[op-ed snap] A stable plane

Mains Paper 1 : Population & Associated Issues |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Increasing population requires upgradation in services.


CONTEXT

The key message from the UN’s World Population Prospects 2019 report is that national leaders must redouble their efforts to raise education, health and living standards for people everywhere.

Background

  • India is projected to become the most populous country by 2027 surpassing China, and host 1.64 billion people by 2050; the world as a whole could be home to 8.5 billion people in just over a decade from now, and the number could go up to 9.7 billion by mid-century.
  • The projections should be viewed in perspective, considering that alarmist Malthusian fears of inability to provide for more than a billion people on earth did not come true.
  • Yet, there are strong arguments in favour of stabilising population numbers by raising the quality of life of people and achieving sustainable development that will not destroy the environment.

Situation worldwide

  • The UN report shows migration to countries with a falling ratio of working-age people to those above 65 will be steady, as those economies open up to workers to sustain economic production.
  • Japan has the lowest such ratio, followed by Europe and the Caribbean; in over three decades, North America, Eastern and Southeastern Asia will join this group.
  • India meanwhile will have a vast number of young people and insufficient natural resources left for exploitation.
  • Preparing for the changes and opportunities migration offers will depend on a skills revolution.

National Situation

  • At the national level, achieving a reduction in fertility rates in States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — which are high as per Sample Registration System data — is a challenge for India as it seeks to stabilise population growth.
  • This is possible if the State governments set their minds to it.
  • They must singularly focus on improving education and health access for women, both of which will help them be gainfully employed.

Catering to  Old population

  • On the other hand, a rise in life expectancy has brought with it a policy imperative that is bound to become even more important in the coming decades.
  • A growing population of older adults is a certainty, and it opens up prospects for employment in many new services catering to them.
  • Urban facilities have to be reimagined, with an emphasis on access to good, affordable housing and mobility.

Other Initiatives

  • The Sustainable Development Goals framework provides a roadmap to this new era.
  • But progress in poverty reduction, greater equality, better nutrition, universal education and health care, needs state support and strong civil society institutions.
  • Making agriculture remunerative and keeping food prices stable is crucial to ensure nutrition for all.
  • India is set to become the most populous nation. For its leaders, improving the quality of life for its people will be a test of political will.
Poverty Eradication – Definition, Debates, etc.

[op-ed snap] Why South Asia must cooperate

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Transnational approach in south asia to achieve SDGs Goals


CONTEXT

South Asia covers only about 3.5% of the world’s land surface area but hosts a fourth of its population, making it a region of significant importance for international development.

Current situation

  • In spite of the geographic proximity countries in this region enjoy and their common socio-cultural bonds, this is one of the world’s least integrated regions.
  • Intra-regional trade is a meagre 5% of the total trade these countries do globally, while intra-regional investment is less than 1% of the region’s overall global investment.
  • South Asia’s average GDP per capita is only about 9.64% of the global average. Accounting for more than 30% of the world’s poor, the region faces myriad economic and environmental challenges.

Lack of initiatives

Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  –

  • For a region with common development challenges of inequality, poverty, weak governance and poor infrastructure, a shared vision of attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides enormous opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and convergence (3C).
  •  The 17 goals and their 169 targets are inter-connected and cannot be implemented by countries working in isolation.
  • Many are transnational in nature and require regional efforts.
  • South Asian countries could benefit a lot by adopting a regional framework of cooperation that can support, strengthen and stimulate the SDGs.
  • In the SDG Index 2018, which is an assessment of countries’ progress, among 156 countries only two South Asian countries, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, are in the top 100. India is ranked 112th.

Other Challenges

  • Most South Asian countries have made good progress in ending extreme poverty, but they face persistent challenges to goals related to industry, innovation and infrastructure, zero hunger, gender equality, education, sustainable cities and communities and decent work and economic growth. 
  • These apart, most of South Asia continues to be vulnerable to climate change and climate-induced natural disasters.

Varying performances of south Asian countries

  • A closer look at the country-level data shows that India is performing well in Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production), Goal 13 (climate action) and Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) while doing poorly in goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 5 (gender equality) and Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).
  • Like India, Bangladesh is doing well in Goals 1, 6, 12 and 13 but poorly in Goals 2 and 9, and lagging behind in Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy).
  • While doing well in Goals 1 and 12, Pakistan needs improvement in Goals 2, 4, 5 and 9, similar to India and Bangladesh.
  • It also needs improved performance with respect to Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth).
  • There are a lot of similarities among these three big economies of South Asia with respect to achieving some specific SDGs as well as exhibiting poor performance in some common goals.

Transnational Approach to SDGs

Transnational Areas – SDGs related to energy, biodiversity, infrastructure, climate resilience and capacity development are transnational, and here policy harmonisation can play a pivotal role in reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.

Required Funds – In a study titled ‘SDGs Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy: Bangladesh Perspective’, Bangladesh has undertaken exemplary initiatives for analysing its available resources and additional funding requirements for SDG implementation, suggesting that the country requires an additional $928 billion to fully implement the SDGs.

Sources for funding – The study identifies five possible sources for SDGs financing: public sector, private sector, public-private partnership, external sector and non-government organisations.

Sharing of approaches – Similarly, India has formulated some pragmatic plans and initiatives to improve food and nutrition security from which many of the neighbouring countries can benefit.

Increasing flow of FDI – To address institutional and infrastructural deficits, South Asian countries need deeper regional cooperation. On financing the SDGs in South Asia, countries can work towards increasing the flow of intra-regional FDI. The private sector too can play a vital role in resource mobilisation.

Taking everyone along

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the platform for regional economic cooperation in this region, has become moribund and remains unsuccessful in promoting regional economic cooperation. If the countries of South Asia, the fastest growing region of the world, can come to a common understanding on regional integration and cooperation in achieving the SDGs, it can unleash a powerful synergistic force that can finally make South Asia converge.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations

[op-ed snap] Smart diplomacy in five moves

Mains Paper 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : India should go for a layered approach to secure its interests in sub continent


CONTEXT

Southern Asia is today at an inflection point with far-reaching implications for the states in the region, and for India in particular. Is New Delhi adequately prepared to weather the incoming geopolitical storm?

Face of Politics in Region

1.Great Power Play

  • To begin with, there is a sharp, though often understated, great power competition in the region.
  • The resultant geopolitical competition for space, power and influence in the regional scheme of things is undoing the traditional geopolitical certainties in Southern Asia.
  • Russia and China are jointly and individually challenging the U.S.’s pre-eminence and drafting smaller countries of the region into their bandwagon/s.

2.The China pivot

  • Then there is the emergence of the ‘China pivot’ in the region.
  • Washington’s role as the regional pivot and power manager is becoming a thing of the past .
  • Regional geopolitics, from Iran to Central Asia and from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean region, is increasingly being shaped by China.
  • China is the new regional hegemon with states in the region jumping on its bandwagon without much resistance.
  • Regional holdouts and challengers such as India will need to balance themselves tactfully to steer clear of the rising hegemon’s ire.

3.Trust deficit in the region

  •  That India and Pakistan, or China and India do not trust each other is not news, but a trust deficit exists between even seemingly congenial partners such as the U.S. and India, Russia and China, and among traditional partners such as Iran and India, and Russia and India.
  • In sum, a power transition in the Southern Asian sub-system, an extreme trust deficit and the escalating war talk pose ominous signs for the region.

The layers

There are at least five layers of balancing acts that India would need to adopt in order to weather the incoming geopolitical storm.

1.First step

At level one, it would need to balance its innate desire to get closer to the U.S. with the unavoidable necessities of not excessively provoking China both in the maritime and continental domains. 

2.Second step

  • The second layer of this balancing game should drive India’s West Asia policy.
  • Here it would have to take care of its energy and other interests (including the Chabahar project) with Iran and not alienate the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel by doing so.
  • While Iran’s share in India’s energy imports is steadily decreasing, alienating Iran might not suit India’s strategic interests in the longer run.

3.Third Step

  • As a third balancing act, dealing with the Russia-China partnership will be crucial for India’s continental strategy, be it with regard to arms sales, the Afghan question or checking Chinese dominance of the region.
  • A related concern should be the growing relationship between Pakistan and Russia which must be dealt with by smart diplomacy rather than outrage.

4.Fourth step

  • Yet another layer that requires careful balancing by India is the strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.
  • This again requires a great deal of subtle effort from New Delhi to convince Beijing that it has great stakes in regional strategic stability.

5.Fifth Step

Finally, if India is serious about having a say in Afghanistan’s future, it would need to enact several balancing acts there: between Russia and China, China and Pakistan, the Taliban and Kabul, and the Taliban and Pakistan.

Conclusion

New Delhi should keep in mind that it must, by all means, be careful to avoid getting caught in a nutcracker geopolitical situation in the region. Engaging in a delicate balancing game is undeniably the need of the hour, and let us remember that balancing such seeming contradictions is what smart diplomacy is meant to achieve.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-SAARC Nations

Explained: Automatic Lapsing of Bills in Parliament

Mains Paper 2 : Parliament & State Legislatures |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Efficiency of legislative procedures in India


News

  • Vice Prez. called for a debate on a Constitutional provision that provides for automatic lapsing of any Bill passed by LS but remains pending in RS on the dissolution of the LS.
  • A “rethink” on the provision, he said, will not let Lok Sabha’s time go waste.

Pendency of Bills

  • Presently Lok Sabha has to take somehow 22 Bills again for consideration and passing. It would take a minimum of two sessions for doing so.
  • This directly means that earlier efforts of Lok Sabha for passing these 22 Bills have been rendered waste.
  • Among the 33 Bills that have survived in Rajya Sabha after the Lok Sabha term came to an end are some that have been pending for decades.
  • Three Bills have been pending for more than 20 years, six Bills for 10-20 years, 14 Bills for 5-10 years and 10 Bills for less than 5 years.
  • The oldest pending Bill, The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 1987, has been pending for over 32 years.

Why it matters?

  • It takes considerable time and energy to get a Bill passed in either House of Parliament.
  • Given the implications for the functioning of Parliament and such lapses hampers productivity of the Houses of Parliament.

What can be done?

  • In order to streamline the process, VP suggested that if a Bill is not taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha within five years of introduction, such pending Bills should be treated as deemed to have lapsed.
  • The present dysfunctional, disruptive environment must change, urged VP.
  • Parliamentarians must use the time available for debates most productively.

Back2Basics

When does a Bill lapse in Indian Parliament? 

Depending on the status of the pending legislation, and where it originated, there are certain cases in which the Bill lapses on dissolution of Assembly.

  1. Bills originated in Lok Sabha
  • Any Bill that originated in the Lok Sabha, but could not be passed, lapses.
  • A Bill originated and passed by the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha also lapses
  1. Bills originated in Rajya Sabha
  • The Constitution also gives MPs in Rajya Sabha the power to introduce a Bill.
  • Therefore a Bill that originated in Rajya Sabha and was passed by it, but remains pending in Lok Sabha also lapses.
  • A Bill originated in the Rajya Sabha and returned to that House by the Lok Sabha with amendments and still pending in the Rajya Sabha on the date of the dissolution of Lok Sabha lapses.

When a Bill does not lapse

  1. Not all Bills, which haven’t yet become law, lapse at the end of the Lok Sabha’s term.
  2. A Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, but not passed by the Lok Sabha, does not lapse.
  3. A Bill passed by both the Houses but pending assent of the President of India, does not lapse.
  4. A Bill passed by both Houses but returned by the President of India for reconsideration of the Parliament does not lapse.
  5. Some pending Bills and all pending assurances that are to be examined by the Committee on Government Assurances also does not lapse on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.

Exceptions for a Joint Sitting

  1. Apart from the aforementioned exceptions, another situation when a Bill does not automatically lapse with end of the final Parliament session is if the president calls for a joint sitting to vote on a Bill.
  2. Article 108 of the Constitution states that the president may, unless the Bill has elapsed by reason of a dissolution of the LS, summon both Houses to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Bill.
  3. If at the joint sitting of the two Houses, the Bill, with such amendments, if any, is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed to have been passed by both Houses.
  4. However there is no provision of joint sittings on a Money Bill or a Amendment Bill.

What happens to Bills that have lapsed?

  • If a Bill is elapsed by virtue of one or more of the conditions explained above, it will have to be reintroduced in the new Lok Sabha (as is or with amendments) should the new government feel the need for it.

Alternative: Promulgating an Ordinance (Art.123)

  • The lapse of a Bill in Parliament still does not prevent the incumbent government from issuing an Ordinance to bring forth the legislation it intended to through the lapsed Bill.
  • According to the Constitution, the government of the day can bring in Ordinance if the Parliament is not in session and if the president is convinced of the urgency of the matter that it can’t wait till the House comes in session again.
  • The Constitution does not explicitly bans a government nearing the end of its term from doing so.
  • Since the lifespan of an ordinance in six months, or till the Parliament’s next session (which in this case will be after the election of 17th Lok Sabha) any ordinance promulgated by the current government is likely to outlive its tenure.
Panchayati Raj Institutions: Issues and Challenges

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

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

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Mains level : Lift Irrigation


News

  • Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) claimed as the world’s largest multi-stage and multi-purpose lift irrigation scheme, was inaugurated.

About the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

  • The Kaleshwaram project is an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided.
  • It is aimed to make Telangana drought proof by harnessing the flood waters of the Godavari.
  • Waters of the Godavari will be tapped by reverse pumping and storage, thereby facilitating agriculture on over 38 lakh acres.
  • It would help rejuvenate thousands of tanks, providing water for industries, and supplying drinking water to Hyderabad and Secunderabad by creating a series of storage tanks and a network of pipelines.

Which rivers are involved?

  • The project starts at the confluence point of Pranahita River (amajor tributary of Godavari River) and Godavari River.
  • Pranahita river is a confluence of various other smaller tributaries like Wardha, Penganga and Wainganga Rivers.
Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Sadikpur Sinauli site expected to get ‘national importance’ tag

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Harrapan Sites

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • Sadikpur Sinauli, an ancient site with chariots, swords and other objects pointing to the presence of a warrior class around 4,000 years ago could be declared a site of national importance soon.
  • Archaeological Survey of India declares monuments/sites as ‘protected and of national importance’ under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

About Sadikpur Sinauli

  • Sinauli is an archaeological site located in Baraut tehsil, Baghpat district, western Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • The site is famous for its Bronze Age “chariots”, the first ones to be recovered in archaeological excavation in South Asia.
  • Local legends tell that Sinauli is one of the five villages that god Krishna unsuccessfully negotiated with the Kaurava princes to avoid the War at Kurukshetra.
  • The excavations were conducted by ASI in 2005-06 and in mid-2018.
  • As per ASI and later studies the remains found in 2005-06, the “Sanauli cemetery”, belonged to Late Harappan Phase.

Major findings

  • Major findings from 2018 trial excavations include several wooden coffin burials, “chariots”, copper swords, and helmets.
  • The wooden chariots – with solid disk wheels – were protected by copper sheets.
  • Among the treasures unearthed are three chariots, legged coffins, shields, swords and helmets – all which point towards a warrior class that must have existed around 2,000 BCE.
  • The site was the largest necropolis (cemetery) of the late Harappan period of the early 2nd millennium BCE.
Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

[pib] Establishment of ‘Gokul Grams’ Under Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Mains Paper 3 : Economics Of Animal-Rearing |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Mains level : Promoting indigenous breeds for animal husbandry



News

  • Funds have been mobilized under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) for setting up of 21 Gokul Grams as Integrated Cattle Development Centres.

About Rashtriya Gokul Mission

  • The RGM has been launched by the Government for conservation and development of indigenous breeds in a focused and scientific manner.
  • The mission envisages establishment of integrated cattle development centres „Gokul Grams to develop indigenous breeds including upto 40% nondescript breeds.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission is a focussed project under National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development, with an outlay of Rs 500 crore during for three years from 2014-15 to 2016-17.

Objectives

  1. Development and conservation of indigenous breeds
  2. Breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle breeds to improve their genetic makeup and increase the stock;
  3. Enhancement of milk production and productivity;
  4. Upgradation of nondescript cattle using elite indigenous breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Deoni, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi and
  5. Distribution of disease free high genetic merit bulls for natural service.

Implementing Agency:

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission is being implemented through “State Implementing Agencies (SIA) viz Livestock Development Boards.
  • All Agencies having a role in indigenous cattle development are “Participating Agencies” like CFSPTI, CCBFs, ICAR, Universities, Colleges, NGO‟s, Cooperative Societies.

Gokul Gram

  • These are Indigenous Cattle Centres and will act as Centres for development of Indigenous Breeds.
  • They’ll be established- a) in native breeding tracts and b) near metropolitan cities for housing the urban cattle.
  • A dependable source for supply of high genetic breeding stock to the farmers in the breeding tract.
  • Self sustaining and will generate economic resources from sale of milk, organic manure, vermi-composting, urine distillates, and production of electricity from bio gas for in house consumption and sale of animal products.
  • Also function as state of the art in situ training centre for Farmers, Breeders.

For additional readings, navigate to the page:

Rashtriya Gokul Mission

Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

[pib] Janani Suraksha Yojana

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Janani Suraksha Yojana

Mains level : Maternity healthcare in India


News

Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) is a safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health Mission (NHM).
  • It is being implemented with the objective of reducing maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
  • The scheme is under implementation in all states and Union Territories (UTs), with a special focus on Low Performing States (LPS).
  • It was launched in April 2005 by modifying the National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
  • The NMBS came into effect in August 1995 as one of the components of the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).
  • The scheme was transferred from the Ministry of Rural Development to the Department of Health & Family Welfare during the year 2001-02.

Various measures under JSY

  • The scheme focuses on the poor pregnant woman with special dispensation for States having low institutional delivery rates namely the States of UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan, Orissa and J&K.
  • While these States have been named as Low Performing States (LPS), the remaining States have been named as High performing States (HPS).
  • Exclusion criteria of age of mother as 19 years or above and up to two children only for home and institutional deliveries under the JSY have been removed.
  • Eligible mothers are entitled to JSY benefit regardless of any age and any number of children.
  • BPL pregnant women, who prefer to deliver at home, are entitled to a cash assistance of Rs 500 per delivery regardless of age of women and the number of children.
  • States are encouraged to accredit private health facilities for increasing the choice of delivery care institutions.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.