Upcoming Mentoring Sessions

Article
12 Jun 2024

Even with Coalition Government, the Direction of India’s Economic Policy is Unlikely to Change

Context

  • The recent general elections in India have culminated in the formation of a coalition government at the Centre, marking a significant shift from the single-party majority that has been in place for the past decade.
  • This transition has sparked concerns among certain quarters regarding its potential impact on the country’s economic trajectory.
  • Amid this change it is important to explore the implications of coalition politics on India’s economy.

India’s Economic Performance under Past Coalition Governments

  • India's economic reforms, initiated in 1991, coincided with a period marked by coalition governments.
  • Despite the fragmented political landscape, these coalitions managed to implement significant reforms and maintain high growth rates.
  • The past decade's single-party majority was an exception rather than the norm in Indian politics.
  • Historical data indicates that coalition governments have been effective in driving economic reforms and sustaining growth.
  • For instance, the total factor productivity (TFP) growth in India has risen over the past decade, standing at approximately 2.2 percent, compared to -0.3 percent for emerging markets in the previous decade.
  • This trend underscores the resilience and adaptability of India's economy under various political configurations.

The Importance of Continued Reforms and Challenges Under a Coalition Government

  • The Issue of Pace and Intensity
    • While the coalition government is poised to continue India’s economic growth trajectory, the pace and intensity of reforms will be critical.
    • Reforms are essential for addressing structural issues and for ensuring long-term economic stability and growth.
    • The nature and scope of reforms have varied under different governments, reflecting their respective political priorities and economic philosophies.
    • Nonetheless, certain fundamental reforms have been pursued consistently, contributing to a robust economic framework.
  • Enhancing Productivity
    • Reforms in areas such as manufacturing, ease of doing business, digitisation, and skilling are likely to continue under the new government.
    • These reforms are crucial for enhancing productivity, improving competitiveness, and creating jobs.
    • For instance, initiatives to streamline business regulations and enhance digital infrastructure have already yielded significant benefits, making it easier for businesses to operate and thrive.
  • Challenging Under the Coalition Government
    • Some reforms may face greater challenges under a coalition government.
    • Reforms related to agriculture, land, and labour—often referred to as factor market reforms—are particularly contentious and may be more difficult to implement.
    • Similarly, privatisation and asset monetisation, which are essential for improving efficiency and reducing the fiscal burden on the government, may encounter resistance.

Key Steps to Maintain India’s Economic Resilience and Reform Continuity

  • Infrastructure Development and Private Sector Involvement
    • Infrastructure development remains a cornerstone of India’s growth strategy.
    • Continued investment in critical infrastructure projects is necessary to support economic activity and improve the quality of life for citizens.
    • While the government has been the primary driver of infrastructure development, there is a growing recognition of the need for increased private sector involvement.
    • This shift is expected to take place gradually, with private capital expenditure playing a larger role in the future.
  • Continuation of PLI Schemes
    • The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, aimed at boosting the manufacturing sector, is another key initiative that is likely to continue.
    • The scheme is designed to create jobs and enhance manufacturing capabilities, aligning with the global trend towards industrial policy and the China+1 strategy.
    • By incentivising manufacturing, the PLI scheme aims to reduce dependence on imports and strengthen domestic production capabilities.
  • Balancing Supply-Side and Demand-Side Measures
    • While the government has predominantly focused on supply-side measures, such as improving infrastructure and business conditions, there is an increasing need to address demand-side issues.
    • Stimulating demand is crucial for ensuring that economic growth is inclusive and benefits all segments of society.
    • This includes measures to support agriculture, rural incomes, social welfare, job creation, and consumption.
  • Accommodative Government Spending
    • Government spending must be more accommodative of the needs at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
    • This means allocating resources to areas that directly impact the lives of the poor and marginalised, such as health, education, and social welfare programs.
    • The additional fiscal space of Rs 1.2 trillion (0.35 percent of GDP) available for FY25 provides an opportunity to address these needs without jeopardising fiscal stability.
  • Fiscal Discipline and Macroeconomic Stability
    • Maintaining fiscal discipline is essential for ensuring macroeconomic stability.
    • The institutionalisation of reforms, such as the inflation targeting mandate, has provided a framework for fiscal discipline and has helped keep inflation in check.
    • The moderation of global crude prices and the reduced oil intensity of the economy are also positive factors that will help control the current account deficit.
    • With twin deficits; fiscal and current account under control, and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) focusing on inflation targeting, India’s macroeconomic stability is unlikely to be jeopardised.
    • The upcoming budget will be a critical indicator of the new government’s economic direction, impacting interest rates and the trajectory of the rupee.

Conclusion

  • India stands at a pivotal moment in its economic history, facing both domestic and global challenges, including geopolitical shifts, technological advancements, and the imperative of decarbonisation.
  • The new coalition government must navigate these complexities without compromising on economic logic and priorities.
  • Historical evidence suggests that coalition governments can be just as effective as single-party majorities in driving reforms and, therefore, apprehensions about the return to coalition politics disrupting India’s economic trajectory are largely unfounded.
Editorial Analysis

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

What is CRISPR/Cas9?
Researchers recently used CRISPR/Cas9 to alter photosynthesis for the first time.
current affairs image

About CRISPR/Cas9:

  • CRISPR, short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a gene-editing technology that can be used to alter the genetic sequence of a specific gene by removing, adding, or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • It makes it possible to correct errors in the genome and turn on or off genes in cells and organisms quickly, cheaply, and with relative ease.
  • How was it developed?
    • Some bacteria have a similar, built-in gene editing system to the CRISPR-Cas9 system that they use to respond to invading pathogens like viruses, much like an immune system.
    • Using CRISPR, the bacteria snip out parts of the virus DNA and keep a bit of it behind to help them recognise and defend against the virus next time it attacks.
    • Researchers adapted this immune defense system to edit DNA.
  • The CRISPR-Cas9 system consists of two key molecules that introduce a change (mutation) into the DNA. These are:
    • An enzyme called Cas9, acts as a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ that can cut the two strands of DNA, at a specific location in the genome so that bits of DNA can then be added or removed.
    • A piece of RNA called guide RNA (gRNA), consists of a small piece of pre-designed RNA sequence (about 20 bases long) located within a longer RNA scaffold. The scaffold part binds to DNA and the pre-designed sequence ‘guides’ Cas9 to the right part of the genome. This makes sure that the Cas9 enzyme cuts at the right point in the genome.
    • The guide RNA is designed to find and bind to a specific sequence in the DNA.
    • Cas9 follows the guide RNA to the same location in the DNA sequence and makes a cut across both strands of the DNA.
    • Once the DNA is cut, researchers use the cell's own DNA repair machinery to add or delete pieces of genetic material, or to make changes to the DNA by replacing an existing segment with a customized DNA sequence.
  • CRISPR-Cas9 has a lot of potential as a tool for treating a range of medical conditions that have a genetic component, including cancer, hepatitis B, or even high cholesterol.
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

Key Facts about Nitrous Oxide (N2O) Emissions
Planet-warming nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions grew by 40 percent between 1980 and 2020, according to a new report published by the Global Carbon Project.
current affairs image

What is Nitrous Oxide (N2O)?

  • Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or happy gas, is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable
  • While nitrous oxide is not flammable, it will support combustion to the same extent as oxygen. 
  • It leads to a state of euphoria, explaining its nickname, ‘laughing gas.’
  • It is soluble in water. Its vapors are heavier than air. 
  • Applications:
    • It is commonly used by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
    • The gas is also used as a propellant in food aerosols.
    • It is used in the automotive industry to enhance engine performance.

Highlights of the Report:

  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is the third most significant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane and is 273 times more potent than CO2 over 100 years.
    • The increase in greenhouse gases has already raised the Earth's average surface temperature by 1.15 degrees Celsius compared to the 1850-1900 average.
    • Anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions contribute to about 0.1 degrees of this warming.
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O) emissions grew by 40 percent between 1980 and 2020, with China being the largest emitter, followed by India and the US.
  • The top 10 emitters are China, India, the USA, Brazil, Russia, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, Turkey, and Canada.
  • The biggest human sources of N₂O are agriculture, industry, and the burning of forests or agricultural waste.
  • 74 percent of the nitrous oxide emissions over the last decade originated from agricultural practices, specifically the use of nitrogen fertilizers and animal manure.
  • In 2022, the concentration of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere reached 336 parts per billion, 25 percent higher than in 1850-1900, significantly surpassing the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Environment

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

What is Sarod?
Sarod maestro Pandit Rajeev Taranath, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Mysuru, passed away recently.
current affairs image

About Sarod:

  • It is a stringed instrument in the lute family and one of the most popular instruments in Hindustani classical music.
    • It is often accompanied by the tabla (drums) and tambura (drone lute). 
  • It is an adaptation of the Afghan rabab, which arrived in India during the 16th century.
  • The modern form of the instrument was designed in the 19th century. 
  • Design:
    • The sarod is 100 cm long and has a body made from hollow teak, sagwan, or tun wood.
    • High-quality instruments have a body, neck, and peg box made from a single piece of wood.
    • The resonator has a stretched membrane (usually goatskin) and a bridge made from horn where the strings rest.
    • The bridge is very thin, like that of a violin. The melody strings are stretched across the bridge, and the sympathetic strings run through holes drilled into the bridge. 
    • The strings were traditionally made from gut or silk, but today are usually made from steel or bronze.
    • The neck of the instrument does not have a fretboard, but rather a polished, steel plate.
  • Playing:
    • One who plays the sarod is called a sarodiya, and the word sarod is Persian for song or melody.
    • The seated player holds the instrument across his lap. 
    • The strings of the sarod are plucked using a triangle-shaped plectrum called a jawa, usually made from coconut shell, ebony, or horn., while the fingernails of the left hand press the strings.
  • Two prominent Indian schools of sarod playing are those of Ghulam Ali Khan and Allauddin Khan, each with its own playing style, type of sarod (e.g., size, shape, and number of strings vary), and tuning system.
History

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

What is an Atomic Clock?
Researchers have built a portable optical atomic clock that can be used onboard ships.
current affairs image

About Atomic Clock:

  • An atomic clock is a device that measures time using the vibrations of atoms.
    • Specifically, it uses the oscillations of the electrons in atoms to keep time.
  • It is the most accurate time-keeping device available, with a margin of error of just a few billionths of a second per day.
  • Atomic clocks are far more precise than conventional clocks because atomic oscillations have a much higher frequency and are much more stable.
  • They are used in many applications that require very precise timing, such as GPS systems, telecommunications networks and scientific research.
  • How does an atomic clock work?
    • Atomic clocks work by using a type of atom called a "cesium atom".
    • Cesium atoms are very stable and have a very specific frequency at which their electrons vibrate.
    • This frequency is used as the basis for the atomic clock's timekeeping.
    • To measure time using cesium atoms, an atomic clock uses a device called a "microwave cavity".
    • The microwave cavity is a chamber that is filled with cesium vapor.
    • A microwave signal is then sent into the cavity, which causes the cesium atoms to vibrate.
    • As the cesium atoms vibrate, they emit radiation at a very specific frequency.
    • This frequency is then detected by a detector, which compares it to a standard frequency.
    • The difference between the two frequencies is used to adjust the clock's timekeeping.
  • Types of atomic clocks: There are two types of atomic clocks: cesium atomic clocks and hydrogen maser atomic clocks.
    • Cesium atomic clocks are the most common and are used to define the international standard for time, called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
    • Hydrogen maser atomic clocks are even more accurate than cesium atomic clocks and are used in scientific research.
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

Crete Island
During excavations for an airport on Greece’s largest island of Crete, a large circular monument dating back 4000 years was unearthed.
current affairs image

About Crete Island:

  • It is the largest island in Greece and the fifth largest one in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea).
  • It is bordered by the Sea of Cretein the north, the Libyan Sea in the south, the Myrtoan Sea in the west, and the Carpathian Sea in the east. 
  • It covers an area of 8,336 sq. km.
  • It is relatively long and narrow, stretching for about 260 km east-west and about 60 km at its widest point. 
  • The island is dominated by rugged mountains that crisscross from west to east.
    • The highest point on the island is Ida, also known as Psiloritis, at 2,456 m.
  • History:
    • The island of Crete has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age by early hominids.
    • The earliest advanced European civilization, the Minoan Civilization, started on the island around 2700-1420 BCE.
    • The Minoan civilization ended after a major earthquake, and thereafter, the island’s rule was taken over by the Mycenaean civilization.
    • The island was then subsequently ruled by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Andalusians, the Venetians, and the Ottomans.
    • After the island’s independence from Ottoman rule, Crete became a part of Greece.
    • During the Second World War, the island was occupied by the Nazi German forces and also served as the battleground of the famous “Battle of Crete.”
Geography

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

What are Notified Disasters?
The ongoing spell of extreme heat in many parts of the country has once again reopened discussions on the inclusion of heatwaves as one of the notified disasters under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005.
current affairs image

About Notified Disasters

  • In India, the Disaster Management Act, 2005, defines a disaster as a "catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence" arising from natural or man-made causes that results in substantial loss of life, destruction of property, or damage to the environment.
  • The Act includes 12 categories of notified disasters, which are: Cyclone, Drought, Earthquake, Fire, Flood, Tsunami, Hailstorm, Landslide, Avalanche, Cloudburst, Pest attack, Frost and cold waves
  • These notified disasters are eligible for relief assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
    • The SDRF is primarily used for immediate relief to victims of notified disasters, while the NDRF supplements the SDRF in cases of severe disasters where funds are insufficient.
  • However, heatwaves are not currently included as a notified disaster under the Act. Although heatwaves are a significant concern in India, particularly in certain regions, the Finance Commission has not been convinced to expand the list of notified disasters.
  • States can use up to 10% of their SDRF allocation for local disasters, including heatwaves, which some states have done.

NDMA

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) plays a crucial role in laying down policies, plans, and guidelines for disaster management in India.
  • It aims to promote a national resolve to mitigate the damage and destruction caused by natural and man-made disasters through sustained and collective efforts.

 

 

Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

International Organization of Migration (IOM)
At least 49 migrants died and 140 others were missing after their boat capsized off the coast of Yemen, the U.N. migration agency said on June 11.
current affairs image

About International Organization of Migration (IOM)

  • The IOM is an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees and migrant workers.
  • Establishment: IOM was established in 1951.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Member States: IOM has 175 member states and 8 observer states.
  • Mandate: To promote humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all, through providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
  • Publications: World Migration Report, Migration Health Annual Report.

Key Areas of Work

  • Migration and development: IOM works to maximize the benefits of migration for both the home and host countries, as well as for migrants themselves.
  • Migration health: The organization provides health services and support to migrants and displaced populations.
  • Emergency operations: IOM responds to humanitarian crises by providing emergency relief and post-crisis recovery programs, such as transportation assistance, temporary shelter, and rebuilding infrastructure.
  • Counter-Trafficking: The organization actively combats human trafficking through prevention, protection, and prosecution initiatives, providing support to victims of trafficking.

 

International Relations

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

What is Starship?
SpaceX’s Starship rocket accomplished its first fully successful test flight last week, with both its booster and spacecraft making a gentle splashdown after an hour-long sub-orbital space flight.
current affairs image

About Starship

  • SpaceX's Starship is an ambitious spacecraft designed to be fully reusable for missions to various destinations in space, including Mars.

Design and Specifications

  • It is part of a two-stage-to-orbit launch system composed of the Super Heavy booster and the Starship spacecraft itself:
    • Super Heavy Booster: The first stage, responsible for lifting Starship out of Earth's atmosphere.
    • Starship Spacecraft: The second stage, designed for space travel, including carrying crew and cargo.
  • Reusability: Both stages are designed to be fully reusable, aiming to significantly reduce the cost of space travel.
  • Capacity:
    • Crew: Can carry up to 100 passengers.
    • Cargo: Large payload capacity, with different configurations for various missions.
  • Engines: Powered by Raptor engines, which use liquid methane and liquid oxygen (Methalox) as propellants.

Objectives and Missions

  1. Mars colonization: Central to SpaceX's long-term goal of making humanity multiplanetary by establishing a self-sustaining colony on Mars.
  2. Lunar missions: NASA's Artemis program has selected a variant of Starship to serve as a lunar lander for returning humans to the Moon.
  3. Orbital flights and beyond: Designed for a variety of missions, including satellite deployment, interplanetary exploration, and even space tourism
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 12, 2024

Enterobacter bugandensis
Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have carried out a collaborative study of the behaviour of multi-drug resistant pathogens aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
current affairs image

About Enterobacter Bugandensis

  • Enterobacter bugandensis is a relatively new species within the Enterobacter genus.
  • It was first described in 2013, after being isolated from cases of bloodstream infections in Uganda.

Key Characteristics

  • Morphology: It is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium.
  • Habitat: Like other Enterobacter species, E. bugandensis is typically found in various environments, including soil, water, and the gastrointestinal tracts of animals and humans.
  • Pathogenicity: It can cause a range of infections, primarily in immunocompromised These include bloodstream infections, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and wound infections.
  • Resistance: It has shown resistance to multiple antibiotics, which makes treatment challenging.
    • The mechanisms of resistance can include beta-lactamase production, efflux pumps, and mutations that reduce drug uptake.

What is the multidrug-resistant pathogen?

  • It refers to a microorganism that has developed resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents, typically three or more antimicrobial categories.
  • This resistance can be seen in various types of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and parasites.
  • The most threatening forms of MDR to public health are MDR bacteria that resist multiple antibiotics
Science & Tech
Load More...