DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 30 MAR 2021 | RaghukulCS

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DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 30 MAR 2021 | RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

30 MARCH 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Make every drop of water count for sustainable agriculture

Indian Express

2

Jobless growth: the pandemic has revealed India’s crisis of unemployment

Indian Express

3

Indo-Bangladesh ties have deepened. But some issues remain

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Only 5.4% of houses under Centre’s flagship scheme reached completion so far this year

Syllabus –

 GS3- Infrastructure

Analysis: –

  • Due to the adverse impact of COVID-19, only 5.4% of sanctioned houses under the Central government’s flagship rural housing scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, reached completion for the year 2020-21, The Hindu reported, citing a rural development ministry’s report to a parliamentary standing committee.
  • As a result, the department has been able to reach only 55% of its construction target so far, while Modi’s government has already set itself the ambitious target of providing “housing for all” by March 2022.
  • While money has been sanctioned for 85% of beneficiaries so far, only 55% of houses have been constructed.
  • According to rural development ministry estimates based on 2019 experience, it takes about 114 days to finish the construction of a house.
  • However, COVID-19 has played spoilsport and stalled progress.

IIM Bangalore’s policies officer key insights into providing equitable opportunities to all

Syllabus –

 GS2- Vulnerable sections; Governance

Analysis: –

  • India has a diverse population. Unfortunately, certain social structures have prevented thousands of individuals from realising their potential, and the country from benefitting from their skills and talent.
  • The government has tried to remedy this situation through constitutional and statutory provisions for reservation quotas, but as organisations the world over have realised, such efforts to enhance equity and diversity need to be matched by a steely resolve to facilitate genuine inclusion.
  • The experience at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) with respect to students with disability is instructive in this regard
  • The institute admitted students with disabilities even before the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 was introduced. But it soon realised that there is much more to inclusivity.
  • In a push towards greater inclusivity, in 2009, with generous support from Mphasis, IIMB set up a dedicated Office of Disability Services to act as a nodal support point for students with disability, in an effort to study the individual needs of each student and provide the required accommodations proactively.
  • The IIMB’s efforts have been recognised by the prestigious NCPEDPM phasis Universal Design Award for pioneering work in promoting accessibility and universal design and ensuring a life of equality and dignity for students with disabilities.
  • Today, IIMB is applying the same integrated approach that it followed for students with disability to other dimensions of diversity. One such challenge — the recruitment of faculty within certain categories — was identified in recent reports of The Hindu.
  • As a globally-ranked institution committed to excellence in management and entrepreneurship, IIMB continues to strive for a multi-dimensional and integrated approach to diversity and inclusion.

SC lays down time frame foraccident information reports

Analysis: –

  • The Supreme Court has directed police stations to send accident information reports to Motor Accident Claims Tribunals and insurers within 48 hours of a road accident.
  • “The jurisdictional police station shall report the accident under Section 158(6) of the Motor Vehicle Act (Section 159 post 2019 amendment) to the tribunal and insurer within first 48 hours either over email or a dedicated website,” the Supreme Court directed.
  • This is part of a set of eight directions issued by the court to prevent delays in disbursement of compensations to victims.
  • A Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy ordered the Centre to launch a national online platform, which could be operated and accessed across the country for submission of accident reports, claims and responses to claims, etc.
  • This would end the distress felt by victims when accidents happened in places other than their native State.

Make every drop of water count for sustainable agriculture

Why in News: –

On World Water day (March 22) Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Catch the Rain” campaign under the government’s flagship programme, Jal Shakti Abhiyan.

Syllabus: 

GS-3: Water Conservation

 

The Estimates: –

  • As per the Central Water Commission’s reassessment of water availability using space inputs (2019), India receives a mean annual precipitation of about 3,880 billion cubic meters (BCM) but utilises only 699 BCM (18 percent) of this; the rest is lost to evaporation and other factors.
  • The demand for water is likely to be 843 BCM in 2025 and 1,180 BCM by 2050. So, the targets are not beyond our reach, if we remain focused and follow an appropriate strategy that not only “catches more rain” but also ensures better demand management of this precious resource.
  • As per the UN’s report on Sustainable Development Goal-6 (SDG-6) on “Clean water and sanitation for all by 2030”, India achieved only 56.6 per cent of the target by 2019.
  • This indicates that we need move much faster in order to meet this SDG goal.
  • Further, as per the Niti Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index (2019), 75 per cent households in India do not have access to drinking water on their premises and India ranks 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.
  • India is identified as a water stressed country with its per capita water availability declining from 5,178 cubic metre (m3)/year in 1951 to 1,544 m3 in 2011 — this is likely to go down further to 1,140 cubic metre by 2050.

Agriculture and need of water

  • Agriculture uses about 78 per cent of fresh water resources.
  • As the country develops, the share of drinking water, industry, and other uses is likely to rise.
  • Unless one learns to give effect to the credo of “per drop more crop” in agriculture, the challenge can be daunting.
  • We need a paradigm shift in our thinking and a strategy to not just increase land productivity measured as tonnes per hectare (t/ha), but also maximise applied irrigation productivity measured as kilogrammes, or Rs, per cubic metre of water (kg/m3).
  • So far, with decades of large public and private investments in irrigation, only about half of India’s gross cropped area (198 million hectares) is irrigated.

 

The Challenges: –

  • Groundwater contributes about 64 per cent, canals 23 per cent, tanks 2 per cent and other sources 11 per cent to irrigation.
  • This results primarily from the skewed incentive policy of free or highly subsidised power, particularly in the country’s north-west, the site of the erstwhile Green Revolution.
  • Over exploitation of groundwater has made this region amongst the three highest water risk hotspots, the others being north eastern China and south western USA (California). Overall, about 1,592 blocks in 256 districts in India are either critical or overexploited.
  • When it comes to the issue of using water more wisely in agriculture, two crops — rice and sugarcane — deserve special attention.
  • As per a NABARD-ICRIER study on Water Productivity Mapping, these crops alone consume almost 60 per cent of India’s irrigation water.

Irrigation and Productivity: –

  • While Punjab scores high on land productivity of rice, it is at the bottom with respect to applied irrigation water productivity.
  • Similarly, in the case of sugarcane, irrigation water productivity in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu is only 1/3rd of that in Bihar and UP.
  • There is, thus, a need to realign cropping patterns based on per unit of applied irrigation water productivity.

 

Irrigation Technologies: –

  • There are technologies to produce the same output of these two crops with almost half the irrigation water.

 

  1. Jain Irrigation, for instance, has set up drip irrigation pilots for paddy in Karnal (Haryana) and Tamil Nadu and for sugarcane in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The results of these pilots indicate while it takes 3,065 litres of water to produce 1 kg of paddy grain (yield level 7.75 t/ha) under traditional flood irrigation, under drip, it can be reduced to just 842 litres.
  • The benefit cost ratio of drip with fertigation in case of sugarcane in Karnataka is observed to be 2.64.
  1. “Family Drip System” is innovated by the largest drip irrigation company in the world, the Israel-based — Netafim.
  • The company has also launched its largest demonstration project in Asia at Ramthal, Karnataka. Technologies like Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) and System of Rice Intensification (SRI) can also save 25-30 per cent of water compared to traditional flood irrigation.
  • Unfortunately, however, technological solutions cannot make much headway unless pricing policies of agri-inputs are put on the right track and farmers are incentivised for saving water.

3.The Punjab government, along with the World Bank and J-PAL, has started some pilots with an innovative policy of “PaaniBachao Paise Kamao” to encourage rational use of water among farmers.

  • Under the initiative, meters are installed on farmers’ pumps, and if they save water/power compared to what they have been using (taken as entitlements) they get paid for those savings — this is credited directly into their bank accounts.

Way Forward

  • Overall, it seems it is time to switch from the highly subsidised price policy of water/power (and even fertilisers) to direct income support on a per hectare basis, and investment policies that help with newer technologies and innovations.
  • Water and power need to be priced as per their economic value or at least to recover significant part of their costs to ensure sustainable agriculture.

Questions: –

Technological solutions to make rice and sugarcane cultivators use water more sustainably can work if there are right incentives, and Agri-input pricing is on the right track. Discuss.

Make every drop of water count for sustainable agriculture

Why in News: –

The current model of economic growth prioritises capital over labour and is unlikely to resolve the unemployment crisis.

Syllabus:

 GS-2: Unemployment

  • The pandemic is far from over despite the availability of vaccines.
  • However, unlike last year, the response this time has been muted with no nationwide lockdown.
  • One of the reasons for the differing responses is the lesson from the unintended consequences on the economy of the strict lockdown last year.

The Periodic Labour Force Surveys (PLFS) estimates: –

  • While aggregate estimates on the growth rate of GDP showed a sharp contraction in economic activity the impact on lives and livelihoods is still unfolding even though the sharp contractionary phase seems behind us.
  • The extent of the loss of lives and livelihoods is becoming clear only now, with detailed data from the Periodic Labour Force Surveys (PLFS) — the latest round of which is for the April-June quarter of 2020.
  • This is the first official report on the estimates for the quarter, which witnessed the worst impact with the lockdown in force until the middle of May.
  • Visuals of thousands of migrants walking back to their villages are still fresh in the mind.
  • While many have returned to urban areas in the absence of jobs in rural areas, many did not.
  • The PLFS, which captures the employment-unemployment situation in urban areas, provides some clues to what happened.
  • The estimates from PLFS are broadly in line with estimates available from other privately conducted surveys, notably the unemployment surveys of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

 

PLFS and CMIE estimates: –

  • According to the PLFS April-June 2020 round, the urban unemployment rate for the population above the age of 15 was 20.8 per cent, which is close to the monthly average for the same quarter from CMIE at 19.9 per cent.
  • The CMIE data, however, does suggest a sharp decline in June compared to April and May.
  • Similar to the CMIE data, the PLFS data also shows a sharp rise in the unemployment rate which more than doubled compared to the unemployment rate in the preceding quarter of January-March 2020 at 9.1 per cent and 8.8 per cent in the same quarter (April-June) of 2019.
  • While one in five persons above the age of 15 was unemployed during April-June 2020, the unemployment rate among the 15-29-year-olds was 34.7 per cent — every third person in the 15-29 age group was unemployed during the same period.

Impact of Lockdown: –

  • While the lockdown certainly contributed to the worsening of the employment situation, particularly in urban areas, the fact that the economy was already going through severe distress as far as jobs are concerned is no longer surprising.
  • Between 2016-17 and 2019-20, growth decelerated to 4 per cent, less than half the 8.3 per cent rate in 2016-17.
  • The fact that the economy has not been creating jobs predates the economic shocks of demonetisation and the hasty roll-out of GST.

Rise in unemployment: –

  • The PLFS data from earlier rounds have already shown the extent of the rise in unemployment compared to the employment-unemployment surveys of 2011-12.
  • The unemployment rates in urban areas for all categories increased by almost three times between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
  • On an internationally comparable basis, the unemployment rate among the 15-24-year-olds in 2017-18 was 28.5 per cent, which makes the youth unemployment rate in India amongst the highest in the world, excluding small countries and conflict-ridden countries.

 

Challenges: –

  • The worsening situation is partly a result of the long-term neglect of the employment issue in policy circles.
  • It is also a result of policy decisions such as demonetisation and GST implementation, which affected the informal/unorganised sector adversely.
  • It is these enterprises in the unorganised sector that are the drivers of employment creation.
  • Since 2016-17, most of these sectors have suffered as a result of policy choices.
  • The decline in the number of workers by 15 million between 2011-12 and 2017-18 is only a partial reflection of the job’s crisis.
  • The decline in jobs was accompanied by a decline in the quality of employment, with an increase in precarious jobs and a decline in access to social security for a majority of workers.

Impact on growth rate: –

  • The deceleration in the growth rate of economic activities also meant that real wages of casual workers in rural areas by January 2021 have declined compared to two years ago.
  • Regular salaried workers were already suffering from a decline in real wages at 1.7 per cent per annum between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
  • More recent data after the pandemic is not available but sectoral surveys do suggest that the decline in real earnings of regular salaried workers has continued.
  • The lockdown only aggravated an already fragile employment situation.
  • Since the PLFS is also a longitudinal panel data, it is possible to examine what happened to different categories of households during the April-June 2020 quarter compared to the pre-lockdown January-March 2020 quarter.
  • While the lockdown affected all workers, the most vulnerable were casual wage workers.
  • Among casual wage workers employed during the January-March quarter, 50 per cent joined the ranks of unemployed and another 10 per cent exited the labour force.
  • Only one out of three casual workers in urban areas could hold on to their job with another 5 per cent moving into the self-employed category.
  • The regular salaried workers fared better but even among them 10 per cent lost jobs and another 5 per cent moved out of the labour force. Among those who were fortunate to retain their jobs, most suffered declines in earnings.

Way Forward: –

  • More recent data from the PLFS is awaited, but estimates from the CMIE data suggest that the unemployment rate has fallen 7 per cent for the 15 and above age population in recent months.
  • While this may suggest that the economy is returning to the pre-pandemic levels, the rate is still very high.
  • This level of unemployment is not just a symptom of the “jobless” model of economic growth that has been followed in the last two decades, but is also a recipe for political and social instability.
  • The pandemic and the subsequent crisis in the employment-unemployment situation has only highlighted the fragile situation of the labour market.

Question: –

The real crisis of unemployment and jobless growth is a bigger pandemic that is unlikely to be resolved with the current model of economic growth which prioritises capital over labour. Explain.

Indo-Bangladesh ties have deepened. But some issues remain

Why in News: –

PM Modi’s visit indicates that the two neighbours have evolved and are keen to discuss and remove obstacles as they appear.

Syllabus:

 GS-2: IR/Diplomacy: Neighbours

Background: –

  • At the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh from March 26 to 27 to participate in the 50th-anniversary celebrations of the independence of Bangladesh and muktijuddho, the War of Liberation.
  • This was also the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • In the preceding days, prime ministers and presidents of Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka came to Dhaka to convey their good wishes to Bangladesh.

Significance of PM’s Visit: –

  • During his visit, PM Modi visited Tungipara to pay his respects at the mazar of Sheikh Mujib, a gesture which was appreciated, particularly as he is the first Indian prime minister to do so.
  • PM Hasina and her sister Rehana were at Tungipara to greet the Indian prime minister.
  • PM Modi also visited two Hindu temples in the countryside.
  • This was seen as connected to the ongoing elections in West Bengal.
  • Even though the visit was to participate in the anniversary celebrations, it acquired the contours of an official visit with talks at the delegation-level and a joint statement.

Unresolved Issues: –

  • The issues related to water resources remain unattended.
  • Besides the major issue of the Teesta, the joint statement finds no mention of the lack of movement by one side or the other with regard to Feni, Kushiyara, etc.
  • Water-related issues are rarely, if ever, resolved by ministries of water resources.
  • Clearly, there has been an absence of political direction or involvement of the foreign ministries.
  • Unfortunately, these apparently minor issues have a habit of flaring up and affecting bilateral relations.
  • The Indian prime minister’s comment that India is committed to a reasonable solution to the sharing of all river waters bypasses the essential need for the development of water resources, which, in turn, requires multi-state collaboration.
  • An instance of inexcusable laxity would seem to be in not yet even commencing the technical survey of the Ganges barrage, which is supposed to maximise the benefits of the Farakka Agreement to Bangladesh. Political will besides, there also needs to be accountability at the official and technical levels for surveys not moving from one joint statement to the next.

Significance for India

  • One very positive reflection in the discussions, hopefully indicative of the road travelled, is Bangladesh’s suggestion of India providing additional road connectivity to Nepal and rail to Bhutan.
  • This should be provided without reservations by India, keeping at bay the ever-suspicious security agencies.
  • Bangladesh has also expressed an interest in being involved in road links between India and Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Until not too long ago, Dhaka had been wary of such connectivity’s.
  • It is important that, on India’s part, things progress rapidly.
  • Bangladesh has sought a detailed proposal from India on its request to be provided connectivity between Guwahati and Chittagong, as also transit between Mahendraganj in Meghalaya to Hili in West Bengal.
  • One of the lingering effects of the division of an interdependent landmass into mutually suspicious national entities has been the lack of development in all the areas concerned.
  • A moment may have arrived when in some form, the promise of SAARC or BBIN may reach fulfilment.
  • Free connectivity could change the lives of people in the most significant ways.
  • A recent World Bank study has projected exponential growth in trade with a consequent effect on GDP for both India and Bangladesh if there is free trade and liberal connectivity.
  • Meanwhile, export figures from Bangladesh reveal that following India’s offer of duty-free access to a number of items, exports have increased substantially.

Way Forward: –

  • PM Hasina’s offer of the airports of Chittagong, Sylhet and Saidpur in northern Bangladesh to neighbouring areas in India is extremely significant with a host of positive consequences for the region.
  • One might recall that during Sheikh Hasina’s visit in October 2019, her statements had clearly, if politely, indicated her dismay at some political developments in India.
  • Possibly as a reaction to Indian statements connected to the CAA, some ministerial visits from Bangladesh had been cancelled.
  • These concerns have not gone away, and have been reflected in the demonstrations against the Indian prime minister’s current visit, leading to several deaths.
  • While some reassurances have presumably been conveyed to Dhaka, it would remain important to remember that our internal politics, statements and, indeed, treatment of minorities, would influence our neighbours at many levels and, consequently, our relations with them.
  • It would be up to India to ensure that the offer is followed up by both countries in terms of the necessary infrastructure being put in place.

 

Question: –

Economic ties between India and Bangladesh while growing in the recent years are still far below their potential. Elucidate the policy constraints which are inhibiting this growth.

Started From 14 Mar 2021

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