10TH August, 2019
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PRADHAN MANTRI KISHAN MAN DHAN YOJNA: A REVOLUTIONARY STEP
The ministry of agriculture and farmer welfare has launched a unique scheme named”PM Kishan maan dhan yojna” which is a contributory pension scheme for small and marginal farmers.
Salient features of the scheme:
- The farmers holding up to 2 hectare of the land is eligible for the scheme.
- If he is enrolled in any other pension schemes like National pension scheme, PM shram yogi maan dhan scheme, PM laghu udyog mann dhan scheme etc. ,he will not be eligible for the scheme
- It is a contributory scheme i.e the farmers will contribute an amount ranging from Rs 55 to Rs 200 per month in age group of 18 -40 years and same amount will be credited by the government.
- The farmers will get an assured pension of Rs 3000/ month after age of 60 year.
- In case of death of farmers, the nominee especially his/her spouse will get a half amount of pension i.e Rs 1500/ month.
Others feature of the scheme:
- LIC will act as a pension fund manager.
- The scheme can be linked with PM Kishan sampada scheme for auto debit for the scheme.
The scheme will benefit around 8 crores farmers across the country. The farmers who is the chief stakeholder in the national food security of the country will get the security of his life and health once his working hand become too old to plough his field. It will help them to lead a prosperous life with dignity.
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THE BIG PICTURE: Art 370: world trust India
The USA has said that there is no change on its policy on Kashmir and called India and Pakistan to maintain calm and restrain. The USA policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue in between two countries and it’s up to two countries to decide with peace and constraint.
The Indian government scrapped provision (2) & (3) of Art 370 and Art 35A of the constitution which provided the special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The Jammu & Kashmir reorganization bill, 2019 bifurcated the state into two union territories namely Jammu and Kashmir, with state assembly, & Laddakh without assembly.
Pakistan has criticized the move and has degraded the diplomatic relations with India.
It has asked the Indian high commissioner to leave the country and has ended its bilateral trade with India. It has scrapped all communication with India by halting Samjhautta Express and Thar Express.it has also disallowed its air space for Indian flights.
For showing its solidarity with Jammu & Kashmir, it has vowed to celebrate its Pakistan Day (14th august) in POK. It has also warned to internationalize the issue in the UNGA.
Pakistan was hoping to get favorable response from USA as latter need Pakistan in retreating its army from Afghanistan but Pakistan was sidelined terming it a bilateral issue by USA.
On the other hand, countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka , Maldives and most importantly UAE, an Islamic countries, has termed it as internal issue of India and hence sidelined Pakistan’s stand USA and UN have cited” Shimla agreement” and asked the both countries to solve the issues bilaterally with maximum restraint.
OIC countries have soften its stand on Kashmir what it used to be two or three decade ago and restrained itself from commenting on it.
India is very cautious in dealing with the issue.it has asked Pakistan to reconsider its unilateral decision of scrapping all diplomatic ties with India. Its not the first time when Pakistan has shown its solidarity with separatist movement of Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India within its constitutional limit and it’s up to India to decide how Jammu &Kashmir how it will be governed.
To maintain the peace situation in Kashmir once the curfew and sec 144 is uplifted because the world community will decide the move on the pretext of normalcy in Kashmir and Pakistan will try to draw world attention on the context of violation of human right in Kashmir.
Border management as Pakistan will try to radicalize the situation in Kashmir by sending militants or activating military outfit along LOC.
Social media can be used as a tool to fuel rumors in the valley to halt the normalcy in Kashmir.
The way forward:
The move to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir should not be termed as chest trumping and focus should be on development of the region.
If Pakistan tries to internationalize the issue, India should raise the issue of Gilgit- Baltistan ,Muzzabarabad of Pok and the demographic murder done by Pakistan in these region.
On the international platform, India should give refitting reply to Pakistan of the atrocities of its minority population and human right violation in Baluchistan region.
11th AUGUST, 2019
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THE BIG PICTURE: SAFEGUARDING HOMEBUYERS THROUGH IBC
The supreme court has upheld the amendment in the insolvency and bankruptcy code(IBC) giving the status of financial creditors to home buyers.it has also ruled that insolvency and bankruptcy code will be as per as RERA act and in case of conflict IBC will prevail over RERA act.
How amendment will empower home buyer?
Homebuyer will be treated as financial creditors like banks and other investors.
Homebuyer will be a part of committee of creditors (CoC) in case of insolvency and bankruptcy of the real estate.
Homebuyers can have a elected representatives among themselves and their voting rights will be as proportional to the amount paid to the builders.
How it is different from RERA act?
In case of RERA act, the financial institutions like banks and other investors have the first say in case any real estate company defaults, and the homebuyers who is the main stakeholder has last say in case of the liquidity of the company.
- The builders like JP INFOTECH and Amrapali group are opposing the amendment as they are suspecting that the home buyers may unnecessarily drag them into insolvency. The Supreme Court has ruled it out by saying that homebuyers invest the lifelong earning in lieu of home and in case of insolvency they will get only a minimal amount.
- IBC only enables duplication with the existing provisions of the RERA act.
- There are also speculative investors whose main aim is not to buy home but to gain profit
- Sometimes, the homebuyers default in payment of the dues.
RERA authority is not adequate in number to address the huge amount of the pending case related to real estate. There is maximum 1-2 authority in each state.
More than 85% of the cases in IBC are related with the real estate so it is taking a lot of time in dealing with these cases.
There are no guidelines for the builders or any authority which can keep an eye over them like the use of the money for specific purpose, progress of the work in stipulated time bound manner, diversion of the fund etc.
The way forward:
Additional post should be created at local level for real estate matter like additional district officer, town & planning officers
A dedicated team for supervision of the work being done by the developers.
Speculative investment should be discouraged.
| How RERA, 2017 protect buyer’s interest?
Ø New Projects should obtain all approvals before the launch of the project. Currently buyers are cheated saying all approvals are in “closure” stage, then later on saying there is delay in getting approvals and delaying in the project. Any false statement regarding this would attract penalty including imprisonment.
Ø In case, real estate developer wants to make any structural changes after the start of the project, it needs to take 2/3rd of the buyers consent. Without such consent, no structural changes can be made.
Ø Real Estate Developer would be penalized including imprisonment up to 3 years in case of any delay in the projects or incase he makes any change to what has been promised in the project.
Ø Real Estate Developer should provide all project details on Real Estate Regulator website and provide regular updates on construction progress.
Ø Should rectify the defects bought buy buyer to the notice by the promoter within 5 years from the date of the possession.
Ø In case of delay in the possession from developer side, they need to pay 2% interest above SBI Lending rate to the buyer.
Ø As per RERA guidelines, developer should sell the projects only based on carpet area where buyer can use. In case of defaulter they would be imprisoned for 3 years.
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SPOTLIGHT: LOAN IN 59 MINUTES
The ministry of finance had launched a loan portal for MSME sector which guarantee loan in less than an hour. The ministry has also launched a website www.psbloansin59minutes.com for a single window clearance of the loan. The ministry has also extended the ambit of loan to auto sector and housing sector.
The initiative reimagines and simplifies the overall process of fund raising and has been designed to ease access of credit to MSMEs. This is a unique platform that ensures seamless in-principle loan approval. The initiative aims at automation and digitization of various processes of Business Loan (Term Loan/ Working Capital Loan) in such a way that a borrower gets an in-principle approval (eligibility) letter in less than 59 minutes. The borrower has been given the flexibility to choose lender.
How it will boost the slowing down economy?
Under the scheme, 5 crores loans will be reimbursed to MSME sector which forms the backbone of the economy. The housing and auto sector which form a major chunk of saving and expenditure will boost the economy.
- It is simply approval of the loans in-principal in less than 1 hour. It is justified for MSME sector as approval is easy owns to GST portal, account detail, income tax portal and PAN card detail.
- But for home sector and automobile sector, the loan can be granted in less than an hour in-principal but the entrepreneur has to go through the whole grinding process of the bank.
- Over cautious approach of the bank in home sector for collateral, guarantor further delay the process.
- Funds are not available with the bank or there are liquidity problems prevalent in the bank all over India.
- NPA of the bank which is already burgeoning the monetary discipline of the bank.
- Rate of the interest is very high in these cases of scheme.
The way forward:
- There should be liberal approach of the bank with considerable bank norms to kick start the vicious cycle of development and liquidity.
- Liberal approach by the government towards the bank in dealing with the loan issued i.e. there should be less red-tapesim involved in the process.
- It should be extended to other businessman and traders.
12TH AUGUST, 2019
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THE PULSE: TRANSGENDER BILL, 2019: GENDER EQUALITY FOR ALL
The parliament has passed the transgender person (protections right) bill, 2019.The bill empowers the socially, economically, educationally and politically discriminated transgender which account to about 5lakhs population in India.
Important provisions of the bill:
- Definition of transgender: a person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned at the time of their birth.
- Include trans-men, trans-women, person with inter sex variations,gender queers, persons with social-cultural identities like Hijra, kinnar, arwani.
- Prohibits discrimination of the transgender including denial of the services, or unfair treatment in education, employment, healthcare, access to goods, facilities, and opportunities available to public.
- Right to movement, reside, rent, or occupy properties
- Opportunity to hold public/private office.
- Right to residence, be including in household.
- Rehabilitation center for transgender
- National council for transgender to advice and monitor the project and schemes and to address their grievance.
How will it bring it gender equality?
- The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person, including unfair treatment or denial of service in relation to: education; employment; healthcare; access to public goods and facilities; right to movement; right to rent or own property; opportunity to hold public or private office; and access to a government or private establishment which has custody of a transgender person.
- Other offences like forced labor, bonded labor, removal from household villages, physical and sexual harassment is prohibited against the transgender.
- It will provide them a status of third gender like male and female giving them dignity in the society.
- The central and state governments shall take steps to provide healthcare facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centers; sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy counseling; review of medical curriculum and a comprehensive insurance scheme.
- Educational institutions shall provide inclusive education and opportunities for sports, recreation and leisure activities to transgender persons.
Challenges and issues:
- The Bill states that a person will be recognized as ‘transgender’ on the basis of a Certificate of Identity issued through a District Screening Committee. Such a Certificate will be proof of identity as ‘transgender’ and confer rights under the Bill.
- But The Supreme Court has held that the self determination of one’s gender is part of the fundamental right to dignity, freedom and personal autonomy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Further, the Court upheld the right of transgender persons to determine their self-identified gender as a man, woman or as third gender. This would protect their right to live with dignity and respect.
- The bill has criminalized beggary by transgender in train, buses, market which was their main source of income but it has not provided any other source of income or skill development schemes for their livelihood.
- Awareness and the sensitization of the officials and society.
The transgender are one of the marginalized sections of the society which has faced double blunt of isolation and stigma of the society. Along with the government initiative though bills and act, the changed attitude of society towards them will more productive and equal among the society in which we live.
13th August, 2019
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The Big picture: 10th Schedule
The vice-president has reiterated for reviewing the schedule 10 of the Indian Constitution which is also known as” Anti-Defection law”. The 10th schedule had been introduced to maintain credibility, capability and capacity of the legislator as a yardstick of integrity and honesty rather than corruption, cash and crime.
The 10th schedule or anti- defection law has been introduced in the constitution via 52nd constitutional amendment act 1985. During mid-80’s there was infamous case of Gaya ram, a minister in Haryana cabinet who changed several parties with a day leading to instability of the government. There was also discontent among many legislatures in the many state hovering the cloud of instability in the governance.
Provisions of Anti-defection law:
- In the original amendment, if one-third of the legislatures of a party either in assembly or parliament defect or merge with other political party, then they are not disqualified. Later in 2003, the quorum of one-third was increased to two-third.
- A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote.
- Whip: This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the House.
- The presiding officer in the house has the final say in the matter of disqualification without any time bound limit.
- The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
What are key issues and concern regarding existing law?
The role of the presiding officers has always been questioned in matter of disqualifying of the members.
As in recent case of Karnataka, the speaker was disqualifying members in a phased matter rather than in one go. Although the legislators had given their resignation, they had been disqualified under 10th scheduled act.
In case of smaller states like Goa and Sikkim, achieving a target of two-third defection is not a tough game.it was seen in case of Arunachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and Goa etc.
Art 102 empowers speaker to take decision on matter of anti-defection and Art 122 &212 prevent them from questioning in the court.
But the various judgments of Supreme Court has undermined the absolute autonomy of the speaker and brought the anti-defection law under judicial review via art 226 & art 227.
Chandra Kumar judgment: judicial review of anti-defection law was brought under basic structure of the constitution.
Kihoto Hollohan judgment: The court made it clear that the presiding officer is the one to make the decision and it is final subject to judicial review after the decision is pronounced and effected.
Does the anti-defection law affect the ability of legislators to make decisions?
The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. However, this law also restricts a legislator from voting in line with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate. Such a situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
Political parties issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue. Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government like passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions.
The way forward:
10th Schedule also mandates that rules & regulations should be made so need to frame rules and regulations which will reduce the arbitrary of the presiding officers.
Judging Defection cases: Committee with Speaker, Retired Judge & neutral as Election Commission is already questioned in various other issues.
It is often said that constitution has a set of provisions that can catch conflicting issues but ultimately it cannot catch itself. ‘Political party’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the constitution before schedule 10. The constitution therefore gives more importance to rights of voters & their representatives. Therefore the balance has to be restored reflecting people’s mandate & choices and it is to be understood that the matter lies exclusively within the premises of the house.
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SPOTLIGHT: Need of Judicial reform in India
India, the largest democracy of the world has integrated and independent judiciary system. Being the third pillar of the economy, judiciary plays an important role in institutionalizing the secular, social and democratic fabric of the constitution.
But over the time, overburden judiciary alleged with the charge of corruption and nepotism has rusted the very spirit of fair and free judiciary. Our judiciary, by its very nature, has become ponderous, excruciatingly slow and inefficient. Our laws and their interpretation and adjudication led to enormous misery for the litigants and forced people to look for extra-legal alternatives.
Why reform is needed?
- Delay in Justice – Speedy trial is guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution of India. Any delay in expeditious disposal of criminal trial infringes the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution. The debate on judicial arrears has thrown up number of ideas on how the judiciary can set its own house in order.
- In almost every High Court, there is huge pendency of cases and the present strength of the judges can hardly be said to be sufficient to cope with the alarming
- Corruption within courts makes the integrity and fairness of the judiciary questionable.
- Judicial overreach is another issue that calls for reform. A past example of overreach that has been criticized is when Supreme Court ruled that operators with cancelled 2G licenses must stop their services.
- The line between the judiciary and legislature must not be blurred. It is crucial to distinguish clearly between beneficial judicial activism and detrimental overreach to sustain the organs of the country and maintain their respective functions.
- The use of Article 142 has also become a sign of immense judicial indiscipline Article 142 gives judges the power to do whatever it takes to secure justice.
- There are almost 30 million cases pending and it takes between 12 to 15 years for a judgment. In the meantime, Witnesses could die, turn hostile, go missing, or get killed.
- In many cases, what is being dispensed as justice after so many years of litigation is flawed.
The way forward:
- Measures should be introduced to promote transparency in proceedings to avoid bias. Former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam once stated in an interview that the best way to tackle corruption in courts is through grievance petitions before the Chief Justice of respective high courts and the CJI, by litigants.
- More judges must be appointed in courts. The Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) act in 2015, declaring it unconstitutional. A renewed version of this idea and goal could help effectively appoint more judges. If the shortage of judges and courtroom facilities were suitably addressed, the logjam of cases could be cut down with the increase in efficiency.
- There should be an established mandatory pre-litigation process in place to discourage frivolous litigation to conserve the court’s time.
- An independent executive body could be set up solely to ensure the enforcement of judgments issued by the court, to improve faith in its effectiveness.
Alternate Dispute Resolution
The only field where the courts in India have recognized Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is in the field of arbitration. Another area where ADR is recognized in India is family law. The legislation which emphasizes ADR is the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987. Provisions have been made in the Legal Services Authorities Act for settling cases through Lok Adalats
Power has been given to Lok Adalats to dispose of disputes referred to them by arriving at a compromise or settlement between the parties; awards of Lok Adalats are deemed to be decrees of civil courts or orders of other courts or tribunals; every award made by a Lok Adalat is treated as final and binding on all the parties to the dispute, and no appeal lies to any court against the award.
As William E. Gladstone said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Furthermore, there is a possibility that an increase in the efficiency of the judicial system could curb crime rates. The proximity of penalty for committing a crime that is brought by judicial efficiency would have the psychological effect of deterring crime.
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14TH AUGUST, 2019
IN DEPTH: THE DARK MATTER
It is well acknowledged that dark matter make 80% of our universe but what it is and about its constituent is still less known. The new discovery has reviled that these mysterious particles may have existed well before the established norms of Big-Bang phenomenon.
The new discovery will open a new chapter in solving the much conflicted theory of genesis of the universe.
What is dark matter?
We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see.
Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the universe to make up the 27% required by the observations. Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryon.
Unlike normal matter, dark matter does not interact with the electromagnetic force. This means it does not absorb, reflect or emit light, making it extremely hard to spot. In fact, researchers have been able to infer the existence of dark matter only from the gravitational effect it seems to have on visible matter.
What is dark energy?
Dark energy makes up approximately 68% of the universe and appears to be associated with the vacuum in space. It is distributed evenly throughout the universe, not only in space but also in time – in other words, its effect is not diluted as the universe expands.
The even distribution means that dark energy does not have any local gravitational effects, but rather a global effect on the universe as a whole. This leads to a repulsive force, which tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe.
The rate of expansion and its acceleration can be measured by observations based on the Hubble law. These measurements, together with other scientific data, have confirmed the existence of dark energy and provide an estimate of just how much of this mysterious substance exists.
How it will solve the mystery of the Earth?
Scientists have not yet observed dark matter directly. It doesn’t interact with baryonic matter and it’s completely invisible to light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, making dark matter impossible to detect with current instruments. But scientists are confident it exists because of the gravitational effects it appears to have on galaxies and galaxy clusters.
Dark matter could also explain certain optical illusions that astronomers see in the deep universe. For example, pictures of galaxies that include strange rings and arcs of light could be explained if the light from even more distant galaxies is being distorted and magnified by massive, invisible clouds of dark matter in the foreground-a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.
Dark energy, Dark matter & Big Bang
Although dark matter makes up most of the matter of the universe, it only makes up about a quarter of the universe’s total composition. The energy of the universe is dominated by dark energy.
After the Big Bang, the universe began expanding outward. Scientists once thought that it would eventually run out of energy, slowing down as gravity pulled the objects inside it together. But studies of distant supernovae revealed that the universe today is expanding faster than it was in the past, not slower, indicating that the expansion is accelerating. This would only be possible if the universe contained enough energy to overcome gravity via dark energy
The way ahead
Several scientific groups, including one at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, are currently working to generate dark matter particles for study in the lab.
| The various experiments related to dark matter are:
Ø The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a sensitive particle detector on the International Space Station, has been operating since its installation in 2011.
Ø Beneath a mountain in Italy, the LNGS’s XENON1T is hunting for signs of interactions after WIMPs collide with xenon atoms. The lab recently released the first results of the experiment.
Ø The Large Underground Xenon dark-matter experiment (LUX), seated in a gold mine in South Dakota, has also been hunting for signs of WIMP and xenon interactions.
Ø IceCube Neutrino Observatory, an experiment buried under Antarctica’s ice, is hunting for sterile neutrinos.
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PUBLIC DEBATE: “SAFE WOMEN & EMPOWERED NATION”
With the passage of triple talaq bill, the government has empowered the Muslim women and they are no longer at the helm of their male counterpart.
The scrapping of Art 35A of constitution has also given the same right to the women of Jammu and Kashmir as per as their male counterpart.
Crimes against women in India
There is a big list of crimes against women in India such as acid attack, child marriages, domestic violence, forceful domestic work, child abuse, dowry deaths, female infanticide and sex-selective abortions, child labor, honor killings, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking, forced for prostitution, and many more.
Legislative steps for women safety:
- Beti padho- Beti bachao andolan:
- Posco (amendment) act.
- POSHAN abhiyan
- Ujjawala scheme
Some steps to be taken for safety at ground level:
- Self defense techniques are the first and foremost thing to which each and every woman must be aware of and get proper self-defense training for their safety. They must be aware of some effective defense techniques such as kicks to groin, blocking punches, etc.
- Generally most of the women are gifted with sixth sense which they must use whenever they become in some problem. They should at once avoid any situation which they feel bad for them.
- Escape and run is also a good way to reduce some risks of women whenever they become in problem. They should never go with any unknown person alone at some unknown places.
- Women must understand and feel their physical power and use accordingly. They never feel themselves weak than men and take some self-defense training.
- They should be careful while communicating with someone on internet in the cyberspace.
- Pepper spray can also be proved as a useful self-defense tool however it has a drawback that some people cannot be harmed through it even after full-face spray. It may not stop the attacker so women should not depend on it completely and use other techniques also.
- They must have all the emergency numbers with them and whatsapp also if possible so that they can immediately tell to their family members and police.
The way ahead:
The government must ensure that the legislation in effect is enforced. What is the point in having laws for the protection of women if the system is restrictive and inhibiting? Clearly, there has to be an upgrade of infrastructure to protect the rights of women. Half the Nirbhaya fund is lying unutilized despite the desperate need for effective helplines, fast-track courts, sensitive justice officials, widespread and quality one-stop crisis centers and shelter homes, and funding for programmers to educate and advocate on women’s rights.
The police must ensure police stations are welcoming places for women to make complaints. It does not serve anyone well that official statistics on crime against women are severely under-reported. Suppressing these complaints only weakens the system and emboldens perpetrators.
Women safety is a big social issue which needs to be solved urgently by the effort of all. It is inhibiting the growth and development of the country and most importantly hurting the half population of the country in all aspects (physically, mentally, and socially).
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16TH AUGUST, 2019
THE BIG PICTURE: SLUMP IN AUTO SECTOR
Automobile sales in India witnessed its sharpest decline in nearly 19 years in July, dropping 18.71 per cent, rendering almost 15,000 workers jobless over the past quarter. Passenger vehicles and two-wheelers sales stood at 18.2 lakh units last month as against 22.4 lakh units in July 2018, down by nearly 19 per cent.
Earlier, the country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki announced a year-on-year fall of about 17% in net profits for the October-December quarter.
Cause of slump in auto sector:
- There is mix of reasons including high fuel prices, rising insurance costs, and the popularity of ride-hailing app like Uber,ola etc.
- Rising borrowing and insurance costs is also demotivating the consumers for opting new automobile. Auto loans have also become marginally expensive.
- Banks are extra cautious in loaning and causing high rejections too.
- Retail funding with the aggression of the banks is missing.
- Rural employees, private customers, contractual job people are suffering.
- The government decision to leapfrog from BSIV to BSVI has also demotivated the customer and they are just hovering for the new technology.
- The government announced that India will go 100% EV by 2030, sending shivers through the auto industry.
- Freak policy/regulatory announcements made matters worse. For example, last year, West Bengal restricted two-wheeler registration only to people with driving license, hitting sales.
- The Supreme Court ban on diesel vehicles was another instance.
People are losing jobs because automobile sector has a threshold for a number of employees.
Will hurt others sectors too like Steel and Rubber as a Cascading effect.
- Kick start financing by banks: retail loans are less risky as it is distributed over lakhs of people.
- Measures should be taken to improve exports in other sectors.
- Tax Measures like Reduction of GST or road tax by states.
- Measures should be taken to improve financial liquidity to end consumers.
The slump in automobile sector is temporary & transitionary and is expected to pick up after a good monsoon season & in festival season. More stability could be seen after the implementation of BSVI norms. The recent rate cut by the central bank of India may help push the auto demand.
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JAL JEEVAN ABHIYAN:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will launch a Jal Jeevan Mission to bring piped water to households address from Red Fort.
India is endowed with a rich and vast diversity of natural resources, water being one of them. Its development and management plays a vital role in agriculture production. Integrated water management is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development. National Water Policy envisages that the water resources of the country should be developed and managed in an integrated manner.
About Jal Jeevan Mission
- Concerned Authority: Under Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Need: Half of country’s households do not have access to piped water. Therefore, there is a need to quadruple water conservation efforts in next 5 years as to what was done in the last 70 years.
- Cost: Both center and states will work towards achieving Jal Jeevan Mission’s objective. The expenditure on scheme would cost around more than Rs.3.5 lakh crore in coming years.
- Objective: It seeks to converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across India.
- Focus Areas: JJM will focus on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at local level, including creation of local infrastructure for source sustainability such as groundwater recharge, rainwater harvesting, and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture.
- People’s Mission: Just like Swachhta Mission it would be a people’s mission. It is a movement towards water conservation that will take place at grassroots level and will integrate people from all walks of life.
Other Efforts by Government
Government has resolved to provide piped water to all households by 2024 and for his purpose it has clubbed all erstwhile water related ministries under one new Jal Shakti Ministry. In July 2019, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that government has identified 1592 Blocks (spread across 256 districts) which are critical and over exploited, for Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA).
17TH AUGUST, 2019
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THE BIG PICTURE: SAY NO TO PLASTIC
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to say no to single use plastic by 2022 from the historic red fort during his address to nation on the eve of Independence Day. Later the ministry of Environment, forest &climate change has launched a campaign to ban the single use plastic in India.
The announcement of banning plastic is not new. Earlier many states have enacted a law for banning a single use plastic but its implementation on the ground is a far cry.
Common sources of Plastic pollution:
- Merchant ships expel cargo, sewage, used medical equipment, and other types of waste that contain plastic into the ocean.
- The largest ocean-based source of plastic pollution is discarded fishing gear (including traps and nets).
- Continental plastic litter such as Food Wrappers & Containers, Bottles and container caps, Plastic bags, Straws and stirrers etc. enters the ocean largely through storm-water runoff.
Defining the challenge
Single-use plastic — any plastic item that has to be discarded after being used once and can’t be recycled has been adding to India’s waste-management challenge. But often single-use plastic is misunderstood to be polythene carry bags.
There is no central and comprehensive definition for single-use plastic, crucial for any ban to be successful. Governments currently use various definitions.
Some states like Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh banned plastic bottles and Tetra packs, single-use straws, plastic/styrofoam tea cups/containers, etc. But many like Bihar banned only polythene bags.
A central legislation with a clear definition of what constitutes single-use plastic can clear the air.
The most detrimental single-use plastics are multi-layered sachets for packing products like tobacco. The Plastic Management Waste 2016 rules prohibit their use for storing and selling gutka / tobacco and paan masala, but it is hardly enforced.
Packaging for snacks like chips and fries, chocolates, beverages, etc are equally harmful. These ubiquitous packages are not recycled
Rules to be followed to reduce Plastic usage:
- India’s Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 called for a ban on plastic bags below 50 micron thickness and a phasing out, within two years, of the manufacture and sale of non-recyclable, multi-layered plastic (plastic that snacks come in).
- More than 20 Indian States have announced a ban on plastic bags. Cities such as Bengaluru announced a complete ban (gazette notification), in 2016, on the manufacture, supply, sale and use of thermocol and plastic items irrespective of thickness.
- These include carry bags, banners, buntings, flex, flags, plates, clips, spoons, cling films and plastic sheets used while dining. The exceptions are plastic for export, packaging material for use in forestry, milk packets and hospitals. There are stiff fines that cover manufacturing and disposal.
- We also need strategies to deal with the plastic that has already been disposed of. The CPCB report says that As mentioned in the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, waste has to be segregated separately at source. This includes separation of dry (plastic, paper, metal, glass) and wet (kitchen and garden) waste at source.
- The primary responsibility for collection of used plastic and multi-layered plastic sachets (branded chips, biscuit and snack packets) lies with their producers, importers and brand owners.
- However, none of this has happened at any perceivable scale. Companies say that plastic waste is too complex or pretend to be completely unaware of these rules.
From pollution to solutions:
Admittedly, the complexity of dealing with plastic waste is because of its ubiquity and distributed market. Several companies produce the same type of packaging so it is impossible for a given company to collect and recycle only its own packaging.
Instead, these companies can collectively implement EPR(extended producer responsibility) is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with goods throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products, by geographically dividing a region into zones and handle the waste generated in their designated zones.
This strategy was used in Switzerland to recycle thermocol used for insulation of buildings. This also reduces collection, transportation and recycling costs. Companies and governments should interact and research on how to implement such plans.
Private sector Participation in Recycling plastic:
- In India, some companies have helped empower the informal recycling sector, giving waste pickers dignity and steady incomes. Another firm has worked with the informal sector and engineered the production of high quality recycled plastic. These companies, large corporates and governments could cooperate to implement innovative means to realize the value of plastic disposed of while simultaneously investing in phasing it out.
- For example, a Canadian company monetizes plastic waste in novel ways. It has one of the largest chains of waste plastic collection centers, where waste can be exchanged for anything (from cash to medical insurance to cooking fuel). Through this, multinational corporations have invested in recycling infrastructure and in providing a steady and increased rate for waste plastic to incentivize collection in poor countries.
- Such collection centers, like the ones operated by informal aggregators in India, can be very low-cost investments (a storage facility with a weighing scale and a smart phone).
The way forward:
- Local actions are required for mitigating plastic pollution, using mechanisms such as bans on plastic bags, maximum daily limits for emissions into watersheds, and incentives for fishing gear retrieval.
- Countries should come together to establish measurable reduction targets for plastic waste. A meaningful international agreement—one with clearly defined waste reduction targets is the need of the hour.
- Effective policies must take into account all stages of the lifecycle of plastic—connecting producers to users and ultimately to waste managers.
- Fossil fuel subsidies incentivise the plastic market. Hence, Countries should end fossil fuel subsidies. Annually, 4–8% of oil is used to produce raw plastic.
- India has a major problem dealing with plastics, particularly single-use shopping bags that reach dumping sites, rivers and wetlands along with other waste.
- The most efficient way to deal with the pollution is to control the production and distribution of plastics.
- Banning single-use bags and making consumers pay a significant amount for the more durable ones is a feasible solution.
- Enforcing the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, which require segregation of waste will retrieve materials and greatly reduce the burden on the environment.
- Waste separation can be achieved in partnership with the community, and presents a major employment opportunity.
- The best way to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce and phase out its consumption. Solutions range from carrying your own reusable steel glass, box, spoon and cloth bag while eating out or shopping for groceries to using alternatives to plastic for household items.
- Additionally, there should be research on ways to implement these rules, waste generation quantities and trends and find innovative alternatives to plastic.
It is time we rethink, reduce, segregate and recycle every time we encounter a piece of plastic so that it stops damaging our environment and our lives.
|RAJAY SABHA TELEVISION|
18TH AUGUST, 2019
THE PULSE-THE POPULATION CONTROL: NEED OF HOUR
India today is a country of about 1.37 billion people, which accounts for around 18% of the world’s population. As per a United Nations report, by 2027, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country.
In his first Independence Day speech since assuming office for a second straight term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew the country’s attention towards population explosion. Calling it a huge challenge for the present and the future generations, the Prime Minister urged the country to work towards family planning. He pitched for smaller families to ensure that dreams of children get fulfilled.
The unabated population growth poses innumerable challenges. For example, we need grow more food, provide more housing, increase drinking water supply, add capacity to basic infrastructure such as roads, transport, electricity and sewage, and invest more in education and healthcare systems. Furthermore, we need ample number of jobs to employ the millions of people entering the workforce every year.
Dynamics of population in India
With 1.37 billion populations, India is second largest population of the world after china.
India population at the time of independence was about 371 million and it is expected that it will reach 1.6 billion populations by 2050.
There is tremendous decline in fertility of the women from 3.31 in 2000 to 2.2 in 2017 just above the replacement level of 2.1.
There is great diversity in fertility rate among states of India with Haryana and Gujarat equal to national average of 2.2 while the northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar accounting for above 3.
On the other hand, the southern states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu etc. has less than the replacement rate of 2.1.
There is also decline in decadal growth rate from 21.15% in census 2001 to 17.64% in census 2011 along with crude birth rate decline from 23.1 to 19.
While there is decline in element of the population, the absolute population is increasing gradually.
Cause of over population:
Decline in the Death Rate: At the root of overpopulation is the difference between the overall birth rate and death rate in populations. If the number of children born each year equals the number of adults that die, then the population will stabilize. Talking about overpopulation shows that while there are many factors that can increase the death rate for short periods of time, the ones that increase the birth rate do so over a long period of time. The discovery of agriculture by our ancestors was one factor that provided them with the ability to sustain their nutrition without hunting. This created the first imbalance between the two rates.
Better Medical Facilities: Following the industrial revolution, Technological advancement was perhaps the biggest reason why the balance has been permanently disturbed. Science was able to produce better means of producing food, which allowed families to feed more mouths. Medical science made many discoveries thanks to which they were able to defeat a whole range of diseases. Illnesses that had claimed thousands of lives till now were cured because of the invention of vaccines. Combining the increase in food supply with fewer means of mortality tipped the balance and became the starting point of overpopulation.
More Hands to Overcome Poverty: However, when talking about overpopulation we should understand that there is a psychological component as well. For thousands of years, a very small part of the population had enough money to live in comfort. The rest faced poverty and would give birth to large families to make up for the high infant mortality rate. Families that have been through poverty, natural disasters or are simply in need of more hands to work are a major factor for overpopulation. As compared to earlier times, most of these extra children survive and consume resources that are not sufficient in nature.
Technological Advancement in Fertility Treatment: With latest technological advancement and more discoveries in medical science, it has become possible for couple who are unable to conceive to undergo fertility treatment methods and have their own babies. Today there are effective medicines which can increases the chance of conception and lead to rise in birth rate. Moreover, due to modern techniques pregnancies today are far more safer.
Immigration: Many people prefer to move to developed countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia where best facilities are available in terms of medical, education, security and employment. The end result is that those people settle over there and those places become overcrowded. Difference between the number of people who are leaving the country and the number of people who enter narrows down which leads to more demand for food, clothes, energy and homes. This gives rise to shortage of resources. Though the overall population remains the same, it just affects the density of population making that place simply overcrowded.
Lack of Family Planning: Most developing nations have large number of people who are illiterate, live below the poverty line and have little or no knowledge about family planning. Getting their children married at an early age increase the chances of producing more kids. Those people are unable to understand the harmful effects of overpopulation and lack of quality education prompts them to avoid family planning measures
Effect of overpopulation:
Overpopulation is a major cause of most of the world’s problems. Whether it is a question of food shortage, lack of drinking water or energy shortages, every country in the world is affected by it or will be.
- Species Extinction: Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago at rates 1000 to 10,000 times faster than normal.
- Lower Life Expectancy in the Fastest Growing Countries: According to a Harvard study, “Over the next forty years, nearly all (97%) of the 2.3 billion projected increase will be in the less developed regions, with nearly half (49%) in Africa.
- Increased Emergence of New Epidemics and Pandemics.
- Increased Global Warming and Climate Change: According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “The largest single threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the planet in the decades to come will be global climate disruption due to the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Elevated Crime Rate: As human overpopulation drives resources and basic necessities, such as food and water, to become scarcer, there will be increased competitiveness for these resources which leads to elevated crime rates due to drug cartels and theft by people in order to survive.
- Overpopulation is one of the hazards & serious problem, which creates a great obstacle in the way of national development. It has direct effect upon the society and development of nation. The overpopulation creates or results into some problem which can be state.
- Pressure on food, clothing & housing: A country with fast growing population has to face a serious problem of scarcity of necessary food, minimum clothing & proper housing facilities, which are basic needs of human life. Thus, it affects the life style and results slum areas, starvation etc.
- Unemployment: The overpopulation aggravates the unemployment & disguised unemployment problem. The vacancy rate is negligible as compared to wants of employment, which ultimately results into low income groups and large families depending upon single earning person (earner).
- Standard of living: The overpopulation creates or give rise to large families with low income reducing the standard of persons living therein. The slum areas, starvation and frequently epidemics are the results affecting health and standard of persons within such nation.
- Decrease of forest area: The basic made of the growing population is of residence and shelter. To construct houses and place of shelter, man is greatly cutting and reducing forest to make a place to live.
- Education: The low income of large family does not afford to provide education to their children which results into creating a problem of illiteracy and again none awareness among the class.
- Energy crisis: Population explosion accompanied with rapid industrialization and urbanization has led to greater demand for already deficient energy (fuel wood, fossil fuel and electricity).
- Hygienic condition: More people in a small area breed unhygienic condition which has ill effects on human health.
- Eco–degradation: Overpopulation leads to eco-degradation by increasing air, water, soil and noise pollution, unhygienic condition, deforestation leading to flood and soil erosion. So rapid human population growth is creating increased pressure on the infrastructure, economy, environment, availability of primary health care and nutrition.
Steps taken by India so far to control the population:
- The national population policy is uniformly applicable to whole of the state and government is taking various steps under family planning programme.
- National population stabilization fund has been stablished. PRERNA & SANTUSTHI schemes has been formulated under this scheme.
- Scheme for Home delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs at doorstep of beneficiaries.
- So now we know more about overpopulation and the effects it can have, but what can be done about it? There are a number of proposed solutions.
Better Sex Education
A lack of sex education – or poorly-implemented education has led to overpopulation issues in many countries. The issue is so pronounced that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is calling for improvements to be made, particularly in poorer areas of the world.
Better education will help people understand more about the potential consequences of having sex as they relate to child birth. It will also do away with many of the myths that surround the sexual act and introduce scientifically-proven methods of birth control.
Access to Contraceptives
Access to birth control must go hand-in-hand with better sex education. After all, without it people cannot put what they have learned into practice.
Changes in Policy
Many nations offer rewards, whether in the form of financial incentives or increased benefits, to those who have more children. This may lead to some couples having more children than they otherwise would if they needed to worry about the financial consequences.
This is a difficult issue to confront. China’s “One-Child’ policy was recently abandoned, in part, because of the restrictions it placed on freedom, and it is likely that similar policies would be seen as equally restrictive.
Provide universal access to safe and effective contraceptive options for both sexes. Guarantee education through secondary school for all, especially girls. Eradicate gender bias from law, economic opportunity, health, and culture.
Should India have a one-child policy?
In the wakes of demographic crisis that China is facing, India shouldn’t opt for such stance. China is drastically poising problem of shrinking working age population, forcing to ease its one-child policy initiated in 1980.Such question is obvious when India is poising itself to upstage China in population by 2030.
As India is already struggling with many social evils like imbalanced population, female feticide, trafficking and other crime, having one-child policy would only bloat up such ills. Instead we should work out on the solutions of harnessing our young and potential demographic profile. It is a daunting task to provide basic facilities like health care, education, food, jobs etc. to those large crowds. If we can implement facilities to formulate a quality crowd, nothing best can happen to us.
Moreover, urbanization and price rise are proving best contraceptives, curbing and controlling birth rate automatically. So, we shouldn’t bring such policy which violates a basic human right.
19th AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: Economy: Public Spending Council
The Indian economy is facing a slowdown, and the Prime Minister and his Economic Advisory Council are of the view that the government needs to form a ‘GST Council-like’ body to strategies expenditure and have maximum impact. Various suggestions have been made to curb the decline in economic activity that has lasted more than a few months.
Pointing out the success of the GST Council body for decisions about indirect taxes, the Economic Advisory Council Chairman Bibek Debroy said that in order to increase the efficiency of the overall public expenditure, there needs to be a decision-making body that would keep a check on the expenditure. The chairman also mentioned that there are fiscal consolidation issues that limit gains on public expenditure, but a focused and strategic expenditure by central and state governments could yield efficiency gains.
Why there is need of the body?
- Till 2015, when Planning Commission (PC) was in place, the Finance Ministry had some funds at its disposal and the PC will represent the interest of the states. From 2015 onward this entire role was expropriated by the Finance Ministry. Niti Aayog could not substitute in place of PC as it was batting the case of states with the Finance Ministry. Over the years, the centre has also abolished the distinction between plan and non-plan.
- The 12th Plan started in 2012 ended in the year, 2017. India has around 300 central sector schemes and centrally sponsored scheme around 30. Reflects on the ineffectiveness of the NITI Aayog. As long as the Planning Commission (PC) was there this activity was coordinated by it as they had meetings with the state govt and the representatives.
- To spend only for national priority things.
- Economic Slowdown.
- March 2020- sunset clause for the bulk of schemes which were started after PC was wound up.
- Decision making-Speed & scale
- Concurrent list national priorities- healthcare, education, agriculture etc
- Can look into need-based allocation for states.
- Transparent spending mechanism for the center and the states
- In terms of expenditure management there are at least 20-30 ministers in each state. So there will be a council of around 500 members and the functioning will be hampered.
- Expenditure is a day to day affair. Problems like that of land acquisition, delays and not able to formulate a proper scheme require day to day management.
- GST council like body will be a challenge as in GST council states cannot decide unilaterally among themselves and if wants to veto a centers proposal then some states have to come together.
- Not All items in the Public Expenditure List are on the Concurrent List. Why will the state governments give up their sovereignty?
What ought to be done?
- A Centre-state expenditure council can direct the states of their priorities on expenditure.
- State Headquarters to be formed for expenditure management.
- The body can have a voting mechanism for the states. Thus, follow the principle of cooperative federalism.
- Separate ministry wise councils can be formed so that the schemes are formulated in tandem with those in the states. So there is optimization and efficiency in the use of resources.
- Finance Minister can be the head of the council and the Chief Minister of the states representatives.
- Resource gap between the states should be managed.
- Two-tier system- One with the Finance Minister and NITI Aayog with Chief Ministers and State Finance Ministers together for major decisions.
- Second-tier can be ministry wise to understand the requirements of different states under different schemes.
- Speed up public expenditure and improve its efficiency.
- Requirements of the states should be taken into account by the council and the meeting to be held within the mentioned state.
Development is the final goal and there are differentiated needs of different states. In order to curb the decline in economic activity that has lasted more than a few months & address fiscal consolidation issues that limit gains on public expenditure, a focused and strategic expenditure by central and state governments could yield efficiency gains. The PSC-a government of India led & state participated council is envisaged that takes ground realities of the states into picture & comes into being.
20th AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: UNSC & Permanent Seat for India
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said that India, which represents one sixth of the global population, has a rightful claim to the permanent membership of the United Nation’s Security Council. One of the key historic reasons for India’s quest for a permanent seat at the UNSC was to ensure protection of national interest in crucial diplomatic moments when the organ takes up issues such as Kashmir.
India and UNSC:
India is a founding member of United Nations and is signatory to almost all important act/regulations of the United Nations.
In Asia and Africa region, China is the sole member of UNSC which has led to the hegemony of power in a single hand.
It is generally alleged that India has declined the offer of a permanent seat in UNSC and batted for China but there is no any solid evidences against it.
India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan for long, emphasizing that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.
In a significant diplomatic win for India, the country’s candidature for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been unanimously endorsed by the Asia Pacific group, comprising 55 nations.
Why India should be given a permanent seat in UNSC?
- As the world’s largest democracy, the second most populous and, perhaps, the most diverse nation, the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, India clearly would meet almost any criteria to be a member of UNSC.
- On other hand, India was among the founding members of United Nations, and it has been the temporary member of UNSC for 7 terms.
- It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
- India has contributed nearly 160,000 troops, participated in more than 43 missions, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
- India is party to six core human rights conventions. India has always been on the forefront in fight against colonialism, apartheid and racial discrimination.
- India was the first country to raise the issue of apartheid and racial discrimination being practised in the South Africa.
- India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it.
- It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4.
Obstacle to India path
- The Permanent members will never agree to give up their veto right, nor will they agree to accord this right to any other country & US and China are opposed to any major restructuring.
- France has reiterated India s view of veto for additional members United Kingdom has supported G-4 as new permanent member without Veto power.
- Russia, while not opposing expansion has supported two or three classes of UNSC members.
- The G-5 with veto powers, G-4 permanent members without the veto and whoever else may be elected by the General Assembly.
- There is lack of unity and difference of views in terms of reform agenda among G-4 members also their regional rivals are opposed to the G-4 becoming permanent members.
- Any changes in the structure of UNSC will require amendment in the UN charter that will have to be signed and ratified by two third majority of UNGA membership and it will also require concurrence of current P-5 members.
- General membership of the UN wants to eliminate the existing veto; they will never agree to new veto-wielding powers.
- China is most likely to block India s and Japan s bid for permanent seat considering its border disputes with these two nations
- There are pressure groups within UN such as Uniting for consensus (Ufc) that are against any expansion in the permanent membership with veto power.
The way ahead
- India’s claim for permanent membership is a genuine demand in the changed geo politics of 21st century as we have discussed before. India is possibly the most obvious and least controversial option to add as a permanent member, and probably long overdue for a seat.
- UNSC is mandated to keep international peace and security.
- However it is under constant criticism for its plans and actions. It is said to be performing in unilateral way with unquestioned authority, working only for vested interests and not making non-permanent members inclusive in their decision making.
- In this context, we can see that India’s demand is not illegitimate as India does wield a certain influence in world affairs today due to its impressive economic growth and strong military base.
- South Asia being a victim of various repercussions of war, terrorism, and extremism India gains more say on its and neighbor’s problems and will have power to challenge the ethos and working style of permanent members of UNSC.
- In the contemporary period, if India has to make a strong claim to permanent membership, it has to single mindedly focus on economic growth, with concomitant military migh.
|ALL INDIA RADIO|
SPECIAL PROGRAMME: INDIA-BHUTAN RELATIONSHIP
Bhutan is a land-locked country which acts as a buffer state between two nuclear powered countries India and China. India has been a tested and longtime friend of Bhutan.
Recent government policy of “neighborhood first” Bhutan has been placed on card first.
Diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan were established in 1968 with the establishment of a special office of India in Thimphu. Before this our relations with Bhutan were looked after by our Political Officer in Sikkim.
The basic framework of India- Bhutan bilateral relations was the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in 1949 between the two countries, which was revised in February 2007. The India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty not only reflects the contemporary nature of our relationship but also lays the foundation for its future development in the 21st century. The Golden Jubilee of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan is being celebrated in the year 2018.
Why Bhutan important for India?
India and Bhutan has symbiotic relations with each other as India need Bhutan as much as Bhutan needs India.
Bhutan is an important member of BIMSTEC, SAARC group which play an important role in geopolitical situations.
New Areas of Cooperation
Space: The Bhutanese Prime Minister very warmly congratulated and thanked the Indian Prime Minister for launching the South Asian Satellite.
The Satellite is helping Bhutan in reaching out to the people through Bhutanese Broadcasting Corporation or spreading education or dealing with disasters.
India has also decided to provide additional bandwidth or transponder to Bhutan.
Education: Institutes in Bhutan are collaborating with premier educational institutions in India i.e. IITs and NITs.
At the moment, 4,000 Bhutanese students are studying in India. India is inviting Bhutanese students to not only study Buddhism but also science, technology etc.
Defence: The Bhutanese army has a total signature of Indian army i.e. all its officers and men are trained in National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy and Officer Training Academy.
India is also thinking to supply weapons to Bhutan.
Increasing Role of China in Bhutan
- Border problems: China has not sorted out its border problems, with both India and Bhutan. Doklam incident is an example.
- In 2017, in Doklam (a disputed region between China and Bhutan), China started constructing a road in the Bhutanese area.
- By constructing the road, China came close to the Chumbi Valley i.e. the Chicken’s Neck and Siliguri Corridor, thereby bringing the region under their artillery range. In the future, this could have cut off the rest of India from the north east region.
- After India’s intervention, China after 73 days, stopped the construction of the road. However, China’s dominance and influence still threatens the boundaries and relations.
- China has offered to Bhutan to give up its claim on the northern pockets if Bhutan agrees to forgo its territorial jurisdiction in the west, that is, Doklam.
- The northern pockets of Pasamlung and Jakarlung valleys have an area of about 495 sq km against 265 sq km of Sinchulumpa, Dramana and Shaktoe in Doklam plateau in western Bhutan. China has also promised financial aid to Bhutan.
Steps taken to boost relations
- There is a frequent visit of state heads to boost the relation.
- PM Modi paid his first visit to Bhutan after assumption of office India announced assistance for establishment of an E-Project covering all the 20 districts of Bhutan.
- The Prime Minister coined the idea of B2B as ‘Bharat to Bhutan’ for building effective and renewed bilateral relationship.
- Bhutan recently become the largest beneficiary of India’s foreign aid
- A 1,000 strong Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) is permanently based in western Bhutan to train the Royal Bhutan Army, while other units regularly cooperate with the Royal Bhutan army.
21st AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
IN DEPTH: INDO-PAK WATER TREAT
The Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan in 1960 has taken Centre stage again.
In line with its plan to fully use its share of water without violating the long standing treaty, India has started work to re-channel the water into Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan instead of letting it flow unused to Pakistan.
Available data shows that India uses nearly 93-94 per cent of its share under the Indus Water Treaty. The rest is unutilized and flows to Pakistan. This is the water that the government is working on diverting to states for domestic use.
The Indus Waters Treaty is one of the most liberal water distribution agreements between the two countries. The pact was signed between India and Pakistan in September 1960 in Karachi by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan.This agreement took nine years of negotiations and divides the control of six rivers between the two nations once signed.
Under this treaty, India got control over: Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, While Pakistan got control over: Indus, Chenab, Jhelum.
Sharing of water between two countries:
Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre-feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.
The waters of the western rivers – Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging to around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for ‘specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India,’ according to the treaty.
India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through the run of the river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.
At present, India is using only 93-94% of eastern flowing river.
How is India utilizing the waters of Eastern Rivers?
- The treaty clearly spells the do’s and don’ts for both countries; as it allows India to use only 20 per cent of the total water carried by the Indus river.
- To utilize the waters of the Eastern rivers which have been allocated to India for exclusive use, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi.
- These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link, and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilize nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.
- However, about two MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilized to Pakistan.
- To stop the flow of these waters, the Centre is currently taking three steps – resumption of construction of Shahpurkandi project; construction of Ujh multipurpose project; and a second Ravi-Beas link below Ujh.
Recent allegations by Pakistan:
Accusing India of waging “fifth-generation warfare”, Pakistan said that India had failed to inform it about the release of water from a dam that could cause flooding across the border.
India, however, rejected the claim saying that under the terms of a water treaty between the two nations it had informed Pakistan about the release of excess water when it crossed a certain threshold.
Should India violate a bilateral treaty with Pakistan because of cross-border attacks?
- The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) was meant to reduce hostilities between India and Pakistan. It should be kept in the same spirit.
- India has always dealt with security and water issues separately with Pakistan.
- 80% of Pakistan’s 21.5 million hectares of farmland is irrigated by river Indus and its tributaries. Reducing the water flow to Pakistan will unleash havoc there (especially in Punjab and Sindh province).
- Breaking the Indus Water Treaty doesn’t make any sense as India at present does not have enough infrastructures to use the additional water available. It may create flood in the Kashmir valley as well.
- The decision of not giving water to Pakistan may further enrage the terror elements in the country, making them intensifying their attacks on India.
- Not respecting the Indus Water Treaty, may invite global condemnation to India as the treaty is an international agreement.
- Neighbors like Nepal and Bangladesh with whom we have water treaties may turn skeptical.
- There are concerns that China may also block the water of Brahmaputra to Assam.
- The Kashmir issue will get a whole new dimension if India withdraws from the treaty. Not only this, it would trigger the formal beginning of water wars
- India, aspiring for a seat in the UNSC, should safeguard rather than violate bilateral treaties.
- The approach of government should be to utilize provisions available in Indus Water Treaty itself. But building infrastructure across Indus will take time.
India has never used its own rights on the western rivers. Under the Indus Water Treaty, we can make use of the waters of the western rivers for irrigation, storage, and even for producing electricity, in the manner specified. If we just do what we are entitled to under the Treaty, it would be enough to send jitters through Pakistan. It would be a strong signal without doing anything drastic along with complying with the provisions of treaty in letter and words.
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
22nd AUGUST, 2019
THE BIG PICTURE: INDIA’S AFGHAN POLICY
Why in news?
Countries like India, Iran, Russia and Turkey would have to fight against terrorists in Afghanistan at some point of time, U.S. President Donald Trump said, ruling that the job against terrorism was being done only by the United States. Trump’s comments came a day after he indicated that the U.S. forces would not completely withdraw from Afghanistan and America would have “somebody there” to make sure that the Taliban does not regain control. Trump said that the U.S. was fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan despite being 7,000 miles away, while India and Pakistan were not doing so even after being next door.
Earlier also trump has mocked India for building library in a war trodden countries. United States is also planning to withdraw the the troops gradually.
What is impact of USA withdrawing troops on India?
The impact of this sudden US strategic reversal and consequent spiraling of violence and Islamic extremism out of the Af-Pak region will be felt mostly in India as it would impart greater impetus to the jihadi groups, instill in them a sense of invincibility and embolden them to unleash more potent terrorist attacks against India. What is then the option? India will be gradually sucked into the Afghan imbroglio and forced to contemplate contributing troops for the US manpower-intensive strategy for its own safety.
India and Afghanistan
- India makes a long term investment in ensuring that a Taliban-type of government never comes to power again in Afghanistan.
- Post the Taliban era, engagement by India with Afghanistan focused on to ensure a strong commitment for building peace and stability in Afghanistan.
- India’s strategy in Afghanistan is guided by the desire to prevent a government that would readily provide Pakistan with strategic depth and a safe haven for terror groups.
- India has opted to pursue a ‘soft power’ strategy to engage Afghanistan, preferring to contribute substantially in the civilian sector rather than in defence and security.
- India is particularly active in the construction, infrastructure, human capital building and mining sectors. Besides, it has also identified the telecommunications, health, pharmaceuticals, and information technology and education sectors for cooperation.
- India has also agreed to build the 600-km-long Bamiyan – Herat rail link which will serve to connect the Hajigak mines to Herat and further to the Iranian port of Chabahar via the Delaram-Zaranj highway, which India had constructed in 2009.
- TAPI gas pipeline is another important project ongoing in Afghanistan.
Afghan Peace Process
There are a number of indigenous players with regard to Afghan peace process
- The Taliban group against whom the military action was taken post 9/11. The Taliban has at least four main branches whose relations range from pragmatic cooperation to active hostility.
- Recently, they have engaged with countries like Russia and the US regarding peace process and withdrawal of troops from its soil.
- The Taliban does not recognize the present day Afghan government as legitimate government as they believe that it does not represent the will of the people.
- The Afghan Government – they are the legitimate government recognized by the UN along with other countries.
- President Ashraf Ghani re-launched the Kabul Process in June 2017. The principal purpose of the process is to ensure an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, inclusive peace process where the people are fully in the driver’s seat to address the multiple dimensions of ongoing war and violence in Afghanistan.
- The Haqqani Network – the Haqqani network is the most ruthless, disciplined and organized subgroup within the Taliban. The Haqqani network is also a major impediment to the prospects of negotiations with Kabul. The network’s leader favors a solely military solution to the conflict. The main base of its operation is in Pakistan.
- The US led NATO forces – the US and the allied countries have actively engaged with all the parties in the peace process including the political faction of the Taliban group.
- Regional powers – countries like Qatar and Russia have actively engaged with all the stakeholders of the peace process, including the Taliban. The headquarters of the Taliban is located in Doha from where they engage with the rest of the world.
- Russia a key stakeholder in the process – Russia has hosted talks with Taliban delegates and members of Afghanistan high peace council, as the Kremlin seeks a role as peace broker between Islamist rebels and the US-backed government in Kabul.
- Pakistan’s destabilizing role in Afghanistan – Pakistan sees Afghanistan as potentially providing strategic depth against India.
- Pakistan may also view a weak and destabilized Afghanistan as preferable to a strong, unified Afghan state (particularly one led by a Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul.)
India’s Engagement with the Peace Process
- India an important player in the peace process – it has been acknowledged by all including the US and very recently by Pakistan that India is a key player in the peace process.
- The External Affairs Ministers have reiterated that in India supports all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which are inclusive and Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
- India had strictly refused to put boots on the ground previously and would maintain the status quo. Instead India has invested heavily in training security forces and supplying with necessary equipment.
- The key concern and challenge is the protection of the investment that India has made in Afghanistan.
The way forward:
New Delhi’s Afghanistan policy is predicated on two priorities:
First, to limit Pakistan’s influence and deny its agents space to plot against India, and second, to gain access to energy markets in Central Asia. So far, the achievement of these goals in Afghanistan has depended upon American munificence. Every time the United States chided Pakistan for sheltering Taliban elements, India celebrated a diplomatic win.
On the other hand, India’s objections to U.S. talks with the Taliban have been largely ignored by the international community. The harsh truth is that without the willingness to put actual boots on the ground, or the real military capability to project power in the region, India’s considerable goodwill cache cannot achieve its strategic ends. Today, an increasingly lonely India does not have the luxury to choose when, and with whom, to talk in Afghanistan.
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
23rd AUGUST, 2019
VISHESH: MONEY LAUNDERING
Money-laundering is the method by which criminals disguise the illegal origins of their wealth and protect their asset bases, so as to avoid the suspicion of law enforcement agencies and prevent leaving a trail of incriminating evidence.
Money for terrorists is derived from a wide variety of sources. While terrorists are not greatly concerned with disguising the origin of money, they are concerned with concealing its destination and the purpose for which it has been collected. Terrorists and terrorist organizations therefore employ techniques similar to those used by money launderers to hide their money.
How money laundering is done?
Impact of money laundering on economy
This may have shocking social consequences and poses a threat to the security of any nation at large or small scale. It offers immense facilities for drug dealers, terrorists, illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials and all types of criminals to operate and increase their criminal activities.
- Undermining of the legitimate private sector: The use of front companies by money launderers undermines the legitimate private sector, as the motive of money launderers is not necessarily to make a profit out of operations of the front company.
- Undermining of the integrity of financial markets: The succeeding reputational loss by financial institutions results in a loss of confidence by consumers in these affected financial institutions who may be perceived to be involved in fraudulent activities. This could also affect the reputation of a country and force investors to invest in economies that are perceived to be less exposed to the risk of money laundering. Money laundering can deleteriously impact on the truthfulness of financial markets, and also weaken the reputation of a nation.
- Loss of control of economic policy: Reports of IMF signified that the size of the funds being laundered, and the fact that money launderers would want to launder their funds through developing economies to reduce possible detection of their schemes, can affect the inflow and outflow of funds in these countries.
- Loss of revenue: money laundering decreases the tax funds available for collection in the economy and by implication government’s revenues. Consequently, governments may have to levy higher taxes in order to obtain the funds necessary to fulfill their responsibilities towards their citizens.
- Reputation risk: nations that are competing as destinations for legitimate investments may face difficulty to do so if there is a perception that the country has a poor track record of dealing with money laundering or is seen to be a centre for money laundering. This is because legitimate investors are wary of being associated with any country that has a negative reputation.
- Increased criminality: The increase in criminality is serious effect and a matter of concern in money laundering. The triumph of money launderers is the distance they create between themselves and the criminal activity producing profit, so that they can live lavish life could through this crime without attracting attention and could also go to the extent of reinvesting their profits to finance other crimes. Therefore, government, legislative act and other enforcing laws must implement policies in legal procedure to curb the crime.
- Social effect: Committing crime of money laundering transfers of economic power from the right people to the wrong. The good citizens and the government are dispossessed from their right, making the criminals take the benefit to flourish in their criminality. Money laundering damages the financial institution which is an important factor in the economic development of nation.
Globalization impact money laundering:
- Rapid developments in financial information, technology and communication allow money to move anywhere in the world with speed and ease. This makes the task of combating money-laundering more urgent than ever.
- The deeper “dirty money” gets into the international banking system, the more difficult it is to identify its origin. Because of the clandestine nature of money-laundering, it is difficult to estimate the total amount of money that goes through the laundry cycle.
- There have been a number of developments in the international financial system that have made the three F’s-finding, freezing and forfeiting of criminally derived income and assets-all the more difficult.
The recent policy efforts by the Government of India to tackle the problem—
At global level:-
The Vienna Convention: This convention laid down the groundwork for efforts to combat money laundering by obliging the member states to criminalize the laundering of money from drug trafficking. It promotes international cooperation in investigations and makes extradition between member states applicable to money laundering.
The financial action task force (FATF): Indian is a full-fledged member of FATF. It will help India to build the capacity to fight terrorism and trace terrorist money and to successfully investigate and prosecute money laundering and terrorist financing offences.
Basel Committee’s Statement of Principles: It seeks to deny the banking system to those involved in money laundering by the application of the four basic principles namely, identifying the customer, compliance with the laws, cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies and adherence to the Statement.
At national level:-
- Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 amended in 2005, 2009, 2012, and 2018: The Act and Rules impose obligation on banking companies, financial institutions, and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information in prescribed form. It seeks to Prevent and control money laundering,Confiscate and seize the property obtained from the laundered money; and Deal with any other issue connected with money laundering in India.
- Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND): FIU-IND is a central agency of a Government of India, that: receives financial information pursuant to country’s anti-money laundering laws; analyses and processes such information; and disseminates the information to appropriate national and international authorities, to support anti-money laundering efforts.
- The Black money (undisclosed foreign income and assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015: To deal with the menace of the black money existing in the form of undisclosed foreign income and assets by setting out the procedure for dealing with such income and assets.
- Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015: It aims to expand the definition of Benami Transactions and specifies the penalty to be imposed on a person entering into a Benami transaction.
- Anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) –guidelines for general insurers, 2013: Each insurance company has to establish and implement policies, procedures, and internal controls/audit in its AML/CFT program. Insurers are also required to maintain records of their transactions under these guidelines.
The way forward:
Money Laundering is spreading at speedy rate at global level and it is a serious matter for legislature authorities that must be curbed for smooth functioning of society and economic enhancement of all nations. All nations have to work together to combat such devastating criminal activity. Today, due to technical modernization, the criminals are very clever and cheat the enforcing agencies through deploying a team of experts like chartered accountants, attorneys, banker’s mafia, to cover their illicit money and pretense it as legal income.
Money laundering must be combated mainly by penal ways and within the frameworks of international cooperation among judicial and law enforcement authorities. It can be said that simply enactment of Anti-Money Laundering Laws will not resolve such serious crime instead the Law enforcement Community must keep bound with the ever changing dynamics of money Launderers who continually evolves advanced techniques which helps them to implement strict law to curb money laundering.
24TH AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
INDIA’S WORLD: INDIA’S TIES WITH BALTIC NATIONS
Why in news?
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited the three Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in keeping with the government’s priority to boost ties with small nations.
Evolution of Indo-Baltic Ties
India first recognized the Baltic States in 1921, during the brief period of independence they enjoyed in the interwar period. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence; India established diplomatic relations with them by 1992. For over a decade, however, their engagement was limited, with very few bilateral visits and no diplomatic representation.
Lithuania was the first to establish an embassy in India, in 2008, followed by Estonia in 2013 and Latvia in 2015. Since the institutionalization of bilateral relations, contacts between the two sides, including high-level visits, have tripled. Similarly, the presidents of all three Baltic States visited India early on in the relationship and there have also been prime ministerial visits from Latvia and Lithuania. However, there have been no corresponding visits at a similar level from the Indian side. This indicates that, despite growing interest on both sides, the Baltic States have so far placed a higher premium on their ties with India than vice versa.
Geo-strategic importance of Baltic nations:
- It is also expected to give a fillip to India’s keenness to push the International North-South Transport Corridor project that aims to link the Indian Ocean with the Baltic Sea and provide seamless connectivity.
- India and Latvia have been historically linked by the ancient route called “The Amber Way” – an ancient trade route to transport amber from coastal areas of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
- The new “Rail Baltic” project, a trans-European rail project to connect the Baltic States to the existing European rail network, would be an advantage for India.
- Estonia is a pioneer in e-governance and home to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence, which India could benefit from. India can benefit from Estonian best practices for building its digital architecture and cyber security capacity.
- Lithuania has developed expertise in laser technology, and exports its products to several countries.
- Lasers and related technology have emerged as an important component of Lithuania’s trade with India, and are especially sought after by Indian universities and research centers, and could also be used for India’s industrial needs.
The way forward
- For India’s focus on smaller states in Europe to translate into greater cooperation with the Baltic States, India also needs to correct the institutional deficiencies that have built up due to neglect.
- There are no Indian diplomatic missions in the Baltic States, except for an honorary consulate in Lithuania. Its relations with the region are conducted through its missions in three other countries, leading to a disjointed Indian approach towards the region. While Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania now all have full-fledged embassies in New Delhi, since 2014.
- During his visit to the Baltic States last year, the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar reiterated India’s intention to open an embassy in Lithuania, which had been promised as far back as 2005.
- India’s diplomatic outreach to the region is further hampered by the structure of its foreign ministry. All matters relating to India’s relations with the three Baltic States, as well as 27 other countries including members and non-members of the EU spanning from Scandinavia to the Balkans, fall under the Central Europe Division.
- Clubbing these diverse states together under one division will lead to an uncoordinated Indian policy towards them.
India and Baltic countries have historical connect and common linguistic roots. The cutting edge technology and innovation ecosystems of the Baltic countries complement India’s huge market and appetite for these technologies.
Recognizing the strategic importance of the Baltic nations, where China is fast increasing its footprint, Naidu’s visit will provide an opportunity to examine enhanced opportunities for cooperation.
26th AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: India Trumps Pakistan
Why in news?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan saying both nations can discuss and resolve all issues bilaterally. He made these remarks during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of G 7 summit in France.
President Trump also concurred with Prime Minister Modi and referring to Kashmir he said he was confident that both India and Pakistan can resolve their issues. This is being considered as a big diplomatic win for India.
Earlier president Donald Trump had expressed his views that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted him to mediate on Kashmir issue along with Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan.
Why America is so much interested in Kashmir Issue?
Geographically, America is not a stakeholder in Jammu & Kashmir but it does not want to betray Pakistan in which it has an interest.
America is withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan in which it needs Pakistan for the gradual withdrawal of the forces and keeps Taliban in control to bypass the criticism of being failure in Afghanistan.
India has reiterated its longstanding position that there is no room for mediation in Kashmir or on any other India-Pakistan issue and that all outstanding matters between the two countries would be resolved through bilateral dialogue but only when Pakistan ends cross-border terrorism in India.
- Pakistan claims that according to the two-nation theory Kashmir should have been with Pakistan, because it has a Muslim majority.
- Pakistan argues that India has shown disregard to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, and the United Nations Commission in India and Pakistan, by failing to hold a plebiscite.
- Pakistan rejects Indian claims to Kashmir, centering on the Instrument of Accession. Pakistan insists that the Maharaja did not have the support of most Kashmiris. Pakistan also claims that the Maharaja handed over control of Jammu and Kashmir under duress, thus invalidating the legitimacy of the claims.
- Pakistan claims that India violated the Standstill Agreement and that Indian troops were already in Kashmir before the Instrument of Accession was signed.
- Pakistan claims that the Kashmiri uprising demonstrates that the people of Kashmir no longer wish to remain part of India. Pakistan suggests that this means that either Kashmir wants to be with Pakistan or independent.
| Shimla Agreement
The Shimla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2 July 1972, following a full-blown war between India and Pakistan in 1971.
The Shimla Agreement was “much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of PoWs).” It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighborly relations between India and Pakistan.
Under the Shimla Agreement both countries undertook to abjure conflict and confrontation which had marred relations in the past, and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.
The two countries not only agreed to put an end to “conflict and confrontation” but also work for the “promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent, so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing talk of advancing the welfare of their peoples.”
|ALL INDIA RADIO|
SPOTLIGHT: SIGNIFICANCE OF G7 IN PRESENT CONTEXT
Why in news?
The annual G7 summit, also known as Group of Seven, is all set to be held in France from August 24 to August 26. Hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the annual meet will be attended by the seven state members, including France, Italy, Canada, United States, Japan, Germany and United Kingdom. This year, however, Macron has also invited non-member countries who are playing an important part in world politics. The invited guest nations include India, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda.
Secondly, it will the first meeting of prime minister Narendra Modi with USA president Donald Trump and head of other major countries after abrogation of Art 370 & 35A of the constitution.
What is G7?
The G7 is a collective of seven of the world’s most industrialized and developed economies. Their political leaders come together annually to discuss important global economic, political, social and security issues.
Together, they represent more than 62 per cent of the global net wealth ($280trillion).The group was founded in the early 1970s as the seven countries discussed concerns about the collapse of the oil industry.
Since then, 43 summits have been held across the globe as members discuss everything from the environment to the economy.
The group was previously known as the G8 and counted Russia among its members, but Russia has been excluded since annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in early 2014.
What does the G7 do?
- The G7 was formed initially to discuss economic and political concerns prompted by the 1973 oil crisis – when members of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries, increased the price of oil and cut global supplies to countries seen as having backed Israel in the Yom Kippur War.
- Since then, the group has expanded its brief to cover a large number of international issues, including energy security, trade, climate change, global health issues, gender equality, poverty – and any other topic the country holding the G7 presidency chooses to put on the agenda.
- Today, the G7 are reckoned as the seven wealthiest and most advanced nations in the world because China, which holds the second largest net worth in the world, nonetheless has a low net worth per individual and an economy that has not yet fully modernized.
Present significance of G7 group:
- On the agenda for this year’s summit will be the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, the European-backed nuclear deal with Iran currently opposed by President Trump, and the unrest that continues to unfold in Hong Kong.
- Kashmir Issue: Days before the meet, US President Donald Trump has ensured and said that he would discuss the situation in Kashmir with Indian PM Narendra Modi. In addition, Trump also suggested helping ease India-Pak tensions as he share great relation with both the nations. However, India has already made it clear the Kashmir issue is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
- Global Corporate Tax Code: Another issue that might take the center stage is Global Corporate Tax Code, with French President Macron saying that the participating nations will seek to overhaul the global corporate tax code to make corporations like Google and Amazon pay more.
- Iran-US Tensions: In another news, Macron has also said that the upcoming meet will try to de-escalate tensions between the US and Iran. He ensured to discuss the present tensions between the two nations since Trump pulled the US out of Iran’s internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
- Climate Emergency: The global warming has led to some serious climate changes this year. With countries receiving record rainfalls, and Amazon Rainforest on deadly fires for day, Climate Emergency is another issue to be discussed at the annual meet.
- Solution on Ukraine: After Russia was thrown out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, Macron said that this summit will try to find a solution on Ukraine. Macron is hoping to convince Russia to help end the conflict in east Ukraine. It is expected that Russia will join G7 group in 2020 which is to be held in USA.
- India’s nuclear power project: With India looking forward to development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss the completion of Jaitapur nuclear power project, which is being built in partnership with France along with purchase of Rafael jet.
- Counter-Terrorism: An essential issue for the entire world, terrorism stays a threat for South-East Asian nations with several terrorist and extremist groups emerging in small numbers. The countries will also be taking up the issue of counter-terrorism and measures to put an end on terrorist activities.
- Trump’s poor relationship with several G7 leaders has exposed deep divisions, leading some to fear that there might not be a future for the group.
- Many believe that the G7 is “divided, ineffectual, and more of a source of displaying the weakness and disunity” of its members than a forum to resolve global issues.
- In addition to its internal divisions, the G7 is no longer as influential as it once was. Some argue that without China and other emerging global powers like India, South Africa, Brazil etc., the group lacks relevance.
- Many analysts also believe the power and prestige of the G20, a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors from nineteen of the world’s largest countries as well as the EU, has surpassed that of the G7. Emerging powers including Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and South Africa, whose absence from the G7 was often noted, all belong to the G20. Russia remains a member of the G20.The group’s member states represent about 80 percent of global GDP and two-thirds of the world’s population.
27th AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: RBI’S Surplus Fund
The Reserve Bank of India has decided to transfer 1.76 Lakh crore rupees in dividend and surplus reserve to the govt. This came after the RBI board accepted the recommendations of Bimal Jalan committee on transfer of excess reserve funds to the govt. The total amount to be transferred by RBI to government includes 1, 23,414 crore rupees surplus for the year 2018-19 and 52,637 crore rupees as excess provisions identified according to the revised economic capital framework or ECF.
This transfer of record surplus funds from RBI is expected to boost overall revenue for the government and meet it fiscal deficit target.
Many economists have termed the move as a lifeline for the government, which is exploring options to revive economic growth amid a period of sluggish consumer demand and weak investments.
What is math behind the surplus transfer to government?
The surplus from the central bank comprised two components-Rs 1.23 lakh crore of surpluses for the year 2018-19 and an additional Rs 52,637 crore of excess provisions that was made available as per the revised economic capital framework recommended by the Bimal Jalan committee.
The revised Economic Capital Framework (ECF) suggested by the expert panel indicated that the RBI currently has more capital than what it needs as a contingency. Therefore, a surplus capital 52,637 crore worth excess provisions has been transferred to the government under the revised ECF guidelines.
It is not the first time that the RBI has transferred surplus transfer to the government but it is the largest transfer till date.
Key components of the surplus with RBI
The Reserve Bank of India’s reserves is mainly made up of two parts. One is the revaluation account (coming from gains in bullion reserves and currency exchange rates).
The other is the contingency fund that the Reserve Bank of India uses to make emergency adjustments in order to, say, prevent against losses in the institution’s investments or prop up the value of the Indian currency.
Reserves maintained by the RBI
The RBI maintains four different Reserves which comprise of assets and earnings. These reserves are:
- Contingency Fund – Reserve for tackling unexpected emergencies
- Asset Development Fund – Provides support to the RBI associates like National House of Banking
- Currency and Gold Revaluation Account – Gold Reserves and Foreign Exchange Assets
- Investment Revaluation Account – Fund available with the RBI to compensate losses and accommodate gains in foreign and domestic securities
Why RBI Surplus is transferred to the Central Government?
- The Reserve Bank functions as per the provisions laid in the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. One of the sections of the RBI Act states that the excess profit made by the apex bank will go to the Central Government, after counting in all the expenses and losses.
- This RBI Surplus or Profit could be the money earned after selling government securities or the interest made on money lent to the banks or could also be the investment done in foreign currencies and assets.
In support of the decision:
- The move can help the government in providing a stimulus the economy besides aiding recapitalization of core sectors. It will also help the government make up for the shortfall in its tax collections to a major extent.
- RBI’s surplus or the contingency risk buffer helps the central bank maintain India’s monetary and financial stability.
Why the move is criticized?
- The prime debate is the larger issue of RBI’s independence, which according to Urjit Patel and his deputy were being attacked by the government when it invoked Section 7 of the RBI Act, which empowers the government to give directions to the central bank on matters of public interest.
- The All India Bank Employees Association accused the government of “dismantling one more autonomous institution” and said the “government wants the [RBI’s] surplus to meet a deficit in the budget”. Former RBI governors Y.V. Reddy and D. Subbarao had publicly opposed such transfers, as did former deputy governor Viral Acharya, who argued such a move could be “catastrophic”.
- This time around, not only is the dividend payment the largest ever disbursed, but the recommendations of the Bimal Jalan Committee have also set clear guidelines for the future, ending the central bank’s discretion when it comes to deciding surplus transfers to the government.
How the government will use the fund?
- The amount could either be used to provide a fiscal stimulus to the economy-which is in the grip of a slowdown-or to reduce off-balance sheet borrowings, or meet an expected shortfall in revenue collections. In the Union budget, the government had presented an optimistic scenario of raising Rs 4.76 lakh crore in additional resources to meet budget expenses. However, since there is a clear slowdown ahead, this revenue target may not be met, in which case the surplus from the RBI would be used to bridge the shortfall.
- However, if the budgetary targets are met in the normal course of activity, the government will use the amount as a stimulus. While this is surely a big gain for the government, it will have a tough time justifying the transfer of such a big amount into its kitty.
The way ahead
Overall, the identified ‘excess’ transferable capital by the Jalan committee is only just above Rs 50,000 crore, far below the hopeful bounties being talked about. Not just that, future pay-outs are now formula driven and subject to some constraints with respect to the maintenance of a minimum CRB. However, we believe, this disappointment is blunted owing to a much higher than expected normal dividend transfer for the current year which, if used judiciously, can be invaluable in making the budget math sound more credible.
Overall though, the recommendations and their acceptance by the RBI lend credibility to India’s overall policy frameworks and institutions, especially given the history with respect to this particular debate around RBI capital. From a market standpoint, the net additional amounts involved here at just under 0.3 per cent of GDP do not really move the underlying narrative, which remains bullish for quality interest rates.
28th AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: Indo-Pacific: Strategic Importance
Why in news?
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who is on a two day visit to Russia has said that Indo Pacific is one of the new concepts and approaches thrown up by the changing world. With various countries and international forums using the term Indo Pacific in their official statements, it is gaming currency in recent times.
All about Indo-Pacific
Indo-Pacific which was earlier called Asia-Pacific is a group of countries fringing Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
It was later called as Indo-Pacific in order to include India which shows the significance of the growth of India.
DIAGRAM OF INDO-PACIFIC REGION
The Indo-Pacific is an integrated theatre that combines the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and the land masses that surround them. Even though it is still an evolving concept, most analysts see it as an idea that captures the shift in power and influence from the West to the East.
Its geographical expanse is still undefined but it is said to range from the coast of East Africa, across the Indian Ocean, to the Western Pacific, including countries like Japan and Australia.
Significance of Indo-Pacific region:
- It is both a strategic as well as an economic domain comprising important sea-lines of communication that connect the littorals of the two oceans. Since it is primarily a maritime space, the Indo-Pacific is associated with maritime security and cooperation.
- It is a very rich region in terms of natural resources (fisheries, oil, gas) as well as mineral resources.
- About 3.5 trillion dollars international trade flows through the South China Sea.
- Trade of some of the major economies like China, Japan, Korea or the west coast of the United States goes through the South China Sea.
- About 50% of India’s trade is conducted through the South China Sea.
India’s Role in the Indo Pacific Region
- Last year Prime Minister Narendra modi also included east coast of Africa into Indo-Pacific region.
- India’s Act East policy remains the bedrock of the national Indo-Pacific vision and the centrality of ASEAN is embedded in the Indian narrative.
- India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- India has been one of the major players in the region. India conducts many naval exercises with the United States, countries of ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
- Last time in 2015, with the United States, India issued a strategic vision for the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, in which maintaining the security in the South China Sea, was also mentioned.
- ONGC Videsh Ltd is prospecting for oil and gas in the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam. India imports 82% of its oil. It needs oil from wherever it can get. Therefore, explorations at the South China Sea are very important for it.
- The international community including India wants freedom of navigation, freedom of over flights in the region, especially the South China Sea.
Challenge for India into Indo-Pacific region
- Chinese Challenge: The formidable challenge for India in the Indo-Pacific region is to balance its relations with China. China is, on one hand is the largest trading partner for India, on the other hand it is perceived as a potential security threat against. Unresolved border issues, competition for the resources and markets in Asia, Africa and the South America, encircling strategy of China, disputes over One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the associated CPEC have been testing the strength of the bilateral relations time and again.
- Competing interests: Barring the USA and Canada, India’s economic structure is similar to most of the countries in the region like domination of agriculture, cheap human resources, availability of natural resources, etc. Besides, the issues related to patents, labour laws, dumping, converging maritime boundaries, trafficking and terrorist activities are expected to play a spoil sport in forging economic and trade partnerships for India.
- Connectivity: Connectivity is crucial for forging and sustaining economic, trade and political engagement. The formidable Himalayas in the North-Eastern States and Myanmar, the narrow zone of Strait of Malacca, trafficking and piracy, geographical setting of land mass and oceans and the inability of small island nations in investing in connectivity projects have been hampering India’s engagement with the region.
By taking into account the fact that all the big and small nations in the Indo-Pacific Region have a deeper economic engagement with China, it can be concluded that India must resolve its bilateral issues with China in order to play a significant role in the multilateral groupings of the region.
On various occasions, India’s vision towards the Indo-Pacific Region is exemplified by the growing cooperation with the ASEAN and beyond in recent years. India’s engagement with the region shouldn’t be neither dictated by the USA’s urge to play a greater role in the region as part of its ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy nor should be distracted by anti-China overtures of Japan.
29TH AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
The Big Picture – Freebie Model of Governance
Why in news?
Recently Aam Admi Party (AAP) has announced free travel for women in metro and DTC buses owning to upcoming election.
Freebies and elections:
The role of freebies in Indian Politics has been expanding specially in the past decade. Political parties have changed their strategy for attracting voters. Freebies cover a wide range of goods and services such as bicycles, laptops, smartphones, TV sets, waiver on water and electricity bills etc.
An analysis of manifestos of various political parties done by Election Commission earlier this year reveals a marked emphasis on distribution of freebies and doles to voters. Almost all political parties promise freebies which are then implemented in some way or the other once they are voted to power.
How the freebies distort the elections?
The lollipop of freebies is instant and useful tools for luring the voters .it deviates the main motif of the elections.
Freebies primarily originate out of the shortcomings in achieving good governance. Political parties in power, being unable to deliver the expectation of the people, indulge into such practices. On the other hand, exaggerated poll promises of freebies by the opposition parties in response distract the people from real issues undermining the purpose of the election.
Arguments furthered by political parties
- Distribution of freebies in any form is not prohibited by any law in force in India. The Courts have already held that handing out of freebies is not a corrupt practice.
- In fact, since the goal of our constitution-makers was to build a welfare state, it is the responsibility of political parties to further that cause.
- Generally, political parties, especially the national parties, release their election manifesto .When political parties promise certain freebies, the intention is not for these promises to act as bribes or as a means of exercising undue influence on voters.
- It is just a statement to the people highlighting how if brought to power, that party will serve its voters. Thus, framing of manifestos is right of political parties, and must not be interfered with.
Arguments furthered by the Election Commission
- Article 324 of the Constitution gives the Election Commission powers to issue any orders that may be required to enable it to hold free and fair elections. Hence, there is no limitation on its power to monitor political parties’ activities.
- Also, the Supreme Court specifically directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines with regard to freebies; hence, there is an underlying assumption that the EC does have the authority to monitor promises made in manifestos.
- An exception favoring the EC is warranted in the specific instance of election manifestos because they are associated with the election process, and have no value on a standalone basis. Also, it is the EC’s responsibility to ensure a level playing field for all parties and candidates, and also ensure that the voters are not taken for a ride. Hence, it is the EC’s responsibility to look into election manifestos.
Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates
- The Election Commission in its Model Code of Conduct titled ‘Guidelines on Election Manifestos’, has enumerated the rules that political parties must follow while making poll-time promises in their election manifestos. The guidelines are as follows:-
- The Election Manifesto shall not contain any promises that go against the ideals and principles enshrined in the Constitution India were envisioned as a welfare state under the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution. Therefore, there can be no bar on the state adopting welfare measures. But, political parties must refrain from making promises that undermine the purity of the election process or aim to exert undue influence on the voters.
- There must be transparency w.r.t to the promises and how the parties aim to implement their promises. The promises must also be credible. Wherever freebies are offered, parties must broadly state how they plan to gather the funds and finances to fulfill such promises.
Freebies and Supreme Court judgment:
- In Subramaniam Balaji v. Government of Tamil Nadu, the Court delved into the legality of promising freebies in election manifestos. The Court opined that freebies shook the ‘root of free and fair elections to a large degree.’
- However, the distribution of colour TVs, laptops, mixer-grinders etc. by the government in accordance with the laws currently prevalent in the country cannot be ruled out as being against ‘public purpose’.
- The Supreme Court ruled that promises made in an election manifesto cannot be construed as a ‘corrupt practice’ under section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. And since no legislation governs election manifestos, it directed the EC to frame appropriate guidelines.
The way forward
- It is impertinent to say that these enticing promises are in contradict to their sense, which are precisely shooting up the parties’ notion treat freebies as a bargain for voters vote. There is a need to make the bureaucracy and police independent.
- There is also a need to create a statutory, independent police commission, along the lines of the election commission, to supervise crime investigation and prosecution. Ideally, an independent state police commissions should be created in every state.
- This will end political interference and curb corruption, ultimately benefiting the entire political process. A popular perception about the reason for the increasing fortunes for politicians is corruption. To curb corruption there is a need for political, judicial and administrative reforms.
30TH AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
VISHESH: THE CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH
The Supreme Court has referred Article 370 cases to 5-Judge Constitution Bench. The Apex court while hearing pleas against the repeal of Article 370, said that the petitions related to the abrogation of special status in Jammu and Kashmir will be heard by as Constitution Bench as it involve the matter related with interpretation of the constitution.
Constitutional benches vs. the constitution
- Article 145(3) says at least five judges need to hear cases that involve “a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution, or any reference under Article 143, which deals with the power of the President of India to consult the Supreme Court.
- But this doesn’t mean constitution benches can’t be larger. For example, nine judges were on the bench that unanimously declared privacy to be a fundamental right in August 2017. Till now, the largest bench of the Supreme Court constitute to 13 judges in famous Keshvanand bharti vs state of Kerala.
- It is the original power of the Supreme Court to constitute a constitutional bench.
- Every petition calling in question the election of the President and Vice-President under Article 71 of the Constitution read with Part III of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, shall be posted before a Bench of five Judges under Order XLVI of the Rules.
When a case is referred to a constitutional bench?
- When the interpretation of the constitution is eminent as in case of the abrogation of the Art 370 & 35-A of the constitution.
- When the case has major socio-economic impact as in case of Sabrimala mandir .
- In case of the petition calling in question the election of the president and vice president of India.
What above the constitutional benches?
When a case is referred to the constitutional benches, the judgment of the constitutional bench is more or less final only in special circumstances it can be only referred to the constitutional bench with larger number of the judges.
Constitution benches have decided many of India’s best-known and most important Supreme Court cases which have secured the right of the people enlarged the scope of the constitution. Cases such as A. K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala which gave birth to the basic structure doctrine and Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India which is related to the OBC reservations, Indira sawhaney case which set the upper limit of the constitution etc.
| Diff between Divisional bench & Constitutional bench
As the term speaks for itself, Division Bench is a bench of two judges which we normally see in Supreme Court & High Court in normal working of the court. Other types of benches are formed only to dispose certain special issues.
Constitution Bench is formed when there is a matter which deals with specific question of law, under ARTICLE 145(3) the minimum number of judges who are to sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this constitution or for the purpose of hearing ant reference under article 143 shall be five.
31TH AUGUST, 2019
|RAJYA SABHA TELEVISION|
THE BIG PICTURE: BIG BANK REFORM
Why in the news?
Half a century after the nationalization of banks, the center government has now announced a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks in to four large entities. This will bring down the total number public Sector Banks in the country to 12 from 27 in 2017.
How the merger will impact the banking sector?
- Punjab National Bank, Oriental bank of commerce and United Bank of India will merge to become the second largest bank after SBI.
- Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank merger will create 5th largest lender of the country.
- The merger of Union Bank, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will create 6th largest Bank.
- Announcing this merger plan Finance Minister said this will help in consolidating strong national presence and global reach of these banks. This was followed by 55000 crore rupees recapitalization plan for the merged entities and 6 other banks enabling them to enhance their lending capacity.
- It will give impetus to the slowing down economy.
Pros of the merger policy
- The merger will reduce the cost of banking operation.
- The objectives of financial inclusion and broadening the geographical reach of banking can be achieved better with the merger of large public sector banks and leveraging on their expertise.
- Merger will result in better NPA and Risk management.
- With the large scale expertise available in every sphere of banking operation, the scale of inefficiency which is more in case of small banks, will be minimized.
- The merger will help the geographically concentrated regionally present banks to expand their coverage.
- Larger size of the Bank will help the merged banks to offer more products and services and help in integrated growth of the Banking sector.
- Merger will help in improving the professional standards.
- A larger SBI can manage its short and long term liquidity better. There will not be any need for overnight borrowings in call money market and from RBI under Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF).
- In the global market, the Indian banks will gain greater recognition and higher rating.
- With a larger capital base and higher liquidity, the burden on the central government to recapitalize the public sector banks again and again will come down substantially.
- Multiple posts of CMD, ED, GM and Zonal Managers will be abolished, resulting in substantial financial savings.
- Bank staff will be under single umbrella in regard to their service conditions and wages instead of facing disparities
Cons of the merger policy
- Neither, it is the case that a weak bank is not merged with a strong one nor geographically compatible banks are being merged so it has created a chaos in the banking sector.
- In the process of merger, SBI had closed over 1,000 branches and in case of Bank of Baroda, more than 500 branches are being closed. On one side the government wants to implement financial inclusion, but how it is possible to implement the same by closing down the branches.
- Past mergers of weak banks with strong ones have not been encouraging. The merger of Punjab National Bank with the troubled New Bank in 1993 was messy and failed to create significant synergies. Early this year, the strong Bank of Baroda was merged with the weaker Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, but post-merger performance shows little obvious improvement, and its share price has slumped from Rs 150 a year ago to Rs 92.
- The danger of mergers is that instead of the strong banks lifting the weak, the weak ones may sink the strong.
- Many banks focus on regional banking requirements. With the merger the very purpose of establishing the bank to cater to regional needs is lost.
- Large bank size may create more problems also. Large global banks had collapsed during the global financial crisis while smaller ones had survived the crisis due to their strengths and focus on micros aspects
What is clear is that when gross fixed capital formation has been falling quarter on quarter, and the private sector is shy of investing, there is no alternative but for Government to invest. Ideally by reorienting expenditure towards capital, rather than revenue expenditure. But if that is not possible, by easing up on the fiscal deficit target. And in a bank-oriented economy, by allowing PSBs to support growth by not pushing pointless ban.
|ALL INDIA RADIO|
SPOTLIGHT: DISCUSSION ON THE SLOWING DOWN OF THE ECONOMY
India’s economy had annual growth of 5.0 per cent in the April-June quarter, the slowest in more than six years, dragged down by weak consumer demand and private investments.
Reason why the economy is slowing down
- Disruptions, jolt of reforms: Demonetization that happened in November 2016, dealt a severer blow to consumption, leading to a vicious cycle of job loss and lower income, which led to further drop in demand what economists call the multiplier effect).
- Next shock came in the form of a reform when GST was rolled out in July 2017. This had a knock out effect on exports growth in the year of implementation because of delay in refunds to exporters.
- The IL&FS crisis triggered the Non Banking Financial Companies’ (NBFC) credit crunch in 2018.
- By 2018-end, weakening global trade and GDP growth, led by US- China tariff wars, had caught up, amplifying the impact.
- The higher tax surcharge proposed for the super-rich in the budget has been the key reason for the flight of foreign portfolio investors.
Impact of economic slowdown
- The sector which is most impacted by the slowdown is the auto-mobile sector. It can be seen in case of Maruti Suzuki closing down its many outlets and scissoring the jobs.
- Having a dream to achieve to achieve a 5 trillion economy, India has slipped India has been pushed to the seventh place in the global GDP.
- Fearing the slowdown the foreign investment has slowed down and some are also pulling it out of India which will have the cyclic effect on the slowing down of the economy.
What are the steps taken by the government to revive the slowing down economy?
The center government has now announced a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks in to four large entities. This will bring down the total number public Sector Banks in the country to 12 from 27 in 2017.
The RBI has infused 1.76 lakhs crore to government which is expected that it will be invested in the different sectors to boost the economy.it has also lowered down the interest rates and has asked the bank to transfer the benefit to the customers.
What the government should do?
- Give auto sector incentives to invest and shift to electric vehicles
- Incentives to auto sector employees to upskill on electric vehicles
- Change GST collection to quarterly for companies below Rs 1 crore
- Reduce the GST slab rates
- Adopt the Direct Tax Code, cut income tax for the bottom slab
- Improve credit flow to both consumer and industry
- Reduce real interest rates by 135 basis points as cost of cost of capital has to come down
- Change the credit culture in public sector banks
- Stimulus should drive investment, upskilling for displaced employees
- Factor market reforms, including bringing the cost of land down