in the farm sector. Ironically, achieving both those objectives will first require labour reforms — ones that can both boost labour mobility within the formal sector and bring down the barriers businesses face in hiring labour. But incremental labour reforms alone won’t work unless these are combined with a step-up in government spending on asset and job-creating areas such as infrastructure, which in turn inspires private investment. Job-creation needs to be an essential axis along which economic and social policies are formulated.


1) Enjoin

Meaning: To tell someone to do something or to behave in a particular way.

Example: We were all enjoined to be on our best behaviour.

Synonyms: Urge, Encourage.

Antonyms: Compel.

2) Adjudication

Meaning: The process or act of making an official decision about something, especially about who is right in a disagreement.

Example: He is a widely respected judge in his specialist field – the adjudication of planning disputes.

Synonyms: Judgement, Arbitration.

Antonyms: Indecision.

3) Preclude

Meaning: To prevent something or make it impossible, or prevent someone from doing something.

Example: His contract precludes him from discussing his work with anyone outside the company.

Synonyms: Avert, Cease

Antonyms: Aid, Allow.

4) Prejudice

Meaning: An unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge.

Example: Laws against racial prejudice must be strictly enforced.

Synonyms: Intolerance, Bias.

Antonyms: Sympathy, Respect.

5) Clemency

Meaning: Kindness when giving a punishment.

Example: The jury passed a verdict of guilty, with an appeal to the judge for clemency.

Synonyms: Mercy, Lenience.

Antonyms: Ruthlessness, Strictness.

6) Leverage

Meaning: The action or advantage of using a lever.

Example: Using ropes and wooden poles for leverage, they haul sacks of cement up the track.

Synonyms: Influence, Advantage.

Antonyms: Weakness.

7) Diplomatic

Meaning: Acting in a way that does not cause offence / involving diplomats or the management of the relationships between countries.

Example: Surely a diplomatic solution is preferable to war.

Synonyms: Polite, Clever.

Antonyms: Indiscreet, Tactless.

8) Abide

Meaning: If you can’t abide someone or something, you dislike them very much.

Example: I can’t abide her.

Synonyms: Obey, Observe.

Antonyms: Flout, Reject.

9) Downplay

Meaning: To make something seem less important or less bad than it really is.

Example: The government has been trying to downplay the crisis.

Synonyms: Lessen, Soften.

Antonyms: Develop, Excite.

10) Stagnation

Meaning: A state in which growth or development stops.

Example: The Chancellor’s policy was to expand into new markets in order to avoid economic stagnation.

Synonyms: Calm, Status.

Antonyms: Boom, Rise.

11) Substantial

Meaning: Large in size, value, or importance.

Example: She inherited a substantial fortune from her grandmother.

Synonyms: Important, Extraordinary.

Antonyms: Broken, Insignificant.

12) Indeed

Meaning: Really or certainly, often used to emphasize something.

Example: Indeed, it could be the worst environmental disaster in Europe this century.

Synonyms: Actually, Naturally.

Antonyms: Doubtfully, Indefinite.