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[op-ed snap] India now faces its own version of Soviet Union’s scissors crisis

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nothing as such.

Mains level: The news-card analyses how managing relative price of food in terms of industrial goods will be one of the biggest policy challenges for the govt, in a brief manner.


Context

  • Recently, Inflation numbers released by the government earlier this month shows that the prices that consumers pay for food have been falling for three months in a row.
  • Wholesale food prices have fallen for six months in a row.

Background

  • Experts have pointed out that this is the first time since 1990 that the prices farmers get for their produce at the farm gate have fallen for six consecutive months.
  • Farmer incomes have taken a hit even if one assumes some amount of productivity gains in Indian agriculture.
  • The trend in food price inflation since the new consumer price index was introduced deserves closer attention because it throws light on one of the most important challenges in the Indian political economy.

Why Food price inflation has been volatile but overall trend has been down?

  • Food price inflation has been expectedly volatile since January 2012, but the overall trend has been down.
  • According to the experts, Indian agriculture has entered a new era of structural surpluses in many crops through the use of better seeds, as well as new technology.
  • This is far from the old belief that Indian economic growth was held back by a food constraint.
  • It is also a very different situation from the belief among many policymakers at the beginning of this decade that Indian inflation was being driven by rising protein prices.
  • Higher incomes were driving up protein prices since there was no adequate supply response.
  • The production of pulses—an important source of protein in Indian diets—has soared since then.

Trade between agriculture and the rest of the economy: A struggle for govts

  • Successive governments have struggled to deal with the terms of trade between agriculture and the rest of the economy.
  • The previous government had tried to engineer a structural change in favour of the rural economy through higher minimum support prices as well as the rural jobs programme.
  • It did spark off a rural boom. However, food inflation began to climb.
  • It stayed in the double digits for 19 months in a row from June 2012 till December 2013 and soon spilled over into generalized inflation.

India battled inflation crisis when the world faced deflation

  • India battled an inflation crisis in the early years of this decade even as the rest of the world was facing deflationary pressures.
  • The decision of the present govt to temper the annual increases in minimum support prices helped bring down food inflation.
  • Critics of inflation targeting have also argued that farmers have had to bear the brunt of the sharp disinflation over the past four years.

Politics of food prices: Not a distributional issue alone

  • Higher food prices benefit those who are net sellers of food.
  • Lower food prices benefit those who are net buyers of food, including rural labourers.
  • Managing the distributional politics of food prices has foxed successive governments.
  • However, it is not a distributional issue alone.

Indian production has faltered in recent years

  • Low nominal income growth in rural India also hurts demand for various industrial goods.
  • The fragile home market for industrial products plus the weak foreign demand for them is one reason why Indian production has faltered in recent years.

Soviet Union’s scissors crisis

  • There is a parallel between what is happening in India right now with what happened in Soviet Union around 100 years ago soon after the civil war that the communists eventually won.
  • Political stability as well as the withdrawal of draconian controls over Russian agriculture led to a huge rise in food production.
  • The weather also cooperated and Russia saw bumper harvests.
  • Food prices fell. However, the prices of industrial goods continued to rise.
  • A graph of these two price trends resembled the two blades of a pair of scissors.
  • Soviet commissars began to call it the scissors crisis.
  • Farmers who were not getting enough for their output did not have money to buy what the factories were producing.
  • Some farmers chose not to sell the crop at all.
  • Soviet planners tried to deal with this internal terms of trade problem with price controls on industrial goods.

India facing its own variant of the scissors crisis

  • India could now be facing its own variant of the scissors crisis—core inflation and food inflation are moving in different directions.
  • Managing the relative price of food in terms of industrial goods will be one of the biggest policy challenges for the new government that will take charge of the country later this year.

Way Forward

  • One important response to the Indian scissors crisis will be to remove controls on Indian farmers—be it their ability to sell directly to consumers or the freedom to export.
  • Modern rural supply chains could also help undermine the stranglehold of middlemen.
  • Forward markets will reduce at least some of the price risk that farmers face.
  • However, the most potent solution to rural distress continues to be outside of agriculture.
  • India needs to create jobs in productive enterprises so as to create opportunities for millions who seek to escape farming, where they are condemned to deal with the vagaries of the weather as well as wild fluctuations in prices.
Issues related to Economic growth

[op-ed snap] A reckless experiment on gene-edited babies

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of the gene editing technology.

Mains level: The news-card analyses the issues and challenges associated with embryo gene-editing (‘human germline’) technology, in a brief manner.


Context

  • Recently, the Chinese scientist who created the world’s first gene-edited babies has forced researchers everywhere to take a hard look at the ethics of gene-editing.

Background

  • Chinese authorities have condemned the researcher, He Jiankui, with a government report this week saying he violated both ethics and laws.
  • Though Mr. He’s actions drew international outrage, they weren’t revolutionary in technological terms.
  • Editing DNA to correct disease mutations has been possible for a while now, which means others can also do what the Chinese scientist did.

Gene-editing: Promises and Challenges

  • The promises of such gene-editing are boundless.
  • Over a dozen clinical trials are currently on to treat diseases like HIV, multiple myeloma and other forms of cancer, using the Crispr-Cas9 editing system.
  • But none of them involve editing the so-called human germ-line.
  • Instead, they have restricted themselves to fixing genetic flaws in sick adults.

What the Chinese scientist did?

  • In contrast to the above, the Chinese scientist deactivated a gene in two human embryos, which means that the changes he made could be inherited by the next generation.
  • In doing so, he violated the widely held ethical consensus that it is too early for germline editing, for we simply don’t know enough yet about the risks of such fiddling.

Concerns over embryo gene-editing

(a) Not as precise: One pitfall of embryo gene-editing is that it is not as precise as we need it to be today.

(b) Can result in unintended mutations: Studies have shown that the technology can result in unintended mutations, which in turn can cause cancers.

(c) Danger of mosaicism: In which some cells inherit the target mutation, while others don’t.

Caution over embryo gene editing

  • However, the error-rates of Crispr are falling with each passing year. But the scientists aren’t in the clear yet.
  • Even when gene-editing becomes fool-proof, the decision to edit embryos will still be a weighty one.
  • This is because, today, scientists are far from understanding how exactly individual genes influence phenotypes, or the visible traits of people.
  • Every gene likely influences multiple traits, depending on the environment it interacts with.
  • This makes it hard to predict the ultimate outcome of an embryo-editing exercise without decades of follow-up.
  • This uncertainty became evident in Mr. He’s experiment, in which he sought to immunise a pair of twins from HIV by tinkering with a gene called CCR5.
  • The problem is that while protecting against HIV, a deactivated CCR5 gene can also make people more susceptible to West-Nile Fever.
  • Every gene influences such trade-offs, which scientists barely understand today.
  • This is why several scientific societies have advised abundant caution while fiddling with the human germline.

Way Forward

  • In a 2017 report, the U.S.’s National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said such an intervention would be defensible only in very rare situations, where no alternative exists.
  • The He Jiankui incident shows it is time to translate these advisories into regulations.
  • Unless this happens, the Crispr revolution could well go awry.

Back2Basics

What are Genes and Gene- editing?

Genes contain the bio-information that defines any individual. Physical attributes like height, skin or hair colour, more subtle features and even behavioural traits can be attributed to information encoded in the genetic material. An ability to alter this information gives scientists the power to control some of these features.

Genome editing

  • Genome editing/gene editing, is a group of technologies that give scientists the ability to change an organism’s DNA. These technologies allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome.
  • Several approaches to genome editing have been developed. A recent one is known as CRISPR-Cas9, which is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9.
  • The CRISPR-Cas9 system is faster, cheaper, more accurate, and more efficient than other existing genome editing methods.

CRISPR-Cas9

  • It is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • CRISPRs are specialized stretches of DNA. The protein Cas9 (or “CRISPR-associated”) is an enzyme that acts like a pair of molecular scissors, capable of cutting strands of DNA. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function.
  • It is the simplest yet powerful tool for editing genomes and also termed as the most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation.
Organ & Tissue Transplant- Policies, Technologies, etc.

[op-ed snap] Moving away from 1%

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Social Justice| Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic knowledge of India’s Health sector spending.

Mains level: The news-card analyses why there is a need for substantial increase in the allocation for health in the Union Budget, in a brief manner.


Context

  • India’s health achievements are very modest when compared to its neighbours or even in comparison to large and populous countries such as China, Indonesia or Brazil.

Background

  • India’s neighbours, in the past two decades, have made great strides on the development front.
  • Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan now have better health indicators than India, which has puzzled many.
  • Therefore, it is imperative to understand why India is not doing as well as these countries on the health front.

Two important trends

Looking at other developed and transitional economies over many years, two important trends can be discerned:

  1. As countries become richer, they tend to invest more on health, and the share of health spending that is paid out of the pocket declines.
  • Economists have sought to explain this phenomena as “health financing transition”, akin to demographic and epidemiologic transitions.
  • Similar to these transitions, the health financing transition is not bound to happen, though it is widespread.
  • As with the other two transitions, countries differ in terms of timing to start the transition, vary in speed with which they transition through it, and, sometimes, may even experience reversals.
  • Economic, political and technological factors move countries through this health financing transition.

2. Social solidarity for redistribution of resources to the less advantaged is the key element in pushing for public policies that expand pooled funding to provide health care.

  • Out-of-pocket payments push millions of people into poverty and deter the poor from using health services.
  • Pre-paid financing mechanisms, such as general tax revenue or social health insurance (not for profit), collect taxes or premium contributions from people based on their income.
  • But it allow them to use health care based on their need and not on the basis of how much they would be expected to pay in to the pooled fund.

Hence, most countries, which includes the developing ones, have adopted either of the above two financing arrangements or a hybrid model to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) for their respective populations.

India’s Health sector scenario: Low spending, interventions

  • Unlike these countries, India has not invested in health sufficiently, though its fiscal capacity to raise general revenues increased substantially from 5% of GDP in 1950-51 to 17% in 2016-17.
  • India’s public spending on health continues to hover around 1% of GDP for many decades, accounting for less than 30% of total health expenditure.
  • Besides low public spending, neither the Central nor the State governments have undertaken any significant policy intervention, except the National Health Mission, to redress the issue of widening socio-economic inequalities in health.
  • But the NHM, with a budget of less than 0.2% of GDP, is far too less to make a major impact.
  • Worryingly, the budgetary provision for the NHM has decreased by 2% in 2018-19 from the previous year.
  • Last year, the Union government launched the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana but only ₹2,000 crore was allocated to this ‘game-changer’ initiative.
  • This assumes importance as the National Health Policy 2017 envisaged raising public spending on health to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.

Concerns: Public health expenditure has stagnated since 2014

  • As a percentage of GDP, total government spending (Centre and State) was a mere 0.98% in 2014-15 and 1.02% in 2015-16.
  • Although the revised estimate of government expenditure for 2016-17 and budget estimate for 2017-18 show an apparent increase in allocation (1.17 and 1.28%, respectively), actual expenditure might turn out to be quite less.
  • This could be explained by looking at the difference between the revised allocation and actual expenditure for the years 2014-15 and 2015-16.
  • Actual expenditure dropped by 0.14 and 0.13 percentage points, respectively.
  • Assuming that the trend did not change in the last couple of years, India’s public expenditure on health would be around 1.1% even in 2017-18.
  • This ‘sticky public health spending rate’ of 1%, which does not increase despite robust economic growth for years.
  • It is partly due to a decline in the Centre’s expenditure, which fell from 0.40% of GDP in 2013-14 to 0.30% of GDP in 2016-17 and as per 2018-19 budget allocation, 0.33% of GDP).

Way Forward

Need for a substantial increase in the allocation for health

  • If this sluggish public health spending has to be reversed, there is a need for a substantial increase in the allocation for health in the forthcoming Union Budget.
  • However, the rise in government health spending also depends on health spending by States as they account for more than two-thirds of total spending.
  • Hence, both the Centre and States must increase their health spending efforts, which would reduce the burden of out of pocket expenditure and improve the health status of the population.
  • Otherwise, India would miss the 2025 target and thereby fail to achieve UHC in a foreseeable future.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

ISRO’s first mission of 2019 to put military satellite Microsat-R in space

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the payload

Mains level: Importance of the mission 


News

  • ISRO’s first mission of 2019 will put into space a 130-kg military imaging satellite, Microsat-R.
  • C-44 will be launched from the older First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

 Details of Launch

  1. The satellite would be placed within 15 minutes after take-off in a polar orbit 274 km away from Earth.
  2. This is much lower than any of its civil Earth observation spacecraft, which fly pole to pole over the globe at between 400 km and 700 km.

Payload Details

Microsat-R

  1. Microsat-R and its payload come assembled from a handful of laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  2. It is meant for military use.
  3. The satellite was assembled outside and ISRO only interfaced it” with its own systems and the launch vehicle, just as it treats any customer satellite.
  4. Other details are yet to be released by ISRO.

Kalamsat

  1. Kalamsat is a communication satellite with a life span of two months.
  2. The nanosatellite is a 10cm cube weighing 1.2 kg.
  3. The satellite cost was about Rs 12 lakh Kalamsat will be the first to use the rocket’s fourth stage as an orbital platform.
  4. The fourth stage will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments.
  5. It is named after former Indian president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and was built by an Indian high school student team, led by Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old from the Tamil Nadu town of Pallapatti.
  6. It is the world’s lightest and first ever 3D-printed satellite.
ISRO Missions and Discoveries

[Explained] Sedition and its discontents

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Security | Challenges to internal security through communication networks

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Section 124A

Mains level: Rising seditious events and the questioned applicability of the IPC provisions


Context

  1. In recent times, the resort to the section 124-A is seen as disturbingly frequent.
  2. Activists, cartoonists and intellectuals have been arrested under this section, drawing criticism from liberals that it is being used to suppress dissent and silence critics.
  3. Authorities and the police who invoke this section defend the measure as a necessary step to prevent public disorder and anti-national activities.
  4. JNU students and activists, Assamese scholar Hiren Gohain and Manipur journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem are prominent among those booked in recent days.

Section 124-A of the IPC

  1. The section deals with the offence of sedition, a term that covers speech or writing, or any form of visible representation, which brings the government into hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the government, or attempts to do so.
  2. It is punishable with three years in prison or a life term.
  3. “Disaffection”, it says, includes disloyalty and feelings of enmity.
  4. However, it also says expressing disapproval of government measures or actions, with a view to getting them changed by lawful means, without promoting hatred or disaffection or contempt towards the government will not come under this section.

Its origin

  1. Sedition was introduced in the penal code in 1870, a decade after the Indian Penal Code came into force.
  2. It was a colonial law directed against strong criticism of the British administration.
  3. Its most famous victims included Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi.
  4. Gandhi called it “the prince among the political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”.

Constitutionality Check

  1. Two high courts had found it unconstitutional after Independence, as it violated the freedom of speech and expression.
  2. The Constitution was amended to include ‘public order’ as one of the ‘reasonable restrictions’ on which free speech could be abridged by law.
  3. Thereafter, the Supreme Court, in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962) upheld its validity.
  4. At the same time, it limited its application to acts that involve “intention or tendency to create disorder” or incitement to violence.
  5. Thus, even strongly worded remarks, as long as they do not excite disloyalty and enmity, or incite violence, is not an offence under this section.

Activists demands it to be scrapped

  1. Liberals and rights activists have been demanding the scrapping of Section 124A from the statute books, arguing that it has no place in a democracy.
  2. They argue that it is being invoked even in cases where there is no incitement to violence or tendency to create public disorder.
  3. It is argued that the provision is “overbroad”, i.e., it defines the offence in wide terms threatening the liberty of citizens.

Way Forward

  1. The Law Commission released a consultation paper last year calling for a reconsideration of the section.
  2. It has pointed out that Britain abolished it more than a decade ago.
  3. It raises the question whether a provision introduced by the British to put down the freedom struggle should continue to be law in India.
Freedom of Speech – Defamation, Sedition, etc.

PM launches Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Indian Diaspora

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

Mains level: Various initiatives for Indian Diaspora


News

Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana

  1. Hon’ble PM has launched the scheme under which a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year.
  2. The first batch of 40 Indian-origin people at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will begin their tour.
  3. They will be taken to religious places of all major religions in India and the government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence.
  4. All people of Indian-origin aged 45 to 65 can apply and a group will be selected out of them with first preference given to people from ‘Girmitiya countries’ such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.

Who are the Girmitiya ?

  1. Girmityas or Jahajis are descendants of indentured Indian labourers brought to Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa, East Africa, the Malay Peninsula, Caribbean and South America (Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname).
  2. They were hired to work on sugarcane plantations for the prosperity of the European settlers and save the Fijians from having to work on these plantations and thus to preserve their culture.
  3. “Agreement” is the term that has been coined into “Girmit”, referring to the “Agreement” of the British Government with the Indian labourers.
  4. It was termed to the length of stay in Fiji and the Caribbean, and when they would be allowed to go back to India.
Tourism Sector

Govt. plans Godavari-Cauvery interlinking

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Godavari-Cauvery interlinking project

Mains level: Enhancing cargo transport with the help of Inland Waterways


News

  • Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources has revealed Detailed Project Report (DPR) to take the backwaters of the Godavari up to the Cauvery river in Tamil Nadu.

Godavari-Cauvery Interlinking

  1. The DPR for the river inter-linking project has already been prepared and is in the process of being submitted to the Cabinet. It is estimated to cost ₹60,000 crore.
  2. 1,100 tmcft of the backwater of the Godavari river was going into the sea and there was a dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over 45 tmcft of it.
  3. To solve the crisis, the Centre has decided to link up the above rivers.
  4. Once the Cabinet gives its nod, funds will be raised from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.
  5. It will mitigate the scarcity of water in A.P., Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
  6. It was former PM Vajpayee who conceived the idea of linking rivers from Ganga to Cauvery.

Benefits of the Project

  1. The backwaters will be carried through Krishna and Penna using steel pipes instead of developing canals en route as suggested by a non-resident engineer from Andhra Pradesh.
  2. By doing so, wastage of water from canals could be prevented and overall cost reduced.
River Interlinking

SC to take ‘in-chamber’ decision on pleas against Article 35A

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Article 35A

Mains level: Governance challenges in J&K


News

  • The Supreme Court has said that it will be taking an “in-chamber” decision on the listing of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of J&K.

When dialogues fail

  1. In August last year, the court indicated that it would consider the question of whether Article 35A was violative of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
  2. However, at that time, the Centre and J&K government had sought an adjournment on the ground that an interlocutor was carrying on dialogues with the State’s stakeholders.

Background

  1. The special status was bestowed on J&K by incorporating Article 35A in the Constitution.
  2. Article 35A was incorporated by an order of President Rajendra Prasad in 1954 on the advice of the Nehru Cabinet.
  3. Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370.
  4. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new article.

Art. 35A

  1. Article 35A gives the J&K State Legislature a carte blanche to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes.
  2. The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

What’s so problematic with it?

  1. It is argued that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Constitution and the State of J&K was never accorded any special status in the Constitution.
  2. Article 370 was only a ‘temporary provision’ to help bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in that State.
  3. The Constitution makers did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring permanent amendments, like Article 35A, in the Constitution.
  4. The petition said Article 35A was against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it created a “class within a class of Indian citizens”.
  5. It said restricting citizens from other States from getting employment or buying property within Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.
J&K – The issues around the state

[pib] Cabinet approves creation of the National Bench of GST Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Indian Polity | Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GST Appellate Tribunal

Mains level: Functions and Terms of reference of the GST appellate tribunal


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the creation of National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).

Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT)

  1. Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal is the forum of second appeal in GST laws and the first common forum of dispute resolution between Centre and States.
  2. The appeals against the orders in first appeals issued by the Appellate Authorities under the Central and State GST Acts lie before the GST Appellate Tribunal, which is common under the Central as well as State GST Acts.
  3. Being a common forum GST Appellate Tribunal will ensure that there is uniformity in redressal of disputes arising under GST, and therefore, in implementation of GST across the country.

Composition of GSTAT

  1. GSTAT shall be presided over by the President and shall consist of one Technical Member (Centre) and one Technical Member (State).
  2. The National Bench of the Appellate Tribunal shall be situated at New Delhi.

Provisions for GSTAT

  1. Chapter XVIII of the CGST Act provides for the Appeal and Review Mechanism for dispute resolution under the GST Regime.
  2. Section 109 of this Chapter under CGST Act empowers the Union Government to constitute, on the recommendation of Council, an Appellate Tribunal.
  3. It shall hear appeals against the orders passed by the Appellate Authority or the Revisional Authority.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Exercise Sea Vigil

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Security | Security challenges and their management

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Sea Vigil

Mains level:  India’s maritime Security


News

Exercise Sea Vigil

  1. Ten years after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, India conducted its largest coastal defence drill, Exercise Sea Vigil.
  2. The exercise aims to test its preparedness along the entire 7,516.6 km-long-coastline and exclusive economic zone of the country.
  3. Exercise Sea Vigil aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since 26/11.
  4. It aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all 13 coastal States and Union Territories.
  5. This involves the evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance.
  6. Multi agency audit and identification of gaps, shortfalls and incorporation of lessons learnt into Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are also the desired outcomes.

Role of Indian Navy

  1. Post 26/11, the Navy was designated as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security.
  2. The Coast Guard was designated as the agency responsible for coastal security in territorial waters.
  3. A multi-tiered patrol and surveillance mechanism with focus on technical surveillance and augmenting Maritime Domain Awareness through the coastal radar chain was adopted.
  4. Progress has been made in real-time information sharing through the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence (NC3I) Network and improving intelligence and operational coordination.
Indian Navy Updates

[pib] IAFTX- 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IAFTX

Mains level:  India’s role in UN Peacekeeping Missions


News

IAFTX 2019

  1. The joint exercise named ‘India-Africa Field Training’ is being conducted with an aim to synergise United Nations peacekeeping operations.
  2. Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Uganda will be participating in the joint military exercise.
  3. It scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering, Pune from 18 March to 27 March 2019.
  4. The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries & India.

Benefits

  1. The IAFTX-2019 is a positive step towards growing political and military ties with the member nations of African continent.
  2. It aims at synergizing humanitarian mine action and joint peace operations.
  3. It will boost the already strong strategic cooperation between the countries.
Foreign Policy Watch: India-Africa