Sansad TV 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.


  • 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.


Sansad TV 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.


  • 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.


Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV Archive] Road to a Hydrogen Economy

Hydrogen is all set to play a significant role in decarbonizing energy systems. Green Hydrogen has no carbon footprint through several challenges remain in its usage at a wider level. National Hydrogen Mission was announced by the center govt in this year’s Budget to tackle all these challenges. In this edition, we will discuss and analyze all aspects of this issue.

Green Hydrogen: Fuel of the future

  • Hydrogen is primarily used in the petrochemicals and fertilizer industry and is produced largely from natural gas, thereby emitting enormous amounts of carbon dioxide.
  • Depending on the nature of the method of its extraction, hydrogen is categorized into three categories, namely, grey, blue and green.
  • Green hydrogen gas is produced by splitting water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer that may be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
  • This gives hydrogen the edge over other fuels to unlock various avenues of green usage.
  • However, challenges lie in terms of technology, efficiency, financial viability, and scaling up which the summit will aim to address.

What is National Hydrogen Mission?

  • The Union Budget for 2021-22 has announced a National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHM) that will draw up a road map for using hydrogen as an energy source.
  • The initiative has the potential of transforming transportation.

Why shift for Hydrogen?

  • India has a huge edge in green hydrogen production owing to its favorable geographic conditions and presence of abundant natural resources.
  • Presently India has around 6 million Metric tonnes of Hydrogen production every year which is almost 8% of the global hydrogen production.
  • Hydrogen also offers an opportunity to decrease the dependence on Fossil fuel.
  • The fertilizer, Steel, and transport sector need a lot of energy so we can decarbonize by using green hydrogen. Thus future of clean energy depends a lot on Green Hydrogen.
  • The growth of solar has given a unique advantage for the growth of green hydrogen.
  • Cheap solar tariffs mean the cost of powering the electrolysis process through surplus electricity at peak hours to generate hydrogen remains low.
  • Setting up hydrogen generation plants near solar parks will further reduce transmission costs.

Major challenges

Overt regulations: Currently, multiple regulatory authorities regulate hydrogen use. The MoRTH regulates vehicle’s fuel carrier specification, MNRE regulates renewable energy sources, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board regulates pipelines and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization regulates explosive substances, storage and fuel station’s specifications.

Economic sustainability: One of the colossal challenges faced by the industry for using hydrogen commercially is the economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen. Furthermore, the maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.

Technological limitations: The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and is expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.

Lack of investment: The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation, and demand creation for hydrogen.

Although, the draft regulations of NHM are expected to contain details pertaining to hydrogen technology, including storage, R&D, pilot projects, and other specification and safety standards.

Going Forward

De-carbonization: We need to decarbonize many Industries to shift towards green hydrogen technology.

De-regulation: Hydrogen being a versatile resource will require coordination among the various ministries and regulators.

Collaboration: Proactive industry collaboration with the government is key to creating a hydrogen economy in India. This will help bring best-in-class hydrogen technology, equipment, and know-how to create a hydrogen supply chain in India — in many cases, these could be “Made in India”.

Infrastructure: Hydrogen is highly explosive so storage must be highly secured. The NHM should aim to establish appropriate physical infrastructure and legal framework for the usage of hydrogen.  India also plans to extend the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing electrolyzer, which are used for producing green hydrogen.

R&D: The NHM can also highlight the need for global cooperation and generate opportunities for exchange of technology. To augment the NHM, constructive synergies among leading industries from different sectors like automobiles, power generation, refining, chemicals is necessary.

Capacity building: Hydrogen generation cost is very high. The draft regulations for NHM shall have a roadmap for affordable targets and capacity installation. Designated hydrogen hubs can be established to attract investment by providing infrastructural support like pipelines and renewable electricity for production, storage and transportation of green hydrogen.

Global cooperation: Global hydrogen initiatives have been gaining traction. The year 2020 saw 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, the USA, Japan, and Germany, announce hydrogen policies. India should ramp up international collaborations for more effortless transfer of technology and resources related to hydrogen.


  • Green hydrogen is one of the most promising fuels in the efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
  • India should aim to reduce the cost of hydrogen to less than $2 by 2030. By doing so, the demand is expected to increase by at least five times today’s demand to 30 million tonnes per annum by 2050.
  • At this juncture, with calibrated approach, India can uniquely position itself to take advantage of increasing investment in R&D, capacity building, compatible legislation, and the opportunity for the creation of demand among its vast population.


Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV Archive] India-China Ties Post-Galwan

There has been one year since the Galwan Valley clash in which 20 of our soldiers lost their lives and a number of Chinese troops were also killed. Both in terms of geography and numbers, China’s intrusion was neither local nor limited. This incident is touted to be the biggest face-off since the 1962 war.

Background: LAC Dispute

  • In what was the worst clash between the two countries in over 40 years, the Galwan incident reverberated around the world.
  • The casualties in the clash were the first in the disputed Sino-Indian border since 1975.
  • The Galwan episode led to a rapid build-up of forces on both sides of the Line of Actual Control.
  • This incident is being seen as major punctuation in the bilateral relations between India and China and what does the future hold for both neighbors.

Disengagement is yet incomplete

  • Following multiple rounds of talks both at the military and diplomatic levels, an agreement was made on de-escalation and disengagement from all friction points in Ladakh.
  • So far, the two militaries have disengaged only in the Pangong Tso lake area.
  • But other hotspots remain, including the Chinese intrusions in the Depsang plains, Galwan, Goghra and Hot Springs. 
  • Unless the Chinese troops vacate and redeploy along the pre-standoff alignment, a deep dive rebooting of ties might be impossible to commence. 

Where did China focus during these clashes?

  • Chinese focused mainly on Siachin, Galwan areas, Depsang plateau, Kailash Range.
  • This is the side where India always wanted to create a buffer zone since the 1962 war.

What is China’s consideration?

  • There are many theories why China did so, what are its intention.
  • Chinese are demanding area in Depsang side, North Bank of Pangong Tso.
  • Infringement and stalemate persist in these areas since both countries clashed one year ago.
  • China is living in denial.
  • India is in no mood to ignore the “new realities” on the ground, and go ahead with a full- blown trade, commercial and people-to-people relationship between the two civilizational states.

Did India just win at the Line of Actual Control?

Military deterrence and economic and diplomatic maneuvering could not have altered China’s cost-benefit calculus on their own.

  • If China had aimed to coerce India into accepting its territorial claims along the LAC, the massacre at Galwan Valley emboldened New Delhi’s resolve to fight back.
  • Militarily, the effort marked the biggest mobilization of the Indian Armed Forces in recent decades.
  • What followed was a concerted effort to use all of the economic, diplomatic, and military power at India’s disposal to push China to return to the status quo—what it called a “strategy of hurt.”
  • This strategy communicated a simple dictum to Beijing: China should remove its soldiers and its bases, or India would inflict economic, diplomatic, and military costs.
  • Diplomatically, too, India embraced the West more firmly, signing an agreement that furthers military cooperation between the US and QUAD.   It also sent an Indian destroyer to the South China Sea,

Repercussions of this incident

  • The border has gone beyond the red line; it has become a major constraint between the two nations.
  • Chinese will try to link the border issue to another thing: G7, QUAD, Pandemic, Virus is not natural, Chinese involvement in this, Australia joining Malabar exercise.
  • But above everything, geopolitics still remain. Our EAM, S Jaishankar has outrightly clarified that it cannot be business as usual with China.

A lesson for the world

  • Due to increasing engagement of India with the alliances like QUAD, G 7, etc., it is understandably palpable to China regarding the act of deterrence being showcased by the rest of the world.
  • The QUAD, NATO and G7 are identifying China as a malign competitor, which has hegemonic ambitions in guise of trade.
  • The Wuhan Lab Leak theory has raised eyebrows about China’s alleged role in the Coronavirus spread.
  • In any case, the skirmishes with China are global incidences of utmost importance in cognizance with what China does in the South China Sea or Hong Kong.

Roadmap for the world

  • Major countries have a heavy dependency on trade with China which all of a sudden cannot be de-linked.
  • Thus China is a largely globalized country. Nations need to change this and create new alignments.
  • India has to create its own upliftment and reduce dependence on China.

The ball is in China’s court, so the future moves depend on whether it accepts peace in the border through talks or it disengages on its own.

Lessons for China

China needs to scan carefully if it wishes a durable, good neighborly relationship with India:

  1. First, China must not impede India’s rise as a global heavyweight. China should stop being conspicuous in denying India’s presence in other international decision-making bodies such as the UNSC, NSG etc.
  2. Second, China needs to appreciate that India too is a deep civilizational state, whose cultural bandwidth extends from Southeast Asia to West Asia.
  3. Finally, after years of friction, India wants to settle the border issue with China once and for all.

Way forward for India

  • Since the Galwan incident, it is understandable that Indian forces remain vigilant throughout.
  • India is now considering to explore all avenues which will make itself atma-nirbhar.


  • Both sides have a history of prolonged and armed coexistence normally.
  • Only a truly effective and general military deterrent will help India stand up to China’s bullying.
  • And New Delhi today seems more determined than ever to move in that direction.
  • This is likely to be a new phase in not only Sino-Indian ties but also the geopolitics of the larger Indo-Pacific.


Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV ARCHIVE] Aspirational Model: Inspiration for the world

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has lauded the Centre’s Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP), saying that it should serve as a “best practice” for other countries where regional disparities in development status persist for many reasons.

UNDP has termed ADP as the most successful model of the Local Area Development.

Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP)

  • Launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ initiative aims to remove this heterogeneity through a mass movement to quickly and effectively transform these districts.
  • The broad contours of the program are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a spirit of mass Movement.
  • With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.

Behind the name

  • Hon’ble PM has negated the idea of naming any scheme based on their backwardness.
  • Rather the name ‘Aspirational’ presents a more affirmative action-based execution of the scheme.

Selection of districts

  • A total of 117 Aspirational districts have been identified by NITI Aayog based upon composite indicators.
  • The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts based on 49 indicators (81 data points) from the 5 identified thematic areas.

Weightage has been accorded to these districts as below:

  • Health & Nutrition (30%)
  • Education (30%)
  • Agriculture & Water Resources (20%)
  • Financial Inclusion & Skill Development (10%)
  • Basic Infrastructure (10%)

Strategy of the ADP

The core Strategy of the program may be summarized as follows.

  • Making development a mass movement in these districts
  • Identify low hanging fruits and the strength of each district, to act as a catalyst
  • for development.
  • Measure progress and rank districts to spur a sense of competition.
  • Districts shall aspire to become State’s best to Nation’s best.

Features of the ADP

  • It has transformed into a Jan Andolan.
  • The ADP is different in trying to monitor the improvement of these districts through real-time data tracking.
  • The programme seeks to develop convergence between selected existing central and state government programmes.
  • District performance in the public domain and experience building of the district bureaucracy is another notable feature.
  • The programme is targeted, not towards any single group of beneficiaries, but rather towards the population of the district as a whole.

What makes this program special?

The program reflects what has become of the development project in India under neoliberalism, especially after the end of planning.

  • Long overdue sectors have been given more emphasis.
  • It is not a tailormade program with one-size-fit strategy. More onus has been laid on the districts. It has a district-intervention strategy.
  • It works on the principle of SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threats) model and comparison with national best parameters for effective resource management.
  • It is the most reviewed programme by the Prime Minister.
  • A general idea behind the idea is that a good work never goes un-noticed. It is duly appreciated on social media as well as by the officials.
  • Through ADP, momentum in expediting growth is maintained as well so for the success of the program to be scaled and replicated in other districts which are still ranking low.
  • In principle, the programme does note the importance of quality of life and quality of services available.


  • ADP had found elderly citizens as the mist vulnerable in this pandemic.
  • Programs such as Surakshit Dada-Dadi Nana-Nani were held and almost every elderly person was reached.
  • Omnicus Platform with a panel of experienced doctors for COVID and ‘India Fights Covid’ Platform are other such initiatives.

Programmatic Strengths

  • A key strength of the ADP is the collection of baseline data and follow-ups at regular intervals.
  • Sustaining this effort would create a robust compilation of statistics for use by both researchers and policy-makers.
  • In doing this, the government also brings much-needed attention to human development and a willingness to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Incremental progress being made in the chosen districts as reflected in the rankings.
  • The programme also claims to be “non-partisan and unbiased” and geared towards all-India growth.
  • The selection of districts indeed suggests that the programme has not favored any bias either regional, political or any other.
  • The programme seeks convergence of central and state schemes anchored around specific activities.

Issues with the programme

  • The programmatic limitations of the ADP with respect to agricultural development or poverty eradication are clearly visible.
  • Using the case of Bihar, they argue that the programmes selection of districts itself is problematic.
  • In fact, it actually excludes the most backward districts because per capita income, the most basic measure of development, has not been considered.
  • There seems to be some ambiguity around the issue of whether the programme is concerned only with improved access or also with the quality of service provided.
  • The indicators used are not defined relationally, rather they are static human development indicators that do not see people mired in dynamic social relations.
  • Similarly, the programme envisages “development’ in these districts as taking place in isolation from wider development.
  • For instance, under skill development, the programme seeks to encourage industry-relevant training and apprenticeship of youth in an environment of jobless growth.
  • It is also accused that the state is not making any new or focused public investment (except for possible use of Flexi-funds) into these districts, on the other hand, it is moralizing about their inability to improve (through rankings). 
  • The programme is carrying the burden of proving the government’s “developmental” work without addressing any of the fundamental issues around achieving equitable development.
  • Yet, the NITI Aayog justifies the overall approach as capitalizing on “low-hanging fruit.”

Way forward

  • The program has been able to make difference in the lives of citizens of India, in education, health, nutrition, financial inclusion, skill development and this has made a difference to some most backward and most geographically far-flung districts of the nation.
  • ADP is ‘aligned to the principle of “leave no one behind—the vital core of the SDGs. Political commitment at the highest level has resulted in the rapid success of the program the report said.
  • UNDP has recommended revising a few indicators that are slightly close to reaching their saturation or met by most districts like ‘electrification of households’ as an indicator of basic infrastructure.


  • The resounding success of the ADP is a testament to the efforts of the national, state and district level administrations, at the head of which is the empowering vision of our PM.
  • The transformational growth story of these districts would not have been possible without the continuous support of knowledge and development partners as well as civil society organizations.
  • A programme of this scale has redefined the contours of India’s development narrative and will continue to garner many more accolades as it achieves one progressive milestone after another.
  • The challenge of improving the country’s human development is real and pressing, as is the need to refocus on the most marginalized districts.
Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]- DGP Selection

The Supreme Court on 16 December dismissed the pleas of five states seeking modification of its order issued last year on the selection and appointment of director generals of police. The apex court was hearing applications of various state governments, including Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar, seeking implementation of their local laws regarding the selection and appointment of DGPs.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the earlier directions of the court on selection and appointment of DGPs were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.

The top court, on July 3 last year, passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country and chronicled the steps for appointment of regular DGPs. It said the states will have to send a list of senior police officers to the UPSC at least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent. The commission will then prepare a panel and intimate the states, which in turn will immediately appoint one of the persons from that list.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Aviation:Flying For All

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the Global Aviation Summit 2019 in Mumbai on Tuesday.The two-day summit, with a theme ‘Flying for all-especially the next 6 Billion’,is being organised by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with FICCI.It offers stakeholders an opportunity to explore, deliberate and understand how technology-driven innovations will change air travel in the decades to come.

India is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous with over 1.35 billion people. It is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and is likely to become the 5fth largest in 2019.

The Indian aviation market is on a high growth path. Total passenger traffic to, from and within India, during Apr-Nov 2018 grew by around 15% year on year as compared to around 6% globally. India is now the seventh largest aviation market with 187 million passengers in FY 2017-18. It is expected to become the third largest by 2022.

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[RSTV-Big Picture]-Artice 370:A Review

The Supreme Court on 14 January agreed to hear the PIL, challenging Article 370 and separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. The Apex Court tagged it with another pending matter and will hear all matters on Tuesday 2nd April.

Article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that gives autonomous status to the state. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary,Transitional and Special Provisions, the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status under Article 370.

All the provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K. For example, till 1965, J&K had a Sadr-e-Riyasat for governor and prime minister in place of Chief Minister.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-US Shutdown and Emergency

President Donald Trump,facing the prospect soon of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history,was considering declaring a national emergency that would likely escalate a policy dispute with Democrats over his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall into a court test of presidential power.

To escape a political trap of his own making,Trump suggested strongly on Thursday that he might declare an emergency so that he can bypass Congress to get funding for his wall,which was a central promise of his 2016 election campaign.

Trump is demanding that Congress provide $5.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer funding for the wall.That is opposed by Democrats in Congress,who call the wall an ineffective,outdated answer to a complex problem.The standoff has left a quarter of the federal government closed down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees staying home or working for no pay.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Reservation-Who will Benefit

After intense debate for nearly five hours, the Lok Sabha today passed The Constitution (One hundred and twenty-fourth amendment) Bill, 2019 to provide reservation in public employment and higher education for economically weaker sections.At the voting held at around 10 PM on the last day of the winter session, 323 out of 326 MPs present voted in support of the Bill.

Economic reservation in jobs and education is proposed to be provided by inserting clause(6) in Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. The proposed Article 15(6) enables State to make special provisions for advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens, including reservations in educational institutions. It states that such reservation can be made in any educational institution, including private institutions, whether aided or unaided, except minority educational institutions covered under Article 30(1).

It further states that the upper limit of reservation will be ten percent,which will be in addition to the existing reservations.As regards job reservations,the proposed Article 16(6) enables State to make provision for reservation in appointments,in addition to the existing reservations, subject to a maximum of ten percent.

At present, reservations account for a total of 49.5%, with 15%, 7.5% and 27% quotas for Scheduled Castes,Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes respectively.”Economically weaker sections” for the purposes of Articles 15 and 16 mean such sections as notified by the State from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage. This will be a class distinct from the already specified classes of SCs, STs and socially and educationally backward classes.

The economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from higher education and public employment due to their financial capacity.Therefore, there is a need to amend the constitution to give them a fair chance of getting higher education and public employment,so as to fulfill the mandate of Article 46 of the Constitution.

The nine judge bench decision of the SC in the Indira Sawhney case(1992) had capped the upper limit of reservation at 50%. The proposed amendments seek to get over this limit. The Indira Sawhney case had further held that social backwardness cannot be determined only with reference to economic criterion.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-India’s Role in Afghanistan

Developmental assistance can play a major role in transforming Afghanistan,official sources said on 3 January, rejecting US President Donald Trump’s jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over funding of a “library” in the war-ravaged country. Trump had taken a jibe at PM Modi for funding a “library” in Afghanistan, saying it is of no use in the war-torn country as he criticised India and others for not doing enough for the nation’s security.

In his first cabinet meeting in the new year on 1st Jan,Trump asked India,Russia,Pakistan and other neighbouring countries to take responsibility for Afghanistan’s security as he defended his push for the US to invest less overseas.

India may be building small libraries as part of the community development initiative,but most of its investments in Afghanistan were on mega infrastructure projects including the 218 km road from Zaranj to Delaram,the Salma Dam and the new Afghan Parliament building.India has also been supplying military equipment to Afghanistan besides providing training to hundreds of Afghan security personnel.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Defiant Taiwan,Adamant China

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday rejected the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for unification under a “one country, two systems” approach.

Tsai said her island of 23 million people would never accept the approach proposed by Beijing.One country, two systems refers to a framework similar to Hong Kong in which the territory became part of China but retained a degree of autonomy.

Taiwan and China split in a civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in China in 1949.The rival nationalists set up their own government on Taiwan,an island 160km off the Chinese mainland.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Bangladesh Elections

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has secured a massive victory in the parliamentary polls for the third straight time. This victory makes her longest serving Prime Minister of the country giving her four terms.

As per the official reports from Dhaka, the ruling party Awami League and its allies have won 288 of the 300 parliamentary seats contested well surpassing their tally in the previous polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday has also congratulated Sheikh Hasina on her victory, saying “Hasina’s victory was the reflection of Bangladesh’s stunning development under her dynamic leadership”.Both India and Bangladesh share long and special ties and the stability of Bangladesh is prized by India given the strategic and political significance of the south-east Asian nation.

The 71-year-old leader, daughter of Bangladesh’s founding statesman Shiekh Mujibur Rehman has been lauded for boosting the economic growth of the country as well as handling Rohingya refugee crisis considered to be a massive humanitarian crisis to have hit region.

Meanwhile, the opposition has questioned the polls, which saw violence in some pockets and death of 17 persons.The main opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP),which had boycotted the polls in 2014 could win only 6 seats this time.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-India-Bhutan New Vistas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced a Rs 4,500 crore financial assistance to Bhutan for its 12th five-year plan after holding wide-ranging talks with his Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering.

In his media statement,Modi said hydro power cooperation with Bhutan is a key aspect of bilateral ties and that work on the Mangdechhu project will soon be completed.

Tshering arrived here on Thursday on his first foreign visit after taking charge as PM of the Himalayan nation last month following his party’s victory in the general elections.

Modi said he has assured the Bhutanese prime minister that India,as a trusted friend,will continue to play an important role in Bhutan’s development.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]- Battling Air Pollution

Delhi is once again grappling crisis of air pollution.The spike in the pollution has once again dipped capital’s air quality. Though it showed marginal improvement on 26 December morning, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) measuring 383, the problem doesn’t quite seem to get resolved with no long term solution in sight.And it’s not just Delhi,other major cities too are facing similar issues.Mumbai’s AQI measured ‘very poor’ near 400, Kolkata reels at severe and Lucknow too recorded the levels at ‘very poor’.

Early this week,following reports of the pollution levels,the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had issued a three-day ban on industries and construction work in Delhi and NCR till December 26.Delhi government too is contemplating to bring in back the car rationing ‘Odd n Even’ rule if the need arises.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Infrastructure and North-East

16 years after the commencement of work,the Bogibeel bridge over the river Brahmaputra was finally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.With a length of 4.94km long this is now the longest rail-cum-road bridge in India and comes as a big breather for the people of northeast.

With this bridge becoming operational distance from Dibrugarh to Rangiya will be reduced by 170 km and a train journey from Itangar, capital of Arunachal Pradesh to Dibrugarh will be only 180km.People from Dhemaji,Jonai and North Lakhimpur who had to earlier travel the whole day to cross the Brahmaputra to reach Dibrugarh,will now cross the river within minutes.

The Centre Government has given a big push to a diverse range of infrastructure projects in the North Eastern Region in the last four years. The emphasis has been on improving rail, road, air and inland waterways connectivity in the region.In addition to this schemes such as National Bamboo mission,Digital North East Vision 2022 and North East Industrial Development Scheme have also been launched for overall development of the north eastern states.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Pharma Vision 2030

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on 21 December said that India is rendering yeoman service in developing countries by providing access to life-saving medicines at affordable prices.

Addressing the 70th edition of Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, the Vice President said, rural health programmes, lifesaving drugs and preventive vaccines should also receive attention from policymakers and pharma companies alike.

He said speedy introduction of generic drugs into the market should remain in focus. The Vice President expressed happiness that the pharma sector is out-performing most other sectors in achieving consistently high growth.

The pharmaceutical industry is deliberating on various issues related to generic drugs and medical devices at the event in Noida, from December 21-23. IPC 2018 will see 125 speakers and organisers expect around 6,000 delegates this year from all the sections of the pharma fraternity from India as well as abroad.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Surrogacy(Regulation)Bill,2018

A bill that bars commercial surrogacy and allows only close relatives to act as surrogates to needy infertile couples for “altruistic” reasons was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 December with Health Minister J P Nadda terming the proposed legislation historic.

Highlights of the Bill

1.Surrogacy is an arrangement whereby an intending couple commissions a surrogate mother to carry their child.

2.The intending couple must be Indian citizens and married for at least five years with at least one of them being infertile. The surrogate mother has to be a close relative who has been married and has had a child of her own.

3.No payment other than reasonable medical expenses can be made to the surrogate mother. The surrogate child will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple.

4.Central and state governments will appoint appropriate authorities to grant eligibility certificates to the intending couple and the surrogate mother. These authorities will also regulate surrogacy clinics.

5.Undertaking surrogacy for a fee, advertising it or exploiting the surrogate mother will be punishable with imprisonment for 10 years and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-GST Relief

Indicating that further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax is on the anvil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government wants to ensure that ’99 per cent things’ attract sub-18 per cent GST slab. Before implementation of the GST, registered enterprises only numbered 65 lakh, which has now risen by 55 lakh, the PM said addressing a media Summit in Mumbai.

PM Modi indicated that the 28 per cent slab of GST would only be restricted to a few select items, such as luxury goods. The Prime Minister said the effort will be to ensure that 99 per cent of all items, including almost all items used by the common man, would be kept at a GST slab of 18 per cent or less.

Sansad TV Archive

[RSTV-Big Picture]-Transgender Bill,2018

The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill seeking to empower the transgender community by providing them a separate identity.

Highlights of the Bill

1.Prohibition against discrimination : The Bill prohibits discrimination of transgenders in relation to opportunities for education, job, health care services, and access to services, accomodation, transport etc.

2.Right to be recognized as transgender : It states that every person has a right to be recognized as a transgender.

3.Establishments not to discriminate transgenders : The bill imposes the obligation on establishments to not to discriminate transgenders in relation to employment, promotion, and other job benefits.

4.Right of Residence : No transgender person shall be separated from parents on the ground of being Transgender.

5.National Council for Transgender persons sought to be established.

6.Compelling a Transgender to indulge in begging or bonded labour is made an offence.

7.Government is mandated to formulate welfare schemes for transgender persons.