Question – What is liberalism and where does it stand today? Elaborate.
Context – Interview by Russian President Mr. Putin.
What is liberalism?
- Liberalism as the word suggests is based on the idea of liberty.
- The supporters of liberalism or the liberals focus much on individual rights (i.e. the right of each individual), they believe that the state/ government exists for protecting the rights of the individuals but also believe that at times the state/ government can itself become a threat to liberty.
- Keeping this in mind there are three types of liberalism: economic, political, and social.
- Economic liberalism means free competition, globalisation and minimum interference by the state in the economy.
- Political liberalism stands for political and civil liberties and the belief in progress and the autonomy of the individual.
- And social liberalism stands for protection of minority groups, and such issues as LGBTQ rights and multiculturalism.
Why in news?
- The Russian President Valdimir Putin, in an interview to the Financial Times stated that liberalism had ‘become obsolete’ i.e. out of date. He further said that the views of the liberals regarding refugees, migrants, LGBT issues etc is now being rejected by an overwhelming majority of the population even in western countries.
- He was particularly critical of political and social liberalism.
- This also led to a response from the President of the European Council, Mr. Donald Tusk, who opposed the view saying that if someone thinks that liberal democracy is obsolete i.e. outdated, they also think that freedom is outdated and also rule of law and human rights is outdated.
- But the view of the Russian President is not something exclusive. We can see an increasing belief that centralised political systems work better for political stability and economic progress than western liberal democracies.
The state of liberalism now-
- The state of economic liberalism at present:
- The view of Liberalism has been the dominant socio-political ideology in the West since the end of the Second World War, where it has been regarded as the norm but even in the west the liberal social-political ideas are fading. As evident by support for Brexit in the United Kingdom.
- Globalisation had played an important role in economic liberalism by allowing the market forces to determine everything. But the recession of 2008 changed the view towards economic liberalisation.
- The state of social liberalism
- Also economic liberalisation with the movement of cheap labour to different countries led to the problem of crisis of identity and culture and also a loss of sense of community among migrants.
- And this has not only led to a crisis of identity among the migrants, but it has also created a fear among the native populations in the western world about the maintenance of their majority in the region as the number of migrants continue to grow.
- The anti-liberal stance at present has become a synonym of anti-migrant stand among the western world.
- A lot of this has been contributed by leaders like Mr. Trump in America who uses the immigration and minority issues, with their racial undertones, to bolster his core support.
- In European countries such as Greece, Germany and Italy that have been entry points for the recent wave of asylum seekers, attitudes towards immigrants have hardened since 2014. Poland and Hungary do not favour the admission of refugees even fleeing from violence and war, and nearly all European Union members are convinced that the EU has badly mismanaged the question of admission of refugees, which in turn has led to questioning the very basis of Europe’s integration project.
- And if we talk of social liberalism in the context of LGBT rights a lot of people around the world strongly disfavour it.
- Liberty in Russia:
- In Russia, Mr. Putin believes that western style liberalism doesn’t suit Russia because Russia according to him has a unique civilisation where priority is given to social interests even if they violate individual liberty. He says that western style liberalism prioritises individual rights over social rights but it doesn’t suit his style of governance. So if there are protests then the government has the right to suppress it because due to these protests travel and tourism gets affected and hence the interests of the society are compromised.
- Liberty in China:
- The same view is shared by China. The desire for liberty is recognised as universal, but the freedom to protest in unauthorised demonstrations is seen as a step by protestors to wilfully shatter the economy and tourism as in Hong Kong. so the government has the right to suppress it in social interest.
- So overall Russia and China both believe that unauthorised demonstrations open the way to foreign interference and ‘colour revolutions’.
- Till present, no country has found the golden mean between free-range liberalism and statism. (i.e. no country has found any means of balancing liberalism with statism i.e. a system where the state has substantial control over political and economic matters).
- Liberalism needs urgently to justify itself by addressing issues of inequality and the loss of a sense of community.
Question – Analyse toxic masculinity and how it affects the society at large. (250 words)
Context – the growing incidence of violence in the society, especially against women.
- Let us look at three separate incidents – first, that of a minor girl in her teens, beaten mercilessly by a village elder. She dared to elope with her young lover. Second, the growing incidents of mob lynching, and, third, three Dalits being thrashed over allegations of theft.
- One thing that can be observed in all these incidents is the absence of any women among the perpetrators (who are carrying out the crime).
- We cannot deny that women commit violence too: they can be aggressive and brutal, particularly to other women. But undoubtedly, the culture that provokes such violence is of machismo i.e. a strong aggressive masculine pride.
- This culture plays a central role in the recurrence, justification, and glorification of violence.
Understanding the roots:
- Being a boy in India is a privilege. But the idea is manhood has to be acquired by the boy as he grows up.
- It is tied less to the body and more to socio-cultural ideologies and practices.
- A boy must demonstrate that they are real men, manly, rather than womanly men. Otherwise this masculinity can be lost.
- And the best way that they try to demonstrate that is by beating up other men, carrying out violence and threatening women to be submissive or else face their wrath.
- These are seen as masculine acts and if one ceases to perform these masculine acts or gives up beliefs that constitute them, one slips out of manhood and becomes effeminate.
- This is toxic masculinity, that believes in subordinating others to assert one’s manliness.
Features of this model of manlihood:
- First, aggression. The belief that aggression is natural and desirable in men. A ‘real’ man is eager to pick up a fight. If he does not, he is told to wear bangles on his wrist.
- Second, the belief that men must be tough, muscular and unemotional; they must not be easily perturbed, must not grieve and cry.
- Third, the belief that men must be ambitious and ruthless. Once they set a goal, it must be achieved regardless of consequences to others. Since winning is all-important, other men striving to achieve the same goal are rivals to be eliminated.
- Fourth, this kind of manlihood does not allow men to consult others, negotiate with the weak, or settle for anything less than what they want. The idea that men must take independent decisions and it should not be questioned by anyone and women in particular. Once a man speaks, it is final.
- This model of manhood lies on men having control. They rule over women and their children.
- In short, part of their freedom lies in having dominion over others, particularly women and ‘servants’.
- And most importantly these ideas must be shown as a contrast to the features that are inherently associated with women like being irrational, bereft of self-restraint, crying easily, emotional, lacking judgment and impartiality.
- Women are physically and mentally weak, and therefore must be dependent on and protected by their male superiors. And a boy who shows any sin of these feminine characteristics is ripped of his identity of being a man and is branded effeminate.
- In this model of manhood, violence proves manliness.
- These are all characteristics of toxic masculinity!
- From generations these ideas have been passed on young boys and in most men this idea becomes firmer with time.
Masculinity against freedom of others:
- In this kind of masculinity, they see that ‘real men’ being superior are the custodians of morals. And as its custodians they must restore the order when it is disturbed even if it means curtailing the freedom of others.
- For example, if a girl has decided to go against the wishes of the village elders and marry some other man, she had violated the honour of the community, she deserved the severe punishment meted out publicly and directly by an older, wiser man of the same community.
- Likewise, Dalits and cultural aliens (Muslims) must know their designated place in society. Any attempt to become equal must be put down.
- To men with such ideas of masculinity, the argument that they must not take law in their own hands falls on deaf ears. Because they do not consider anything that comes in between them and their fundamental moral order. Be it law or anything else.
- The central feature in the culture of toxic masculinity is domination, which is deeply incompatible with a freedom-sensitive, egalitarian ethic.
Conclusion/ way ahead:
- The idea that violence is glorious and committing violence shows that one is more masculine needs to be prevented from being passed on to our future generations.
- Education is not seen as a means to get jobs but as a means of becoming better humans, these kinds of violence in the society will keep on increasing.
- People should also be made aware of what lies in our texts and traditions. For example, for the Buddha, compassion was not a feminine virtue but a key moral value for all humans.
- Mahavira tried to inculcate the ethical significance of ahimsa not merely towards all humans but every living species. Asoka realised the futility of social and political violence and advocated harmonious coexistence among different religion-philosophical groups. The early Dharmasutras proposed that knowledge is not the exclusive preserve of professionally learned men (Brahmins).
- Men must be taught that success of women does not mean their subordination.
- The idea that our freedom fighters fought for equality and freedom. Not of men alone but for everyone.
- The so-called feminine features like compassion, tolerance, showing emotions must be encouraged rather than shunned as effeminate.
Question- India is a diverse country, keeping this in mind, discuss the issues of federalism and coexistence. (250 words)
Context- the recent turn of events and demoting the status of Jammu and Kashmir.
- India is a diverse country with several religions, cultures, ethnic groups staying together in harmony. But from time to time most linguistic and ethnic groups aspire for a State of their own.
- And militants in different parts of the country have taken up arms against the government and against other groups to achieve this particular objective.
- If we look back we can see some trends like after the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many countries weathered away and many new States emerged in their place.
- This usually happened through processes of civil war, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
- But in this rush of State-breaking and State-making around the world, especially in Europe, what happened was a number of groups who were aspiring for having a State of their own got a new lease of life. There were many seperatist movements across the world including India.
- Some examples are- the Nagas and the Bodos in India, the Chechens in Russia, separatist movements in Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Moldova (Trans-Dniester), Baluchistan in Pakistan, West Papua in Indonesia, the Oromos and the Somalis in the Ethiopia-Somali region, the Kurds in Turkey, Sudan, the Tamils in Sri Lanka, South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and the rise of protest politics in the Kashmir Valley.
What is community?
- Community means a group of people who are considered as being one or as a unit because they share some common characteristics, like the same language, or the same religion, or same nationality and so on.
- For example when we say we are Bengali or we are Tamil or we are Punjabi or we are Indian we share a sense of oneness, of belonging together.
Why is it so important?
- In the 1990s, scholars realised that individuals do not only seek economic benefits. Individuals need to have an identity; they need community whether that of language, or religion, or memory, or shared traditions.
- Community is so important because it gives an individual a sense of identity. As individuals it creates a sense of belonging and togetherness.
- This similar sense of belonging of many individuals creates a community.
- Some people associate with their community feeling very strongly, while others are less rigid about it. This differs from individual to individual.
- But the loss of a sense of community breeds trauma; leads to struggle; and can even lead to a civil war.
The coexistence of nation state and community:
- A nation state or a nation is not one single entity. It is made up of several communities (or states) who come together and form a nation.
- Thus any attempt by the nation state at any point of time which has threatened the identity of community or any homogenising influence has resulted in protests and at times violent means like suicide bombings, grenade explosions, attacks on government buildings and installations, indiscriminate murders, assassinations, arson and crossfire. For example, in 1971, when East Pakistan declared itself independent of Pakistan, an estimated 3 million people died in the war between the new state of Bangladesh and the parent country.
- These kind of wars cannot be resolved by military means.
- The only way to deal with such disorder and the innumerable tragedies is to strengthen federalism. A decentralised political system enables participation. It also protects minority identities. This was the precise logic that governed the linguistic reorganisation of States in India in the 1950s. This was the precise logic that gave to J&K, along with other constituent States of the Indian federal system, regional autonomy.
- Mature democracies do not try oppress diversity or homogenise minorities. Diverse cultures expand and enrich our grasp of the complexities, and the dilemmas of the human condition.
- A monochromatic society is, by definition, soulless and bare. Stripped of the excitement of learning new languages, acquaintance with new values, familiarity with new cuisines, literature, music, art, sculpture, and ways of conceiving the world, life becomes dull. And a society fails to progress.
- It also risks peace and stability.
- The best way to protect diversity is through the grant of regional autonomy. If we abolish diversity we land up with a sense of longing, loss, and ultimately resentment.
- With Article 370 abolished, what needs to be done is that the people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be given some other form of autonomy, so that they do not feel this sense of loss and longing.
- The fact that federalism is the soul of a diverse State must always be kept in mind.
Question – In the wake of some parts of the country going through water crisis and the other having flood, is transporting water from the flooded areas to the water scarce areas a viable solution? Discuss ( 200 words)
Context – the Chennai water crisis and Assam and Bihar floods.
Note : not many points are given in the article but these are the main highlights.
- It doesn’t rain evenly across India. For example – when Chennai was going through a severe water crisis, flood took several lives in Assam and Bihar.
- Last month the ‘Chennai water train’ as it was called carried 2.5 million liters of water for the water parched people of Chennai. This is called the ‘water-tain’ model where water is carried from water excess areas to water scarce areas which are in dire need of water.
- But setting up the infrastructure to transport water from areas with water surplus to areas that are water deficient is costly. The cost mainly occurs due to the cost of ferrying water through thousands of kilometres of pipeline and gradients, often involving pumping stations which require a lot of energy.
- So, it is not much of a technical problem as it is of money and also at times politics.
- But if cost is the main concern then there is something that we can learn from the American, French and Greek examples.
- For example – in the U.S., the city of Las Vegas planned to use excess water from the Mississippi river through a multibillion-dollar project. French engineers have planned to help water-starved African nations by hauling icebergs to their shores. Greece has used the mega Spragg trash bag to haul (carry/drag) massive amounts of water.
- Some of these plans have been successful. And have shown a very good idea.
- The idea of transporting water over water ie. to transport water from water surplus areas to water scarce areas not through land (pipeline) but by using water mode of transport.
- This mode of carrying water has been implemented with success in the Caribbean, especially during the drought of 1983-84 in Antigua.
- The advantage – The advantages of transporting water over water include the fact that one Horsepower of energy can move 150 kg on road, 500 kg on rail and 4,000 kg on water. Similarly, one litre of fuel can move 24 tonnes per km on road, 85 tonnes on rail and 105 tonnes on inland water transport.
- But there are some disadvantages like the loading and unloading facilities are expensive to construct and, in India, most rivers don’t have the depth and breadth to accommodate large barges all through the year.
- It will also require the dredging of rivers, which is exorbitant and might destroy natural ecosystems.
- Finally, though India recently forged ahead with its inland waterways development plans by investing in the National Waterways in the Northeast, the bigger problem is that there are too few large industries located near river belts.
- Also, the impetus for investment in such purposes simply doesn’t exist.
- We have seen the advantages and disadvantages of one technological innovation i.e. water-train model and the alternate viable water transport through inland waterways but there must be other technologies that can be used. More research needs to be done in this area.
- Desilting of lakes and rivers (concomitant with effective garbage/plastic disposal); extensive, state-mandated rainwater harvesting; desalination and, finally, recycling of water can make a considerable difference to solve such water related problems in both waters scarce and water surplus areas.
- But overall it is the will that is most important.
Question – The horrific act of sexual misconduct has become so regular that it has it has escaped our conscience. Discuss. (250 words)
Context – the rising instances of sexual violence in the country.
- Conscience – means a moral sense of right or wrong that guides a person’s behavior.
- We as Indians can boast about the success of the success in our space endeavors, increase in tiger population, being the highest receiver of remittances and so on. But some things still remain despite all our achievements that make us rethink about where we stand and our future.
- One such thing is the rising act of sexual misconduct against against women.
- There are some who argue that this sharp rise in statistics of violence against women and children in India is on the account of better reporting and accounting of crimes, as well as more legislation.
- The passing of the POCSO Amendment Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha, creating 123 fast track courts for women is a step in the right direction but we need to think in more depth to understand the underlying causes.
Why is it happening? Is there a connection between the present economic and socio-political landscape in India and the rising violence against women?
- If we look at the present scenario the answers become more clear.
- There is a disproportionate sex ratio, poverty, unemployment, confusing sociocultural signals and the other side of social media all leading to a frustrated and pathologically vulnerable brain.
- We tend to categorise the people who commit such acts of violence and sexual misconduct against women as psychopaths but there is a need to see what creates such psychopaths. Apart from the above stated reasons there are other factors which need mention.
- The Indian society’s attitude towards the treatment of women. In India women are mostly treated as liabilities and identified socially only as someone’s daughter, wife, mother, sister. So we can understand how the dependencies are spelt out in the identification itself. They barely have an identity of their own. Their identity is defined by their roles in the families.
- There is also the narrative that with more women showing up in public sphere there is a clash of ‘traditional culture’ with modern values. But Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, Kavita Krishnan, in the International Journal of Human Rights, argues that it is a misplaced narrative. It is the insidious caste, capitalistic and political environment, that pivots itself in the name of India’s texts and scriptures to excoriate women, that leads to their subjugation, for their selfish gain.
- There is a ‘cycle of violence’ that begins even before the birth of a girl child- India has one of the highest incidences of female foeticide. Then as a young child, a girl is part of an inconvertible landscape where there has been a 336 per cent rise in sexual crime against children in the last decade. As a young woman she is in the most unsafe country in the world, according to a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, which recorded around 40,000 rapes a year. Then as an adult she is subjected to honor killing and trafficking. As a widow or a single mother, she is ostracised in a patriarchal society.
- This is combined with the insensitivity, reluctance, and hostility of police, legal medical fraternity, coupled with the fact that most sexual violence happen in the private sphere and the assaulters are known to the victim, creating an increasingly intimidating environment in she has to think and rethink before moving forward with justice.
- The courts in the country are severely back-logged.
- The worst reason is what psychologists call ‘emotional contagion’ for a rapist, where he sees others committing the crime and gets inured (accustomed) to it, thus, himself taking committing the crime.
- As a nation on a whole, so often we encounter the horrific act of sexual misconduct in our consciousness that it has escaped our conscience.
- Healthy sex education in schools so that small children are not exploited
- Providing means by which socially and emotionally marginalised men are given the opportunity to be identified and rehabilitate themselves. This is very important before it leads to further tragedy.
Question – focus on India’s deepening gender imbalance and what are its consequences. Explain (250 words)
Context – The Sample Registration System (SRS) data released in July for the period of 2015-17.
The present scenario:
- In India female foeticide to increase at an alarming rate.
- According to the yearly statistical reports, the sex ratio at birth (SRB)has been dropping continuously since Census 2011, coming down from 909 girls per thousand in 2013 to 896 girls in 2017.
- In 2016 period, of the 21 large states only two – Kerala and Chhattisgarh- had an SRB of above 950 girls per thousand boys.
- Thus, at present 5% of the girls are ‘eliminated’ before they are born.
- NITI Aayog has acknowledged the seriousness of the problem in its latest report.
- It will be more clear if we follow the National Family Health Survey- 4 data.
National Family Health Survey Report:
- The data released by the National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS-4) states that of 2lakh reported births in 2010-14, the distribution of birth rate at home, government hospitals and private hospitals was 21%, 52% and 27% respectively and corresponding SRB figures were 969, 930 and 851.
- So, we can see that private hospitals have disproportionate excess of male children births.
- Even in government hospitals the SRB is declining. The worst regional SRB was for Northern India (885 girls per thousand boys). The picture was somewhat better for Central India (926) and Southern States (940) while the performance of Eastern (965) and Western India (959) was even better. For the Northeast it is 900.
- Seeing the predominant number of male births in private hospitals, even when the total number of births were less, it can be said that despite criminalisation of sex determination of the foetus, it is being practised and more so by the educated and the rich who can afford care at private hospitals.
- The focus of the government when dealing with the issue related to infants have been mainly focused on expanding special neonatal care units (SNCU), it is also important to deal with the issue of ‘missing girls’.
- With the increased number of sexual crimes against women, a declining sex ratio is even more alarming.
- There is a bias in India over first-born child – the SRB among first children were 927, meaning 2.5 percent of first-born girls are eliminated before birth. This was not the case historically.
- Stringent implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act (PCPNDT Act), is worst in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, there is a massive expansion of ultrasound clinics even in remote areas. Practically anyone who wanted to determine the sex of the foetus was able to get it done illegally. The need is that the Central Supervisory Board established to see the implementation of the PCPNDT Act, meets regularly and come up with robust plans to stop this heinous practice.
- The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has to ensure that private hospitals don’t profit from discrimination against girls before birth.
Question – Reflect on how the controversy surrounding Tipu Sultan can teach us a way to deal with conflictual pasts? Discuss ( 200 words)
Context – The scraping of ‘Tipu jayanti’ by the Karnataka government.
- Controversies and conflicts regarding interpretation of the past is not something new.
- But each time it happens it makes groups polarised and each trying to prove each other wrong.
- They fail to see that there is nothing called historical ‘fact’. It is all interpretation based on the writings of other men.
- In the wake of the recent controversy, we can use it as an opportunity to understand how to make people realise this.
- One way can be establishment of a ‘Museum of Conflictual pasts’ where people will get to know about various dimensions associated with a particular controversial historical personality. For example, Tipu in this case.
- There is two sides associated with Tipu- one which see Tipu as hero who had several virtues like the first early modern ruler to put in place a form of etatisme (the authoritarian control by the state) in the absence of a social class who could which could undertake the radical economic changes at the time; a person with a lust for acquiring knowledge, who left behind a marvellous library of books; whose spectacular military success stunned the British; and whose spectacular military inventions – particularly the rocket – which pillaged the Wet; or as someone who was on a continuous quest for innovation.
- On the other hand the other side sees Tipu as someone having a zeal for conversion; his massacre of populations he considered hostile; and his introduction of Persian as the state language at the expense of Kannada.
- So, in this case instead of a bitter debate if there was a museum of conflictual pasts, people, especially young people, could go there- read the conflicting sources about the historical personality, both which praise and criticise – and draw conclusions of their own.
- This would also generate critical thinking.
- They would question why the colonial accounts have shown Tipu as a tyrant or a villain and why some sources have praised him.
- An analysis of this kind will help them come to terms with India’s many conflictual pasts, to teach people understanding and appreciation rather than revenge and retribution.
- This is the way in which we can deal with the historical wounds.
- Karnataka’s example provides limitless possibilities of such interactions and for refashioning the relationship between history and memory.
- We must develop an environment of historical temper that acknowledges the inconvenient truths of the past
Question – What is deep sea mining? Analyse its various aspects in the context of India.(200 words)
Context – India’s ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ is all set to be launched this year.
What is deep sea mining?
- The deep-sea mining refers to the extraction of minerals that lay on the ocean beds or sea beds.
- The sea bed is a repository of large amounts of black potato-shaped polymetallic nodules comprising copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, iron and rare earth elements.
- They are key to making modern gadgets, from smartphones and laptops to pacemakers, hybrid cars and solar panels.
- As their supply is dwindling fast onshore – more and more countries, including manufacturing powerhouses like India and China, are eyeing the ocean.
Who is the main supervisory authority?
- The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organisation established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is the supervisory authority. It allots the ‘area’ for deep-sea mining.
India’s Polymetallic Nodule Programme so far:
- India was the first country to receive the status of a ‘Pioneer Investor’ in 1987 and was given an area of about 1.5 lakh sq km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) for nodule exploration.
- India did a detailed survey and identified an area of 70,000 Kms² where there were maximum chances of finding these polymetallic nodules.
- With more research India identified the best potential mining area to 18,000 sq km which will be the ‘First Generation Mine-site’.
- So India signed a contract in 2002 for 15 year exploration period with International Seabed Authority (ISBA).
- This period ended in 2017 and in September 2016, India signed a 15 year contract with the ISA to continue exploring polymetallic sulphide.
- At present Dr. Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, announced on July 27 that the ₹8,000-crore plan to explore deep ocean minerals will start this year from October.
Which are other countries in the race?
- Apart from the CIOB, polymetallic nodules have been identified from the central Pacific Ocean. It is known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.
- According to the ISA’s website, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and also some small islands such as the Cook Islands, Kiribati have joined the race for deep sea mining.
What are the environmental impacts?
- According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures.
- The waste water released during processing of ores may carry sediments and heavy metal; undersea noise will disturb movement and breeding patterns of the benthic communities and there are also concerns about oil spills from vessels.
- At present there are only ‘exploration’ guidelines released by the ISA. There are no ‘exploitation’ guidelines i.e. how much can be extracted etc.
- The deep sea beds are one of the most unexplored areas of the world. There can be unique unexplored species and they can be extinct even before they are introduced to science.
- So, any deep-sea mining project needs to carefully handled and there should be extensive discussions with scientists and environmentalists before exploring and it should not be done in a hurry.
Topic- Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh
- Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh was reported as the best in terms of management practices and M.P. has the highest number of Tigers in India.
- Even though the tiger population has increased to around 3000 compared to 2,226 in 2014, this increase is largely due to the fact that in 2014, only tigers who were above 1.5 years of age were counted but now even the younger tigers were taken into account.
- So even though the numbers are positive, they do not reflect the whole story.
- The infrastructure and planning needed to further development. Due to poor planning and infrastructure many tigers are moving out of their protected habitats to villages and are being poisoned or beaten to death or are being electrocuted or hit by vehicles or trains.
- For example, just two days after the report on the number of tigers was released, a tigress and her cub were found dead near Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Shortly after, another cub was found dead in Umaria in the same State. Earlier in July, there were the poisoning-caused deaths of a tigress and her two cubs in Chandrapur, near the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra.
- These may seem as stray incidents with no real pattern but the new state policies might lead to increase in such cases. For example, relaxation norms to allow for a widening of highways and railway networks are the new threat, adding to the old ones of retaliatory poisoning and poaching.
- For instance, the National Highway 7 (NH7), which connects Pench and Kanha tiger reserves, has just been widened. Tigers, as well the animals they prey on, find it hard to cross roads.
- Apart from highways, railway and irrigation projects are coming up in tiger reserves, and the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project will submerge 100 sq. km of Panna Tiger Reserve.
- Growth needs to be thoughtful and in consultation with the forest department and environmentalists.
- Highways and railways should not be expanded to encroach into tiger areas
- Irrigation projects should also avoid the areas.
- Cost-benefit analyses need to take into account the needs of wild animals.
- Also, authorities need not assume that animals would know what needs to be done, for example, Madhya Pradesh forest department, authorities-built underpasses meant for wildlife through NH7. But a tiger was recently seen climbing the barrier to cross the road.
Question – in the context of the U.S.-China trade war, focus on the need of an India-E.U. economic partnership. Discuss (200 words)
Context – the U.S.-China trade war.
The recent development:
- Both India and E.U. are facing the heat of the U.S.-China trade war.
- This makes it necessary for both the countries to look beyond the U.S. and China for smooth trade flow and to not be too dependent on any one or two countries.
- Both India and E.U. know the need of cooperating with one another, especially now.
- As a result, last month, negotiators from both sides met in Brussels to discuss better favourable terms of trade between them.
The present scenario:
- First, there is a collapsing global trade architecture, rising protectionism and a new emphasis on bilateral FTAs (Free Trade Agreements). In the current scenario of rising protectionism and questions being raised on the WTO, having bilateral FTA with different countries has become very necessary to ensure free trade in situations of uncertainty. India is the only major economic power that doesn’t have FTA with any of its top trade partners, including the EU, the U.S., China and Gulf economies.
- Second, E.U. is focusing a lot on FTAs with countries. India doesn’t have an FTA with EU. India is still banking on its MFN (most favoured nation) status.
- Third, India’s economic advantages with under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) is facing rising competition from Pakistan or Sri Lanka, who enjoy GSP+ benefits. So, India is struck in a ‘gray zone’ because without preferential FTA tariffs or GSP+ status, India will struggle to keep exports competitive in Europe (its largest trade partner where 20% of its exports land up).
- India is fully aware of its limitations in India-E.U. relations. It is holding frequent talks with the E.U. on agriculture to intellectual property.
- New areas like e-commerce are also being discussed because India’s position on data privacy is not that different from the EU’s.
- India can delay talks on topics like data localisation and differences on the tax moratorium issue that can cause a rift in relations and it can rather commit on liberalising other areas of trade.
- Also, the EU is also willing to improve relations with India for its own specific reasons. Like collapse of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and concerns about excessive economic reliance on China.
- So, it has decided to give India concessions on labour and environmental regulations. These were the two main obstacles in India-EU trade.
- But India must look beyond mere economic cost-benefit analysis, India must also approach an EU FTA from a geo-strategic perspective.
- It should also focus on multi-stakeholder participation on a variety of new technological domains, from regulating artificial intelligence to 5G networks.
Note 1. : Today’s other editorials apart from ‘Democracy and its discontents’ are either political, have insufficient content or have already been covered earlier.
Note 2. : Even the article ‘Democracy and its discontents’ doesn’t have much direct content. These are the main highlights with additional research:
What is democracy?
- Going by the basic definition, democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is basically a system of government in which those in power to take decisions are elected by the electorate.
- So, we can say that it is the people who indirectly take the decisions through their representatives.
- There are two types of democracies – direct democracy and representative democracy. Further there are three systems of democracies – parliamentary, presidential and mixed.
- And just like any other form of government democracy too has its limitations. There is no perfect system of government.
What is meant by ‘state of democracy’?
- The state of a democracy means how effectively is the democratic system functioning in a country or the world at large.
- So, it describes the functionality of a democratic state.
What does the article argue?
- The article argues that democracy is not just a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It needs much more than that.
- It needs an architecture of institutions (i.e. a properly layered set of institutions).
- These institutions provide the vertical pillars on which a democracy stands i.e. the legislature, executive, judiciary and the press. But there are also the horizontal layers that help to strengthen these pillars and to bind them together so that they are stable.
- It says that there are three horizontal layers of a democracy. And all these three layers must work in harmony for the state of democracy to be stable.
- At the bottom layer is the public space and the media. In this public space people must be free to speak up if they want to. At the top is the layer of constitutional institutions like the parliament, courts, etc. And the third are the institutions that lie in between the public sphere and formal government institutions. These are the unofficial or semi-official institutions. For example, NGOs, civil society groups etc.
- It says that in the popular understanding of democracy too much attention is given to the vertical pillars but the horizontal layers don’t get much focus.
- But the horizontal layers are fundamental to maintain harmony in the society.
- For example, if the parliament (here indicating the executive), which is a vertical pillar, becomes more powerful then it will lead to a majoritarian democracy. In this kind of democracy, the government with a majority, especially a large majority, can turn out to be authoritarian. It can deny the minorities their rights.
- In this case the people who are dissatisfied by the decisions can go to the courts but the thing to be kept in mind is that the courts are to interpret the laws in the light of the constitution but not to make or change the laws.
- Some might suggest a solution as conducting referendums but referendums of the entire electorate just give an illusion of good democracy- that people have been consulted. Only a small minority determines how all must go. For example, in the case of Brexit referendum 52% wanted Britain to leave the EU while 48% wanted to stay.
- So, referendums become another problem of a majoritarian democracy rather than a good solution.
- So, this leads to democratic governance slipping into ineffectual log-jams, and in this case, it is tempting for the majoritarian government to close down the public space at the bottom, or to impose a majoritarian view from above to strengthen the government.
- And this is not how a healthy democracy should function.
Way forward/ what should be done?
- So, the article argues, what is needed is to strengthen the horizontal institutions, mainly the middle layer of institutions within democracies that lie between the open public sphere and formal government institutions.
- It also says that at present neither social media nor the government gives much space to such institutions to form and operate.
- For a healthy democracy, it is imperative for India to build a strong intermediate level, unofficial or semi-official institutions for non-partisan deliberation amongst concerned citizens. The government must give more space for such institutions to form and operate.
GS-2 Mains Question – Critically analyse India’s doctrine of No First Use (NFU) Nuclear policy.(250 words)
Context – Tweet by the Defence Minister.
What is NFU doctrine?
- In 2003, the doctrine of India’s Nuclear policy was officially released in the public domain.
- It stated clearly that India will not be the first country to use a nuclear weapon in case of a conflict. Nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or Indian forces anywhere. This was called “a posture of No First Use”.
- However, it clearly warned that India’s nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
- Also, that a nuclear retaliation will not be only in case of a nuclear attack but also in case of an attack by biological or chemical weapons against India or Indian forces anywhere.
- Apart from this, there were several other points in the doctrine of which the most prominent ones are as follows:
- India will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
- Any decision to conduct a retaliatory attack will be taken by the civilian political leadership (i.e. not the army) through the Nuclear Command Authority (i.e. a political council headed by the Prime Minister).
- Also, that India is committed to the goal of a nuclear weapon’s free world through global, verifiable, and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.
- India and China are the only countries that adhere to a doctrine of NFU.
Why is the doctrine of NFU adopted?
- India is surrounded by two nuclear equipped powers, Pakistan and China, with Pakistan continuously talking of its nuclear power and the possibility of a nuclear attack. So, it was adopted to bring stability into a volatile environment.
- Also, the adoption of the nuclear doctrine came soon after Operation Parakram (2001-02), when the threat of a nuclear exchange on the subcontinent had figured prominently was at its peak.
- In this scenario the public adoption of the doctrine was also an attempt by India to restate its commitment to restraint and to being a responsible nuclear power.
The outcome of adopting the NFU doctrine:
- This policy largely worked in India’s favour.
- It created a positive image of India in the international community.
- It served as a basis of India’s application for- being given a waiver in 2008 to the Nuclear Suppliers Group to allow it to carry out nuclear commerce with the group,
- Also, to be given membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group and its ongoing attempts to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- The statement by the Defence Minister does not mean India is abandoning the NFU but what it does is, it creates ambiguity. And ambiguity in turn leads to miscalculations. With a neighbour like Pakistan this kind of ambiguity is not desired.
- Also, it needs to be clearly understood that adhering to the NFU doctrine does not symbolise weakness because India is committed to a devastating response to nuclear first use. Rather this stance underscores (highlights) India’s understanding that nuclear weapons are meant primarily to deter (i.e. prevent a nuclear war).
- There is a need for developing a deeper understanding of the reasons why a policy was adopted in a certain way rather than going by personal sentiments.
Question – In the context of the PM’s visit to Bhutan, analyse the India-Bhutan relations. Is there any concern in relationship which india need to solve it ? (250 words)
Context – PM’s visit to Bhutan.
- Bhutan is a neighbouring country and acts as a buffer State between India and China.
- The relations between India and Bhutan are not new. It can be traced back to the ancient times and the origin of Buddhism in India and its spread to Bhutan is a good testimony.
- But the formal diplomatic relations between both the countries began after the establishment of a special office of India in Thimphu in 1968.
- In 2018, the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan was celebrated.
- Before this the basic framework of India-Bhutan bilateral relations was the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949 between both the countries.
A special relationship:
- There is a special understanding between both the countries with reflects in having open borders, close alignment and consultation on foreign policy, and regular, open communications on all strategic issues.
- Bhutan’s unequivocal support to India on strategic issues has meant a lot to India on the international stage and at the United Nations.
- Also, Bhutan’s leadership has not hesitated in opposing threats to India; for instance, the former King’s efforts in 2003 to drive out ULFA rebels or more recently, support for India’s stand against Chinese troops on the Doklam plateau.
- In turn, India has consistently provided assistance to Bhutan’s planned economy, to constructing its highest revenue earner of hydropower generated electricity, and then buying the electricity generated.
- This has ensured a symbiotic and mutually beneficial base to the relationship.
- This special relationship has been sustained by the tradition of regular high-level visits and dialogues between the two countries.
- India is Bhutan’s largest trade partner.
Some examples of bilateral ties:
- Border Management- There is a Secretary-level mechanism on border management and security related matters. There is also a Border District Coordination Meeting (BDCM) Mechanism between the bordering States and the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) to facilitate coordination on border management and other related matters.
- Hydropower Cooperation- hydropower projects in Bhutan are an example of win-win cooperation, providing a reliable source of inexpensive and clean electricity to India, generating export revenue for Bhutan and cementing our economic integration. The most recent projects being the Punatsangchu I (1200 MW), Punatsangchu II (1020 MW), and Mangdechu (720 MW).
- The sale of hydropower accounts for the largest share of the country’s GDP. It is also the most important export item contributing about 40 percent of Bhutan’s total exports. India’s support in the development of the hydropower sector in Bhutan is the centrepiece of Bhutan-India economic cooperation and is one of the main pillars of bilateral cooperation.
- Water Resources- There is a Joint Group of Experts (JGE) on flood management between India and Bhutan to discuss/ assess the probable causes and effects of the recurring floods and erosion in the southern foothills of Bhutan and adjoining plains in India and to recommend appropriate measures to both Governments.
- Educational and Cultural Cooperation A large number of college going Bhutanese students are studying in India. There are also various scholarships provided to the students like – Prestigious Nehru-Wangchuk Scholarship is being awarded to deserving and talented Bhutanese nationals to undertake studies in selected and premier Indian educational Institutions.
- India-Bhutan Foundation India- it was established in August 2003 during the visit of His Majesty (then Crown Prince) to India with the aim of enhancing people to people exchanges in focus areas like education, culture, scientific and technical research and environment protection.
- Nehru – Wangchuck Cultural Centre- there are vibrant cultural exchanges between the two countries. Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre in Thimphu is abuzz with cultural activities around the year. Regular classes for Indian classical music, tabla and yoga are being organized in this centre.
- Finally, Indian Community- there are about 60,000 Indian nationals living in Bhutan (floating population), employed mostly in the hydro-electric power and construction and road industry.
- However, India should not take the relationship with Bhutan for granted. In the past few years, ties came under a strain over India’s sudden change in its power purchasing policy, rigid rates and refusal to allow Bhutan to join the national power grid and trade with third countries like Bangladesh.
- There are also other concerns like Bhutan’s worry that too much trade, transport and tourism from India could put its environment at risk.
- India’s plans for a Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal grouping have been delayed.
- A Bhutanese proposal to levy entry charges on Indian tourists could cause differences.
- Also, earlier generations of Bhutanese students never looked beyond India, but in recent years young Bhutanese have shown a preference for education destinations in Australia, Singapore and Thailand.
- India also needs to remain alert to strategic powers which are trying to build closeness with Bhutan, as is evident from the high-level visits from China and the U.S.
- Bhutan’s glacial lakes pose a threat not only to Bhutan but also India, India needs to adopt adaptation strategies
- Power Tariff agreements need to be renegotiated to give more space to Bhutan’s demand
- India needs to be more flexible when it comes to Bhutan’s sovereignty. Bhutanese need to be given more space in their diplomacy w.r.t Chinese
- In BBIN, India needs to adopt ASEAN’s Minus X formula and wait till Bhutan’s concerns are met
- Standby credit facility extended to Bhutan need to be reassessed as per current exchange rates and economic stability
- India can collaborate with Bhutan to open up an international financial services centre which will diversify Bhutan’s economy
- Bhutan’s glacial lakes pose a threat not only to Bhutan but also India, India needs to adopt adaptation strategies.
- India has recently amended rules to allow Bhutan to sale electricity to Bangladesh using Indian transmission grids which will be a game changer in bilateral relations.
- India and Bhutan ties are time tested ones. Both need to work together to build an economically integrated and culturally bonded Bilateral relationship.
- In a world of growing options, it remains in India’s and Bhutan’s best interests to make each other’s concerns a top priority
Question – Is the U.S.-China trade war paving way for new protectionism? Explain(200 words)
Context – the trade war between the U.S. and China.
- The United States that had once been a champion of globalisation and liberal trade is increasingly turning away from its own agenda.
- It is aimed to stimulate domestic production and to reduce the country’s trade deficit.
- In the wake of this protectionist approach multiple countries have been targeted like rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, but the prime focus of this trade and technology war has been China.
The development of this trade war:
- The development of this China-specific tariff aggression can be seen in a trail of developments.
- It began with the U.S. charging 25% tariff on certain goods manufactured in China whose total imports in the U.S. were worth $50 billion, out of the total goods that the U.S.imports from China. The total value of which is $540 billion in July 2018.
- Soon another set of items imported from China whose total worth was around $200 billion were subjected to an addition 10% tariff on what they were already paying.
- And later in May this year, this additional 10% was raised to 25% tariff.
- This month another set of items imported from China were charged to pay an additional tariff of 10% on what they were already paying. And there are fears that this may be raised to 25% gradually.
- China had responded at each step with raising the tariffs on goods manufactured in the U.S. being imported to China.
- So both the countries are engaged in this game of raising tariffs and counter tariffs. U.S. has also shut off its business relations with individual Chinese firms such as Huawei, on grounds of national security as it has alleged it of theft of intellectual property from U.S. firms.
- And it is also trying to influence its allies.
- The U.S. states that the prime reason for raising tariffs on certain Chinese goods is the trade deficit that U.S. has in its trade with China. U.S. has a trade deficit with China of around $420 billion.
- S. claims that this trade deficit is the result of currency manipulation by the Chinese authorities where they deliberately allow their currency (yuan) to depreciate vis-a-vis the dollar to support its export.
- But what the U.S. fails to see is that even if it is facing a trade deficit at face value, there are U.S. based companies manufacturing in China , the worth of which was $222 billion in 2015.
- These figures are not calculated in trade deficit calculations. According to one estimate, more than half of the goods imported by the U.S. from China are manufactured by the U.S. companies based in China.
- That is, it simply means that the U.S. trade deficit with China is the result of the off-shoring associated with globalisation, rather than to Chinese policy favouring its own firms.
- Given the importance of China as a global manufacturing hub, this has led to disruptions in global value chains and production networks.
- De-globalisation may at present be a distant prospect, but the fact that the world’s leading superpower is willing to disrupt globalisation provides both an example and the justification to other governments that want to do so.
- The G-20 countries other than the U.S., have tried to persuade the U.S. to strengthen free trade and not go for this new protectionist policy. The International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and a host of other international institutions have warned of the dangers of the new protectionism.
- All point out that the tariff aggression by the U.S. is the result of a misguided administration.
- But given the rise of protectionist sentiments among the people all over the world, especially in the U.S., where the farmers along with U.S. industrial workers feel that they had been left behind in the neoliberal years and the elites in developed and developing countries alike captured all the benefits of growth and this increased inequality, leads to governments to adopt populist policies to stay in power.
- The idea that the benefits of whatever growth occurred under the neoliberal regime would trickle down to the poor and lower middle classes was shown to be false.
- This is not exclusive to the U.S., there is also the rise of “right-wing populism” in Europe which is the result of slow growth and rising unemployment. They share the same sentiments about globalisation.
- All this mixed with the rhetoric of anti-immigrant and racism is creating a toxic mix and giving rise to anti-globalisation sentiment and right-wing populism.
- The global organisations have to take the lead and make people aware.
Question – Are the U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan a major headache for India? Explain( 250 words)
Context – The U.S. deciding to pull out its forces from Afghanistan and the suicide attack at a crowded wedding hall in Kabul on Saturday night.
- Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 before losing power to a U.S.-led coalition.
- Following the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the US, President George W. Bush blamed on Osama Bin Laden for carrying out the attack and demanded that the Taliban, who were de facto ruling the country, hand over bin Laden. But the Taliban refused.
- So, on 7 October 2001 the U.S. launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in Afghanistan with the help of the United Kingdom.
- The two were later joined by other forces, including the Northern Alliance (a group which was in opposition when Taliban was ruling over Afghanistan). The Northern Alliance had been fighting the Taliban in the ongoing Civil War since 1996.
- By December 2001, the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies were mostly defeated in the country, and a conference was held in Bonn where a new Afghan interim administration was formed by taking members mostly from the Northern Alliance. The new Afghan interim authorities elected Hamid Karzai to head the Afghan Interim Administration. The United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the new authority by providing security to Kabul.
- After 2002 this interim administration became the Afghan Transitional Administration. A nationwide rebuilding effort was also made following the end of the totalitarian Taliban regime.
- But the Taliban maintained its presence in the rural areas.
- Tensions escalated between 2007-2009 and this was followed by more troops being sent to Afghanistan.
What is the peace deal?
- It is the deal between the U.S. and Taliban based on which the U.S. has decided to pull out its troops from Afghanistan.
- The crux of the deal is that the U.S. is ready to pull troops from Afghanistan in return for assurances from the Taliban that they will not allow the Afghan soil to be used by transnational terrorists such as the IS and al-Qaeda. It will be left to the Taliban and the government to have their own peace talks and settle differences. Arguably, a peace deal or at least a ceasefire between the Taliban and the Kabul government would allow both sides to rechannel their resources to fighting terrorist groups.
The inherent problems:
- The Taliban’s intentions are not clear. What if the Taliban, which ran most of Afghanistan according to its puritanical interpretation of the Islamic law from 1996 to 2001, turns against Kabul once the Americans are out?
- What if the country plunges into a multi-party civil war as it did after the Soviet Union pulled out in 1989?
- Also, with the recent attack, the IS has demonstrated an ability to survive and strike in Afghanistan despite the U.S.’s heavy air campaign in the east.
- These are the unanswered problems that need to be addressed. Without addressing these concerns a sudden withdrawal can be gravely harmful.
- Earlier in Afghanistan it was a two-way conflict between the Taliban and the U.S. backed government. but now it is a three-way conflict in Afghanistan — the government, the Taliban insurgents and the global terrorists (mainly the IS).
- While the U.S. is striking a peace deal with the Taliban, the power dynamics is Sharple changing.
- The government in Kabul, backed by the U.S. and the international community, is fighting to preserve the existing system, which despite its faults, at least offers a semblance of democracy. But the government is a failure in ensuring safety and security of the people. The Taliban, which controls the mountainous hinterlands, wants to expand its reach to the urban centres. The IS, which has declared a province (Khorasan) in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar, has emerged as the third player.
- The global terrorist groups have emerged as a new threat and the situation is getting more and more complex.
- It is a worry that the United States is prioritizing a military withdrawal over a complex political settlement that preserves some of the social, political, and humanitarian gains made since 2001. It remains unclear what kind of political arrangement could satisfy both Kabul and the Taliban to the extent that the latter fully abandons armed struggle.
- Ideally, the international community should have strengthened the hands of the Kabul government against all kinds of terrorists, before seeking a settlement with the insurgents. They should have helped alter the balance of power in the conflict. But it does not seem likely now. And Afghanistan is in a free fall.
Implications for India:
- A weaker American presence in the Islamic republic is widely expected to embolden local militant groups such as the Taliban. A gradual descent into a civil war is likely as various regional stakeholders try to reshape the battlefield in accordance with their own strategic priorities.
- If the Taliban strengthen its grip in Afghanistan, its influence could subsequently spread to neighboring Pakistan and Kashmir, which would be bad news for India.
- The Taliban might join forces with Pakistani militants to create safe havens for terrorists targeting India.
- First and foremost, India must retire its current hostile attitude toward the Taliban so that informal talks can be held.
- Second, the huge goodwill that India has among the people of Afghanistan needs to be harnessed to ensure that the country remains friendly towards it, not a haven for hostile elements.
Question – With the ‘great power rivalry’ back in international politics, should India take a ‘Far East’ turn to deepen friendship with Russia?Analyze (250 words)
Context – PM’s visit to Vladivostok.
The present scenario:
- We know after the Second World War there were two great powers- USA and Soviet Union. But after the disintegration of the S.U, the United States became the unchallenged superpower. But in the present scenario great power rivalry is back in international.
- This time the prime players are USA and China, though there are other powers involved. This has made global politics more and more unpredictable. With the U.S. increasingly moving towards ‘deglobalisation’ and China is promoting ‘globalisation 2.0 with Chinese characteristics’, India and Russia must increase their areas of cooperation and trade in order to protect themselves against disruptive forces and make their ties sustainable.
The Far East:
- In this context the Far East can play an important role in strengthening their ties.
- At present, the Far East mainly refers to the Asian part of Russia that is less developed than its other parts that lie in the European continent.
- In September Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Vladivostok, a city in Eastern Russia (Far East), as the guest of honour at Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). Here he will announce India’s plans to invest in Russia’s Far East, especially in Vladivostok.
- Vladivostok has a special historical significance for India because when the U.S. and British Navies tried to threaten Indian security during the India-Pakistan war in 1971, the Soviet Union dispatched nuclear-armed flotilla from its Pacific Fleet based at Vladivostok in support of India.
- This is the perfect place to announce India’s plans of investment in Eastern Russia and begin a fresh drive to strengthen their ties.
- At present Russia’s relations with the West is not so good and it started mostly after the 2014 Crimean crisis. So, the Russian President Vladamir Putin is trying to build a good relationship with the Asian countries and India is very important for Russia.
- So Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a part of his ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy, is trying to strengthen relations with Asian countries (especially India) by inviting foreign countries to invest in this region.
- The reasons being- First, is the idea of an ‘Indo-Pacific region’. Russia feels that India is working with the U.S. in the Indi-Pacific region mainly to counter China’s assertive maritime rise in the area, and this closeness with the U.S. has left Russia concerned. Second, Russia is also apprehensive that the U.S. would exert pressure on India’s foreign policy choices and that it could lose a friendly country and one of the biggest buyers of Russian military hardware. Thirdly, Russia also wants to make sure that China does not become a hegemon in the Eurasian region and is hence deepening cooperation with countries like India, Vietnam and Indonesia.
- Here, the Far East has the potential to become an anchor in deepening India-Russia cooperation; more so considering that New Delhi has expanded the scope of its ‘Act East policy’ to also include Moscow.
- India needs to understand that too much inclination towards one country like U.S. in this complex great power rivalry can have negative effects. So, it is important that we maintain good relations with other nations as well.
- While giving importance to the Indo-Pacific and cooperation with the U.S, it also needs to strengthen its ties with Russia.
- India’s investment initiative in the Far East is a good step. The Far East with its investment-friendly approach and vast reserves of natural resources, has the potential to strengthen India-Russia economic partnership in areas like energy, tourism, agriculture, diamond mining and alternative energy.
- Also, lack of manpower is one of the main problems faced by the Far East and Indian professionals like doctors, engineers and teachers can help in the region’s development.
- Presence of Indian manpower will also help in balancing Russian concerns over Chinese migration into the region. Further, India, one of the largest importers of timber, can find ample resources in the region.
- Japan and South Korea have also been investing and we may explore areas of joint collaboration.
- India is also giving due importance to ‘paradiplomacy’ where Indian States are being encouraged to develop relations with foreign countries. States like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana and Goa would be collaborating with Russian Provinces to increase trade and investments.
- The two countries are also looking at the feasibility of Chennai-Vladivostok sea route that would allow India access to Russia’s Far East in 24 days, compared to the 40 days taken by the current route via Suez Canal and Europe.
- This route will also potentially add the required balance to peace and prosperity in South China Sea and could open new vistas for India, like the India-Russia-Vietnam trilateral cooperation.
- As the international situation is becoming more and more unpredictable, we need to diversify our relations with as many countries as possible, so that we can smoothly sail through this gradually developing great power rivalry.
Question – What is START? Are we moving towards a new arms race? Analyze (250 words)
Context- New START at risk following the comment of the U.S. President stating it as “a bad deal by the Obama administration”.
What is START and New START?
- START refers to Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
- The START treaty was signed in 1991 by the United States and the former Soviet Union. Five months later after the treaty was signed the S.U. dissolved and in its place there emerged four independent states Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan and all of them possessed nuclear weapons.
- So, on May 23, 1992, the United States and the four nuclear-capable successor states to the Soviet Union signed the Lisbon Protocol, which made all five nations party to the START I agreement.This agreement expired in December 2009.
- And New START (also called START II) is an extension of this treaty after it expired in 2009.
- New START continues the bipartisan process of verifiably reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals.
- But the comment made by the U.S. President threatens the renewal of this treaty which is set to expire in February 2021.
- If this treaty is not renewed, it lead to the possession of nuclear arms by the two major nuclear powers unchecked.
- This might push the world towards a new nuclear arms race.
- In 1985, U.S.A. and USSR entered into a negotiation to end the arms race and move towards arms control. This had three points: the first, dealt with the control of strategic weapons with ranges of over 5,500 km this led to the start agreement in 1991. The second, dealt with intermediate-range missiles, and this led to the INF Treaty in 1987. The third, Nuclear and Space Talks, but this did not yield any concrete outcome.
- The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty was hailed as a great disarmament pact even though no nuclear warheads were dismantled and similar range air-launched and sea-launched missiles were not constrained.
- But the problem was that it was a bilateral treaty between the USA and USSR. But at that time, it hardly mattered because these were the only two major nuclear powers and it was an age of bipolarity and the USA-USSR nuclear equation was the only one that counted.
- There were intensive verification measures, including on-site inspections.
- So, with the signing of the INF treaty, the end of the Cold War, and the break-up of the USSR in end-1991, the arms race was over.
- But now the equation is different. With the emergence of China as a major player in the Indo-Pacific region and the way it is trying to assert its hegemony in the region, this INF treaty had become a major concern for the US, because it was a bilateral treaty and did not apply to China.
- The U.S. believes that the INF Treaty was putting it at a disadvantage compared to China which is rapidly modernising and currently has 95% of its ballistic and cruise missile inventory in the INF range.
- So international analysts had already assumed that the INF treaty was going to end. And this is what happened when on 2nd August, USA formally quit the pact.
- With the U.S. Presidents comment regarding the New START treaty which still exists, it is assumed that if the US President is re-elected, USA might pull out of this treaty too or not renew it if it when it ends in 2021.
- If this happens, the U.S. and Russia will not be constrained by any arms control agreement.
- A new nuclear arms race could just be the beginning. Unlike the bipolar equation of the Cold War, this time it will be complicated because of multiple countries being involved.
- Technological changes are bringing cyber and space domains into contention. All this raises the risks of escalation and could even strain the most important achievement of nuclear arms control — the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons that has stood since 1945.
- The global leaders in top decision-making positions must act more responsibly.
Note: There is another article called ‘Shallow draughts’. Not many points are given but these are the possible highlights:
- This article is on the recent statements made by the U.S. President.
- It further says that the Indian PM and the U.S. President are supposed to hold in the side lines of the G-7 summit. There is already a list of agendas that both the countries need to discuss like defence and strategic cooperation, discussions to resolve outstanding trade issues, India’s upcoming purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-missile systems and the possible U.S. sanctions, and the future of Iran sanctions for oil purchases. Also, India’s concerns over the U.S.-Taliban peace process will also be high on the agenda.
- But the constant statements made by the U.S. President indicate that he wants to talk and “mediate” between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, despite India’s rejections.
- The problem apart from his interference is also that he calls the he calls India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir a “religious problem”. It is not a religious problem.
- Partition was not on the basis of a religious divide, but an ideological one: the ‘idea of Pakistan’ vs. the ‘idea of India’.
- Pakistan was carved out of India because sections of Muslims believed that they could not live equitably with the majority Hindu community. India consisted of those who believed people of all religions could live together in a secular, pluralistic society; and it should be noted that more Muslims chose to live in India than in Pakistan. India’s claim over J&K, a State that included Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists, stemmed from this very premise.
- So the remarks of the U.S. President stem from a very narrow perception of the problem. It gives voice to what Pakistan has been saying from 70 years.
- The issue should not be given a communal colour.
- The government has repeatedly stressed that its decision on J&K was mandated by a desire to provide better governance and development for the people there.
- India has been wise to ignore the comments but it needs to convey this idea to the U.S. President that his perception of the situation is wrong. It is not religion but ideology.
- This clearance is required not only in the interest of smooth bilateral relations between India and the U.S. but also for the resolution of the problem itself.
Question – The amendments to the POCSO Act, 2012, introduces the death penalty for child sex abuse. In this context what are the larger questions that need to be addressed? Discuss (250 words)
Context – The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019.
What are the amendments made to the POCSO Act, 2012?
- The Bill proposes to increase the punishments under POCSO Act from seven to 10 years, from 10 to 20 years and from 20 to life imprisonment and death penalty.
- It also seeks to amend Section 9 of the Act that deals with ‘Aggravated Sexual Assault’ to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and cataclysms.
- The definition of ‘Sexual Assault’ has been extended to incorporate administration of hormones or chemical substances to children to attain early sexual maturity.
- The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 introduced the death penalty for rape of girls below the age of 12. This Bill makes sexual offence of children more gender neutral. It provides for the death penalty for “aggravated penetrative sexual assault of a ‘child’. It is not gender specific.
- It specifically defines what ‘child pornography’ is.
- And also, clearly states that ‘using a child for pornographic purposes’ and for ‘possessing or storing pornography involving a child’ is punishable.
The objective –
- To discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent ‘due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act’.
- The objective is noble but the clause that it will act as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions need to be thought about.
- First because strong penal provisions is not the ultimate solution. POCSO Act has other limitations that need to be addressed first like – its implementation, lack of adequate special courts, lack of sensitization for investigators and prosecutors in dealing with child victims, poor rate of convictions etc. The alarming rise in the cases under POCSO itself leaves a big question over how it is being administered and managed.
- Certainty of punishment acts as a better deterrent than its severity- it is the sureness of being caught that deflects an individual from carrying out wrongdoings, not the dread of being punished or the severity of the punishment.
- Poor conviction rates under POCSO- according to the data from the National Crimes Records Bureau 2016, only 3 percent of child rape cases that came up before the courts ended in conviction. This slow rate of conviction provides the accused more than enough time to coerce and intimidate the victims or their families to backtrack on their complaints.
- The Justice J.S. Verma Committee, which was constituted in 2013 in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya case, after due deliberations found itself against the imposition of death penalty in rape cases on several grounds like- the death penalty may backfire in cases of child sexual abuse because often the perpetrators of abuse are family members and having such penalty in the statute book may discourage the registration of the crime itself.
- Also, the provisions of capital punishment might provoke the accused to murder the victims and increase the risk of sex offenders doing away with their victim to destroy the evidence and ensure there is no testimony.
- According to various surveys, since 2013, the average time taken for completing a child’s testimony in seven of the 10 cases was 242 days, which is eight months as against the mandatory 30 days. On an average the cases remained pending for 5 years against the mandated period of 1 year. Unless this situation is solved any strong penal provision will not serve the desired purpose.
- Huge pendency of cases needs to be solved. Taking Suo moto notice of the huge pendency of POCSO cases, the Supreme Court has directed the establishment of special courts in each district. This order must be complied as soon as possible.
- To conclude the Bill is a step forward in preventing child abuse but the consequences of providing for the death penalty need to be closely observed.
- In the present wave where there is growing intolerance towards contrary opinion, throw a light on academic freedom. Discuss (250 words)
Context: the perilous state of academic freedom.
What do we mean by intolerance?
- According to Article 19, Right to freedom includes- the freedom of speech and expression.
- So, since expressing an opinion is a fundamental right it also means that everyone has the freedom to claim that his/her opinion is true.
- But the truth of one’s statement is to be based on contestation and scrutiny by others.
- The problem arises when one refuses scrutiny and believes that their opinion cannot be wrong, and this gives rise to intolerance when someone presents a contrary opinion.
What is academic freedom and how is it affected?
- To understand academic freedom, we need to understand the different types of opinions. Broadly, there are two types- based on belief, heresy, opinion of others, and lesser research. And other is one based on through research, less biased, withstands the test of time and has greater openness in accepting fallibility (that they might be wrong).
- Therefore, there is qualitative difference between both the opinions.
- The second category of opinion deserves to be called or can be called ‘Knowledge.’
- So, based on the above analysis we can say that knowledge-production begins with opinions but does not end with them because it is willing to be scrutinized, criticized and reinvented.
- Academic freedom means providing and protecting the space where opinion can be created, contested and scrutinized. This is a process that leads to superior knowledge production. Cumulatively, it helps us understand the world around us in a better way, both in terms of science, and humanities.
- And since academic freedom occurs through knowledge production and knowledge transmission by transmitting agents such as teachers, students and researchers, it mostly happens within academic institutions. So, the autonomy of academic institutions is important.
When do we say it is threatened?
- When ideas or opinions are applauded or condemned not for their content but with an eye on who articulated (said) them- one of ‘us’ or one of ‘them’.
- When a person’s caste, creed, or political orientation matters more than the evidence, or the argument provided. For example- late historian Mushirul Hasan, was victimized by extremist fellow- Muslims for his remark on the ban of author Salman Rushdie’s book ‘Satanic Verses.’
- At present the deepening societal intolerance has only intensified attacks on academic freedom. For example- the exclusion of several important books from university syllabi, entirely on non-academic grounds, exemplifies this.
- Also, state interference has increased, sacrificing critical pedagogical practices in the name of the government idea of national interest.
- Also, when knowledge becomes a commodity i.e. when universities are run as a corporation. It means that the university’s administration run as management, faculty as paid personal and student as consumers, who have a right to demand of what should be taught as if knowledge can be purchased as commodity according to one’s taste.
- But the most severe challenge to academic freedom or the world of knowledge is from an environment of ‘anti-intellectualism’ that finds the very idea of someone having a thought reprehensible (unacceptable). Thinking, reasoning, questioning and critique are marked as dangerous, which must be treated with utter disdain (dislike).
- When the distinction between knowledge and opinion is absolutely blurred.
- And finally, when the very idea that the task of education is to transform students into critical agents, who actively question common-sense of the society, is severely undermined.
- Sadly, these are the challenges we face today.
- If academic freedom is not maintained and the trends continue, the habit of critical thinking and questioning among the people will decline. And these qualities are essential for a democracy to survive.
- It will also lead to ‘brain-drain’- the bright students will emigrate to other countries where there is academic freedom and it will not be easy to recover from this blow.
- People must be sensitized about values for which our freedom fighters fought for and sacrificed their life for the cause.
- The change has to come from within.
Question – what is the National Medical Commission Bill and why is it being opposed by the medical fraternity? Explain (250 words)
Context- the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019.
- As per 2019 data, in India, there approximately is one government doctor for every 10,189 people, while the WHO recommends a ratio of 1:1000. So, according to our population there is a shortage of 6 lakh doctors, and the nurse: patient ratio is 1:1483; implying a shortage of two million nurses.
- There is also a difference between the northern and southern states, with some southern states performing better. For example – there is adequate number of doctors in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, whereas in Bihar and the Northern states, there is an acute shortage.
- There is also a substantial difference between rural and urban areas, as large number of doctors tend to cluster in urban areas.
- There are also states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but that is not very positive because it is just not the numbers, but the quality of the doctors also matters.
- Also, even in these states where there are adequate doctors it is difficult to find doctors in tribal areas.
- Also, there is a huge shortage of specialists. So, we have doctors but they cannot adequately address certain diseases.
- So, keeping all these factors in mind we need certain reforms in the present system.
- And to address all these issues the National Medical Commission Bill has been brought.
What is the National Medical Commission (NMC)?
- The NMC seeks to replace the Medical Commission of India, to regulate all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.
- The NMC seeks to bring in transparency, good management and end arbitrariness.
- It will be comprised of 25 members who will be appointed by the Central government on the recommendation of a committee.
- There will be one chairperson who should be an academic and a medical practitioner with at least 20 years of experience. There will also be 10 ex-officio members and 14 part-time members.
- The NMC will frame policies and lay down several regulations regarding the medical professionals, health-care related infrastructure and oversee compliance of the norms by the State Medical Councils.
- It will also frame rules to determine the fees of up to 50 percent seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities.
The main provisions are as follows:
- Setting up a medical commission at national and state level within 3 years of the passage of the Bill.
- Setting up a Medical Advisory Council at the Centre through which the states and the UTs will be able to convey their suggestions to the NMC.
- Conducting a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate course in all medical institutions under the Bill.
- It also proposes to conduct National Exit Test (NEXT) for final-year students graduating from national medical institutions for obtaining license for practice and it will also allow students to take admission to post-graduate courses through the exam.
- The NMC will also have the authority to grant a limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with the modern medical profession to practice medicine. This step is to fill the shortage of doctor to patient ratio in our country and to increase rural availability of doctors.
The positive aspects:
- Focus on examination- at present there are separate entrance exams for under-graduate admissions like NEET, AIMS and JIPMER. This Act consolidates multiple exams under at under-graduate level with a single NEET and in turn avoids multiple-counselling processes.
- At present there is also separate NEET exam for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate exams. The Act introduces NEXT exam which will act as a single test for final year MBBS examination across India, and an entrance test to post-graduate level and a licentiate exam before doctors can practice. This will also reduce disparities in the skill set of doctors passing out from different institutions.
- It will also be a single licentiate exam for graduates across the world wanting to practice in India. So overall it can be said ‘One-Nation-One-Exam’ in medical education.
- It will also provide limited license to practice for community health providers other than doctors. This will help to some extent bridge the gap between the ratio pf doctors to population. Evidence from China, Thailand and the U.K. have shown positive results in this model. Chhattisgarh and Assam have also experimented with community health workers.
- The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, has no regulation for fee regulation. This Act will allow NMC to regulate the fees of 50% seats in private medical colleges. This will support poor but meritorious students.
- There is also a link between the unethical practices in this profession and the high fees in some medical colleges this will reduce.
- The act also provides for rating of colleges.
- It is also expected to bring transparency in electoral process in appointing regulators at the top posts.
- Also, according to the Act NMC opinion has to be sought by the state level councils before issuing any directions. This will promote uniformity.
- There are also provisions for the ‘quacks’ to face imprisonment and be fined.
- It also ends inspector raj.
- The Act is an answer to many long-standing reforms needed in the medical sector, but whether it brings the desired outcomes or not is for time to say.
- It is good that the reforms have been introduced but regular evaluation and monitoring is needed.
Question 2.- In context of the India-Africa relations what are the necessary prerequisites that India should keep in mind before engaging with Africa.
Context – the visit of President and Defence Minister to Africa.
Note- We have already covered India-Africa relations and their bilateral trade opportunities and advantages earlier. Just add these additional points.
- India has substantive economic engagement with Africa. Its trade with Africa totalled $63.3 billion in 2018-19.
- India was ranked the third largest trading partner of Africa having edged past the United States during the year.
- The figures for Indians’ investments (estimated at $50 billion) and Indian diaspora (approximately three million) are a bit imprecise but are also substantive when put in the continental perspective.
- But there seems to be a disconnect between the development assistance that India gives to Africa and India’s economic engagement with Africa. Any cost-benefit analysis would show this disparity.
- This is also coupled with the fact that despite India’s developmental assistance to Africa the response has not been as desired. From the demand to remove the statues of Mahatma Gandhi in Ghana to the travails of Indian investors in Africa, from occasional demonisation of the long-standing Indian community to the non-recognition of Indian academic degrees, India’s large developmental footprint in Africa does not produce commensurate empathy.
- India’s aid being unconditional, the recipients often take it as an entitlement.
- There are certain things that need to be understood that India is not a rich country. It is still a developing nation and has its own challenges like poverty, infrastructure deficit and underdevelopment.
- So India’s funds committed and seats in our prestigious academic institutions offered to Africa are at the expense of the tax-paying Indians.
- India’s aid to Africa should be reciprocated by acknowledgement and goodwill, and institutional preference. India cannot simply be a cash cow for Africa, particularly when its own economy is slowing down.
- We need to take direct control of our development programme instead of handing our funds to intermediaries such as the African Union, the African Development Bank Group and the Techno-Economic Approach for Africa-India Movement (TEAM 9), whose priorities are often different from India’s.
- India’s development assistance should prefer the countries with its substantial interests, both existing and potential. For instance, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Angola and Algeria are India’s top six trading partners in Africa, accounting for nearly two-thirds of its trade and half its exports to the continent.
- India’s own needs for raw materials, commodities and markets should be reflected in its aid.
- We should prefer aiding countries which are willing to help us — from access to their natural resources to using our generics.
- The aided project selected should be compatible with local requirements. They should be cost-effective, scalable, future ready and commercially replicable.
- For greater transparency in how its aids are being utilised, India should prefer its public sector to implement the aid projects.
- The Indian Head of Mission in the recipient African state must be an integral part of the aid stream including project selection, coordination and implementation.
- Finally, the aforementioned should not distract us from our duty to provide the needed humanitarian assistance to Africa
Question – Discuss the Forests Rights Act, 2006 and its different aspects. (250 words)
Context – the debates regarding the FRA, 2006
What is FRA, 2006?
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 also known as Forest Rights Act is an act that secures the rights of the marginalised and tribal communities to assert their rights over the forest lands over which they were traditionally dependent.
- It was enacted by the parliament to recognise the claim of Tribals on forest resources and ownership of land. The act Grants legal recognition to their rights.
- If implemented well it has the power to empower over 200 million tribals and other forest dwellers in over 1,70,000 villages.
- But the enforcement of this Act has not been upto the mark.
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) is the nodal agency for implementing.
- These people have lived in a symbiotic relationship with nature for centuries.
- But right from the colonial times their rights over the forest and its resources have been exploited for commercial purposes.
- Even in the modern times the forests rather than being a resource for the tribal communities has become a resource of the State for commercial use and agriculture.
- Furthermore, after independence, the economic policies of the government led to increase in industries like mining and other development activities which led to large-scale displacement. This has alienated them from their basic source of existence.
- In this situation after numerous protests by environmental conservation groups, the government enacted the FRA, 2006 which came into force from 2008.
The rights under the act:
- Title rights – right two ownership over the land cultivated by tribal forest dwellers, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares per family. No new land will be granted.
- User rights – right to minor produce of the forests, grazing rights etc.
- Relief and Development rights – rehabilitation and right to basic amenities in case they are illegally evicted or forced displacement.
- Forest management rights – to conserve and protect the forests.
How does it work?
- The tribal forest dweller who wants his rights to be recognised submits his claim to the Gram Sabha.
- The Gram Sabha recognises the claim and sends its recommendations.
- Recommendations are screened and approved by a screening committee consisting of 3 government official and 3 elected member of the local body.
- These recommendations are screened and approved by a screening committee consisting of 3 government official and 3 elected member of the local body.
Progress made so far: According to the status report of MoTA as of May 2015, the Tripura Government holds the highest percentage of titles distribution against the number of claims received at 65.97 %, other states in this category includes Kerala at 65.54 %, Odisha at 57.24 %, Rajasthan at 49.09 % and Jharkhand at 44.73%.
Challenges in implementation-
- Deficiency within Gram Sabha – the Gram Sabha do not have the desired infrastructure and technical know-how to keep these records.
- Lack of regular elections in panchayats – in some states the panchayat elections are not held regularly. In such areas, the Gram panchayats are not operational up to the desired level necessary for the implementation of the Act.
- Ambiguity in the formation of Forest Rights Committee – Each village is to elect a committee of 10 15 people from its residents as a Forest Rights Committee , which will do the initial verification of claims and place its recommendations before the Gram Sabha.
- A deliberate focus on individual rather than community rights – the administrative machinery is found to be concentrating more on claims for individual user rights rather than community rights.
- Lack of awareness and Illiteracy – leads to their exploitation despite rights available to them. Some are not even aware of their rights.
- Lack of land record proofs.
- Lack of inter-departmental coordination
- Harassment by forest officials.
- Attempts to dilute the provisions of the act.
- Diverting forest lands for non-forest purposes.
- Spreading awareness among the tribals of their rights.
- Empowering them through various means like education so that they can stand up for their rights and are not exploited due to ignorance.
- Partnering with NGOs.
- Keeping proper records at panchayats.
- Inter-departmental coordination and,
- To conclude, let us not debate about whether the Central government has the right to make such Act or not since ‘land’ is a state subject, rather let us spread the awareness that forests are essential for our survival as a whole.
Question – In the increasing incidences of mob lynching, how can Rajasthan’s example set the way? Discuss ( 250 words)
Context – The Rajasthan government has introduced the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019.
- The Bill was introduced in the context of the orders given by the Supreme Court in Tehseen S. Poonawalla v. Union of India case. The SC had recommended setting up of special courts, appoint a dedicated nodal officer, and stipulating enhanced punishments.
- If the Bill gets passed it will be the second state after Manipur to have a dedicated law criminalising mob lynching as a special offence, in addition to the additional offences of the Indian Penal Code.
About the Bill:
- The Bill is more comprehensive than the SC recommendation because it not only criminalises the act of lynching, dissemination of ‘offensive material’ and fostering a ‘hostile environment’, but also has provisions for relief, legal aid, compensation and rehabilitation.
- The Bill also provides a broad definition of lynching. It states lynching as an act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (two or more persons) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.
- However, even though it has a broad definition, it has certain limitations like- the bill does not cover cases of solitary offences i.e. if it is committed by one single person. Second, the Bill states that it will be the responsibility of the police officers and the district magistrates to take measures to prevent lynching related cases. But unlike Manipur, it does not prescribe any punishment for dereliction (neglecting) of duty.
- The Bill also needs legal scrutiny because it sorts of takes away judicial discretion. Because Section 8(c) of the Bill very specifically states that whoever commits an act of lynching, where the act leads to the death of the victim, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine not be less than ₹1,00,000 and which may extend to ₹5,00,000.
- Doing so it completely deprives the judiciary of any amount of discretion.
Why is judicial discretion important?
- It is important because one before stated law cannot apply to all situations and all cases. For example- Section 9 of the Bill stipulates same punishment for lynching and ‘attempting’ an act of lynching.
- In the context of criminal law and sentencing, the principle of proportionality mandates an adequate balance of the gravity of the crime, the interests of the victim and of society, and the purposes of criminal law.
- Afterall, the Supreme Court, while declaring Section 303 of the IPC unconstitutional in Mithu Singh v. State of Punjab, held that “the exercise of judicial discretion on well-recognised principles is, in the final analysis, the safest possible safeguard for the accused. The legislature cannot make relevant circumstances irrelevant, deprive the courts of their legitimate jurisdiction to exercise their discretion”.
- Any incidence of lynching is a manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and contempt towards the rule of law. The Rajasthan Bill in spite of its limitations is an evidence of political will by the state government. It sends a message to the people.
- With the number of lynching’s getting frequent, it is high time for other state governments and Centre to show urgency and take inspiration from the step shown by Rajasthan and Manipur, so that creeping threats are prevented from metastasising into an out-of-control monster.
kindly update your Notes:
- Today’s article ‘Pulling a Vietnam in Afghanistan’, tries to draw a comparison between the situation that the U.S. was in the 1960s when it was involved in the Vietnam war, and the situation that it faces in the present in Afghanistan.
- It says that both the situations are quite similar. In the 1960s it had become clear to the U.S. that they could not win the Vietnam war and decided to pull out its troops seeking “peace with honor” (basically it means to leave the country with some self-respect so that it doesn’t seem like humiliation). At present in Afghanistan it is quite similar, the U.S. has realised that it cannot win the Afghan war despite huge involvement of troops. The situation has reached a stalemate, there is no actual progress. So again it is trying to hold talks with Taliban to have a “peace with honor”.
- So at present America’s goal is no longer to defeat the Taliban but to stop them, at least for now, from taking over Kabul.
- It also says that just like initially America’s involvement in Vietnam was limited to advisory roles but it increased after the U.S. destroyer, USS Maddox, was attacked by Vietnamese torpedo boats. Similarly the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan increased after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, launching its war against terror.
- Just like it was in the 1960s that the opinion in the U.S. had turned against U.S. involvement in Vietnam, same is the situation now. The people in the U.S. do not want U.S. to get involved in wars outside its country.
- But the difference was that the war in Vietnam was for not letting the communist North Vietnam to spread its influence in South Vietnam, which was the U.S. ally. But in Afghanistan it is a war against terrorist group Taliban.
- Though the U.S. and the Taliban have reached to a roadmap for peace i.e. the U.S. withdrawal in return the Taliban’s assurance that Afghanistan would not be used by the terrorists. The difference is when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the ceasefire did not last even for two years and the communists captured Saigon (former name of Ho Chi Minh city). If a similar situation happens in Afghanistan then the consequences will be dreadful because there is not even a ceasefire between the Kabul government and the Taliban even as the U.S. is preparing to make an exit.
- Here the winning side is the Taliban, which, unlike the Viet Cong, is a anti-modern, anti-woman, anti-minority fundamentalist machine, whose earlier regime was notorious for excessive sectarian violence. The Taliban is part of the problem, not a solution.
- The Communists unified Vietnam, and after early years of struggle, modernized the economy and rebuild the country into an Asian powerhouse. For Afghanistan, the tunnel gets longer and darker.
Question – Critically analyse the consequences of revoking Article 370 and 35A. (250 words)
– What are the different aspects of the Presidential Order of 2019 regarding the special status of Jammu and Kashmir? Discuss (250 words)
Context – President Promulgates Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019
What was Article 370?
- Article 370 allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own Constitution and also the right to frame its own laws.
- The laws passed by Parliament had to be separately ratified by the state’s assembly to be made laws in the state.
What was Article 35A?
- It prohibited people who were non-residents of the state to buy land and to avail facilities provided by the state government.
- But it is being criticized that taking this away might change the demography of the state.
Arguments in favor:
- The provisions of Article 370 caused delays and mismatches.
- For example, it was only after one week, when the other states had adopted GST, that the J&K assembly passed a resolution to join the new tax framework.
- A gas pipeline waited for two years -from 2011 to 2013-to get right of use provisions to enter the state.
- The provisions of article 35A also hampered trade and business in the state.
- The industrialists were left with the option of either taking the land on lease, or collaboration with some local residents, both are inefficient and costly way of doing business.
Why being criticised?
- It will stain India’s social fabric not only in its impact on Jammu and Kashmir but also on Federalism, parliamentary democracy and diversity.
- Founding fathers of our constitution seemed a strong Center but also showed the route to persuasion and accommodation of linguistic and religious minorities in the interest of national integration.
- The Presidential Order was passed without any legislative input or representative contribution of its people because-
- First it was declared by a Presidential decree that the ‘Governor’ of J&K, without regard to the fact that he has no Council of Ministers to aid and advise him (since there is President’s rule going on), can speak for the state government and give his concurrence to any modification in the way the Constitution of India applies to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Second on the basis of this ‘concurrence’, the latest Presidential order scraped the previous one of 1954, abrogating the separate constitution of J&k.
- And the fact that the state is under President’s rule, it had been used to usher in a new dispensation under which J&K becomes a UT with a legislature and Ladakh another UT without a legislature.
- The thing to be kept in mind is that the state has been turned into a UT without any recommendation from the state. Even though a state’s concurrence is not required, still the fact that it has been done in concurrence with the Governor of J&K who is a non-elected member. This is being seen as an executive excess.
- So the legality of this self-enabling aspect of this Presidential Order is being seen as a ‘hop-step-and-jump’ feat.
- e. It ‘hops’ over the requirement of the State government’s consent by declaring that the Governor is the State government. It ‘steps’ over the need for aid and advice by the ministerial council by saying the Governor’s opinion is enough. And it ‘jumps’ over the fact that there is no constituent assembly now by merely reading the term as ‘legislative assembly’, and letting Parliament perform the role of the State legislature.
- While it is true that in 1961 the Supreme Court upheld the President’s power to ‘modify’ the constitutional provisions in applying them to J&K, but whether to invoke it to make such a radical change where a functioning State has now been downgraded and bifurcated into two Union Territories. It is inconceivable that any State legislature would ever have recommended its own demotion in status.
- J&K is a Muslim majority area that had chosen a secular India over Islamist Pakistan. There should have been more effort to build a concurrence among the people. Though all the people would not have agreed but the way it was done with massive military build-up and house arrest of senior leaders, with no voice of the people on such a matter that directly affects their life and sentiment, reveals a cynical disregard of democratic norms. But this may have unintended consequences.
- The very fact that it was a Muslim majority area, bordering with Islamist Pakistan, is a part of secular India had not gone well with the Islamists. They always resented over this. This also happens at the backdrop of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- This withdrawal will trigger an unforeseeable churn in Islamist politics in the region. Islamists have always viewed Kashmir as a component of their global grievances. Whatever was the intention in enabling the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India, Monday’s decision to alter the State’s status could have unintended and dangerous consequences.
Question- Analyse Article 370 and the recent developments from a historical perspective.(250 words)
Context- The Presidential Order- declaration that all provisions of the Indian Constitution will now apply to the Jammu and Kashmir.
Note: If you combine this with yesterday’s notes you are done with any question related to Article 370
Understanding the present situation:
- Under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution and its own laws, with the President of India empowered to decide which provision of the Constitution would be applicable within the state, but only with the accent of the state.
- So, we can clearly see that it said that the President of India can decide which provision of the Constitution of India would be applicable to the state. But the clause is that such decision would be with the accent of the state.
- Yesterday we had said that the manner in which it was done can be seen as ‘hop-step-and -jump’ process because – it ‘hopped’ over the requirement of the State government’s consent because at the time of the declaration the President’s rule was going on in the state and the state’s constituent assembly was dissolved. So since the governor was heading the state, it said that it had taken the accent of the Governor. But the thing to be kept in mind is that the Governor is not an elected representative of the people. He is a non-elected member, acting as an agent of the Center.
- It ‘steps’ over the need for aid and advice by the ministerial council by saying the Governor’s opinion is enough.
- And it ‘jumps’ over the fact that there is no constituent assembly now by merely reading the term as ‘legislative assembly’, and letting Parliament perform the role of the State legislature.
- The Jammu and Kashmir Bifurcation Bill, 2019, further bifurcates the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs namely UT of J&K with legislature and UT of Ladakh.
- Speaking from a historical viewpoint we have to keep in mind that the Kashmir freedom movement during the time of our national movement was primarily a movement to rid Kashmir of despotism, not a part of our national movement.
- Despite Maharaja Hari Singh’s to maintain independence, they stood united in their demand for an end to monarchy.
- Viceroy Lord Mountbatten urged Hari Singh not to make a declaration of independence. But Hari Singh was adamant.
- It was only when there was an uprising by Poonch troops (of the British Indian Army’s decommissioned Sixth Punjab Regiment) and then a military attack by the invading frontier tribesmen in the State’s border town of Domel on october 22,1947, that Hari Singh turned to India for help.
- Article 370 has governed the accession and relationship of the princely state of J&K and India under the Indian Constitution.
What is the legality of Pakistan’s claim over Kashmir?
- If Pakistan lays its claim based on the 1941 Census, that at the time of partition 77.11% of the population of Jammu and Kashmir was Muslim, 20.12% Hindu and 1.64% Sikh and so by the logic of partition it had to be a part of Pakistan, then it is absolutely dismissed by the fact that the Kashmiris chose to be with India than Pakistan.
- It is reflected in the speech given by Sheikh Abdullah, the then unchallenged Kashmiri leader, in the UN in February 1948 that “We shall prefer death rather than join Pakistan. We shall have nothing to do with such a country.” it was under assurance of freedom under Article 370. But times have changed and Article 370 was never meant to be permanent because under sub-section 3 of the same article it was said that the President of India can revoke Article 370 only on advice from the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Many are questioning the legality of the amendments but it is for the Supreme Court to decide.
- But one thing is clear that it did not ascertain Kashmiri public opinion and especially at a time when it is already beset with widespread disaffection. It has led to a feeling of betrayal among the people.
- But we also have to keep this question in mind that was it ever possible to do it any other way?
- The best we can do in the present situation is to try to not make them feel alienated. Military presence must be kept but what’s needs to be presented is an assurance of peace.
Question – In context of the fast-track courts in India, analyse the various aspects related to them.Critical Analysis ( 250 words)
Context- The government has proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts to clear cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Why in news?
- The Supreme Court in a Suo moto petition had issued directions, stating that districts with more than 100 cases pending under the POCSO Act need to set up special courts that can deal specifically with these cases.
- Upon which the government has proposed to set up 1,023 fast-track courts to clear the cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
What are fast-track courts?
- The FTCs are established to expeditiously dispose of long pending cases in the Sessions Courts and long pending cases of undertrial prisoners.
- Setting up of subordinate courts including the fast track courts (FTCs) comes under the domain of the respective state governments. The state sets up such courts in consultation with the respective High Court.
- The fast track courts are special courts, tasked with ensuring speedy trial and reduce net pendency of cases.
- As on June 1, 2019, more than 43 lakh cases are pending in the 25 high courts in the country and over 8 lakhs of these are over a decade old.
- To add to this. According to the Ministry of Law and Justice, there is a shortage of judges with only 20 judges per 10 lakh people in the country as compared to 17 in 2014.
- It was to get rid of this kind of a situation that the fast-track courts were established and they have been functional since the year 2000.
- To quote the Ministry of Law and Justice, at the end of March, there were 581 FTCs operational in the country. Of these U.P. has the highest number of cases pending, followed my Maharashtra. While 56% of the States and Union Territories, including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, had no FTCs.
- In terms of money, nearly ₹870 crore was released by the Centre between 2000-2001 and 2010-2011 towards these FTCs.
- But despite this there has been a decline in the number of fast-track courts across the country and some states have none.
- According to a survey of FTCs conducted by National Law University Delhi, there is a huge variation in the kinds of cases handled by these courts across States, with certain States primarily allocating rape and sexual offence cases to them and other States allocate all types matters to these courts.
- Also, several FTCs lacked technological resources to conduct audio and video recordings of the victims and many of them did not have regular staff.
- It is welcomed that the government is planning to set up more fast-track courts for speedy disposal of pending cases related to POCSO and other sexual offences, but there are other things to be kept in mind like the shortage in the number of judges.
- Also, the past experience has shown that just an increase in the number of judges does not ensure direct reduction in the number of pending cases. For example, in Karnataka, the number of working judges increased between 2012 and 2017 but pendency did not reduce. Similarly, in other States such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal, increase or decrease in the number of judges did not affect pendency of cases. Solutions to deal with have to be thought too.
- Further critical issues such as inadequate staff and IT infrastructure, for example in forensic science laboratories, which cause unnecessary delay in getting reports must be addressed.
- It is also seen that states often do not hire additional judges but appoint the judges from the existing pool of judges to the fast track courts. This increases the burden on them.
- The proper functioning of the FTCs rests on the states and they need to analyse the issues at the ground level and not make policies from above.
- Equal attention needs to be paid to the courts at the metropolitan and far-flung non-metropolitan areas.
- Overall for everything to work co-ordinately it is important to see that any kind of unnecessary administrative hindrance(interference) is kept to the minimal.
Question – Analyse the recent transfer of funds from the RBI to the Central government and its implications. Why has it raised questions about the RBI’s autonomy? ( 250 words)
Context – the huge transfer of money from RBI to Central government.
Points to be kept in mind:
- Transfer of RBI surplus to the government – Forms part of government’s non-tax revenue.
- The transfer of RBI’s surplus to the government is not a new phenomenon. It happens every year towards the end of August. But it is the huge amount of surplus transferred this time that has generated debates about the RBI’s autonomy.
So, what is the argument about?
- Two interpretations are being made:
- First is that the government being faced by a scarcity of resources needed to bring the economy on track has influenced the RBI to transfer some of its reserves to it. Now, if this has been done then it is not good for the economy because when we live in a globalised economy the uncertainty of being hit by a crisis increases. In which case the RBI may not have enough money to protect it. It also denotes an erosion of RBI’s independence.
- Second interpretation is that the central bank is a unique institution and it derives its supreme status over other banks by the confidence reimposed on it by the Central government. And therefore if there is a huge amount of cash lying idle with the Central Bank then it can be used more productively in the economy by the Central government and this time the Central government has done exactly this by following a due process after on the recommendations of the Jalan Committee.
Which of the narratives is true?
- The Economic Survey of 2016-17 found that the RBI is one of the most capitalised central banks in the world (i.e. it had a lot of money reserve compared to most other central banks in the world) and noted, “There is no particular reason why this extra capital should be kept with the RBI”.
- It was roughly estimated that the excess capital of the RBI was around 4.5 lakh crore to 7 lakh crore.
- In this backdrop, the RBI, in consultation with the Central government formed the Jalan Committee to access the quantum (i.e. the extent of excess capital) of the RBI in the end of November,2019.
- The committee submitted its report on August 14. According to the accounts, the RBI has ended with an overall surplus of ₹1,759.87 billion in 2018-19 as against ₹500 billion in 2017-18, representing an increase of more than 250%.
- Now the question is what constitutes this surplus? Or what does this surplus money formed of?
- It is constituted/ consists of the money kept in the Contingency Fund (CF) and Asset Development Fund (ADF). CF means a reserve of money that is kept aside to deal with any unforeseen future circumstances. ADF means the reserve of money that the RBI keeps aside to for any internal capital expenditure and to invest in its subsidiary banks or associate institutions.
- Maintaining some Capital Reserve Buffer (CRB) is important to insure the economy against any tail risk of financial stability crisis. The Jalan Committee recommended that the CRB needs to be maintained at a range of 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent of the RBI’s balance sheet as on June 30, 2018.
- On the basis of this calculation the Jalan Committee recommended the amount of transfer of the RBI’s surplus to the government to be ₹76 lakh crore this year.
So is the second narrative right?
- First, the Jalan Committee comprising of the former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan and other experts have calculated the extent of excess capital of the RBI under a set of fairly standard and conservative assumptions.
- Second, at this juncture of the Indian economy — when the spectre of a slowdown is looming large and when channels of credit disbursements are choked because of a lack of capital with the commercial banks — a transfer of such additional money to the government could enable the government to go in for bank recapitalisation in a big way and would be good for the economy.
- Third, the transfer of the additional surplus from the RBI could enable the government to pursue efforts towards stimulating the economy while maintaining budget discipline.
- The government while formulating any policy should carefully evaluate the consequences.
Question – what is the right way of regulating social media? Comment.
Context – The increasing instances of fake news leading to violence.
The present scenario:
- There has been a sharp increase in the number of people using messaging apps and also in fake news, rumour mongering leading to violence.
Regulating social media:
- When we talk of regulating social media, there are two things that need to be kept in mind. First, the right to online privacy and second, the right of the state to detect people who use the web to spread panic and commit crimes.
- Keeping these two rights in mind the Supreme Court recently stressed on the need to find a balance between the two.
- Now the question is that, at present, are the current regulations and the nature of internet platforms designed to maintain this balance?
Is technology the problem?
- Technology as it is is not the problem, but the purpose it is used for is the problem. It is the virality of the messages that makes fake news spread very fast.
- We cannot blame the technology for this because the virality of a news is also not new. It has been there right from the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. Mass circulation has always resulted in tension between people in power and others.
Some probable solutions:
- At present when one signs up to a messaging service like whatsapp for example, there is not a single page that displays in the local language about how one can report, in their own language, disinformation content and messages that are malicious or abusive. Displaying such information in the local language is very important. Especially for those who cannot understand English. If they can report news as fake early then the chances of it being reviewed and taken down before it gets viral increases.
- similarly, fact-checking websites, fake news busters and government sources don’t get the support they need to distribute their content to local users especially in interior areas.
- But these are technological solutions.
But is technological solution enough?
- Fake news – fake news is not something that has been invented in the digital age. It has been a long standing problem and to look to technical solutions to this cannot solve this problem entirely.
- The social media apps like whatsapp have taken steps to deal with this problem partly like limiting forwards to five people only. Similarly facebook and twitter have also acknowledged the problem of disinformation and taken steps accordingly.
- Professor Kamakotiti of IIT Madras had suggested to the Madras High Court of tracing origin of whatsapp messages.
- But his proposals have been criticised by other computer scientists. Professor Manoj Prabhakaran of IIT Bombay for example has argued against such models of traceability.
- It gives the government agencies to break end-to-end encryptions.
- Some argue that we shouldnt implement technological solutions as a panacea i.e. we cannot use technology as a solution for all kinds of problems, especially problems like fake news which spread not only through internet platforms but also other means of communication like print medium (newspapers etc).
Does the solution lie in setting regulatory guidelines?
- So the solution does not lie in technology nor does it lie in adding an extra layer of guidelines and liability for social media platforms and websites.
- There has been an increase in the number of regulatory guidelines issued by the government to enhance the agency of the government (i.e. the authority of the government) over technology companies. For example, there is a debate among government agencies calling for data localisation but we have to take notice of the fact that most of these companies like whatsapp, facebook and twitter are based abroad. It will affect their functioning.
- Also, the judiciary said that making the social media platforms liable for the content posted by the users on them goes impacts free speech. How? It is because when they are made liable for punishment for the content posted by a user on their platform, then these platforms start monitoring all persons i.e. what they write on social media. And this affects our free speech.
- At present the government has very limited agency (authority) over these companies at the moment where as the number of users of these apps are increasing rapidly with the increased reach of the internet connectivity in India.
- The fact that the government doesn’t have proper agency (i.e. proper means) to regulate the content circulated is proved by the fact that the government at times has to complete internet shutdowns to prevent a situation from getting worse.
- Also in the Shreya Singhal judgement in 2015, the court said that if the government asks these platforms for a content to be taken down, that should be only via a court order or through a legal process. So when the government frames guidelines that the social media platforms should auto-filter the comments of the users goes against this judgement.
Is complete internet shutdown like in case of Kashmir a solution?/ Way forward:
- At present India doesn’t have enough agency (i.e. enough means) to regulate and keep a watch on messages that are being circulated on social media platforms. So to prevent a situation from getting worse, it has no other option than to make a complete shutdown.
- But there are other ways how it can be dealt with like the Telangana state has a cadre of officers who dedicate themselves to preventing the propagation of fake news through channels like whatsapp.
- So at present since the state doesn’t have much agency this can be a solution but more ideas need to be brought in about dealing with such problems.
Note : The article ‘Tinkering for optics’ doesn’t have much content. These are the probable highlights:
- The article comments on announcement the eased FDI norms by the Central government.
- It says the eased FDI norms like extending the available 100% FDI under the automatic route in the coal mining sector (till now permitted only for captive consumption) to include those companies seeking to commercially sell the commodity, to distinctly including contract manufacturing under the automatic 100% route and easing local sourcing norms for overseas investors in the Single Brand Retail Trading (SBRT) business, shows the government’s concern about economic slowdown and weak foreign investments.
- These FDI norms have been undertaken to attract more foreign capital into sectors that it sees as having a multiplier effect, particularly in terms of job creation.
- But a closer examination, shows that certain factors have not been taken into account while making these changes.
- For example, the changes to investment norms on coal appear to be a win-win for both the economy at large and the coal industry, but the environmental costs of focusing on one of the most polluting fossil fuels has not been addressed.
- Also there have been a lot of progress in implementing modern technology in the mining sector but a focus on this area too has been neglected.
- Also large miners coming to India will need access to large fields without much bureaucratic hassles. This factor too has not not been clearly addressed.
- So the article finally says that even though FDIs come to India how much result it will produce is uncertain.
Question – What are development banks? Analyse their various aspects.(250 words)
Context – Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s press conference on August 23, indicated setting up of a development bank.
What are Development Banks?
- Development banks are the banks that provide ‘long-term’ credit to companies that invest in capital intensive sectors (i.e. sectors which require huge investment) and yield low rates of return, like – urban infrastructure, mining and heavy industry, and irrigation systems.
- These are also called long-term lending institutions or industrial banks. In India these long-term capital lending institutions are collectively called development banks.
- These are in contrast to German type universal banks, which provide both short-term and long-term credit.
Some of the long-term capital lending institutions in India are:
- Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), 1948
- Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), 1955
- Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), 1964
- State Finance Corporation (SFC), 1951
- Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), 1990
- Export Import Bank (EXIM)
- Small Industries Development Corporation (SIDCO)
- National Bank for Agriculture and Development (NABARD)
Difference between Commercial Bank and Development Bank are as follows:
|COMMERCIAL BANKS||DEVELOPMENT BANKS|
|Provide short term loans.||Provide long term loans.|
|Accept deposits from the public.||Accept deposits from commercial banks, Central and State governments.|
|Direct finance to customers.||Provide refinancing facilities to commercial banks.|
|Plays an important role in the money market||Play an important role in hire purchase, lease finance, housing loan.|
|Public sector banks have their share capital contributed by the government while private sector banks have share capital contributed by the public.||Central and Statement governments contribute capital.|
|Promote savings among the public and help commercial activities.||
Why are development Banks required?
- They are vital for the sustained economic growth of any economy because the commercial banks mainly give loans to customers and small businesses that yield immediate result, for example, to a biscuit
- manufacturing company. This kind of companies require much less capital (ie. money) and the production doesn’t take much time and they start making profit easily in a less span of time.
- But development banks banks give huge amounts of money (as loan) to companies that want to build bridges or start a mining industry for example. These projects require a large scale investment and it takes more time to complete these projects and start earning profits.
- While a biscuit manufacturing company is required in an economy to generate revenue and increase the GDP, a bridge or a railway tract or a mining firm are required for long-term holistic development. These are the main pillars of an economy.
- Alexander Gerschenkron, a Ukrainian economist at Harvard University, famously said that the greater the economic backwardness of a country, the greater the role of the state in economic development, particularly in providing long-term finance to develop the economy and catch up with the developed economies. As we have seen the state is the main contributor of finance to the development banks. In brief it is like the state directly does not give money to the entrepreneurs of capital intensive companies. It gives the money to development banks and these development banks give it to these entrepreneurs.
- In the context of the Great Depression in the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes argued that when business confidence is low on account of an uncertain future with low-interest rates, the government can set up a National Investment Bank to mop up the society’s savings and make it available for long-term development by the private sector and local governments.
- Seeing the sluggish state of the economy, this is exactly what the Finance Minister suggested yesterday.
The experience with development banks in the past:
- In India, in the past most of the development banks were discredited because of mounting non-performing assets, allegedly caused by politically motivated lending and inadequate professionalism in assessing investment projects for economic, technical and financial viability.
- China’s development banks — the Agricultural Development Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Export-Import Bank of China — have been at the forefront of financing its industrial prowess. After the global financial crisis, these institutions have underwritten China’s risky technological investments helping it gain global dominance in IT hardware and software companies.
- Germany’s development bank, KfW, has been spearheading long-term investment in green technologies and for sustainable development efforts requiring long-term capital.
- The FM has again proposed setting up an organisation to provide long-term credit i.e. development banks, and this is a welcome step noting the present economic slowdown.
- However, a few questions need to be kept in mind like- how will it be financed?
- If foreign private capital is expected to contribute equity capital (i.e. buy shares of these development banks) it will mean giving a part ownership to them. They can pull out any moment. So such an option needs to be carefully analysed, especially in the current political juncture.
Note: there is another article titled ‘Cooking with gs, not wood’. There are not many points but these are the possible highlights:
- The article shows two cases studies: one of a wealthy man who can afford to hire labour to cut wood from the forest and uses it as fuel to cook food in traditional chulha. But on the opposite end is a lady who doesn’t own any land and in rainy season can’t even get enough wood to cook.
- Both of them have got LPG cylinders as a part of Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojna. But they still cannot use it and stick to their traditional ways of cooking using chulha.
- Both have different reasons for it. The wealthy man feels that cooking food on Chulha is healthy and tastier. It causes exercise for the ladies as they blow into the chulha and cleanses their eyes as they water from the smoke.
- The woman on the other hand doesn’t have enough money to refuel the cylinder that she had received.
- The study found that this was not an isolated event. The 127 villages across four States — Bihar, M.P., Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh — we found that the rich were less likely to use a chulha for cooking compared to the poor, but not by much: more than 60% of the richest households had used a chulha
What can be done?/ way ahead:
- The perception that food cooked on chulhas were tastier compared to LPG needs to be broken by several campaigns initiated by the government and the NGO’s.
- Most of the people who agreed that cooking on chulha caused harm to health of the person cooking it believed that the harm was to the eyes and no the lungs. So the government can take campaigns like advertisements to s[read the awareness that just like tobacco can cause lung related problems so can the inhaling smoke from chulhas.
- If priority households could become eligible for even higher subsidies in a revamped LPG pricing regime, and Antyodaya households could become eligible for LPG cylinders free of cost, exclusive LPG use would likely be higher.
- Finally, the survey found that most of the cooking on chulha are done by women and the food on chulha is tasty and healthy is advocated by men. currently the advertisements focus on the advantages of clean fuel but advertisements showing that gas is so good that even men can cook with it will challenge both misinformation on LPG and gender inequalities in household tasks.
Question- What is privacy and data protection? Discuss its various aspects.(250 words)
Context – Completion of two years of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India judgement.
What is privacy?
- According to the Cambridge dictionary, privacy means a person’s right to keep their personal matters and relationships a secret.
- In general, we can say that privacy means the right to be free from secret surveillance and to determine whether, when, how, and to whom, one’s personal or organizational information is to be revealed.
What do we mean by data protection and personal data?
- Data Protection refers to the set of privacy laws, policies and procedures that aim to minimise intrusion into one’s privacy caused by the collection, storage and dissemination of personal data.
- While personal data generally refers to the information or data which relate to a person who can be identified from that information or data whether collected by any Government or any private organization or an agency.
- Though the constitution of India does not directly grant the constitutional right to privacy but a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in JusticeS. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union Of India, unanimously held that Indians have a constitutionally protected fundamental right to privacy.
When can Right to Privacy be restricted?
- The Supreme Court held that privacy is a natural right that inheres in all-natural persons, and the right may be restricted only by state action that passes each of the three tests:
- First, such state action must have a legislative mandate (i.e. there must be an official order stating clearly that the privacy of a particular person needs to be intruded);
- Second, it must be pursuing a legitimate state purpose; (i.e. there must be a purpose and it should be related to the state) and,
- Third, it must be proportionate (it means that such state action, both in its nature and extent — should be the least intrusive of the available alternatives to accomplish the ends.)
The present scenario:
- But at present the clause of proportionality is being neglected and mass surveillance programmes are being commissioned with little regard for necessity or proportionality.
- For example- in December 2018, 10 Central agencies were authorised to “intercept, monitor and decrypt any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer in the country”. Here the word to be noted is ‘any’. This notification is presently under challenge in the SC.
- Similarly, in July last year, a tender was floated for ‘Social Media Monitoring Hub’, a technical solution to snoop on all social media communications, including e-mail. Later the government had to withdraw the project after SC’s intervention.
- It needs to be understood that Right to privacy does not mean information security.
- The restrictions to the Right to Privacy as said by the SC meant restricting the right of ‘targeted individuals’ in the interest of national security and not to be applied unanimously to all citizens.
- There must be a rights-oriented (i.e. it should not equate privacy to mere information security) data protection legislation — which prohibits mass surveillance.
- And also the people must be more aware of their rights and the unprecedented consequences of the misuse of their data.
Question – Does the recurring floods in Kerala reflect a larger picture? Explain in the context of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) (250 words)
Context – the Recurring floods in Kerala.
Why Kerala as a case study?
- In 2018 when flood and landslide occurred in Kerala, people thought in was once in a century event, due to heavy rains. But the recurrence of a flood, landslide, economic loss and massive human destruction, of the same scale this year too had left open many questions.
- The floods in Kerala reflect a larger picture.
- A picture of the not implementing by the suggestions given by different environmental groups and panels for sustainable and planned development and being sensitive to the ecologically fragile areas.
Kerala as a model state:
- Kerala leads the country in many aspects like demographic devolution, literacy rate, and even the awareness of its Panchayat bodies about its rights is a thing to be applauded. All Panchayats in the country should learn from the example of Plachimada Panchayat in Kerala that cancelled Coca-Cola’s licence because the company polluted and depleted groundwater reserves, drying up wells and adversely impacting agriculture and livelihoods.
- The Plachimada Panchayat showed the Panchayats are not bound by the decisions of the state government and have full full right to take its own decisions and even to challenge the state government’s decisions if it feels it goes against the interests of the people.
- But where it failed to act as a model was when it came to implementing the suggestions given by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP).
What is the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP):
- The Working Group was constituted to advise the government on the recommendations of an earlier report of ecologist Madhav Gadgil-led “Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel” (WGEEP).
What were the recommendations?
- It had suggested a ‘bottom-up approach’ for environmental conservation.
- They also proposed to demarcate some areas within the Western Ghats Region as ecologically sensitive and to notify such areas as ecologically sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- This would make 60% of the total area of Western Ghats in Kerala, including the regions of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, as a zone of highest ecological sensitivity, ‘ESZ1’.
- As a result, the main reasons of disturbance in these sensitive areas like quarrying or mining, replacement of natural vegetation by new plantations, levelling of the land using heavy machinery, and construction of houses and roads, would have stopped.
- But this was not implemented by the government.
- Had it been implemented the intensity of destruction would have been less.
- Other states can take lessons and not ignore the suggestions given by expert panels.
Why is ‘bottom-up’ approach important?
- The reason given was that the people who live in the ecologically sensitive areas know their surroundings better. Their inputs on preservation and conservation about the areas they live in will be more beneficial than one ‘top-down’ model by the state being applied to all areas.
- This will also help in building on India’s greatest strength, its deep-rooted democracy. Democracy is not merely voting once in five years; it is the active involvement of us citizens in governing the country at all levels, most importantly at the local level.
- This would also mean setting a lesson for other local bodies across the country that local bodies have the authority to decide on the course of development in their own localities. This would be a big step in empowering the local bodies.
Way ahead –
- We must take full advantage of powers and responsibilities conferred on us under provisions such as the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution, and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and act as responsible citizens.
- The existing laws relating to environmental protection and devolution of powers, right down to the gram sabha and ward sabha level must be followed.
- We, the sovereign people, must realise that we are the real rulers of India and must engage ourselves more actively in the governance of the country and lead it on to a path of people-friendly and nature-friendly.
Question – With a downturn in economic growth in the last few months, what are the measures announced by the government to revive it? Discuss (250 Words)
Context – Announcements made by the FM yesterday.
The present scenario:
- India’s GDP continues to grow at a faster pace than the global economy and any other major country.
- But the problem that lies is that this economic growth is slowing down, many foreign investors are pulling out their investments and if this is left unchecked, there can be serious economic challenges that will be more difficult to address.
- Taking note of this situation, some announcements were made to restore the growth rate.
What are the measures?
To encourage Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI):
- The government announced a rollback of enhanced surcharge on foreign portfolio investors levied in the Budget, to encourage investment in the capital market.
- Angel tax provisions to be withdrawn for start-ups and their investors.
- A dedicated cell under a member of CBDT will be set up for addressing the problems of start-ups.
Regarding CSR norms and capital infusion:
- Violations of CSR norms under the company’s law will be treated only as a civil liability and not as a criminal offence.
- Capital infusion of ₹70,000 crore into public sector banks, a move aimed at boosting lending and improving liquidity situation.
- This move is expected to generate an additional lending and liquidity in the financial system to the tune of ₹5 lakh crore.
- From October 1, all notices, summons, and orders of the Income Tax Department would be issued through a centralised computer system and would also have a computer-generated unique Document Identification Number.
- All pending GST refunds of MSMEs will be paid within 30 days. Also, in the future, all GST refunds of MSMEs will be paid within 60 days from the date of application.
Revisions in Loans and Repo Rate:
- Loans for home, vehicles and consumption goods will become cheaper and new loans will be easily available through banking and non-banking
- Banks will launch repo rate and external benchmark-linked loan products that will lead to reduced easy monthly installments for housing, vehicle and other retail loans.
- Banks will pass on RBI rate cut benefits to borrowers through MCLR reduction.
- Working capital loans for industry will become cheaper.
- Public sector banks (PSBs) will ensure mandated return of loan documents within 15 days of loan closure
- The government announced partial credit scheme for purchase of pooled assets of non-banking finance companies and HFCs.
- NBFCs will be permitted to use the Aadhaar authenticated bank ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) to avoid repeated processes.
- Changes will be made in PMLA rules and Aadhaar regulations to ease the lending process.
For boosting the Automobile Sector:
- BS-IV vehicles purchased up to March 2020 will remain operational for the entire period of registration.
- Both electric vehicles (EVs) and Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICV) will continue to be registered.
- Centre to lift ban on purchase of new vehicles for replacing all old vehicles by government departments.
- Focus will be on setting up of infrastructure for development of ancillaries/components, including batteries for exports.
- Additional 15% depreciation to be allowed, on all vehicles acquired from now till March 2020, taking the total to 30 %.
- Revision of one-time registration fees has been deferred till June 2020.
- Proposal to establish an organisation to provide credit enhancement for infrastructure and housing projects with an aim to enhance fund flows towards such projects.
- Putting an end to all speculations the government had made clear that it is concerned about the interests of “wealth creators”. And these measures are aimed to help them.
- The government had done what it could, now it is for the wealth creators to respond.
- Before making any major changes in policies the government should consider the long-term consequences.
Question- In the context of the Indian automobile industry experiencing a crisis of demand, does it point to a larger picture of middle-income trap?
Context – a pervasive lack of demand in auto sales.
What is middle-income trap?
- It broadly means a consumption driven economy.
- As we know India’s growth is mainly consumption based i.e. a large portion of the products manufactured by companies in India is consumed by the domestic market itself and it is on this basis that we are growing. Export is too less.
- But the thing of concern is that what will happen if the people of the country stop or reduce consumption, if they feel that their income is not growing beyond a certain point. This will lead to an overall slowdown.
- If we look at the automobile sector, we can already see that the consumption has declined. For example- Domestic sales across all vehicle categories slid 19 percent year-on-year this July and of this passenger vehicles sales fell by 31 percent, steepest in past 19 years.
- And this is not only limited to the automobile sector. The Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies like packaged food producing companies like Hindustan Uniliver or Britannia has also reported a decline in consumption, also there is a decline in demand of personal loans and so on.
- These are not signing of a healthy economy, especially the Indian economy that is mostly consumption driven because if demand declines, companies will produce less, factories will close and there will be growth in unemployment.
- According to World Bank it is measured in terms of per capita income (PCI) i.e. GDP divided by population. Because if people have more income they generally tend to consume more.
What are the signs of an economy facing middle-income trap?
- When manufacturing has reduced, companies are not investing, there is no innovation and the income of the people has stagnated at a certain point and there is very little export. All these eventually leading to corruption and crime.
- The various indexes like the IMF in its World Economic Outlook report has lowered the growth projections of India for 2019 by 20 basis points than it had earlier.
- The RBI’s July round of its Consumers Confidence Survey reported a decline.
A case study of the automobile sector:
- As we have seen by the data mentioned above the sales has declined.
- This is among all consumer segments – urban, semi-urban and rural and personal and institutional.
- Nine straight months of reduced demand has started showing signs like, showroom closures and layoffs at dealerships, component suppliers and vehicle makers themselves.
- Federation of Automobile Dealers Association have warned of more jobs being at risk after already two lakh jobs already been shed. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers have already laid off at least 15000 contract workers in last three months.
- The liquidity crunch in the NBFC industry and the resulting less credit availability.
- Increase in insurance costs.
- 28% GST charged on cars, motorcycles and scooters.
- Manufacturers overestimating demand when setting up capacity, especially fossil-fuel run vehicles, and,
- The rapid adoption of app-based commuting.
- All these are clear signs of a middle-income trap economy and it has begun showing its negative side.
Is it a matter of major concern?
- It is matter of great concern because our economy is completely consumption driven and a slow-down in one sector will affect other sectors too.
- In the short-tern the government can focus of increasing people’s income, providing employment and doubling farmers income. But these won’t let us move out of this trap permanently. We do not want to be in this trap and limit our growth potential like South Africa and Brazil.
- For the long-run there is a need of working towards increasing export and looking at other inherent weaknesses.
Note: there is another article on renewable energy sector. Not many points are given but these are the major highlights:
- The Article says that there is a massive push towards renewable energy generation in India. We have a target of achieving 175 GW of solar and wind energy by 2022.
- We are already the fifth-largest producer of solar energy in the world; and not only this we are also the sixth largest producer of renewable energy.
- Our PM also won the Champions of the Earth award last year.
- These have major benefits like environment protection, generating more employment opportunities etc.
- However, what we still need to do is to cut the cost of production of renewable energy.
- There are global technological developments that have significantly reduced the cost of renewable energy generation like new types of photovoltaics and onshore winds.
- Taking advantage of these lower costs, other developing countries like China and Brazil have performed much better than India in renewable energy generation.
- According to International Renewable Energy Agency rank, currently these two countries rank first and third respectively in terms of production of renewable energy.
- India has been unable to tap this reduction in production cost. There is need to spend more on research and development.
- One of the goals of advancing renewable energy is to limit and finally eliminate the use of fossil fuels. But India’s coal demand rose by nearly 9.1% during the ending of March 2019.
- Coal still features among the top five imports of India.
- Coal is the dirtiest duel- carbon emission from coal are almost double the emission from natural gas, and also much higher than those from petroleum. A study by the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, shows that Indian coal-powered thermal plants are considered the most inefficient.
- The report also suggested that 8 of the top 10 lenders to these coal-based thermal power plants are public sector banks. But renewable energy plants being relatively new and need more financial assistance.
- So favoring the coal-based thermal power plants is not a good sign. If the coal-based power plants continue to grow, then the efforts in renewable energy won’t help much in environmental protection.
- So overall the vision to create more space for the Renewable Energy in the energy sector is applaudable but the other factors should be kept in mind to make it more efficient.
Question – In the context of U.S.A. threatening to pull out of the WTO, analyze the WTO and its viability. (250 words)
What is WTO?
- It is a global organization made up of 164 member countries that deals with the rules of trade between nations to ensure that trade flows as smoothly as possible.
- But the U.S. President has threatened to withdraw from the WTO citing that it is leading to losses for America.
- Towards the end of the Second World War, in 1944, a conference was held called the Bretton Woods Conference which laid the foundation of the post-World War II financial system and led to the establishment of two key institutions- the IMF and World Bank.
- There were also talks to establish a third institution called the International Trade Organization, but it never came into force.
- Meanwhile, parallel negotiations were being held for reciprocal reduction in triff barriers. These negotiations resulted in the signing of the GATT on November 30, 1947. It aimed at reducing tariffs for facilitating global trade.
- It was ratified by a significant number of signatory nations, including the U.S. and it entered into force in 1948.
- But GATT lacked a coherent institutional structure (i.e. it did not have a proper structure).
- GATT in the meanwhile conducted eight rounds of multilateral trade negotiations between 1987 and 1994, called the Uruguay Round, this culminated in the Marrakesh Agreement which established the WTO.
- WTO replaced GATT in 1995. It incorporates the principles of GATT and provides a better institutional framework for implementing and extending them.
What does WTO seek to ensure?
- Non discrimination among member States- Its main aim is to ensure that the underdeveloped and developing countries get a fair treatment and do not lag behind in the competition.
- Most favoured nation status- though it sounds like giving special status to one particular country it actually means quite the opposite. It means that a WTO member country cannot give special favour or privilege to any particular country. If it gives some privilege to one country, it has to give the same to other WTO member countries. Taking away MFN status from any country like India did in case of Pakistan earlier, means that the privileges that India can discriminate against Pakistan and the privileges that it gives to other countries of WTO won’t apply to it.
- National treatment- it broadly means treating foreign and domestic goods in the same way. But this does not mean that a country cannot charge custom duty of the goods entering its market. It means that once the product enters the market they should not be discriminated against or over taxed etc.
- Freer trade- it means that lowering trade barriers among nations like import ban, excessive customs duty etc. to ensure smooth global trade. And,
- Predictability- this is importance because trade cannot prosper in volatile economic situations.
- To support fair competition- But it allows countries to charge anti-dumping duties if it feels that products being imported from some economies are cheaper or something related and are working against the domestic producers selling the same products. It also aims to support fair competition in agriculture, intellectual property rights, services etc.
The need of WTO:
- In the era of globalization some countries entered the race early and some late, like the developed countries were early to enter the market and the developing countries entered the market late. So, there should not be equal laws applying to both. They need to come to an equal level.
- Similarly, the developed countries are technologically more advanced and can produce better quality goods at lesser cost. So again, there needs to be a regulating authority to oversee all these.
- To ensure these things several agreements have been signed by WTO members like TRIPS (agreement on trade-related aspects on intellectual property rights), GATS(general agreement on trade and services), SCM(subsidies and countervailing measures), AOA (agreement on agriculture) and so on.
Why is U.S.A threatening to pull out of WTO?
- It feels that the concessions and regulations that are applied to developing countries like India and China are discriminating against its products.
- The U.S. President also went on to say that India and China are no longer developing countries and any favour given to them is a discrimination.
- Since U.S.A. is a major economic power and one of the prime signatories of the WTO it is essential that it supports the WTO and its regulations else it will prove to be an existential threat to the WTO with other countries feeling the same.
- That will not be good for countries like India which entered the race of globalization and needs proper rules-based order to prosper.
- We must show our full support to WTO and the principles it stands for and the other developing countries should come together to ensure its viability.
Question: What is the need of CDS? Does the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), undermine the authority of the three service chiefs over their forces? Discuss. ( 250 words)
Context: PM’s announcement in his Independence Day address to appoint a Chief of Defence Staff for management of defence in India.
- After the Kargil War, issue of efficient management of the higher defence organization came into focus.
- A task force headed by K. Subrahmanyam was formed to examine the questions about the anticipation and detection of Pakistani intrusions in Kargil and military responses.
- This strategic expert team highlighted the systemic issues challenging our national security structures, which included poor coordination and technological inadequacies.
- On its recommendations, the Government task d a Group of Ministers (GoM) in the early 2000s to review national security management. They reviewed several aspects ranging from intelligence, internal security, border management and defence.
- The outcome of all these review and recommendations was the appointment of a National Security Adviser, strengthening of intelligence coordination, mechanisms, upgrading the technological capacity of security agencies, and sharpening institutional responses to traditional and emerging internal security challenges.
- But one area that was not addressed properly was that of defence management.
Why is defence management needed?
- There is a pervasive sentiment in the armed forces that they are not formally included in the decision-making process on defence planning and strategy. And it is reinforced by the fact that Service Headquarters are not within the Ministry of Defence; they are treated more like attached offices. This has led to cumbersome, opaque and antiquated decision-making process.
- From an operational perspective, the concept of military conflict today extends beyond land, air, and sea, into domains of space, cyber, electronic and information.
- In this scenario there is a need of “jointness” of Indian Army, Airforce and Navy. It also requires a polarization of the weapons requirements of the forces and optimization of their resource allocations based on a clearly defined national defence strategy.
- Keeping these in mind the GoM had recommended better efficiency by integrating the armed forces headquarters into Ministry of Defence. It had also asked for the appointment of a CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), who could promote an integrated approach to interservice polarization and resource allocation as well as a pooling of common structures to reduce unnecessary redundancies.
- The task of the CDS as recommended by the GoM was to administer tri-service institutions such as the Andaman and Nicobar Command. But at present his task should also include the recently established tri-service space and cyber agencies.
- So mainly his task would be to provide coordinated military advice to the Defence Minister, incorporating the perspective of individual services.
Why was the recommendation of establishing a CDS not implemented earlier?
- There was an apprehension that CDS would undermine the authority of the three service chiefs over their forces.
- Also, there were apprehensions that an all-powerful CDS would distort the civil-military balance in our democracy.
- But many democracies have the institution of a CDS or its equivalent, with varying degrees of operational control over their armed forces. But instead of acting as a distortion, it has led to greater participation the military in decision-making alongside the civilian bureaucracy, enhancing the coherence and transparency of policies.
- In almost every case the appointment of CDS has been a top-down decision, to which systems have subsequently adjusted.
- As understood the role of CDS in India is to foster jointness of the tri-services because it is only after achieving jointness in training, exercises and infrastructure that feasibility of regional commands can be explored in the specific context of India’s geography and nature of its internal and external threats.
- It can also contribute to rational defence acquisition decisions, preventing redundancy of capacity among the services and making best use of financial resources.
- This is a very credible step, but there are other things too that need attention like India is still one of the top arms importers of the world. We need to focus on indigenization to reduce our dependence on other countries.
- Also, the terms of acquisition of arms from other countries should be such that it strengthens our indigenous technological capacities, in turn aiding defence self-reliance.
- Also, there is a need of integrating the CDS and the three-service headquarters under the Ministry of Defence because without this the purpose of establishment of CDS cannot be meaningfully fulfilled.
- Overall this is a much-needed reform and we can accept positive results.
Question – Explain the recent IMF projections and the Asian rate cut wave.(200 words)
Context – the latest World Economic Outlook projection.
- World Economic Outlook report is released by the IMF. It states the projections (predictions) made by the IMF about the growth rate of different countries of the world and an estimated global growth overview.
- The most recent IMF projection has downgraded global growth from 3.6 to 3.2 per cent.
- e. in 2018 it had projected global economic growth rate to be 3.6 per cent but now in the first quarter of 2019 it projects it to be only 3.2 per cent.
- This deceleration in economic activity will be for both advanced and developing economies.
- The deceleration of economic activity in China due to U.S. – China trade war. This has had a negative impact on its export and investment.
- The failure of India to use this situation to its advantage. When the multinational companies are trying to divert themselves from China due to this trade war, India could have projected itself as an alternate option. But it missed this opportunity and the companies shifted to countries like Vietnam.
- The slowdown in Japan which faces acute demographic challenges.
- There has been a global decline in demand for goods, affecting exports. This has also led to a slowdown in the manufacturing sector because too much production in case of declining demand will lead to loss.
- So, the worst hit are the economies that depend mainly on trade.
- This has led to a rate cut wave (i.e. the banks reducing their interest rates so that the loans become cheaper and people take money from the banks.). This is also called easing of monetary policy.
- This rate cut trend has started from the example of U.S. Federal Bank (the central bank of America just like our RBI). The U.S. Federal bank recently started rate cut in its monetary policy and this was followed by many Asian central banks (India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea).
Where does India stand?
- Since India is not well integrated with Asian and global supply chains, it is not much affected by the U.S.-China trade war.
- But as stated above it has missed the opportunity to use it to its advantage due to acute domestic bottlenecks, policy missteps and structural challenges.
- The IMF has downgraded India’s growth projections to 7 per cent. This is good when compared to the projections for other countries but much less than the potential growth of 7.5 per cent.
- Keeping in mind the present global scenario, if India is to succeed in its ambition of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25, there can be no substitute for undertaking the necessary ‘structural reforms’ needed to jump-start private investments which are necessary for longer-term growth because monetary policy rate cuts will help to manage the downward growth trends only for short-term.
- This is also because when RBI issues guidelines for rate cuts, banks are generally slow in implementing it because they themselves are faced with debts.
- The government is also trying to deal with the situation by issuing sovereign bonds instead of streamlining (managing/ reducing) subsidies and revenue expenditure. This will lead to an increase in the foreign debt of the government. At present our forex reserves are capable to handle this foreign debt risk, but too much dependence on sovereign bonds is also not advisable.
- On the whole before forming any monetary policy the long-term vision has to be kept in mind.
Question – With the government moving increasingly towards privatisation of various sectors, analyse its effect of privatising the banking sector. Does nationalisation of banks create financial repression? (250 Words)
Context – the government is planning to privatise certain banks.
What is financial repression?
- Financial Repression very simply put means the government intervention in the credit market, especially the banks, where the government directs the banks as to how much to lend to which sector and at what interest rate.
- Some argue that this leads to reduced growth because the banks would have earned much more money through giving credit (loans) to the people at the market driven rate rather than the government or the central bank directed rate. So, in other terms according to the critics it reduces growth.
- At the time of independence, India’s rural financial system was dominated by money lenders, landlords and traders. For example, in 1951, if a rural household had a debt of 100 rupees, 93 came from non-institutional sources.
- So, after independence, especially from the 1950s there were efforts to expand the reach of the institutional sector (i.e. banks and other formal money lending institutions), particularly in the rural areas.
- Despite the measures that were undertaken the private banks were not very keen to invest or do business in the rural areas. So the credit needs of the rural areas were not being fulfilled by the private banks or the private banking system.
- So large-scale nationalisation of the private banks/ private sector banks was done between 1969-1980.
- The primary goal after nationalising the banks in 1969 was expanding the geographical spread and functional reach of the formal banking system. So, a multi-agency approach was undertaken.
- For this the first step was that a new branch licensing policy was launched. Under which the banks were told that for every branch they opened in a metropolitan or port area, four new branches had to be opened in unbanked rural areas. As a result, the number of rural bank branches increased from 1,833 (in 1969) to 35,206 (in 1991).
- Second, the concept of priority-sector lending was introduced. Which means that the government will lay down certain sectors which it thinks need credit (i.e. money/loan) and ask the nationalised banks to set aside a certain sum of money out of their total lending capacity for lending only to these sectors. For example, all banks had to compulsorily set aside 40% of their net bank credit for agriculture, micro and small enterprises, housing, education and “weaker” sections.
- Third, a differential interest rate scheme was introduced in 1974. Here, loans were provided at a low interest rate to the weakest among the weakest sections of the society compared to what others had to pay.
- Fourth, lead bank system was introduced by which each district was assigned to one bank and these banks acted as ‘pace-setters’ or the main coordinator of other banks in the district.
- Fifth, several Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) were established in 1975 to enlarge the supply of institutional credit to the rural areas.
- Finally, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was constituted in 1982 to regulate and supervise the functions of cooperative banks and RRBs.
- The outcome of this nationalisation, which made possible the targeted multi-agency approach was admirable.
- Nationalisation showed how monetary policy, banks and interest rates can be effectively used to take banks to rural areas, backward regions and under-served sectors, furthering redistributionist goals in an economy.
- There was a remarkable growth in financial inclusion.
- When Indian economy was liberalised in 1991, there were some who also wanted financial liberalisation and their main argument was that government control in the financial sector leads to financial repression.
- As a result, the Narasimham Committee was formed to look into these demands.
- The committee recommended that 1991 recommended that monetary policy should be divorced from redistributionist goals (or financial inclusion). Instead, banks should be free to practise commercial modes of operation, with profitability as the primary goal.
- As a result, the Reserve Bank of India allowed banks to open and close branches as they desired. Priority sector guidelines were diluted; banks were allowed to lend as much as they want to activities that were remotely connected with agriculture or to big corporates. Interest rate regulations on priority sector advances were removed.
- The outcomes were immediately visible. More than 900 rural bank branches closed down across the country. The rate of growth of agricultural credit (loans provided to farmers) fell sharply from around 7% per annum in the 1980s to about 2% per annum in the 1990s.
- This retreat of public banks wreaked havoc on the rural financial market. Between 1991 and 2002, the share of institutional sources in the total outstanding debt of rural households fell from 64% to 57.1%.
- The space vacated by institutional sources was promptly occupied by moneylenders and other non-institutional sources.
- From our past experience we have seen that government regulation of the banking sector is important, especially in a developing country like India where still there are certain sectors that need financial push.
- We have also seen the negative effect that deregulation has especially in the rural areas and the agricultural sector. For example, with the increasing incidence of farmer suicides and banks not being able to repay their debts on time, no private bank would like to give loans to these small farmers, rather they would lend most of their money to the big corporates.
- What is needed is a balance between privatisation and nationalisation. It is true that the banking sector is facing financial crisis but unregulated privatisation should not be the answer.
Additional Editorials Summary
Some Random Editorials (in August) from other newspaper which we found good for UPSC IAS Exam
Topic- Single use Plastic Issue
Introduction- “Plastic-Threat to human existence”
- Plastics today are ubiquitous found in the greatest depths of oceans to the mightiest peaks like the Everest
- UNEP- dedicated 2008- free from plastics
- World environment day’18-phasing out single use plastic (straws, cups) by 2022
- Generation-20000 tonnes plastic waste/day(env min)
- Collection- 13-14000 tonnes
Harms-Single use plastic
- 1960 till today- menace continues
- Un-decaying, micron sized plastics (microplastics)
- Affected- Drainage system, enter food chain, ocean polluted (N. Pacific Ocean-large garbage dump), wildlife & marine life
- Health- Respiratory damage, toxicity
Challenges & solutions
- Collection-16-18%- global average
- Lack of cheaper alternatives-Env friendly Alternatives & making them affordable
- Waste management- technology-unsegregated waste destruction at high T- Australia, co-processing-cement industry & industrial incentive systems, “plastic free stores”
- Mindset changes
- Synthesis- petroleum
Benefits of reducing plastics
- Reducing- mining, transportation, refining costs of petroleum
- Pollution- reduction (air & water)
- Health benefits
- Research development-findings, quantifying
- Alternatives-Funds & resources to find out, Cost benefit analysis of each type of plastics & their substitutes
- Treatment & collection- industrial incentive systems
- Proper awareness
- Considered to be a ‘miracle product’ when discovered, today is the world’s ‘deadliest product’. Problem lies in the inadequate collection & recycling system. Getting rid of the plastic menace we have to set out our economics correct. It is not the cost of material but it’s high cost implications that is costing us very dearly.
- The civilisation is not dependent on plastics. The alternatives are going to cost us but companies which have already made huge profits have a moral liability. A campaign on “Mission mode” is the need of the hour
Topic- Strengthening Judicial Apparatus
- pendency of cases-more than two lakh cases are in courts for 25 years, while over 1000 cases have not been disposed of even after five decades
- 2012- national court management systems report -15 cr cases-pendency in next 3 decades, requirement-75000 judges
- proposal to raise the retirement age of high court judges to 65 years from the current 62
- Lok Sabha on Monday gave its nod to a bill to increase the strength of Supreme Court judges from the present 30 to 33. the Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 30 judges, plus the chief justice of India which makes it 31 judges. 8 judges- independence
Root of the cause
- Executive- responsibility in the justice delivery mechanism
- High courts responsible for appointment
- Manpower & Infrastructure collapse-trial courts-more than 5000 vacancies, 2.74 cr cases pending, 20:1million- lowest in the world
- Frequent adjournments, lengthy procedures, related issues
- Technology- typewriters being used
Tacking the problem
- Quality & no of judges & courts, filling vacancies
- Banning post retirement appointments
- Indian Judicial service-upsc, high court should not select judges
- level monitoring, punctuality
- Technology, mediation, consultation & Lok Adalat’s
- Executive- constructive administration can save court’s time, appointments & monitoring
- New cases should not be taken on the cost of unsettled pending cases, timeframe & prioritisation
- Technology & paperless courts
- Acting upon multi-stakeholder Resolutions
Population & literacy that drives case filing has increased manifold but the number of judges & quality has not kept up with the development. There has to be an administrative uniformity & a proper white paper on entire Indian Judiciary to get an overhauled picture
Topic- Pendency of cases in India
- More than two lakh cases are in courts for 25 years, while over 1,000 cases have not been disposed of even after five decades.
- SC pendency ~ 60,000 not huge: By deciding one case in SC: many other cases may go null & void in lower courts.
- Report of Court management system: grim situation in next 3 decades – Pendency will rise to 15 cr cases – required Judges ~75K
Cause of Pendency:
- Even though allotted strength is high – there is vacancy of Judges in lower courts.
- Quality of lower judiciary is low: Away from metropolitan cities – Lack of monitoring.
- Lack of Infrastructure
- Judges trying to do everything: Judical, Appointments, Administrative work.
- Lack of use of technology: Trial courts still using typewriters, files & papers still being used.
- Issue of listing of cases.
- Government is the biggest litigant.
- Taking up new cases & leaving old cases.
Executive & Judiciary:
- Role of executive: Finances for judiciary, Judicial services – no role in appointment of judges.
- Has taken serious steps in repealing archaic laws.
- Executive wrote to judiciary which was converted to PIL for issuing notification to lower courts.
- Executive not making decisions & keeping it open for courts.
- Quality of judges have to be improved.
- of judges have to be increased: 20 judges per million lowest in the world highest in US 107 per million.
- Retirement age should be same for HC & SC.
- Ban post retirement appointments
- Indian judicial service: Lower Level – Public service commission & Higher Judicial service: Selection from HC
- Public service commission or other methodology for recruitment of judges in higher judicial service.
- Proper monitoring at district level.
- Use Technology: Go paperless.
- Some separate forum for govt. cases – Like Consumer courts
With rising level of literacy, people are getting more & more aware about their rights & its violation. Number of cases in the courts is going to increase. Judiciary & Executive must find a proper mechanism to deal with pendency of cases.
Topic- Recent Parliamentary disruptions happened
- “Disorder, disruption and delay in legislation cannot replace debate, discussion and decision which are hallmarks of democracy”: RS Chairman
- Both government and Opposition need to function as joint stake-holders and compete in serving the people.
- The 16th Lok Sabha has lost 1/6th of its time to disruptions while RS has lost 1/3rd of its scheduled time. (Ref: PRS)
- Least productive question hours in last winter session: 8% questions were answered orally in Lok Sabha, and 11% in Rajya Sabha
- -This session has been productive > 90%
Parliamentary discussions importance:
- Benchmark for debate in society
- Serious deliberations for law making – detailed scrutiny.
- When court interpret the law they look into the debates to know the intent of the bill.
Reasons for Disruptions
- Not getting adequate opportunities for expressing views
- Raja only 2-3 mins to speak. comes from single member party
- Strategic disruption
Rules & regulations to govern the proceedings
- Rules of proceedings & conduct of business
- Handbooks of members – two sections: 1. customs & conventions. 2. Parliamentary Etiquette (how should they behave)
- Directions issued by chairman
- Ruling & observation from chair – for maintaining the decorum
- Criticism of proceedings or government & not any individual will foster an environment to fix things.
- Party president or members reprimand the conduct of their members.
- No one enters the parliament to disrupt – hence, concerns should be heard.
- SELF REGULATION: Parliament is the highest body.
- Since, members don’t get enough time to speak: increasing no. of days of functioning.
- When parliament started it was 150 days avg now 60-70 days.
Parliamentary time is precious, it’s a commodity in limited supply. Discussions, deliberations & decision making is good for democracy.
Topic- India Wants to get UNSC Seat
- India has one-sixth of the global population and is one of the founding members.
- India has always respected the institution and participated in it.
- Delivering a joint G4 statement on behalf of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan, India’s Permanent Representative in 2016 stated that the grouping was eager for a forward discussion on UNSC permanent membership and reforms.
- In reality, there is a decline of the west.
Need for the move:
- A leader in Peacekeeping operations
- Upholder of principles and credentials.
- India’s clout in the UN has increased, eg: election of an Indian in ICJ.
- International yoga day with 177 countries.
- India is opposed by China and Pakistan
- Germany is opposed by UK, France, Spain, and Italy.
- Brazil opposed by Argentina, Mexico.
- African countries haven’t come up with a candidate.
- India has been following its own policy. As in the case of bombings in Libya, where India had opposed initially and then abstained in the vote.
- All the P5 countries have their own angularities.
- China’s urge to India to leave G-4
- UK, US, and France will not cede that the west is on a decline.
- Japan’s inclusion is facing problems as its economic clout is declining and China is opposing strongly.
- China in its own perception has equated India with Pakistan. Pakistan is its tool.
- China on the behest of Pakistan called for informal consultations.
- Wuhan warmth was considered temporary.
- Wuhan summit did not discuss-Dalai Lama, border disputes, Pakistan issues.
- China is more or less isolated in UNSC. As in the case of Hafiz Saeed.
India & Pakistan:
- GDP of Pakistan less than that of Mumbai
- Even China is finding it difficult to bail out Pakistan.
- France is supporting openly.
- America plays a different game altogether.
- Managing the transition
- UNGA session is going to take place in September and hopefully, India would be part of P-6 whether it would be part of P-5 or not.
- If the Indian economy can grow at 10% for 10 years then the members will ask India to be a member.
- India should not over-invest in it.
Unique way forward ( by Arora)
plz noted down boss -Let’s grow at 10℅ for 10 years and they will ask us to join. Best way forward to get into elite group. And to grow at such level every individual must do one’s best. Once we able to make our population productive there will be fantastic results.
Topic- Need of Modernization Indian Air Force:
- Derivation of threat perception & future wars
- Doctrine – two front war policy
- Aerospace kind of space assets.
- Offensive capabilities & Air Défense.
- Force multiplier – air to air refuelers
- Protect the vast airspace.
- MIG21: flying coffin – accident-prone of all IAF fighter jets
- Sanctioned 42 squadron strength – 900 fighter aircraft but around 500 existing capabilities.
- Induction rate slower than retiring.
- IN 1980’s: 3:1 superiority with Pakistan in terms of Aircraft.
- Tejas moving slow: 120 aircrafts in 10yrs – by the time technology changes.
- Indigenous costing higher: Su30 indigenous is 1.8 times than buying from outside.
- Lack of collaboration between PSUs & private.
- Manufacture Challenges: Access to technology & tariff, long gestation period for ROI , Enabling ecosystem.
- Capital expenditure limited.
Air Force Modernisation plan:
- Integrated material man made online system : function responsible for the coordination of planning, sourcing, purchasing, moving, storing and controlling materials in an optimum manner so as to provide a pre-decided service to the customer at a minimum costs.
- Integrated air command control system : automated air-defence command-and-control (C2) centre designed for controlling and monitoring Indian Air Force (IAF) operations throughout the country.
- Air refuelling Capabilities
- Missile Capabilities – Agni I to V
- Tiered & layered defense.
- Strategic forces command.
- LRSAM – Akash, MRSAM, Brahmos – indigenous
- Apache new attack helicopters.
- Induction of Rafale fighter planes.
- GST-7A satellite: integrate the satellite with the IACCS through the Air Force Network
- AWACS – used during balakot: Airborne Early Warning and Control System
- Modernization of air field infra (MAFI)
- 30 air field – all-weather 24*7 flying capabilities.
- Update inventory on new fighter jets.
- G2G procurement: saves 4-5 yrs.
- Allow Foreign companies to invest.
- Technology Development roadmap.
- Increase industry Manufacturing Capabilities.
- National Aeronautic commission to oversee.
- Private Industries should be allowed to lease some facilities of PSUs.
- For becoming economic and military superpower India needs to procure high-end, high-tech items in short term & focus on Indigenous industries in defense capabilities.
Topic- Police: Need for Change
- Law & order implementation
- Country’s 9% gdp wasted due to- anti social violent perpetrators
- Status of policing in India Report, 21 states, 12000 policemen
- Duty timing not fixed, no national holiday, workload
- Lack of proper training
- Faith Matters- malimath committee- confession before police officer should be admissible in evidence
- Lack of resources-policemen, lack of forensic support, motor bikes
- Workload- 16-18 hrs in 7 states, 89 policemen on 1lack population
- Centre state relations, law & order- state subject
- Inhuman conditions
- Lack of manpower
- Courts and Investigation intermingling
- Vested interests
- Police reforms, supreme courts directions
- Status of policing in India Report-Transfers frequency reduced 35% to 17%
- Control room centric operation
- Revival of approvals
- Kerala- trial of weekly off
- Technology infusion- forensic field
- Outsourcing- summons-warrant
- Wing separation need to be analysed before implementation
- Minimum Educational qualification- graduate
Nearly 500 to about 900 policemen die while performing duty still the faith of an Indian citizen on policemen of India is ever wavering. Political commitment & technology infusion along with police reforms in education & training will go a long way in changing the face of Indian police
Topic- : State Locals Citizen First Policy in Jobs
Locals first policy: what does it mean?
- It sells very well politically. It is a populist move.
- Exempted industries- Cement, coal, fertilizers, some industries which are fairly well developed in the state.
- It fulfills the aspiration of the electorate.
Will this bill stand the scrutiny of law?
- Equality is deeply enshrined in the constitution.
- Article 16- it mentions about Public employment.
- Regarding private employment, changes can be made by the parliament by making a law.
- eg: Domicile Reservation in Educational Institutions law- some amount of domicile are permitted as the state has invested in their education and its in the state’s interest to promote education. Caution mentioned in the judgment- this provision can lead to fragmentation of the country.
- Investments might reduce in states which raise such stipulations.
- The advantage of producing at a lower cost will disappear.
- There may be a flight of capital from India to Africa where many countries are running advertisements calling Indian entrepreneurs to invest there.
- Counterproductive for the states.
- It will affect growth at some point.
- It is kind of a curb which will impact innovation.
- eg: Maharashtra- if any company gets an incentive from the state government then that particular company will have to have at least 70% of native unskilled workers.
- Karnataka- for Kannadigas a law was brought out but it exempted IT and Biotech professionals.
- India has a comparative advantage in terms of a large pool of labor. And if employment to local people in the blue collared category is enforced then this advantage (producing goods for the local market or for exports) could get negated.
- Job creation might also be a concern.
- Unemployability might increase.
- Higher education might get affected.
- And if a similar stance is adopted by western countries then where will the students go for higher education.
- It can lead to the fragmentation of the country.
- Other states might follow the path (Open Pandora’s box ). eg: In Tamil Nadu, the Pattali Makkal are demanding 80% reservation.
- A threat to unity and diversity of the country.
- India is like going back to the stage when the country was ruled by 500 princes and there was a kind of fiefdom. (Isolated island might be created).
- Lead to social tensions.
- People with transferable jobs might not be able to adjust in any state.
- These policies may lead to corruption and dishonesty and so is a threat to social harmony.
- There might be a demand for SRC on the lines of NRC(National Register of Citizens).
- Incentives for companies that train local labour. (Incentives in the form of lower electricity charges or land use charges. Something on the lines of CSR).
- Policies which bring out the best in people.
- This particular law should be properly vetted.
- Economy based reservation.
- Maharashtra encouraged Dalits to set up industries and thus job was created. Other states can follow the same path.
Topic- Crime Against Women
Crimes against women have been in focus over the past few weeks, with several heinous ones being reported across the country.
- of crimes increased by the minor against minors.
- Biggest crime take place within the family
- trust exploited
- Parental guidance is lagging
- Use of technology – Parents don’t have time so handover gadgets to kid without guidance.
- at tender age water usually slips towards the down.
- Child ‘s first lesson is from parents – Father behavior towards mother.
- Society have equal role to play: Erosion of family value to materialistic.
- Lack of connection – no sharing of values.
Evolution of society;
- Family is the first basic unit of society
- Nuclear families to joint families.
- 3-4 generations lived together.
- Early marriage – close emotional bonding: Marriage age has increased – generation gap.
Society changed –
women out of the house
- Circular: urbanization -> migration -> nuclear family – >joint family coming up
- Young people frustrated.
- People becoming isolated from the society: Man is a social animal at the end of the day.
Laws: No dearth of laws
- POCSO act, 2012 – was made gender neutral girls & boys
- to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children through legal provisions.
- IPC has stringent provisions
- Nirbhaya case – amendments – Justice MN Verma committee
- POSH – prevention of sexual Harassment against women at workplace
Steps that can be taken:
- Awareness of laws
- Gender sensitization early in school : teaching boys & girls both
- Police reforms – no. of FIRs have increased – no proper investigation
- Happiness workshops & Counselling
- Engaging students fruitfully in community activities – More socialisation.
- Media Awareness – the convict usually gets caught but always the other side is shown. Showing the true picture will create deterrence.
- Fast track courts for such cases.
- Less use of technology in early years – Children should go out & play.
- Women should be respected at home – Parents should share relationship of authority & respect with children. .
- Crime against women is a serious issue & they must gain respect that they deserve. We should start nurturing good family values. Change will start from home
Topic- Pharma industry issue
- Pharma industry has showed consistent growth in trade and otherwise.
- Scientific intervention. Quality product production.
1) Long term strategy (Vision 2030)
2) Focus on Pharma industry
3)Research and setting international standards.
Aim: Be a world leader in this industry. Make in India promotion. (Most raw material are imported from China)
For success of the vision : Focus on HR and R&D. Sustainable in nature. PPP promotion. Affordable medicine. Innovation.
- Innovative medicines.
- Last antibiotic manufactured in India was 70 years ago.
- New molecules and share it with other countries.
- Promotion ayurvedic medicines.
- Accessibility and affordability is a huge issue.
- Generic version increasing.
- Priority on API.(Khatoge committee- Focus on API)
- 1)Frame Policy on particular segments.
- 2)Priority settings for the industry.
- 3)Govt cooperation in a large level in innovation and research and funding.
- 4) Medical device manufacturing. (Less import and mass production with quality).
- 5) Govt, regulatory authorities and industry coordination.
Topic- problem in telecom sector
- Debt, NPA and twin balance sheet problems
- High import duties, increase in custom duties on Telecom equipment’s
- GST input credit payment delay
- intense competition and reduced profits due to Jio
- Low infra investment and development
- Issue of call drop, quality of internet service
- radio signals need to be replaced with optical fibres of we fully want to exploit the 4G and upcoming 5G services
- download speed in India is among the lowest in kbps when some of the developed nation have in excess of 500 mbs on an avg.
What can be done?
- Make in India in hardware and mobiles also. India is a market of 300+ millions mobile users…which is going to increase to 500 million soon
- Optical fibres cables are needed for better signal travel. Radio signals are inadequate for supporting emerging technologies like 5G
- Govt need to construct necessary basic infra in Telecom like optical fibres ducts which is future can be given to companies on lease
- Data protection legislation is immediately needed
- The Area that the Make In India project can really push , is Fibre cable production & the associated tools , switching equipment should be taken from non-Chinese countries such as South Korea, Taiwan & other’s , the 5G network should not be granted to Huawei , it’s a CCP owned entity & could serve as a base to steal Indian military secrets as well as cripple the key sectors in the event of conflict with China , Govt. should be lowering taxes levied on fibre for broadband & ADSL links , it’s a necessary step that needs to be addressed.
India cannot depend on imports if it wants to become a global player. It needs to grow its domestic industries if it wants to leverage the benefits of digital world. Along with govts Digital India mission there is an immediate need for infra construction the Telecom sector.
Topic-Problems of aviation sector
1.High fuel price
2.Devaluation of rupee against dollar
3.Lack of infrastructure
4.Overcapacity on certain routes causing delays in landing and navigation
5.Expenditure on capital have reached to its maximum but with the increasing competition the fare has been reduced that is resulting into unsustainable losses.
6.Limited destination in tier 2 and 3 cities
7.MRO sector we are dependent on foreign countries
- Merger or acquisition
3.Govt spending should increase on infrastructure…New airports, revamping existing ones
4.Poor management of airports should be fined
5.Increase in leverage on current assets if possible
6.Diversification of business by airlines
7.Sale and leaseback model can be adapted as demand is seasonal in our country
8.To attract more customers service charges at airport should be reduced
Additional note- Govt targets of civil aviation policy
1.30 cr tickets by 2022
2.India hub of MRO services
- 3 lakh direct and 6 to 8 lakh indirect jobs
4 . 3 largest aviation industry by 2022 after us and china
Focus on regional connectivity, development of regional hubs, reducing fare and customer satisfaction