Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Centre to file review petition on Eco-Sensitive Zones in SC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)

Mains level : Read the attached story

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has said that the Ministry will file a review petition in the Supreme Court urging a relook into its judgment on eco-sensitive zones.

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court has earlier directed that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary across the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum one km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

Why such move?

  • The purpose of declaring ESZs around national parks, forests and sanctuaries is to create some kind of a “shock absorber” for the protected areas.
  • These zones would act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection.

What are the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)?

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.

How are they demarcated?

  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
  • However, Section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall be carried out or shall not, subject to certain safeguards.
  • Besides Rule 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 states that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of certain considerations.
  • The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones (NDZs).

Defining its boundaries

  • An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
  • Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.
  • Further, even in the context of a particular Protected Area, the distribution of an area of ESZ and the extent of regulation may not be uniform all around and it could be of variable width and extent.

 

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LGBT Rights – Transgender Bill, Sec. 377, etc.

Aviation safety regulator opens door for transgender pilots

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Transgenders' rights

In a big win for an aspiring pilot and the entire transgender community, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has for the first time framed new medical guidelines that allow transgender persons who have completed gender transition therapy or surgery to be declared fit to fly.

What did DGCA allow?

  • The DGCA guidelines for aeromedical evaluation of transgender persons for obtaining medical clearance for all categories of pilot’s licence — private pilot’s licence, student pilot licence and commercial pilot licence.
  • An ongoing hormone therapy will also not be a ground for disqualification.
  • It says that candidates who have completed their hormone therapy and gender affirmation surgery more than five years ago will be declared medically fit.
  • They should clear screening for mental health in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Some limitations

  • However, transgender pilots “may” have some limitations imposed such as being allowed to only fly as first officers (junior pilots).
  • When they are flying as pilot-in-command their co-pilot has to have 250 hours of flying on that particular type of aircraft or the co-pilot has to be a senior captain who is a trainer.

Why such modification?

  • An Indian citizen, is the first transgender trainee pilot with a private pilot licence from South Africa.
  • He/she was unable to complete his training in India after the DGCA in April 2020 rejected his medical clearance needed to obtain a student’s pilot licence.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment intervened and wrote to the DGCA.
  • It called the rules “discriminatory” and in violation of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2019 and demanded “guidelines for licensing” for transgender persons.

Conclusion

  • Because of the fear of backlash from society, family and friends, coming out as a transgender is itself a very challenging move for those who hide their identity.
  • Major issue lies with societal acceptance of transgender and recognition. Such steps create awareness among people with example.
  • Society should be made sensitive enough to realize it is none of the concerned person’s fault.

Back2Basics: Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019: Key Features

Defining Transperson

  • The act defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.
  • It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.

Prohibition against discrimination

  • It prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to education, employment, healthcare, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
  • Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.
  • No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.

HRD measures

  • A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
  • Educational institutions funded or recognised by the relevant government shall provide inclusive facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
  • The government must provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.

Grievances redressal

  • The National Council for Transgender persons (NCT) chaired by Union Minister for Social Justice, will advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies with respect to transgender persons.
  • It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons.

Legal Protection

  • The Bill imposes penalties for the offences against transgender persons like bonded labour, denial of use of public places, removal from household & village and physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse.

 

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Global Geological And Climatic Events

In news: Continental Drift Theory

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lemurs, Continental Drift Theory

Mains level : Continental Drift Theory

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in TH which talks about the specie Lemurs who are supposed to jump into seas to find India which got drifted away from the Madagascar.

Study on Lemurs

  • Many life forms in Madagascar have affinities to lineages found in India (3,800 km away) rather than Africa (413 km). This posed a ‘difficult enigma’ to naturalists.
  • One such species is the Lemurs.
  • We most likely see lemurs in a Hollywood animation movie; singing, dancing and playing pranks.
  • Zoologists was perplexed by the presence of lemurs, their relatives, and their fossils in Madagascar and India, but not in nearby Africa or the Middle East.
  • In the 1860s, he proposed that a large island or continent must have once existed between India and Madagascar, serving as a land bridge.
  • Over time, this island had sunk. He called this proposed island Lemuria.

Existence of such Island in Indian legends

  • Tamil revivalists such as Devaneya Pavanar also took up the idea, in the form of a Tamil civilisation, lost to the sea as described in literature and in Pandyan legends.
  • They called this submerged continent Kumari Kandam.

Basis of this legend: Continental Drift Theory

  • In the early 20th century, German geologist Alfred Wegener published a paper on his theory called continental drift.
  • It is a hypothesis that Earth’s continents were moving across Earth, and sometimes, even colliding into one another.
  • According to Wegener’s theory, Earth’s continents were once joined as a single, giant landmass, which he called Pangaea.
  • But over time, Pangaea broke apart and formed the continents as we know them today.
  • Wegener couldn’t explain why this phenomenon was happening, so at the time, his theory was heavily criticized by his colleagues.
  • But over the years, technological advances allowed scientists to study the Earth more closely, and geologists started to build on Wegener’s theory.

Rise over to Plate Tectonics

  • Discoveries like seafloor spreading helped explain the “why” behind continental movement, and eventually, Wegener’s initial continental drift theory morphed into plate tectonic theory.
  • And now, the idea that Earth’s crust is slowly moving beneath our feet is widely accepted.

The Seven Major Tectonic Plates

There are seven major plates, and dozens of minor plates, that make up the outer crust of the Earth. The big seven are:

  1. North American plate
  2. Eurasian plate
  3. Pacific plate
  4. South American plate
  5. African plate
  6. Indo-Australian plate
  7. Antarctic plate

 

The areas between these plates are known as plate boundaries, and their interactions cause some crazy things to happen on Earth’s surface.

There are three types of plate boundaries:

  1. Divergent boundary
  • A divergent boundary is when two plates move away from each other, which creates a fracture in the lithosphere.
  • A well-known divergent boundary is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs approximately 10,000 miles from the Arctic Ocean all the way down to the south of Africa.
  1. Convergent boundary
  • A convergent boundary is when two plates collide with one another.
  • If the collision is between oceanic crust and continental crust, the denser oceanic crust slides underneath the other plate, which is a process known as subduction.
  • When two continental crusts collide, the rock folds and lifts at the boundary, creating mountains like the Himalayas (where the Indian plate meets the Eurasian plate).
  1. Transform Boundary
  • When two plates move parallel to one another, their meeting point is called a transform boundary. The friction causes tension.
  • Eventually, that tension needs to be released, which can cause earthquakes.
  • The San Andreas Fault is a well-known major transform boundary between the North American and Pacific plates—it caused the infamous San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

How do we apply this theory here?

  • A landmass called Gondwana, split into two 165 million years ago — one containing what is now Africa and South America, the other comprising India, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica.
  • Around 115 million years ago, Madagascar and India together broke free.
  • Around 88 million years ago, India moved northward, dropping a few parcels of land along the way to form Seychelles.
  • It joined the Eurasian mass 50 million years ago giving rise to the Himalayas and South Asia that we are familiar with.
  • Around 115 million years ago, it was the dinosaurs that ruled. Many life forms had not even evolved.

Substantiation to this study

(1) Fossil study

  • Supporting the Gondwana breakup, dinosaur fossils found in India and Madagascar are closely related and do not resemble species found in Africa and Asia.
  • Fragments of Laplatosaurus madagascarensis have been found in both India and Madagascar.

(2) Molecular clocks

  • A powerful technique, the molecular clock, is used to estimate the time when two forms of life diverged from each other.
  • It is based on the observation that evolutionary changes in the sequence of an RNA or a protein molecule occur at a fairly constant rate.
  • The difference in the amino acids of, say the haemoglobin of two animals can tell you how long ago their lineages diverged.
  • Molecular clocks corroborate well with other evidence, such as the fossil record.
  • South India and Sri Lanka have only two genuses of the cichlid family of freshwater and brackish-water fishes — the Etroplus (a food fish in Kerala, where it is called pallathi) and Pseudetroplus.
  • Molecular comparisons show that the nearest relatives of Etroplus are found in Madagascar, and their common ancestor diverged from African cichlids 160 million years ago.

India’s pivotal position

  • India occupies a pivotal position in the distribution of life forms in Asia, Madagascar and Africa. Gondwana creatures moved out of India.
  • Others crossed over to stay. For example, Asian freshwater crabs (Gecarcinucidae) are now found all over Southeast Asia but their most recent common ancestor evolved in India.
  • Fossil finds in the Vastan lignite mine in Gujarat by researchers have identified the earliest Indian mammal, a species of bat, and the earliest euprimate, a primitive lemur.
  • These were dated 53 million years ago, around the time (or just before) the India-Eurasian plates collided.

What about the lemurs?

  • Madagascar is a large island, with a variety of climatic conditions. Evidence favours an ancestor primate crossing over from Africa.
  • No monkey, ape or large predator managed the crossing, so dozens of lemur species proliferated.
  • In India, we have the lorises, which are the closest extant relatives of the lemurs.
  • These are shy, nocturnal forest dwellers, with large, appealing eyes.
  • They are also believed to have survived oceanic rides from Africa.
  • They are mostly found in the Northeastern States (slow loris), and where Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu meet (slender loris).

 

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Contention over South China Sea

What is Taiwan’s ‘Porcupine Strategy’ to protect itself if China attacks?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Cold start, Porcupine doctrine

Mains level : Read the attached story

As the long-range, live-fire drills began with China’s Eastern Theatre Command firing several ballistic missiles, Taiwan said that it was “preparing for war without seeking war”. What is Taiwan’s strategy to fight back in case China attempts to occupy it by force?

What is a Military Doctrine?

  • Military doctrine is the expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements.
  • It is a guide to action, rather than being hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military.

Why do need such a doctrine?

  • It helps standardize operations, facilitating readiness by establishing common ways of accomplishing military tasks.
  • It decides what you buy, produce, or prioritize, all of which flows from deciding your best fighting foot.

What is the ‘Porcupine Doctrine’?

  • This doctrine was proposed in 2008 by US Naval War College research professor William S Murray.
  • It is a strategy of asymmetric warfare focused on fortifying a weak state’s defences to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses rather than taking on its strengths.
  • It is about building defences that would ensure that Taiwan could be attacked and damaged but not defeated, at least without unacceptably high costs and risks.

How does this work?

It identifies three defensive layers in the porcupine approach.

  1. The outer layer is about intelligence and reconnaissance to ensure defence forces are fully prepared. Behind this come plans for guerrilla warfare at sea with aerial support from sophisticated aircraft provided by the US.
  2. The innermost layer relies on the geography and demography of the island.
  3. While the outer surveillance layer would work to prevent a surprise attack, the second one would make it difficult for China to land its troops on the island in the face of a guerrilla campaign at sea using “agile, missile-armed small ships, supported by helicopters and missile launchers”.

Another tactic: Asymmetric systems of defence

  • Asymmetric systems are ones that are small, numerous, smart, stealthy, mobile and hard to be detected and countered and associated with innovative tactics and employments.
  • These asymmetric capabilities will be aimed at striking the operational centre of gravity and key nodes of the enemy.
  • The geographic advantages of the Taiwan Strait shall be tapped to shape favourable conditions to disrupt the operational tempo of the enemy, frustrate its attempts and moves of invasion.
  • Taiwan underlined its shift to an asymmetric approach by adopting the Overall Defence Concept (ODC) in 2018.

Do you know?

Indian armed forces follow the Cold Start Doctrine that involves joint operations between India’s three services and integrated battle groups for offensive operations. A key component is the preparation of India’s forces to be able to quickly mobilize and take offensive actions without crossing the enemy’s nuclear-use threshold.

Need for such a strategy

  • China enjoys overwhelming military superiority over Taiwan.
  • Over the past decade, Beijing has developed far more accurate and precise weapon systems to target Taiwan.
  • China has been more vocal about its intention to “reunite” the island with the mainland, by force or coercion if needed.
  • The PLA has already achieved the capabilities needed to conduct an air and naval blockade, cyberattacks, and missile strikes against Taiwan.
  • PLA leaders now likely assess they have, or will soon have, the initial capability needed to conduct a high-risk invasion of Taiwan (following Russia’s path).

How easy will it be for China?

  • Missile strikes, cyberattacks, air and naval blockade aside, undertaking a full-scale invasion across the Taiwan Strait, with attendant risks of anti-ship and anti-air attacks, could present challenges for China.
  • The PLA is estimated to have air and naval resources to carry out an initial landing of 25,000 or more troops, which could increase if it deploys civilian ships to meet its military objectives.
  • However, it will have to first select and secure a suitable beachhead from among the handful that is available.
  • Also, with small and agile weapons systems, Taiwan can turn its coastline into a kill zone that would deny China a walkover.
  • Beijing would have to rely on cyberattacks, missile strikes on Taiwan’s air bases and runways, and a blockade to choke it into surrendering.

 

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Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

What is a Carbon Market, and why does India want to create one?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Carbon Credits

Mains level : Carbon trading

The Bill to amend the Energy Conservation Act, 2001 seeks to establish a domestic carbon market and facilitate trade in carbon credits.

What are Carbon Credits?

  • Carbon credits are measurable, verifiable emission reductions from certified climate action projects.
  • These projects reduce, remove or avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • But they also bring a whole host of other positive benefits, for example, they empower communities, protect ecosystems, restore forests or reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Projects must adhere to a rigorous set of criteria to pass verification by third-party agencies and a review by a panel of experts at a leading carbon offset standard.
  • After an organization or an individual buys a carbon credit, the credit is permanently retired so it can’t be reused.

What are Carbon Markets?

  • Carbon markets are regulatory structures that allow, in particular, oil and gas-intensive companies or heavy industry (or, in the case of COP25, countries) to reduce their economic footprint through a series of incentives.
  • The idea behind this system is that the most polluting countries can purchase the right to pollute more from countries that have not reached their emissions limits.
  • The 1997 Kyoto Protocol turned polluting emissions into a commodity.
  • For example, the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest in the world and has been in operation since 2015.

How is the concept evolved?

  • When the world evolved the ‘clean development mechanism’ (CDM) after the Kyoto Protocol agreement of 1997 as companies in the developing world could put up projects.
  • These include renewable energy or afforestation — that helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and earn ‘credits’ that could be sold in the market.
  • It was expected that these credits would be bought by the developed countries that had committed to emissions cuts under the Protocol.
  • Thus emerged the CDM market, aka ‘compliance market’. Alongside, environmentally conscious entities also started buying these carbon credits (or offsets) — the ‘voluntary market’.

What is the status now?

  • This system functioned well for a few years.
  • But the market collapsed because of the lack of demand for carbon credits.
  • As the world negotiated a new climate treaty in place of the Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries no longer felt the need to adhere to their targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • A carbon market was envisaged to work under the successor Paris Agreement, but its details are still being worked out.

Global successes

  • Domestic or regional carbon markets are already functioning in several places, most notably in Europe, where an emission trading scheme (ETS) works on similar principles.
  • Industrial units in Europe have prescribed emission standards to adhere to, and they buy and sell credits based on their performance.
  • China, too, has a domestic carbon market.

Mechanism in India

  • A similar scheme for incentivizing energy efficiency has been running in India for over a decade now.
  • This BEE scheme, called- Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme allows units to earn efficiency certificates if they outperform the prescribed efficiency standards.
  • The laggards can buy these certificates to continue operating.

What does new Amendment seeks to bring?

  • The new carbon market that is proposed to be created through this amendment to the Energy Conservation Act, would be much wider in scope.
  • Although the details of this carbon market are not yet known, it is likely to be on the lines of the European ETS, facilitating the buying and selling of carbon credits.

 

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Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Earth has recorded its shortest day since the 1960s- why?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Earth's spin

Mains level : Read the attached story

On June 29, the Earth completed one full spin — a day — in 1.59 milliseconds less than its routine 24 hours. It was the shortest day recorded since the 1960s.

Note: A millisecond is one-thousandth of a second.

Earth spinning faster

  • While the Earth has been completing its rotations faster in recent years, when looked at over a much longer period of time, our planet is actually spinning slower.
  • Every century, the Earth takes a few milliseconds longer to complete one rotation — and on average, days are actually getting longer.
  • So, 1.4 billion years ago, a day would have ended in less than 19 hours,

How did scientists find that?

  • Scientists got to know by using precise atomic clocks to measure the Earth’s rotational speed.

Why are days getting shorter these days?

  • Scientists aren’t entirely sure.
  • Something has changed and changed in a way we haven’t seen since the beginning of precise radio astronomy in the 1970s.

Factors attributing Earth’s Spin

(1) Tidal Braking

  • The research attributed the larger trend of the Earth’s slower spin mostly to the gravitational pull of the Moon, which causes tidal friction and slows down the Earth’s rotations.

(2) Climate change-induced surface variations

  • Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica
  • Changes in ocean circulation

(3) Geomorphic factors

  • Movements in the planet’s inner molten core
  • Seismic activity
  • Wind speed, and shifting atmospheric gases

(4) Chandler wobble phenomenon

  • This refers to the small deviation in the movement of Earth’s geographical poles.
  • The normal amplitude of the Chandler wobble is about three to four metres at Earth’s surface, but from 2017 to 2020 it disappeared.

(5) Other propositions

  • Activities that push mass towards the centre of the Earth will hasten the planet’s rotation.
  • Anything that pushes mass outwards will slow down the spin, a report noted.

What can happen if the Earth continues to spin faster on a sustained basis?

  • To ensure that the time on clocks matches the speed of the Earth’s rotation, a system of leap seconds has been used since the 1970s.
  • They involve one-second adjustments to Universal Coordinated Time (UTC), the time standard used to synchronize clocks around the world.
  • Due to the long-term slowing in the planet’s spin, 27 leap seconds have been added to UTC.
  • However, if the Earth continues to spin faster and days subsequently become shorter, scientists may have to introduce the first ever ‘negative leap second,’ which involves subtraction of a second from clocks.

 

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Climate Change Negotiations – UNFCCC, COP, Other Conventions and Protocols

Cabinet nod for Glasgow Climate Pledges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NDCs

Mains level : Read the attached story

India ratified pledges made by Prime Minister in Glasgow to accelerate the country’s reliance on renewable energy to power the economy and be effectively free from use of fossil fuels by 2070.

Why discuss them?

  • The approved pledges were fewer than those PM committed to.

What is NDC (Nationally Determined Commitments)?

  • NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals.
  • They embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • The Paris Agreement (Article 4, paragraph 2) requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive NDCs that it intends to achieve.
  • Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.
  • The agreement requests each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their NDCs.

India’s NDC

  • India’s NDC, or nationally determined commitments, have been updated with these two promises, both of which are enhancements of existing targets, and would be submitted to the UN climate body.
  • The 2015 Paris Agreement requires every country to set self-determined climate targets which have to be progressively updated with more ambitious goals every few years.
  • India’s first NDC was submitted in 2015, just before the Paris Agreement was finalised.

India’s original NDC contained three main targets for 2030:

  1. A 33 to 35 per cent reduction in emissions intensity (or emissions per unit of GDP) from 2005 levels
  2. At least 40 per cent of total electricity generation to come from non-fossil renewable sources
  3. An increase in forest cover to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

Commitment made at Glasgow

  • At the Glasgow meeting last year, Modi promised to strengthen India’s climate commitments.
  • He made five promises, and called it the ‘Panchamrit’, the nectar that Indians prepare using five ingredients.
  • Two of these were upward revision of existing targets, the ones that have been made official and put in the updated NDC. Accordingly,
  1. India will now reduce its emission intensity by at least 45 per cent, instead of just 33 to 35 per cent, from 2005 levels by 2030.
  2. Also, it would now ensure that at least 50 per cent of its total electricity generation, not just 40 per cent, would come from renewable sources by 2030.
  3. The forestry target has not been touched.

India’s climate targets: Existing and New

  • PM had said that at least 500 GW of India’s installed electricity generation capacity in 2030 would be based on non-fossil fuel sources.
  • Also, he had promised that the country would ensure avoided emissions of at least one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2030.
  • These two promises have not been converted into official targets.
  • But these are closely linked with others, and any progress on official targets would get reflected in these goals as well.

What about Net Zero?

  • Modi had also announced a net zero target for India for the year 2070.
  • Net zero is a situation in which a country’s greenhouse gas emissions are offset entirely, either by absorption of carbon dioxide.
  • This may be done through natural processes like photosynthesis in plants, or through physical removal of greenhouse gases using futuristic technologies.
  • But net zero is a long-term target and does not qualify to be included in the NDC which seeks five to 10 year climate targets from countries.

India’s progress

  • The upward revision of the two climate targets — those relating to reductions in emissions intensity and proportion of non-fossil sources in electricity generation — do not come as a surprise.
  • India is on way to achieve its existing targets well ahead of the 2030 timeline.
  • India’s emissions intensity was 24 per cent lower than the 2005 levels in the year 2016 itself, the last year for which official numbers are available.
  • It is very likely that the 33 to 35 per cent reduction target has already been achieved, or is very close to being achieved.
  • A further reduction of 10-12 per cent from here, to meet the new target, does not appear too challenging, even though these reductions get progressively tougher to achieve.
  • The other target — having at least 40 per cent of electricity coming from non-fossil fuels — has officially been reached.

Tricky Glasgow promises

Two promises that Modi had made in Glasgow have not been converted into official targets:

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Telecom and Postal Sector – Spectrum Allocation, Call Drops, Predatory Pricing, etc

5G

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : 5G technology

Mains level : 5G Rollout and related issues

The much-awaited auction for telecom spectrum, including for 5G airwaves, will begin tomorrow.

Spectrums for auctions

  • A total of 72,097.85 MHz (or 72 Ghz) of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years will be put on the block.
  • Airwaves across low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands, valued at ₹4,316 billion ($56 billion) at least, will be put up for bidding.

What is (Electromagnetic) Spectrum?

  • Devices such as cellphones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another.
  • These signals are carried on airwaves, which must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.
  • The Union government owns all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country, which also include airwaves.
  • With the expansion in the number of cellphones, wireline telephone and internet users, the need to provide more space for the signals arise from time to time.

Spectrum allocations

  • Spectrum refers to the invisible radio frequencies that wireless signals travel over. The frequencies we use for wireless are only a portion of what is called the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • To sell these assets to companies willing to set up the required infrastructure to transport these waves from one end to another, the central government through the DoT auctions these airwaves from time to time.
  • These airwaves called spectrum is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies.
  • All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time, after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.

What is 5G technology?

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  • It mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high-frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.

Three bands of 5G

(1) Low band spectrum

  • It has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • This means that while telcos can use and install it for commercial cellphones users who may not have specific demands for very high-speed internet, the low band spectrum may not be optimal for the specialized needs of the industry.

(2) Mid-band spectrum

  • It offers higher speeds compared to the low band but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
  • Telcos and companies, which have taken the lead on 5G, have indicated that this band may be used by industries and specialized factory units for building captive networks that can be molded into the needs of that particular industry.

(3) High-band spectrum

  • It offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength.
  • Internet speeds in the high-band spectrum of 5G have been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), while, in most cases, the maximum internet data speed in 4G has been recorded at 1 Gbps.

Where does India stand in the 5G technology race?

  • On par with the global players, India had, in 2018, planned to start 5G services as soon as possible, with an aim to capitalize on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.
  • Indian private telecom players have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands so that they would be able to plan the rollout of their services accordingly.
  • One big hurdle, however, is the lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with some companies due to their AGR dues.

Global progress on 5G

  • More than governments, global telecom companies have started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers on a trial basis.
  • In countries like the US, some companies have taken the lead when it comes to rolling out commercial 5G for their users.
  • A South Korean company, which had started researching on 5G technology way back in 2011, has, on the other hand, take the lead when it comes to building the hardware for 5G networks for several companies.

 

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Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

Kuznets Hypothesis and India’s unique Jobs Crisis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kuznets Curve

Mains level : Read the attached story

In India, there are fewer people employed in agriculture today, but the transformation has been weak. Those moving out of farms are working more in construction sites and the informal economy than in factories.

What is the news?

  • India has too many people in agriculture and the inability to move surplus labour from farms constitutes a major policy failure of successive governments.
  • In 1993-94, agriculture accounted for close to 62% of the country’s employed labour force.
  • Overall, between 1993-94 and 2018-19, agriculture’s share in India’s workforce came down from 61.9% to 41.4%.
  • In other words, roughly a third in 25 years. That isn’t insignificant.
  • The declining trend continued, albeit at a slower pace, in the subsequent seven as well.

What is our point of analysis?

  • Even the movement of workforce from agriculture that India has witnessed over the past three decades or more does not qualify as what economists call “structural transformation”.
  • Such transformation would involve the transfer of labour from farming to others sectors – particularly manufacturing and modern services – where productivity, value-addition and average incomes are higher.
  • The surplus labour pulled out from the farms is being largely absorbed in construction and services.
  • The bulk of the jobs are in petty sectors such as retailing, small eateries, domestic help, sanitation, security staffing, transport and similar other informal economic activities.
  • This is also evident from the low, if not declining, share of employment in organised enterprises, defined as those engaging 10 or more workers.

What is the crux of the story?

  • Simply put, the structural transformation process in India has been weak and deficient.
  • Yes, there is movement of labour taking place away from farms – even if stalled, possibly temporarily.
  • But that surplus labour isn’t moving to higher value-added non-farm activities, specifically manufacturing and modern services.
  • This is familiar to the ‘Kuznets Process’ named after the American economist and 1971 Nobel Memorial Prize winner, Simon Kuznets.

What is Kuznets’ Hypothesis?

  • In the 1950s and 1960s, Simon Kuznets hypothesized that as an economy develops, market forces first increase and then decrease the overall economic inequality of the society.
  • This is illustrated by the inverted U-shape of the Kuznets curve.
  • For instance, the hypothesis holds that in the early development of an economy, new investment opportunities increase for those who already have the capital to invest.
  • These new investment opportunities mean that those who already hold the wealth have the opportunity to increase that wealth.
  • Conversely, the influx of inexpensive rural labor to the cities keeps wages down for the working class thus widening the income gap and escalating economic inequality.

Basis of this hypothesis

  • The Kuznets curve implies that as a society industrializes, the center of the economy shifts from rural areas to the cities as rural laborers, such as farmers, begin to migrate seeking better-paying jobs.
  • This migration, however, results in a large rural-urban income gap and rural populations decrease as urban populations increase.
  • But according to Kuznets’ hypothesis, that same economic inequality is expected to decrease when a certain level of average income is reached.
  • This process is triggered by the processes associated with industrialization, such as democratization and the development of a welfare state, take hold.
  • It is at this point in economic development that society is meant to benefit from trickle-down effect and an increase in per-capita income that effectively decreases economic inequality.

What does the inverted Kuznets Curve mean?

  • The inverted U-shape of the Kuznets curve illustrates the basic elements of the Kuznets’ hypothesis with income per capita graphed on the horizontal x-axis and economic inequality on the vertical y-axis.
  • The graph shows income inequality following the curve, first increasing before decreasing after hitting a peak as per-capita income increases over the course of economic development.

Criticism of the theory

  • Critics say that the Kuznets curve does not reflect an average progression of economic development for an individual country.
  • Rather it is a representation of historical differences in economic development and inequality between countries in the dataset.
  • It suits to the countries that have had histories of high levels of economic inequality as compared to their counterparts in terms of similar economic development.
  • The critics hold that when controlling for this variable, the inverted U-shape of the Kuznets curve begins to diminish.

 

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Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Corporal Punishment

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RTE

Mains level : RTE, Corporal Punishment

Three private school teachers in Pune have been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act over allegedly thrashing three Class 10 students, and threatening to grade them poorly in internal assessments

What is Corporal Punishment?

  • By definition, corporal punishment means punishment that is physical in nature.
  • There is NO statutory definition of ‘corporal punishment’ targeting children in the Indian law.
  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 prohibits ‘physical punishment’ and ‘mental harassment’ under Section 17(1) and makes it a punishable offence under Section 17(2).

Identifying corporal punishments

  • According to the Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in Schools issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), physical punishment is understood as any action that causes pain, hurt/injury and discomfort to a child, however light.
  • Examples include hitting, kicking, scratching, pinching, biting, pulling the hair, boxing ears, smacking, slapping, spanking, hitting with any implement (cane, stick, shoe, chalk, dusters, belt, whip), giving electric shock and so on.
  • It includes making children assume an uncomfortable position (standing on bench, standing against the wall in a chair-like position, standing with school bag on head, holding ears through legs, kneeling, forced ingestion of anything, detention in the classroom, library, toilet or any closed space in the school.

What else is included?

  • Mental harassment is understood as any non-physical treatment that is detrimental to the academic and psychological well-being of a child.
  • This includes sarcasm, calling names and scolding using humiliating adjectives, intimidation, using derogatory remarks for the child, ridiculing or belittling a child, shaming the child and more.

Safeguards against corporal punishment

  • Section 17 of the Right to Education Act, 2009, imposes an absolute bar on corporal punishment.
  • Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act prescribes punishment for cruelty to children.
  • Violation would invite punishment of rigorous imprisonment upto five years and fine up to Rs 5 lakh.
  • If the child is physically incapacitated or develops a mental illness or is rendered mentally unfit to perform regular tasks or has risk to life or limb, then imprisonment may extend upto ten years.

Exceptions

  • The RTE Act does not preclude the application of other legislation that relates to the violations of the rights of the child.
  • For example, booking the offenses under the IPC and the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act of 1989.
  • In theory, corporal punishment is covered by all the provisions under Indian law that punish perpetrators of physical harm.

What do NCPCR guidelines say about eliminating corporal punishment?

The NCPCR guidelines for eliminating corporal punishment against children require every school to develop a mechanism and frame clear-cut protocols to address the grievances of students.

  • Drop boxes are to be placed where the aggrieved person may drop his complaint and anonymity is to be maintained to protect privacy.
  • Every school has to constitute a ‘Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cell’ consisting of two teachers, two parents, one doctor, and one lawyer (nominated by DLSA).

Who is entrusted with the responsibility to ensure children are protected?

  • There are relevant authorities earmarked to ensure the protection of children in schools.
  • Under Section 31 of the RTE Act, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been entrusted with the task of monitoring children’s right to education.
  • The state governments under their RTE rules have also notified block/district level grievance redressal agencies under the RTE Act.

 

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Indian Air Force Updates

Dwindling fighter strength of the IAF

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Issues with IAF, Defense modernization

In a tragic accident, a MIG-21 trainer jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Rajasthan killing both the high-ranked officer pilots onboard.

What is the status of the MIG-21 jets in the IAF?

  • The MIG-21 was inducted into the IAF in the early 1960s and since then more than 800 variants of the supersonic fighter were inducted into service.
  • It remained the frontline fighter jet of the force for a long time.
  • During this period, there were over 400 accidents involving the jet which claimed the lives of around 200 pilots.

Nature of service

  • Currently, there are four MIG-21 squadrons in service consisting of the upgraded Bison variant.
  • IAF officials have stated that there is technical life still left in them.
  • There are only four squadrons of the MIG-21 aircraft.

Why use outdated aircraft?

  • With delays in new inductions, the IAF has been forced to continue the last four MIG-21 Bison squadrons in service.
  • One squadron is set to be phased out in the next few months, while the remaining three squadrons are planned to be phased out in the next three years.
  • This phase-out was worked out much before last week’s tragic incident.

What is the present fighter strength of the IAF?

  • The IAF has an authorized strength of 42 fighter squadrons.
  • As time passes, the drawdown is increasing as the total technical life is completed.
  • However, the rate of new inductions is not matching the drawdown, depleting the overall number of fighter squadrons.
  • Additionally, several frontline aircraft in the inventory including the Jaguars, and MIG-29s will begin phasing out by the end of the decade.
  • For instance, by 2027-28 the first of the MIG-29s, inducted in the late 1980s, will start going out.

New squadrons to be inducted

  • In the last few years, the IAF has inducted two squadrons of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and two squadrons of Rafale fighter jets procured from France which pushed the squadron strength to 32.
  • In January 2021, the IAF had signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 83 of the more advanced LCA MK-1A which it will start receiving from early 2024 onwards.
  • Along with that the to-be-acquired 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) will help arrest the drawdown.
  • A larger and even more capable LCA-MK2, as well as the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), are under development.
  • However, their availability in enough numbers will take some time.

Inherent limitations to the IAF

  • Hardware/Technological Challenges: Technology is at the core of an air force – acquiring and assimilating it is our primary challenge. The lack of it curtails national options, impacting postures and doctrines. Denial and selective availability of technology are all enmeshed in international relations.
  • Maintenance Challenges: Maintenance challenges determine how long aircrafts last and their cost-effectiveness. ‘Maintainability’, which includes logistical issues, is therefore, crucial.
  • Relying on Upgrades: IAF is badly in need of new Fighter Aircraft to compete with new 5th generation Modern jets. At current there are old aircraft and it is mostly dependant on Super Manoeuvrable Modern Generation Fighter Jet Su 30 MKI.
  • Delaying of Aircraft Delivery: The current order of IAF the Rafale is expected to be completed in 2024. The LCA Tejas of HAL has now produced 21 but still it has to manufacture in more number to replace the retiring MIG 21 BISON.

Roadmap to shore up fighter strength

  • No easy roadmap: The IAF has acknowledged that they will not be able to achieve the desired strength for the time being and that they are doing the best they can.
  • Indigenous aircraft: In addition to the indigenous aircraft coming up, the IAF is confident that increasing the low availability rates of Su-30 and other fighters in service will offset some of the shortfalls in the interim.
  • Offsets of war: This could be potentially impacted due to the war in Ukraine even though officials have said that they are assessing the impact of the war and western sanctions.

Way forward

  • Air power is becoming technologically more refined with unmanned platforms, cyber-space linkages and AI advances.
  • The inherent trans-border nature of this military capability needs astute professional and political husbanding.
  • Acquiring credible aerospace power with a meaningful degree of indigenization will need a greater degree of national resolve, professional integrity and resource allocation than is the case now.
  • China has demonstrated the degree of suasion and intimidation that airpower can bring to bear in relation to Taiwan.

 

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Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

Replacement Level Fertility achieved in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RLF

Mains level : Population stabilization in India

India has achieved replacement level fertility, with 31 States and UTs reaching a Total Fertility Rate (an average number of children per woman) of 2.1 or less, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare has informed Parliament.

What is Replacement Level Fertility?

  • Replacement level fertility is the level of fertility at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.
  • In simpler terms, it denotes the fertility number required to maintain the same population number of a country over a given period of time.
  • In developed countries, replacement level fertility can be taken as requiring an average of 2.1 children per woman.
  • In countries with high infant and child mortality rates, however, the average number of births may need to be much higher.
  • RLF will lead to zero population growth only if mortality rates remain constant and migration has no effect.

Benefits of achieving RLF

  • RLF helps ensure greater food security.
  • The reduced demand for food would in turn lessen agri- culture’s impact on the environment.
  • It would also likely lead to economic benefits through a “demographic dividend.”
  • Finally, achieving replacement level fertility would yield significant social benefits―especially for women.

How did India achieve this?

  • Between 2012 and 2020, the country added more than 1.5 crore additional users for modern contraceptives, thereby increasing their use substantially.
  • India has witnessed a paradigm shift from the concept of population control to population stabilisation to interventions being embedded toward ensuring harmony of continuum care.

Way forward

  • Although India has achieved replacement level fertility, there is still a significant population in the reproductive age group that must remain at the centre of our intervention efforts.
  • India’s focus has traditionally been on the supply side, the providers and delivery systems but now it’s time to focus on the demand side which includes family, community and society.
  • Significant change is possible with this focus, instead of an incremental change.

 

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Banking Sector Reforms

NITI Aayog’s plan for rollout of Digital Banks

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Digital Banks

Mains level : Read the attached story

Last week, federal think tank NITI Aayog released a report on digital banks, offering a template for their licensing in India. It said India already has a technology stack to facilitate digital banks.

What are the planned Digital Banks?

  • Digital Banks or DBs are full-scale banks to be licensed under the Banking Regulation Act.
  • Unlike traditional banks, which require brick-and-mortar infrastructure or physical access points, digital banks simply leverage technology to provide banking services through mobile applications and internet-based platforms.
  • DBs behave like any other scheduled commercial bank, accepting deposits, giving loans etc.
  • They will follow prudential and liquidity norms at par with the commercial banks.
  • Globally, terms like “digital banks”, “neobanks”, “challenger banks”, and “virtual banks” are often used interchangeably.

What about digital banking units then?

  • The Union budget for FY23 proposed to establish digital banking units (DBUs) of scheduled commercial banks in 75 districts.
  • The objective is to ensure that the benefits of digital payments, banking and fintech innovations reach the grass-roots.
  • DBUs are treated as banking outlets, equivalent to a branch.
  • These units do not have a legal personality and are not licensed under the Banking Regulation Act.
  • Only existing commercial banks may establish DBUs. In contrast, digital banks will be licensed.
  • These banks are expected to ensure credit penetration to underserved MSMEs and retail customers.

What purpose will digital banks serve?

  • Digital banks are expected to further innovation and support the underserved segments.
  • However, some believe that it will only cater to customers with some level of comfort with digital transactions.
  • According to them, RBI too is not comfortable with this model as the central bank believes that cash handling and credit decisions require physical branches.

What does NITI Aayog suggest for DBs?

  • In the first phase, a restricted digital bank licence may be given, with limits in terms of volume/value of customers. In the second stage, the licensee will be put in a regulatory sandbox.
  • Finally, a ‘full-scale’ licence may be granted contingent on satisfactory performance.
  • A digital bank will be required to have initial capital of ₹20 crore while in the regulatory sandbox.
  • Upon progression from the sandbox, a full-stack digital business/consumer bank will be required to bring in ₹200 crore capital.

What has been the global experience?

  • The UK has led the pack in terms of digital banks, with new entrants in the form of Monzo and Starling Bank.
  • Several jurisdictions in the South East Asian region have witnessed the rise of digital banks.
  • Hong Kong has issued separate licences for virtual banks.
  • As of May 2020, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has licensed 8 entities out of 33 applications.
  • In South Korea, Kakao Bank and K Bank operate as internet banks licensed under the Banking Act.
  • The Philippines has approved six licenses for digital banks.

 

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Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Why is Karnataka opposing Centre’s draft Eco-Sensitive Area norms for Western Ghats?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ESA in Western Ghats

Mains level : Issues with ESA

The Union Environment Ministry’s latest draft notification on Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in the Western Ghats is facing stiff opposition in Karnataka.

What is the news?

  • The MoEFCC had issued a draft notification that demarcated large parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra as eco-sensitive areas.
  • Among these states, Karnataka contains the largest geographical share of the notified areas in the Western Ghats, at 20,668 sq km.

ESA in Western Ghats

  • In 2013, the Kasturirangan committee had submitted a report which recommended that 37% of the Western Ghats, covering an area of 59,940 sq km be classified as ESA.
  • On the basis of this, several drafts were introduced which were subsequently rejected by the surrounding states, including Karnataka.

What is ESA?

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.

How are they demarcated?

  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does NOT mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
  • However, Section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall be carried out or shall not, subject to certain safeguards.
  • Besides Rule 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 states that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of certain considerations.
  • The same criteria have been used by the government to declare No Development Zones (NDZs).

Defining its boundaries

  • An ESZ could go up to 10 kilometres around a protected area as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.
  • Moreover, in the case where sensitive corridors, connectivity and ecologically important patches, crucial for landscape linkage, are beyond 10 km width, these should be included in the ESZs.
  • Further, even in the context of a particular Protected Area, the distribution of an area of ESZ and the extent of regulation may not be uniform all around and it could be of variable width and extent.

Activities Permitted and Prohibited

  • Permitted: Ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, use of renewable energy sources, and adoption of green technology for all activities.
  • Prohibited: Commercial mining, saw mills, industries causing pollution (air, water, soil, noise etc.), the establishment of major hydroelectric projects (HEP), commercial use of wood, Tourism activities like hot-air balloons over the National Park, discharge of effluents or any solid waste or production of hazardous substances.
  • Under regulation: Felling of trees, the establishment of hotels and resorts, commercial use of natural water, erection of electrical cables, drastic change of agriculture system, e.g. adoption of heavy technology, pesticides etc, widening of roads.

What does the new draft notification for the Western Ghats say?

  • The draft notification demarcates 46,832 sq km in the five states Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu as ESA in the Western Ghats.
  • Kerala is excluded from the draft notification and it had earlier undertaken the exercise of demarcating ESA in the state by physical verification.
  • Among the five states, 20,668 sq km of the ESA lies in Karnataka, 1,461 sq km in Goa, 17,340 sq km in Maharashtra, 6,914 sq km in Tamil Nadu and 449 sq km in Gujarat.
  • According to the notification, the concerned state governments are responsible for monitoring and enforcing the provisions of the notification.

What are the curbs that the state governments will have to implement?

  • The draft notification states there shall be a complete ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining in the ESA.
  • All existing mines are to be phased out within five years from the date of issue of the final notification or on the expiry of the existing mining lease.
  • It also bars setting up of new thermal power projects and expansion of existing plants in the sensitive area, and the banning of all new ‘Red’ category industries.
  • The construction of new townships and area development projects will also be prohibited in the areas.
  • ‘Orange’ category industries, with a pollution index score of 41-59, such as jute processing and ‘White’ industries that are considered non-polluting will also be allowed with strict compliance.

What were the suggestions by the Kasturirangan panel?

  • The panel, formed in 2012, was tasked with the mandate of taking a “holistic view of the issue, and to bring synergy”.
  • It aimed to protecting the environment and biodiversity, while maintaining the needs and aspirations of the local and indigenous people, of sustainable development and environmental integrity of the region.
  • The report had recommended a blanket ban on mining, quarrying, red category industries and thermal power projects.
  • It also stated that the impact study of infrastructural projects on the forest and wildlife should be conducted before permission is given.

What is Karnataka’s stand on the matter?

  • The Karnataka government has been firm in rejecting the implementation of the guidelines.
  • It has staunchly opposed to the Kasturirangan committee report on Western Ghats.
  • It urged that declaring Western Ghats as ESA would adversely affect the livelihood of people in the region.
  • Environmental experts consider the state government’s decision to be disastrous for the biodiversity of the Western Ghats.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russia resumes gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream Pipeline

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nord Stream Pipelines

Mains level : Energy implications of Russia-Ukraine War

Russia restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of uncertainty in guise of maintenance.

Nord Stream Pipeline

  • It is a system of offshore natural gas pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
  • It includes two active pipelines running from Vyborg to Lubmin near Greifswald forming the original Nord Stream, and two further pipelines under construction running from Ust-Luga to Lubmin termed Nord Stream 2.
  • In Lubmin the lines connect to the OPAL line to Olbernhau on the Czech border and to the NEL line to Rehden near Bremen.
  • The first line Nord Stream-1 was laid and inaugurated in 2011 and the second line in 2012.
  • At 1,222 km in length, Nord Stream is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline.

Why in news?

  • Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the scheduled work and accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.
  • The showdown came amid the worst tensions in several years over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Germany believes Russia is squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war.

Why is Russian gas so important?

(1) Major chunk of energy

  • Russia supplied some 40% of Europe’s natural gas before the war.
  • That has dropped to around 15%, sending prices through the roof and straining energy-intensive industries.

(2) Everyday use

  • Gas is used across a range of processes that most people never see – to forge steel to make cars, make glass bottles and pasteurise milk and cheese.
  • Companies warn that they often can’t switch overnight to other energy sources such as fuel oil or electricity to produce heat.

(3) Fuel inflation

  • High energy prices are already threatening to cause a recession in Europe through record inflation, with consumers having less to spend as costs rise for food, fuel and utilities.
  • A complete cutoff could deal an even heavier blow to an already troubled economy.

What is visible in Russia’s game plan?

  • Since the invasion, Russia’s revenue from exporting oil and gas to Europe has doubled over the average from recent years, to $95 billion.
  • So Putin has cash in hand and could calculate that painful utility bills and an energy recession could undermine public support for Ukraine in Europe and increase sentiment for a negotiated settlement in his favour.
  • It would be unwise to exclude the possibility that Russia could decide to forgo the revenue it gets from exporting gas to Europe in order to gain political leverage.

What alternatives does Europe have?

  • The EU has turned to more-expensive liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which comes by ship from places like the US and Qatar.
  • Germany is fast-tracking construction of LNG import terminals on its North Sea coast, but that will take years.
  • But LNG alone can’t make up the gap.
  • Conservation and other energy sources are key.

Could people freeze this winter?

  • Its unlikely homes, schools and hospitals will lose heat because governments are required to impose rationing first on businesses.
  • The German government also could allow gas suppliers to immediately pass on increases to customers.
  • The choices could include torpedoing industry and/or socking consumers with even higher bills.
  • The IEA recommends that European countries step up campaigns for people to conserve at home and plan to share gas in an emergency.

 

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Citizenship and Related Issues

Renouncement of Indian Citizenship

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Citizenship of India

Mains level : Brain drain from India

Over 1.6 lakh Indians renounced their citizenship in 2021, highest in the past five years, according to information provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Destination US

  • Over 78,000 Indians acquired the US citizenship, the highest among all other countries.
  • India does not allow dual citizenship (Pakistan does allow).
  • As many as 362 Indians living in China also acquired Chinese citizenship.

Citizenship in India

  • Citizenship is in the Union List under the Constitution and thus under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament.
  • The Constitution does not define the term ‘citizen’ but gives, in Articles 5 to 11, details of various categories of persons who are entitled to citizenship.
  • Unlike other provisions of the Constitution, which came into being on January 26, 1950, these articles were enforced on November 26, 1949 itself, when the Constitution was adopted.

Various provisions for Indian Citizenship

Article 5

  • It provided for citizenship on the commencement of the Constitution.
  • All those domiciled and born in India were given citizenship.
  • Even those who were domiciled but not born in India, but either of whose parents was born in India, were considered citizens.
  • Anyone who had been an ordinary resident for more than five years, too, was entitled to apply for citizenship.

Article 6

  • Since Independence was preceded by Partition and migration, Article 6 laid down that anyone who migrated to India before July 19, 1949, would automatically become an Indian citizen if either of his parents or grandparents was born in India.
  • But those who entered India after this date needed to register themselves.

Article 7

  • Even those who had migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947 but subsequently returned on resettlement permits were included within the citizenship net.
  • The law was more sympathetic to those who migrated from Pakistan and called them refugees than to those who, in a state of confusion, were stranded in Pakistan or went there but decided to return soon.

Article 8

  • Any Person of Indian Origin residing outside India who, or either of whose parents or grandparents, was born in India could register himself or herself as an Indian citizen with Indian Diplomatic Mission.

Various Amendments for Citizenships

  • According to Article 11, Parliament can go against the citizenship provisions of the Constitution.
  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 was passed and has been amended four times — in 1986, 2003, 2005, and 2015.
  • The Act empowers the government to determine the citizenship of persons in whose case it is in doubt.
  • However, over the decades, Parliament has narrowed down the wider and universal principles of citizenship based on the fact of birth.
  • Moreover, the Foreigners Act places a heavy burden on the individual to prove that he is not a foreigner.

(1) 1986 amendment

  • The constitutional provision and the original Citizenship Act gave citizenship on the principle of jus soli to everyone born in India.
  • However, the 1986 amendment to Section 3 was less inclusive as it added the condition that those who were born in India on or after January 26, 1950 but before July 1, 1987, shall be an Indian citizen.
  • Those born after July 1, 1987 and before December 4, 2003, in addition to one’s own birth in India, can get citizenship only if either of his parents was an Indian citizen at the time of birth.

(2) 2003 amendment

  • The then government made the above condition more stringent, keeping in view infiltration from Bangladesh.
  • Now the law requires that for those born on or after December 4, 2004, in addition to the fact of their own birth, both parents should be Indian citizens or one parent must be Indian citizen and other should not be an illegal migrant.
  • With these restrictive amendments, India has almost moved towards the narrow principle of jus sanguinis or blood relationship.
  • This lay down that an illegal migrant cannot claim citizenship by naturalization or registration even if he has been a resident of India for seven years.

(3) Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

  • The amendment proposes to permit members of six communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan — to continue to live in India if they entered India before December 14, 2014.
  • It also reduces the requirement for citizenship from 11 years out of the preceding 14 years, to just 6 years.
  • Two notifications also exempted these migrants from the Passport Act and Foreigner Act.
  • A large number of organisations in Assam protested against this Bill as it may grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindu illegal migrants.

Losing of Indian Citizenship

  • The Citizenship Act, 1955 also lays down the three modes by which an Indian citizen may lose his/her citizenship.
  • It may happen in any of the three ways: renunciation, termination and deprivation.

(1) Renunciation

  • An Indian Citizen of full age and capacity can renounce his Indian citizenship by making a declaration to that effect and having it registered.
  • But if such a declaration is made during any war in which India is engaged, the registration shall be withheld until the Central Government otherwise directs.
  • When a male person renounces his citizenship, every minor child of him ceases to be an Indian citizen.
  • Such a child may, however, resume Indian citizenship if he makes a declaration to that effect within a year of his attaining full age, i.e. 18 years.

(2) Termination

  • If a citizen of India voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country, he shall cease to be a citizen of India.
  • During the war period, this provision does not apply to a citizen of India, who acquires the citizenship of another country in which India may be engaged voluntarily.

(3) Deprivation

  • Deprivation is a compulsory termination of citizenship of India.
  • A citizen of India by naturalization, registration, domicile and residence, may be deprived of his citizenship by an order of the Central Government if it is satisfied that the Citizen has:
    1. Obtained the citizenship by means of fraud, false representation or concealment of any material fact
    2. Shown disloyalty to the Constitution of India
    3. Unlawfully traded or communicated with the enemy during a war
    4. Within five years after registration or neutralization, been imprisoned in any country for two years
    5. Ordinarily resident out of India for seven years continuously

 

Try this PYQ:

Q.With reference to India, consider the following statements:

  1. There is only ‘one citizenship and one domicile’.
  2. A citizen by birth only can become the Head of State.
  3. A foreigner once granted the citizenship cannot be deprived of it under any circumstances.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 2 and 3 only

 

Post your answers here.

 

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Blockchain Technology: Prospects and Challenges

EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Law

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MICA, Stablecoins

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law of European Parliament is the first comprehensive regulation for cryptos, and some expect it to become a trendsetter for crypto regulation globally.

What is MiCA Legislation?

  • The MiCA law seeks to address concerns like money-laundering, protection of consumers and investors, accountability of crypto firms, stablecoins and the environmental footprint of crypto mining.
  • It would regulate the “wild west” of crypto assets and provide legal certainty for those issuing crypto assets, while ensuring high standards for investors and consumers.
  • It also excludes non-fungible tokens, but the EU may make a horizontal legislation for NFTs in 18 months, after a separate assessment.

How will MiCA regulate stablecoins?

  • The efficacy of stablecoins, which claim to be less volatile that other cryptos, came into question after the crash of some crypto-currencies.
  • The MiCA would mandate that stablecoin issuers maintain minimum liquidity to provide for sudden large withdrawals by users, and the reserves must also be protected from insolvency.
  • The European Banking Authority (EBA) has been brought in to supervise stablecoins, and the law asks stablecoin issuers to provide claims to investors free of charge.
  • In addition, large coins which are used as a means of payment will be capped at €200 million worth of transactions per day.

How will the new law regulate money laundering?

  • MiCA requires the EBA to maintain a public register of non-compliant crypto asset service providers (CASPs).
  • Additional checks will be required, in line with the EU Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) framework.

How does it address green concerns?

  • Under MiCA, crypto companies will be required to declare their environmental and climate footprint.
  • The European Securities and Markets Authority will develop regulatory technical standards on methodologies, content and presentation of such information.
  • The EC will also have to provide a report on the impact of crypto assets on environment.
  • It would introduce mandatory minimum sustainability standards for mining mechanisms, especially the proof-of-work system which raises overall computing power.

Will it affect Indian regulations?

  • India’s crypto regulations seem to have taken a back seat at the moment.
  • Industry executives and experts say the government and industry are more concerned about taxation.
  • India levied a 30% tax on income from transfer of cryptos from April, and added a 1% tax deduction at source from 1 July.
  • This, along with the overall bear market, has depressed trading volumes, and revenues of crypto exchanges.
  • Indian regulators are also expected to consider rules being developed in the US before taking concrete decisions.

Back2Basics: Stablecoins

  • Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies where the price is designed to be pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or to exchange-traded commodities (such as precious metals or industrial metals).
  • Advantages of asset-backed cryptocurrencies are that coins are stabilized by assets that fluctuate outside of the cryptocurrency space, that is, the underlying asset is not correlated, reducing financial risk.
  • Bitcoin and altcoins are highly correlated, so that cryptocurrency holders cannot escape widespread price falls without exiting the market or taking refuge in asset backed stablecoins.
  • Furthermore, such coins, assuming they are managed in good faith, and have a mechanism for redeeming the asset(s) backing them, are unlikely to drop below the value of the underlying physical asset, due to arbitrage.

 

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Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Minority Status in India is State-dependent: Supreme Court

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Religious and linguistic minorities

Mains level : Not Much

The minority status of religious and linguistic communities is “State-dependent”, said the Supreme Court.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • Every person in India can be a minority in one State or the other.
  • One can be a minority outside his/her State.
  • Similarly, a Kannada-speaking person may be in minority in States other than Karnataka.

What was the petition about?

  • The court was hearing a petition complaining that followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism are the real minorities in Ladakh, Mizoram, Lakshadweep, Kashmir, Punjab and the North-East States.
  • However, they cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice because of the non-identification of ‘minority’ at the State level.
  • Religious communities such as Hindus here are socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior in several States.

Various states on Minorities

  • The Centre gave the example of how Maharashtra notified ‘Jews’ as a minority community within the State.
  • Again, Karnataka notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lambadi, Hindi, Konkani and Gujarati as minority languages within the State.

Who are the Minorities?

  • Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jain and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • As per the Census 2011, the percentage of minorities in the country is about 19.3% of the total population of the country.
  • The population of Muslims are 14.2%; Christians 2.3%; Sikhs 1.7%, Buddhists 0.7%, Jain 0.4% and Parsis 0.006%.
  • Minority Concentration Districts (MCD), Minority Concentration Blocks and Minority Concentration Towns, have been identified on the basis of both population data and backwardness parameters of Census 2001 of these areas.

Defining Minorities

  • The Constitution recognizes Religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India through Article 29 and Article 30.
  • But Minority is not defined in the Constitution.
  • Currently, the Linguistic minorities in India are identified on a state-wise basis thus determined by the state government whereas Religious minorities in India are determined by the Central Government.
  • The Parliament has the legislative powers and the Centre has the executive competence to notify a community as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992.

Article 29: It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script, or culture of its own, shall have the rights of minorities in India to conserve the same. Article 29 is applied to both minorities (religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India) and also the majority. It also includes – rights of minorities in India to agitate for the protection of language.

Article 30: All minorities shall have the rights of minorities in India to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Article 30 recognizes only Religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India (not the majority). It includes the rights of minorities in India to impart education to their children in their own language.

Article 350-B: Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic minorities in India. However, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution. It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India. It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

Try this PYQ:

Which one of the following categories of Fundamental Rights incorporates protection against untouchability as a form of discrimination?

(a) Right against Exploitation

(b) Right to Freedom

(c) Right to Constitutional Remedies

(d) Right to Equality

 

Post your answers here.

 

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Minimum Support Prices for Agricultural Produce

Centre forms panel for Minimum Support Price (MSP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MSP system, Crop Seasons in India

Mains level : Legal backing for MSP

The Centre has finally constituted a committee headed by former Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal here to look into the issues of Minimum Support Price (MSP), as promised to protestant farmers after the repeal of three farm laws.

Panel on MSP: Terms of reference

  • The panel will consist of representatives of the Central and State governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.
  • This panel will be constituted:
  1. To promote zero budget-based farming,
  2. To change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country
  3. To make MSP more effective and transparent
  • It also says that the committee will discuss methods to strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country
  • It would ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic output and export.
  • On natural farming, the committee will make suggestions for programs and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation, and research for future needs.
  • It would support area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System through publicity and through the involvement and contribution of farmer organizations.

What is MSP?

  • The MSP assures the farmers of a fixed price for their crops, well above their production costs.
  • MSP, by contrast, is devoid of any legal backing. Access to it, unlike subsidized grains through the PDS, isn’t an entitlement for farmers.
  • They cannot demand it as a matter of right. It is only a government policy that is part of administrative decision-making.
  • The Centre currently fixes MSPs for 23 farm commodities based on the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) recommendations.

Fixing of MSPs

  • The CACP considered various factors while recommending the MSP for a commodity, including the cost of cultivation.
  • It also takes into account the supply and demand situation for the commodity; market price trends (domestic and global) and parity vis-à-vis other crops; and implications for consumers (inflation), environment (soil and water use) and terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture sectors.

What changed with the 2018 budget?

  • The Budget for 2018-19 announced that MSPs would henceforth be fixed at 1.5 times of the production costs for crops as a “pre-determined principle”.
  • Simply put, the CACP’s job now was only to estimate production costs for a season and recommend the MSPs by applying the 1.5-times formula.

How was this production cost arrived at?

  • The CACP projects three kinds of production cost for every crop, both at the state and all-India average levels.
  • ‘A2’ covers all paid-out costs directly incurred by the farmer — in cash and kind — on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, hired labor, leased-in land, fuel, irrigation, etc.
  • ‘A2+FL’ includes A2 plus an imputed value of unpaid family labor.
  • ‘C2’ is a more comprehensive cost that factors in rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets, on top of A2+FL.

How much produce can the government procure at MSP?

  • The MSP value of the total production of the 23 crops worked out to around Rs 10.78 lakh crore in 2019-20.
  • Not all this produce, however, is marketed. Farmers retain part of it for self-consumption, the seed for the next season’s sowing, and also for feeding their animals.
  • The marketed surplus ratio for different crops is estimated to range differently for various crops.
  • It ranges from below 50% for ragi and 65-70% for bajra (pearl millet) and jawar (sorghum) to 75% for wheat, 80% for paddy, 85% for sugarcane, 90% for most pulses, and 95%-plus for cotton, soybean, etc.
  • Taking an average of 75% would yield a number of just over Rs 8 lakh crore.
  • This is the MSP value of production that is the marketable surplus — which farmers actually sell.

Nature of MSP

  • There is currently no statutory backing for these prices, nor any law mandating their enforcement.

Farmers demand legalization

  • Legal entitlement: There is a demand that MSP based on a C2+50% formula should be made a legal entitlement for all agricultural produce.
  • Private traders’ responsibility: Some says that most of the cost should be borne by private traders, noting that both middlemen and corporate giants are buying commodities at low rates from farmers.
  • Mandatory purchase at MSP: A left-affiliated farm union has suggested a law that simply stipulates that no one — neither the Government nor private players — will be allowed to buy at a rate lower than MSP.
  • Surplus payment by the govt.: Other unions have said that if private buyers fail to purchase their crops, the Government must be prepared to buy out the entire surplus at MSP rates.
  • Expansion of C2: Farm unions are demanding that C2 must also include capital assets and the rentals and interest forgone on owned land as recommended by the National Commission for Farmers.

Government’s position

  • The PM has announced the formation of a committee to make MSP more transparent, as well as to change crop patterns — often determined by MSP and procurement.
  • The panel will have representatives from farm groups as well as from the State and Central Governments, along with agricultural scientists and economists.

Issues with legal backing

  • Demand-supply dynamics: Economic theory, as well as experience, indicates that the price level that is not supported by demand and supply cannot be sustained through legal means.
  • States responsibility: The Centre has suggested that the States are free to guarantee MSP rates if they wish, but also offers two failed examples of such a policy:

[I] Sugar FRP

  • In the sugar sector, private mills are mandated to buy cane from farmers at prices set by the Government.
  • Faced with low sugar prices, high surplus stock, and low liquidity, mills failed to make full payments to farmers, resulting in an accumulation of thousands of crores worth of dues pending for years.

[II] Withdrawal of traders

  • The other example is a 2018 amendment to the Maharashtra law penalizing traders with hefty fines and jail terms if they bought crops at rates lower than MSP.
  • As open market prices were lower than the (legalized) MSP levels declared by the State, the buyers withdrew from the market and farmers had to suffer.

Will a legal backing for MSP solve all the ills that plague the Agriculture sector?

  • Only one side of the coin: Actually, no. Remunerative price or MSP is only one part of the problems farmers face.  Farmers face many other issues other than price, which itself is not guaranteed given the influence of politicians and cartels in mandis.
  • Information deficit: They lack information on which crop to grow, when to sow, apply plant nutrients and which pest is attacking their crop.
  • Lack of technology: Farmers are also short of post-harvest technologies to ensure a better shelf life for their produce.
  • Irrigation and storage problem: They do not get adequate facilities to irrigate their lands, with nearly 50 percent of the land being rain-fed and lacking ample warehouses to store their produce at the village level, besides proper roads to connect them to the mandis.
  • Threat of new loopholes: Legal backing for the MSP could also lead to the danger of the trade keeping away from places where the law is implemented vigorously.

Fiscal cost of making the MSP legally binding

  • The MSP value of the total output of all the 23 notified crops worked out to about Rs 11.9 lakh crore in 2020-21.
  • Taking an average of 75% yields a number – the MSP value of production actually sold by farmers – just under Rs 9 lakh crore.
  • The government is further, as it is, procuring many crops. The MSP value of the 89.42 mt of paddy and 43.34 mt of wheat alone bought during 2020-21 was around Rs 253,275 crore.
  • All in all, then, the MSP is already being enforced, directly or through fiat, on roughly Rs 3.8 lakh crore worth of produce.
  • Providing a legal guarantee for the entire marketable surplus of the 23 MSP crops would mean covering another Rs 5 lakh crore or so.

Conclusion

  • A growing consensus among economists for guaranteeing minimum “incomes”, as against “prices”, to farmers.
  • That would essentially entail making more direct cash transfers either on a flat per-acre (as in the Telangana government’s Rythu Bandhu scheme) or per-farm household (the Centre’s PM-Kisan) basis.
  • The resource requirement of such interventions will be so huge that no government will be left with resources to help farmers through other means like investment in public infrastructure, irrigation, and other incentives.
  • The danger of over-reliance on MSP is already visible in the state of Punjab. Agriculture has reached an almost static stage there.
  • The state is unable to diversify away from crops like paddy, which is destroying its natural resources and environment, marring long-term prospects of farming.

 

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Government Budgets

Public Capex Plan key to long-term growth: FM

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Capital expenditure

Mains level : Read the attached story

Finance Minister said India’s long-term growth prospects were embedded in public capital expenditure programs.

What is the news?

  • FM has raised capital expenditure (capex) by 35.4% for the financial year 2022-23 to ₹7.5 lakh crore to continue the public investment-led recovery of the pandemic-battered economy.
  • The capex last year was ₹5.5 lakh crore.

What is Capital Expenditure (Capex)?

  • The government’s expenditure is categorized into two:
  1. The one which results in asset development or acquisition known as CAPEX,
  2. Another is utilized to cover operating costs and obligations but does not result in asset creation known as Revenue expenditure.
  • Capex is defined the as money spent on the acquisition of assets such as land, buildings, machinery, and equipment, as well as stock investments.

What attributes to capex?

  • The portion of government payments that goes toward the construction of assets such as schools, colleges, hospitals, roads, bridges, dams, railway lines, airports, and seaports amounts to capex.
  • The acquisition of new weaponry and weapon systems, such as missiles, tanks, fighter planes, and submarines, necessitates a significant financial outlay.
  • The defense sector receives over a third of the central government’s capital spending, primarily for armament acquisitions.
  • Despite the fact that defense spending is classified as a capital expenditure, it does not result in the development of infrastructure to support economic growth.
  • Also includes investments that will produce earnings or dividends in the future.

Significance of Capex

  • Economic recovery: This action is crucial in light of the economic slowdown induced by the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as a dip in the employment ratio.
  • Value creation: Capital asset formation provides future cash flows for the economy and contributes to value creation.
  • Multiplier Effect: Capex is expected to have a Multiplier Effect (a change in rupee value of output with respect to a change in rupee value of expenditure).
  • Increased employment: Capital spending creates jobs and improves labor productivity as a result of the multiplier effect.
  • Macroeconomic Stabilizer: Capital Expenditure serves as a macroeconomic stabilizer and is an excellent instrument for countercyclical fiscal policy.

 

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