The Hindu Editorials Notes ( 16th Sep 2019) -Mains Sure Shot for UPSC IAS Exam
Note: today there are two important articles and each of them have been covered earlier. So just update your notes with the additional points.
Article No. 1- ‘Why India’s growth figures are off the mark’
- The article deals with the slowing growth rate of the Indian economy.
- It draws a comparison between the predictions made by the IMF in 2008 of growth but then the global economy went into a recession. Similarly, it says that despite the RBI and the Economic survey’s growth projections about the Indian economy being positive, the economy is showing signs of a slowdown. And he says that the major announcements made by the Ministry of Finance point to revive the economy an example of it.
- The present scenario: investment rate is not rising and the consumption in the economy is stagnant.
- Government’s response to this has been to take a number of measures so that investment in the economy gets a boots. But will investment help?
- The answer to this is no. the reason being that if there is an investment but it is not matched by capacity utilisation then it will be meaningless. Boosting capacity utilisation rather than boosting investment is the key.
What is meant by capacity utilisation?
- To say simply capacity utilisation means, for example, that if I invest in the economy by setting a biscuit manufacturing plant which has the capacity to produce 10 packets of biscuits with the installed equipment, but I produce only 5 packets instead then I am not utilising the equipment or the available workforce to its maximum capacity. So the capacity utilisation is less.
- It is simply because the demand for biscuits in the market is only 5 biscuit packets.
- Now this is what is happening in the economy at present and the government needs to address this issue first. The investment rate in India has been only 30 percent for the past few years because the capacity utilisation has been only 75%. Everyone wants to invest in a place where the capacity utilisation is maximum.
But why is capacity utilisation low? What does the problem originate from?
- The problem lies in the poor state of the unorganised sector which has been declining since demonetisation and also hit by the Goods and Services Tax though it is either exempt from it or there is a simplified provision for this sector. This sector producing 45% of the output and employing 94% of the workforce, has been in decline, which is pulling down the rate of growth of the economy.
- Most of the data used for estimating growth rate is from the organised sector like mining, banking, hotels, restaurants and transport because the data for this sector is collected once in five years (called reference years) since the sector has tens of millions of units for which data cannot be collected monthly, quarterly or even annually. In between the reference years, the data is only projected on various assumptions.
What is needed/ way ahead:
- More data needs to be collected about the unorganised sector.
- The decline in the workforce, the rise in the demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc. suggests that the unorganised sector has declined by at least 10%.
- The government needs to address the issues of the unorganised sector at the earliest.
Article No. 2 – ‘Effort worth emulation’
- This article is about the Jan Soochna Portal launched by the Rajasthan government. (covered yesterday).
Why is it worth emulating?
- The limitations of the RTI Act- The RTI Act had dealt with the citizen’s right to know about public information and required public authorities to expeditiously provide information on request from the citizenry. But with the passing of years since the RTI Act was passed, the act has gradually got diluted with the passing of years since the RTI Act was passed, the act has gradually got diluted With the passing of years since the RTI Act was passed, the act has gradually got diluted.
- While RTI filings have increased exponentially and RTI-activism has become part and parcel of civil society the response rate to RTI requests has also slowed down compared to the flurry in the immediate aftermath of the Act’s implementation.
- These problems with the RTI law apart, it is important to note that Section 4(2) of the Act, which specifically enjoins upon public authorities to publish information pro-actively, has not been implemented holistically so far. While government departments have successfully taken to e-governance and there has been a rapid release of public information on various government-run websites, this information has often been parcelled, dispersed and difficult to parse.
- Some of the better maintained central websites have also tended to deploy “dashboard” information, which is meant more to showcase data and records rather than release structured information for extensive study and for the knowledge of the citizenry.
- The JSP being a one-shot portal for thirteen departments will make information collection not only easier but also reduce the need for filing RTI’s. The portal details various schemes run by 13 government departments — the employment guarantee programme, sanitation, public distribution system among others, by not only explaining the schemes but also providing real time information on beneficiaries, authorities in charge, progress, etc.
- The information provided is in-depth, covering the whole gamut from the districts, blocks and panchayats, allowing access to details of schemes implemented at these levels. This is a laudable effort by the State government which is worthy of emulation by other States.
- Also, yesterday we saw provisions how it will help bring transparency.
- It is important to educate the citizenry about the use of data on the portal because while digital connectivity and literacy have increased over time, these have not adequately translated into digital knowledge of public affairs.
- Also, digital-divide is a real problem and needs to be addressed.