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Daily Current Affairs for IAS & UPSC Preparation

All current affairs available date-wise and month-wise. Watchout for Back2basics and Notes4students.


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Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc. Energy

‘Indian renewable energy firms among lowest rated’

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Particulars of the report


News

Poor Score

  1. According to a report by ratings agency Fitch, Indian renewable energy companies are among the most poorly rated investment grade companies in the Asia-Pacific region
  2. The agency expects renewable energy to make up a larger portion of India’s electricity generation, bolstered by untapped generation potential, strong policy support and lower tariffs
  3. The report added that small renewable players would remain protected from price risks due to long-term power purchase agreements
  4. But said that production volumes would vary on the basis of climatic patterns

Issues with Indian renewable issuers

  1. Ratings of the Indian renewable issuers reflect lower plant utilisation, limited operating history, volume risk, weaker counterparties, and weak but improving financial profiles

Report on petroleum products

  1. In a separate report, Fitch said that India’s overall demand for petroleum products would grow at about 5% over the medium term
  2. The demand is driven by strong GDP growth over the next two financial years and continued growth in auto sales

Triple talaq: Govt plans to make practice a punishable offence, likely to table Bill in winter session

Note4Students

Mains Paper2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Talaq-e-bidat

Mains level:  The news card discusses the recent government move of framing a law to make practice of triple talaq a punishable offence.


News

Context

  1. Three months after the Supreme Court set aside the centuries-old practice of instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in which Muslim men divorce their wives by uttering talaq three times in quick succession, the government has taken the first step to consider a legislation that will make triple talaq a criminal offence.
  2. A Bill to this effect is likely to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

The Committee

  1. A committee of ministers has been constituted to fine tune the legislation.
  2. The committee comprises Home Minister , External Affairs Minister, Finance Minister, Law Minister and Minority Affairs Minister.

Why such a law?

  1. In a landmark 3-2 verdict, three of five judges on a Constitution Bench called the practice un-Islamic and “arbitrary” and disagreed with the view that triple talaq was an integral part of religious practice.
  2. But the minority ruling while underlining the primacy of Muslim personal law, said the practice enjoyed constitutional protection and was beyond the scope of judicial scrutiny.
  3. They were of the view that Parliament should consider an “appropriate” law to deal with the issue of talaq-e-biddat.
  4. Sources said that recurrent reports of the practice continuing among Muslims despite the Supreme Court judgment spurred the decision to bring in a law with punitive measures.
  5. In spite of advisories to members of the community against this archaic practice, there seems to be no decline in the practice of divorce via talaq-e-biddat.

The impact of the proposed law

  1. The government suspects there may be many such unreported instances of instant triple talaq elsewhere in the country.
  2. Once a law is in place, the Muslim clergy will have no role in cases of talaq-e-biddat and women can directly approach police for redressal.  

Concerns

  1. While on the other hand some are of the view that there is no real reason to bring a law as the Supreme Court has already outlawed instant triple talaq.
  2. Others want more comprehensive law, like it is for personal affairs of Hindus and Christians is desired.
  3. Eight prominent citizens had submitted a draft ‘Progressive Uniform Civil Code’ to the Law Commission and according to them the announcement is welcome but insufficient.
  4. On the one hand is this government’s strange obsession with saving Muslim women.
  5. On the other is the complete indifference to issues which affect women across religions, gender and sexual orientation such as marital rape, rights of queer people to get married and raise children etc.

 

 

 

India’s sovereign rating: Moody’s justifies upgrade, says move based on reforms

Note4Students

                Mains Paper3 | Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth

Prelims: Debt/GDP, Moodys

Mains level: This news card talks about how Moodys has justified India’s rating upgrade.


News

Context

    1. Moody’s justified its upgrade of India’s sovereign rating, despite an economic slowdown in recent quarters and an expected rise in debt levels.
    2. It said the move was based on its assessment that a number of reforms by the government will combine to enhance the country’s structural credit strengths, including its strong growth potential, improving global competitiveness and its large and stable financing base for government debt.
  • Moody’s predicts a rebound in India’s growth to 7.5 per cent in 2018-19.

Why does Moodys predict a rebound in India’s growth story?

  1. India has a large and diversified economy and is improving its global competitiveness, this boosts economic strength.
  2. India’s economy’s shock absorption capacity, is “High (+)”, the fourth highest score on 15-rung sovereign factor score scale.
  3. While measures like demonetisation and the GST have undermined near-term growth, but as disruption fades, a rebound in real and nominal GDP growth is expected to sustained higher levels.
  4. It will lead to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term.
  5. It also termed the government’s massive Rs 2.11 lakh-crore plan for recapitalisation of public banks credit positive.
  6. While the capital injection will modestly increase the government’s debt burden, it should enable banks to move forward with the resolution of NPLs through comprehensive write downs of impaired loans and will gradually increase lending.
  7. Therefore, India’s debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise,
  8. Recent reforms, combined with India’s structural strength, offer greater confidence that the high level of public indebtedness, which is India’s principal credit weakness, will not rise materially even in potential downside scenarios and will eventually decline gradually.

India’s Sovereign Rating

  1. Although India’s general government debt burden is higher than some of its emerging market peers, its liabilties have dropped in last fiscal.
  2. India’s sovereign rating is still much lower than peers’, including China’s, despite much better macro-economic fundamentals.

 

 

 

Credit Suisse report: Networth of 92% Indians below Rs 6.50 lakh

Note4Students

Mains Paper3: Indian Economy | Issues relating growth and development.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Credit Suisse Report

Mains level: The points from the news card can be used as fodder material for the GS answers.


News

Context

  • There’s considerable wealth poverty in India with as many as 92 per cent of the adult population having a networth below $10,000 (around Rs 6.5 lakh), Swiss brokerage Credit Suisse said in a report.

The Report

  • In China, only 63 per cent of population have a networth below $10,000.
  • The report said just 0.5 per cent of Indians have a networth over $1,00,000 (Rs 65 lakh).

However, due to India’s large population, this translates into 4.2 million people.

The share of wealth

  1. The share of wealth fails to match the population share as the population share exceeds the wealth share by a factor of almost 10 in the country.
  2. The average wealth per adult here is estimated at $ 5,980 (Rs 3,88,700) in mid-2017.
  3. Personal wealth is dominated by property and other real assets, which make up 86 per cent of estimated household assets.
  4. Personal debt is estimated to be 9 per cent of gross assets, even when adjustments are made for under-reporting.

Comparison with USA

  1. But the country will see rapid growth in wealth, adding $2.1 trillion by 2022, an increase of 42 per cent over the present level of US dollar close to $5 trillion.
  2. Despite this and having four times the population of the US, India’s total wealth is comparable to the level for the US 90 years ago.

Other Statistics from the Report

  1. India would have 370,000 millionaires in 2022, up from 245,000 now, an increase of over 50 per cent.
  2. India saw a 9.9 per cent increase in household wealth.
  3. The aggregate global wealth rose by up 6.4 per cent.
  4. Also India has 340,000 adults in the top 1 per cent of global wealth holders, which is a 0.7 per cent share.
  5. But the overall household debt in the country as a proportion of assets is lower than in most of the developed countries.
  6. Globally, Switzerland, Australia and the US continue to occupy the first three positions.

 

 

 

India hosts congress on military medicine

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate

From the UPSC perspective the following things are important:

Prelims level: B2B

Mains level: Complement it with our other newscards on India’s Military exercises with other countries


News

World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine

  1. India is for the first time hosting the World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine
  2. It was formally inaugurated by Navy Chief and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee

Other particulars of the event

  1. Around 350-400 foreign delegates from 80 countries are expected to take part in the 42nd edition of the Congress
  2. Theme: ‘Military Medicine in Transition: Looking Ahead’

Back2basics

International Committee of Military Medicine

  1. The International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) is an international and intergovernmental organization consisting of more than one hundred states
  2. The ICMM was established in 1921, after World War I had revealed the lack of care provided to victims and the need to strengthen cooperation between the health services of the armed forces worldwide

[op-ed snap] The rural economy is not just about farming

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Development and employment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Contribution of rural industrial sector to Indian Economy


News

Context

  1. It is no secret that millions of Indians are moving to cities in search of better lives
  2. The facts about the rapid transformation of the rural economy in recent years are less well known
  3. These facts are important given that India has to create around 10 million jobs every year to stave off social unrest

Contribution of Rural Industry to Indian Economy

  1. A new paper written for the NITI Aayog provides fascinating insights into the structural transformation of the rural economy
  2. More than half of Indian industrial production comes from the rural areas
  3. Rural construction also accounts for nearly half of the total building activity in the country
  4. The value of rural services is about a quarter of the total services output
  5. Agriculture has accounted for less than half of total rural output since the turn of the century

Paradox of the rural industrial sector

  1. Production by rural factories was only a quarter of the total industrial production in the country in 1971
  2. That share doubled by 2012
  3. The puzzling fact is that the share of rural industrial employment in total industrial employment has been around the same over those four decades
  4. The economists(who wrote the paper for NITI Aayog) suggest that rural industries have been more intensive users of capital than their urban counterparts, though there is no detailed examination of this paradox in their paper

Puzzling fact of the rural industry

  1. The higher capital intensity of rural industries is puzzling because one would have expected the opposite
  2. Because the fact that the rural wages are lower and rural industries are likely to be more credit constrained than urban industries

Balancing the number of rural jobs

  1. The lack of adequate job creation by rural industries is balanced by the rising share of rural construction work in employment statistics
  2. The rural housing boom in the first decade of this century absorbed millions of workers

What could be the central challenge of Indian public policy in the coming decades?

  1. Rural employment has shrunk after 2005 while the urban areas have not been able to absorb the millions who are leaving the farm
  2. Possible Solution: The government has to figure out whether it wants to deal with the problem of rural joblessness indirectly through promoting urban growth or directly through the creation of jobs in villages

Comparison of India with other countries

  1. The development experience of most successful countries has involved a shift of labour from traditional sectors with low productivity to modern sectors with high productivity
  2. Countries such as India that have not yet made the transition inevitably have dual economies—where the traditional sector coexists with the modern sector
  3. Mainstream growth models deal with a single sector with a single production function
  4. And hence have their limitations in a country such as India where multiple economies exist in proximity to each other

Whether India should bank on the Asian development model?

  1. It is a model of helping people move to high-productivity activities or try to raise productivity levels in the traditional sectors
  2. Some of the ongoing debates on the need to bring informal enterprises into the formal economy need to be framed against the backdrop of this big policy choice
Financial Sector Reforms in India

[op-ed snap] The case for flexible fiscal targeting

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Government Budgeting

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Fiscal deficit, fiscal consolidation, fiscal stimulus, FRBM Act, N.K. Singh Committee on FRBM,

Mains level: Changes required in framing fiscal policy


Context

Growing concern regarding fiscal deficit target breach

  1. There is growing concern that India will miss the fiscal deficit target of 3.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) set in the Union budget for the year to 31 March
  2. The Centre has been on a path of fiscal consolidation, narrowing its deficit from a high of 5.9% in FY12 to 3.5% of GDP in FY17
  3. The government’s revenue collection in the current year is falling short of target, leading to concerns on the fiscal front
  4. With GDP growth slipping, there is increasing clamor for fiscal stimulus to revive the economy

What does missing the fiscal deficit target really mean for the Indian economy?

  1. Higher fiscal deficit for an economy means increased government borrowing, which in turn implies higher interest burden
  2. India has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 68%, which is the highest among its emerging market peers
  3. Many of the developed economies like the US and Japan have much higher debt-to-GDP ratio (108% and 240%, respectively)
  4. However, their interest burden is much less as their governments are borrowing at much lower interest rates
  5. Most of India’s government debt is internal (from domestic market), implying less external vulnerability
  6. In India, the government’s interest payment to total expenditure is around 24%, while for Japan and the US it is much lower at 9.5% and 11.2%, respectively

What does higher interest payment lead to?

  1. Higher interest payment burden implies less headroom for developmental expenditure by the government
  2. Capital expenditure accounts for only 12-14% of India’s total expenditure, whereas a high of 24% of government’s total expenditure goes into interest payment obligation
  3. The other disadvantage of a high debt-to-GDP ratio is that it has an impact on the country’s credit ratings and investor sentiments

Whether our fiscal management should be counter-cyclical?

  1. This means that when economic growth is above potential, policymakers should reduce fiscal deficit
  2. Similarly, when economic growth is poor, fiscal deficit should be allowed to expand (within a ceiling) in order to support economic growth

Is fiscal slippage permissible?

  1. There should be some flexibility to increase fiscal deficit if the economic scenario warrants
  2. At the same time, it is very critical to ensure that the fiscal slippage, if any, is not due to unproductive expenditure on populist measures
  3. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act enacted in 2003 led to an improvement in the fiscal deficit of Centre from 5.7% of GDP in FY03 to 2.5% of GDP in FY08
  4. However, there was a pause button on the FRBM Act post the global financial crisis
  5. Fiscal deficit shot up to 6% in FY09 and it was only in FY12 that a path to fiscal consolidation was recalibrated

The N.K. Singh Committee on FRBM

  1. It has recommended reducing the fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio to 2.5% of GDP by 2022-23
  2. Even though the committee has said that using cyclically adjusted deficits may not be practical for India at this point of time, they have suggested flexibility in fiscal deficit targets in case of exogenous shocks
  3. These shocks include sharp drop in economic growth or structural reforms with fiscal implications
  4. The committee has emphasized the need for increased focus on debt sustainability and recommended reducing India’s debt-to-GDP to 60% by 2022-23 from the current level of 68%

What is needed right now?

  1. Currently, the private investment scenario in the economy is languishing
  2. Banks have been investing more than the mandatory requirement in government securities, reflecting the lack of better avenue for banks
  3. Hence a higher government borrowing will not in anyway crowd out private investment
  4. Higher government capital expenditure (capex) is badly required at this point to propel growth

Back2Basics

Know more about government budgeting and various deficits here: Click2read

ISRO Missions and Discoveries Space Technology

India calls for stronger treaties to protect space assets

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAARC satellite

Mains level: India’s achievements in space technology


News

Expanding space cooperation

  1. Stressing international cooperation in space as in all domains of global commons, India called for  strengthening global treaties to protect space-based assets and prevent militarization of outer space

Over 200 treaties

  1. India had more than 200 international cooperation agreements with more than 40 countries and international organizations
  2. The maiden moon mission, Chandrayaan-I, is a “successful example of international cooperation with international payloads”
  3. In May, ISRO launched the communications satellite GSAT-9, also called SAARC satellite, meant to provide connectivity and disaster support to countries in South Asia
  4. India is party to all the legally binding instruments on outer space
Low Priority new Items/op-eds

[21 Nov 2017 | Low Priority News Items of the Day]

Low Priority News Items of the Day:

Inflation will rise further, says RBI

Retail inflation, which has gone up by more than 200 basis points since June, is expected to rise further in the remaining part of the financial year, M.D. Patra, executive director, Reserve Bank of India, said in an October 27 speech, the details of which were put out by the central bank on Monday.

This article talks about some speculations, which are not important from the UPSC perspective.

 

Vijay Mallya trial set for December 4

The defence objected to the suggestion, arguing that delaying it to January could be used by the prosecution to introduce fresh material — evidential or non-evidential. “We want to draw a line with the material that comes through,” said barrister Clare Montgomery, appearing for Mr. Mallya, who is pushing for a decision from the court by December 24.

It is a famous case going on these days. But individuals cases are not important from the UPSC perspective, unless their judgement affects society, in some manner. But the reasons behind the case(as a comprehensive issue) are important.

 

Losing the war, winning the peace

India is not short of memories on 1962. The India-China War ended fifty-five years ago to the day, yet each winter brings back reminiscences of the conflict. The Chinese assault on the Thagla Ridge early in the morning of October 20, 1962, which turned simmering military tensions into open war. The doomed struggle of ill-equipped jawans. Jawaharlal Nehru’s awkward radio address to Assam, just as the Chinese seemed poised to enter the plains.

The Op-Ed talks about the Indo-China war of 1962. The article is written in a comprehensive manner, which is not directly related to the UPSC mains syllabus. It is enough to know the basic facts of the war and not important to go too deep inside it.


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Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Finance and Banking

‘Wilful defaulters must not buy IBC assets’

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Indian Economy Issues relating to planning

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read B2B

Mains level: Shows the seriousness of government to tackle the issue of the NPA


News

Direction from the Finance Ministry

  1. The Finance Ministry has asked banks to be vigilant to ensure that wilful defaulters are prevented from buying stressed assets again
  2. Why: To ensure the success of the bankruptcy process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)

Why this step?

  1. It has been brought to the notice of the Finance Ministry that some wilful defaulters were making a bid to buy the assets of those cases which have been referred under IBC
  2. The resolution is crucial to the entire banking sector and therefore banks have been advised to be vigilant so that wilful defaulters do not get benefits of the process
  3. Banks have to be very conscious of the fact that such defaulters do not get into the system again

Back2basics

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)

To know more about the code, Click here

Justice Dalveer Bhandari re-elected to ICJ, Sushma Swaraj tweets ‘Vande Matram’

Note4Students

Mains Paper2 | Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: ICJ

Mains level: Nothing Much.


News

Context

Justice Dalveer Bhandari re-elected to ICJ

  1. India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Justice Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the last seat of the Hague-based world court ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the election.
  2. Justice Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the United Nations General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters in New York.
  3. The elections were held after the United Kingdom, in a dramatic turn of events, withdrew from the race, paving way for Bhandari’s re-election to the prestigious world court.

Back2basics

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

    1. It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
    2. It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  1. Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  2. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  3. Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.
  4. The ICJ consists of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council that vote simultaneously but separately.
  5. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies (UNSC and UNGA).

 

 

China draws 3-stage path for Myanmar, Bangladesh to resolve Rohingya crisis

Note4Students

Mains Paper2 | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: ASEM

Mains level: The news card discusses the 3 stage path China has drawn for Myanmar and Bangladesh to resolve Rohingya Crisis.


News

Context

China has proposed a three-phase plan for resolving the Rohingya crisis, starting with a ceasefire in Myanmar’s Rakhine State so that refugees can return from Bangladesh, China’s Foreign Ministry said ahead of meeting of European and Asian officials in Myanmar. 

Refugee crisis

  1. The refugee crisis erupted after the military launched a brutal counter-insurgency operations against the militants after attacks on an army base and dozens of police security posts in Rakhine on Aug. 25.
  2. Consequently, more than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya fled to Bangladesh .
  3. Myanmar’s military has said that all fighting against the Rohingya Islamist militants died out on Sept.5, but it remains on guard against incursions by fighters who had fled to Bangladesh with the refugees.
  4. The group behind those attacks, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), had declared a one-month ceasefire on Sept.10, which was rejected by the government. But there have been no serious clashes since.
  5. The refugees’ suffering has caused an international outcry.

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

  • The foreign ministers Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, opening in the Myanmar is an important multilateral diplomatic gathering which happens once every two years and is designed to discuss issues between Asia and Europe.

China’s 3 stage solution for Refugee crisis in Myanmar

    1. The first stage is to effect a ceasefire on the ground, to return to stability and order, so the people can enjoy peace and no longer be forced to flee.
  • According to Chinese official the first phase’s aim has already basically been achieved, and the key is to prevent a flare-up.
  1. Second stage is bilateral dialogue to find a workable solution.
  2. The third phase should be to work toward a long-term solution based on poverty alleviation as poverty was the root cause of the conflict.

Myanmar’s Increased Engagement with the World

  1. The United States and other Western countries have become more engaged with Myanmar since it began a transition to civilian government after nearly 50 years of military rule.
  2. China has close relations with both Myanmar and Bangladesh, and has long been a key player in lawless borderlands where rebel ethnic groups have fought Myanmar’s government for decades.
  3. The conflict in those border regions have occasionally pushed thousands of refugees to seek shelter in China.
  4. Since the Rohingya crisis, China has repeatedly expressed support for what it calls the Myanmar government’s efforts to protect stability.
  5. The international community and the United Nations Security Council are expected to give encouragement and support to Myanmar and Bangladesh to create the necessary conditions and a good environment.

 

 

 

Logistics sector given infra status, to help boost GDP: Govt

Note4Students

                  Mains Paper3 | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Prelims: Logistics Sector gets Infrastructure Status.

Mains level: Impact of the government’s decision to grant infrastructure status to logistics on Indian economy.


News

Context

  1. The logistics sector has been granted infrastructure status which will help it access loans on easier terms, encourage manufacturing in the country and help improve economic growth, the government said today.
  2. The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has widened the category of infrastructure sub-sectors to transport and logistics from the earlier sub-head of transport.
  3. DEA has updated the ‘Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure Sub-sectors’.
  4. The list also includes

Logistics Sector

  1. It covers cold chain, warehousing facilities and multimodal parks comprising Inland Container Depot (ICD) subject to certain conditions.
  2. Roads and bridges, ports, shipyards, inland waterways, airports, railway tracks, tunnels, viaducts, terminal infrastructure including stations and adjoining commercial infrastructure are all part of the transport and logistics classification.

What was the need of guaranteeing Infrastructure status to Logistics sector?

  1. The cost of logistics in India is very high compared to developed countries and it reduces the competitiveness of Indian goods both in domestic as well as export market.
  2. The sector’s development will provide a boost to domestic as well as external demand, encouraging manufacturing and job creation.
  3. It will enable the logistics sector to avail infrastructure lending at easier terms with enhanced limits, access to larger amounts of funds as External Commercial Borrowings, access to longer tenor funds from insurance companies and pension funds.
  4. The sectoral players would also be eligible to borrow from India Infrastructure Financing Company Ltd (IIFCL).
  5. This will in turn be instrumental in improving country’s GDP.

 

 

Internal Security Trends and Incidents Security Issues

New J&K surrender policy for local ultras

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges and their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Crucial for internal security


News

New policy

  1. The new surrender policy is considering provision of
    (1) “passports and jobs to any local youth who gives up the gun” and
    (2) “support for his full assimilation into society”
  2. Meanwhile, parents of two more militants have appealed through the media to their sons to give up militancy and rejoin the family
  3. Around 60 boys have already been brought back into the main stream

What was the old policy?

  1. Earlier, the surrender policy was limited to those who crossed the Line of Control into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in the early 1990s and were stuck there

 

Digital India Initiatives Governance

[op-ed snap] Reaching the bottom of India’s digital pyramid

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Issues which are halting the targets of Digital India, requirements of people for adopting digital services


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the issues related to Digitization
  2. And what the requirements of people are(of using digital services)

How Digitization has received a significant policy push in India?

  1. There has been an emphasis on
    (1) linking bank accounts and mobile number with Aadhaar
    (2) maintaining digital records,
    (3) enforcing digital payments through demonetization or Aadhaar-enabled payments systems
    (4) and making digitization as one of the core requirements in GST (goods and services tax) filings

Is this policy push enough for becoming a digital economy?

  1. The policy push towards digitization is one leg of the story
  2. Its success crucially depends also on its adoption by the majority of the population living in far-flung rural areas
  3. Without that, it can’t be achieved

Digitization through Smartphones

  1. Smartphones are expected to share the bulk of the workload in digital India
  2. However, their share currently is around 33% of the mobile users (expected to reach around 40% by 2019)
  3. The mobile phone internet user penetration among Indian population is still about 24% and even by 2020 is expected to reach just 35%
  4. These figures point to an opportunity for digital inclusion for sure, but there are many issues

Issues which are halting the targets of Digital India
(1) Financial exclusion of a significant part of the population

  1. There are still snags in the outreach of Indian financial system where digitization is expected to play an enabling role
  2. A recent study by Assocham and EY reports that 19% of the Indian population remains unbanked or financially excluded
  3. Without addressing issues like this will only magnify the digital inequality in the country

(2) Uninterrupted access to power

  1. Uninterrupted access to power is an essential ingredient to fuel a digital economy. However, existing statistics look somewhat disappointing
  2. Around 22% of rural households (roughly 40 million) across the country still do not have access to electricity

What should be done?
Absorption
capacity of Digitization tools

  1. Users with prior working knowledge of internet and smartphone applications are more likely to accept digitization tools
  2. It emphasizes the need for internet and mobile application training aimed at less educated and the low-income groups

Need based technological tools

  1. People has opined that digitization tools and technology should meet their needs
  2. t emphasizes the need to identify the requirements of people at the bottom of the digital pyramid which could get served by digitization, take it to them and incorporate their views to enhance its acceptance (co-creation to be precise)

Service charges on digitization services

  1. The service charges should be commensurate with the benefits of digitization
  2. It will continue to remain a challenge for people at the bottom of the digital pyramid who stay stretched to make both ends meet on a daily basis

Ensuring security would increase adaptability

  1. Existence of technological and legal institutions to ensure security would increase adaptability
  2. The right to privacy is possibly the first step in that direction
  3. A beginning no doubt, but it will take time before India’s data protection regime comes on a par with standards set in jurisdictions like the European Union or the US

Education standards

  1. Last but not the least, the aptitude to read, write, comprehend and communicate is a must to participate in the digitization movement
  2. India’s current literacy rate is at 80%, and there are expectations of achieving 100% over the next five years
  3. However, literacy would lead to participation and empowerment in a digital India only when it can ensure lifelong reading ability
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