June 30, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 30, 2023
Explain how the PLI scheme is expected to impact the domestic and global competitiveness of Indian industries.
Introduction: Define the PLI scheme, mention its key features, and discuss the potential benefits of the PLI scheme for Indian industries.
Body: Explain how the PLI scheme is expected to boost domestic manufacturing. Also, explain how the PLI scheme is expected to help Indian industries make inroads into global markets, make India a more attractive destination for foreign investment, and boost India's export earnings.
Conclusion: Discuss the potential challenges of the PLI scheme and how they can be addressed.
The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme is a government programme that offers subsidies to companies based on a percentage of their incremental sales. The goal of the PLI scheme is to boost domestic manufacturing and make Indian industries more competitive in the global market.
The PLI scheme has been implemented in a number of sectors, including electronics, textiles, and automobiles. For instance, according to a report by NITI Aayog, the PLI scheme for mobile phones and electronic components is expected to create 8 lakh direct jobs and 20 lakh indirect jobs by 2025.
The PLI scheme is expected to boost domestic manufacturing, as explained below:
- Increase the competitiveness of Indian manufacturers by lowering their cost of production and enhancing their quality standards. The scheme will also help them access global markets and increase their exports.
- Create employment opportunities for millions of people, especially in labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, electronics, and automobiles. The scheme will also generate demand for skilled workers and foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology transfer from global players who want to benefit from the incentives and the large domestic market. The scheme will also encourage joint ventures and collaborations between Indian and foreign firms.
- Reduce India's trade deficit and improve its balance of payments by increasing domestic production and reducing imports of finished goods and components. The scheme will also save foreign exchange and improve India's self-reliance.
- Support the development of key sectors that are vital for India's economic growth and strategic interests, such as renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, telecom, and defence. The scheme will also help India achieve its goals of clean energy, digital connectivity, health security, and national security.
- Spur innovation and research and development (R&D) in various fields, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and robotics. The scheme will also create a conducive ecosystem for startups and incubators to flourish.
- Have positive spillover effects on other sectors and industries that are linked to the beneficiaries of the scheme. For example, the growth of electronics manufacturing will boost the demand for semiconductors, batteries, displays, etc.
- Have a multiplier effect on the overall economy by increasing the income and consumption of the people, especially the rural and low-income groups. The scheme will also boost the government's tax revenue and enable it to spend more on social welfare and infrastructure.
The PLI scheme is also expected to help Indian industries make inroads into global markets, as explained herewith:
- By providing financial incentives, the PLI scheme can help Indian companies reduce their production costs and become more competitive in the global market. This is because the PLI scheme provides financial assistance to companies that meet certain production targets. This can help Indian companies price their products more competitively and make them more attractive to buyers in global markets.
- By helping Indian companies improve their quality standards, the PLI scheme can make Indian products more attractive to global buyers. This is because the PLI scheme provides financial assistance to companies that invest in research and development, quality control, and marketing. This can help Indian companies produce high-quality products that meet the standards of global buyers.
- By helping Indian companies expand their production capacity, the PLI scheme can help them meet the growing demand for their products in global markets. This is because the PLI scheme provides financial assistance to companies that invest in new factories and equipment. This can help Indian companies increase their production capacity and meet the growing demand for their products in global markets.
- By helping Indian companies build their brand reputation in global markets, the PLI scheme can help them attract more buyers and boost their exports. This is because the PLI scheme provides financial assistance to companies that participate in international trade fairs and exhibitions. This can help Indian companies build their brand reputation in global markets and attract more buyers.
- By helping Indian companies comply with international standards, the PLI scheme can make it easier for them to export their products to global markets. This is because the PLI scheme provides financial assistance to companies that invest in the necessary infrastructure and training to comply with international standards. This can help Indian companies export their products to global markets without any problems.
The PLI scheme has the potential to be a valuable tool for promoting domestic manufacturing and making Indian industries more competitive in the global market. However, there are some potential challenges due to the high costs involved with the subsidies, competition from countries like China, and compliance with international standards. By addressing these challenges, the government can help ensure that the PLI scheme contributes to the growth and competitiveness of the Indian manufacturing sector.
June 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 28, 2023
“There is an imminent need to address the potential risks associated with the Fintech sector in order to enhance its role in financial inclusion”. Discuss.
Introduction: Define fintech and briefly mention the role of the Fintech sector in increasing financial inclusion.
Body: Mention how the Fintech sector is playing an eminent role in increasing financial inclusion in India. Also mention the potential risks being faced by the Fintech sector as has been highlighted by the RBI.
Conclusion: Mention the steps that RBI has taken to regulate the Fintech sector and suggest a way forward.
Fintech refers to such new technologies that seek to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. These Fintech companies are playing a prominent role in increasing financial inclusion in India by promoting digital payments, digital lending, small savings and investment opportunities and Financial Literacy.
Role of Fintech in increasing financial inclusion -
- Digital Payments and Mobile Banking: Fintech platforms like Paytm, PhonePe, and Google Pay have revolutionized digital payment systems in India by providing easy-to-use interfaces for transactions, bill payments, and financial management. These platforms have contributed to financial inclusion by enabling individuals, even in remote areas, to access banking services through their smartphones.
- Digital Lending and Microcredit: For instance, platforms like Lendingkart, Capital Float, and KreditBee leverage technology and data analytics to provide quick and convenient loans to MSMEs and individuals who may have limited access to traditional banking. As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the outstanding digital lending market in India is expected to reach ₹10-12 lakh crore ($135-162 billion) by 2025, fostering financial inclusion by catering to the credit needs of underserved segments.
- Small Savings and Investments: For example, digital platforms like Groww, Paytm Money, and Scripbox offer user-friendly interfaces for investing in mutual funds, stocks, and other financial instruments. The mutual fund industry in India has witnessed substantial growth, with assets under management (AUM) reaching ₹38.1 lakh crore ($514 billion) as of May 2023. Fintech-driven investment platforms have contributed to this growth by attracting retail investors and promoting financial inclusion.
- Financial Literacy: Apps like ET MONEY and Paytm Money, which provide personalized financial advice and educational content.
By promoting financial literacy, fintech firms have helped bridge the knowledge gap and enhance the financial inclusion of individuals who may have limited access to traditional financial education channels.
Potential risks associated with the Fintech sector -
- Data Privacy and Security: For example, in 2021, a major data breach occurred at a prominent Indian fintech company i.e., MobiKwik, exposing sensitive personal and financial information of millions of customers.
- Unregulated Digital Lending Platforms: For e.g., in 2020, CashBean was sued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for charging excessive interest rates & in 2022, OkCredit was accused of using deceptive lending practices.
- Misleading Advertisements and Lack of Transparency: For e.g. In 2019, Paytm was fined ₹10 lakh by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for misleading customers about the fees charged for its payment services. Similarly, PolicyBazaar in 2022, was accused of making misleading claims about the premiums charged for its insurance products. Such practices can undermine trust and consumer confidence in the fintech sector.
- Lack of Consumer Grievance Redressal Mechanisms: In 2019, Reserve Bank of India found that Paytm had a backlog of over 100,000 customer complaints & in 2022, RBI found that PolicyBazaar had a backlog of over 50,000 customer complaints and that it had failed to respond to many of those complaints in a timely manner.
- Regulatory Sandbox Framework - The RBI introduced a regulatory sandbox framework in 2019, allowing fintech startups to test innovative products or services in a controlled environment. This enables fintech companies to experiment with new technologies and business models while ensuring adequate consumer protection and risk mitigation.
- Guidelines on Payment Aggregators and Payment Gateways - The RBI issued these guidelines in March 2020, it covers a wide range of topics, including licensing requirements for payment aggregators and payment gateways, KYC and onboarding requirements for merchants and customers, settlement and maintenance of escrow accounts, risk management and fraud prevention measures, compliance with RBI regulations etc.
- Guidelines for Offline Payments - The RBI issued these guidelines in March 2022, it aims to regulate the offline payment aggregators operating in India and to ensure the safety and security of customer payments.
- Guideline on Tokenization - The RBI issued these guidelines in September 2021; it aims to enhance the security of card transactions in India by replacing the actual card details with a unique token. The guidelines on tokenization are applicable to all merchants and payment aggregators in India.
However, still more needs to be done i.e., we need to adopt a risk-based approach, foster collaboration and coordination among regulatory authorities, enhance cybersecurity standards and regularly monitor and enforce consumer protection standards etc. in order to help safeguard customer interests and maintain trust in the fintech ecosystem.
June 27, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 27, 2023
Elaborate on the factors contributing to the occurrence of flash floods in urban areas. How can urban planning mitigate the risk of flash floods?
Introduction - Explain Flash Floods and it's impact in brief.
Body - Discuss the factors and points relating to urban planning helping in the mitigation of flash floods.
Conclusion - Give a way forward along with strong implementational measures to mitigate flash floods.
Flash floods refer to sudden and rapid flooding events that occur within a short period, typically within a few hours or even minutes. They are characterized by a swift and significant rise in water levels in rivers, streams, or urban areas, often resulting from intense rainfall, dam failures, or the sudden release of water from reservoirs. They are a serious threat to urban areas and can occur suddenly and without warning, causing widespread damage and loss of life. Flash floods in urban areas can occur due to a combination of natural and human factors.
Some key factors that contribute to the occurrence of flash floods in urban areas:
- Impervious Surfaces: Urban areas are characterized by extensive impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and buildings, which prevent rainwater from infiltrating into the ground. Instead, rainfall quickly runs off these surfaces and overwhelms the drainage systems, leading to rapid accumulation of water and flash flooding.
For example: Mumbai Floods 2005: Heavy rainfall overwhelmed the drainage systems in Mumbai, causing widespread flooding. The city's extensive impervious surfaces contributed to the rapid accumulation of water. Over 500 mm (20 inches) of rain fell in a 24-hour period, resulting in the loss of over 1,000 lives and affecting millions of people.
- Stormwater Infrastructure: Inadequate or poorly designed stormwater infrastructure is a significant factor contributing to flash floods. Insufficient capacity or blockages in storm drains, culverts, and sewer systems can cause water to back up and overflow onto streets and low-lying areas, exacerbating flood risks.
For example: Chennai Floods 2015: Insufficient stormwater infrastructure in Chennai, combined with heavy rainfall, led to severe flooding. The city's storm drains and channels were unable to handle the excess water, resulting in inundated streets and neighborhoods. The floods affected over 4.6 million people and caused economic losses of around $3 billion.
- Urbanization and Land Use Changes: Urban development often involves modifying the natural landscape, including clearing vegetation, altering natural drainage patterns, and filling wetlands. These changes reduce the land's ability to absorb and retain water, increasing runoff and flood potential.
For example: Uttarakhand Floods 2013: Rapid urbanization and unregulated construction activities in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand contributed to flash floods and landslides. The excessive land use changes, including deforestation and encroachment on river banks, amplified the impact of heavy rainfall. The floods caused the loss of thousands of lives and extensive damage to infrastructure.
- Climate Change: Climate change plays a role in increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heavy rainfall. Urban areas are particularly vulnerable due to their concentration of impervious surfaces and inadequate drainage systems. As climate change progresses, the risk of flash floods in urban areas is likely to escalate.
For example: Kerala Floods 2018: Intense rainfall events linked to climate change resulted in devastating floods in Kerala. The region experienced unprecedented rainfall, leading to overflowing rivers and landslides. The floods affected over 5.4 million people and resulted in the loss of over 480 lives. The economic damages were estimated to be around $2.8 billion.
To mitigate the risk of flash floods, urban planning should incorporate strategies that address these factors. Here are some measures that can be implemented:
- Green Infrastructure: Urban planning should emphasize the integration of green infrastructure, such as green roofs, permeable pavements, rain gardens, and bioswales. These features help to absorb and retain rainfall, reducing runoff and alleviating stress on drainage systems.
- Floodplain Management: Identifying and preserving natural floodplains can help accommodate excess water during heavy rainfall events. Restricting development in flood-prone areas and implementing zoning regulations can help prevent construction in high-risk zones.
- Improved Drainage Systems: Upgrading and maintaining stormwater drainage systems is essential. This includes regular cleaning of drains and pipes, increasing the capacity of existing infrastructure, and incorporating innovative designs to improve water flow and prevent blockages.
- Sustainable Land Use Planning: Urban planning should prioritize sustainable land use practices. Preserving green spaces, promoting compact development, and encouraging mixed land use can reduce the extent of impervious surfaces and promote natural drainage.
- Early Warning Systems: Implementing effective early warning systems can provide residents with timely alerts about impending flash floods. This allows them to take necessary precautions and evacuate if required.
- Public Awareness and Education: Educating the public about flood risks, emergency response protocols, and the importance of responsible urban practices is crucial. Promoting community engagement and awareness can foster a culture of preparedness and resilience.
To address these flood events and mitigate the risk of future flash floods, India has taken various measures, including the implementation of the National Urban Flood Management Program (NUFMP) and the integration of green infrastructure in urban planning. However, there is a need for continuous efforts to improve stormwater infrastructure, land use planning, and climate change adaptation strategies to minimize the impact of flash floods in urban areas.
June 26, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 26, 2023
“Although Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) have immense potential to transform the agriculture supply chain, they are marred by various challenges”. Analyze.
Introduction: Define FPOs and briefly outline their relevance in transforming the agriculture supply chain in India.
Body: Explain how they are playing a crucial role in transforming the agricultural supply chain and mention the challenges faced by them.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward.
FPO consists of the collectivization of Producers especially small and marginal farmers to form an effective alliance to collectively address many challenges of agriculture like improved access to investment, technology, inputs and markets.
The Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has been mandated by the Ministry of Agriculture to support the State Government in the formation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
FPO’s transforming agriculture supply chain:
- Providing access to quality inputs at lower prices - FPOs can negotiate with suppliers to get better prices for inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. This can help farmers save money and improve their yields. Example: Swaraj Farmer Producer Company in Maharashtra helped farmers get access to quality seeds and fertilizers at lower prices.
- Facilitating access to markets - FPOs can help farmers sell their produce to larger markets, both domestically and internationally. This can help farmers get a better price for their produce and reduce their risk of exploitation. Example: Dharani Kisan Producers' Company, Karnataka helped farmers in Karnataka sell their turmeric directly to exporters and Kisan Shakti Producers' Company, Uttar Pradesh helped farmers in Uttar Pradesh sell their fruits and vegetables directly to retailers.
- Providing training and education - FPOs can provide training to farmers on a variety of topics, such as improved farming practices, post-harvest management, and marketing. This can help farmers improve their productivity and profitability. Example: Dharani Kisan Producers' Company, an FPO in Karnataka, provides training to farmers on a variety of topics, such as improved farming practices, post-harvest management, and marketing.
- Access to finance - FPOs can help farmers access finance from banks and other financial institutions. This can help them invest in their farms and improve their productivity. Example: NABARD provides financial assistance to FPOs under schemes like PRODUCE Fund and Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), also SIDBI's Fund for Farmer Producer Organizations (FFPO) provides loans to FPOs for a variety of purposes.
Challenges faced by FPOs:
- Lack of awareness: According to a study by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in 2015, only 15% of farmers in India are aware of FPOs. This lack of awareness can lead to low participation in FPOs and a lack of trust in their ability to deliver results.
- Lack of infrastructure: A study by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad in 2013, found that only 20% of FPOs in India have access to basic infrastructure, such as storage facilities, transportation, and processing facilities. This lack of infrastructure can make it difficult for FPOs to aggregate produce, add value, and market their products effectively.
- Lack of financial resources: A study by the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives in 2018, found that only 30% of FPOs in India have access to credit. This lack of financial resources can limit the ability of FPOs to invest in infrastructure and other resources.
- Lack of management skills: A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 2019, found that only 40% of FPOs in India have qualified managers. This lack of management skills can lead to poor decision-making and a lack of coordination, which can hinder the organization's effectiveness.
- Lack of government support: The government has not always provided adequate support to FPOs. A study by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016, found that only 20% of FPOs in India receive government support. This lack of government support can make it difficult for FPOs to succeed, especially in the early stages of their development.
The Government’s plan to form and promote FPOs under the “Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations” scheme is a step in the right direction. However, to realize the true potential of FPO the government and other stakeholders should help FPOs by increasing awareness about them among the farmers, improving infrastructure, providing access to credit, and improving the management skills of the members of FPO.
June 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 24, 2023
Discuss the role of the QUAD in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region and the implications of this vision for India's regional interests.
Introduction - Write in brief about QUAD and its objectives.
Body - Discuss the role of QUAD from various dimensions in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. In the next part, explain the implications of this for India.
Conclusion - Give a positive way forward and the scope of future cooperation and aspirations of QUAD.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as the QUAD, is an informal strategic forum comprising the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
The QUAD was initially formed in 2007 but gained renewed momentum in recent years due to growing concerns about China's assertive actions in the region. The primary objective of the QUAD is to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, based on respect for international law, rules-based order, freedom of navigation, and peaceful resolution of disputes.
Role of the QUAD in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific :
- Ensuring Security: The QUAD plays a crucial role in promoting security in the Indo-Pacific region. Through joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, and regular consultations, the member countries aim to deter potential threats and maintain peace and stability. This security cooperation is particularly important given the rise of assertive maritime activities and territorial disputes in the region.
- Joint Military Exercises: The QUAD conducts joint military exercises, such as the Malabar naval exercise, to enhance interoperability and coordination among member countries' armed forces.
- Economic Prosperity: The QUAD recognizes the importance of economic connectivity and trade in fostering regional growth. The member countries seek to enhance economic cooperation, infrastructure development, and investment in the Indo-Pacific. This includes promoting transparent and sustainable development projects to counterbalance China's Belt and Road Initiative, which has raised concerns over debt dependency and lack of transparency.
- An example is the Blue Dot Network, a certification initiative aimed at ensuring infrastructure projects meet these standards. This helps counterbalance China's Belt and Road Initiative and its potential negative impacts on recipient countries.
- Supply Chain Resilience: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted vulnerabilities in global supply chains. QUAD seeks to enhance supply chain resilience by diversifying and securing critical supply chains, especially in areas like pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and technology.
- In 2021, the Quad launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). A new initiative that aims to promote economic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Upholding International Law: The QUAD emphasizes the importance of a rules-based international order. By adhering to international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the member countries aim to safeguard freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific. This commitment is significant in countering any attempts to change the status quo through coercion or unilateral actions.
- Maritime Security Capacity Building: The QUAD supports capacity-building efforts of regional countries to enhance their maritime law enforcement capabilities. For instance, India has collaborated with other QUAD members to provide patrol vessels and training to countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This helps strengthen these nations' abilities to enforce maritime law and protect their exclusive economic zones.
Implications for India's Regional Interests:
- Security and Defense: The QUAD provides India with a platform to enhance its security cooperation with like-minded countries. This includes intelligence sharing, maritime domain awareness, and capacity building. By aligning with the QUAD, India can strengthen its deterrence capabilities and ensure the safety of its maritime trade routes.
- Countering China's Influence: China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific has raised concerns for India. The QUAD allows India to cooperate with other regional powers to balance China's influence and deter any potential aggression. By participating actively in the QUAD, India can leverage collective strength to protect its regional interests and maintain a multipolar balance of power.
- Economic Opportunities: The QUAD's focus on economic connectivity and investment presents significant opportunities for India. It can attract foreign direct investment, participate in infrastructure projects, and enhance its trade relations with member countries. This can boost India's economic growth and contribute to its regional integration.
- Technology and Cybersecurity: The QUAD acknowledges the significance of emerging technologies and the need to address cybersecurity challenges. By fostering innovation, research, and development in key areas like 5G, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, QUAD seeks to ensure a secure and resilient digital environment. This is particularly relevant for India, given its aspirations for digital transformation and the potential vulnerabilities in cyberspace.
- Balancing Regional Dynamics: India's participation in the QUAD allows it to play a more prominent role in shaping regional dynamics. As an active member, India can contribute to the development of shared norms, rules, and practices in the Indo-Pacific. This helps in countering any unilateral or coercive actions that may undermine India's interests or regional stability.
- Diplomatic Engagement: The QUAD's meetings and discussions provide India with an opportunity to engage diplomatically with like-minded countries on regional and global issues. India's participation in the QUAD allows it to articulate its perspectives, concerns, and interests more effectively, while also deepening diplomatic ties with the member countries.
- Regional Connectivity: The QUAD's focus on connectivity initiatives aligns with India's efforts to enhance regional connectivity, including projects like the International North-South Transport Corridor, the Chabahar Port in Iran, and the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. Collaboration within the QUAD can support India's connectivity objectives, ensuring greater access to markets and resources in the Indo-Pacific.
The QUAD's vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific aligns with India's aspirations for regional stability, security, and economic growth. By actively participating in the QUAD, India can enhance its defence capabilities, counter China's influence, and leverage economic opportunities. As the QUAD evolves, member countries need to deepen their cooperation, address challenges, and promote a positive vision for the Indo-Pacific. A united QUAD can contribute to a peaceful and prosperous region while respecting the principles of sovereignty, inclusivity, and adherence to international law.
June 23, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 23, 2023
“Although there is a need to adopt new information and communication technologies in the justice delivery system, at the same time we need to take certain precautions while advancing its use for justice delivery”. Comment
Introduction: Mention the potential use of ICT in the justice delivery system.
Body: Mention the need for adopting new information and communication technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Also briefly mention the challenges in adopting such technologies in the judiciary. Mention the precautionary steps that need to be taken to address these challenges.
Conclusion: Summarise the answer.
The use of ICT in the justice delivery system (e-court) is to enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost-effective, predictable, reliable and transparent by way of virtual hearings, e-filling of petitions, assist in the translation of judgements in regional language etc.
This can be manifested from the holding of total hearings of approximately 2.8 Crores cases till May 31, 2023, at all levels of the Indian Judicial system.
Need for ICT in the judiciary:
- Pendency of Cases: The recent National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) shows that 3,89,41,148 cases are pending at the District and Taluka levels and 58,43,113 are still unresolved at the high courts. With the opening of the virtual courts, some of these pending cases could be transferred to these courts, thus, reducing the burden of pending cases on the Indian Judicial system.
- Strengthen the Right of Access to Justice: As a tiny section of society have access to the conventional physical Courts and even if they have, it is accessible at a disproportionate expense as well as effort. However, with Virtual Courts, such issues can be resolved as they help in saving the costs of travelling for litigants and help in saving the substantial costs incurred by the Courts as well.
- Better court management: By unclogging the process that slows justice delivery it can increase the efficiency of courts. As it can ease administrative aspects of justice delivery through smart e-filing, intelligent filtering/prioritization of cases or notifications and tracking of cases.
- Security of the witnesses: In many cases, the witnesses are not able to come to the court and make their statement as the other party is too strong and scares them of the consequences. e-Courts can help in dealing with such cases.
With the growth in the use of ICT in the justice delivery system concerns like data protection, privacy, biases in decision-making and ethical concerns like whether an AI tool can accomplish the complex Constitutional role of judges etc. are going to pose fresh challenges. So, we need to take certain precautionary steps to regulate the use of new ICT in the justice delivery system.
- Ethical & Responsible Use of AI - The government needs to establish a strong governance framework with clear ethical standards and accountability frameworks that will allow AI to flourish and at the same time would ensure that AI models are based on fairness, accountability, transparency and explainability.g. there should be regulatory thresholds based on “how much compute goes into a model.”
- Creation of well-labelled data - sets - The relevance of AI in justice delivery will be dependent on the availability of clear and well-labelled data sets. Thus humans have to be kept in the loop to create robust necessary labelled data sets to prevent data and design biases.
- Creating decision support systems - AI systems should be used to assist justice decision-making but we should not completely replace human decision-making. So, such tools should be designed and deployed to be used as decision aids, whose outputs are factored into consideration for human decision-making.
- Data Protection Law - The Parliament needs to fill in the regulatory vacuum by bringing in place the data protection law to address the issues of data protection and privacy.
So as we are increasingly adopting new ICT in justice delivery systems, we need to take these above-mentioned steps to ensure the responsible use of AI and data privacy along with enhancing the efficiency of our justice delivery system.
June 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 22, 2023
Mention the guiding principles of the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance. Also, show how will climate finance efforts contribute to achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.
Introduction: Introduce the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance and its purpose
Body: Explain the guiding principles of the NCQG. Discuss how climate finance efforts will contribute to achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, such as limiting global warming, enhancing adaptive capacity, etc.
Conclusion: Conclude with a balanced approach towards climate finance.
The New Collective Quantified Goal (NCGQ) is a key issue in global climate financing that aims to set a new target for the amount of money that developed countries will need to provide to developing countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The developed countries have not achieved the current target of $100 billion per year, which was agreed upon in the Paris Agreement. The NCQG was one of the main topics discussed at the Bonn climate conference in June 2023, which served as a preparatory meeting for the upcoming COP28 in Dubai.
The NCGQ will address the gaps and challenges in mobilising climate finance by following the guiding principles:
- The NCQG must be based on the best-available climate science and data. The previous USD 100 billion targets lacked clear definitions, allocations, and sub-goals, making them a political statement without a strong basis. The new goal should avoid such mistakes and be developed within the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, anchored on climate justice.
- The NCQG must be grounded in the principles of climate justice. It should consider the principles of "polluter pays," common but differentiated responsibilities, and intergenerational justice. The needs and priorities of developing countries, vulnerable sectors, and communities should be included, with a focus on gender, youth, indigenous peoples, and other highly vulnerable sectors. National climate policies and plans, such as NDCs and NAPs, should form the basis for the goal.
- The NCQG must be regularly updated to reflect the changing needs of developing countries. The NCQG should be regularly updated, considering evolving risks, vulnerabilities, and development goals. The dynamic nature of climate finance and its interlinkages with impacts, solutions, and stakeholders should be taken into account for subsequent updates to the financial goals.
The NCQG has the potential to strengthen existing climate finance efforts, such as Green Climate Fund (GCF), Adaptation Fund, Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and Clean Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), in several ways: by increasing the amount of climate finance available, improving the quality of climate finance, and increasing the transparency of climate finance.
Strengthening climate finance efforts can contribute to achieving the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, which are to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, and to enhance the ability of countries to cope with the adverse effects of climate change:
- Help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by investing in low-carbon technologies and practises, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, and forest conservation.
- The GCF has supported projects such as the installation of solar mini-grids in Mali, the promotion of electric buses in Colombia, and the restoration of peatlands in Indonesia.
- Adapt to the changing climate by enhancing resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate risks, such as droughts, floods, heat waves, and sea level rise.
- The Adaptation Fund supported projects such as the construction of rainwater harvesting systems in Rwanda, the improvement of early warning systems in Samoa, and the protection of coastal ecosystems in Mexico.
- Foster innovation and learning by supporting the development and deployment of new technologies and solutions that can address the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change.
- The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), which provides technical assistance and capacity building on climate technologies to developing countries, has supported projects such as the development of a climate-smart agriculture platform in Kenya, the implementation of a waste-to-energy system in Nepal, and the introduction of a green cooling initiative in Ghana.
- Leverage additional resources and catalyse transformational change by mobilising public and private sector actors to invest in climate action.
- The Climate Investment Funds have leveraged over $60 billion from other sources of finance, such as multilateral development banks, bilateral donors, and private investors.
- Enhance cooperation and solidarity among countries by facilitating the exchange of knowledge, experience, and best practices on climate action.
- GEF has supported a project that aims to improve the management of transboundary water resources in Central Asia, a project that seeks to promote sustainable land management in the Sahel region of Africa and a project that aims to conserve biodiversity in the Coral Triangle of Southeast Asia.
- Promote equity and justice by ensuring that the needs and priorities of the most vulnerable and marginalised groups are taken into account in climate action.
- The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) has supported a project that empowers women farmers in Ethiopia to cope with droughts, a project that engages youth in climate-resilient livelihoods in Cambodia, and a project that strengthens the resilience of indigenous communities in Bolivia.
Climate finance should prioritise projects and programmes that effectively reduce emissions and address climate change impacts. The NCQG should engage stakeholders capable of mobilising public and private finance to explore new funding sources like blended financing, green bonds and public-private partnerships. Furthermore, transparency, accountability and monitoring of projects are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of global climate finance efforts.
June 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 21, 2023
What do you mean by heat waves? Discuss the reasons and impact of the rising frequency and intensity of heat waves across India. Also, suggest some measures to mitigate its effect.
Introduction: Explain what is heat waves
Body: Explain the reason and its impacts and then give some mitigation measures.
Conclusion: Conclude holistically.
A Heat Wave is defined as a period of abnormally high temperatures over a region. The heat wave is considered when the maximum temperature of the region reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius for plains and at least 30 degrees Celsius for hilly regions.
Parameters for defining Heat Waves:
Reasons for the rising frequency and intensity of heat waves across India:
- 1. Global warming and climate change lead to increased overall temperatures. India has been experiencing a warming trend over the past few decades. Example: according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the average temperature in India has increased by approximately 0.6°C over the last century.
- Local weather conditions, such as clear skies, low humidity, and lack of wind, contribute to temperature build-up. Example: During a heatwave, clear skies allow for maximum solar radiation to reach the Earth's surface, leading to increased heating.
- Urbanization and concrete structures in cities lead to the urban heat island effect. The extensive use of concrete and asphalt in cities absorbs and retains heat, contributing to elevated temperatures. Example: Urban heat island in Delhi.
- Deforestation and land-use changes affect local climate patterns and reduce natural cooling mechanisms Example: Deforestation reduces the number of trees and vegetation that provide shade and evaporative cooling, resulting in increased surface temperatures.
- Influence of regional weather patterns, such as the delay or absence of monsoon rains, leading to prolonged dry spells and heatwave conditions Example: Delayed or weak monsoons can lead to prolonged dry spells, reduced moisture availability, and heatwave conditions in India.
- Geographic factors, such as the presence of heat-trapping geographical features like mountains or deserts, amplify temperatures in specific regions. Example: Geographical features like mountains can create rain shadow regions where moisture is blocked, resulting in arid conditions and higher temperatures.
Impacts of heat waves across India:
- Increased mortality and heat-related illnesses: Heat waves can lead to a rise in heatstroke, dehydration, and other heat-related illnesses, resulting in increased mortality rates, particularly among vulnerable populations such as the elderly and outdoor workers. For example, a study by the Indian Meteorological Department found that heat waves caused an estimated 2,500 deaths in India in 2015
- Agricultural losses: Heat waves can cause significant damage to crops, leading to reduced agricultural productivity and economic losses for farmers. Heat stress can affect crop growth, reduce yields, and even lead to complete crop failures. For example, a study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research found that heat waves caused an estimated $2 billion in crop losses in India in 2015.
- Water scarcity: Heat waves intensify water evaporation, leading to increased water demand for irrigation and domestic use. This can exacerbate existing water scarcity issues, especially in regions already facing water stress.
- Infrastructure damage: Extreme heat can cause the expansion of materials, leading to damage to roads, bridges, and buildings. Railway tracks can also buckle under the intense heat, causing disruptions in transportation systems. For example, a heat wave in 2015 caused widespread power outages in India, affecting millions of people.
- Ecosystem disruptions: Heat waves can disrupt ecosystems by causing habitat loss, altering plant and animal behaviour, and increasing the risk of wildfires. These disturbances can have long-term implications for biodiversity and ecological balance.
- Social and economic disruptions: Heat waves can lead to social disruptions, such as migration from rural to urban areas in search of relief from extreme heat. This migration can strain urban resources and services. Moreover, economic losses from heat-related damages and decreased productivity can impact various sectors of the economy.
- Heatwave early warning systems: Implementing robust early warning systems that provide timely and accurate information about impending heatwaves can help communities and authorities take preventive measures.
- Heatwave action plans: Developing and implementing heatwave action plans at the national, state, and local levels to guide preparedness, response, and mitigation strategies during heatwave events.
- Urban greening and cool roof initiatives: Promoting the use of green spaces, trees, and vegetation in urban areas can help mitigate the urban heat island effect. Additionally, encouraging the use of cool roofs that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat can reduce building temperatures.
- Sustainable urban planning: Incorporating sustainable urban planning practices such as efficient building design, proper ventilation, and urban heat island mitigation strategies can help create heat-resilient cities.
- Heat-sensitive infrastructure design: Incorporating heat-sensitive infrastructure design principles in critical infrastructure projects can help minimise the impact of heat waves. This includes designing buildings, transportation systems, and energy infrastructure that are resilient to extreme heat.
- Strengthening healthcare systems: Enhancing the capacity of healthcare systems to respond to heat-related illnesses, ensuring the availability of medical resources, and training healthcare professionals to identify and treat heat-related conditions.
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation: Take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy sources, and adapt to the impacts of climate change comprehensively and sustainably to mitigate the frequency and intensity of heat waves in the long term. Examples of initiatives like the National Solar Mission (NSM), NAPCC, and International Solar Alliance.
Addressing heat waves in India requires urgent action through early warning systems, public awareness, heat-resilient infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy. Proactive measures are crucial to protect vulnerable populations, enhance resilience, and mitigate the risks posed by increasingly severe heat waves.
June 20, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 20, 2023
The US-India relationship is often described as a "defining relationship" of the 21st century and is founded on shared democratic values. In this context, discuss the Indo-US relationship from an economic and strategic perspective.
Introduction: Highlight the shared interests and values between India and US.
Body: Discuss the Economic, Strategic aspects along with the challenges.
Conclusion: Give a balanced holistic conclusion.
Rooted in shared democratic values and common interests, India and the US share a multifaceted relationship and are hailed as a "defining relationship" of the 21st century. The strong bipartisan support is evident in the invitation extended to Prime Minister Modi by both chambers of the US Congress. This invitation grants him the privilege of addressing a joint meeting of Congress for the second time, a distinction previously bestowed to Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Benjamin Netanyahu
- Trade and Investment: Bilateral trade has expanded exponentially, reaching nearly $191 billion making the US India’s largest trading partner. For the US, India is the ninth largest trading partner.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): American companies have invested around $60 billion in India in sectors ranging from manufacturing to telecommunications and consumer goods to aerospace. And Indian companies have put in more than $40 billion in sectors such as IT, pharmaceuticals, and green energy. E.g.- Air India announced the purchase of more than 200 Boeing aircraft.
- Technology and Innovation: Cooperation in sectors such as information technology, biotechnology, space exploration, and clean energy has expanded rapidly, bolstered by joint research projects, academic exchanges, and private-sector partnerships. E.g.- Patent licensing agreements between Indian and US Pharma.
- QUAD: A four-country grouping, which has Australia and Japan alongside India and the US, was repurposed in 2017, primarily as a counter to China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region, and as a forum for redoubling focus on the Indo-Pacific region.
- I2U2: India, Israel, the US and the United Arab Emirates, are focused on joint investments and new initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
- US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies: taken up by India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan.
- Supply Chain Resilience: Partnership on the Semiconductor supply chain to make it more resilient through private sector cooperation. It creates the possibility of India getting aligned for a more central role in the global electronics supply chain. E.g.- the ‘Chip 4’ alliance initiative of the US with three other top semiconductor makers, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.
- Defence Collaboration:
- War exercises: Tiger Triumph, Vajra Prahar, Yudh Abhyas, Cope India, and Malabar Exercise
- Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) aim to foster co-development and co-production efforts.
- Foundational agreements like GSOMIA, LEMOA, COMCASA, and BECA enhance military information, logistics exchange, compatibility, and security between the two countries.
Challenges in the bilateral relations:
- Withdrawal of Generalized System of Preferences: The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provided special privileges to India, allowing duty-free exports of goods like textiles and engineering products to the US market. However, the US has withdrawn these benefits, impacting Indian exports.
- Minerals Security Partnership (MSP): India is not a party to MSP, a US-led partnership to secure supply chains of critical minerals that are aimed at reducing dependency on China.
- Crude oil from Russia: At 1.96 million bpd, Russian crude accounted for almost 42 per cent of India’s total oil imports in May 2023, beating the cumulative import volumes from at least the next five major suppliers, like Iraq and Saudi Arabia, as per the Vortexa data.
- Visa Delays and H1B Visas: The US has imposed restrictions on H1B visas, which affects Indian professionals seeking work opportunities in the US. There is now a cap on the number of H1B visas issued, creating limitations for Indians moving to the US for employment.
- Significant export controls on India inhibit the free transfer of technology. Eg- Import of Dual-use goods which can have civilian as well as military applications
- Data localization move of India: The US, is home to major data giants like Google and Facebook that gather significant amounts of data from Indian consumers. India's plan to implement data localization rules, requiring data to be stored within the country, is being opposed by the US.
- IPR: US has accused India of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations and has placed India on the "Priority Watch List."
The US-India relationship holds immense potential not only in advancing their respective national interests but also in shaping global governance, promoting peace, and addressing shared challenges. Continued commitment to strengthening this partnership will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the trajectory of the 21st-century geopolitical landscape.
June 19, 2023
Mains Daily Question
June 19, 2023
'The maritime domain is critical for India's National Security, hence a comprehensive approach is essential for safeguarding India's coastline.' In light of this statement, discuss the challenges to maritime security faced by India. Also, suggest the measures taken by the government to tackle them.
Introduction: Write about the importance of maritime security and the need to ensure it.
Body: Discuss the challenges to maritime security in India and the governmental measures.
Conclusion: Giving a way forward, suggest some additional ways to ensure maritime security.
Maritime security is a critical aspect of India's national security and defence strategy, given its extensive coastline spanning over 7,500 kilometres and its strategic location in the Indian Ocean region. As a nation heavily reliant on maritime trade and energy resources transported through the seas, ensuring the safety and security of its maritime domain is of paramount importance for India.
There are a number of maritime security challenges that India faces. Some key challenges and the measures taken to solve them are:
- Piracy: India faces the threat of piracy in the waters surrounding the Indian Ocean. Pirates target commercial vessels, fishing boats, and even offshore installations, posing a risk to maritime trade and security.
- Government Measures:
- Deployment of naval assets for anti-piracy patrols, such as the Indian Navy's Operation Sankalp.
- Participation in international naval task forces, like Combined Task Force 151, to ensure coordinated efforts in combating piracy.
- Support for the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which promotes information sharing and regional cooperation to counter piracy.
- Maritime Terrorism: The potential for terrorist attacks via the maritime route poses a significant challenge to India's maritime security, requiring proactive measures to detect and prevent such threats.
- Government Measures:
- Strengthening coastal security through the establishment of specialized marine police units and coastal police stations.
- Conducting joint exercises with other countries to enhance interoperability and response capabilities.
- Sharing intelligence and information with international partners to track and counter maritime terrorist activities.
- Arms and Contraband Smuggling: The illicit smuggling of arms, narcotics, and contraband through maritime routes pose a threat to national security, contributing to organized crime networks and potential destabilization.
- Government Measures:
- Enhanced maritime surveillance using radar networks, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and satellite monitoring systems.
- Cooperation with international agencies, such as the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime, to disrupt smuggling networks and facilitate information exchange.
- Strengthening border control measures at ports and entry points to detect and intercept illegal shipments.
- Maritime Resource Vulnerability: Protecting India's offshore installations, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and marine resources is crucial for national security and economic interests. These areas are crucial for various economic activities, including offshore energy exploration, shipping, and fisheries. Any threat or disruption to these resources, whether through natural disasters, accidents, or hostile acts, can have severe consequences for national security, economic stability, and environmental integrity.
- Government Measures:
- Robust maritime surveillance systems including coastal radar networks to monitor and protect critical installations.
- Development of the National Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence Network (NC3I) for effective coordination and real-time information sharing.
- Strengthening legal frameworks, such as the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Act, to regulate activities in coastal areas and preserve ecological balance.
- Overall Coastline Vulnerability: This happens due to weak Infrastructure and a lack of effective mechanisms in place. With numerous entry points and diverse coastal topography, it becomes difficult to monitor and protect every stretch of the coast effectively. This vulnerability can be exploited by infiltrators, smugglers, and other illicit activities, including human trafficking, arms smuggling, and drug trafficking.
- Government Measures:
- Establishment of coastal police stations and deployment of specialized coastal security forces.
- Conducting regular coastal security exercises, such as Operation Sagar Kavach, to enhance preparedness and coordination among various agencies.
- Development of the National Automatic Identification System (NAIS) to track and monitor vessel movements along the coast.
- Lack of International Cooperation: Without robust international cooperation, it becomes difficult to share timely and accurate information, coordinate operations, and implement comprehensive strategies to counter maritime threats.
- Government Measures:
- Active participation in multilateral initiatives like the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
- Conducting joint naval exercises and training programs with partner countries to enhance interoperability and build capacity.
- Information sharing and collaboration with international organizations like INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to combat maritime crimes.
To ensure maritime security, India must continue to adopt a comprehensive approach. In addition to the measures mentioned above, enhancing technological capabilities, investing in research and development, promoting sustainable maritime practices, and fostering regional cooperation will further strengthen India's defence strategy in the maritime domain. With a holistic and collaborative approach, India can effectively address maritime security challenges, protect its national interests, and contribute to the stability and security of the Indian Ocean region.