Aug. 31, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 31, 2023
Discuss the role of export duties as a policy tool in regulating Essential commodities exports. Highlight the advantages and disadvantages of this approach in achieving India's economic and agricultural objectives.
Introduction: Explain in brief about trade Restrictions and the role played by export duties in regulating essential commodities.
Body: Discuss the Advantages and Disadvantages of export duties in detail.
Conclusion: Highlight how export duties can be a double-edged sword.
Trade restrictions, including policy tools like export duties, are fundamental instruments that governments employ to regulate the flow of goods across borders. These measures are often used to achieve a variety of economic and strategic objectives, particularly in the context of essential commodities.
Export duties play a pivotal role in shaping trade dynamics for crucial items. The Indian government has used export duties to regulate essential commodities exports in the past. For example:
- The Indian government imposed a 40% export duty on onions on August 12, 2023. The move was aimed at cooling down the prices of onions, which have been rising due to a combination of factors, including a shortage of supply and increased demand.
- In May 2022, the government imposed an export duty of 100% on wheat flour, 50% on wheat, and 40% on sugar. These export restrictions were imposed due to rising domestic prices of wheat and sugar. The government also set a stockholding limit of 20,000 tonnes for wheat flour and 10,000 tonnes for sugar.
- In 2020, the government imposed export duties on wheat and rice to control the rising prices of these commodities in the domestic market.
Advantages of using export duties:
- Price Stabilization: Export duties can help stabilize domestic prices of essential commodities by discouraging excessive exports. This ensures an adequate supply of goods for domestic consumption, preventing shortages and price spikes.
- In 2011, India imposed export restrictions on onions after domestic prices surged. By doing so, the government aimed to stabilize onion prices within the country and prevent shortages.
- Revenue Generation: Export duties can generate government revenue, which can be used for various development projects and public services.
- India imposed export duties on iron ore in 2011, which helped generate revenue for the government. The collected funds could then be used for various developmental initiatives.
- In 2021-22, the Indian government collected INR 35,000 crore (about US$4.4 billion) in revenue from export duties.
- Promoting Value Addition: By taxing raw material exports, export duties encourage domestic processing and value addition. This can lead to the growth of industries and employment opportunities within the country.
- India's export duty on raw sugar has encouraged investment in sugar refining within the country. The duty incentivized domestic processing, leading to value addition and job creation in the refining industry.
- Conservation of Resources: Export duties can discourage overexploitation of natural resources, as higher export costs can lead to more judicious use of these resources.
- Export duties on certain types of non-basmati rice have been utilized to conserve rice stocks within the country during times of uncertainty in global food markets.
Disadvantages of using export duties:
- Negative Impact on Exporters: Export duties can reduce the competitiveness of domestic exporters in international markets, potentially leading to a decline in exports.
- India's imposition of high export duties on iron ore in the past led to reduced competitiveness in the global market, negatively affecting the income of iron ore exporters.
- Retaliation: Imposing export duties might prompt other countries to impose trade barriers on Indian goods in return, leading to trade conflicts and reducing overall trade volumes.
- In 2009, India's decision to ban the export of cotton led to international trade tensions. This move prompted trading partners to question India's adherence to free trade principles.
- Market Distortions: Export duties can distort market signals, leading to inefficiencies and misallocation of resources. They might discourage the production of goods that are subject to duties, even when there is a genuine demand.
- Frequent changes in India's export duty structure for edible oils have led to market distortions, with producers and traders finding it challenging to predict market conditions.
- Inconsistent Policy: Frequent changes in export duty rates can create uncertainty for businesses and investors, making it difficult for them to plan and invest in long-term projects.
- Complex Administration: The administration of export duties requires efficient monitoring and collection mechanisms, which can sometimes be prone to corruption and administrative challenges.
Export duties on essential commodities like agricultural products can be a double-edged sword. While they can help achieve certain objectives like price stabilization and revenue generation, they need to be implemented carefully to avoid negative consequences such as reduced exports, trade disputes, and market distortions. A balanced approach that takes into account the specific characteristics of each commodity and its impact on various stakeholders is crucial.
Aug. 30, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 30, 2023
Discuss the significance of dengue vaccines in the context of the Indian health sector. Elaborate on the challenges associated with developing effective dengue vaccines due to the virus's complex nature.
Introduction: Define dengue disease and write about its outbreak in India in brief.
Body: Write the significance of dengue vaccines in the Indian health sector. Write Challenges Associated with Developing Effective Dengue Vaccines
Conclusion: Write a solution-oriented conclusion with a progressive vision.
Dengue fever, caused by the dengue virus and transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, remains a significant public health concern in India. The country witnesses frequent outbreaks, particularly during the monsoon season, affecting millions of people annually.
The disease in India has spread from just eight states and union territories in 2001 to all states by 2022. There have been 31,464 cases and 36 deaths due to dengue reported across the country till the end of July this year, as per the latest available data.
Significance of dengue vaccines in the Indian health sector:
- 1. Disease Burden Reduction: Dengue vaccines offer a potent tool to reduce dengue outbreaks' burden significantly. Vaccination can prevent dengue cases, thereby decreasing the number of hospitalizations, severe illnesses, and fatalities. This can lead to substantial improvements in public health outcomes. For example- Polio vaccination reduced the burden on individuals.
- Economic Impact: Dengue outbreaks impose a substantial economic burden on individuals, families, and the healthcare system. The cost of hospitalization, treatment, and lost productivity due to illness can be financially crippling. Vaccination not only prevents human suffering but also leads to cost savings by reducing the need for hospitalizations and extensive medical care. Example: The World Bank found that every dollar invested in vaccination in India can save up to $16 in healthcare costs, lost wages, and lost productivity.
- Relief to Healthcare Infrastructure: Dengue outbreaks can place an immense strain on healthcare infrastructure, especially during peak transmission seasons. Hospitals and medical facilities often become overwhelmed, resulting in inadequate care for dengue patients and a stretched healthcare system. Dengue vaccines can help alleviate this strain, ensuring that healthcare resources are available for other critical medical needs. Example: COVID-19 vaccination reduced the burden on health infrastructure during a pandemic.
- Tourism and Trade: India's tourism and trade sectors suffer during dengue outbreaks. Travellers and tourists may postpone or cancel trips to dengue-affected regions, impacting the tourism industry. Similarly, trade can be disrupted due to dengue-related illnesses among the workforce. By controlling dengue through vaccination, India can create a more stable environment, encouraging tourism and supporting economic growth. Example: Tourists avoid visiting water logging tourist places like Delhi during monsoon due to apprehension of getting caught with dengue leading to a slump in earnings from tourism and trade.
Challenges Associated with Developing Effective Dengue Vaccines:
- Virus Heterogeneity: The dengue virus exists in four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4). Immunity generated by infection with one serotype does not protect the others. Developing a vaccine that provides robust and balanced immunity against all four serotypes is a significant scientific hurdle.
- Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE): ADE is a critical challenge in dengue vaccine development. It occurs when antibodies from a previous dengue infection enhance the severity of a subsequent infection with a different serotype. A vaccine that triggers ADE could inadvertently worsen the disease in vaccinated individuals.
- Vaccine Safety: Ensuring the safety of dengue vaccines is paramount. Any adverse effects or safety concerns could undermine public trust in vaccination programs. Striking the right balance between efficacy and safety is a critical aspect of vaccine development.
- Long-Term Efficacy: Dengue vaccines must provide long-term protection to be effective. Short-term immunity can lead to potential problems such as vaccine-driven shifts in serotype dominance, which could increase the overall dengue burden.
- Cost and Access: Given the country's vast socio-economic diversity, making dengue vaccines affordable and accessible to all segments of the Indian population is a complex challenge. Ensuring equitable access to vaccines is essential to achieve broad immunization coverage.
Dengue vaccines have immense potential to transform the landscape of public health in India by reducing the burden of this mosquito-borne disease. Collaboration between government agencies, healthcare institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry is crucial to overcoming these challenges and implementing successful dengue vaccination programs in India. Such efforts can lead to improved health outcomes, economic benefits, and enhanced resilience against this formidable infectious disease.
Aug. 29, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 29, 2023
The Aditya L1 mission marks a significant milestone as India's inaugural solar mission. Elaborate on the primary scientific objectives underlying this mission and discuss the potential impact of its success.
Introduction: Introduce briefly what is Aditya L1 mission
Body: Elaborate the objective of the mission and further discuss the potential impact of its success.
Conclusion: Conclude in a holistic way.
The Aditya L1 mission, which will be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), marks India's maiden venture into solar exploration. With a primary focus on studying the Sun and its outermost layer, the corona, the mission has several major scientific objectives that hold significant importance in advancing our understanding of the Sun and its effects on space weather and terrestrial systems.
Primary scientific objectives underlying this mission:
- Coronal Dynamics: To investigate and understand the dynamic behaviour of the solar corona, including its heating mechanisms, plasma flows, and the formation of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), providing insights into the processes driving solar activity.
- Solar Magnetic Field: To study the Sun's magnetic field and its evolution, unravelling the origins of sunspots, solar flares, and other magnetic phenomena that contribute to the Sun's variability and influence on space weather.
- Chromosphere Exploration: To explore the chromosphere, the transition region between the Sun's visible surface (photosphere) and the corona, and to gain insights into the processes responsible for the transfer of energy and matter between these layers.
- Solar Variability: To monitor and analyze variations in solar irradiance and emissions over time, helping to understand the Sun's impact on Earth's climate and atmospheric conditions and enabling more accurate climate modelling.
- Space Weather Prediction: To improve our ability to predict space weather events by studying the Sun's behaviour and its impact on Earth's magnetosphere, ionosphere, and technological systems, thereby aiding in the protection of satellite operations and power grids.
- Global Scientific Collaboration: To foster international collaboration by sharing data, findings, and expertise with other space agencies and researchers working on solar missions, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the Sun's behaviour and its effects on the solar system.
Potential impact of its success:
- Enhanced Space Weather Prediction: The success of the Aditya L1 mission would provide crucial data and insights into solar dynamics and magnetic activity. This, in turn, could lead to improved space weather prediction models, allowing for more accurate forecasts of solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and geomagnetic storms that can impact satellite operations, aviation, and power grids on Earth.
- Advanced Solar Physics: The mission's success could contribute to the advancement of solar physics, offering a deeper understanding of fundamental processes like magnetic reconnection, plasma heating, and solar wind acceleration. This knowledge can refine existing solar models and theories, enriching our comprehension of the Sun's behaviour and its effects on the solar system.
- Climate Research: By monitoring solar irradiance and studying solar variability, the mission's success could have implications for climate research. Accurate data on solar output can help improve climate models, aiding in the understanding of long-term climate patterns and variations influenced by changes in the Sun's energy output.
- Technological Resilience: Successful space weather prediction is crucial for safeguarding Earth's technological infrastructure. With more accurate forecasts, the potential impacts of solar storms on satellites, communication systems, and power grids can be mitigated, ensuring the resilience of critical technological systems.
- Global Scientific Collaboration: A successful Aditya L1 mission would likely encourage increased collaboration between international space agencies and researchers. The sharing of data, findings, and research outcomes could foster a broader global understanding of solar phenomena and their effects, promoting collaborative efforts in space exploration and scientific investigation.
- Inspiration for Future Endeavours: The success of the Aditya L1 mission could inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers, and space enthusiasts. By showcasing India's capabilities in solar exploration, the mission could encourage students and young professionals to pursue careers in space science and technology, ultimately driving innovation and progress in related fields.
Hence, the Aditya L1 mission's scientific objectives of studying the solar corona, magnetic activity, variability, and chromosphere hold immense significance for advancing our knowledge of the Sun and its effects on Earth and space. The mission's outcomes have the potential to improve space weather prediction, enhance our understanding of solar physics, foster international collaboration, and inspire the youth towards scientific pursuits.
Aug. 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 28, 2023
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to surpass human intelligence but is associated with ethical issues. Discuss. Also, outline the steps that need to be taken to ensure the responsible and safe development of AI.
Introduction: Briefly introduce Artificial intelligence and highlight the need for addressing the ethical issues.
Body: Highlight the ethical issues associated with AI and ways to develop responsible AI.
Conclusion: Conclude by summarizing the need and ways of building an ethical AI.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) defines artificial intelligence (AI) as "the ability of machines to mimic human cognitive functions that include learning and problem-solving." Flagging the concerns over its algorithmic bias and its disruptive impact on society PM Modi recently highlighted the need for a global framework to ensure the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI).
Ethical issues with AI:
- Bias and Fairness:
Concern: AI systems can inadvertently inherit biases present in their training data, leading to discriminatory outcomes.
Example: A facial recognition system exhibiting racial bias, misidentifying individuals with darker skin tones more frequently than those with lighter skin tones.
- Privacy Invasion:
Concern: AI-driven surveillance and data analysis can compromise individuals' privacy by collecting and analyzing personal information without consent.
Example: Smart home devices record conversations and activities without users' explicit knowledge, potentially violating their privacy.
- Job Displacement:
Concern: Automation by AI technologies can lead to job loss for certain professions, contributing to unemployment and economic disparities.
Example: Automated customer service chatbots replacing human customer support agents, leading to reduced job opportunities in the service sector.
- Accountability and Responsibility:
Concern: Determining responsibility for actions taken by AI systems becomes challenging, particularly in complex decision-making scenarios.
Example: An autonomous vehicle causing an accident raises questions about who is legally responsible: the vehicle owner, the software developer, or the manufacturer.
- Deepfakes and Misinformation:
Concern: AI-generated deepfakes can spread misinformation and manipulate public perception, potentially harming individuals' reputations or influencing elections.
Example: AI-generated videos depicting public figures saying things they never actually said, creating confusion and misleading the public.
- Security Risks:
Concern: Hackers and malicious actors can exploit AI systems to launch cyberattacks and breach sensitive data.
Example: Adversarial attacks on AI-powered image recognition systems, where slight modifications to input images lead to misclassification.
- Lack of Transparency:
Concern: Complex AI algorithms may lack transparency, making it difficult to understand how they arrive at decisions.
Example: Financial institutions using AI-based credit scoring models might struggle to explain to customers why a certain credit decision was made.
- Consent and Autonomy:
Concern: AI systems can make decisions on behalf of individuals without their explicit consent, raising questions about personal autonomy.
Example: AI-powered medical devices making treatment decisions for patients without obtaining their informed consent.
- Ethical Decision-Making:
Concern: Teaching AI systems to make ethical decisions poses challenges, as cultural and moral values vary across societies.
Example: An autonomous vehicle faced with a choice between saving the driver or pedestrians prompts the "trolley problem," highlighting the complexity of programming ethical choices
Way Forward for Building Responsible AI:
- Comprehensive Approach to Governance: The most effective path forward involves a comprehensive "whole of society" approach to governing AI. This encompasses creating broad ethical principles, norms, and guidelines and necessitates inclusive engagement during the design, development, and implementation stages.
- Fostering Positive Traits of AI: The establishment of transparency, accountability, inclusivity, and societal trust is pivotal for nurturing the potential of AI to bring forth groundbreaking innovations. These qualities are crucial to ensure that AI benefits society while minimizing negative repercussions.
- Global Cooperation for Effective Governance: Due to the worldwide nature of AI's impact, a "whole of world" approach is essential for effective governance. Countries worldwide, including India, recognize the dual nature of AI—its potential benefits and inherent risks—and are striving to strike a balance between promoting AI and upholding ethical governance.
- Responsible AI Initiatives: Initiatives like NITI Aayog's Responsible AI for All strategy, developed through a year-long consultative process, serve as exemplars. This strategy acknowledges the indispensable role of multi-stakeholder governance structures in ensuring equitable and just dividends from our digital future.
Addressing the ethical concerns requires a combination of regulatory frameworks, transparent development practices, ongoing research, and collaboration among policymakers, industry experts, ethicists, and the public to ensure that AI technologies are developed and deployed in ways that prioritise human welfare and societal well-being.
Aug. 26, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 26, 2023
Highlight the effects of sustained high inflation on businesses, consumers, and the overall investment climate in India. Also suggest measures to mitigate these effects.
Introduction: Give a basic overview of inflation status in India along with context of sustained high inflation.
Body: Highlight the impact of high inflation on businesses, consumers and overall investment climate change.
Conclusion: Briefly describe how these impacts can be minimized as a way forward.
Sustained high inflation, characterized by a persistent increase in the general price level of goods and services, can wield profound implications on India's economy. In India, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate has been rising steadily in recent months. In June 2023, the CPI inflation rate was 7.01%, the highest it has been since May 2014.
The high inflation rate is being driven by a number of factors, including rising food prices, fuel prices, and transportation costs.
Effects on Businesses:
- Cost Escalation: Enterprises confront a formidable challenge of escalating production costs due to surging prices of inputs, thereby compressing profit margins.For instance, during the inflationary spike in 2011-12, input costs for Indian industries surged by an average of 12%.
- Pricing Conundrum: High and volatile inflation necessitates frequent adjustments in pricing strategies, often eroding consumer trust and loyalty.: The case of the Indian automotive sector during the inflationary period of 2007-08 exemplifies the pricing challenges. Tata Motors' frequent price revisions due to soaring input costs and volatile inflation negatively impacted consumer perception and sales.
- Operational Disruptions: The need for recurrent adaptations to inflation can disrupt business operations and necessitate reallocation of resources.The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) reported disruptions in supply chains due to cost fluctuations during inflationary cycles.
- Investment Constraint: The pervasive uncertainty stemming from high inflation tends to discourage long-term investments, impeding capital expansion and technological modernization. Studies, such as those conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), indicate that prolonged high inflation tends to discourage fixed capital investments, impacting technological advancement and capacity expansion.
Effects on Consumers:
- Purchasing Power Erosion: The erosion of purchasing power, a direct consequence of high inflation, diminishes the real value of incomes, impacting living standards. For instance, in a period of five years (2012-2017), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) witnessed a cumulative increase of approximately 29%, diminishing real incomes.
- Altered Consumption Patterns: Consumers gravitate towards essential goods and services as discretionary spending becomes constrained, affecting industries catering to non-essential items. Research by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that during inflationary phases, consumers shift towards necessities. The demand for non-essential items like consumer durables witnessed a decline during the inflationary surge of 2013-14.
- Savings Dilution: The diminished real returns on savings incentivize individuals to reconsider saving behavior, potentially leading to reduced savings rates. The Reserve Bank of India's annual report highlights that elevated inflation negatively affects real interest rates, disincentivizing savings.
- Debtor-Creditor Dynamics: High inflation can favor debtors by enabling them to repay loans with depreciated currency, while creditors endure diminished real returns.A case study by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) indicates that high inflation can benefit debtors.
Effects on Investment Climate:
- Heightened Uncertainty: Sustained high inflation engenders an environment of uncertainty, rendering future price and yield projections intricate for investors. The investment climate during India's inflationary surge in the late 2000s saw a decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.
- Interest Rate Adjustment: Central banking authorities may resort to elevating interest rates to combat inflation, potentially augmenting the cost of borrowing. The Reserve Bank of India's decision to increase the policy rate during the high inflation period of 2013-14 illustrates this.
- Impaired Long-Term Investments: The climate of uncertainty induced by inflationary pressures tends to deter long-term investments, stymieing economic growth prospects.
- Foreign Investment Implications: Elevated inflation rates could potentially deter foreign investors, thereby influencing the trajectory of foreign direct investment. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has noted that elevated inflation rates can discourage foreign investors. During India's inflationary phase in the early 2010s, FDI inflows exhibited a decline.
Measures to Mitigate Effects:
- Cost Efficiency: Implement lean practices, streamline operations, and adopt technology to optimize costs.
- Adaptive Pricing: Develop dynamic pricing models that consider inflation trends and consumer behavior.
- Diversification: Source inputs from multiple suppliers and explore local alternatives to mitigate supply chain disruptions.
- Risk Hedging: Utilize financial instruments like forwards and swaps to hedge against volatile input prices.
- Financial Literacy: Provide educational campaigns on managing finances during inflationary periods.
- Sustainable Consumption: Encourage responsible spending and emphasize the value of essential goods.
- Investment Diversification: Educate consumers about inflation-protected investments like indexed bonds and commodities.
- Debt Management: Promote fixed-rate loans and debt consolidation options to manage repayments.
For Investment Climate:
- Inflation Targeting: Establish clear inflation targets and a credible monetary policy framework.
- Transparent Communication: Provide regular updates on policy actions and their rationale to reduce uncertainty.
- Stable Fiscal Policies: Implement fiscal discipline to manage government spending and avoid demand-pull inflation.
- Promote Long-Term Investments: Introduce tax incentives for investments with longer lock-in periods and reduced capital gains tax.
A concerted effort towards stability and sustainable growth can counter the challenges posed by high inflation and create a more resilient economic environment.
Aug. 25, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 25, 2023
Elucidate the provisions of the Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023. Also, highlight the challenges to the adoption of Generic Drugs in India and suggest measures to address them.
Introduction: Introduce the context of recent guidelines published by NMC on professional conduct.
Body: Write the features of Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023 and the challenges associated with which it is getting backlash. Suggest a suitable way forward to deal with the controversy.
Conclusion: Conclude by highlighting the need to balance the interest of all stakeholders
The National Medical Council has recently issued guidelines mandating doctors to prescribe only generic drugs, which has been met with strong opposition from the Indian Medical Association, who called the guidelines unscientific and impractical.
Provisions of the new guidelines on professional conduct:
- Social media usage: Doctors are allowed to share accurate and verifiable information on social media platforms, but they must avoid disseminating misleading or false content. They are also prohibited from discussing patient-specific treatment details, sharing patient scans, or endorsing patient testimonials.
- Right to refuse treatment: Doctors have the right to refuse treatment to patients and their relatives who exhibit abusive, unruly, or violent behavior. They are also allowed to deny treatment to patients who cannot afford it, except in cases of medical emergencies. Discrimination based on factors such as gender, race, religion, caste, or social status is strictly prohibited.
- Prescription and medication guidelines: Doctors are required to write prescriptions in clear and legible capital letters. They are also encouraged to prescribe generic medicines, promote the judicious use of fixed-dose combinations, and educate patients about the equivalence of generic and branded medicines.
- Continuous Professional Development (CPD): Medical professionals are required to engage in ongoing learning activities throughout their active years to stay updated with the latest medical advancements and practices. They are mandated to earn a minimum of 30 credit points in their relevant fields every five years as part of their CPD requirements.
- Conference participation guidelines: CPD sessions and conferences must not be sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry to ensure unbiased and evidence-based education. Medical practitioners are advised to refrain from participating in third-party educational activities that are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Acceptance of gifts, hospitality, cash, or grants from pharmaceutical companies is strictly prohibited.
- Other guidelines: Doctors are prohibited from soliciting patients directly or indirectly through social media platforms. They are also prohibited from practicing medicine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Challenges to the adoption of Generic Drugs in India:
- Low awareness among patients and prescribers. Many patients and prescribers in India are not aware of the benefits of generic drugs. They may be more familiar with branded drugs and may believe that they are of higher quality. Example A 2019 study by the Indian Council of Medical Research found that only 20% of patients in India were aware of generic drugs.
- Negative perception of generic drugs. Some people in India have a negative perception of generic drugs, believing that they are of lower quality than branded drugs. This perception may be due to the fact that generic drugs are often cheaper than branded drugs. Example 2018 survey by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority found that 60% of Indians believed that generic drugs were of lower quality than branded drugs.
- Quality issues. There have been some cases of quality problems with generic drugs in India. This is due to a number of factors, including lax regulatory oversight and poor manufacturing practices. Example In 2018, the Indian government recalled millions of doses of generic drugs after it was found that they were contaminated with bacteria.
- Lack of availability. Generic drugs may not be available in all parts of India, especially in rural areas. This is due to a number of factors, including the lack of a strong distribution network and the low profit margins for generic drugs. Example A 2019 study by the Indian Council of Medical Research found that only 60% of rural pharmacies had a stock of generic drugs.
5-Patent protection. Some brand-name drugs are still under patent protection in India, which means that generic versions of these drugs cannot be manufactured or sold. This can make generic drugs more expensive and less accessible. Example In 2023, there are still about 200 brand-name drugs that are under patent protection in India.
1-The NMC and the IMA can continue to engage in dialogue to reach a mutually agreeable solution. This could involve the NMC providing more clarity on the guidelines and the IMA providing more evidence to support their objections.
2-Strengthening the regulation of drug prices and ensuring the quality of generic medicines can build trust among patients. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is responsible for regulating the prices of pharmaceutical products in India.
3-Enhancing affordability: Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is a scheme that aims to provide quality generic medicines at affordable prices through dedicated Jan Aushadhi stores.
4-Patients could be more educated about the benefits of generic drugs. This could help to reduce the demand for branded drugs and make it easier for doctors to prescribe generics.
5-The pharmaceutical industry could play a more active role in promoting the use of generic drugs. This could involve providing financial incentives to doctors and patients to use generics.
Hence the best approach will be the one that best balances the interests of patients, doctors, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Aug. 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 24, 2023
"Despite the innumerable road safety campaigns and awareness drives, India still ranks first in the number of road accident deaths in the world." In light of this statement discuss the challenges to road safety in India and the role of the Bharat NCAP in enhancing vehicle safety standards.
Introduction: Introduce by elaborating the statement of the question
Body: Address the challenges of road safety and the role of Bharat NCAP
Conclusion: Give a holistic conclusion
Despite extensive safety campaigns, India ranks highest in road accident deaths, contributing to 11% of global fatalities. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways aims for collaborative efforts to enhance safety infrastructure.
Challenges to Road Safety in India
- Poor Build Quality of Vehicles: India's car industry grapples with issues like weak welding, subpar materials, and hasty assembly. Resultant risks encompass safety hazards, excessive noise, and accelerated wear.
- Poor Infrastructure: Many Indian roads lack proper infrastructure and maintenance, including inadequate signage, poorly designed intersections, and uneven surfaces, contributing to accidents.
- Traffic Management: Traffic management is often chaotic, with a mix of vehicles, pedestrians, and animals sharing the same space. Lack of proper traffic enforcement and adherence to rules adds to the challenges.
- Unsafe Driving Practices: Over-speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol are widespread issues. Wearing seat belts and helmets is not always prioritized.
- Lack of Road User Awareness: Many road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, are unaware of road safety rules and their rights on the road, leading to unsafe behaviours.
- Rapid Urbanization and Motorization: India's rapid urbanization has led to increased vehicle ownership without corresponding improvements in road safety infrastructure.
- Inadequate Law Enforcement: While laws and regulations exist, enforcement is often lacking. This allows offenders to escape accountability for their actions.
Role of Bharat NCAP: The Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) was launched to enhance vehicle safety standards in India. Its role in addressing road safety challenges includes:
- Vehicle Safety Standards: Bharat NCAP aims to encourage automakers to improve the safety of vehicles sold in India by evaluating and rating their safety performance. This encourages manufacturers to incorporate safety features like airbags, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), and crash-resistant structures.
- Consumer Awareness: By providing safety ratings for vehicles, Bharat NCAP empowers consumers with information to make safer choices when purchasing cars. This can drive demand for safer vehicles and encourage automakers to prioritize safety features.
- Encouraging Innovation: As automakers strive to achieve higher safety ratings, they are incentivized to innovate and develop new technologies that enhance vehicle safety.
- Government Policy Influence: Bharat NCAP's evaluations can influence government policies regarding vehicle safety regulations and incentives, thereby fostering a safer environment for road users.
- Long-Term Impact: Over time, as safer vehicles become more prevalent on Indian roads, the severity of accidents could potentially reduce, leading to lower fatalities and injuries.
However, it's important to note that while Bharat NCAP is a step in the right direction, it's just one piece of the puzzle. Road safety requires a comprehensive approach involving infrastructure development, public awareness campaigns, stringent law enforcement, and improvements in emergency medical services.
Aug. 23, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 23, 2023
Examine the role of BRICS in promoting a multipolar world order. Also, mention the challenges it is currently witnessing and the ways to resolve them.
Introduction: Briefly mention about BRICS and its relevance.
Body: Highlight BRICS's role in promoting a multipolar world order. Also, mention the current challenges faced by it.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward.
BRICS brings together 5 major emerging economies i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It represents 42% of the world's population, 30% of the world’s territory, 23% of global GDP, and around 18% of world trade. It has a critical role in the global process of building a new world order through the consolidation of international efforts.
Role of BRICS in promoting a multipolar world order:
- Voices of Global South: In the past, India and other Asian and African countries have criticized the dominance of European and Western countries at international forums and institutions, such as the United Nations. Interest from 40 countries in joining an expanded BRICS reflects the discontent of global South countries regarding their global standing.
- Bridge b/w North & South: BRICS acts as a bridge between developing countries and the developed world and takes up issues that are very relevant to the developing countries. For example, in the WTO, the BRICS countries are trying to promote a fairer order regarding agricultural policies and are advocating reform of the UN Security Council.
- Reforms in multilateral institutions: It has acted as a pressure group on the question of reform of multilateralism and also on the question of reform of global governance institutions. The group pledged a corpus of $75 billion to the IMF as a precondition of voting rights reform in June 2012 which is not only the end of US hegemony in institutions but also the start of a more democratic world order.
- New Economic Order: Since its inception, the group has taken various initiatives that have changed the world economic order. Example: Creation of the New Development Bank in 2015 which is today considered a rival of the World Bank rather than to save members from immediate economic shocks. The group has also agreed to the Contingent Reserve Agreement, which is considered a rival of the International Monetary Fund.
- New front to balance Western dominance: The cumulative economy of the group members aggregates to around 17 trillion in nominal terms which is 22% of the world economy in the current context. The group has India and China which are today the fastest growing economies and are also considered as the future superpower of the world.
Challenges faced by BRICS:
- Lack of a binding ideology: Both China and Russia are now viewing the West with a lot more suspicion than before. This is due to the Russia-Ukraine War and frequent roadblocks in US-China ties. But meanwhile, India has been deepening its relations in spheres of economy and technology with the US, of late. This makes having a common policy and cooperation within the grouping difficult.
- Bilateral differences between member countries: especially b/w India and China, such as China's aggression in eastern Ladakh last year brought India-China relations to their lowest point in several decades. Also, China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea have been a source of tension with other BRICS countries that have competing claims in the region.
- Institutional Constraints: The New Development Bank (NDB), which intends to provide development financing, has faced challenges in disbursing loans and identifying viable projects. The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), a pool of foreign exchange reserves, has not been tested yet.
- China Centric nature of the group: All the countries in the BRICS grouping trade with China more than each other, therefore it is blamed as a platform to promote China’s interests. Balancing the trade deficit with China is a huge challenge for other partner nations.
- New global model of governance: Amidst, global slowdown, trade war and protectionism, the critical challenge for the BRICS consists in the development of a new global model of governance which should not be unipolar but inclusive and constructive. The goal should be to avoid a negative scenario of unfolding globalization and to start a complicated merging of the global growing economies without distorting or breaking the single financial and economic continuum of the world.
- Explore BRICS Plus: The BRICS needs to explore the ‘BRICS plus’ cooperation to increase its relevance in the global order. This would increase BRICS countries’ representation and influence and make greater contributions to world peace and development.
- Peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crisis: BRICS nations should strive for peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crisis and conflict in various regions of the world. Also, it is equally important that members maintain communication and coordination on major international and regional issues and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns.
- Economic interests: In the light of the rising tide of de-globalisation and the increase of unilateral sanctions, BRICS member countries should enhance cooperation in supply chains, energy, food and financial resilience. Also, it should develop an institutional research wing, along the lines of the OECD, which would offer solutions that are better suited to these developing economies.
- Democratization of international issues: Agreements on global agendas like Ukraine, climate change, debt financing and others should be reached with the widest and equal participation of all stakeholders and be based on universally recognized legal norms.
- Expand its agenda: The BRICS needs to expand its agenda to increase its relevance in the global order. For Example - Climate finance, digital economy and enhancing connectivity among the member countries etc.
In these changing times, BRICS can contribute significantly to maintaining international stability and ensuring global economic growth, by emphasizing extensive consultation and joint contributions to enhance cooperation among emerging markets. Also, it can become a united centre of the multipolar world by increasing the voice of the global south in global governance.
Aug. 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 22, 2023
Discuss the key factors influencing the contemporary India-China relationship and its impact on regional stability.
Introduction: Introduce the present complexities of India China relationship
Body: Discuss the key factors that influence the India-China relationship and its impact on regional stability and further suggest some way forward.
Conclusion: Conclude in a holistic way
The contemporary India-China relationship is a complex interplay of various factors that shape their bilateral interactions. These factors hold significant implications for regional stability in Asia. From historical disputes to economic ties and geopolitical ambitions, the dynamics between these two Asian giants have far-reaching consequences for the overall stability of the region.
Key factors influencing the contemporary India-China relationship:
- Border Disputes and Territorial Claims: The unresolved border issues, particularly in the regions of Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, have led to periodic tensions and military standoffs. The lack of a defined border has resulted in differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), leading to incidents that challenge bilateral trust and stability.
- Geopolitical Rivalry and Influence: Both India and China vie for influence in the Indo-Pacific region and on the global stage. Their competition for regional leadership, access to markets, and control over key sea lanes have led to cautious cooperation and strategic manoeuvring, impacting their overall relationship.
- Economic Interdependence and Trade: Economic ties form a significant aspect of the relationship. China is India’s 2nd largest trading partner, but the trade deficit and concerns over market access for Indian goods persist. Despite this, economic cooperation remains a stabilizing factor, and both nations are members of initiatives like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS that promote economic integration.
- Infrastructure and Connectivity Projects: China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have raised Indian concerns due to their implications for regional geopolitics and India's sovereignty. India's scepticism towards these projects affects its approach to cooperation and collaboration within multilateral forums.
- Security and Military Posturing: The modernization of China's military and its increasing naval presence in the Indian Ocean, coupled with India's strategic partnerships with the United States and other countries, add a layer of security complexity. Both nations are cautious about any moves that could be perceived as military encroachment.
- Divergent Political Systems and Values: The differing political ideologies and governance systems of India and China influence their diplomatic interactions. India's democratic structure contrasts with China's one-party rule, impacting their approaches to human rights, international institutions, and regional conflicts.
Impacts of the contemporary India-China relationship on regional stability:
- Regional Security Concerns: Tensions and occasional border incidents between India and China can lead to broader regional security apprehensions. Neighbouring countries may be concerned about potential spillover effects or the escalation of conflicts that could destabilize the entire region.
- Alliance Dynamics: The India-China relationship has implications for regional alliances and partnerships. Countries in the region often recalibrate their foreign policies in response to the evolving dynamics between these two major powers, potentially leading to shifts in alliances that could impact stability.
- Economic Interdependence: The economic ties between India and China, despite challenges, have contributed to a degree of interdependence. Any disruptions in trade or economic relations could have cascading effects on regional economies, potentially impacting stability and growth.
- Maritime Security and Territorial Disputes: Competing maritime interests and territorial claims in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean have the potential to heighten tensions and provoke instability. These disputes involve not only India and China but also other neighbouring countries, adding complexity to the regional security landscape.
- Strategic Balancing and Multilateral Initiatives: As India and China engage in strategic balancing between global and regional powers, their choices can influence the direction of multilateral initiatives aimed at maintaining regional stability. Their participation and leadership in organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS can impact the overall regional security architecture
- Dialogue and Diplomacy: Prioritize consistent and open channels of communication between India and China to prevent misunderstandings and mitigate conflicts. Regular diplomatic dialogues and mechanisms should be established to address issues promptly and transparently.
- Conflict Avoidance Mechanisms: Strengthen existing conflict avoidance mechanisms along the border, such as hotlines and joint military exercises, to reduce the risk of unintended military confrontations. Implement confidence-building measures to enhance trust and transparency.
- Economic Engagement and Trade Balance: Focus on enhancing economic cooperation and trade relations while addressing concerns related to the trade imbalance. Explore avenues for mutual benefit, such as infrastructure development projects and joint ventures, to promote sustainable economic growth.
- Regional Collaborative Initiatives Engage: in regional initiatives that promote collaboration, stability, and development in the broader Asian region. Encourage joint projects, partnerships, and dialogues within platforms like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to address common challenges.
- Cultural and Educational Exchanges: Foster people-to-people connections through cultural exchanges, educational programs, and tourism. Highlight shared historical and cultural ties to build understanding and goodwill, which can positively impact bilateral relations.
India and China, by fostering diplomatic collaboration and strengthening economic ties, can effectively tackle global challenges. Their joint efforts in international platforms and commitment to constructive engagement can lead to innovative solutions and contribute to a more stable and harmonious global landscape.
Aug. 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Aug. 21, 2023
Explain the phenomenon of the formation of hurricanes and briefly discuss how climate change is fueling the occurrence of hurricanes.
Introduction: In light of the recent occurrence of Hurricane Hilary, briefly define hurricanes.
Body: Elaborate upon the phenomenon of the formation of hurricanes followed by writing points on the impacts of climate change upon hurricanes.
Conclusion: Briefly conclude by highlighting the importance of climate change mitigation to prevent this disaster.
Recently, tropical storm (Hurricane) Hilary has adversely hit West Mexico and Californian coasts leading to intense rainfall and flash flood events. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a hurricane is a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 119 kilometres per hour (74 miles per hour) or greater. The term "hurricane" is used in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean.
Formation of Hurricanes:
1. A pre-existing weather disturbance: A hurricane often starts as a tropical wave, which is a low-pressure area that moves through the tropics. The tropical wave can be caused by a number of factors, including thunderstorms, wind shear, and upper-level troughs.
- Convergence of winds: The tropical wave needs to have winds converging towards it. This means that the winds need to be blowing from different directions and coming together at the centre of the wave.
- Updraft: The warm, moist air from the ocean rises into the atmosphere. As the air rises, it cools and condenses, forming clouds. The release of latent heat from the condensation helps to power the storm.
- Rotation: The rising air creates a low-pressure area at the centre of the storm. This low-pressure area causes the winds to spiral inward, which creates the rotation of the storm.
- Strengthening: The hurricane will continue to strengthen as long as it has warm, moist air to feed it. The winds will also continue to increase as the storm grows larger.
Climate changes fueling hurricanes:
- Early formation of storms: Hurricane activity is common in North America from June through November, peaking in September after a summer buildup of warm water conditions. However, the landfall in the US occurs more than three weeks earlier than it did in 1900, nudging the start of the season into May.
- More intense rainfall: Hurricanes are projected to become more intense, meaning that they will produce more rainfall. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture, and the water vapour in the air is what fuels hurricanes. During the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, climate change boosted hourly rainfall rates in hurricane-force storms by 8-11 per cent.
- Slower-moving storms: Hurricanes are also projected to move more slowly. This is because the jet stream, which is a band of strong winds in the upper atmosphere, is expected to weaken in a warming climate. Slower-moving storms can stay over an area for longer, which can increase the amount of damage they cause.
- Frequent rapid intensification: Rapid intensification is when a hurricane's wind speed increases by at least 35 knots (40 miles per hour) in 24 hours. NOAA also projects that the proportion of hurricanes reaching the most intense levels with Category 4 or 5 could rise by about 10 per cent this century.
- More extreme events: Climate change is also making extreme weather events, such as major hurricanes, more likely. This is because the atmosphere is becoming warmer and more unstable, which can lead to more severe storms. According to NOAA, in the US, Florida has witnessed the most hurricanes making landfall, with more than 120 direct hits since 1851.
According to IPCC, the world is on track to warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This additional heat can fuel hurricanes intensity more than ever hence transition to renewable energy, reducing emission intensity and international cooperation to achieve Paris goals is the need of the hour.