Yojana Magazine January 2021 Summary: India @ 75

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Introduction

This edition of Yojana reflected upon the trials and tribulations over these 75years and the road ahead towards being an economic powerhouse with robust infrastructure leading to a 5 trillion dollar economy.

75 years of Independence

Quote: There is something unique in this soil, which despite many obstacles has always remained the abode of great souls. – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Data: 

  • India is the 3rd largest economy in terms of PPP(Purchasing Power Parity).
  • With a median age of less than 30 years, India is a young nation in the ageing world.

Key Takeaways:

India was built on a strong ethos and values system which is evident from the ancient culture that teaches us to live in harmony with nature. India was also known as Vishwa guru to again achieve this status we should:

  • India needs to grow at a rapid pace to raise the standard of living of the people along with focusing on inclusivity and sustainability.
  • Youth should be at forefront of fighting social evils like corruption, casteism, gender discrimination.
  • Along with the government, people should actively participate in developmental activities. Swachh Bharath became successful because of the mass participation of the masses.
  • The private sector should also join hands with the government, to fasten development.
Democracy, Polity & Governance

Quote: Democracy is not the law of majority but the protection of minority – Albert Camus.

Data: 

  • India is the largest democracy in the world.
  • Indian Constitution in its preamble aspires to build a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic. 

Democracy:

  • Democracy as a system of Governance is supposed to allow extensive representation and inclusiveness of as many people and views as possible to feed into the functioning of a fair and just society.
  • The definition of democracy is incomplete unless it is defined in social and individual contexts.
  • Democratic ideals represent various aspects of the broad idea of “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
  • Democracy includes political characteristics that can be seen to be intrinsically important in terms of the objective of democratic social living, such as freedom of expression, the participation of the people in deciding the factors governing their lives, public accountability of leaders, and equitable distribution of power.
  • When we say Indian democracy we mean not only political institutions and processes are democratic but also that Indian society and citizens are democratic reflecting ideas of liberty, equality, secularism, etc.

Challenges democracy face:

  • Rampant corruption: Corruption continues to exist in covert and overt ways at all three levels— political, bureaucratic, and corporate sector.
  • Unholy nexus between politicians, civil servants, and business houses. Led to the breakdown of democratic institutions.
  • Criminalization of Politics: Muscle power, money power, and worthless propaganda during elections are demeaning the sanctity of the election.
  • Practices of unnecessary and unreasonable horse-trading, defections have also been alarmingly increasing.
  • Intolerance: The greatest threat to Indian democracy and polity today is disunity among the different communities of the country.

Conclusion: India needs dedicated, selfless and honest rulers/administrators in order to see real democracy and promote good governance. All the citizens of our country should always remember that India is a Nation of “Unity in Diversity”. We all should always unitedly uphold the value of Democracy, Polity, and Governance.

[email protected]

Quote: Minimum Government, Maximum Governance

Data:

  • As per the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Report 2020, India ranks 63rd among 190 countries. This is a jump of 79 positions from 142nd in 2014.
  • FDI inflows between April 2014 – September 2019 stood at $319 bn which is nearly 50% of total FDI inflow in the last 20 years. During FY 2020-21, the total FDI inflow of $35.73 billion is the highest ever for the first five months of a financial year.
  • India’s position in the Global Innovation Index(GII) from 81 in 2015 to 48 in 2020.
  • According to the 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index India has lifted 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016. 
  • India pharmacy of the world – India manufactures more than 60% of all vaccines sold across the globe. Serum Institute of India(world’s largest distributor of vaccines).
  • Indian Startup culture has seen massive growth with >40,000 startups recognized till December 2020.

Historical Background of Indian Industry:

  • The advent of Britishers in India led to the decay of the Indian handicraft industry as
    • Machine-made goods started flooding into the Indian markets post-Industrial revolution in Britain.
    • Policies of British import of their goods and export of raw materials from India.
  • But soon after Independence, through the subsequent five-year plans, the government shifted its focus to industrialization.
    • First Five-year Plan mainly focused on the development of both the private and public sectors.
    • Second Five-plan, Mahalanobis Model gave priority to Industrialisation.
    • The third plan along with the first and second ones helped build up the capital goods industries in India. 
  • Between 1965- 1980, industrial growth saw a decline mainly due to the negligence of the consumer goods sector in the first three plans.
  • But between 1980-1991, industries recovered from downfall due to an increase in the productivity of Indian Industries and improvement in the manufacturing and capital goods sector. 

Government measures to improve Industry:

  • Economy:
    • Relaxation of FDI norms: Recently, the government has also approved 100% FDI through the automatic route in coal mining, 100% FDI through the direct route in contract manufacturing, and 74% through the automatic route in the Defense sector.
    • Under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the MSME contribution to the GDP is being targeted to be increased to 50% from the existing 30% which will create 5 crore jobs in the next few years.
    • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana launched in 2019 is providing 6,000 per year as minimum income support to all farmers. Agricultural bills will facilitate farmers by providing new markets, technology and bring investments to double farmer's income by 2022.
    • SDG India index and online dashboard to track the progress of 17 SDG goals to ensure harmony between development and environment.
    • The government’s flagship initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Atal tinkering labs helps to develop entrepreneur and Startup culture in India, evident in GII ranking.
  • Social Welfare:
    • Focus on inclusivity and equity through NITI Aayog's aspirational districts program. To tackle the developmental challenges in 115 aspirational districts.
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan made considerable progress by constructing 11 crore toilets to become open dedication free and improving the sanitation of people.
    • Aatmanirbhar Bharat's economic stimulus relief package of 20 lakh crore amounting to 10% of GDP was released to fight the pandemic.
    • 80 crore people were given free food grains till November 2020 under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and 20 crore Women Jan Dhan holders were given 500 per month for 3 months. MNREGA wage rate was increased to 202 per person per day.
    • The new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 will make India a global knowledge superpower. Through the SWAYAM portal, the government is bridging the digital divide for students.
  • Governance:
    • UPI and Aadhaar have drastically reduced the cost of money distributed among the poor and preventing leakages via its integration with the DBT scheme.
    • The Digital India campaign launched in 2015 has ensured the creation of a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Through the Bharat Net program, which is also the world’s largest rural broadband connectivity program, 2.5 lakh gram panchayats are being connected by a fiber-optic network.
  • Other measures like:
    • New Industry policy, labor codes in order to promote investors in India
    • Boosting domestic manufacturing through schemes like Production linked incentive schemes.

Conclusion:

Schemes like Atmanirbhar Bharat, vocal for local help India touch the USD 5 trillion economy with also focus on equity and inclusivity.

Education For New India

Quote: We are a forward-looking civilization and vibrant democracy that looks to interact with other countries to build a better world – PM Modi.

Data: 

  • The literacy rate of India presently stands at 74.04%.
  • As per the latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in comparison to 21 institutions in 2019, the latest edition has seen 26 Indian departments entering the top-100 list for their subjects.
  • In the Employability Rankings 2020, India has improved its ranking from 23 in 2010 to 15 in 2020. 

Background of Indian Education System:

  • Indian ancient education system has focussed on the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and truth as the highest human goals.
  • India flourished with institutes like Takshashila, Nalanda, and Vikramshila with a focus on research and development.
  • However as per Dharmpalji, the Indian education system crushed by the Britishers. This had put an end to indigenous institutes of India.
  • With Britishers, less focus on mass education, the Indian education system badly affected which is significant at the time of independence, the literacy rate was just 14%. 

Government Measures:

  • Established University Grants Commission and Secondary Education Commission.
  • National Educational Policy(1968) and National Policy on Education(1986).
  • National Commission on Teachers(1983-85)
  • National Curriculum Framework(2005)
  • Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009
  • Monitoring the universities progress through rankings like AISHE,
  • The recent National Educational Policy, 2020. 

National Educational Policy, 2020

The National Educational Policy aims to create a new system that is aligned with the global aspirational goals of 21st-century education by remaining consistent with Indian traditions and values. It will enable students to

  • Spirit of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity in students.
  • Holistic development of Child: Along with Science, Mathematics the curriculum will equally include arts, literature, humanities, and games.
  • It also aims to imbibe vocational skills in the child in order to increase employability.

Conclusion:

Hence by laying focus on education and increasing the funding by the government ensure that by 2022, New India will provide a strong foundation for an education system based upon the principles of accessibility, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability. This will give India again, the Vishwaguru status.

Successful Endeavour in Space

The Indian space program has come a long way in the 57 years since its inception. From a fledgling Sounding Rocket Launch Facility established in the early 1960s in Thumba near Trivandrum, it has matured into a giant world-class space power.

History of Indian Space:

  • Indian space program began in a modest way in 1962 with the formation of the Indian National Committee on Space Research(INCOSPAR).
  • In 1969, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was formed.
  • The 70s  were the learning phase during which many experimental satellites were built, including India’s first satellite Aryabhata, which was launched in 1975 from a launch center in the former Soviet Union.
    • APPLE, India’s first experimental communication satellite, launched by the European Ariane rocket, reached its final geosynchronous orbital home in June 1981.
  • The 1980s were the times for experimentation for the launch vehicle technologies when it endeavored to demonstrate the country's ability to develop ASLV a more capable launch vehicle compared to SLV-3.
    • INSAT-1B,  India’s first multipurpose operational satellite was launched in 1983.  It brought a revolution in India’s telecommunications, television broadcasting, and weather forecasting fields.
  • During the 1990s, ISRO began building the INSAT-2 series of multipurpose satellites indigenously.

Today,  India has a  fleet of advanced remote sensing satellites equipped with high resolution and multispectral cameras dedicated to the themes of cartography,  resource survey, and ocean and atmospheric applications. That is advancement in launch vehicles, expanding the scope of space missions by Isro.

Launch Vehicles by ISRO
ISRO has developed five launch vehicles(SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV Mk III which is also known as LMV3) and mastered the technology of rockets that use solid, liquid as well as cryogenic propellants.

  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages. With 49 successful flights over the years, PSLV has emerged as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India. PSLV created a world record by successfully placing 104 satellites(launched by PSLV-
    C37) in orbit during a single launch.
  • Geosynchronous  Satellite  Launch  Vehicle  Mark-II(GSLV  Mk  II) is a fourth-generation launch vehicle having three stages(including the cryogenic upper stage).
  • Cryogenic technology involves the storage of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at very low temperatures.
  • GSLV Mk III, India’s fifth-generation satellite launch vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster, and a cryogenic upper stage. The vehicle is designed to carry 4-ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit(LEO).
  • India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator(RLV  TD)  was successfully flight tested in May 2016.
  • The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Supersonic Combustion Ramjet(SCRAMJET) engine towards the realization of an air-breathing propulsion system was also successfully conducted in August 2016. With this, India became the fourth country to flight test the SCRAMJET engine.

 

 

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Science Missions by ISRO:

  • ISRO entered into the realm of science missions with a unique mission, Space Capsule Recovery Experiment-1 (SRE-1). Launched by PSLV in January 2007, SRE-1 with its scientific experiments orbited the Earth for 12 days and was successfully deorbited and recovered over the Bay of Bengal.
  • Launched by PSLV in October 2008, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was successfully navigated to the Moon. With this mission, India became the fourth country to send a probe to the lunar surface after the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan. Chandrayaan-1 conclusively discovered water molecules on the lunar surface.
  • Mars Orbiter Mission demonstrated India’s capability to build, launch and navigate an unmanned spacecraft to Mars. ISRO has become the fourth space agency to successfully send a spacecraft to Mars orbit.
  • AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical, and UV spectral bands simultaneously. AstroSat recently made a major breakthrough by discovering one of the earliest galaxies in extreme-Ultraviolet light.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 mission, India’s second mission to the moon, was successfully launched in July 2019.
  • ISRO has successfully established and operationalized Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) which provides highly accurate Position, Navigation, and Time information to users in India.
  • GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN), ISRO is providing Satellite-based Navigation services with accuracy and integrity required for civil aviation applications and to provide better Air Traffic Management over Indian Airspace.
  • Gaganyaan Programme to demonstrate human space flight capability to Low Earth orbit with 3 crew members for 5-7 days in orbit and safely recover them after the mission.
  • Space science missions like Chandrayaan-3, Aditya-L1, Mission to Venus to further explore the solar system, are in progress.

Capacity Building:

  • Towards capacity building in human resources and to meet the growing demands of the Indian Space Programme, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology(IIST), a deemed university, was established at Thiruvananthapuram in 2007.
  • The space sector was opened up to promote, handhold, regulate and authorize private
    enterprises and start-ups to undertake space activities by the creation of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center(IN-SPACe).

Conclusion: Thus, the Indian space program implemented by ISRO has enabled the pursuit of various frontier areas of space research besides facilitating the country's overall development and technological advancement.

Fiscal Federalism

Fiscal Federalism refers to the financial relations between the country’s Central Government and other units of Government. It essentially represents how expenditure and revenue are allocated across different layers of Government administration.

Evolution of Fiscal Federalism:

  • The evolution of fiscal federalism in India has its roots in 1858 when the British Govemment assumed direct sovereignty over the Indian territory. During that time Central Govemment retained the entire control of finances and made grants of money at its discretion to meet the demands of the local government.
  • Freedom struggle has led to Government of India Act, 1919 introduced a system of diarchy, dividing the administrative subjects and sources of revenue into two categories — Central and Provincial.
  • In 1927, Simon Commission reviewed the Government of India Act, 1919 and recommended the establishment of a federation of Indian States and provinces.
  • Expert Committee of 1931, suggested sharing of income tax between Centre and Provinces, fixing the share of Provinces for a period of five years.

Thus, the Act of 1919 and Act of 1935 established a basic structure of fiscal federalism in India.

Fiscal Federalism in India:

  • The Constitution specifies(Schedule 7) the taxation powers of both the Centre and the State and the principles governing the sharing of revenue and certain other resources.
  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts passed in 1992, the two-tiered Indian federal structure evolved into a three-tiered structure.
  • Post-implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is shared between Centre and States, Central Government retains the exclusive right for income tax.

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Central to State fund disbursal:

  • Central Government transfers funds to State Governments as General-Purpose transfers and Specific Purpose transfers.
  • The General-Purpose transfers are untied funds devolved to the State Governments via the Finance Commission. Finance Commission recommends the criteria for devolution of central taxes to States and the principles for the distribution of grants-in-aid. 15th Finance Commission has already made recommendations for 2020-21.
  • Specific Purpose Transfers may also be termed as tied transfers. These transfers are made by the concerned Central Ministries/Departments in the form of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).
  • Article 243 (I) & Article 243 (Y)further necessitated constitution of State Finance Commissions
    at regular intervals of five years, to decide the distribution of net proceeds of taxes between State and Panchayats.

Government measures:

Last few years witnessed certain major pronouncement which brought about structural changes in the Centre-State financial relations.

  • Increase in untied funds devolved to States
    • 14th Finance Commission recommended to increase the share of union tax proceeds from 32%to 42%. The biggest increase ever, the share of FC grants in total transfers increased to 74%.
  • Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)
    • The number of CSS was reduced from 66 to 28 in the year 2016-17 as per the recommendations of the sub-group of Chief Ministers on Rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
    • The funding pattern of core schemes was changed for large States to 60:40 (Centre: State) from 70:30 earlier.
    • The flexibility for States to use funds as per their local needs and requirements within schemes was increased from 10% earlier to 25%.
    • NITI  Aayog was entrusted with carrying out third party evaluation to improve the efficiency of expenditure and to improve outcomes.
  • End to Centralised Planning Era and Discretionary Grants
    • Plan and Non-Plan distinction in the budgeting exercise was done away with by the Union Budget 2017-18.
    • Discretionary transfers such as additional central assistance, special plan assistance, granted by the erstwhile Planning Commission were discontinued.
  • Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    • Article 279A, provided for the creation of a GST Council which is a joint forum of the  Union and States entrusted with the responsibility of making a recommendation on
      GST rates, taxes, cesses, exemptions, etc.
    • This unique institution has been working in an exemplary manner resonating with cooperative federalism.
  • Outcome-Based Budgeting
    • An expenditure reform was introduced in  2017-18with  the formulation of the output outcome framework for 68 Ministries/ Dept.along with the Union Budget document.
    • Data Monitoring and Evaluation Office of NITI Aayog and Public Finance (States) of
      The Ministry of Finance are the key coordinators in finalizing and monitoring this framework.

Role of NITI Aayog in Strengthening Federalism

  • Governing Council of NITI Aayog comprising Chief Ministers of all the States and UTs with Legislatures and  Lt.  Governors of other  UTs, provides a platform whereby the Centre and the States –Team India –can come together.
  • NITI Aayog has been providing relevant technical advice to the Centre, States, and UTs.
  • Promote competitive federalism by facilitating the improved performance of States/UTs by encouraging healthy competition through transparent ranking in various sectors.
  • NITI Aayog has also established models and programs for the development of infrastructure and to reignite and establish a private-public partnership, such as the Centre-State partnership model: Development Support Services to States and  Union Territories (DSSS)Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital (SATH) program.

Way Forward:

  • The challenge of striking a balance between efficiency and equity has always been a critical aspect of federalism. Meeting the aspiration of States is the foremost priority of Indian fiscal federalism.
  • The recent experience of tackling the Covid-19 crisis is a successful example of how the Centre and States have worked together to fight the pandemic.  Likewise,  steps have also been taken for the localization of Sustainable Development Goals so as to identify specific steps at the subnational levels.
  • There must be mechanisms in place to reward best performers, be it States or districts or even at block levels.
  • Two-way communication channels need to remain open all the time so that the issues get resolved quickly and development is not hampered. Only then the vision of a developed India can be realized in its truest sense.
Public Health Innovation

In the wake of Covid-19, public health has been brought to the forefront. Amidst the ongoing challenges of mitigating the pandemic, one thing has become clear, the need for affordable and accessible health care for all.

The idea behind Health for All is intrinsically interlinked with the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which envisages, that everyone, everywhere, has access to essential health care services without facing financial hardship.

Measures by the government:

  • The government of India in 2018 introduced the Ayushman Bharat program, with the aim to bolster the two pillars of Health for All – strengthening primary health care and providing health coverage.
    • Under this program, 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers are being set up to provide comprehensive primary health care.
    • The programme also provides health coverage for the bottom 40% of people.
    • Currently, the scheme is utilized to provide free testing and treatment for 53 crore beneficiaries.
  • Numerous programs have been designed to address health issues under the wider umbrella of the National Health Mission.
  • Universal Immunisation Programme which is one of the largest health programs in the world, has achieved stellar results such as the eradication of smallpox and polio.
  • National programs on health ranging from Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and  Adolescent Health(RMNCAH), nutritional programs, communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Prime  Minister gave a call to end TB and Malaria by 2025 and 2030 respectively and launched the National Strategic Plans(NSP) to this end.

Takeaways from Pandemic and our healthcare:

  • ICMR developed and validated the indigenous Covid Kawach Elisa test(antibody detection of the virus), a cheaper and low-cost diagnostic kit. Shows the need for innovation, particularly in the development of indigenous solutions, is essential to develop affordable health care products and services.
  • Importance of multi-sectoral partnerships and collaboration. It is because of this partnership that the ramping up of covid-19 testing infrastructure.
  • With the collaboration of private players, ICMR has established testing labs even in the remotest parts of the country.
  • Covid-19 has clearly shown us, technology can also play a significant role in the health sector.

Conclusion:

Alongside efforts to strengthen primary health care, raise public health expenditure and provide greater financial coverage, we also need an enabling environment for public health innovation through collaborative action to provide affordable tools to those who need it the most. Only then we will be able to ensure that no one is left behind when the next public health crisis strikes.

Infrastructure Development

 Infrastructure:

  • It is defined as those economic activities that support a whole host of many other activities that improve quality of life and economic development, while at the same time embracing social inclusion and sustainability with nature.
  • At a generally accepted level, infrastructure sectors are those that address energy, communication, transportation, housing, water, and sanitation.

Based on the author study, there are eight dimensions that enable infrastructure development:

  • Project Structuring
  • Project Evaluation: Financial, Economic, and Risks
  • Sourcing of Funds
  • Tendering and Bidding Process
  • Agreements
  • ProjectManagement
  • Post-Project Issues
  • Regulation and Dispute Resolution

Based on these dimensions, the author will analyze the development and changes in infrastructure.

Project Structuring

  • To enable greater focus, and to facilitate PPPs, we had to unbundle activities, either vertically or horizontally or both, and in some cases, even bundle.
  • The power sector is a good example. Electricity Boards were vertically unbundled into Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Companies. Distribution Companies further got horizontally unbundled, on a regional basis.
  • To enable ‘inclusion,’ especially where affordability for some user segments was an issue, many sectors have come up with structuring that recognizes the need for subsidy. For example – the telecom sector created a Universal Obligation Fund, by sourcing a percentage of commercially viable calls into this fund, from which subsidies would be provided for the rural and remote segments.

Project Evaluation: Economic and Risks

  • Projects have moved from being evaluated just financially – often without a revenue model, to
    economic evaluation with externalities (also called social cost-benefit analysis) to evaluations that include identification of risks and risk mitigation/management plans.
  • The road sector is a good example where initially only budget support was sought and there was no revenue model.

Sourcing of Funds

  • Starting from just budgetary support, to private funding, to revenue models, to partial government support through viability grants, various sources of funding have come to play.

Tendering and Bidding Process

  • The bidding process is also more consultative and manages expectations. The currently ongoing privatization of certain Passenger Train Operations is an example of openness, transparency, and responsiveness.
  • Bid criteria have evolved over time to get better alignment between the promoter and project
    expectation, as well as better risk allocation, transparency, and monitorability.
  • Ports moved from royalty to revenue share, to enable better risk allocation.
  • Airports have moved from revenue share to per passenger fee, to enable better monitoring.

Agreements

  • This is a critical area, which binds (and regulates) the relationship between the authority and concessionaire.
  • Over a period of time, agreements have gotten sharper on competition, scope increase, other revenue sources, tariff setting, ownership and change in ownership, common use versus captive use, targeting the poor and dealing with consequent financial-viability, and
    conditions for step in, termination, or transfer.
  • This has resulted in the recognition and need for more careful thought on outcome specifications, time frames, review triggers, termination conditions, and internal consistency.
  • Inflexibilities in Concession Agreements have often made negotiating on the table worthless, with the only recourse being courts.

Project Management

  • While greater professionalism and technologies have come in, vulnerability to land acquisition and environmental clearances have affected this.

Post-Project Issues

  • Post-project ownership is an important issue, where the original goals of competition or conflict of interest need to be considered, while at the same time providing a healthy platform for buy and sell of concessions.

Regulation and Dispute Resolution

  • Many regulatory institutions have been set up – The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the Central and State Electricity Regulatory Commissions, Tariff Authority for Major Ports, and Airport Economic Regulatory Authority.
  • Many projects have got stalled, primarily due to disputes. Land acquisition and Environmental
    Clearances are major reasons.

Way Foreward:

  • PPPs and the ability to think of commercializing infrastructure have provided a new platform for developing infrastructure. The idea of balanced risk allocation (allocate risks to the party which can bear it best) has gained traction.
  • Concession Agreements have yet to mature by providing trigger-based review mechanisms.
  • Conflicts of interest have to be recognized: policymaker versus regulator, regulator versus
    operator, policymaker versus operator, level playing field with a strong incumbent, though need to be addressed.
  • The project structuring, risk allocation, and regulatory outlook are still vulnerable to crony capitalism. Hence should be resolved through Transparency, mature media attention, and regulatory oversight.
Agriculture: The Road Ahead

Data:

  • India has 1.3. billion people or approximately 17.9% of the global population which lives on 2.4% of land and 5% of water resources of the world.
  • With 11% of total global agriculture, India ranks second in the world in agriculture production as the leading producer of several commodities.
  • Workforce engaged in this sector sharply declined from 60% in 2000 to 42% in 2019.
  • Agriculture production in 2019 was valued at USD 459 billion and the country’s global trade-in
    agriculture produce fetches more revenue than services or even manufacturing.
  • The internal rate of return on investment in agricultural research is estimated to be
    more than 42%.

Challenges of Agricultural Sector

  • The growing population poses a challenge to food and nutritional security when there is pressure on land due to urbanization, improved standard of living changed food habits, etc.
  • Climate Change impacts the lives of the people in India mainly due to erratic rainfall as nearly 62% of cultivated land is rain-fed.
  • Challenges like declining soil health, low nutrient content, the occurrence of new biotic stresses affect food security.
  • According to UNICEF, India was at 10th spot among countries with the highest number of underweight children and at 17th position for the highest number of stunted children in the world in 2019.
  • To meet these challenges, it is estimated that the country must prepare for increasing land productivity by 4 times, water productivity by 3 times, and labor output by 6 times

Solution/Wayforward:

All the above challenges have to be achieved with low carbon emission technology, no ecological footprints. Hence the best way is the technological innovation and up-gradation of the Indian agricultural sector.

  • Resource conservation technologies
    • Focusing on input use efficiency such as micro-irrigation practices.
    • Shifting to zero tillage/ minimum tillage methodologies.
    • Reduction of pesticides/insecticides by increasing farmyard manure, bio-fertilizers.
  • High yielding technologies
    • Technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 technology can be used to create seeds that are resistant to biotic, abiotic stresses and also better in quality of produce.
    • GM crops, bio-fortification can be practiced in order to address nutritional deficiencies.
  • Post-harvest technologies
    • The use of drones in Managing the recent locust infestation in India during the rainy season, 2020 has shown a new path of crop Protection.
    • Establishing cold chain facilities and enhancing supply chain management to reduce post-harvest losses.
  • Climate-resilient technologies
    • To use climate-resilient technology to not only protect the crop from the vagaries of climate change but also to adapt to climate change.

Conclusion:

  • The country needs to step up the production of many commodities by around 30% to feed the expected 1.7 billion people by 2050.
  • Naturally, strengthening research and development and innovations to create new technologies will be an important step for Indian agriculture as a road ahead.
  • Simultaneously like the current reforms in farm produce marketing, series of policy changes needed to give emphasis on technology and skill-intensive agriculture.
Indian Art & Culture

India is a land of rivers, a seat of many civilizations, spirituality, mysticism, traditional medicine. Land of diversity in color, religion, traditions, language, literature, music, poetry, dance, art, and culture.

A core value guiding Indian art and culture is inclusiveness. This led to adaptations and interventions of Moghul rule and European rule.

Moghul interventions

  • Moghuls introduced new instruments to India like the khamanche, rabab (which we know as the sarod today), Ek-tar, du-tar, se-tar (3 strings), which we know as the sitar today in its modified version.
  • North Indian classical music got more deeply influenced by khayal, qawwali, zikir-zari, Sufi, and folk. Thumri was added to the Kathak repertoire by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh.
  • Moghul brought an important intervention in architecture, building of domes, greater use of motifs, carving on marbles(observed in Taj Mahal)

European interventions

  • Adoption of European violin and European musical instruments(such as a piano) in Carnatic music.
  • Europeans brought with them a gothic style of architecture.
  • They also introduced company paintings to Indians during their rule.
Folk paintings Places
Warli painting Maharashtra
Madhubani painting Bihar
Gond painting Madhya Pradesh
Pichhwai, or Phad Rajasthan
Mata-ni-pachedi Gujarat
Kalamkari Andhra Pradesh
Thangka Himalayan region

Important folk music or dance form

 Folk music or Dance form Places
Garba Gujarat
Ghoomar Rajasthan
Bihu Assam
Santhal West Bengal
Bhangra Punjab

Conclusion:

Indian art & culture is the spirit of India which is all about the values of inclusiveness, beauty,
aesthetics, purity of intention, attention to detail, discipline, focus, the pursuit of perfection, willingness to connect with one’s higher self, openness, excellence, and plurality.

Paris Agreement

Paris Agreement:

  • The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 and entered into force in November 2016.
  • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

  • The Paris Agreement works on a 5- year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. Countries submit their plans for climate action known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas
    emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Long-Term Strategies

  • To better frame the efforts towards the long-term goal, the Paris Agreement invites countries to formulate and submit long-term low greenhouse gas emission development Strategies (LT-LEDS).
  • LT-LEDS provides the long-term horizon to the NDCs. Unlike NDCs, they are not mandatory.

Tracking Progress

  • With the Paris Agreement, countries established an enhanced transparency framework (ETF). Under ETF, starting in 2024, countries will report transparently on actions taken and progress in climate change mitigation, adaptation measures, and support provided or received.
  • It also provides for international procedures for the review of the submitted reports. The information gathered through the ETF will feed into the Global stocktake which will assess the collective progress towards the long-term climate goals.

AIPA of India

  • MoEFCC has constituted a high-level inter-ministerial Apex Committee for Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC.
  • The purpose of AIPA is to generate a coordinated response on climate change matters that ensures India is on track towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement including its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
  • AIPA will oversee the progress in the implementation of India’s NDC and receive periodic information updates to monitor, review and revisit climate goals to fulfill the requirements of the Paris Agreement.
  • Another key function of AIPA would be to operate as a National Authority to regulate carbon
    markets in India, issue guidelines on carbon pricing, market mechanism, and other similar
    instruments that have a bearing on climate change and NDCs.
  • The year 2021 would mark the beginning of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and
    constitution of AIPA is central to strengthening the national systems and institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of climate actions.



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