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[op-ed snap] A solution in search of a problem: on 10% reservations

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic Structure, Constitutional Amendment (Art 368), Art 15, 16.

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues and challenges wrt 10% quota to “the economically weaker sections in the general category, in a brief manner.


Context

  • The bill is designed to amend the Constitution to extend 10% reservation in direct recruitment in  government jobs and for admission in higher educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections among all castes and communities, Christians and Muslims included, who are not eligible under the existing quotas.

Background

  • India’s reservation system is clearly in disarray. However, it is unlikely that the recently passed Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, creating a 10% quota for the economically weaker sections(EWS), will serve as anything more than a band-aid.
  • Given the deep inequalities prevalent in access to education and jobs based on caste and socio-economic status, affirmative action (or positive discrimination) makes a lot of sense.
  • However, the system that was put in place during the early years of the Republic deserves serious re-evaluation in an era when technology has paved the way for deploying a better equipped arsenal.

Potential implications of the EWS quota Bill

  1. Excluding no one
  • One of the criteria — the income threshold of 8 lakh per annum — has been mentioned.
  • The National Sample Survey (NSS) of 2011-12 shows that the annual per capita expenditure for 99% of households falls under this threshold, even when we take inflation into account.
  • Similarly, as per the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), the annual household incomes of 98% of households are less than 8 lakh.
  • Even if we apply all the other criteria for exclusion (e.g. amount of land owned and size of home), the Bill would still cover over 95% of the households.

 

  1. Cost may be higher than one anticipates
  • First, general category jobs are open to everyone, including Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and OBC individuals. Thus, by removing 10% jobs from the “open” category, it reduces the opportunities for currently reserved groups. Hence, this is by no means a win-win situation.
  • This may be particularly problematic for OBCs since OBC reservation is limited to 27% of the seats whereas the OBC population is at least 40% of the population, possibly more. Thus, this move is almost certain to result in calls for greater OBC reservation, particularly if a constitutional amendment to increase the proportion of reserved seats from 50% to 60% is already being adopted.
  • Actual implementation of the EWS quota could be challenging. Few non-SC/ST/OBC individuals have a caste certificate. A large number of SC/ST/OBC households report difficulties in obtaining these certificates. How would an individual practically lay claim to this status?
  • In an era when skill demands are rapidly outpacing supply of candidates in specialised fields, the EWS quota increases the constraints. For instance, If a university advertises for an associate professor for quantum physics under the EWS quota and the only suitable candidate happens to be from an OBC category, she could not be hired. These challenges occur for all positions under specifically reserved categories.
  • The greatest cost of this amendment lies in the foregone opportunity to develop an enhanced and more effective reservation policy so that we can genuinely see an end to the entrenched inequalities in Indian society in the medium term.

Alternative strategies

  1. One strategy may be to try and spread the benefits of reservations as widely as possible within the existing framework and ensure that individuals use their reserved category status only once in their lifetime.
  • This would require that anyone using reservations to obtain a benefit such as college admission must register his/her Aadhaar number and she would be ineligible to use reservations for another benefit (e.g. a job) in the future.
  • This would require no changes to the basic framework but spread the benefits more broadly within the reserved category allowing a larger number of families to seek upward mobility.
  1. A second strategy might be to recognise that future economic growth in India is going to come from the private sector and entrepreneurship.
  • In order to ensure that all Indians, regardless of caste, class and religion, are able to partake in economic growth, we must focus on basic skills. We have focused on admission to prestigious colleges and government jobs, but little attention is directed to social inequality in the quality of elementary schooling.
  • The IHDS shows that among children aged 8-11, 68% of the forward caste children can read at Class 1 level while the proportion is far lower for OBCs (56%), SCs (45%) and STs (40%).
  • This suggests that we need to focus on reducing inequalities where they first emerge, within primary schools.
Minority Issues – Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

[op-ed snap] Good Samaritan Law: protecting the ‘good’ in us

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much.

Mains level: The newscard discusses issues in the implementation of Good Samaritan Law, in a brief manner.


Context

  1. As per figures from the ministry of road transport and highways, the number of people killed in road crashes in India in 2017 was 147,913 or 405 deaths every day.
  2. Most importantly, the 201st report of the Law Commission of India states that 50% of those killed in such crashes could have been saved if timely medical care had been provided to them.

Background

  • Good Samaritan is“A person who, in good faith, without expectation of reward and without any duty of care or special relationship, voluntarily comes forward to administer emergency care to an injured person.”
  • Not only can such people invoke the official systems of care by making that all-important phone call but they can also play a game-changing role in saving lives of victims by providing them first-aid or simply through words of comfort.
  • In many areas, where police or ambulance response may be weak, such persons can even help rush the victim to the nearest hospital.
  • In 2016, in a landmark judgement in the case of SaveLIFE Foundation versus Union of India, the Supreme Court instituted a Good Samaritan Law to insulate such persons from legal and procedural hassles that have traditionally followed the act of helping an injured person.

Issues

  1. Awareness about rights
  • 84% of the people recently surveyed by SaveLIFE Foundation across 11 cities in India were unaware of the Good Samaritan Law.
  • It was found that even though general willingness to help road crash victims has increased from 26% in 2013 to 88% in 2018, yet in terms of concrete action, only 29% were willing to escort the victim to the hospital, 28% were willing to call an ambulance and only 12% said that they would call the police.
  • Challenges such as lack of awareness about rights and fear of police investigations or other legal hassles continue to keep a majority of people from coming forward.
  1. Implementation maze
  • A massive gap exists between the law and its on-ground implementation. The law explicitly instructs police and hospitals to allow Good Samaritans to keep their anonymity and minimize procedural hassle.
  • However, over half (57%) of the medical professionals surveyed and almost two-thirds (64%) of the police officials interviewed still ask for the personal details of the people bringing the injured to hospitals.
  • The study also revealed that most of the health professionals and police personnel interviewed had not received any priming on implementing the Good Samaritan Law.
  • None of the hospitals and police stations surveyed had displayed a charter of rights for Good Samaritans, as mandated by the Supreme Court judgement.
  1. Neglection of SC guidelines
  • The Supreme Court judgement in the Good Samaritan Law clearly states that “concerned Police Official(s) shall allow the Good Samaritan to leave, after having informed the Police about an injured person on the road, and no further questions shall be asked if the Good Samaritan doesn’t desire to be a witness in the matter”.
  • The study revealed that 59% of the surveyed Good Samaritans reported that they were detained by the police, despite the law.

Way forward

  • To address these gaps, state governments must actively translate the judgement into state-specific Good Samaritan laws in order to establish implementation mechanisms for the law, including effective grievance redressal systems and reward and recognition schemes for Good Samaritans.
  • The state of Karnataka recently took this step, proving that states can indeed proactively work to protect their Good Samaritans.

[op-ed snap] No easy transfer

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy| Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: fiscal stimulus, fiscal policy

Mains level: The newscard discusses impact of easing — fiscal, monetary, and regulatory, on the Indian economy, in a brief manner.


Context

  • Rising agrarian distress and the (chronic) headwinds confronting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have taken center stage.
  • Extrapolating from this, some are fearing a more generalised and sustained slowdown.
  • This has inevitably led to calls for some easing — fiscal, monetary, regulatory.

Background

  1. The economic narrative in India has rapidly evolved. As recently as October, the policy was focused squarely on preserving macroeconomic stability as external imbalances rose to unsustainable levels and the rupee came under relentless pressure.
  2. With global crude prices collapsing since then and domestic food prices remaining exceptionally benign, stability concerns have receded.
  3. The agrarian distress has already resulted in 10 states announcing farm loan waivers over the last two years.
  4. Now, there is a growing clamour among commentators to introduce unconditional cash transfers to serve as income support for distressed farmers nationally, as has been attempted in Telangana and Odisha.

Dangerous path to tread

  1. First, fears of a growth slowdown are overstated. Near-term prospects have meaningfully improved, as crude prices have collapsed, monetary conditions have eased, and banks have quickly stepped in to fill any void left by non-bank-financial-companies (NBFCs).
  2. Second, bond yields have fallen by almost 70 bps from their highs and, even accounting for some increase in NBFC spreads, monetary conditions have eased to a two-year low.
  3. Third, non-food bank credit growth has picked up sharply, accelerating to a four-year high of 14 per cent, suggesting banks are quickly and increasingly stepping in to fill some of the NBFC voids.
  4. Finally, while the collapse in food prices hurts farmers’ purchasing power and rural consumption, it helps urban consumption.

Amid rising capacity utilisation and the firming of core inflation recently, easing would simply exacerbate underlying imbalances and sow the seeds of future macroeconomic instability.

  1. Fiscal exhaustion
  • The total public sector borrowing requirement (Centre, state, off-balance sheet, central public sector enterprises) was still a hefty 8.2 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.
  • Although, the Centre has been bringing its deficit down, but this has been completely offset by state deficits, off-balance sheet borrowing, and central public sector-enterprise borrowing rising commensurately.
  • Unsurprisingly, this has led to fiscal exhaustion among markets. The slope of India’s government yield curve has continuously risen in recent years.
  • The implication is clear: Any fiscal relaxation at this point will become counter-productive, pushing up borrowing costs and crowding out economic activity.
  1. Fiscal imbalances vis-à-vis external counterpart
  • The current account deficit (CAD) is simply an economy’s investment-savings gap. Public dis-savings remain elevated. Therefore, the main reason the CAD narrowed is because private investment slowed so sharply.
  • If the private investment cycle picks up — as we all hope — the CAD would balloon, unless the public-sector imbalance reduces.
  • In other words, without more fiscal consolidation, we will always be choosing between a sustainable CAD and higher private investment.

The policy challenge

  1. There is absolutely no space for new unfunded liabilities. The pace at which farm loan waivers have been proliferating is worrying, even though budgetary allocations have been much lower than announcements.
  2. As is well known, loan waivers are a particularly blunt instrument suffering from the familiar pitfalls of vitiating credit culture, addressing the symptom, not the underlying cause, and disproportionately favouring larger farmers who rely on institutional credit.

Impact of Proposed direct, unconditional, cash transfers as income support for farmers

  1. A variety of proposals have been mooted from paying farmers the difference between market prices and minimum support prices (MSPs) in cash, to a broader quasi-universal basic income that covers 25-50 per cent of the population, costing anywhere from 1-5 per cent of GDP based on their expansiveness.
  2. The question is how will this be paid for, given that India’s fiscal cup runneth over? The policy challenge, therefore, is to either find the fiscal space for cash transfers by reducing existing subsidies and welfare programmes, or to offer either existing product subsidies or equivalent cash transfers, but not both. In the current environment, both options look politically daunting.

Could the RBI’s excess capital pay for income support?

  1. RBI special dividend will either be one-off or staggered over a few years, whereas any new farm-income-support creates a perpetual liability.
  2. Second, from an accounting perspective, the fiscal deficit will not widen because the additional expenditure will be paid for by the transfer of capital from the RBI.
  3. If the transfer, for example, is spent on cash transfers — instead of retiring public debt — the “effective fiscal impulse” will increase by the full quantum of that spending tantamount to a fiscal stimulus, with the attendant implications on pressurising macroeconomic imbalances.

Will the pressure on the fiscal be accompanied by monetary and regulatory easing?

  1. There is growing market/bank clamour for some regulatory easing towards banks. Policymakers must eschew this.
  2. NPAs appear to have peaked, the IBC has changed the debtor-lending balance of power, the government has injected more capital, and credit growth has increased smartly in recent months.
  3. Lowering lending standards through any regulatory easing at this stage, risks undoing accruing gains and triggering a fresh wave of NPAs down the line.

Way forward

  1. India cannot get complacent in this environment and inadvertently indulge in any excesses. India’s growth prospects have improved, and there is no case, or space, for an inadvertent confluence of fiscal/regulatory/monetary easing.
  2. Resolving the stress in agriculture and SMEs is imperative but requires well-known supply-side reforms to improve scale, productivity and viability.
Monetary Policy Committee Notifications

National Clean Air Programme: Good idea but weak mandate

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: NCAP

Mains Level: NCAP and its mandate and effectiveness


News

  • After a long and impatient wait, MoEFCC has announced the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
  • This is the first ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target.

National Clean Air Programme

  1. NCAP proposes a framework to achieve a national-level target of 20-30 per cent reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by between 2017 and 2024.
  2. It will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year.
  3. The approach for NCAP includes collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies.

Prospects of the NCAP

Need stronger mandate

  1. NCAP will not be notified under the Environment Protection Act or any other Act to create a firm mandate with a strong legal back up implementation NCAP in a time bound manner for effective reduction.
  2. NCAP only mentions that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will execute this nation-wide programme in consonance with the section 162 (b) of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1986.
  3. The MoEFCC has not drawn upon the precedence of the notification of Graded Response Action Plan or the Comprehensive Action Plan under the Environment Protection Act in Delhi and NCR.

Advisory in Terms

  1. If NCAP remains an advisory, why will anything change?
  2. The past experience shows that MoEFCC and the CPCB have asked non-compliant cities to prepare action plans from time to time.
  3. Legal back up for a plan also becomes important not only to establish more enforceable mandate but also to ensure inter-ministerial coordination for multi-sectoral interventions and convergence.

Need litmus test for effectiveness

  1. NCAP has certainly helped kick start the much-awaited good practice of setting air pollution reduction targets.
  2. The biggest advantage of such targets is that it helps decide the level of stringency of local and regional action needed for the plans to be effective enough to meet the reduction targets.
  3. It is interesting that NCAP has cited how Beijing has succeeded in reducing PM2.5 by 33.3 per cent in five years.
  4. NCAP must sensitize cities about the scale, depth and strictness of action with detailed pathways for clean energy and mobility transition, waste and dust management and control of combustion sources to meet this target in Beijing and other Chinese cities.
  5. This can be done with strong multi-tiered accountability system, under which various levels of government could be held legally accountable for shirking responsibilities.

Joining all dots

  1. It is encouraging to see that the NCAP this time has listed comparatively more comprehensive action points than the very minimalistic and very generic 42 action points of CPCB that were put out earlier.
  2. This time, NCAP will have to be sure about strategies for implementation with detailed indicators to enhance the potential impacts.
  3. For instance, in case of vehicular pollution, the main body of the plan has ignored mobility, transportation and urban planning strategies.
  4. Though fortunately, broadsheet of action at the end has listed public transport, transit-oriented development policies, and non-motorized transport.
  5. But these will have to be detailed out with clear pathways and milestones and integrated well with the NCAP strategies.
  6. NCAP will also have to be more nuanced and adopt appropriate approaches for small and big cities according to their dominant pollution profile while several strategies may remain uniform.

Need fiscal strategy

  1. The most baffling part of NCAP is the absence of a robust fiscal and funding strategy.
  2. Only a pittance of Rs 300 crore is being earmarked for NCAP.
  3. Clearly, NCAP cannot be sustainable nor can it gain strength or make a difference on a longer-term basis if it does not have a clear fiscal strategy.
  4. It is also not clear if the proposed allocation is a one-time exercise or a continuous support.
  5. NCAP will require long-term commitment and support.

Need for Polluter Pay

  1. It is very surprising that NCAP has not provided for innovative financing mechanism at central and state/city level.
  2. It has not taken on board the ‘polluter pay’ based taxation mechanism to mobilise resources for dedicated funding of pollution control action and also to discourage polluting products, processes and activities.
  3. It should have taken precedence from emerging practices in the country ex. pollution cess in Delhi on truck entry, big diesel cars, and diesel fuel sales and the coal cess—to generate dedicated funds to finance clean air action plan.
  4. Such funds should be managed through unified window for the purpose of admissible pollution control activities identified in the action plan.

Health  is on-board with NCAP

  1. Even though NCAP continues to express skepticism about the existing health impact studies and evidences, it is encouraging to see that it has finally proposed support for health impact studies.
  2. NCAP has now taken on board the National Health Environmental Profile of 20 cities that the MoEF&CC initiated along with ICMR with special focus on air pollution and health.
  3. It has asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to maintain health database and integrate that with decision making.
  4. It has recommended support for studies on health and economic impact of air pollution.
  5. But NCAP must also make provisions to integrate health database, health impact, cost benefit studies and indicators for policy making.

Way Forward

  1. Air pollution is the top killer today. Under-5 children, the ailing, elderly and the poor are most vulnerable.
  2. Air pollution control cannot remain only policy intent. Local and national action requires teeth and grit to make a difference and save lives.
  3. NCAP should not become only a top-down prescriptive approach.
  4. In fact, within the federal structure, NCAP, while ensuring compliance, will also have to create enough room for tighter action that can be even stronger.
  5. State governments and city authorities should be encouraged and enabled to take those extra steps to meet local targets.
Air Pollution

[pib] Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SIDCOP

Mains level: Sino-Indian  technology collaboration


News

Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP)

  1. The SIDCOP initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform was launched on 10th January 2019.
  2. This is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian , China.
  3. A Joint Venture comprising of one Indian and Chinese company has been tasked with the running of the platform.
  4. SIDCOP is a boundary-less marketplace offers this opportunity for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions.
  5. Indian IT enterprises are world renowned for their expertise in business transformation and operational optimization by using IT tools in complex business environments.
  6. This platform could be useful to connect with top providers from India and help Chinese enterprises source the right solution providers for their projects.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

[pib] Indus Food 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Food processing & related industries in India- scope & significance, location, upstream & downstream requirements, supply chain management

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indus Food

Mains level: Promoting India’s export in Foods and Beverage Sector


News

  • INDUS FOOD-II with the theme of ‘World Food Supermarket’ will be held on 14th and 15th January, 2019, at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.

About INDUS FOOD

  1. INDUS FOOD is a platform of its kind exclusively devoted to enhancing Indian exports in F&B sector.
  2. It enables B2B engagements of buyers and suppliers, after careful business matchmaking, which takes care of precise business requirements of each participant, and enables him to pick and choose whom to meet.
  3. The event is aimed at promoting India as a strong and reliable exporter of food and beverage products to the world.

INDUS FOOD 2019 

  1. INDUS FOOD 2019 will promote value addition to India’s agriculture exports and integrate Indian farmers and agricultural products with global value chains.
  2. After the success of the first edition of INDUS FOOD in 2018, Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) has scaled up the Reverse Buyers-Sellers Meet (RBSM) with the financial assistance under Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme of Department of Commerce.
  3. With more than 700 buyers from 70 countries visiting INDUS FOOD-II and more than 500 food suppliers, the event will lead to greater interaction of Indian exporters with global customers.
  4. It will bring business opportunities to the doorstep of Indian producers and manufacturers and help small exporters, who cannot afford participation in overseas fairs, to have a direct interface with foreign buyers who visit India for this show.
  5. The event is divided into 15 product display zones viz. sweets & confectionary, dairy, dry fruits, fruits & vegetables, Indian ethnic food & snacks, meat poultry & seafood, non-alcoholic beverages, oil & oil seeds, organic & health food, pulses grain and sugar, spices, tea & coffee, wine & alcoholic beverages, consumer food, and ingredients and fragrances & extracts.
Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

[pib] Report on Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951, Submitted

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency & accountability

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951

Mains level: Role of Social Media in influencing elections


News

  • A Committee constituted to review and suggest modifications and changes in the provisions of the Section 126 and other sections of the RP Act 1951, provisions of Model Code of Conduct and any other ECI instruction has submitted its report.
  • The recommendations made by the Committee, when implemented will help in minimizing the possible interference of activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters during the valuable silence period of 48 hours provided to them.

Background

  1. The task of maintaining campaign silence during last 48 hours before the conclusion of polling is becoming increasingly onerous in the light of the increasing influence of digital media.
  2. So, apart from the regulation by law and ECI instructions, the resolve, proactive support and sustained effort by all stake holders is necessary to contain the evil impact.

Section 126 of RP Act, 1951

  1. Section 126 of the RP Act prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency.
  2. “Election matter” has been defined in that Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.
  3. Violation of the provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment upto a period of two years, or with fine or both.
  4. It prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of their results during the period mentioned therein, in the hour fixed for commencement of polls in the first phase and half hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the States.

Scope of Reform

  1. Section 126 and other related Sections of the RP Act, 1951
  2. Prohibitory period of 48 hours before the completion of the poll
  3. Impact of new media platforms and social media during the prohibitory period of 48 hours before the close of poll campaign.
  4. Provisions of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) to the related issue
Social Media: Prospect and Challenges

India moves up a rank on The Economist’s Democracy Index 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Democracy Index

Mains level: State of democracy in India & world


News

  • The Economist’s Democracy Index has a positive outlook on global democracy, with significant improvement in women’s participation, people willing to engage in lawful demonstrations and voters getting more proactive than ever despite being disillusioned with democracy.

About Democracy Index

  1. The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the UK-based company the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that intends to measure the state of democracy.
  2. It ranks nations on five parameters – electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.
  3. The survey is carried out every year by asking a sample group of people a set of 60 questions.
  4. The report defines a flawed democracy as nations that “have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected.
  5. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

India’s Performance

  1. India is ranked at 41 – a notch above last year.
  2. It is still classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ according to the index.
  3. India achieved a score of 7.23 on the index to maintain its position – the same it did last year.
  4. This is the lowest ever score attributed to India in the index ever since its publication.
  5. India ranks below the US (ranked 25th in the index) and other so called ‘flawed democracies’ like Italy, France, Botswana and South Africa.

Scandinavia: The usual topper

  1. On expected lines, Scandinavian nations ranked on top of the democracy pyramid.
  2. Norway was the world’s most perfect democracy followed by Iceland and Sweden.
Freedom of Speech – Defamation, Sedition, etc.

Iran proposes new regional forum for Gulf

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GCC, Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum

Mains level: Prospects of Gulf Politics in Iranian and Saudi Sphere


News

  • In a diplomatic initiative to address the lingering conflicts and mistrust in the Gulf region, Iran has proposed a new platform for regional peace building.
  • The proposal is among the set of fresh initiatives that Iran has taken in recent months that also included Tehran connecting with the Taliban for peace talks.

Why such move?

  1. The announcement of Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum is significant as it comes in the wake of continued erosion of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
  2. The GCC in the recent years has been divided between the Iranian and the Saudi spheres.
  3. The new forum could focus on promotion of peace and prosperity in the region.

What Iran expects from this forum?

  1. The effectiveness of such a forum in dealing with threats like terrorism and extremism has left the countries of the region in a state of continuous state of insecurity
  2. Admission to such a forum should be based on accepting generally-recognised principles and shared objectives, notably respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of all states.
  3. The forum could connect people of various member countries cutting across all traditional boundaries.
  4. During the Raisina Dialogue, Iran said such a forum should offer membership to countries based on a set of general principles to address real issues that affect people of the region and the world.
  5. These measures could include freedom of navigation, assurance of free flow of energy and other resources and protection of the fragile marine ecology of the Gulf.

Back2Basics

Gulf Cooperation Council

International Org. | Part 8 | Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Iran