Categories
Announcements

How To Start Preparation For IAS Exam – A Complete Guide To UPSC Civil Services Exam for Beginners & Working Professionals || Fill Registration form and get a Personalised Timetable till Prelims 2022 & Initial Study Material to begin Preparation

Key Takeaways:

  1. Civilsdaily Monthly Magazine (Latest Two Months)
  2. Mentorship Call for Personlised Daily Timetable
  3. Beginners Guide / All Important sample Videos and Notes
  4. PDFs of Important Go-To Subjects to Begin with.

UPSC Civil Services Exam for the recruitment of IAS, IFS, IRS and 21 other services is one of the most difficult exams in India. More than 10 Lakh aspirants give the UPSC exam every year making the exam competitive. But that does not mean YOU cannot crack it!

Here’s what you need to know before you start preparing for UPSC Exam.

FACT: UPSC Civil Service exam requires Hard Work + Strategy + Guidance This is the Holy Trinity that will help you become an IAS officer. 

So, how do you start?

1) The UPSC Exam Schedule: 

UPSC exam is held in 3 stages – Prelims, Mains, And Interview. Prelims are based on objective questions, Mains is subjective, and Interview is a personality test. Fortunately, you can prepare for these stages together and online!

2) Understanding the syllabus: 

UPSC exam has a vast syllabus. It is important to know the scope of preparation before you start preparing for the exam. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

a) What are the scope and the nature of the syllabus?

b) What to study and what not to study?

c) What is the question pattern?

d) What are your weak areas and what are your strengths?

e) What kind of guidance will you need? Etc.

Our guidance program, for example, helps students understand the syllabus and develop a  strategy around it. The mentors at Civils Daily handhold the candidates and guide them at each step. They explain to the students about the Dos and Don’ts of the exam and train them how to develop a good study pattern.

3) Developing a Smart Strategy: 

Developing a strategy that delivers results is very important for this exam. We believe that every student learns at their own pace and each student should have a personal study plan that suits their learning curve.

This is why our mentors do the following:

a) They assess the students and understand their requirements.

b) They develop a study plan for the students that match their learning abilities.

c) They provide the important study material so that the student doesn’t feel lost. 

d) They provide regular feedback to students to help them remain focused.

We believe that students should have strong strategies that are tried and tested, and our experienced mentors customise these strategies for each student.

4) Managing Current Affairs: 

Current Affairs is the heart and soul of UPSC preparation. But there is so much news every day that it becomes difficult for the student to cope. That is why we tie Current Affairs with static knowledge and share it with students. This makes it easy for students to remember important details and score more in the exam.

You can also practice reading newspapers daily and making notes. This will keep you updated. And you can always receive the Current Affairs study material from us in consolidated form for quick revision.

5) Choosing Optionals:

This is what topper do when choosing optional:

a) They narrow down the subjects to 3-4 options based on their background.

b) They go through the syllabus thoroughly before making a decision.

c) They also analyse the previous years’ question papers to understand the pattern.

d) They consult with their mentors to develop a study plan that could work.

Speaking with a mentor is highly helpful in making this decision because they keep analysing the exam pattern. The mentors know what kind of questions may come and how to study for them. Having an experienced guiding hand for optionals can take your preparation to the next level.

6) Writing Practice 

Answer-writing practice and essay writing practice is a must for any candidate. But the most important thing is getting feedback and evaluation.

a) Getting feedback from the beginning will help you practice the best way of writing answers.

b) Getting your essays evaluated will help you avoid making mistakes.

c) Getting the right guidance can save you a lot of effort.

Starting with the right guidance can help you avoid mistakes and save you a lot of time.  Why waste time doing things that don’t work and why not start with the right guidance itself? 

7) Getting The Right Guidance 

Do not waste your time and energy in reinventing the wheel! 

It is important to engage with someone who understands your needs. Experienced mentors know the common mistakes that students make, they understand how overwhelming this experience can be. The mentors know how much time and effort goes into the right preparation. And they know how to help students in all these situations.

The best thing to do is to get in touch with a mentor who can help you avoid making mistakes and guide you to the right preparation techniques.

This is why our programs are designed to help students at each stage of their preparation.  Any problem you face, you can speak with us and we will find a solution for you. We believe in working with our students and providing the guidance that can make your dream come true!

Categories
Announcements

Registration Closing at 12 Noon || How To Start Preparation For IAS Exam – A Complete Guide To UPSC Civil Services Exam for Beginners & Working Professionals || Fill Registration form and get a Personalised Timetable till Prelims 2022 & Initial Study Material to begin Preparation

Key Takeaways:

  1. Civilsdaily Monthly Magazine (Latest Two Months)
  2. Mentorship Call for Personlised Daily Timetable
  3. Beginners Guide / All Important sample Videos and Notes
  4. PDFs of Important Go-To Subjects to Begin with.

UPSC Civil Services Exam for the recruitment of IAS, IFS, IRS and 21 other services is one of the most difficult exams in India. More than 10 Lakh aspirants give the UPSC exam every year making the exam competitive. But that does not mean YOU cannot crack it!

Here’s what you need to know before you start preparing for UPSC Exam.

FACT: UPSC Civil Service exam requires Hard Work + Strategy + Guidance This is the Holy Trinity that will help you become an IAS officer. 

So, how do you start?

1) The UPSC Exam Schedule: 

UPSC exam is held in 3 stages – Prelims, Mains, And Interview. Prelims are based on objective questions, Mains is subjective, and Interview is a personality test. Fortunately, you can prepare for these stages together and online!

2) Understanding the syllabus: 

UPSC exam has a vast syllabus. It is important to know the scope of preparation before you start preparing for the exam. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

a) What are the scope and the nature of the syllabus?

b) What to study and what not to study?

c) What is the question pattern?

d) What are your weak areas and what are your strengths?

e) What kind of guidance will you need? Etc.

Our guidance program, for example, helps students understand the syllabus and develop a  strategy around it. The mentors at Civils Daily handhold the candidates and guide them at each step. They explain to the students about the Dos and Don’ts of the exam and train them how to develop a good study pattern.

3) Developing a Smart Strategy: 

Developing a strategy that delivers results is very important for this exam. We believe that every student learns at their own pace and each student should have a personal study plan that suits their learning curve.

This is why our mentors do the following:

a) They assess the students and understand their requirements.

b) They develop a study plan for the students that match their learning abilities.

c) They provide the important study material so that the student doesn’t feel lost. 

d) They provide regular feedback to students to help them remain focused.

We believe that students should have strong strategies that are tried and tested, and our experienced mentors customise these strategies for each student.

4) Managing Current Affairs: 

Current Affairs is the heart and soul of UPSC preparation. But there is so much news every day that it becomes difficult for the student to cope. That is why we tie Current Affairs with static knowledge and share it with students. This makes it easy for students to remember important details and score more in the exam.

You can also practice reading newspapers daily and making notes. This will keep you updated. And you can always receive the Current Affairs study material from us in consolidated form for quick revision.

5) Choosing Optionals:

This is what topper do when choosing optional:

a) They narrow down the subjects to 3-4 options based on their background.

b) They go through the syllabus thoroughly before making a decision.

c) They also analyse the previous years’ question papers to understand the pattern.

d) They consult with their mentors to develop a study plan that could work.

Speaking with a mentor is highly helpful in making this decision because they keep analysing the exam pattern. The mentors know what kind of questions may come and how to study for them. Having an experienced guiding hand for optionals can take your preparation to the next level.

6) Writing Practice 

Answer-writing practice and essay writing practice is a must for any candidate. But the most important thing is getting feedback and evaluation.

a) Getting feedback from the beginning will help you practice the best way of writing answers.

b) Getting your essays evaluated will help you avoid making mistakes.

c) Getting the right guidance can save you a lot of effort.

Starting with the right guidance can help you avoid mistakes and save you a lot of time.  Why waste time doing things that don’t work and why not start with the right guidance itself? 

7) Getting The Right Guidance 

Do not waste your time and energy in reinventing the wheel! 

It is important to engage with someone who understands your needs. Experienced mentors know the common mistakes that students make, they understand how overwhelming this experience can be. The mentors know how much time and effort goes into the right preparation. And they know how to help students in all these situations.

The best thing to do is to get in touch with a mentor who can help you avoid making mistakes and guide you to the right preparation techniques.

This is why our programs are designed to help students at each stage of their preparation.  Any problem you face, you can speak with us and we will find a solution for you. We believe in working with our students and providing the guidance that can make your dream come true!

Categories
RSTV Archive Yojana/RSTV

[RSTV Archive] Drone Draft rules: Impetus to future tech

The Union Civil Aviation ministry has released the draft of the national drone policy, making it significantly easier for people and companies to own and operate drones, while also streamlining the certification process for manufacturers, importers and users.

Drones have been in the spotlight since such a device was used to target an Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Jammu with explosives last month.

In this article we will discuss and analyse all aspects of this issue.

Why such urgent promulgation?

  • Drones now form a significant new consumer tech category, particularly among hobbyists and visual artists.
  • They are being tested for a range of practical as well as industrial uses such as automated package deliveries by e-commerce companies.
  • They have wide range of applications such as in disaster management, delivery systems.
  • The new draft rules provide a positive move. They present a lot of clarity in the usage of drones.

Draft Drone Rules 2021

The objective of the policy is to enable more types of unmanned aircraft operational scenarios, increase the ease of compliance for the unmanned aviation industry, and ensure safety and security.

Some of the key features are as under:

Number of forms: The rules propose to reduce the number of forms required for manufacturing, importing, testing, certifying and operating drones in India from 25 to six.

Abolishing authorization number: The draft seeks to abolish the unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, and certificate of conformance that were previously required for approval of drone flights.

Digital Sky Platform: Digital Sky, a platform launched by the government in December 2018, will become a single-window system for all approvals under the newly proposed rules.

Airspace map: An airspace map segregating the entire landmass of India into Green, Yellow and Red zones will be published on the platform within 30 days of notification of the new rules, the government said. The map will also be machine-readable through an Application Programming Interface (API) for easier plotting of drone flight paths.

Airport Perimeter: The draft rules reduced the airport perimeter from 45 km to 12 km. The rules state that no flight permissions would be required to fly up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.

Drone corridors: The government will also publish a policy framework for Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) within 60 days of notifying the rules. This will also include frameworks for developing “drone corridors” for the safe transfer of goods by drones.

Drone Promotion Council: The Rules also propose the setting up of a Drone Promotion Council, with the aim of facilitating a business-friendly regulatory regime for drones in India, the establishment of incubators for developing drone technologies and organizing competitive events to showcase drones and counter-drone solutions.

Others: To implement safety features such as “no permission, no take-off”, real-time tracking and geofencing, drone manufacturers, importers and operators will get six months’ time to comply from the date of notification of the rules.

Security imperative and Drones

  • The integration of unmanned aircraft systems into national air-force is critical and challenging both.
  • We have incidences were arms, narcotic drugs have been dropped by drones. So, security challenges are increasing.
  • DRDO has come up with an Anti-drone system. This makes India capable of where drones can be jammed.
  • Other is one can shoot the drone through lasers. But this has potential threats to humans.
  • Drones are called eyes in the sky as they are used by law enforcement agencies, fire emergency services, health care facilities.

Digital Sky Platform: Key to Success

  • The success of these initiatives will depend in large part on the ‘Digital Sky’ platform — a single-window online system where most permissions to own and operate drones will be self-generated.
  • Bureaucratic red tape and ‘rubber stamp culture’ has been the bane of Indian aviation for decades.
  • Paper trails with needless human intervention lend themselves to ‘discretionary powers’ and opens doors for corruption.
  • It is encouraging to see the shift to paperless approval.

Conclusion

  • The drone industry (manufacturing and operation) is still grappling with evolutionary challenges in India.
  • The ministry of civil aviation’s decision to liberalize the drone policy even after the recent drone incidents in Jammu showcases the government’s bold approach.
  • They are necessary to promote the use of the drone and the government must focus on the development of counter-drone technology to address the threat posed by rogue drones.
Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Draft Anti-Trafficking Bill, 2021

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has invited suggestions for the draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

  • The bill once finalized will need the Cabinet approval and assent from both the houses of Parliament to become a Law.
  • The new Bill comes after a long process of revisions after the Trafficking of Persons Bill 2018 that was passed by the Lok Sabha’s nod amid a heated debate, never made it to Rajya Sabha.

What is the objective of the new bill?

To prevent and counter-trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them.

Human Trafficking in India

According to statistics of India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), trafficking has manifold objectives.

  • These include forced labor, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation. According to the NCRB, three out of five people trafficked in 2016 were children below the age of 18 years. Of these, 4,911 were girls and 4,123 were boys.
  • Sexual exploitation for prostitution was the second major purpose for human trafficking in India, after forced labor.
  • Victims of trafficking in India disproportionately represent people from traditionally disadvantaged gender, caste, and religious groups.
  • People from these groups have been systemically kept at a disadvantage in education, access to productive resources and spaces and legal remedies enhancing their vulnerability.
  • Across regions, studies have found that majority of victims are women and children belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and minority religions.
  • Children are trafficked first and then placed in labor either forced or for earning a sub minimal wage or in case of the more unfortunate ones, i.e. particularly girls and young boys, are forced into sexual exploitation.
  • Usurious money-lending and debt bondage will also become a force-multiplier for sourcing child labor from the country-side, from desperate families for bondage and trafficking.

Why the old bill was criticized so much?

  • According to the United Nations’ human rights experts; it was not in accordance with the international human rights laws.
  • The Bill seemed to combine sex work and migration with trafficking.
  • The Bill was criticized for addressing trafficking through a criminal law perspective instead of complementing it with a human-rights based and victim-centred approach.
  • It was also criticized for promoting “rescue raids” by the police as well as the institutionalization of victims in the name of rehabilitation.
  • It was pointed out that certain vague provisions would lead to blanket criminalization of activities that do not necessarily relate to trafficking.

What are the provisions in the new bill?

(1) Coverage

  • Persons on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be or carrying Indian citizens wherever they may be,
  • A foreign national or a stateless person who has his or her residence in India at the time of commission of offence under this Act, and
  • The law will apply to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications.

(2) Wider definition of trafficking

  • It extends beyond the protection of women and children as victims to now include transgender as well as any person who may be a victim of trafficking.
  • It also does away with the provision that a victim necessarily needs to be transported from one place to another to be defined as a victim.
  • “Trafficking in Persons” is defined to include –

a) any person who recruits, transports, transfers, harbors or receives another person;

b) by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of authority or of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person;

(c) for the purpose of exploitation of that person;

(3) Defines ‘Exploitation’

  • Exploitation will include the “prostitution of others” or other forms of sexual exploitation including pornography, any act of physical exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or forced removal of organs, illegal clinical drug trials or illegal bio-medical research or the like.
  • Examples of aggravated offences listed in the Bill include offences that result in the death of the victim or his dependent or any other person, including death as a result of suicide.
  • This also includes cases where the offence has been caused by administering any chemical substance or hormones on a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity.

(4) Government Officers as Offenders

Offenders will also include defense personnel and government servants, doctors and paramedical staff or anyone in a position of authority.

(5) Stringent penalty

  • It is proposed that whoever commits the offence shall be punishable with a term for ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to Rs 10 lakh.
  • Offence against a child of less than twelve years of age, or against a woman for the purpose of repeated rape, the person shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for twenty years, but which may extend to life.
  • In case of second or subsequent conviction, the accused may be punished with death sentence. The fine may extend up to Rs 30 lakh.
  • When a public servant, or a police officer, or a person in charge of or a staff of a women’s or children’s home or institution is involved, he shall be punishable on conviction for the remainder of natural life.
  • A person advertising, publishing, printing, broadcasting or distributing any material that promotes trafficking of a person or exploitation of a trafficked person will invite punishment.

(6) Similarity to Money laundering Act

  • Property bought via such income as well as used for trafficking can now be forfeited with provisions set in place, similar to that of the money laundering Act.

(7) Investigation agency

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) shall act as the national investigating and coordinating agency responsible for the prevention and combating of trafficking in persons.

(8) Timeframe for granting compensation

  • The district legal services authority (DLSA) shall provide immediate relief to the victim and dependent, including aid and assistance for medical and rehabilitation needs, within seven days.
  • The DLSA shall award interim relief to a victim or any dependant within a period of thirty days of an application submitted and after due assessment.
  • The bill also says the investigation needs to be completed within 90 days from the date of the arrest of the accused.

(9) National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee:

  • Once the law is enacted, the Centre will notify and establish a National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, for ensuring overall effective implementation of the provisions of this law.
    • This committee will have representation from various ministries with the home secretary as the chairperson and secretary of the women and child development ministry as co-chair.
    • State and district level anti-human trafficking committees will also be constituted.

Why this bill is significant?

  • The transgender community, and any other person, has been included which will automatically bring under its scope activity such as organ harvesting.
  • Also, cases such as forced labour, in which people lured with jobs end up in other countries where their passports and documentation are taken away and they are made to work, will also be covered by this new law.

What are the legislations in India that prohibits human trafficking?

  • Article 23 (1) in the constitution of India prohibits trafficking in human beings and forced labour.
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) penalizes trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • India also prohibits bonded and forced labour through the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Child Labour (Prohibition and Abolition) Act 1986, and Juvenile Justice Act.
  • Sections 366(A) and 372 of the Indian Penal Code, prohibits kidnapping and selling minors into prostitution respectively.
  • The Factories Act, 1948 guaranteed the protection of the rights of workers.

International Conventions, Protocols and Campaigns

  • Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children in 2000 as a part of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
  • This protocol was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000.
  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is responsible for implementing the protocol.
  • It offers practical help to states with drafting laws, creating comprehensive national anti-trafficking strategies, and assisting with resources to implement them.
  • Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. It entered into force on 28 January 2004.
  • This also supplements the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. The Protocol is aimed at the protection of rights of migrants and the reduction of the power and influence of organized criminal groups that abuse migrants.
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is a non-binding declaration that establishes the right of every human to live with dignity and prohibits slavery.
  • Blue Heart Campaign: The Blue Heart Campaign is an international anti-trafficking program started by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
  • Sustainable Development Goals: Various SDGs aim to end trafficking by targeting its roots and means viz.
  • Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls),
  • Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) and
  • Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels).

Concerns over the new bill

  • The bill is not clear about how the NIA will gather information and intelligence from different parts of the country through Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) at district level and State level.
  • The bill is largely silent on rescue protocols except the “reason to believe” by a police officer not below the rank of a sub-inspector. This makes the role of the AHTUs unclear in the rescue and post-rescue processes.
  • There are also concerns about absence of community-based rehabilitation, missing definition of reintegration and also about the funds related to rehabilitation of survivors in the bill.
  • In absence of rescue protocol there is always the fear of forced rescue of adult persons who may have been trafficked but do not wish to get rescued.
  • The proposed Bill criminalizes sex work and the choice of sex work as profession. The Draft Trafficking Bill has mixed up the issue of trafficking and sex work.

Way Forward

  • Foresight and preparedness: in the midst of the current lockdown can save the lives of crores of women, men and children and avoid an impending humanitarian crisis
  • Collaboration is key: A lot of work needs to be done in a collaborative manner, between key stakeholders such as the government and civil society organizations, for any substantial change to be seen.
  • Assessment and review of legal framework: The central government must assess the existing criminal law on trafficking and its ability to counter the crime and meet the needs of the victim.
  • Increase in budgetary allocation for law enforcement and victim rehabilitation: There is a gross deficit in the budgetary allocation to combat human trafficking.
  • Curbing the rise of online Child Sexual Abuse material: The upsurge of child sexual abuse material and its easy access can only be controlled by placing greater accountability on Internet Service Providers and digital platforms that host this content.
  • Safety net in source areas of trafficking: Schools, communities, religious authorities and the local administration need to recognize and control trafficking and bonded labour in villages.
  • Intensive campaignings: must educate communities about the threat and modus operandi of trafficking agents, especially in the source areas such as Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam.
  • Monitoring: The railway and other transport facilities have to be intensely monitored.
  • Public Awareness and Sensitization: Awareness around existing government social welfare schemes and the means to access them should be generated and the government must immediately initiate registration of unorganized workers.
  • Financial protection: Special financial protection should be extended for the next year in order to keep the wolf away from the door.
Categories
Announcements

In UPSC Civil Services, You Are Either WELL-GUIDED Or MISGUIDED! So what are the Choices available to US?

We have spent over 6,500 hours last year discussing the preparation strategies of over 9,000 students individually and we found that there are 2 kinds of aspirants.

  1. Those who received good guidance and planned their study to score more. And
  2. Those aspirants who were misguided by others and got overwhelmed by the syllabus.

And if you feel that you need some experienced guidance, then you have come to the right place!

We will tell you how we guide our students and you can decide if it suits you:

  1. Personalized Study Plans – Every student learns at a different pace. One study plan does not suit everyone. That is why when students get in touch with us, we prepare individual study plans for each student that helps them learn at their own pace.
  2. Identifying Mistakes – Our experienced mentors have worked with thousands of students and they know the most common mistakes the students make. When we teach our students, we guide them away from these mistakes so they can improve their performance quickly and score more.

3. We Don’t Experiment With Your Career – Our success depends on the success of our students. That is why we only use Tried and Tested Methods of studying that has proven extremely successful in the past. We adapt to the changes and not experiment with your careers.

4. We Present What UPSC Expects – We understand what the UPSC expects when it comes to answer-writing, essays, and other preparations. We work hard to decode UPSC patterns so that our students don’t have to. That is why we provide only the most relevant material to the students so they can study without feeling lost.

5. One-Stop For All Your Needs – Our students do not get overwhelmed while studying because we provide them with everything they need! All the relevant study material, tests, discussions, and coaching in one place. This helps our students remain focused and concentrated.

And more…

We work with our students for their success. 

And if you feel like talking to us just get in touch. We would love to know how we can help you succeed!

Categories
Announcements

UPSC Civil Services is not an Exam of “Selection” but of “Elimination”. How being “Well Guided” helps you Save Composure and Several Failed Attempts

We have spent over 6,500 hours last year discussing the preparation strategies of over 9,000 students individually and we found that there are 2 kinds of aspirants.

  1. Those who received good guidance and planned their study to score more. And
  2. Those aspirants who were misguided by others and got overwhelmed by the syllabus.

And if you feel that you need some experienced guidance, then you have come to the right place!

We will tell you how we guide our students and you can decide if it suits you:

  1. Personalized Study Plans – Every student learns at a different pace. One study plan does not suit everyone. That is why when students get in touch with us, we prepare individual study plans for each student that helps them learn at their own pace.
  2. Identifying Mistakes – Our experienced mentors have worked with thousands of students and they know the most common mistakes the students make. When we teach our students, we guide them away from these mistakes so they can improve their performance quickly and score more.

3. We Don’t Experiment With Your Career – Our success depends on the success of our students. That is why we only use Tried and Tested Methods of studying that has proven extremely successful in the past. We adapt to the changes and not experiment with your careers.

4. We Present What UPSC Expects – We understand what the UPSC expects when it comes to answer-writing, essays, and other preparations. We work hard to decode UPSC patterns so that our students don’t have to. That is why we provide only the most relevant material to the students so they can study without feeling lost.

5. One-Stop For All Your Needs – Our students do not get overwhelmed while studying because we provide them with everything they need! All the relevant study material, tests, discussions, and coaching in one place. This helps our students remain focused and concentrated.

And more…

We work with our students for their success. 

And if you feel like talking to us just get in touch. We would love to know how we can help you succeed!

Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Rise of Taliban in Afghanistan and its implications for India

The Taliban’s possible triumph threatens not just India’s diplomatic stakes in Afghanistan, but also 20 years and $3 billion worth of Indian investment in various projects — dams, roads, trade infrastructure. India has been becoming more central to the negotiations with the Taliban. In this article, we will discuss and analyze all aspects of rising of the Taliban in Afghanistan and its implications for India.

Background of the Taliban

The Taliban (literally meaning “students”) or ‘Taleban’, who refer to themselves as the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA)’ is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist political movement and military organization in Afghanistan currently waging war (an insurgency, or jihad) within that country.

Their aims were to end the political chaos that had been ongoing in Afghanistan since the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and to impose a strict interpretation of Islam.

How it came into existence?

  • After the Soviet Union intervened and occupied Afghanistan in 1979, Islamic Mujahedeen fighters engaged in war with those Soviet forces.
  • A while later, the US CIA and the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate (GID) provided funding and equipment through the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI) to the Afghan Mujahedeen.
  • About 90,000 Afghans, including several bountied terrorists, were trained by Pakistan’s ISI during the 1980s.
  • Hence it can be concluded that the Taliban have arisen from those US-Saudi-Pakistan-supported Mujahedeen: ‘The West helped the Taliban to fight the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan.’

What is its ideology?

  • Early Taliban were motivated by the suffering among the Afghan people, which they believed resulted from power struggles between Afghan groups not adhering to the moral code of Islam; in their religious schools they had been taught a belief in strict Islamic law.
  • The military ambitions of the afghans led to it’s the infamous civil war from 1992-96 which ultimately demanded a political emirate.

The 9-11

  • The United States invasion of Afghanistan occurred after the September 11 attacks in late 2001 and was supported by close US allies.
  • Its public aims were to dismantle Al-Qaeda and deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power.
  • US demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel Al-Qaeda; bin Laden had already been wanted by the FBI since 1998.
  • The Taliban declined to extradite him unless given what they deemed convincing evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.
  • They ignored demands to shut down terrorist bases and hand over other terrorist suspects apart from bin Laden.

Taliban prowess is ever-increasing

  • Every single day since the ceasefire, the Taliban is strengthening and violence is mounting high.
  • Taliban is now more organized as an organization with diplomats on par with modern democratic nations with state apparatus propaganda.
  • The Taliban strategy seems to be to capture power in Kabul by violence and intimidation despite warnings from the international community.
  • At the core of its diplomacy lies the untenable violent extremism based on radical religious ideology.

Afghan Peace Process: A failure

  • The Afghan peace process comprises the proposals and negotiations in a bid to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
  • This ‘US-Taliban deal signed in February 2020 was seen in India as a “victory for Taliban and Pakistan”.
  • Besides the US, major powers such as China, India, Russia, as well as NATO play a part that they see as facilitating the peace process.
  • The peace process has not made much headway mainly because violence by the Taliban continues unabated.
  • The Taliban now view this as an important milestone and is busy trying to establish their military superiority on the ground.

What are the implications of the deal for India?

  • India has been backing the Ghani-led government and was among very few countries to congratulate Ghani on his victory.
  • There has not been formal contact with top Taliban leaders, the Indian mission has a fair amount of access to the Pashtun community throughout Afghanistan through community development projects of about $3 billion.
  • Due to so, although the Pakistan military and its ally Taliban have become dominant players in Kabul’s power circles, South Block insiders insist that it is not all that grim for New Delhi.
  • These high-impact projects, diplomats feel India has gained goodwill among ordinary Afghans, the majority of whom are Pashtuns and some may be aligned with the Taliban as well.

What are India’s key investments in Afghanistan?

India’s contribution has been phenomenal in every area in Afghanistan since India built the Afghan Parliament. India has been a major military and developmental assistance partner for Afghanistan. Let us have a look at various projects India has built across Afghanistan.

(1) Salma Dam:

  • It is one of India’s high-visibility projects is located — the 42MW Salma Dam in Herat province.

(2) Zaranj-Delaram Highway:

  • The other high-profile project was the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram highway built by the Border Roads Organisation.
  • India had transported 75,000 tonnes of wheat through Chabahar to Afghanistan during the pandemic.

(3) Parliament building:

  • The Afghan Parliament in Kabul was built by India at $90 million. It was opened in 2015.

(4) Stor Palace:

  • It is the restored Stor Palace in Kabul, originally built in the late 19th century, and which was the setting for the 1919 Rawalpindi Agreement by which Afghanistan became an independent country.

(5) Power Infra:

  • Other Indian projects in Afghanistan include the rebuilding of power infrastructure such as the 220kV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri, to the north of Kabul.  

(6) Health Infra:

  • India has reconstructed a children’s hospital it had helped build in Kabul in 1972 —named Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health in 1985 — that was in shambles after the war.
  • ‘Indian Medical Missions’ have held free consultation camps in several areas. Thousands who lost their limbs after stepping on mines left over from the war have been fitted with the Jaipur Foot.

(7) Transportation:

  • India gifted 400 buses and 200 mini-buses for urban transportation, 105 utility vehicles for municipalities, 285 military vehicles for the Afghan National Army, and 10 ambulances for public hospitals in five cities.
  • It also gave three Air India aircraft to Ariana, the Afghan national carrier, when it was restarting operations.

 (8) Ongoing Projects:

  • India had concluded with Afghanistan an agreement for the construction of the Shatoot Dam in Kabul district, which would provide safe drinking water to 2 million residents.

India’s and the Taliban

  • As the world and India have changed there is an aspiration that Afghan can’t be brought back from the brink.
  • India wants to play a positive role and sabotage those countries that support other terror groups in Afghan.
  • It is visibly clear and Taliban has claimed that the US withdrawal is a victory for them. At the same time, the democratically elected Afghan government is crashing.
  • India is pressing on a peace process all around Afghanistan so that all countries shall be peaceful.

Why Taliban’s control over Afghanistan is a matter of concern for India and the world?

(1) Taliban is strengthening its control in Border areas:

  • The Taliban is occupying the border areas with other countries instead of central Afghanistan and have taken control of the districts bordering Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
  • And this time, the Taliban’s strategy is clear that it will strengthen itself on the border areas so that when its government comes there, the neighboring countries cannot put pressure on it, and once again it can run its brutal rule in Afghanistan.

(2) Taliban’s presence near Indian Borders:

  • The Taliban is only 400 km away from the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The Taliban have captured the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, which borders PoK.
  • If Taliban establish their government by capturing all the districts of Afghanistan, then they will be able to easily send their terrorists to Jammu and Kashmir and help Pakistan.

(3) China factor:

  • Apart from Pakistan, China can also become a challenge for India. That is because while Pakistan has influence over the Taliban, China is currently the biggest investor for Afghanistan.
  • At present, there are big Chinese projects going on in Afghanistan and the Taliban knows that if it wants to keep its position strong then it will need Chinese money the most.

(4) Silence of Western countries and UN over the situation in Afghanistan:

  • It is also an irony that the think tanks of Western countries and the United Nations, which give lectures to the whole world on human rights, are not very active about the current situation in Afghanistan.
  • At that time, the Taliban strictly enforced Sharia law. It had issued a Taliban decree for men to keep beards and women to keep their full bodies covered, violating which was publicly punished.
  • Apart from this, there was also a ban on watching music, movies and television at that time and girls above the age of 10 were not allowed to go to school.

(5) Violence and loss of lives:

  • India is concerned over the violence and loss of lives in Afghanistan. Violence has increased manifold after peace talks have started.
  • New Delhi wants an all-inclusive “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process—not one that is remote-controlled by Pakistan, seen as the backers of the Taliban.
  • It supports zero tolerance against violence.
  • Our EAM has iterated that there is need of double peace i.e., within and around Afghan indirectly pointing towards the terror breeding centre, Pakistan.

(6) India’s investments are at stake:

India, which has committed $3 billion in development aid and reconstruction activities, backs the Ashraf Ghani government in the war-torn country.

What are the stakes for India?

  • Afghanistan is a part  of  India’s extended  neighbourhood and a link to Central Asia. But for PoK, India would have had a direct border with Afghanistan.
  • Despite claims that the Taliban have changed in the past two decades, there is no proof that it has shed any of its obscurantist ideology which leans heavily towards Pakistan’s official foreign policy towards India.
  • A Taliban-controlled government in Kabul would mean Pakistan controlling Afghan policy on India.
  • And a repeat of the past when Pakistan used Afghanistan territory for anti-India activities.

Way Forward

  • India’s role in Afghan’s peace process and the road ahead is difficult as we see more process and less peace. India has urged for a permanent & comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan.
  • Durable peace requires peace within & around Afghanistan. India also asserted the need for zero tolerance for terrorism.
  • Diplomatic, policing, and intelligence cooperation with countries that border Afghanistan can help to contain terrorist groups and inhibit their ability to travel beyond the region.
  • International organizations like the UN must come forward to stop Pakistan sponsor of terrorism. The FATF should move beyond grey-listing itself.
  • Aid and developmental cooperation through the UN, India, USA must be done simultaneously for the restoration of democracy.

Conclusion

Terrorism safe havens are mostly a myth. A lot of complexities are involved in the Afghan theatre; tangible demonstration of commitment is required from all stakeholders for a political settlement and to have a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.

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RSTV Archive Yojana/RSTV

[RSTV Archive] Subsidy Reforms & Fiscal Position

Finance Secretary has recently underlined the need for improving the fiscal position of the government through reforms in farm, food and fertilizer subsidies so that additional funds can be generated for the development of infrastructure and education systems.

In this article we will discuss and analyse all aspects of this issue.

Financial crunch of India

  • India’s fiscal deficit at 9.3% of GDP for FY21, down from a revised estimate of 9.5%.
  • This is expected to rise due to covid induced welfare schemes announced recently.

Role of Subsidies

  • In India, food and fertilizer subsidies formed a major chunk of the overall subsidy followed by education, health, corporate concession, etc.
  • Farm, food and fertilizer reforms are administratively easy but politically difficult in view of the ramifications.

At the present juncture we have two main kinds of buckets of reform-

  1. We have to set our fiscal house in order and also provide for the many things that governments legitimately should provide.
  2. We will need to reform some of our subsidies — farm subsidies, food subsidies, fertilizer subsidies. Some of them are intertwined with each other.

Burden of Subsidies in India

(1) Farm Subsidies

  • The continued trust in Centre is established with the ever-increasing support to farmers.
  • Various farm subsidies from the govt include fertilizers, farm credit, crop insurance and MSP etc.
  • A similar support from State Governments towards electricity power subsidies, irrigation subsidies crop insurance subsidies.
  • Public investment in agriculture through major irrigation projects by States, is almost equal to the annual farm subsidies of the Government of India.
  • In addition, 50% of the food subsidies are granted to farmers under National Food Security Mission, as 75% of rural population covered.
  • State Governments also waived farm loans of Rs. 1,22,000 crores.

Thus, farm subsidies form about two percent of India’s GDP.

(2) Fertilizer Subsidies

  • The government’s role in shaping the fertilizer landscape goes back to 1957 when it introduced the Fertilizer Control Order (FCO) to regulate the sale, price, and quality of fertilizers in the market.
  • This has not only contributed to the start of a green revolution but also increased the use of fertilizer by farmers and resulted in higher yields.
  • India is currently the second-largest consumer of fertilizer globally after China.

Over the years, the distribution of fertilizer in India became prone to leakages. This is due to:

  1. Lack of a dedicated fertilizer beneficiary database
  2. Absence of a cap on fertilizer entitlements (Presently farmers can buy any amount, irrespective of need)
  3. Different levels of subsidy provided to the manufacturing plants based on their cost of production
  4. Disproportionate use of urea as opposed to other types of fertilizer, such as fertilizers containing phosphorous (P) or Potassium (K) nutrients, or both.

(3) Food Subsidies

India has one of the largest food subsidy programmes in the world that has created a relatively effective social safety net.

  • Food subsidies are under increasing criticism because of its large contributions to government budget deficits, economic inefficiency and poor targeting.
  • The food subsidy bill is becoming unmanageably large.
  • For the 2021/22 fiscal year, India’s total outlay toward the food subsidy is expected to cross Rs 2.1 lakh crore.
  • The Economic Survey 2020-21 released on Friday recommended an increase in the issue price at which poor households receive food grains.
  • Central issue price (CIP) is the amount priority households pay, ₹2 per kg of wheat and ₹3 per kg of rice, to avail grain from the subsidized PDS.
  • This issue price for wheat and rice has not been revised since the introduction of the National Food Security Act in 2013.

The total cost of food subsidies that amounted to about 2.2 per cent of agricultural GDP during the 1990s increased significantly to about 5 per cent during the last decade.

Why these subsidies are a cause of concern?

  • Current level of fiscal deficit is difficult to address as even during 1991, fiscal deficit was around 7.5%
  • Historically countries like England and Germany faced similar problems during global meltdown.
  • Our type of subsidy pattern is similar to these countries.
  • Giving subsidies are not empowering people is not the true way. It is not helping the poors the way it should have been.

Challenges to bring subsidies reforms in India

  • Subsidy benefits are not reaching to intended person in supply chain due to leakages like middlemen in MSP payments, fertilizer leakage to industry, etc.
  • Over the years, subsidies have not empowered the poor people. Ex. Poor spends lakh and lakh of crores on health even after getting subsidy.
  • Political will and cooperation from opposition is required in bringing changes to subsidy structure. Ex. Due to lack of opposition support, farmers are protesting against new farm laws
  • Government needs to address those details mentioned in NFSA. Ex. Provision of providing rice at Rs. 3 per kg.

Subsidy reforms is really a big fraud affair that it’s hard for govt to go forward.

Way forward

  • Indian needs to implement Brazil “Conditional Subsidy Model” called ‘Bolsa Família’ which even Bangladesh has also adopted. It is based on conditional cash transfer.
  • Reform should be focused on two points – Direction of change and Time of change. In the direction of change, food subsidy reform should be at last due to covid.
  • There should be a public and private partnership model for community health center and public health center in rural India to utilize subsidies in a much better manner.
  • A voucher system can be the perfect alternative to food subsidy as it will significantly reduce administrative costs.
  • Active centre & states partnership is required to strengthen the health and education sector as both these comes under state legislature.
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Yojana/RSTV

[Yojana Archive] Are We on a Cliff?

June 2021

Context

  • The world is facing gloomy times in midst of the pandemic, conflicts, and natural calamities.
  • Recently, we witnessed the horrors caused by nature in Chamoli district, the ground of the famed Chipko movement in Uttarakhand.
  • Nature’s warning is evident with visible cracks in its erstwhile harmonious relationship with humanity.

This essay/article emphasizes the need for building an ecological civilization and descending from the present cliff of uncertainty towards peaceful living and inclusive development and respect for nature.

The first industrial revolution that took place 250 years ago was primarily with coal and steam; the second with electricity and oil; the third with computers and its accessories; and now the fourth is a fusion of technologies in the physical, digital and technological worlds.

Civilizational chaos

  • The wave of industrial and green revolution marked a major turning point in earth’s ecology and humans’ relationship with the environment.
  • During the 20th century, with the detonation of the atomic bomb, humanity entered a new era.
  • Thus, we gained the power to destroy ourselves (mutually assured destruction), without the wisdom to ensure that we must avoid doing so.

Looming threats to mankind

  • Widespread industrialization, the proliferation of factories, destruction of forests for the construction of massive dams & power stations and the migration of people has all caused serious disturbances in the ecosystem.
  • The resulting climate change and global warming is a serious threat to the present as well as the future.
  • Both nature and world peace are under threat.
  • All these developments coupled with geopolitics have put humanity on a cliff and presents dangerous situations.

Future of Peace

The future of peace and harmony in the 21st century is likely to be directly linked to issues concerning five key realities of life today:

  1. Ecology, global warming, and climate change
  2. Nuclear weapons, the emerging technology of warfare and the continuing arms race among nation-states
  3. Geopolitics and nationalism
  4. Religious extremism and
  5. Poverty and inequality

We do not know how to retrieve the present dangerous situation away from its self-destructive ways. This needs to be appreciated in a threefold perspective:

[1] Nature

  • Today there is a credible threat to human survival from global warming and climate change with the potential to damage the lives and habitats of billions of people in different parts of the world.
  • The enormity of the challenge of conservation of ecology and halting climate change is formidable and calls for making changes in our behavior and thinking.
  • At the heart of the matter is: How do we move towards building fresh sensitivities for conservation in our civilizational processes?

Five events of the recent times need to be particularly referred to:

  1. Outbreak of pandemic SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in Hong Kong in 2002-03;
  2. Bushfires in Brazil and Australia of 2019;
  3. Continuous extinction of species
  4. Forest fires in California alongside the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and
  5. Coronavirus pandemic

These five events have given us signals that if ecology problems are not attended to urgently the world may not need world wars to destroy itself.

[2] Science

  • In the last decades of the 20th century, the focus of society has shifted decisively towards science and its domineering daughter, technology, both in the western and developing countries.
  • This has led to the globalization of products, cultural values, and information. It is integrating markets and trade.
  • But what becomes of environment and nature in such a scenario, remains a matter of great concern.
  • We have been brought to an alarming situation primarily on account of excessive greed, faulty planning, insensitive politics, and lack of imagination.
  • Technology, being value-neutral, has accelerated the pace of the downward journey.

Outcome: Climate change

  • Climate change and global warming are posing serious problems.
  • The biggest polluter has been the release of carbon dioxide.
  • To control it with speed, we have to change the terms of the market. It is based on the law of profit.

A change would mean rejecting the general line of dealings in the market in the world for the sake of the long-term interests of the human race. Are we ready for this major break? And, here wisdom comes.

[3] Wisdom

  • Wisdom is defined as ‘the ability to use one’s knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments.’
  • Wisdom is a product of experiences and reflections not only of the present generation but of the civilizational processes of a nation and also of the world.
  • Human beings can destroy their environment as well as can rise above petty interests, use technology and reverse the process of destruction of plant species and minimize carbon emissions.
  • At the present juncture, if we do not make use of our cumulative wisdom, nature will be harmed and succeeding generations will blame us for our failure.

We have to keep the Vedic precept of ‘माता भूमिः पुत्रो अहं पृथिव्याः ’ (‘This earth is our mother and we are its sons.’) in our minds.

  • Thankfully, on 12 December 2015, the Global Climate Accord was reached among 195 countries of the world in Paris.
  • The Paris Accord as it came to be known, commits countries to actions and policies that would restrict the rise in global temperatures ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by the year 2100.

Way Forward

  • We have to generate hope, courage, and respect for nature.
  • We should employ science and human ingenuity with determination to overcome the present state of despondency.
  • If science, spirituality, and wisdom go hand in hand, one can create a better world on this earth. Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed’.
  • It should become the maxim of the post-Covid world, that it will need farsighted leadership and efficient institutions of governance.
  • There is an imperative requirement to contemplate and work towards building an ecological civilization that would outline the ways of living in harmony with nature.

Bahudha Approach is based on the maxim enjoined upon us by the Rigveda. It proclaims: Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti The Real is One, the learned speak of it variously.  This provides for dialogue among different religions, cultures, and ways of living. It celebrates diversity and respect for harmonious living and nature.

Conclusion

  • The post-Covid world would be a different world.
  • It has made evident that we are all interdependent and have to work for sharing economic benefits as well as fruits of science together, irrespective of religious, ethnic, economic, and cultural divides.
  • We have to move towards building an ecological civilization and descending from the present cliff of uncertainty towards peaceful living and inclusive development and respect for nature.
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Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Middle Income Trap and India

India has a nearly 34-year window of opportunity to leverage its human resources and realize its growth potential before a phase of demographic burden sets in. This period will coincide with another important part of India’s growth story: the pursuit of high-income status. Too many countries have failed to make the leap from the middle-income to high-income group, afflicted by a malady now commonly referred to as ‘the middle-income trap’.

What is the middle-income trap?

  • The “middle-income trap” is a theory of economic development in which a country lost its competitive edge in the export of manufactured goods because of rising wages.
  • The wages rise to the point that the growth potential of that country is exhausted before it attains the innovative capability needed to boost productivity and compete with developed countries.
  • The countries caught in the Middle Income Trap are unable to compete with low-income, low-wage economies in manufactured exports and with advanced economies in high-skill innovations.
  • The middle-income trap is associated with a relatively sustained growth slowdown with both direct effects (e.g. income losses) as well as indirect effects (e.g. social conflicts).
  • Fuelled by the global slowdown, many countries, particularly in South East Asia, Africa and Latin America currently face the predicament of the Middle-income trap.
  • This has impeded their transition from middle income to high income.

What is the basis for the categorization of countries?

World Bank has used the 2018 data of gross national income (GNI) per capita to categorize countries into the following four categories:

CategoryReal Per-Capita Income* (2016)
Low-Income Countries (LICs)Less than 5% of the US.
Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)About 5-15% of the US
Upper Middle-Income Countries (UMICs)About 15-35% of the US.
High-Income Countries (HICs)All those above that line – including some above US’ level.

Why do Countries fall into the Middle Income Trap?

  • Inability to shift growth strategies: If a country cannot make a timely transition from resource-driven growth, with low-cost labor and capital, to productivity-driven growth, it might find itself trapped in the middle-income zone.
  • Lower export potential: Traditional exports cannot be as easily expanded as before because wages are higher and cost competitiveness declines. Middle-income countries also face varying levels of access to product and financial markets and diverse social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities.
  • Skewed income distribution & stagnation in middle-class population: Wealth inequality and the hierarchical distribution of income in developing countries is a downward drag on domestic demand, which results in stagnation. It slows down the upward mobility of families that are at lower levels, into the middle class that is prepared to pay more for quality and differentiated products.
  • Recurring boom-bust cycles & pro-cyclical lending: Many middle-income countries in Latin America have been through cycles of growth based on credit extended during commodity booms, followed by crisis, and then recovery. This stop–go cycle has prevented them from becoming advanced economies despite enjoying many periods of fast growth. This is in sharp contrast with successful countries in East Asia—Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea that have been able to sustain high growth over some 50 years.

India’s Case

  • In 1960, India was a low-income country with per capita income around 6% of the US. However India attained status of lower middle income in 2008 with per capita income of about 12% of the US.
  • But the growth has occurred with limited transfer of labor resources to high productivity and dynamic sectors, despite relatively modest agricultural growth.
  • Thus, the late converger stall risk remains for India too.

Why India might get caught in a middle-income trap?

(1) Backlash against globalization:

  • Hyper globalization (benefited the China, South Korea & Japan) led to a backlash in the advanced countries, as seen through increasing protectionism & lowering World Trade-GDP ratios since 2011.
  • This means that similar trading opportunities may no longer be available for the middle-income countries.

(2) Thwarted Structural Transformation:

  • The manufacturing sector is identified as a critically important sector for ensuring transformation. Successful development requires two kinds of structural transformations:
  • a shift of resources from low productivity to high productivity sectors; and
  • a larger share of resources devoted to sectors that have the potential for rapid productivity growth.
  • However, in late economies like India, ‘premature deindustrialization’ (tendency for manufacturing to peak at lower levels of activity and earlier in the development process) is a major cause of concern.
  • Also, there is a negative share of good growth over time along with weakening of the positive correlation between growth and good growth.
  • There are various outliers to the convergence process in this regard like India and China. China’s good growth persists and India’s share of the same declined.

(3) Human Capital Regression:

  • Human capital frontier for the new structural transformation has shifted further away making the transformation costlier.
  • This is because the new advances in technology not only require skilled human capital, but also demands them to learn continually.
  • As opposed to these requirements, there is a wider educational attainment gap and skill deficit between lower income countries and advanced economies.
  • If this gap persists or widens, the kind of transformation enjoyed by the early convergers might prove more difficult for late convergers.
  • This gap is highly stark for India given its absolute Learning Poverty Count between 40-50% and Learning Poverty Gap is about 25% for reading and a little lower for math.

(4) Climate change-induced Agricultural Stress:

  • Agricultural productivity is crucial both for feeding people and for ensuring human capital moves from agriculture to modern sectors.
  • The agricultural growth rates of richer countries have been consistently greater than for developing countries in each time period.
  • With climate change, weather extremities have become a recurrent phenomenon. This is, in particular, a threat to India where agriculture is heavily dependent on precipitation.
  • Fall in private consumption, muted rise in fixed investment and sluggish exports have led to a slowdown in the economy and increase India’s vulnerability to the middle-income trap.
Learning Poverty Count- measures the number of children who do not meet the basic learning benchmark. Learning Poverty Gap- Takes into account how far each student is from the benchmark.

Avoiding the Middle Income Trap

  • In 1960, India was a low-income country with per capita income around 6% of the US. However, India attained the status of lower middle income in 2008 with per capita income of about 12% of the US.
  • But, the growth has occurred with limited transfer of labor resources to high productivity and dynamic sectors, despite relatively modest agricultural growth.
  • Thus, the risk of getting trapped in a middle-income zone remains.
  • To avoid becoming trapped without a viable high-growth strategy, India needs to:

(1) Transitioning from diversification to specialization in production:

  • Specialization allowed the middle-income Asian countries to reap economies of scale and offset the cost of disadvantages associated with higher wages (E.g. Electronics industry in South Korea).
  • High levels of investment in new technologies and innovation-conducive policies are two overarching requirements to ensure specialized production.
  • Developing good social-safety nets and skill-retraining programs can ease the restructuring process that accompanies specialization.

(2) Shifting to productivity-led growth:

  • Total factor-productivity growth requires major changes in education, from primary & secondary schooling to tertiary education so that workers adept new skills as per the demands of the markets.
  • Creating such knowledge economy requires long term planning and investment.
  • Middle-income countries need better access to technologies, research, and innovation, and also better management practices.
  • That requires redesigning development strategies and gradually shifting to higher-value-added sectors with a focus on innovative, sustainable and inclusive growth.

(3) Opportunities for professional talent:

  • To attract and retain a critical mass of professional talent that is becoming more internationally mobile, India must develop safe & livable cities that provide attractive lifestyles to professionals.

(4) Addressing barriers to effective competition:

  • There is a need to address rigidities that can arise from bankruptcy laws, stringent tax regulations, limited enforcement of IP regulations, imperfect information, discrimination etc.

(5) Decentralized economic management:

  • Greater powers should be vested in local governments, address the insufficiency of judges in lower courts, etc. to ensure speedier decision making.

(6) Sustaining macroeconomic stability:

  • Flexible fiscal framework that limited deficits and debt, and a flexible exchange rate mechanism backed up by a credible inflation-targeting monetary policy could help sustain long periods of growth.
  • Effective restructuring, regulating, and supervising of the financial sector must be ensured so that the present NPA crisis can be effectively handled.

(7) Changing orientation of social programs:

  • Social programs should target the middle class as well as poorer sections of society.
  • Ramping up domestic demand is also important—an expanding middle class can use its increasing purchasing power to buy high-quality, innovative products and help drive growth.
  • Inequality is a barrier to the broadening of the demand base in an economy.
  • This could be achieved through initiatives like low-cost housing for first-time homebuyers in cities, programs to ensure that recent graduates get suitable employment opportunities, etc.

Way forward

  • Rapidly improving human capital–– healthy individuals, including all women, with the basic education to continually learn and adapt––will be key to sustaining India’s dynamic growth trajectory.
  • Rapidly improving agricultural productivity––against the headwinds of climate change and water scarcity––will be another key to achieving good growth and hence sustainable growth.
  • And, of course, the hyper globalization backlash in advanced countries, over which India has little control, must recede to create a favorable external climate to sustain rapid growth.
  • There is no Late Converger Stall, as yet, but it would be wise to act to head it off.
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RSTV Archive Yojana/RSTV

[RSTV Archive] Cooperative Based Economic Development

A new Ministry of Cooperation has been created to strengthen cooperative movement. This separate administrative structure was proposed in Union Budget earlier this year. New ministry is expected to streamline processes for cooperatives and realise the vision of ‘ Sahkar se Samriddhi’.

In this article we will discuss and analyse all aspects of this issue.

What is a Cooperative?

  • A cooperative is “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise”.
  • Cooperatives are democratically owned by their members, with each member having one vote in electing the board of directors.

Cooperative Movement in India

The history of cooperatives in India goes back to more than a hundred years and they continue to stay relevant due to their grassroots reach and ability to bring economic growth to underserved sections.

  • The cooperative movement, which has its roots in the 19th century Europe, developed in pre-Independence India in response to agricultural distress and indebtedness.
  • Their growth was fostered, first by India’s erstwhile British rulers and, post-Independence, several steps have been taken to put assist in their growth and functioning.
  • The formal launch of the cooperative movement in India occurred with the introduction of the Cooperative Societies Act in 1904.
  • However, it notes that even before the passing of that law, “the practice of the concept of cooperation and cooperative activities were prevalent in several parts of India”.
  • In 1912, another Cooperative Societies Act was passed to rectify some of the drawbacks of the earlier law.
  • The next landmark change came in 1919 when cooperation was made a state subject. That allowed the various states to come up with their own legislation governing cooperatives.

Who can form a cooperative in India?

  • Cooperatives are geared towards benefiting the chunk of Indian people — about 65 per cent of the country’s population — who depend on agriculture and related activities.
  • According to the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912, at least 10 persons aged above 18 years with common economic objectives, like farming, weaving, consuming, etc, can form a cooperative society.

Which are the key sectors where cooperatives operate in India?

  1. Consumer Cooperative Society
  2. Producer Cooperative Society
  3. Co-operative Credit Societies
  4. Marketing Cooperative Society
  5. Housing Cooperative Society
  6. Co-operative Farming Societies
  • The various kinds of cooperatives in India include consumers’ cooperative societies, which seek to protect the interest of general consumers by making goods available at reasonable rates.
  • Then there are producers’ cooperative societies that protect the interest of small producers by enabling access to raw materials, tools and equipment, machinery, etc. are examples of producers’ co-operative societies.
  • Among the most famous cooperative brands in the country, Amul developed out of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which is owned by 36 lakh milk producers in Gujarat.
  • It is an example of a cooperative marketing society, formed by small producers and manufacturers who find it difficult to sell their products individually.
  • Among other types of cooperatives are cooperative credit societies, which accept deposits from members and grant them loans at reasonable rates, and cooperative farming societies, which are formed by small farmers to work jointly and thereby enjoy the benefits of large-scale farming.

Why needs cooperatives?

It is easier to understand the need of the cooperatives by knowing its specific objectives. They can be summed as follows:      

  • Cooperatives are good, reliable opportunities for growth
  • They provide an opportunity for collective decision making.
  • They eliminate the unnecessary profits of middlemen in trade and commerce.
  • They aim to protect the rights of people both producers and consumers.
  • They promote mutual understanding and education among their members and people in general.
  • They bring together people at the grassroots and provide them collective bargaining power and benefits of economies of scale.
  • They provide an economic model with a higher level of entrepreneurial or social sustainability and often work as pressure groups to voice the views of their members in a larger market.
  • Being a part of a co-op improves your creditworthiness as a producer as well as a consumer.
  • They are easy to join, ensure equitable distribution of profits, prioritise welfare over individual profits, are stable in their functioning and output, and receive a substantial amount of government support.

Why need a separate ministry?

  • Over the years, the cooperative institutions have experienced drying out of funding.
  • While the capital came from the Centre, in the form of equity or working capital, only a few states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka got to enjoy it, while other states could not receive much.
  • It had become important to restore the structure of these cooperatives.
  • Under the new Ministry, the cooperative movement would get the required financial and legal power needed to penetrate into other states also.

How do these cooperative structures influence politics?

  • The cooperative institutions ranging from the village-level primary agricultural credit societies (PACSs) or the urban housing societies have been the starting point of a lot of present leaders.
  • That’s because these cooperatives elect their own board of directors.
  • Many veteran politicians of the day have been in connection with the cooperative movement in the past.
  • They often tend to start their political career through cooperative elections.
  • Control of co-operatives allows politicians to influence decisions upstream (who gets a cabinet seat) as well as downstream and ancillary fields (where are the votes coming from).
  • They are a source of funding and patronage.
  • A canny politician can leverage his/her power at the cooperative level all the way to state and national prominence.

Challenges for cooperatives

  • Capital: As the income from agriculture in the rural sector has declined drastically there these banks need a new business model to function.
  • Regionality: Milk cooperatives are a huge source of income for the farmers but the growth of the dairy sector is dismal. The North and northeast do not contribute substantially to the dairy sector.  There is a need for policies for supporting ancillary services for the dairy sector.
  • State laws: State cooperative Laws are not in tune with the current socio-economic situation.

Opposition from the states

  • In Maharashtra and Gujarat, there are many big cooperative societies engaged in sugar and milk production, power looms, and running urban and rural non-agri credit societies.
  • In Mh alone there are around 21,000 primary agriculture credit societies and 31 district cooperative banks.
  • It is believed that around 150 MLAs in Maharashtra are connected to this sector.
  • The Left parties have also expressed concern over the move, stating that it seeks to undermine the federal structure of the country. 
  • Cooperative societies are a state subject in the Constitution’s 7th Schedule.

What will be the new cooperation ministry’s role?

  • Separate administration: With a focus to help deepen cooperatives as a true people-based movement, the ministry is mandated to “provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement”.
  • Facilitation: The ministry will streamline processes for ease of doing business for cooperatives and enable the development of multi-state cooperatives.
  • Expansion: With the coming up of handicraft and weavers’ cooperatives and so on the farmers’ income can be doubled.
  • Economic boost: It will contribute towards economic growth and development. It will help in identifying other sectors where the cooperatives can come up which will be beneficial for the ones down the value chain.

What should be the key areas where the ministry should focus?

  • Rural sector: Double farmers’ income can be achieved by growth of the food processing industry. India can learn from the Netherlands in this aspect.
  • Housing for all: Mass housing through cooperative societies in urban areas as majority urban poor live in slums.
  • Consumer cooperatives in urban areas: There are none in the country with credible work. As these can act as a balancing sector.
  • Ease of doing business: EODB norms should be extended to all cooperatives so that they are able to function without obstructions.

Way forward

  • The new ministry should empower cooperatives to form their SPVs.
  • It should promote companies under the companies act which are formed by the cooperatives.
  • The cooperative should not be dependent only on govt or borrowing for capital.

Reference:

Categories
Yojana/RSTV

[Yojana Archive] The Pandemic through Gandhian Perspective

June 2021

Covid-19 has pushed the world into a pervasive crisis encompassing every aspect of human life. With the passage of time, the trade-off between saving lives and saving livelihoods has grown starker.  

This article attempts to relate the present crisis to the Gandhian way of thinking to arrive at some concrete take-homes.

Unprecedented uncertainty

  • The most fearsome feature of this pandemic is its uncertainty: from the symptoms and their absence to the possibility of its return with a vengeance, and the serious after-effects on the ‘recovered’ cases.
  • It is time to introspect about the wrongs we have committed as ‘civilized’ inhabitants of the earth which makes our ways of living so precarious, inequitable and unsustainable today.

Gandhi and the Pandemic

  • Beginning with the containment of wants, Gandhian economics, grounded on the premises of non-violence, truth and non-covetousness (Aparigraha/not possessing), is instantly antithetical to mainstream economics.
  • It is based on the principle of dignity of labour, self-sufficient and strong village economy and public trusteeship.
  • It offers an integrated view of managing economy, polity and society harmoniously. Gandhian thought can provide some critical insights during this exercise in introspection.

How is Gandhiji relevant in this pandemic?

(1) Gandhian principles

  • Non-violence: Squeezing wages and exploiting workers is also equivalent to violence. Creating circumstances that force people to migrate because of poverty might amount to violence at a societal level.
  • Non-possession: Unequal landholding is a manifestation of greed, which was sought to be corrected through the Bhoodan movement by Gandhiji’s illustrious disciple, Vinoba Bhave.
  • Self-sufficient villages: Gandhiji wanted to reverse this by making village communities stronger and self-sufficient.
  • Social empowerment: Empowering villages through a benevolent Jajmani system was his idea of nurturing the roots of India that lived mostly in villages.

Note: Jajmani system or Yajman system was an economic system most notably found in villages of India in which lower castes performed various functions for upper castes and received grain or other goods in return.

(2) Opposition for automated production

  • Gandhiji’s ideas about the choice of technology have been much debated. He was not against industries.
  • He was proponent of the key idea for optimally using the local resources and skills.

(3) Trusteeship and community ownership

  • Industries would be necessary for progress, and they would have to make profit in order to survive.
  • But again, the profits belong to the society, that provided every possible resource to an industrialist, who is therefore a mere trustee of this wealth. It becomes his obligation to look after the needs of the society.
  • Using profit towards larger social good, which is the crux of Corporate Social Responsibility, can be traced back to Gandhiji’s idea of Trusteeship.

The current pandemic has paved the way for the possibility of a social experimentation based on Gandhian ideology, and there are several grounds to justify this position:

(a) Changing Consumption Pattern

  • The pattern of consumption has changed significantly especially since the lockdown.
  • Studies have noted a substantial reduction in ‘discretionary’ or conspicuous consumption (meaning luxuries goods consumption has declined).
  • Consumers are less blinded by the ‘brand value’ and are increasingly alert about distinguishing between essential and non-essential consumption due to financial viability.
  • Preferences are shifting to natural and herbal remedies.
  • However, there are studies of higher incidence of substance abuse, alcoholism, anxiety and depression, and on the other, innovative and creative ways are being devised to make home-stay more bearable.

(b) Changing Patterns of Production

  • As the world grapples with the problem of fragmentation of the supply chain, the necessity to restart in whatever manner possible, producers may be forced to relocate their sources of supply.
  • There is a trend towards the relocation of GVC (Global Value Chain) in favour of greater use of local skills and materials.
  • Compelled by the pressures of circumstance we might redevelop production systems of the kind that Gandhiji advocated strongly to promote self-sufficiency.

(c) Empathy towards the Deprived

  • The migrants reaching their home States in large exodus has been a heart-wrenching story.
  • The State did arrange Shramik trains to ensure safe return, but the role of individuals, NGOs and religious institutions that extended a helping hand so spontaneously cannot be overemphasized.
  • If the reverse migrant movement is akin to partition, so is the extent of support and help from various quarters of the society.
  • Gandhiji would have not only appreciated this spirit of empathy but would have perhaps succeeded in processing into institution building to sustain it longer.

When the existing patterns of socio-economic systems are shaken, they create a space for a paradigm shift. It is also an opportune time to correct the previous malfunctions of the system. For example:

i. Reducing Rural-Urban Imbalance:

  • Providing more jobs in the non-agriculture sector and more so in manufacturing is the need of the hour.
  • Promoting agro-based and related commercial activities such as fisheries and food processing can go a long way in providing more opportunities for gainful employment in the rural sector.
  • This would be a step in the Gandhian direction.

ii. Domestic Violence and the Gender Issue:

  • It is well-recorded that there is an increase in violent, abusive, impulsive, compulsive, and controlling behavior and aggression towards women during the period of economic hardships.
  • Studies suggest an astonishing rise in the harassment of women behind closed doors.
  • This has justified the term ‘parallel pandemic’ to domestic violence, underlining the dark gender impact of the pandemic, but they have also brought out the issue of gender disparity and the disenfranchisement of women in a manner that can no longer be overlooked.

(d) Treatment to the Reverse Migrants

  • States which have had pressure for accommodating reverse migrants now have an opportunity to deploy their expertise at home.
  • These States can use this experienced labour force to work on improving infrastructure, building industrial estates, setting up new MSMEs, etc. to attract more business.
  • As for migrants with experience of running tiny or home-based businesses, it is possible to bring them together into clusters to form co-operatives.
  • Co-operatives are important because they facilitate decentralization of the process of growth, which is Gandhian in spirit.

(e) Urban Development

  • Covid-19 has emphasized the need for cleanliness and hygiene like never before.
  • It has compelled the urban local bodies to improve and expand their health services.
  • Ignoring hygiene or treating it as welfare or a charitable act is not going to help because these are necessary for everyone’s survival now.
  • In a way, ensuring decent living conditions, which is implicit in the dignity of labour, is thrust upon us as a need for survival.

(f) Decent Wages and the Covid Allowance

  • States from where the migrant workers have moved out have had to raise wages due to a severe shortage of labour.
  • They do echo the need to treat workers with dignity through intervention in the Ahmedabad textile strike to negotiate in the issue of plague allowance.

(g) Environmental Concerns

  • Lockdown reportedly reduced air and water pollution substantially.
  • It would be up to us to maintain it with as much caution as possible.

Way forward

  • Gandhiji has been the conscience-keeper of our country.
  • This onslaught of circumstances calls for an alternative way of managing human affairs and revisiting Gandhi.
  • It is high time we follow his advice as he would have given us if he were alive.

Conclusion

  • Any attempt to engage in greater sustainability is Gandhian in spirit because it can be achieved only by rising above the baser instincts of greed, violence and petty self-importance.
  • In a truly Gandhian perspective, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be seen as an integrated vision stemming from a peaceful and harmonious coexistence of all.
  • The pandemic has opened up opportunities to tweak our ways of living on this planet in a wiser and more compassionate way.
  • The choices we make now can have long-term effects on our well-being.
Categories
RSTV Archive

[RSTV Archive] Open Network for Digital Commerce

Moving ahead with its plans to make e-commerce processes open source and curbing digital monopolies, the government on has appointed an advisory council to design and accelerate the adoption of open network for digital commerce.

The move by the government is the latest in a series of changes announced or being planned to be rolled out by the government for the e-commerce sector.

So, what changes will the open network for digital commerce bring about? What are its aims and objectives? How significant a move it is towards streamlining the country’s e-commerce ecosystem?

These are some aspects we will analyse on in this article.

What is ONDC Project?

  • ONDC seeks to promote open networks, which are developed using the open-source methodology.
  • The project is aimed at curbing “digital monopolies”.
  • This is a step in the direction of making e-commerce processes open-source, thus creating a platform that can be utilized by all online retailers.
  • They will encourage the usage of standardized open specifications and open network protocols, which are not dependent on any particular platform or customized one.

What does one mean by ‘Open-sourcing’?

  • An open-source project means that anybody is free to use, study, modify and distribute the project for any purpose.
  • These permissions are enforced through an open-source licence easing adoption and facilitating collaboration.

What processes are expecting to be open-sourced with this project?

  • Several operational aspects including onboarding of sellers, vendor discovery, price discovery and product cataloguing could be made open source on the lines of Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
  • If mandated, this could be problematic for larger e-commerce companies, which have proprietary processes and technology deployed for these segments of operations.

What is the significance of making something open-source?

  • Making a software or a process open-source means that the code or the steps of that process is made available freely for others to use, redistribute and modify.
  • If the ONDC gets implemented and mandated, it would mean that all e-commerce companies will have to operate using the same processes.
  • This could give a huge booster shot to smaller online retailers and new entrants.

What does the DPIIT intend from the project?

  • ONDC is expected to digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for stakeholders and consumers.

Countering ‘Digital Monopoly’

  • Digital monopolies refer to a scenario wherein e-commerce giants or Big Tech companies tend to dominate and flout competition law pertaining to monopoly.
  • The Giants have built their own proprietary platforms for operations.
  • In March, India moved to shake up digital monopolies in the country’s $ 1+ trillion retail market by making public a draft of a code of conduct — Draft Ecommerce Policy, reported Bloomberg.
  • The government sought to help local start-ups and reduce the dominance of giants such as Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart.
  • The rules sought to define the cross-border flow of user data after taking into account complaints by small retailers.

Processes in the ONDC

  • Sellers will be onboarded through open networks. Other open-source processes will include those such as vendor and price discovery; and product cataloguing.
  • The format will be similar to the one which is used in the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
  • Mega e-commerce companies have proprietary processes and technology for these operations.
  • Marketplaces such as Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, BigBasket and Grofers will need to register on the ONDC platform to be created by DPIIT and QCI.
  • The task of implementing DPIIT’s ONDC project has been assigned to the Quality Council of India (QCI).

Why such a move by the govt?

  • This COVID pandemic has made every business to go digital.
  • India is a country with 700 million internet users of whom large crunch of population are active buyers on e-coms.
  • There are 9 platforms in the world which are billion user platform and all are private. This is the monopoly which the govt aims to hit.
  • No country would ever want a few (foreign) companies to control their domestic e-commerce ecosystem.
  • Countries like US are struggling to control their monopoly over the e-commerce giants leaving no space for Indian legislations to control these overseas companies.
  • In India Amazon, Walmart, Uber are controlling larger crunch of share in the market leaving very less scope for domestic companies to cope up with.

Scope for ONDCs success

  • Over last 50 years India is dealing with Big Tech companies with responsibility and pragmatic manner. Now it is also coming with new policies to control them.
  • The drafting panel has extraordinary persons like Mr. Nandan Nilekani and others who were in Aadhar, NPCI, MyGov, Retail industry and these make it inclusive and innovative.
  • India has successfully executed various public digital platforms like JAM Trinity, Aadhar linked projects. India for sure can handle its digital ecosystem better in e-coms too.
  • Open-sourcing will benefit society at large as did the UPI.

Issues that can be raised

  • Draft E-Commerce policy can raise resistance from companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Walmart etc.
  • They may raise hues over operability and ease of doing business.
  • MSMEs have already raised the growing compliance burden for e-commerce.
  • They have argued that the govt is technologically and digitally motivating everybody to get online and on the other hand it is culling their very ability to reach out to the consumer to get more people on board.

Possible issues with ONDC

  • Every platform has its own challenges so would the ONDC may have.
  • While UPI was ruled out (BHIM being the first) people were reluctant in using it due to transaction failures.
  • With subsequent improvements and openness people and businesses are using it in every walks of life. So it would work with ONDC.

Conclusion

  • Once adopted, ONDC will make sure consumer and seller interest will be protected as the UPI did.
  • Best is yet to come and we are in 4th industrial revolution where the Govt should strengthen itself accordingly and make businesses inclusive and restrict the monopolies.

Reference:

Categories
RSTV Archive

[RSTV Archive] National Space Transportation Policy

Context

  • India is planning to put in place a technological & regulatory framework.
  • The Department of Space (DoS) has released the draft National Space Transportation Policy.
  • Private players eager to leverage national facilities and the new policy aims to unlock the potential in space sector.

In this article we will discuss and analyse all aspects of this issue.

National Space Transportation Policy

  • The Department of Space (DoS) has placed the ‘Draft National Space Transportation Policy 2020 – Norms, Guidelines & Procedures (NGP)’ for implementation in public domain for comments & suggestions.
  • It covers all aspects of rocket launching, launchpads, reentry of a space object and others.
  • Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), an independent body under the DoS has been specified as the nodal agency for all approvals related to launches by the private sector.

A boost for private players

  • The policy aims to unlock the potential of the space sector in the country with respect to space transportation systems.
  • It will create a healthy ecosystem for private companies to develop launch vehicles and launch them from Indian Territory.

(1) Launching of rockets

  • The draft policy allows Indian private companies to establish and operate rocket launch sites within and outside the country, after getting prior authorization from the government.
  • Rocket launch (orbital or sub-orbital) from Indian or overseas territory can be carried out only with authorization from IN-SPACe.
  • The launch could be from own or leased launch site and also from mobile platforms (land, sea or air).

(2) Financial guarantee

  • As per the policy, IN-SPACe authorization requires financial guarantee or insurance cover by proposer under its ownership to fulfil nation’s liability as per international agreements.

(3) Launches outside India

  • If the launch site is overseas, all necessary approvals for undertaking the activities in another country must be under the applicable laws of that country.
  • IN-SPACe will authorize the launch activity by the Indian Entity after verifying clearances accorded by Ministry of External Affairs or any other Ministry.
  • IN-SPACe or India shall not have any liability related to launches performed outside of the territory of India.

(4) Green technologies

  • The draft policy states that ISRO should focus on Research and Development (R&D), green fuels, robotic space exploration and reusable rockets.
  • It states that focused research on new propulsion systems based on semi-cryogenic, liquid oxygen-methane and green propellants is essential.
  • ISRO is developing green propulsion through hydrogen peroxide for the rocket that will power the ‘Gaganyaan’ mission (India’s 1st Human Space Flight Programme).
  • ISRO is developing a green fuel – LOX (Liquid Oxygen)/Methane – LOX as oxidiser and methane as fuel.

Why need such a policy?

  • Indian entities can eye the big opportunity to capture a share of the global launch services market.
  • It facilitates R&D to build space transportation capabilities for future space endeavours along with commercial exploitation.
  • The establishment of space enterprises has the potential to boost the economy by creating direct & indirect employment.
  • It enables the commercial utilization of the launch capacity and space transportation technologies developed by the DoS through its commercial arms.
  • Private sector ecosystem in Space Transportation is growing globally.
  • It paves the way for engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships with international space agencies/technology providers towards the joint development of advanced space transportation capabilities. 

Salient features of the policy

  • The policy is a comprehensive document with guidelines right from the start of the mission and till the coming back of the rocket.
  • The draft policy also talks about robotics which is needed for space stations.
  • The policy is really a futuristic document since it talks of private launch pads.

Some shortcomings

  • Space is an important sector where we require capital investments from outside. This is where the policy is silent.  
  • Indian big players have no keen interest in space-based industries. This would make the private arm totally based on startups.
  • The policy is also silent on the military, space weapons, suborbital tourism etc.
  • The policy also talks about launching activities from Seas.  This can create security issues that need to be taken care of.
  • It can create challenges in implementation since it has created a single-window approval agency like IN-SPACe. This could hamper the Ease of Doing Business.
  • Also, the policy is not clear about startups and research.

Way forward

  • It is essential for the DOS to work towards advanced space transportation capabilities including new propulsion systems, reusability as well as heavy lift capabilities to undertake robotic/human space exploration.
  • In order to enable missions like human spaceflight and robotic space exploration, the current capabilities of DOS/ISRO have to be significantly enhanced towards heavy lift and reusable space transportation systems.

Conclusion

  • ISRO till now proved it’s worth and has brought a lot of laurels to India. Now the time has come that Indian industry also lives up to the standards set up by ISRO.

Reference

Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Integrated Theatre Command

Content

India is set to begin a formal roll-out of its long-awaited theaterisation plan to best utilise its military’s resources amid growing security threats, with the Air Defense Command and the Maritime Theatre Command set to be launched by May.

Present structure

  • The Indian armed forces currently have 17 commands.
  • There are 7 commands each of the Army [Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, Central, South-western and Army Training Command (ARTRAC)].
  • Air Force has [Western, Eastern, Southern, South-western, Central, Training and Maintenance].
  • The Navy has 3 commands [Western, Eastern and Southern].
  • Each command is headed by a 4-star rank military officer.
  • Interestingly, none of these 17 commands is co-located at the same station, nor are their areas of operational responsibility contiguous.
  • In addition, there are 2 tri-service commands [Strategic Forces Command (SFC)] and Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC)], which is headed by rotation by officers from the 3 Services.

How do the 17 commands coordinate during the war?

  • Coordination of operations is expected to be carried out at the level of Service Headquarters through the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), which is headed by the senior-most Service Chief who is designated as Chairman, COSC.
  • He is expected to simultaneously perform both the roles of Chief of his Service as well as the Chairman, COSC.
  • The COSC generally functions on the principle of consensus, and this makes decision making on jointness very difficult.
  • India has an integrated theatre command only in ANC.
  • The other tri-service command, the SFC, looks after the delivery and operational control of the country’s nuclear assets.
  • It was created in 2003, but because it has no specific geographic responsibility and a designated role, it is not an integrated theatre command but an integrated functional command.
  • There has been a demand for other integrated functional commands, such as the cyber, aerospace and Special Operations commands, but the government is yet to approve any.

What is a theatre command?

  • An integrated theatre command envisages a unified command of the three Services, under a single commander, for geographical theatres that are of security concern.
  • The commander of such a force will be able to bring to bear all resources at his disposal (from the IAF, the Army and the Navy) with seamless efficacy.
  • It will not be answerable to individual Services and will be free to train, equip and exercise his command to make it a cohesive fighting force capable of achieving designated goals.
  • The logistic resources required to support his operations will also be placed at the disposal of the theatre commander so that he does not have to look for anything when operations are ongoing.
  • This is in contrast to the model of service-specific commands which India currently has, wherein the Army, Air Force and Navy all have their own commands all over the country.
  • In case of war, each Service Chief is expected to control the operations of his Service through individual commands, while they operate jointly.

The committee, which was headed by Lt General DB Shekatkar (retd) has recommended the creation of 3 integrated theatre commands i.e.;  

  1. Northern for the China border,
  2. Western for the Pakistan border and
  3. Southern for the maritime role.

Why is the need to integrate Armed Forces?

  • The remarkable technological advancements in science and technology in the 20th century have revolutionized the art of warfighting.
  • The nature of warfare itself has witnessed a paradigm shift in the planning and execution of operations.
  • The modern concept of warfighting relies on the tenets of real-time battlefield transparency 24 x 7, swift all-weather mobility under all battlefield conditions and immense lethality of firepower independent of range limitations.
  • The modern-day wars will be fought with simultaneity in a non-linear pattern across the spectrum of land, sea and air.
  • The execution of operations would entail well-coordinated offensive-defensive manoeuvres, net-centric operations, information warfare, cyber-attacks, possibly under nuclear overhang etc.
  • India has two hostile nuclear neighbours. Additionally, India’s security threats include Pak sponsored terror in J&K as part of an instrument of state power, Left Wing Extremism (LWE) in almost half the districts in the country and international power play unfolding in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) as well as Asia-Pacific Regions.
  • India today, as an economic & military power, must play a much larger role in the evolving geo-strategic environment in the region, particularly in the maritime domain.
  • In such a complex operational environment, militaries have little option but to adopt methods of integrated warfighting.
  • To effectively counter the list of security challenges, India will have to integrate the Armed Forces.

How is Joint Command different from Integrated Command?

  • Jointness means that while the 3 Services progress and develop in their respective spheres with their independent identity, they function together and so coordinate their operations in war.
  • Integrated commands, on the other hand, seek to merge individual service identities to achieve a composite and cohesive whole.
  • It implies enmeshing the three Services together at different levels and placing them under one commander for the execution of operational plans.

Pros

  • Better acclimatisation of troops to the given battle space, which will assist them to comprehend the operational requirements correctly in the assigned area of operation.
  • Training needs and administrative requirements of the troops can be better understood, which would allow specialisation and suitable honing of battle drills at all levels.
  • Equipment can be procured, maintained and pre-positioned for quick mobilisation and apt application during the envisaged, short-duration, high-intensity war.
  • The allocation of military hardware, in terms of weapon systems, command, control and communication equipment and combat support elements will be theatre specific and result in optimisation of the resources.
  • Unified command of the three Services under one designated commander will allow for prompt and precise decision making and will remove unnecessary tri-services one-man-up ship.
  • Hence, it goes without saying, that the theatre commands will afford better coordination, intelligence sharing, apt advice and seamless conduct of operations in a given theatre of operation.

Challenges

  • The very first challenge is the mindset of the military hierarchy. There is deep-rooted insecurity among the Services, arising out of loss of absolute authority over its Service, loss of identity of each Service in an integrated set up and erosion of empire within each Service. This may lead to unwillingness among the Armed Forces to integrate.
  • Secondly, the lack of political will despite being convinced about the requirement of integration of the Armed Forces. There is a sense of reluctance arising out of insecurity to bestow the complete authority of Armed Forces with one individual.
  • Thirdly, the structure of command, i.e. who will report to who within the tri-services and joint theatre command configurations, and who will have operational command over personnel and machinery, service chiefs or theatre commanders.
  • Fourthly, shortage of resources within the Indian Air Force (IAF) which has only 31 operational squadrons against a modest sanctioned strength of 42, would make it difficult for the IAF to permanently station assets in a particular command with territorial boundaries.
  • The fifth challenge is the inter-services competition wherein each service zealously oversees its own assets and strives for a greater share of the defense budget and influence might prove to be an obstacle in creating synergy among the services.
  • Last but not the least, India’s limited experience with integrated command structures may require a fair bit of mid-course corrections which would require problems to be timely identified and remedied, and slow down the integration process regardless.

Is everybody happy with the proposed idea?

  • While the Army and the Navy are on board with the proposal, the Air Force has certain reservations.
    • One, the Air Force does not want the Air Force chief to lose operational control of Air assets.
    • Two, the Air Force is concerned that all of its assets might be divided within these integrated theatres.
  • All such concerns need to be addressed before such a significant transformation of the defence set-up takes place.

Conclusion

  • Even though both merits and demerits highlight logical arguments, the truth is this was a much-needed reform in Indian Armed Forces.
  • Thus this integration would lead to theaterisation which would further lead to the modernization of forces. Until now, modernization was implemented from the equipment and weapons system per se but this restructuring into unified commands is the other side of modernization of forces.
  • Even though there is a line of difference between Jointmanship among armed forces and Integration of Armed Forces, cooperation is a prerequisite of armed forces.
Categories
Yojana/RSTV

[Yojana Archive] E-waste Management

June 2021

E-waste management is a complicated process given the multitude of actors that are involved in the process. Even though the e-waste management policies are in place since 2011 in India, implementation has been sluggish. As of today, some 95% of e-waste is managed by the informal sector which operates under inferior working conditions and relies on crude techniques for dismantling and recycling.

Problem of the millennium

  • The world dumped a record 53.6 million tons (Mt) of e-waste in 2019, recycling only 17.4% of it.
  • India has an e-waste management policy in place since 2011, with its scope expanded in 2016 and 2018. Yet, the pace of its implementation has not been satisfactory.
  • An attempt is made here to outline key policy measures to improve recycling capacity in India through market-based mechanisms for policy enforcement.

What is E-waste?

  • Electronic waste (e-waste) i.e., waste arising from end-of-life electronic products, such as computers and mobile phones, is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world today.

Why is it generated at such a large scale?

  • With the enhancement in the standard of living, modern societies have become resource-intensive in their consumption.
  • This has increased the demand for electronic items while considerably bringing down the life cycle of electronic products.
  • Coupled with planned obsolescence by the producers, inadequate repair options or awareness about deposit refund policies consumers tend to dispose of electronic goods along with other household waste, thus products entering the informal market.
  • Again the life span of devices is getting shorter with the rapid pace of technological advancements, improved specifications and better performance.
  • This has led to product replacements much before these run out of their usable periods.

What is E-waste Management?

  • E-waste is generated when the first user of the product concludes on its useful life with no intention of reuse and disposes of it by donating or selling.
  • This e-waste can be managed either formally through collection or disposal in waste bins or informally through developed e-waste management infrastructure or even without it.

E-waste value chain

  • E-waste management is a complicated process given the multitude of actors that are involved in the process.
  • The major stakeholders in the value chain include importers, producers/manufacturers, retailers (businesses/government/others), consumers (individual households, businesses, government and others), traders, scrap dealers, dissemblers/dismantlers and recyclers.
  • To critically assess each in the different stages of processing, it is important to understand the e-waste value chain.
  • The process involves four stages: generation, collection, segregation and treatment/disposal.

[1] Generation (discussed earlier)

[2] Collection

  • E-waste is collected by designated organizations, producers, Government retailer take-back, and producer take-back. This e-waste is then taken to a specialised treatment facility.
  • The disposer resorts to openly dumping the product in a waste bin along with other household wastes. E-waste ends up being incinerated or landfilled as other domestic waste.
  • Some countries may have an established network of individual waste dealers or companies who collect and trade the e-waste through various channels wherein possible metal recycling may occur at the destination.

[3] Segregation and Disposal

  • The e-waste collected may be sold to an informal dealer who may repair, refurbish, or sell again to a backyard recycler.
  • This recycler dismantles the product through burning, leaching, and melting, thus converting it into secondary raw materials.

India’s regulatory ecosystem

  • Indian electronics sector boomed in the last decade.
  • Increased production and penetration of imported electronics items led to an accelerated e-waste generation that necessitated regulatory control over the sector.
  • India has Electronic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011 in place since . Its scope was expanded in 2016 and 2018 through amendments.

Provisions of the 2011 Rules

  • To streamline e-waste management, the Government introduced Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) whereby producers were required to collect and recycle electronic items.
  • Since manufacturers were incurring the disposal cost, their designs would incorporate less toxic and easily recyclable materials, thereby reducing input material requirement.

Inherent flaws

  • The pace of its implementation has not been satisfactory.
  • Less than five percent of the waste is treated through formal recycling facilities.
  • The rest is handled by the informal sector with very little enforcement of environmental and occupational safety norms.

Why?

  • A deeper analysis revealed that the EPR regulations in India were not quantified through collection or recycling targets as in other countries with better implementation framework and mechanisms.
  • In the absence of targets, producers had little incentive to ensure the collection of their used products.

Subsequent amendments

[I] Deposit-refund system (DRS): This resulted in the e-waste rules being amended in 2016 to include collection targets and implementing a deposit-refund system (DRS) by the producers. In a DRS, an upfront deposit is charged to the consumer at the time of purchase of the product, and the deposit is refunded when the product is safely returned to the producer.

[II] Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs): The 2018 amendment made provision for the registration of PROs. PROs in India offer comprehensive compliance services, from negotiating the most cost-effective regional collection and recycling contracts with different recyclers to helping producers meet outreach and awareness-raising requirement.

Current scenario and issues in e-waste recycling

  • Crude and Scrappage: As of today, some 95% of e-waste is managed by the informal sector which operates under inferior working conditions and relies on crude techniques for dismantling and recycling.
  • Infrastructure lacunae: Another important issue is the lack of sufficient metal processing infrastructure which is why recyclers have to export materials to global smelters.
  • Price competencies: As aggregators are mostly informal, they demand up-front cash payments.
  • Bloomed informal network: The informal network is well-established and rests on social capital ties that PROs have yet to establish and are hence insulated from reaching the viable number of aggregators.
  • Policy failure: Policy changes have tried repeatedly to formalize the sector, but issues of implementation persist on the ground.

Stakeholder analysis

  • The demand and supply side gap analysis against the backdrop of the regulatory landscape reveals two major stakeholders in the process – (1) Business Advocates and (2) Public and Media Gatekeepers.
  • The Government remains a great catalyst in the entire process. Its role can be discounted to that of a facilitator and a regulator in a self-propelled market.
  • It is important that consumers responsibly consume the product for its useful life and then weigh between the chances of repair or disposal with utmost consciousness towards the environment.
  • On the supply side, e-waste can be reduced when producers design electronic products that are safer, and more durable, repairable and recyclable. Manufacturers must reuse the recyclable materials and not mine rare elements unnecessarily to meet new production.

Recommendations (by author)

  • The electronics sector will have to adapt operations to reduce virgin material usage and build technologies around greater extraction and recycling capabilities.
  • Process designs should be revolutionized to find alternatives to existing practices to not unsustainably extract rare earth resources.
  • Optimising the e-waste recycling chain requires strict monitoring, enforcement and tracking, the realization of economies of scale and global cooperation.
  • Failing to address any of these elements will result in suboptimal resource efficiency while posing a risk to the environment.
  • Enforcement of EPR targets and comprehensive monitoring of formal recycling flows and processes is a critical first step to avoid leakage of valuable materials to an uncontrolled informal sector.
  • In India, public awareness of e-waste hazards and recycling is low. People should be made aware of the trade-offs between sustainability and consumerism through both industry campaigns and media networks.

India can grab the opportunity

  • Since India is highly deficient in precious mineral resources, there is a need for a well-designed, robust and regulated e-waste recovery regime that would generate jobs and wealth.
  • If these materials are domestically isolated, it can lead to greater metals security and resource efficiency in the country.

Way forward

  • The consumers must responsibly consume the product for its useful life and then weigh between the chances of repair or disposal with utmost consciousness towards the environment.
  • On the supply side, e-waste can be reduced when producers design electronic products that are safer, and more durable, repairable and recyclable.
  • Manufacturers must reuse the recyclable materials and not mine rare elements unnecessarily to meet new production.
  • Rather than hoping that informal recyclers become formal it would be more feasible for companies and the state to design programs ensure e-waste easily makes its way to proper recyclers.

Conclusion

  • The size and complexity of the e-waste problem are growing at a much quicker rate than the efficacy of strategies to contain it.
  • The policy advocates for greater awareness campaigns on the part of producers.
  • Concerted efforts are important to generate a momentum of sustained efforts towards increasing disposal through formal channels and catalyzing sustainable consumption patterns.
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RSTV Archive

[RSTV Archive] Economic Reforms – Journey & Road Ahead

India has completed 30 years of liberalization regime. Multi-pronged reforms agenda was launched in 1991. Over the years India has become one of the fastest growing economies in 21st century and the reforms agenda continues to be in focus along with the quest for self-reliance. In this edition we will discuss and analyse all aspects of this issue.

In 1991, India’s population was 83.8 crore. In 2021, it is estimated at 139 crore. Effectively four of ten Indians, or 55 crore Indians scarcely know of an India which existed in perpetual want – when people waited for years for a phone, LPG connection and even a scooter. Today, the Aadhaar-based digital infrastructure enables Indians to get a phone connection or open a bank account in minutes.

1991 Economic Reforms

  • The 1991 economic reforms refer to the economic liberalization of the country’s economic policies with the goal of making the economy more market and service-oriented and expanding the role of private and foreign investment.
  • It was part of a general pattern of economic liberalization and modernization occurring across the world in the late 20th century.
  • It was prompted by a balance of payments crisis that had led to a severe recession.
  • Specific changes included reducing import tariffs, deregulating markets, and reducing taxes, which led to an increase in foreign investment and high economic growth in the 1990s and 2000s.

What was the pre-liberalization economic policy?

  • Indian economic policy after independence was influenced by the exploitative colonial experience and by those leaders’ exposure to socialism.
  • Policy tended towards protectionism, with a strong emphasis on import substitution industrialization under state intervention.
  • Licence Raj established an “irresponsible, self-perpetuating bureaucracy” and corruption flourished under this system which created widespread economic stagnation.

The story of 30 years

This can be categorized into:

  • Growth: with many regime changes, fiscal deficit has been reduced to 4% from then 8%.
  • Trade policy: Tariff got reduced eventually facilitating import and multilateral trade.
  • Industry and licence policy: Except Railways and atomic energy got delicensed. India has become Startup capital of the world.
  • Financial sector reforms: Banking, NPAs were crux of this reforms.
  • RBI and Govt relations: This have been redefined since then. Govt has not been using Ad-Hoc treasury bills and replaced by T-Bills of RBI.
  • Employment: Now private companies have raised to give employment to innumerable and the hunt for govt jobs has reduced.

Major outcomes of the reforms

1991 reforms ushered in an era of high growth, declining poverty, a burgeoning, aspirational middle class and the very real possibility of a seat on the global stage.

  • By the first decade of the 21st century, India began to be seen as one of the fastest growing emerging markets.
  • The 1991 reforms unleashed the energies of Indian entrepreneurs, gave untold choice to consumers and changed the face of the Indian economy.
  • Far from poverty increasing, for the first time, there was a substantial reduction in it.
  • From 1992 to 2005, foreign investment increased 316.9%, and India’s GDP grew from $266 billion in 1991 to $2.3 trillion in 2018.
  • It redefined the role of State as facilitator & neutral regulator.

“For sure, China is enabled by the authoritarian system whereas India is a vocal democracy. Yet the fact is the authoritarian state has done better on every development indicator.”

Shortcomings of the reforms

  • When we see the growth of economy on one side, on the other side, inequality has sustained. The reforms has not reached to socials sectors like education, health, skill development.
  • The share of manufacturing in the GDP has largely remained stagnant.
  • Economic liberalization has failed to provide secure and decent jobs to the mass of the population.
  • Informality, under-employment and low inter-generational mobility persisted through the heady days of growth
  • State now has become redundant and its role in the economy has reduced only as facilitator of business. This has damaged the government’s capacity in two ways.
  • First, it incapacitated the government to respond to emergencies based on credible information. Second, the logic and policies of economic liberalization seriously undermined the manufacturing capabilities of India.

Challenges in 2021

Markets in India operate in the context of deep structural inequalities. Our 1991 economic imagination responded to these realities by framing the debate in false binaries of growth versus inequality.

  • The pandemic-induced lockdown brought the wheels of economic activity to a grinding halt, triggering a sharp economic contraction.
  • This has resulted in a collapse in production following the disruption caused by the pandemic, which, in turn, has caused a fall in demand.
  • Public expenditure must happen for the next stage of economic growth.

” The economic reforms and agenda of 1991 has lot of challenges and opportunities which lie ahead in terms of economic growth, above mentioned reforms have to be taken at the earliest”

Liberalization 2.0 needed

  • Economic growth is sustained by the virtuous cycle of income- consumption-demand-investment-growth.
  • In theory, India dismantled licence raj but permission raj persists. Successive governments have shied away from reviewing the process of clearances.
  • Small and medium enterprises are the bulwark of employment and exports but suffer from over-regulation and under-provision of capital.
  • India’s policy on FDI has been defined less by objectives and more by crises.
  • This has detained expansion in the areas where access to capital and technology could have made India a dominant player – for instance in electronics and computer hardware.
  • Growth at a macro level is but a means to achieve ends.
  • No country has progressed without investing in human development and yet India has struggled to up the spending on education and health.

Conclusion

  • The defining factor in success is a sense of political purpose and efficiency of the state.
  • Three decades after liberalization, India continues with a ministerial structure designed for state-led industrialization.
  • Five decades after the first Administrative Reforms Commission, the political economy wrestles with the very same issues which it interrogated in the 1960s.
  • To deliver on the promise of its potential, India needs to complete the unfinished agenda —install Gov 2.0 to enable minimum government and maximum governance.
  • Finally, the limitations to invest in human capital, health, education, nutrition, worse, treating these as an afterthought, a luxury of high growth. This is both an economic and a moral failure.

There can be no sustainable growth without first investing in people and enabling them the opportunity to be active participants in the economy. If there is only one lesson to be learnt from the 1991 moment, let it be this.


Reference:

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Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Model Tenancy Act-2019

Context

    The ministry of housing and urban affairs recently came out with the draft Model Tenancy Act 2019. The draft Act is aimed at increasing accountability in the rental home ecosystem. It addresses factors like the need to have a formal rent agreement, how much security deposit should be paid, rate of rent increase and grounds for eviction. While the draft tries to strike a balance between the rights of the tenants and homeowners, there is some debate about whether it promotes the interests of one over the other

Why this act?

  • Restrictive Laws: As per Census 2011, more than 1 crore houses were lying vacant in urban areas. The existing rent control laws are restricting the growth of rental housing and discourage owners from renting out their vacant houses due to fear of repossession. 
  • Large scale informalisation in sector: One of the potential measures to unlock the vacant house is to bringing transparency and accountability in the existing system of renting of premises and to balance the interests of both the property owner and tenant in a judicious manner.
  • Lack of Uniformity: Since it is a state subject, states have enacted their laws and it differs from one state to another.
  • Housing Poverty: 2013 report by a Task Force for Rental Housing held that affordable rental housing “addresses the issues of the underprivileged and inclusive growth, in an even more direct manner than affordable ownership housing”. Model Tenancy Act helps bring investment in the sector as the sector provides better safeguards.

Features of act

  • Mandatory Rent Agreement: The act makes it mandatory to create a written lawful rent agreement between the owner and tenant. 
  • Rent Authority: The Act requires establishing rent authorities in every district to regulate renting of premises.
    •  Both the landlord and tenant will have to submit a copy of the rent agreement to the district Rent Authority.
    •  The proposed authority will also provide a speedy adjudication mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
  • Tribunal and Courts: It calls for creating dedicated tribunals and courts for dealing with tenancy related disputes.
  •  Security Deposit: The act puts a cap on the amount of security deposit. It will be a maximum of two months of rent in case of residential premises and six months in case of non-residential premises.
  • Subletting: The act bars tenants from subletting the property in part or whole.
  • Vacating Rental Premises: It says that if a landlord has fulfilled all the conditions stated in the rent agreement, then the tenant has to vacate the premises. 
    • If the tenant fails to vacate the premises, then the landlord is entitled to double the monthly rent for the first two months and four times after that.
  • Increase in Rent: The rent can be revised according to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement. If there is no such agreement, the landowner will have to give a 3 months notice to the tenant before revising the rent.
  • Coverage: The Act will apply to premises rented for residential, commercial, or educational use but not for industrial use. It also won’t cover hotels, lodging, etc. This model law will be applied prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.

Need for Model tenancy act

(1) Unlocking homes

  • It will unlock vacant houses for rental purposes
  • It will enable the creation of adequate rental housing stock for all the income groups thereby addressing the issue of homelessness.

(2) Helping migrants

  • Rental housing is a preferred option for students and migrants.
  • It will balance the rights of both landlords and tenants.

(3) Effective negotiations

  • There is no monetary ceiling under MTA, which enables parties to negotiate and execute the agreement on mutually agreed terms.
  • It will give confidence to landlords to let out their vacant premises, the housing ministry said.
  • The Act also tries to address how a renter can legitimately increase the rent.

(4) Control over encroachments

  • It has proposed limiting the advance security deposits to two months’ rent and has also suggested heavy penalties for tenants who decide to overstay.
  • Those who do may have to shell out double the rent for two months and even four months.

(5) Rights of tenants

  • The landowner cannot cut power and water supplies in case of a dispute and would have to provide a 24-hour notice to tenants to carry out repair work.
  • Should the landlords wish to increase the rent, they will need to provide a three-months notice to the tenants.
  • These measures would go a long way in protecting the rights of a tenant as it regulates the rent hikes that tenants have had to face.

Scope of coverage

MTA applies to any premises, which is, let separately for residence or commercial or educational use except industrial use.

However, MTA does not provide what constitutes residence/commercial/educational/industrial use. Besides, MTA does not apply to the following premises–

  • Hotel, lodging house, dharamshala or inn etc.
  • Premises owned or promoted by:
  • The Central/ State/ UT Government.
  • Local Authority.
  • Government undertaking or enterprise.
  • Statutory body.
  • Cantonment board.
  • Premises owned by a company, university or organization given on rent to its employees as part of service contract.
  • Premises owned by owned by religious or charitable institutions as may be specified by notification.
  • Premises owned by owned by any trust registered under the Public Trust Act of the State.
  • Premises owned by owned by Wakfs registered under the Wakf Act, 1995.
  • Any other building specifically exempted in public interest through notification.

However, if the owner of any of the premises mentioned in (b) to (g) wishes a tenancy agreement to be regulated under MTA, then he can inform the same to the Rent Authority.

Significance

  • The model act will be applied prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.
  • When enforced in all states, it will lead to a better regulated rental house market for middle and high-income segments.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana( Housing for all by 2022 mission ) has a component of having 20 per cent of 2 crore houses shall be created exclusively for rent.
  • This informality is the key reason why this housing segment, despite its huge potential, remains largely untapped. When landlords and tenants have a common platform to refer to understand the market dynamics, the rental housing segment would slowly march towards transparency and a formal setup.
  • A segment-specific court would mean the grievance redressal mechanism would work efficiently. This would generate in landlords the confidence to let out their units, which they otherwise shy away from, fearing squatting and other such unfavourable consequences.
  • A cap on security deposits would make a correction in these markets, where housing is expensive and renting is not cheap either.
  • Squatting by tenants is the key reason why landlords are wary of letting their unoccupied property. Since the policy sets monetary penalties for squatting, landlords will have greater confidence.
  • This would work as an alternative to eliminate the problem of the housing shortage in view of the ever-increasing population in India.

Drawbacks of the MTA

  • Non-Binding nature: Land and Urban Development is a state subject. The states may or may not adopt the proposed law, as done by them in the case of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.
  • Prospective effect: The new model act would have a prospective effect. This means it would be applicable to future disputes only, hence past disputes would continue to linger on for years.
  • Inadequate Security Cover: Security Cap for two months may not be enough to cover damages, especially during the last month when tenants adjust their rent in the security deposit.
  • Lacunae in the formation of the Act: The act fails to properly define the term ‘habitation’. Further, it fails to mention the penalty if the owner delays in paying back the security deposit. Also, it is altogether silent on sudden leave and license arrangements.

What is the impact on Real Estate?

  • Model Tenancy Act will fuel the rental housing supply by attracting more investors
  • More rental housing stock will help students, working professionals and migrant populations to find urban accommodation.
  • Aimed at bridging the trust deficit between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations that will open up more players in the field confidence to landlords.
  • Attract corporate players to provide serviced apartments for their employees.

Way forward

  • Protection of rights: The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 is a progressive step in matters related to rent and rental housing in the Indian real estate sector. By combining a range of clauses covering aspects from the security deposit to rent tribunals, the draft policy will aid in protecting the rights of the tenants as well as the property owners.
  • Special authority setup: It also proposes the establishment of adjudicating authorities in an effort to lessen the burden on lower courts in the matters relating to tenancy. In doing so, it offers a comprehensive and well-structured approach to solving tenancy-related issues in India.
  • Needs improvement: Although the provisions offer a win-win situation for both tenants and landowners, the scope can still be broadened. For instance, the draft policy should draw a clear distinction between residential tenancies and commercial rental accommodations, which attract higher institutional investments. 
  • Must be made binding: The central and state governments can work in tandem to provide affordable rental housings. This will not only attract a lot of tenants but will also increase the supply of formal rental accommodations. 
  • Taking all the factors into consideration, including the setting up of tribunals and courts, the act does bring transparency, fixes accountability, and promotes fairness in the rental housing segment. 
Categories
RSTV Archive

[RSTV Archive] India and Afghan Peace Process

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar set out India’s red lines for the settlement process in Afghanistan during a UNSC debate. A Qatari official revealed that there was a “quiet visit by Indian officials to speak with the Taliban”.

India has been becoming more central to the negotiations with the Talibans. In this article we will discuss and analyse all aspects of Afghan peace process from India’s perspective.

The tension is the change in “the balance of influence between regional powers and the wider international community” where non-Western states have become more influential in matters of regional security.

Afghan Peace Process

  • The Afghan peace process comprises the proposals and negotiations in a bid to end the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
  • This US-Taliban deal signed in February 2020 was seen in India as a “victory for Taliban and Pakistan”.
  • Although sporadic efforts have taken place since the war began in 2001, negotiations and the peace movement intensified in 2018 amid talks between the Taliban, which is the main insurgent group.
  • Besides the US, major powers such as China, India, Russia, as well as NATO play a part that they see as facilitating the peace process.
  • The Afghan peace group People’s Peace Movement sees regional and global powers as a cause of continued war.

The peace process has not made much headway mainly because violence by the Taliban continues unabated. The Taliban now view this as an important milestone and is busy trying to establish their military superiority on the ground.

Taliban prowess is ever increasing

  • Every single day since the ceasefire, the Taliban is strengthening and violence is mounting high.
  • Taliban is now more organized as an organization with diplomats on par with modern democratic nations with a state apparatus propaganda.
  • The Taliban strategy seems to be to capture power in Kabul by violence and intimidation despite warnings from the international community.
  • At the core of its diplomacy lies the untenable violent extremism based on radical religious ideology.

India and Afghanistan

  • India’s contribution has been phenomenal in every area in Afghanistan since India built the Afghan Parliament.
  • India has been a major military and developmental assistance partner for Afghanistan.

After years of mortal enmity, India is reportedly recalibrating its approach to the Taliban. Reports say New Delhi has opened an exploratory channel with a few Taliban factions. What explains this shift?

Why is India engaging with the Taliban?

  • As the world and India have changed there is an aspiration that Afghan can’t be brought back from the brink.
  • India wants to play a positive role and sabotage those countries that support other terror groups in Afghan.
  • It is visibly clear and Taliban has claimed that the US withdrawal is a victory for them. At the same time, the democratically elected Afghan government is crashing.
  • India is pressing on a peace process all around Afghanistan so that all countries shall be peaceful.

India’s concerns

  • India is concerned over the violence and loss of lives in Afghanistan. Violence has increased manifold after peace talks have started.
  • India, which has committed $3 billion in development aid and reconstruction activities, backs the Ashraf Ghani government in war-torn country.
  • New Delhi wants an all-inclusive “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled” peace process—not one that is remote-controlled by Pakistan, seen as the backers of the Taliban.
  • It supports zero tolerance against violence.
  • Our EAM has iterated that there is need of double peace i.e., within and around Afghan indirectly pointing towards the terror breeding centre, Pakistan.

What are the stakes for India?

  • Afghanistan is a part of  India’s  extended  neighborhood and a link to Central Asia.
  • But for Pakistan occupying part of Kashmir, India would have had a direct border with Afghanistan.
  • Despite claims that the Taliban have changed in the past two decades, there is no proof that it has shed any of its obscurantist ideology which leans heavily towards Pakistan’s official foreign policy towards India.
  • A Taliban-controlled government in Kabul would mean Pakistan controlling Afghan policy on India.
  • And a repeat of the past when Pakistan used Afghanistan territory for anti-India activities.

US withdrawal raises the prospect of an India-Pakistan ‘proxy war’ in Afghanistan, it is neither inevitable nor will it be in India’s interest to engage in such a messy conflict with Pakistan in Afghanistan, especially when Pakistan will likely have the dominant hand.

Fear over sudden US withdrawal

  • US withdrawal at this moment is very dangerous to Afghan. The Taliban is waiting for the US to withdraw.
  • Once the last US marine leaves, it is no doubt that the Taliban would seize Kabul and bring the entire Afghan nation under control.
  • With violence continuing, Afghanistan may slip back into civil war, with warlords cutting deals with the Taliban to control their areas of influence, triggering an indefinite period of instability in the entire region.

Terrorism and its export

  • Cross border terrorism is increasing at the Indian borders. Pakistan has been since long sponsoring them modern arms.
  • A ceasefire in Afghanistan may spill over the terror in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

International community’s role

  • Many countries have been trying through multiple tracks to kickstart the stalled peace process in Afghanistan.
  • UN-backed talks among Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the US “to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan,” do not seem to be happening.

Role of regional actors: India and Pakistan

  • Both rivals India and Pakistan have been in conflict regarding the Afghan peace process.
  • Following a May 2020 attack at a hospital in Kabul, which the Afghan state blamed on the Taliban while the US blamed the regional ISIS branch, Pakistan accused India of trying to derail the process.
  • The Afghan government denied Pakistan’s claims and cited that India is a partner.

Way forward

  • India’s role in Afghan’s peace process and the road ahead is difficult as we see more process and less peace.
  • India has urged for a permanent & comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan.
  • Our External Affairs Minister has said that durable peace requires peace within & around Afghanistan. India also asserted the need for zero tolerance for terrorism.

 For a peaceful subcontinent

  • Taliban have several sections that are both radical and some want talks with the international community.
  • So international organizations like the UN must come forward to stop Pakistan sponsor of terrorism. The FATF should move beyond grey-listing itself.
  • Nations should come together against the Taliban so that it can’t move forward without any foreign aid.
  • Aid and developmental cooperation through the UN, India, USA must be done simultaneously for the restoration of democracy.

Conclusion

  • A lot of complexities are involved in the Afghan theatre; tangible demonstration of commitment is required from all stakeholders for a political settlement and to have a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.

Reference

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