March 29, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 29, 2023
Progress in developing a healthcare system centred on inexpensive and accessible public health in India is moving at a very slow pace. In this context, discuss the need for the basic right to healthcare as a remedy for this issue.
Introduction: Start by providing an overview of healthcare in India and citing supporting data.
- Discuss the obstacles afflicting the health care system in India.
- Give the arguments showing the necessity for the Right to Health.
- Identify few obstacles in establishing health care as a basic right.
Conclusion: Emphasize that the right to health is only a precise interpretation of the constitutionally protected right to life.
The right to healthcare is a fundamental human right essential for ensuring the well-being and dignity of every citizen. In 2021-22, India's public expenditure on healthcare was 2.1% of GDP, which is lower than the global average of 6%. This has resulted in inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of human resources, and poor quality of services in the public healthcare system. This emphasizes the necessity for an accessible and affordable public healthcare system in India.
The Indian healthcare system confronts several obstacles leading to the slower movement towards inexpensive and accessible public health:
- India has made significant improvements in the health outcomes of its people since 1947, such as increasing life expectancy. However, progress is uneven across states, and presently India faces a double burden of disease and an aging population due to which health rights are further needed.
- Infrastructure Deficiency - The lack of healthcare infrastructure in India is a major obstacle to the provision of inexpensive and accessible healthcare services. According to the National Health Profile 2021, there are only 0.9 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants and 1 government allopathic physician per 11,083 persons.
- Low Public Spending - The healthcare industry in India gets just 1.28 percent of GDP, which is much less than the minimum of 6 percent suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Inequality in Healthcare - In India, there is a significant disparity in access to healthcare between urban and rural regions, as well as across socioeconomic categories. According to the NFHS-5, 49.2 percent of children aged 12-23 months in urban areas were fully immunized, compared to 36.8 percent of children in rural regions.
- Lack of Qualified Healthcare Professionals - The lack of qualified healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses, and technicians, is a significant obstacle to delivering adequate healthcare services in India.
- High Out-of-Pocket Expenditures - In India, a large amount of healthcare expenditures are carried by people out of their own wallets, causing financial hardship for many families. According to the National Health Accounts Estimates for India (2017-18), 64 percent of overall health expenditures were funded by out-of-pocket expenses.
The need for the basic right to healthcare:
- Increased Access to Healthcare - The Right to Health guarantees everyone access to inexpensive and high-quality healthcare services, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
- Promoting Economic Development - A healthy population is crucial for economic growth, and the Right to Health can encourage health and well-being. The National Health Policy for 2017 seeks to raise healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP, which may stimulate economic growth by expanding access to healthcare and providing employment opportunities.
- Reducing Healthcare Inequality - The Right to Health may aid in the reduction of healthcare inequities by guaranteeing fair access to healthcare services.
- Building Public Health Systems - The Right to Health may assist in strengthening public health systems by raising public expenditures and enhancing infrastructure.
- Realization of international commitments such as the right to health as part of sustainable development goals in 2030.
Obstacles to establishing healthcare as a basic right:
- Allocating resources for achieving the Right to Health may be a substantial difficulty for the government due to budgetary constraints.
- Healthcare is a state responsibility in India, and execution of the Right to Health needs collaboration and coordination between the national and state governments.
- Opposition from the Private Healthcare Sector - The private healthcare sector may oppose the adoption of the Right to Health since it might have a negative impact on their revenues.
- Absence of Political Will - The government's lack of political will might be a key obstacle to establishing healthcare as a basic right.
- Implementation Challenges - Due to administrative and practical obstacles, implementing the Right to Health may be an arduous process.
Declaring healthcare as a basic right may increase the accessibility and quality of healthcare, but its implementation involves overcoming various obstacles. Therefore, these obstacles need to be overcome by involving all stakeholders and making dedicated efforts, such as taking inspiration from the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, to realize the right to life (the right to health is part of the right to life) of everyone.
March 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 28, 2023
“Without action plans, India’s poorest will continue to bear brunt of heatwaves”: In light of the statement, discuss the requirement of a robust disaster management infrastructure in India which can respond to the challenges posed by heat waves.
Introduction: Define heat wave (IMD) and explain what is a heat wave
- Mentions the impacts of heatwaves.
- Highlight the solutions required.
Conclusion: Connect the issue with variations in climate and an impending El Nino after a triple dip in La Nina and the impacts thereof on the rural economy.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), a heatwave is said to occur when the average maximum temperature is 4.5-6.4º C above the long-term average (or above 40º C in the plains, 30º C in hilly areas, or 37º C in coastal areas).
Impact of Heatwaves:
- Health risks: dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes leading to high mortality both in humans and animals. It also leads to Overburdened healthcare systems. In 2022, over 200 people died due to a heatwave in Maharashtra.
- Reduced productivity and economic losses in agriculture and industry for example The Indian economy lost $70 billion due to heatwaves in 2019.
- Increased demand for electricity leading to power cuts and infrastructure failures e.g., In 2021, Chennai experienced power cuts for several hours due to high demand during a heatwave.
- Negative impacts on vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and children.
- Water scarcity and droughts due to decreased rainfall and increased evaporation such as India faced severe droughts in 2019 and 2021 due to heatwaves.
- Due to dry conditions, there is an increased risk of wildfires and other natural disasters. In 2022, Uttarakhand faced a massive forest fire during a heatwave.
- Early warning systems and heatwave action plans at the national and state levels.
- Improved urban planning and design to reduce the urban heat island effect such as Ahmedabad implemented a Heat Action Plan in 2013.
- Awareness campaigns to educate the public on the risks and preventive measures for instance Kerala launched a Heatwave Awareness Campaign in 2021.
- Infrastructure improvements to ensure reliable power supply and prevent blackouts example, Mumbai introduced a smart grid system in 2019.
- Expansion of healthcare facilities and provision of adequate medical supplies for e.g., In 2020, Delhi converted wedding halls into temporary hospitals to treat heat-related illnesses.
- Sustainable water management strategies to ensure water availability during heat waves.
- Afforestation and restoration of degraded land to mitigate the impacts of heatwaves for example in 2021, the Indian government launched the Green India Mission to increase forest cover.
India needs to prioritize building a robust disaster management infrastructure that can respond to the challenges posed by heat waves, as India has been experiencing heat waves due to climate variations and El Nino after a triple dip in La Nina. Such efforts should align with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and focus on” Building better back” after disasters to ensure sustainability in the face of climate change.
March 27, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 27, 2023
The State of the World’s Forests 2022 report found that India might become a zoonotic disease hotspot over the next 50 years. In this context, elaborate on the challenges posed by it in India. How can India prepare itself to address this challenge?
Introduction: Explain what zoonotic diseases are and why they are becoming more common.
- Mention the challenges posed by such diseases in India.
- Also, about ways in which government can prepare itself to address the challenge.
Conclusion: Provide a way forward, connecting it with sustainable development goals in 2030.
The recent havoc created by the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a greater awareness of and concern for zoonotic diseases and their spread. Zoonotic illnesses are transmissible from animals to people and vice versa. They include many domestic and wild animals as zoonotic disease carriers. Due to ecological changes, greater commerce in animal products, and climate change, which has made locations more favourable for microorganisms, zoonotic illnesses are on the rise.
The challenges posed by zoonotic diseases in India are:
- In rural and urban regions, poor sanitation and hygiene practices contribute to the spread of zoonotic illnesses. A WHO report says that 75% of the people in India don't have access to basic sanitation facilities. This could lead to higher mortality in case of transmission.
- Due to a lack of monitoring and reporting mechanisms, the discovery and reaction to epidemics are delayed.
- Deforestation and encroachment on animal habitats increase human-wildlife encounters. This leads to more transmission of zoonotic diseases and thus makes our population more vulnerable.
- Poor disease prevention and control strategies are due to a lack of veterinary and public health infrastructure. There is a shortage of veterinarians in India, with one for every ten thousand animals.
- Non-availability of world-class medical facilities, treatments, doctors, nurses, etc. throughout the country. This leads to a huge chunk of the population becoming vulnerable without any proper medical attention being provided.
- The misuse and abuse of antibiotics result in the emergence of zoonotic diseases with antibiotic resistance.
- Insufficient knowledge and education regarding zoonotic illnesses result in poor health-seeking behaviour.
- Responses to epidemics are fragmented due to a lack of coordination and cooperation among sectors and stakeholders.
India may prepare to face these difficulties by implementing the following:
- Enhancing disease monitoring and reporting systems. Example: In 2004, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program was initiated.
- Overall improvement of the healthcare sector in both qualitative and quantitative terms. This means better quality of treatment along with the increased capacity of hospitals to handle patients.
- Improving sanitation and hygiene habits, like with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative, which was begun in 2014,
- Conservation of animal habitats and promotion of sustainable forestry practices in accordance with the 2017 National Wildlife Action Plan
- Increasing infrastructure for veterinary and public health care
- Promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics in people and animals, as emphasized in the 2017 National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) projects also aim to teach the public about zoonotic diseases and make them more aware.
- Strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination, as the National One Health Framework for the Prevention and Control of Zoonotic Diseases introduced in 2018 attempts to do.
Overall, tackling the threats presented by zoonotic diseases is essential for attaining Sustainable Development Goal 3—good health and well-being. The one-health concept, which acknowledges the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health, is crucial for avoiding and managing zoonotic illnesses and supporting sustainable development.
March 26, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 26, 2023
The continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as an instrument protecting Indian territorial interests cannot be disregarded, notwithstanding considerable opposition. Explain.
Introduction: Provide an overview of the AFSPA.
- Mention briefly the resistance to this Act.
- Explain why the AFSPA must continue to exist.
Conclusion: Give a way forward showing AFSPA is not the only solution to address internal security issues.
In 1958, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill (AFSPA) was enacted by Parliament and signed into law by the President in response to rising unrest in the North-Eastern States. It grants the military forces the authority to preserve public order in "disturbed places" by using force or opening fire if they believe a person is breaking the law. In the event of wrongdoing, the armed forces are immune from legal punishment.
Opposition to AFSPA-
- Colonial-era law: The AFSPA is sometimes linked to the Rowlatt Act of the British government because, similar to the Rowlatt Act, any suspected individual may be arrested only on the basis of reasonable suspicion.
- The AFSPA is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Khangjom Manorama case and consequent protests against Assam Rifles reflected this very well.
- The legislation has failed to curb terrorism and restore normality in troubled regions since the number of armed organizations has increased since its inception. Many hold it accountable for the escalating violence in regions where it is in effect.
- It is argued that states themselves should be competent to handle the situation. Rather than spending money on the military, it would be more democratic to upgrade state capabilities.
- The 2005 BP Jeevan Reddy Committee on the Northeast and the 2007 Veerappa Moily Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission both recommended that the Act be abolished.
- The Justice Verma Committee (2013) and the Justice Hegde Commission (2013) endorsed addressing the abuses done under the AFSPA and eliminating the security forces' effective impunity. The Hegde Commission (2013) said that all seven killings in the six incidents, it studied, in Manipur were the result of extrajudicial executions.
Need for the AFSPA:
- The Army believes that the AFSPA is extremely necessary to fight domestic insurgency and preserve the nation's frontiers.
- Protection of members of the armed forces - It is essential to empower members of the military forces whose lives are continuously threatened by rebels and extremists. Its absence would negatively affect morale.
- The Act and Army regulations offer necessary protections, as outlined below: - According to Section 5 of the Act, apprehended civilians must be delivered to the closest police station with the "least feasible delay" and a "report of the circumstances that led to the arrest."
- Effective Counterinsurgency: Strong legislation is required to combat insurgent groups inside the nation, especially in Kashmir and the northeastern area.
- The presence of proxy groups in troubled regions necessitates the use of extraordinary means to break this connection. As the armed services confront asymmetric warfare including raids, ambushes, mines, and explosives, extraordinary abilities are also required.
Although AFSPA is required to counter insurgencies, the lack of development in the Northeast region is a major reason for the insurgency. Therefore, the government should take urgent steps to create new opportunities for growth and development. Additionally, AFSPA should be made more comprehensive with elaborate rules with respect to the method of investigating alleged human rights violations to reduce the possibility of misusing it.
March 25, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 25, 2023
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was heralded as one of the most significant indirect tax reforms since independence in India. Examine the performance of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India over the past 6 years.
Introduction: Show the notion that the GST was intended as a significant change in the indirect tax regime in India since independence.
- Mention the accomplishments and difficulties of the GST so far.
- Also, some of the government initiatives taken to amend GST.
Conclusion: Provide a suggestive conclusion and relate it to the need to create a Vikasit Bharat by 2047.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a destination-based, value-added tax that was introduced in India on July 1, 2017, as a substantial indirect tax reform intended to streamline the tax structure and create one nation, one tax, and one market in India. It was envisioned as a major change that would revolutionize the Indian economy by replacing the previous complex and inefficient tax regime with 17 different taxes and surcharges, such as sales tax, VAT, service tax, etc.
Successes of the GST implementation since 2017 in India:
- According to the Economic Survey for 2020-21, the consolidation of indirect taxes has resulted in a single tax structure for goods and services. The number of active GST registrations increased by almost 90% from 38 lakh in July 2017 to 1.23 crore in March 2020.
- As stated in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report 2022, simplification of tax structure and decrease of regulatory burden for firms.
- Increase in both the tax base and tax income by such simplification as have been highlighted by successive budgets through tax mobilization statistics. The total GST revenue grew from ~INR 7.4 lakh crore in FY 18 to ~INR 12.2 lakh crore in FY 20.
- Enhanced tax compliance and decreased tax evasion via technologically driven procedures.
- Boost interstate trade and commerce by facilitating the free flow of products due to the Optimization of supply networks and reduction of logistical expenses for enterprises.
- Promotion of digital transactions and economic formalization.
Difficulties of GST implementation since 2017 in India:
- Low tax-to-GDP ratio: India's tax-to-GDP ratio remains low at around 11%, compared to the global average of around 15%. This indicates a large informal sector and low compliance levels that hamper revenue mobilisation.
- Skewed GST payers base: The distribution of GST payers across states and sectors is uneven, with some states contributing more than their share of GDP and some sectors under-represented or over-represented in the GST regime.
- Compliance and administrative processes are particularly complicated for small enterprises. Frequent changes to GST rates and processes cause confusion and compliance issues.
- Due to faults and challenges with the GSTN interface, the submission of returns is delayed.
- The lack of clarity in the legislation and processes governing GST has led to conflicts and litigation.
- The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry also underlined the increased tax burden on some industries and goods resulting from high GST rates.
- Slow implementation of the anti-profiteering provisions of the Goods and Services Tax.
Steps that have been taken for GST reform:
- Simplifying the filing of GST returns with the introduction of new forms in 2020.
- The rationalization of GST slabs into unified slabs of 5% and 12%and the reduction of compliance costs for small taxpayers. Electronic invoicing will be used in 2019 to enhance tax compliance and reduce tax evasion.
- Implementation of an E-way bill system to simplify the transportation of products across states.
- Establishment of GST assistance desks and facilitation centres in 2017 to aid taxpayers.
- Implementation of anti-evasion measures, including the e-invoice system and use of technology-driven analytics.
- Introduction of a Composition scheme as an alternative for small businesses to save them from the hassle of lengthy tax compliances.
To fulfil the promise of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the establishment of a "Vikasit Bharat" by 2047, the government must overcome the implementation-related obstacles and concerns. This involves streamlining the tax structure and compliance processes, decreasing the GST rates on essential goods, and establishing effective anti-evasion measures. Improving the GST dispute resolution process and increasing taxpayer education and awareness may also help the long-term effectiveness of the GST as a reform.
March 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 24, 2023
Despite several efforts and regulations, tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant issue in India. Discuss. Also, provide measures to better tackle the burden of tuberculosis.
Introduction: Define the present status of tuberculosis and the efforts taken in this direction.
- Provide reasons for TB being a significant issue.
- Also, provide solutions to tackle TB.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward and further connect it with the sustainable development goal of 2030.
India notified more than 2.4 million TB cases in 2019 as per the national health portal. Multiple efforts have been taken to address TB including the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, free diagnostic and treatment services, and a national strategic plan to end TB by 2025. Despite this, TB remains a serious public health issue in India in 2023, with India accounting for the biggest number of TB cases worldwide.
- In urban slums, poor living conditions and overpopulation accelerate tuberculosis spread.
- Lack of knowledge on the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of tuberculosis delays diagnosis and treatment.
- In rural locations, limited access to healthcare facilities and poor quality of treatment worsens the TB burden.
- According to the World Health Organization, a high frequency of comorbidities such as diabetes, HIV, and malnutrition enhances susceptibility to tuberculosis.
- Inadequate private-sector TB diagnosis and treatment services lead to underreporting and inferior treatment results.
- The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2022 also highlighted the emergence of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis owing to the improper use of antibiotics and insufficient treatment adherence.
- Insufficient financing and inadequate policies limit TB control efforts.
- Boost TB education and awareness efforts via community participation and mass media campaigns.
- In underprivileged communities, improve access to excellent healthcare services, particularly TB diagnosis, and treatment. Example: TB program in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu that enhanced case identification and treatment success rates in rural regions by 2022.
- Integrate TB screening and treatment services into programs for primary care and non-communicable diseases. Since 2019, TB-HIV integrated services have been provided in Maharashtra.
- As tried via the Nikshay portal, increase business sector participation through public-private partnerships to provide excellent TB diagnosis and treatment.
- Ensure appropriate financing and political support for the continuation of TB control activities. Example: India's pledge to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 and its increasing provision of cash for TB control from 2021.
- To avoid the spread of tuberculosis, infection control procedures in healthcare institutions should be bolstered.
- To combat drug-resistant tuberculosis, improved TB diagnostic technologies and treatment regimens must be developed and implemented. GeneXpert technology enables quicker TB diagnosis and shorter drug-resistant TB treatment regimens, for instance.
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) of 2030, particularly SDG 3 on good health and well-being, prioritize the elimination of TB as a public health threat. By implementing a multi-sectoral approach and strengthening healthcare systems, India can achieve sustainable TB control, leading to improved health outcomes and contributing to the attainment of the SDGs.
March 23, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 23, 2023
Waste to energy is a key component of solid waste management. In light of this statement, analyze the state of Waste to energy plants in India.
Introduction: Present some stats with a brief introduction of working of waste to energy plants
- Mention the benefits of such plants.
- Show the state of waste-to-energy plants.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward to ensure further solutions to tackle the challenges
In India, there are roughly 200 Waste to Energy (WTE) plants with a total installed capacity of approximately 2200 MW. These facilities produce energy using municipal solid waste and biomass. The trash is incinerated at a high temperature in the energy plant, and steam is created because of the heat. After that, the steam powers a turbine to produce energy.
- Renewable energy source: Waste-to-energy facilities offer a renewable energy source that decreases reliance on fossil fuels.
- Reduction of waste: These facilities contribute to the life of landfills by reducing trash volume.
- Employment prospects: The development of waste-to-energy facilities adds to the economic prosperity of the nation.
- Efficient use of resources: The waste-to-energy process minimizes the demand for landfills, making land available for other purposes.
- These aid in reducing methane emissions from landfills, which are potent greenhouse gas.
- Revenue generating: The electricity produced by these plants may be sold to the grid, providing the government and private sector with a source of income.
Even though WTE plants are having a number of benefits their condition in India is poor owing to the following reasons:
- The high moisture content of Indian garbage creates a technological difficulty for the combustion process. Solid waste in India is 55-60% biodegradable organic waste.
- Insufficient waste source segregation: Insufficient waste source segregation makes it difficult to treat waste effectively. The calorific value of mixed Indian waste is about 1,500 kcal/kg, which is unsuitable for power generation. Coal’s calorific value is around 8,000 kcal/kg.
- High capital expenditures and poor income generation have made it challenging to recruit investors. The cost of generating power from waste is around Rs 7-8/unit, while the cost at which the States’ electricity boards buy power from coal, hydroelectric, and solar power plants is around Rs 3-4/unit.
- The lack of a comprehensive legislative framework and regulatory environment impedes the development of waste-to-energy facilities.
- The need for more public knowledge about waste management and the advantages of waste-to-energy facilities is a significant obstacle.
- Social and environmental considerations - The placement of waste-to-energy facilities in heavily inhabited regions might cause social and ecological concerns.
- Inefficiencies in the supply chain - The garbage collection and transportation supply chain is inefficient and requires streamlining.
To address the issues, a comprehensive policy framework that includes recommendations for the development of waste-to-energy facilities is required. To solve social and environmental issues, there should be more public knowledge and community participation. Innovative finance structures, such as public-private partnerships, may assist in attracting investors. Effective waste segregation at the source and supply chain management is required for the effective operation of waste-to-energy facilities.
March 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 22, 2023
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018 is essential legislation in the direction of reforms needed in the Indian Banking Sector. Examine.
Introduction: Briefly introduce the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018, highlighting the purpose of the act in tackling economic offenses.
- Mention the salient features of the act.
- Examine how the act has helped in the reforms of the Indian Banking Sector
- Mention its criticisms.
Conclusion: Provide suggestions for dealing with the criticism.
A fugitive economic offender, according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018 (FEO), is one who has committed one or more scheduled crimes involving 100 crore rupees or more and has either fled India or refuses to return in order to evade or face criminal punishment. The act allows for the confiscation of the properties of fugitive economic offenders and creates a mechanism for their speedy trial. The act aims to tackle economic offenses and prevent financial fraud.
Salient features of the act:
- Its purpose is to take the assets of economic criminals who have left the country to escape prosecution or refuse to return to face charges.
- Statement of FEO: After hearing the application, a special court (created under the PMLA, 2002) may designate someone as a fugitive economic offender.
- It has the right to take any property, whether in India or abroad, including Benami assets and criminal gains.
- Upon confiscation, the central government will become the only owner and own all rights and titles to the property (such as any charges on the property).
- Prohibition Against Filing or Defending Civil Claims: The Act permits any civil court or tribunal to bar a designated fugitive economic offender from filing or defending any civil claim.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018 has played a significant role in the reform of the Indian banking sector by helping to tackle economic offenses and bringing transparency and accountability to the sector:
- Recovering Loan Defaults: The key provision of confiscation of properties of fugitive economic offenders has helped in recovering loan defaults, which has been a major problem for Indian banks. For instance, in 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) confiscated assets worth over Rs 18,000 crore belonging to fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya. This helped in recovering a significant portion of the loans owed by him to Indian banks.
- A deterrence for Economic Offenders: The act has acted as a strong deterrence for economic offenders from absconding. In the past, many economic offenders fled the country to escape prosecution, leaving Indian banks to suffer significant losses.
- International Cooperation: The act provides a mechanism for international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of economic offenses. This has helped in the extradition of economic offenders who have fled the country. For instance, fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi was arrested in the UK and is currently facing extradition to India for his alleged involvement in the PNB scam.
- Transparency and Accountability: The act has helped in bringing transparency and accountability to the Indian banking sector by ensuring that economic offenders are held responsible for their actions. For instance, the act requires economic offenders to disclose all their assets, which helps in tracking and confiscating their properties.
Criticisms of the Act:
- Under the Act, any court or tribunal may prohibit FEO from initiating or defending civil cases in its court or tribunal.
- It seems that excluding these individuals from initiating or defending civil claims would violate Article 21 of the Constitution, which protects the right to life. The interpretation of Article 21 includes the right to obtain justice.
- The property of an FEO may be seized and transferred to the central government. It permits the Special Court to exclude properties in which third parties may have an interest (e.g., secured creditors). It does not define, however, whether the central government would split sale revenues with other claimants who do not have such an interest, e.g., those who do not own the land (secured creditors).
- Before conducting a search, the Act does not require authorities to acquire a search warrant or verify the presence of witnesses. Other statutes, such as the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, incorporate comparable protections. These measures provide protection against harassment and abuses such as evidence planting.
- It permits the forfeiture of an FEO’s property. This varies from other regulations, such as the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, where confiscation is final two years after an absconder is declared. The time period ensures due process without jeopardizing the defendant's legal interests.
To address these criticisms, the government can consider introducing measures to ensure that the act is not misused, providing greater clarity on the definition of economic offenses, and improving the efficiency of the legal system to ensure speedy trials. By taking these steps, the government can address the criticisms of the act and further strengthen the Indian banking sector.
March 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 21, 2023
Explain the strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific region to India. Also, mention the initiatives taken by India in order to strengthen its position in the Indo-Pacific region.
Introduction: Define what is meant by the term "Indo-Pacific region."
Body. Discuss the strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific region for India. Mention the various steps that have been taken by the Indian government to strengthen its position in the Indo-Pacific.
Conclusion. Mention the steps that India needs to take to strengthen its role in the region.
The Indo-Pacific is a geopolitical construct that has emerged as a substitute for the long-prevalent “Asia-Pacific”. However, different nations have a different understanding of the region, as the U.S.A. considers that the region extends from the coastlines of the Indian subcontinent to the western shore of the Americas, whereas India and Japan, consider that the region extends to the African continent’s coasts as well.
The strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific region for India:
- Geo-political aspirations -As Indo-Pacific is a multipolar region that is home to more than half of the world's population and GDP. So, a stable, safe, and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region is an important part of India's strategic partnership with other countries, especially the US, and is crucial for India as it wishes to expand its influence in the region, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia by emerging as a net security provider in the region.
- Mineral Resources: The Indo-Pacific region is home to important resources like offshore hydrocarbons, methane hydrates, seabed minerals, rare earth metals, etc. The South China Sea, for example, is thought to hold 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, as well as 10% of the world's fish catch and 10% of the world's gas. Thus, India is also interested in sustainable mineral exploration in the region e.g., Samudrayaan Mission.
- Economic Growth: A report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that countries in the Indo-Pacific produce more than 60 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). This makes the Indo-Pacific the biggest single contributor to global growth.
- Important sea lanes of communication: Many of the world's most important choke points for global trade are in this area, including the Straits of Malacca Bab-el-Mandeb and Lombok Strait, which are very important for the growth of the world economy. The Indo-Pacific region is also a hub for international trade. About 32,2 million barrels of crude oil pass through the area every year, and 40% of the world's exports come from the area. Also, 90% of India’s trade and its energy supplies are transported via the Indian Ocean, thus India is taking steps to establish a rules-based order in the region.
- Countering China - Given that China continues to exert its influence in the region through its Belt and Road Initiative and as China is increasing its proximity to the vital choke points by developing Gwadar (Pakistan) and Hambantota (Sri Lanka). These acts of China are leading toward the militarization of the region. So, to establish a rules-based order in the region, India needs to counter China by emerging as the net security provider in the region.
The government’s steps to strengthen its position in the region:
- Foreign Policy and Initiatives-
- Indo-Pacific Division: This division was established in 2019 to give a coherent architecture to India’s Indo-Pacific policy.
- Collaboration with Regional summits: India is collaborating with various regional groups such as IOC-ARC, and ASEAN, on a multitude of subjects. India has joined QUAD and Indo Pacific Economic Framework. Various groups in QUAD are working on collaboration in emerging technologies to ensure more cooperation
- Initiatives to increase cooperation: Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (increase maritime cooperation), and Asia Africa Growth Corridor (for development and cooperation projects) were taken up.
- Environmental initiatives: e.g. International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), are enabling India to realize its idea of sustainable growth in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Regional Policies aligning with the vision of Indo Pacific such as:
- Vision SAGAR: With its intent to promote security and growth for all in the Region, it would enable India to promote its geo-political, strategic, and economic interests.
- Project Mausam: It aims to understand how the knowledge and manipulation of the monsoon winds have shaped interactions across the Indian Ocean and have led to sharing of knowledge systems and ideas along maritime routes.
- Supply chain resilience initiative: To create a virtuous cycle of supply chain re-silence in the region by reducing our dependence on China.
The geopolitical advantage has already put India in a pre-eminent position. However, new areas of cooperation will have to be identified, for example, by formulating multilateral diplomacy, and blue water policies and encouraging deeper economic integration through free trade agreements (FTAs), in order to give greater content and strength to the regional and bilateral partnerships in the region. This will provide traction for growth, development, and security for India and the countries in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.
March 20, 2023
Mains Daily Question
March 20, 2023
In order to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh, the current challenges need to be addressed. Discuss
Introduction: Brief history of India-Bangladesh relations
Body: Mention challenges in their relationship. Suggest some solutions, too.
Conclusion: Importance of resolving challenges for sustainable and robust bilateral relations
Answer: India and Bangladesh share a 4,096-kilometer border. India's links with Bangladesh are cultural, social, and economic in nature. India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh's independence in 1971, and since then, the two nations have made significant progress in their relationship. The 2015 signing of the Land Boundary Agreement was a significant turning point, in which two neighbours peacefully concluded a long-standing dispute.
Current challenges in bilateral relations:
- River water dispute- The Teesta river is a major source of irrigation for India and Bangladesh, and an agreement was concluded in 2011 to give India 42.5% of the water, Bangladesh 37.5%, and the remaining 20% free rein. However, this agreement has not been put into effect due to disagreement.
- Illegal trade: The porous borders are often exploited to smuggle food, animals, narcotics, and medications from India to Bangladesh.
- India and Bangladesh share 54 trans-border rivers of varied sizes, causing water disputes. Plans for the construction and operation of dams in India are a source of significant disagreement. The inability of the two nations to satisfy their estimated water needs during the dry season is the underlying cause of the tension between their neighbouring countries.
- Ilegal Migration has been the most troublesome issue between these two nations. Since 1971, when the war of independence that led to the formation of Bangladesh broke out, millions of Bangladeshi immigrants (the great majority of them illegal) have entered the neighbouring Indian states.
- Over the years, the insurgency has strained ties between India and Bangladesh due to security concerns. Since 1956, Northeast India has been the area most affected by the insurgencies. However, there has been greater collaboration in this regard since the Hasina government has come into power.
- In addition, China's security and economic footprints have risen in South Asia, posing a concern for both nations.
Steps for strengthening the ties:
- The objective of advancing links based on collaboration, coordination, and consolidation is to improve economic ties and relations.
- The Rohingya crisis has placed Bangladesh under a tremendous economic and security strain. Therefore, the matter must be settled bilaterally.
- The illegal migrant issue, along with sharing of river waters, will require deft handling of bilateral ties between the two countries as India had issued the draft National Register of Nationals in Assam in order to account for real citizens in Assam and prevent influx. This further led to increased strain.
- While Bangladesh is overwhelmingly dependent on military hardware from China, India has provided a $500 million LOC for the procurement of defence-related goods from India. The such collaboration further on a trilateral basis for example for the construction of nuclear power plants should be further carried forward.
The shared colonial legacy, history, and socio-cultural bonds demand that the political leadership of the two countries inject momentum into India-Bangladesh relations. In any case, the course has changed after the change in government in India, which advocates a solid ‘neighbourhood first’ outside approach. India needs to go past the geopolitical impulses and move towards more concrete provincial collaboration like what the Europeans and Southeast Asians are doing.