Feb. 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 28, 2023
In recent years the credibility of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been called into question. Explain the reasons and suggest the steps that need to be taken to keep its credibility intact.
Introduction: Describe CBI in brief, mention some recent remarks about its credibility
Body: Highlight reasons for its declining credibility and also mention steps to be taken by the central government.
Conclusion: Establish how the restoration of the credibility of the CBI would help establish the trust of the masses and ensure the credibility of the government itself.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigation agency in India, responsible for investigating major economic offenses, corruption cases, and other high-profile crimes. However, its credibility has been questioned such as by former Chief justice of India N V Ramanna in April 2022.
Reasons for CBI’s declining credibility:
- Political involvement: The current administration's political intervention and influence have harmed the integrity and independence of the CBI. For instance, concerns about political influence were raised in 2018 when CBI head Alok Verma was fired.
- Lack of transparency: It has been criticized for operating in an opaque manner and for lacking transparency in its inquiry process. For instance, the 2015 Vyapam scam investigation's management came under fire for its lack of transparency.
- Efficiency: Slow in wrapping its investigations and bringing charges against the accused. For instance, the inquiry into the 2020 AugustaWestland fraud was condemned for moving slowly and being ineffective.
- Corruption: The CBI has been the target of several charges of corruption, and its employees have been charged with accepting bribes. In May 2022, CBI arrested its four officials for corruption charges.
- Lack of resources: It lacks the facilities and staff necessary to conduct investigations efficiently. Lack of adequate housing discourages officers from states to join the CBI which is facing a staff crunch, a parliamentary panel report stated in 2017.
- Legal issues: The CBI has encountered legal issues that have questioned its integrity, including claims of prejudice and erroneous arrests. For instance, the CBI's probe into the Malegaon bombings in 2008 came under fire for making erroneous arrests.
- The appointment of CBI directors has become politicized, which harms the agency's reputation and independence.
- Lack of accountability: lack of oversight procedures, and employees being charged for acting outside the bounds of the law. For instance, the way the investigation into Sushant Singh Rajput's death in 2020 was handled was condemned for lacking accountability.
- Poor coordination: CBI's coordination with other law enforcement agencies is poor, which causes delays and inefficiency in investigations. For instance, the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case handling received criticism for lacking collaboration.
- Concerns are raised about CBI due to its inconsistent approach to investigations and prosecution. One instance of inconsistent handling was the disproportionate asset lawsuit against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Steps need to be taken:
- Non-Intervention: The central government should refrain from meddling with the CBI's investigations and operations in order to stop the central bureau of inquiry in India from losing credibility. The Supreme court also asked the government to give the CBI additional autonomy in 2019.
- Process of appointment: The CBI director's appointment procedure has to be more open and merit-based.
- Adequate funding: The central government must give the CBI enough money to cover the cost of its facilities, staff, and other resources. For instance, the CBI received funding for a new headquarters building in 2018.
- Accountability: The national government must make sure that any misbehaviour by CBI agents is punished.
- Legal framework: To ensure the CBI's independence and openness, the central government should tighten its laws. As an illustration, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, which created a separate anti-corruption authority, was passed.
- Process streamlining: To avoid delays, the CBI should be encouraged to streamline its investigation and prosecution procedures.
- Specialized training: To improve the skills and capabilities of CBI officials, the central government should offer them specialized training. The CBI should start an ongoing online training program for its officers.
- Collaboration: The central government should promote better CBI-other law enforcement agency coordination.
- Public confidence: The central government should endeavour to restore public confidence in the CBI by guaranteeing accountability and transparency. For instance, the CBI should start a fresh campaign to educate the public about corruption and related crimes.
- Implementation of recommendations: To enhance effectiveness, the government should implement the recommendations of various committees and commissions into practice.
The CBI should regain its credibility to enhance its effectiveness in fighting crimes. This would lead to increased public confidence in the agency's ability to bring the guilty to justice, deter others from engaging in corrupt activities and improve law and order. It would also help restore the credibility of the Indian government, as the CBI is a key agency in ensuring accountability and transparency in public institutions.
Feb. 27, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 27, 2023
Raising India’s annual defense export from $1.5 Bn to $5 Bn by 2024-25 requires addressing the limitations faced by it. Discuss.
Introduction: State the importance of the promotion of defense exports
Body: Mention limitations in promoting such exports and suggest measures to boost them.
Conclusion: Establish how the implementation of such solutions could help India raise its global stature further.
The target to raise India’s annual defense exports to $5 billion by 2024-25, from the current $1.5 billion was reiterated by the Prime Minister at the recently concluded Aero India 2023. India needs to increase the manufacturing and promotion of exports of defense materials, equipment, and technology to boost its defense capabilities and generate revenue and employment opportunities.
limitations in promoting India's defense exports:
- Limited technological capacity: India's military sector lacks the technological resources necessary to export high-tech weapons and equipment. Tejas, an Indian-made fighter jet, has had operational and technological problems.
- Dependence on imports: India continues to rely heavily on imports to meet its defense needs, which limits its ability to export defense products.
- Regulatory obstacles: Defense export license and clearance procedures in India can be drawn out and complicated, deterring businesses from pursuing exports.
- Competition from seasoned players: With their stronger technological prowess and market reach, seasoned defense exporters like the US, Russia, and France pose a threat to India.
- Limited market access: Political and technological barriers prevent India from entering certain international military markets.
- Quality perception: The demand for India's defense exports is still constrained by the perception of inferior quality and dependability compared to established players. For instance, the low quality of India's homegrown INSAS weapon drew criticism.
- Lack of standardization: The development and export of common platforms and equipment may be hampered by the Indian armed services' lack of standardization in military procurement. For instance, multiple versions of helicopters were purchased by the Indian navy and army, which hampered maintenance and logistics.
- Limited research and development funding: India's military sector receives little money for research and development, which stifles invention. For instance, only 1,364 Cr was allotted in 2022–2023 under the "make" approach for prototype development for the Army and Air Force. However, only 122 Crores was used.
- India confronts political obstacles in its exports of defense products, including prohibitions on exports to specific nations or regions, worries about non-proliferation, and international penalties. For instance, international sanctions have restricted India's weapons shipments to Iran.
Suggestions to increase the promotion of India's defense exports:
- Increase technology capacity: India should put its efforts into increasing its technological capacity through investments in R&D and international partnerships. The BrahMos missile system was developed with successful Indian and Russian cooperation.
- Promote indigenization: India should encourage the indigenization of defense production to increase its potential as a defense exporter and decrease its reliance on imports. For instance, India's indigenous production of the AK-203 rifle in cooperation with Russia is anticipated to increase exports.
- Export restrictions should be simplified, and there should be fewer administrative roadblocks, according to the Indian government. For example, the Indian government streamlined the export authorization procedure for defense goods in 2020.
- Offer incentives: To encourage military industries to export, the Indian government can offer incentives like tax exemptions and subsidies.
- Cooperate with foreign partners: India should cooperate with foreign partners in joint ventures and technology transfer to improve its defense capabilities and encourage exports. For instance, the 2018–19 Apache helicopter production partnership between India and the US has increased exports.
- India should enter into agreements to open up access to global markets for defense products and to lessen limitations on technology transfers. For instance, the 2020 defense cooperation pact between India and the Maldives has created new export potential.
- Improve defense product quality and dependability: India should prioritize doing this in order to improve its standing as a defense exporter. For instance, India's reputation has improved as a result of the country's successful export of its Akash missile system to nations like Vietnam.
- Simplify defense procurement: In order to promote the creation and export of universal platforms and equipment, India should standardize its defense procurement procedure such as through Defense Acquisition Procedure in recent years.
- Boost research and development spending: India should spend more money on R&D in the defense industry to promote creativity and advancements in technology.
- Address political issues: India should work diplomatically to reduce tensions and establish agreements in order to address political issues such as limitations on exports to specific nations or areas.
Implementing the above solutions will ensure that India becomes a major exporter of defense materials, equipment, and technology, creating job opportunities, generating revenue, and promoting technological advancements. This would also make India Atmanirbhar in defense and a crucial geostrategic partner for other countries around the globe.
Feb. 26, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 26, 2023
“There is great potential for India and Germany to improve cooperation in multiple arenas.” Examine.
Introduction: Mention recent context due to which India german relationship remains in the news
Body: Highlight the potential of this relationship in multiple areas, also mention some challenges to the realization of this potential
Conclusion: Suggest some solutions in brief with a positive way forward
India and Germany recently agreed on a vision statement to enhance cooperation on innovation and technology during Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Both nations are willing to deepen their strategic partnership, particularly in recent times.
The potential of India-Germany relations:
- Economic potential: Germany is the seventh-largest foreign direct investor in India, and bilateral trade between the two countries in 2019–2020 was €23.39 billion, according to the Indian embassy in Berlin.
- Research and development on cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, 5G, and artificial intelligence can be done in collaboration between Germany and India. Both Germany and India agreed to establish a joint research program in Artificial Intelligence in 2019.
- Security potential: To confront common issues like terrorism and cyber threats, India and Germany should strengthen their security collaboration. Along with Germany's growing interest in using hard power, the Ukraine War has underlined the need for international collaboration in cyber security.
- Indo-Pacific Cooperation: India needs alliances in this region, especially with middle powers, where Germany can be a crucial player. Germany has also shown interest in Indo pacific cooperation by joining the Indo pacific oceans initiative (IPOI).
- Participating in exchange programs and undertaking joint initiatives can strengthen ties between India and Germany on a cultural level. There are various Indian cultural centers in Germany, and the Goethe-Institute, a German cultural institution, has branches in many Indian towns.
- Higher education and research collaboration between India and Germany might improve knowledge exchange and inter-university collaboration. A memorandum of understanding for collaborative research and educational initiatives between the Technical University of Munich and the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has also been inked.
- Sustainable development: India and Germany might work together to promote sustainable growth and cut carbon emissions. In September 2022, the Indo-German Green Hydrogen Task Force was established.
- Healthcare potential: India and Germany can work together to advance healthcare innovation and enhance patient access to therapies. A coordinated research effort between the two nations has also been started to create a new tuberculosis medicine.
- Take on global issues: India and Germany may use their strategic alliance to advance peace and stability. The European Union and India together conducted the world's first virtual conference in 2020, which addressed issues like climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Issues involving Germany and India:
- Trade hurdles: The expansion of bilateral trade between India and Germany is hampered by trade barriers such as high tariffs and non-tariff measures. For instance, Germany places limitations on Indian agricultural products while India levies tariffs on German autos.
- India and Germany have distinct immigration laws, which might present difficulties for Indian workers and students studying in Germany. The German government has repeatedly toughened its visa requirements for people outside the European Union, including Indians.
- Intellectual property rights(IPR): There may be disagreements and legal difficulties due to India and Germany's conflicting views on intellectual property rights. A mandatory license for a cancer drug was the subject of a 2012 lawsuit filed by the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer against the Indian government, which caused controversy in both nations.
- Defense collaboration: India and Germany's lack of deep defense collaboration could harm their strategic alliance. Compared to France, Germany is less keen on maintaining a presence in the Indo-Pacific.
- Differences in cultural traditions and values between Germany and India might lead to misinterpretations and communication breakdowns. For instance, the business culture in Germany is more task-oriented while the business culture in India is more relationship-oriented.
- Other players: Germany's strategic engagement with India may be impacted by its considerable economic ties with and dependence on China.
Such issues can be further tackled by cooperation on multiple fronts, such as trade barriers, by the implementation of an institutional mechanism to ease out barriers, ensure cooperation on IP issues, and so on. Most important for a relationship is the strategic will and logic which is now present with both powers facing threats in their neighbourhood. This can be utilized to ensure substantial cooperation between the two.
Feb. 25, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 25, 2023
Q: Find out how Khalistani separatism and confrontation with the Indian government developed. What tactics has the government employed to combat this separatism? Explain how the Pakistani government's attempts to sow unrest and instability in Punjab continue in present times
Answer. Separatism is a political ideology or movement advocating for the separation of a group or region from a larger political entity, often due to cultural, ethnic, or religious differences. Khalistani separatism was a movement for a separate Sikh state, Khalistan, in Punjab, India, which emerged in the 1970s and 1980s.
Evolution of khalistani separatism -
- In the 1970s, Sikh separatist organizations began to develop, calling for more political and economic freedom for Sikhs. As a result, tensions increased as the Indian government cracked down on separatist organizations and detained their leaders.
- The Anandpur Sahib Resolution, passed in the 1970s by the Sikh political party Akali Dal, demanded greater autonomy for Punjab and its Sikh population.
- The 1980s saw an increase in violence as security forces brutally retaliated to Sikh militant strikes on government targets. Sikh terrorists attacked the government and the Hindu populace. This was supported by Inter services intelligence of Pakistan and led by J S Bhindranwale( a prominent religious figure at that time)
- Operation Blue Star was started by the government to drive insurgents out of the Golden Temple compound.
- Anti-Sikh riots started after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards.
- The Punjab Accord of 1985 sought to bring about peace and give Punjab and its Sikh population more autonomy, but Khalistan's problem remained unresolved.
- Due to effective counter-insurgency operations and a split among terrorist factions, the insurgency waned in the 1990s. Sikh gurdwara administration committees were set up for proper administration of Gurudwaras.
- After 9/11, international support for Khalistan decreased as Western nations came to associate Sikh militancy with terrorism. Although there is less demand for Khalistan now, specific Sikh organizations still push for more autonomy within India.
Indian government’s approach to countering Khalistani separatism:
- To defeat militant groups, the government conducted a significant counterinsurgency effort for example Operation Black Thunder in 1988. Such efforts in the 1990s were led by prominent police officer K P S Gill.
- The Government of India put in place political measures to address Sikh issues, such as the formation of a separate gurdwara management committee.
- The government used intelligence operations to gather information on militant activities and disrupt their plans
- The government worked to improve relations with the Sikh community and reduce tensions between Sikhs and Hindus, for example, by establishing the Punjab Rural Development Board.
- The government collaborated with neighbouring states, such as Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir, to stop the transit of terrorists and weapons across borders.
Pakistan's government has recently tried to incite instability in Indian Punjab-
- Punjab is still home to extremist organizations with ties to Pakistan that are supported by the ISI.
- In preparation for assaults in Punjab, the ISI still supports and trains militants. Pakistan has been dropping guns and explosives into Punjab using drones.
- Increased drug trafficking activities supported by Pakistan entrap youth in organized crime with linkages of such crime to terrorism.
- To finance militancy, Pakistan has been circulating fake Indian money throughout Punjab.
- Young Sikhs in India have been radicalized and recruited by the ISI using social media.
- Pakistan has been financing pro-Khalistan demonstrations and gatherings in Western nations in an effort to reignite the Khalistani movement such as in Canada.
- Pakistan continues to deny any role in the Khalistani separatist movement, blaming India instead for the alleged abuse of human rights in Punjab.
This denotes the continued proxy struggle in Punjab. But there have also been steps toward peace, like the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, even though there are suspicions. India should use Pakistan's current economic crisis as an opportunity to improve law and order in Punjab, put more pressure on the international community to stop terrorism, and work with civil society to deal with problems like drug use. India should stay prepared by all means to ensure unity and integrity in the country.
Feb. 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 24, 2023
In the Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh case, the Supreme Court held that the Parliament should consider amending the Constitution to substitute the adjudicating power of the presiding officer under the Tenth Schedule with a permanent Tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court so that such disputes are decided both swiftly and impartially.
Inefficiency of anti-defection law:
The law has vested the decision-making authority in the presiding officer which is criticised for the following reasons:
- Partisan role of presiding officer: The presiding officer may not exercise this authority impartially and objectively due to political exigencies, as the tenure of the presiding officer is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the house. g. In 2017, the main Opposition party in Andhra Pradesh boycotted the Assembly, angry that 20 of their MLAs, who had defected a year and a half ago, had still not had their petitions heard by the speaker.
- Lacking legal expertise: The presiding officer usually lacks the legal knowledge and experience to adjudicate the cases. Two speakers of the Lok sabha (Rabi ray and Shivraj Patil) have themselves expressed doubts about their suitability to adjudicate upon the cases related to defections.
- Time Limit for Presiding Officer: Since the law does not specify any time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea. Thus, there have been instances where opposition members have been appointed ministers in the government while still retaining the membership of their original parties in the legislature, on account of delay in decision-making by the presiding officer. g. In the Telangana assembly, the speaker simply sat on 26 defections over years. In the end, the house was itself dissolved in 2018, with the state going for elections with the defectors remaining unpunished.
- Courts intervention only at a later stage: Given that courts can intervene only after the Presiding Officer has decided on the matter, the petitioner seeking disqualification has no option but to wait for this decision to be made. Due to this, there have been several cases where the Courts have expressed concern about the unnecessary delay in deciding such petitions.
Thus, due to these concerns, Supreme Court has argued for vesting the adjudicating authority under the anti-defection law to an independent tribunal.
Benefits of vesting the adjudicating authority in an independent tribunal:
- Impartial decision-making: Since the judiciary’s decision-making will not be influenced by political exigencies, thus neutral decisions will be taken with respect to cases under the anti-defection law.
- Legal Expertise: As the judges of the tribunals have the requisite legal knowledge and experience, thus the decisions of the tribunals will reflect the true interpretation of the laws. As has been done by the judiciary in Ravi S Naik v/s Union of India case & G. Vishwanathan v/s Speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly case.
- Speedy resolution of cases: As the judges would not be influenced by political affiliations, hence the decisions would be speedier and more timely.
- Reduce political defections: Impartial and speedy decision-making will instil a sense of fear among the legislatures which would thus help in undermining such defections in the near future.
Issues associated with vesting adjudicating authority in an independent tribunal:
- Against separation of power: Article 212 of the Constitution bars the judiciary from interfering with the proceedings of the legislature. Thus, vesting such adjudicating authority under anti-defection in a tribunal will go against the principle of separation of powers.
- Scope of judicial review is already there: Since the speaker’s decisions under anti-defection law are subject to judicial review on grounds of malafide, perversity etc. as upheld by the SC in the Kihoto Hollohan case (1992). So, then why create another tribunal for the same task that too when its independence from executive interference is itself not guaranteed.
- Ensure impartiality of Speaker: Speakers, when elected must resign from the party to which they belong. At the end of their term, there should be a cooling-off period before they can become members of any political party.
- Set time limit to decide petition for disqualification: All petitions for disqualification of members under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule should be decided, by adopting a summary procedure, within a period of three months.
- Allow expression of Dissent: One of the reasons for defection is that the party in the name of party discipline curbs the legislator's right to dissent. Thus, the legislators should be allowed to express their dissent so that they could become a true representative of the people from being only a delegate of the party.
- Make disqualification for 5 years: All those disqualified under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule should neither be entitled to contest elections nor hold public office for five years from the date of their disqualification.
- Promoting intra-party democracy: 170th Law Commission report underscored the importance of intra-party democracy by arguing that a political party cannot be a dictatorship internally and democratic in its functioning outside.
Feb. 23, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 23, 2023
Elaborate upon the grounds for disqualification under the Representation of the People Act 1951. Also, state the importance of these provisions and the need for amendments to them.
Introduction: Define the RPA Act of 1951.
Body: Mention grounds for disqualification of candidates under the act. Also, state their importance and the need to amend them.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward to ensure substantial democracy.
The Representation of the People Act of 1951 is an Indian law that provides for the conduct of elections to the Parliament and state legislatures. It outlines the qualifications of voters, the delimitation of constituencies, and the process for the allocation of seats to each state. It specifies the grounds and procedures for disqualifying candidates for the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies.
Grounds for disqualification:
- On conviction for an offence, sentencing is up to two or more years in prison. Following his conviction in the Babri Masjid demolition case, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh was disqualified from holding public office for three years.
- Disobedience to ECI Orders: For disobeying orders regarding the conduct of elections, For violating the Model Code of Conduct, ECI disqualified former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa from contesting the assembly elections for one day.
- Those who are found guilty of corrupt practices, such as bribery, undue influence, and impersonation, are disqualified from running for office.
- Undisclosed Foreign Assets: If a person has undisclosed foreign assets or has invested in a foreign country without the permission of the Reserve Bank of India.
- Election Expenses: A candidate who exceeds the legal maximum limit for election expenses is subject to disqualification.
- Non-Disclosure of Information: A person is subject to disqualification if they fail to disclose information required by law, such as their assets and liabilities.
- Insolvency: A person who has been declared insolvent or bankrupt is ineligible to run for office. In the 2021 Assam Assembly Elections, the Election Commission disqualified a candidate who had been declared bankrupt by a court.
Significance of these provisions:
- These ensure that individuals with criminal records are prevented from running for office and entering the political system. In 2019, the Supreme Court of India upheld the prohibition on criminally convicted candidates from running for office, citing the need to prevent the criminalization of politics.
- Maintaining the credibility of elections: These contribute to ensuring the credibility and fairness of the electoral process by preventing candidates with dubious backgrounds from running.
- Promoting transparency and accountability by requiring candidates to provide all required information and not withhold pertinent details.
- These ensure that candidates who do not uphold constitutional values such as secularism and democracy are prohibited from running for office. The ECI disqualified a candidate in 2020 for making anti-Muslim remarks during an election campaign, upholding the constitutional value of secularism.
- Ensure that women are not discriminated against and have equal opportunities to run for office. Action has been taken against the candidates often making remarks offending the dignity of women.
- To ensure that candidates provide accurate and comprehensive information about their financial assets and liabilities, promoting financial transparency.
- To promote ethical conduct in the electoral process by ensuring that candidates adhere to ethical standards and do not engage in malpractice, thereby upholding ethical conduct.
- To uphold the rule of law by denying election eligibility to candidates who have violated the law.
Need for amending the provisions:
- Including non-criminal grounds: Currently, the Act only allows for disqualification based on criminal grounds. There have been calls to include non-criminal grounds, such as tax arrears and unpaid debts. Example: Law Commission also in the 255th report recommended the addition of non-criminal grounds for disqualification
- The current threshold for a criminal conviction is two or more years of imprisonment. This criterion should be lowered to include those who have been convicted of lesser offenses.
- Disqualifying candidates with pending criminal cases, regardless of conviction or filing of the chargesheet to ensure dealing with criminalisation.
- To disqualify candidates who incite violence or promote discrimination based on religion, caste, or gender through hate speech. The ECI also proposed disqualifying candidates for hate speech, citing the need to promote communal harmony and prevent polarization.
- To disqualify candidates for spreading misinformation or fake news, which can have grave consequences for public health and safety. In 2020, the ECI proposed disqualifying candidates for spreading fake news, citing the need to encourage responsible and ethical behaviour.
- There have been calls for disqualification for financial irregularities such as money laundering or tax evasion. ECI also proposed disqualifying candidates for financial irregularities.
A commission should be set up, consisting of multiple stakeholders, to deliberate on bringing further changes and including the above aspects into the RPA Act 1951. There should be constant attempts to uphold the fairness and integrity of the electoral process to ensure successful democracy in India.
Feb. 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 22, 2023
Briefly discuss the need for climate-resilient agriculture in India and the different means through which it can be ensured. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Describe the importance of agriculture
Body: Mention the need to ensure greater climate resilience. Also, highlight ways to ensure such resilience.
Conclusion: Conclude by depicting how ensuring such resilience can ensure inclusive development.
Agriculture is a significant source of income in India, employing over 50 per cent of the population. Climatic change is impacting crop productivity and causing frequent disasters like floods and draughts, etc. thus negatively impacting our food security.
Global Food Policy Report 2022 has warned that climate change may push many Indians towards hunger by 2030 due to a decline in agricultural production and disruptions in the food supply chain.
Need to ensure climate-resilient agriculture in India:
- Climate change is affecting India's agriculture, resulting in crop failure, decreased yields, and farmer distress. Climate-resilient agriculture can protect farmers' livelihoods as World Bank also stated in 2019
- In India, floods, droughts, and heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense, impacting crop growth and production according to Indian Meteorological Department. In the face of climate change, climate-resilient agriculture can increase the resilience of food systems and ensure food security.
- Adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices can increase farmers' income and productivity while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
- In India's water-scarce regions, climate-resilient agriculture can promote sustainable water use and management in agriculture, which is crucial.
- In addition to promoting biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, climate-resilient agriculture can also contribute to sustainable development.
- Investing in agriculture that is resilient to climate change can generate economic benefits, such as increased employment opportunities and improved rural development.
Ways to ensure India's agriculture is climate-resilient:
- Promoting agricultural practices that are climate-smart, such as conservation agriculture, agroforestry, and crop diversification.
- Developing and promoting climate-resilient crop varieties capable of withstanding drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures. Various kinds of research are being promoted by the Indian council of agricultural research in this regard.
- Ensuring water efficiency through enhanced irrigation techniques, water harvesting, and water conservation measures.
- Utilizing organic and natural fertilizers, soil conservation techniques, and crop rotation to increase soil fertility.
- Improving livestock management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve animal health, and boost productivity
- Developing and promoting weather forecasting and early warning systems to assist farmers in preparing for severe weather.
- Investing in climate-resilient infrastructure, such as improved storage facilities, cold chains, and transportation systems, to reduce postharvest losses.
- Building the capacity of farmers, extension agents, and policymakers through training, education, and awareness-raising programs.
Thus, there is a need to ensure sustainable agriculture by developing a consensus around it and popularizing sustainable practices for their greater adoption. There is also an opportunity alongside this to increase farmers’ income through practices such as organic farming, which needs to be exploited. By ensuring climate resilience in agriculture, we can protect the incomes of around half of the population and move towards inclusive development.
Feb. 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 21, 2023
Material for play-based learning which is at the core of the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Skills was launched by the government recently. In this context, discuss the benefits and issues of implementing the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Skills.
Introduction: Define the curriculum framework and its basic components.
Body: Mention a few benefits and issues of implementation of such a framework.
Conclusion: Mention a way forward to deal with the issues and build better human resource personnel for the country.
The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Skills is a framework designed to improve learning outcomes for children in grades 1-5 in India. It focuses on developing foundational language, maths, and social-emotional learning skills.
It emphasises learning outcomes, assessment strategies, activity-based and play-based learning, inclusive education, reducing learning gaps, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. It also provides guidelines for curriculum and pedagogy, encourages multilingualism, and supports the integration of technology in education.
- Helps kids build solid language, arithmetic, and social and emotional learning foundations making them more capable of handling increasingly difficult subjects in higher grades.
- Decreases learning disparities and support inclusive education. With this approach, minority students who may have previously been left behind have a better opportunity of succeeding.
- Promotes the use of play-based, immersive, and activity-based learning techniques. To establish a motivating learning atmosphere, activities like role-playing, group projects, and field trips are introduced.
- Improves problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking abilities. Children are inspired to think creatively and develop original solutions to issues.
- Gives recommendations for pedagogy and curriculum to teachers and other educators. Teachers are well aware of the material they must cover and the best methods for doing so.
- Advocates the use of regional languages and acknowledges the value of multilingualism. Children who learn in their mother tongue are more likely to retain what they have learned and stay in school.
- Encourages the use of technology in the classroom to improve student learning. Learning may be made more dynamic and interesting by using technology like tablets, computers, and instructional software.
- Emphasises the growth of people who are well-rounded, curious, and passionate about learning. It will encourage kids to follow their passions and explore their interests.
- Helps pupils become ready for the demands of the twenty-first century. Critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills, which are crucial for success in the modern world, are taught to children.
- Raises educational standards and builds an equal society. Children who acquire a high-quality education are better prepared to contribute to society and accomplish their aspirations.
Issues in its implementation:
- Insufficient funding such as inadequate money for materials including textbooks, technology, and teacher preparation may make implementation difficult.
- Lack of teachers with the necessary training and framework implementation knowledge. Teachers don't have enough opportunities for professional development to use the framework well.
- The framework's implementation may be hampered by stakeholders' opposition such as opposition from educators who may have differing perspectives on education, as well as from parents and the government.
- Due to the wide range of learning needs, the framework might not be appropriate for all students. Some kids could need more individualized instruction, which the framework might not be able to provide.
- The framework's implementation may be problematic in some places due to a lack of infrastructure. Access to resources like technology and educational materials might be difficult in rural places.
- Implementation challenges can arise in multilingual environments. Lack of equipment and qualified teachers for multilingual instruction can create challenges.
- The teaching and learning process may become less innovative and creative due to standardization. The rigid rules of the framework may make teachers feel constrained and prevent them from offering individualized learning opportunities.
- Limited ability to assess and measure the framework's influence on learning outcomes. It can be difficult to effectively monitor and evaluate the implementation.
- Regular shifts in government priorities and policies may have an impact on how the framework is put into action. The framework may have limited financing and resources due to changes in government objectives.
- The framework could not effectively get students ready for college or the workplace. The emphasis on fundamental abilities might not be enough for pupils to succeed in further education or the workforce.
Any new framework encounters multiple implementation challenges. Thus, there should be a holistic focus on dedicated efforts toward funding for building resources as well as infrastructure for implementation. There should be consistent efforts at consensus building for such frameworks in society to ensure continuous advancements in education and the building up of the most crucial assets for the nation, its human resource.
Feb. 20, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 20, 2023
Indigenous semiconductor manufacturing is the need of the hour for an emerging power like India. Discuss. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Describe semi-conductors in brief and give some applications.
Body: Highlight how the promotion of semiconductor manufacturing is crucial for India. Also, mention some constraints and challenges in this regard.
Conclusion: Suggest recent steps being taken and a way forward to ensure self-reliance in this regard.
Semiconductors are materials that have electrical conductivity between that of a conductor and an insulator. They are the foundation of modern electronics and power a vast array of technologies such as computers, smartphones, solar panels, and medical devices. Their continued development and innovation in semiconductor technology can potentially transform many aspects of society.
Applications of semiconductors in modern times:
- Electronics: Computers, smartphones, and televisions.
- Solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable energy technologies.
- Medical devices including insulin pumps and pacemakers.
- Electric Vehicles
- Aerospace: Satellites and spacecraft.
- Lighting: LED lighting
- Robotics: Sensors, processors, and actuators
- Security: Systems for biometric identification and encryption utilize semiconductors.
- Internet of Things- Automated factories to smart homes.
Promoting domestic semiconductor production in India is crucial:
- Reduce dependence on Imports: India fulfils 80% of its semiconductor demand through imports that can be reduced by encouraging domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
- Boost the domestic economy: domestic manufacturing can provide job development and possibilities.
- Strengthen National Security: Local production can lessen the possibility that foreign companies will control the supply chain, which is essential for national security.
- Support Innovation: By stimulating the creation of new technologies and products, domestic manufacturing may support innovation.
- Local manufacturing can help Indian businesses become more competitive and hence more appealing to investors, according to research from the Indian Electronic and Semiconductors Association (IESA) published in 2022.
- Deal with Supply Chain Disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weaknesses of international supply chains, making indigenous manufacturing crucial for resilience.
- Reduce Costs: By doing away with import tariffs, logistics costs, and currency exchange concerns, indigenous production can cut costs.
- Drive Digital India: By encouraging the development of semiconductor-enabled technologies, local production can aid the government's aim of a digital India.
- Increase Exports: By supplying goods to the international market, indigenous manufacturing can increase exports.
- Create Strategic Collaborations: By promoting partnerships between Indian businesses and international players, domestic manufacturing can promote technology transfer and cooperation.
Constraints and challenges in encouraging domestic semiconductor production in India:
- High Capital Investment: Huge investments are needed to start a semiconductor manufacturing company, which could be difficult.
- Lack of Skilled Workforce: India struggles to find qualified personnel, particularly in the manufacturing of semiconductors.
- Technology Complexity: The production of semiconductors entails intricate procedures that require specialized tools and knowledge.
- Intellectual Property Protection: To attract international semiconductor businesses, India must enact rigorous intellectual property protection legislation.
- Limited R&D: To stay up with the quickly changing semiconductor business, India has to invest in research and development.
- Regulatory Obstacles: Investors face uncertainty because India's regulatory environment for the semiconductor industry is still developing.
- Environmental Issues: The production of semiconductors uses potentially dangerous chemicals that, if not handled appropriately, could endanger the environment.
- India is up against fierce international competition from nations with established semiconductor industries like Taiwan, South Korea, and China.
- India's infrastructure, which includes the provision of power and transportation, needs to be improved to sustain the semiconductor sector.
In order to deal with the above challenges, multiple steps are being taken, such as the All India Council for Technical Education approving technical curricula to boost semiconductor manufacturing. Further steps should be taken for dedicated efforts towards plug-and-play based approaches, and ease of doing business in semiconductor manufacturing to ensure a self-reliant India.
Feb. 19, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Feb. 19, 2023
The Securities and Exchange Board of India is a crucial institution for regulating and supervising the securities market in India. Enumerate its importance and the challenges faced by it. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Define SEBI as an institution, its overarching legislation, and its functioning.
Body: Mention the importance of SEBI and highlight challenges in its functioning.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward to further strengthen SEBI for better market regulation and to ensure development.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is a statutory regulatory body that oversees the securities market in India. It operates under the SEBI Act of 1992. It is responsible for issuing regulations for various participants in the securities market, such as listed companies, brokers, mutual funds, and rating agencies.
Importance of SEBI for India:
- SEBI is in charge of regulating the securities market, which is allowed by the SEBI Act of 1992. This keeps investors safe and keeps the market honest.
- Ensures fair price discovery and encourages openness by requiring corporations to provide pertinent information, which also helps to prevent insider trading.
- Boosts investor confidence: SEBI's rules and supervision make investors more confident in the securities market, which leads to more investments and growth.
- Prevents fraudulent activity: SEBI takes enforcement measures against dishonest behavior, like Ponzi schemes, to safeguard investors and uphold market integrity. For example, SEBI’s actions against the Satyam computers
- helps businesses get money: SEBI rules allow businesses to get money through public offerings and other means, which they can then use to grow their businesses.
- Promotes corporate governance: SEBI's principles for corporate governance increase accountability and transparency while protecting the rights of minority shareholders.
- The regulatory framework set up by SEBI encourages innovation and growth by making it easier for new goods and markets to be created. For example, it approved novel products like real estate investment trusts (REITs).
- Financial literacy and inclusion are promoted by SEBI efforts like the Mutual Fund Sahi Hai campaign and investing education programs.
- Maintains a stable financial system: SEBI's regulatory oversight, together with that of other regulators, ensures macroeconomic stability by maintaining the stability of the financial system.
- Encourages responsible corporate behavior and sustainable investments: SEBI's laws on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies encourage sustainable investments.
However, there are certain challenges in the functioning of SEBI:
- Resources are limited, which causes delays in regulatory and enforcement proceedings, as seen, for instance, in the Karvy Stock Broking case where finally SEBI took action in 2020.
- Legal problems: SEBI has trouble with legal delays that slow down its enforcement work. For example, in the Sahara Group case, there was a long legal battle over the repayment of funds raised through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs).
- Cooperation with other regulators: There are difficulties in cooperating with other regulators, which results in regulatory gaps.
- Insider trading: Despite SEBI's efforts, insider trading still poses a problem in India and distorts the market, such as in the National Stock Exchange's (NSE) case in 2021–22.
- Cybersecurity threats, such as a cyberattack on NSE servers, pose a serious challenge to SEBI and necessitate ongoing monitoring.
- Regulatory holes: SEBI's regulatory framework has difficulties due to regulatory holes in sectors like over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.
- International coordination: As SEBI strives to align its regulations with international best practices, such as in the case of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) compliance, international coordination on regulatory issues presents a challenge.
- Lack of understanding among investors is still a problem, which leads to bad investments like Ponzi schemes.
Therefore, it is essential to guarantee that laws like the SEBI Act, the Securities Contracts Regulation (Act of 1956), and other SEBI-related laws are strengthened. In addition, procedures for institutional cooperation should be established in order to support proportionate regulation and safeguard public confidence. A thriving securities market will be ensured as a result, serving as a tool to encourage India's growth and development.