Feb. 28, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 28, 2020
Q. If Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) wants to remain as relevant and look toward a new phase of Asia-Pacific economic integration, it must include India as its member. Comment.
- APEC was established in 1989 as an intergovernmental platform for 21 Pacific Rim member economies to promote free-trade in the region.
- The grouping is facing the heat of unilateralism and protectionism. Competition and divergence in the form of US-China tensions was on full display at the 2018 APEC summit
- As a result, a debate pertaining to the question of the forum’s enlargement, with pointed reference to India, has started.
APEC Needs India
- Economic strength of India – As the region’s third largest and one of the fastest growing major economy, India presents the most promising market in the wider Asia-Pacific. India’s burgeoning middle class is estimated to become 450 million in 2030. Also India aspires to become a $5 trillion economy.
- Boost to the economic activities – APEC economies are experiencing sluggish growth. Hence, adding India to APEC would augment regional trade and investment.
- Labour Supply - India's labor force, which will be the largest in the world by 2030, will help offset the impact of aging populations and shrinking work forces in APEC economies.
- Legitimate stakeholder in regional and global governance – India is second largest democracy in the world and an important player in Indo-pacific arena.
- Complementarity - Outside the west Europe, most of the capital surplus nations are in Asia Pacific. On the other hand, India badly needs investment.
- Emergence of Indo-Pacific Concept – India has emerged as a key player which is central to the Indo-Pacific concept.
- Strength of the APEC grouping can be gauged from the fact that it represents more than a third of the world population, 47% of global trade and 60% of world GDP.
- However, declining multilateralism, increasing protectionism and incidents like trade war are creating a pressure on this institution to reform.
- Hence, it can be said that without India APEC would not only remain incomplete but also unable to reinvent itself. India, on the other hand, will have to ensure economic reforms and openness to qualify for APEC membership.
Feb. 26, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 26, 2020
Q. What is Budget Transparency? Scratching its genesis, discuss the benefits associated with budget transparency as well as the ways through which it can be promoted in functioning of a government?
Budgets are key documents since they lay out a government’s priorities in terms of policies and programs. Opening up budgets and democratizing the budget process gives citizens a say in policy formulation and resource allocation. Budget transparency refers to the extent and ease with which citizens can access information about and provide feedback on government revenues, allocations, and expenditures.
Increased transparency in budgeting made significant advances in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was a period associated with unfavourable budget conditions in most countries - high annual deficits and increasing levels of debt. Governments needed to institute large fiscal consolidation programmes. These were often painful and getting the public’s understanding of the problems was necessary. The most effective manner for achieving that was simply to throw open the books to the public and explaining the problem to them in order for an understanding to emerge as to the best course of action to take. This time period also coincided with increased attention being paid to good governance in general which demanded openness about policy intentions, formulation and implementation – answer to all these was Budget Transparency.
Importance Of Budget Transparency
- Less Corruption: First, budget transparency and oversight over how resources are allocated and spent are powerful disincentives for officials to misuse or misappropriate funds since their actions are more likely to be scrutinized. This leads to less corruption.
- Efficient Use Of Resource: Budget transparency allows citizens to provide feedback on the quality and adequacy of services and infrastructure provided. This feedback, combined with reduced corruption, results in more efficient use of resources.
- Enhanced Trust: In many cases, perceptions of high levels of corruption, poor services and infrastructure, and opaqueness of operations lie at the heart of citizens’ distrust of their governments. The gesture of opening up government books of account is likely to lead to more trust in government.
- Higher Revenues: Budget transparency is also instrumental in generating higher revenues for governments since citizens are more likely to pay taxes and contribute donations to local schools and health centres if they trust that their money will be well spent. In developing countries, where revenues are often inadequate to pay for needed investments in sustainable poverty reduction and development programs, this is of utmost importance.
Ways Through Which Budget Transparency Can Be Promoted
- Release Of Budget Data: The systematic and timely release of all relevant fiscal information is what we typically associate with budget transparency. It is an absolute pre-requisite. Disclose budget documents and simplified budget information through electronic and print media as well as online portals and cell phones.
- Effective Role For The Legislature: It must be able to scrutinise the budget reports and independently review them. It must be able to debate and influence budget policy and be in a position to effectively hold the government to account. This is both in terms of the constitutional role of the legislature and the level of resources that the legislature has at its disposal.
- Effective Role For Civil Society Through Media And NGOs: Citizens, directly or through these vehicles, must be in a position to influence budget policy and must be in a position to hold the government to account. In many ways, it is a similar role to that of the legislature albeit only indirectly.
- Improving Budget Literacy of parliamentarians, government officials, elected representatives, journalists, and select civil society representatives and Increasing their capacity to analyze budgets.
- Create budget literacy manuals for capacity-building programs.
Thus, budget transparency, while not a goal in itself, is a prerequisite for public participation and accountability. Such information must be disseminated in a timely manner so that citizens can effectively provide feedback that can influence policy formulation and resource reallocation.
Feb. 24, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 24, 2020
Q. “Artificial intelligence is going to change every industry, but we have to understand its limits”. In light of this, discuss the benefits and challenges associated with AI in Indian context.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to learn and reason through analogy, analyze, interpret information, recognize speech, visual perception and take decisions. In other words, AI is application of human intelligence by the machines.
Benefits of AI
- Contribution to Economy: The NITI Aayog estimates that AI could potentially give 15% boost to the gross value added (GVA) for the economy by 2035, adding $957 billion to India’s $6397 billion-dollar GVA projected for that year.
- Access To Affordable Healthcare: The application of AI could increase access to and affordability of quality healthcare. India, with its acute shortage of specialist doctors in rural areas, could benefit greatly from such a tool.
- Benefits In Agriculture: It can enhance farmer’s income, increase productivity and reduce wastage when used in agriculture. For instance, in agriculture, Microsoft, in collaboration with ICRISAT, has developed an AI-enabled sowing app that sends advisories to farmers on the best date to sow, soil-test based fertilizer application, manure application, seed treatment, optimal sowing depth, etc. In 2017, 3,000 farmers in Andhra and Karnataka used the app, resulting in a 10-30% increase in kharif yields across crops.
- Benefit in Education: In areas of education, AI can improve access and quality of education. For ex- to tackle school dropout, the AP government has partnered with Microsoft to keep track of data relating to student’s demographic details, past and current academic performance, teacher skills to identify those likely to drop out.
- Benefit In Infrastructure And Transportation Sector: The AI can also help in improving connectivity and safer modes of transportation when put to infrastructure and transportation sectors.
- Manufacturing Sector: Robots are being used for manufacturing since a long time now, however, more advanced exponential technologies have emerged such as additive manufacturing (3D Printing), which with the help of AI can revolutionize the entire manufacturing supply chain ecosystem.
- Legal Sector: Automation can lead to faster resolution of already pending cases by reducing the time taken while analyzing cases thus better use of time and more efficient processes.
Challenges In AI
The Aayog identified barriers that need to be surmounted to achieve success in the use of AI. These include lack of expertise, absence of enabling data ecosystem, high resource cost and low awareness, privacy and security issues, and absence of collaborative approach to adoption and application of AI.
- Lack of AI Expertise: India hardly has any AI expertise today. As only around 4% of Indian AI professionals are trained in emerging technologies such as deep learning.
- Lack Of Adequate Data: AI takes reams of historical data as input, identifies the relationships among data elements, and makes predictions. Unfortunately, India has sparse data in many sectors.
- Lack Of Funding And Deadline: It is one of the major challenges faced by the AI sector in India.
- Unemployment: Other major concerns is the possibility of human beings losing out on employment opportunities due to machines’ ability to perform the same tasks more efficiently. Automation has already rendered a huge number of people jobless all around the world.
- Challenge In Form Of Regulations: Another major concern is about difficulties in regulation of machines in the human society. For ex- how can the self-driven cars that crash be held accountable for their actions?
To truly harness AI’s transformative potential, India must address its lack of expertise in AI research. With a billion-plus people populating the unique-ID system Aadhaar and the India Stack of digitally enabled offerings built on top of Aadhaar, the country has a platform for growth unlike any other in the world. It can in principle catalyze innovative applications, nurture an entrepreneurial ecosystem and generate a massive amount of data that can train algorithms and help develop more intelligence. The technology can address long-standing societal and human development problems of the kind that abound in India.
Feb. 21, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 21, 2020
Q. Post- Independence, integration and unification of India demonstrated to be a long process plagued with challenges. In this context, examine the early challenges that India faced as a newly independent country.
- Write about the prevailing conditions after independence in the introduction.
- Mention how it created challenges for India- both external and internal.
- Conclude by mentioning India's democratic credentials which helped India to survive as a nation.
15th August 1947 marked the end of colonial rule in India and the country found itself standing on the threshold of a new era wherein the task was to build a strong nation. While India found itself independent from the British, it was still to find independence from social, economic and political problems that hindered India’s growth story. The problems that India faced right after independence can be divided into three phases:
Phase 1 ( 1947- 1967): The problems that India faced after independence in this phase were as follows:
- Communal Violence: Partition was marked with large scale communal violence.
- The Refugee Problem: The partition of India gave way to the refugee problem. By mid-1948 about 5.5 million non-Muslims had moved into India and a very large number of Muslims had left India for Pakistan.
- Origin of the Kashmir Problem: Kashmir was strategically important for both India and Pakistan, however, the famous movement lead by Sheik Abdullah wanted integration with India. The Maharaja, on the other hand, feared democracy in India and communalism in Pakistan, thus hoping to stay independent.
- Foundation of the Indian Democracy: The first general elections in India which were held in 1952 was a landmark event in the history of the state which marked the establishment of the Indian democracy.
- Linguistic Reorganization: Boundaries of the British Indian provinces had been drawn and redrawn in a haphazard manner without any thought to cultural and linguistic cohesion. Most provinces were multilingual and multicultural and after independence, many former princely states were absorbed into them. There was a demand for linguistically homogeneous provinces.
- The Indus Water Dispute: The dispute started in 1960. The dispute arose because Indus and its tributaries flow through both India and Pakistan.
- Mass poverty: At the time of Independence, the incidence of poverty in India was about 80% or about 250 million. Famines and hunger pushed India to take external help for its food security.
- Illiteracy: When India gained Independence, its population numbered about 340 million. The literacy level then was just 12% or about 41 million.
- Low economic capacity: Stagnant agriculture and poor industrial base. In 1947, agriculture accounted for 54% of India’s GDP. At the time of independence, 60% of India’s population depended on agriculture for a living.
Phase 2 ( 1967-1977): The problems that India faced after independence in this phase were as follows:
- Linguistic reorganization: Boundaries of the British Indian provinces had been drawn and redrawn in a haphazard manner without any thought to cultural and linguistic cohesion. Continued demand for linguistically homogeneous provinces led to emergence of secessionist trends.
- The Elections of 1967: In 1967 elections were held in February. The most important feature of the elections of 1967 was the coming together of the opposition parties.
- Naxal Movement: The Naxalite Movement was a revolutionary movement that was started by the Naxalbari in Bengal which immediately expanded to other regions.
- JP Movement: From 1973 there was a sharp recession, growing unemployment, rampant inflation and scarcity of basic food. The oil crisis of the mid 70’s had also contributed to the crisis and all of these developments together led to riots and large-scale unrest and strikes and erosion of support for the Congress from the poor and the middle class.
- Emergency: National Emergency of 1975 as the government’s response to the JP Movement is considered as dark phases of Indian democracy. It curtailed the fundamental rights of the citizens and shook the foundations of Indian democratic credentials.
- Hostile neighbours: India had to face consequent wars with Pakistan (1965, 1971) and China(1962) during the early phases of its independence. This not only hindered India’s growth and created regional instability.
Phase 3 ( 1977- 1984): The problems that India faced after independence in this phase were as follows:
- Secessionist movements: Punjab’s Khalistan movement of the 1980s, Insurgency in the North-East, and the Naxal Movement in central-eastern India (1960s) were the biggest internal security challenges to India.
- Punjab Crisis: During the 80’s the separatist movement in Punjab constituted the greatest threat to the unity and integrity of India.. From 1980, the Akali Dal under the leadership of Harcharan Singh Longowal decided to choose the path of confrontation. He installed in the Golden temple and began to preach his separatist message.
- Operation Blue Star: In June 1984, Mrs Gandhi and her advisors decided to take some drastic action against the militants in the Golden temple. On 3rd June the Indian army led by General K S Brar surrounded the golden temple and on 5th June they were entered. Many temple employees and devotees died in the crossfire.
Indian democracy is a heterogeneous model with a vast socio-religious and cultural diversity. It was predicted by western political analysts that the Indian model of democracy would not last long. However, it was due to India’s strong commitment to its constitutional principles that led India to not only survive as a nation but also to emerge as the leader of the newly independent countries.
Feb. 19, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 19, 2020
Q. Forest Fires pose a threat not only to the forest wealth but also to the entire regime. In view of this statement discuss the various adverse impacts of Forest Fires.
Fires are a major cause of forest degradation and have wide ranging adverse ecological, economic and social impacts including:
Effects of forest fire:
- Loss of valuable timber resources: Forest fires cause indispensable loss to timber and deteriorate its quality. Valuable timber species like teak, sal, chir, deodar, sheesam, rosewood etc. are adversely affected by fire. However, the adhesive impact of forest fire varies from species to species, depending upon its susceptibility.
- Impact of forest fire on eco- system: Forest fires pose threat not only to the forest wealth but also to the entire regime to fauna and flora seriously disturbing the bio-diversity and the ecology and environment of a region.
- Degradation of water catchments areas resulting into loss of water: After forest fire, the chemical and physical changes in upper layer of soil make it impervious and thus reduce water infiltration. The removal of litter also decreases water holding capacity of soil and most of the rainwater is washed away removing top fertile soil of the forest resulting into loss of soil fertility.
- Loss of wildlife habitat and depletion of wildlife: Wildfire along with killing wild animals also destroys their habitat and thus makes their survival at stake.
- Loss of natural vegetation and reduction of forest cover: As a result of fires, millions of hectares of the forest area turn to ashes and remains of no use. Among various degradation factors, forest fire is also one of the major factors for overall loss in forest cover. The wild fires also have adverse impact on forest tree growth.
- Global Warming: Greenhouse gases released during the combustion of vegetations lead to an increased warming of the earth or human induced global climate change.
- Microclimate change: The changed microclimate caused by removal of litter and duff, opening of the canopy by killing over storey shrubs and trees and darkening of the soil surface by residual soot and charcoal can increase insulation causing temperature increase. As a result the changed area becomes unhealthy for living of both wild habitats and local people.
- Health problems leading to diseases: The fires in the forest are source of smoke that cause air pollution and rise in the temperature leading to various health issues.
- Loss of livelihood: Forest fire also adversely affect livelihood resources, especially for tribals, who are directly dependent upon collection of non-timber forest products from forest areas for their livelihood.
- Carbon sequestration potential: Trees act as carbon sinks when they absorb carbon dioxide from atmosphere and build up the same in the form of wood. However, burning of the vegetation release hundreds of years of stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and thus results into permanent destruction of important sink of carbon dioxide
- Threat to Life and Property: Human life is at risk when fire crews fight fires either at the fire front or from conflict with animals, especially elephants. A forest fire that spreads outside the forest can consume buildings or infrastructure.
- Reducing Tourism Values: Smoke due to fires affects the visibility and air quality which adversely affect tourism industry.
Taking into consideration the serious nature of the problem, there is urgent need to focus on key forest fire management elements like strategic fire centres, coordination among Ministries, funding, human resource development, fire research, fire management, and extension programmes.
Feb. 17, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 17, 2020
Q. In spite of having several achievements, the green revolution has several defects. Examine
The Green Revolution in India began in the mid-1960s marking a transition from traditional agriculture in India and the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the associated agricultural techniques.
The Main achievements of the Green Revolution are:
- Increase in Agricultural Production and productivity: The production and productivity of wheat, rice, maize and bajra has substantially increased.
- Less Dependence on Imports: After the green revolution, India was finally on its way to self-sufficiency. There was now enough production for the population and to build a stock in case of emergencies. In fact, India was able to start exporting its agricultural produce.
- Employment: The green revolution has created jobs in the supporting industries like Irrigation, transportation, food processing, marketing for the workforce.
- A Benefit to the Farmers: The Green Revolution has increased the income of farmers and landless labourers. It enabled them to shift to commercial farming from only sustenance farming.
Negative Impacts of the Green Revolution are:
- Reduction in genetic diversity: Farmers have traditionally planted a wide variety of crops with unique genotypes. The planting of fewer crop varieties for producing high yields can reduce genetic diversity among crop species in a country. This has also led to the loss of distinct indigenous crops from cultivation and also caused extinction.
- Greater vulnerability to pests: The resistance to one species of pest due to genetic modification might invite other species of pests to attack the crop as in the case of bollworm being replaced by other pest species in the case of Bt cotton.
- Displacement of small farmers: The Green Revolution has displaced the agricultural labourers, leading to rural unemployment. The mechanical innovations like tractors have displaced agricultural labourers.
- Land Degradation: The overuse of chemical fertilizers to get high yield causes physical and chemical degradation of the soil by altering the natural microflora and increasing the alkalinity and salinity of the soil
- Ground water depletion: High-yielding crop varieties can also increase irrigation requirements thus placing stresses on India’s water budget. The excessive use of groundwater for irrigation has depleted the water table in many parts of the country.
- Ecological and health Impacts: The excessive use of pesticides increases the presence of its residues in foods and environment. There are concerns over increased chemicals being used in growing high-yielding varieties of crops and the consequent health effects.
- Income disparity among farmers: The high yields, were possible due to the seeds being highly responsive to certain inputs such as irrigation water and fertilizers. By requiring greater investments in agricultural production, the green revolution in India has placed small and marginal farmers at a distinct disadvantage.
- Increased Social conflicts: It led to polarisation of the rural society. It has created three types of conflicts in the rural community, namely, between large and small farmers, between owner and tenant farmer, between employers and employees on the agricultural farms.
There is a need of a more comprehensive policy environment that can protect farmers, human health and the environment from the negative impacts of the green revolution in India. A balance must also be found between traditional techniques and modern farming as also with natural growth.
Feb. 14, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 14, 2020
Q. Corruption destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up. What are the reasons behind corruption in India? Also, discuss the reform measures to eliminate corruption.
- Briefly define corruption and discuss the impact of corruption in India.
- Discuss the reasons behind increasing corruption in Indian Administrators.
- Discuss the steps taken by the government to tackle the menace of corruption and restore the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up.
Corruption refers to the act of misuse and abuse of power especially by those in the government for personal gains either pecuniary or a favor. It promotes illegality, unethicality, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behaviour.
Reason for corruption in India:
- Use of black money in elections: In the last 10 year the declared expenditure has increased by more than 400% for the LS elections with 69% of their income coming from unknown sources.
- Criminalization of politics: More than 30% of the legislators in the country have pending criminal cases against them.
- Crony capitalism: The economic reforms of 1991 has led to the growth of unholy nexus between Politicians and businessmen.
- High inequalities: In India 1% of the rich hold about 60% of the total wealth. People at lower income levels are forced to pay bribes to officials even to get their basic needs fulfilled.
- High share of informal sector: In India more than 80% of the workforce is in the informal sector. Such enterprises usually bribe the officials to keep out of the ambit of laws where compliance is costly and complex.
- Low wages:The remuneration in the public sector remains below par with the private sector along with poor career growth opportunities and harsher working conditions.
- Politicization of bureaucracy: Example of honest officers being witch-hunted like Ashok Khemka and Amitabh Thakur are the indicators of the bigger malaise.
- Colonial bureaucracy: The bureaucracy essentially remains colonial in nature characterized by 19th century laws e.g. Police Act 1861, complex rules, wide discretion, secrecy, moral responsibility devoid of legal accountability and the ivory tower attitude.
- Judicial failure:The judiciary has failed to bring to book the corrupt officials including politicians.
- Failed reforms:Lack of political will and resistance from within the bureaucracy has led to failure of major reforms like citizen charter, RTI and e-governance.
Social and Ethical:
- Changes in lifestyle: Increasing shift towards individualization and materialism has led to increased penchant for a luxurious lifestyle.
- Social discrimination: The poor and marginalized due to their lack of awareness and high dependence on the state become the easy target of exploitation by corrupt officials
- Failure of education system: The value education has failed miserably in India to inculcate the value of empathy, compassion, integrity, equity etc. in the young generation.
Measures taken by the government to tackle corruption:
- Prevention of corruption Act 1988: Seeks to create a balance between the need to bring the corrupt to the books and protect honest officers. Its main thrust is to prohibit public servants from accepting or soliciting illegal gratification in the discharge of their official functions.
- Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002: It seeks to prevent money laundering including laundering of property through corruption and provides for confiscation of such a property.
- Right to Information Act 2005: Makes disclosure of information a legal right of the public to promote transparency e.g. Vyapam scam of MP
- Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013: Appoints an independent authority Lokpal at center and Lokayukta at states to probe into the complaints of wrongdoing by the public servants.
- Whistleblower protection Act 2014: More than 60 RTI activists have been murdered and many more assaulted due to lack of protection.
- E-governance initiatives: e-gov apart from advancing the good governance objectives of accountability and transparency also seeks to reduce the manual interface between state and citizen thus preventing the incidences of bribery
- Citizen Charters and Public Service delivery and Grievance Redress Acts in states: Many states like Karnataka (SAKLA initiative) and Rajasthan have enacted such acts to make bureaucracy legally accountable for delivering quality service within stipulated time periods. Bihar is the only state to have a Grievance Redress Act covering all departments
- Liberalization and Privatization: License-Permit-Quota proved to be a highly potent tool in the hands of bureaucracy to misuse the power of their offices to amass illegal wealth. The LPG era proved to be a chink in the armor of bureaucratic discretion.
Despite these emerging trends, however, the institutional anti-corruption framework generally suffers from a lack of coordination, and overlapping and conflicting mandates between institutions addressing corruption. Therefore, there is a need for a mechanism that provides for simple, independent, speedy means of delivering justice by redressing the grievances of the people without succumbing to the clutches of the executive.
Feb. 12, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 12, 2020
Q. Discuss the root causes of the Naxalite movement in India. Also comment on the latest efforts undertaken by the government to address this issue.
- Introduce with naxalism as threat to internal security – highlight recent attacks
- Elaborate root causes of Naxalite movement
- Describe recent government initiatives
- Conclude with way forward as collective approach needed to solve naxalism
Naxalism was an outcome of exploitative relation of landlords and peasants, but today it became one of the biggest security problems for India. The term ‘Naxal’ derives its name from the village Naxalbari of district Darjeeling in West Bengal, where the movement originated in 1967 under the leadership of Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal. Until recently, Naxal affected area (Red corridor) spread to 106 districts across 11 states in India.
Root causes of Naxalite movement:
· Evasion of land ceiling laws
· Encroachment and occupation of Government and community lands
· Disruption of the age old tribal-forest relationship
· Infrastructure deficit
· Lack of education
· Poor health facilities
· Violation of human rights
· Abuse of dignity of life
· Disconnect with mainstream society
· Discontent against government
· Incompetent, ill-trained and poorly motivated public personnel
· Mismanagement and corruption
· Poor implementation of laws and schemes
Movement had started as a rightful struggle for redistribution of land but gradually transformed into anti-democratic violence to destabilize the state through communist guerrilla warfare, including urban naxalism now. Some important government initiatives:
SAMADHAN It is a strategy of MHA to frame short term and long-term policies to tackle LWE. It includes:
· S- Smart Leadership
· Aggressive Strategy
· M- Motivation and Training
· Actionable Intelligence
· D- Dashboard Based KPIs KRAs
· H- Harnessing Technology
· Action plan for each Theatre
· N- No access to Financing
- National Policy and Action Plan 2015 is a multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc.
- Scheme for Modernization of Police Forces + Fortification of police stations in affected districts.
- Assistance to Central Agencies for LWE management Scheme like CAPFs, Commando Battalions for Resolute Action (CoBRA), Indian Air Force
- Civic Action Programme (CAP) and Media Plan Scheme: to counter the Maoist propaganda of misguiding and luring the innocent tribals/local population by their so called poor-friendly revolution.
- The National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) is assisting the Security Forces in anti-Naxal operations by providing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
- Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation policy for Naxalites in affected areas
- Focusing on infrastructure creation via. Additional Central Assistance scheme & Road Requirement Plan scheme.
- Universal Service Obligation Fund supported Scheme of Mobile Services to increase mobile connectivity
- Various schemes like Roshni, ‘Skill Development, Aspirational to improve governance as well as provide skills
- Facilities of residential schools to children –(e.g. Pota Cabins, Choolo Aasman, Nanhe Parinde, Tamannah) as well as focus on sports infrastructure
- To improve public perception as well as state’s commitment towards teh welfare, states have been asked to effectively implement provisions of PESA, 1996 on priority.
Latest reports of Ministry of Home affairs shows reduction in Naxal affected red corridor. However, to completely eradicate the naxal movement, tt needs collective multi-pronged approach from government, civil society as well as common masses.
Feb. 10, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 10, 2020
Q. What factors were responsible for the dispatch of Cabinet Mission? Do you think that it represented a change of attitude on the part of the British Government?
In March 1946, with the arrival of three Cabinet Ministers, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr. A. V. Alexander, in the negotiations between the British Government and the Indian political parties, arrived at an early settlement of the Indian constitutional issue.
Why the Mission was sent to India?
- After the Second World War, the balance of power shifted away from the Britain and towards USA and USSR. Both of them supported India’s demand for Independence.
- Even though Britain was on the winning side of the war, its economic and military might was depleted and it would take years to rehabilitate itself.
- The Labour party came to power in Britain, where most of its members supported the Indian National Congress demands for independence.
- The British Indian Government could no longer rely on the Indian personnel of its civil administration and armed forces to suppress the national movement. The INA and the famous revolt of Indian Naval Ratings had shown that patriotic ideas had entered the ranks of the professional Indian army. The other two major instruments of British rule, the police and the bureaucracy, were also showing signs of nationalist leanings.
- The Government was also not in a position to use British soldiers to suppress another popular struggle in India as they were war weary after six years of 2nd world war.
- The British Government, therefore, sent in March 1946 a Cabinet Mission to India to negotiate with the Indian leaders the terms of handing over power to Indians.
A change of attitude
- Previous British proposals for the settlement of Indian constitutional issue after the war, August Offer and Cripps Mission talked only about granting ‘Dominion status’ to India. The Cabinet Mission was, on the other hand, a serious attempt by the British to handover peaceful transfer of power to India as they realized their inability to govern India after the post war nationalistic upsurge.
In contrast to previous British proposals, the Cabinet Mission plan was accepted by the Congress as well as Muslim League, though with different interpretations of the ‘grouping clause’. This finally resulted in independence of not one but two nations – India and Pakistan.
Feb. 7, 2020
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 7, 2020
Q. Dedicated corridors are being considered as future of Indian Railways. What are the various advantages dedicated corridors have over the existing Indian railways system?
Dedicated Freight Corridor:
Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is a railway route, which is dedicated to freight (goods and commodity) traffic movement only. Two dedicated freight corridors, Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (western DFC) and Ludhiana to Son Nagar (eastern DFC) are currently under construction.
Advantages of DFCs:
- Reduce unit cost of transportation by speeding up freight train operations & higher productivity
- Increase rail share in freight market by providing customized logistic services
- Segregate freight infrastructure for focused approach on both passenger and freight business of Railways
- Create additional rail infrastructure to cater high levels of transport demand
- Introduce of high-end technology & IT packing of Freight Services
- Introduce time tabled freight services & guaranteed transit time
Dedicated Passenger Corridor:
- These are dedicated corridors for fast moving trains. On these routes, the train speed would be increased to above 160 kilometres per hour (kmph) over the next four or five years by revamping the entire signalling, tracks and fencing.
Advantages of DPC:
- Lower Cost: The project would cost much lower than for a DFC as the track standards required for passenger movement would be as obtaining on the Indian Railways (IR) system at present.
- Increase in Profit: Shifting of passenger services to DPC would generate capacity for freight services on IR’s existing network and leave room for future growth in demand. Consequently, profits would increase.
- Punctuality: With the DPC, the level of punctuality of passenger trains would be higher than at present.
- Planning new services: Overnight services between major metros and fast intercity connections for medium distances can be planned.
- New avenues: It may be possible to exploit the real estate potential of the new and existing terminals and also to offer trains on a franchise to operators who would pay an “access charge” to IR or the company owning the DPC. It could also be used for running time-tabled super-fast parcel services and high-value consignments like cars and other consumer durables between important urban centres.
- Higher revenue: With better service quality and savings in time, the customers would also be willing to pay more, hence revenue could be higher
- Environment friendly: In addition to all the above advantages, these routes will also divert lot of traffic from road to rail, thereby providing enormous savings in fuel costs to the economy and reducing pollution.