DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC |18 Feb 2021| RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

18 FEB 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

An ambiguous levy: On tax on PF incomes.

 The Hindu

2

The poor state of the Indian state.

The Hindu

3

Hitting the right notes with the health budget.

The Hindu

4

She said

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Cabinet approves PLI plan for telecom

Syllabus –

  GS2: – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Analysis: –
  • The scheme, which aims to make India a global hub for manufacturing telecom equipment, is expected to lead to an incremental production of about ?2.4 lakh crore, with exports of about ?2 lakh crore over five years and bring in investments of more than ?3,000 crore.
  • The implementation of PLI scheme in telecom manufacturing will start from April 1, 2021.
  • Many international players are keen to come to India. India will encourage them and also domestic manufacturers.
  • Production Linked Incentive Scheme intends to promote manufacture of Telecom and Networking Products in India.
  • It proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract investments in the target segments of telecom and networking products in order to encourage Make in India.
  • The scheme will also encourage exports of telecom and networking products ‘Made in India’.
  • Support under the Scheme will be provided to companies and entities engaged in manufacturing of specified telecom and networking products in India.

Ministry of Earth Sciences invites stakeholders’ suggestions on the Draft Blue Economy Policy for India

GS2: –

 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Analysis: –

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has rolled out the Draft Blue Economy policy for India in the public domain inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders including industry, NGOs, academia, and citizens.
  • The draft blue economy policy document outlines the vision and strategy that can be adopted by the Government of India to utilize the plethora of oceanic resources available in the country.
  • The policy document has been disseminated for pubic consultation on several outreach platforms including websites and social media handles of MoES and its institutes.
  • The policy document aims to enhance contribution of the blue economy to India’s GDP, improve lives of coastal communities, preserve marine biodiversity, and maintain the national security of marine areas and resources.
  • The MoES prepared the draft blue economy policy framework in line with the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030.

Cabinet approves Amendments to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

Syllabus –

GS2: – mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Analysis: –

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015to introduce measures for strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.
  • The provisions are as follows:-
  1. The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate including Additional District Magistrate to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.
  2. The District Magistrates have been further empowered under the Act, to ensure its smooth implementation, as well as garner synergized efforts in favour of children in distress conditions.
  3. Defining eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members, and categorizing previously undefined offences as ‘serious offence’ are some of the other aspects of the proposal.
  4. Several difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed.

Mains Analysis

An ambiguous levy: On tax on PF incomes.

Why in News: –The Budget raises the interest on employee contributions to provident fund over Rs 2.5 lakh per annum would be taxed from April 1, 2021.

Syllabus: –

GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

GS-3: Government Budgeting: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

 Why the tax has been imposed:

  • At least 12% of an employee’s basic salary and performance wages is compulsorily deducted as provident fund, while the employer contributes another 12%.
  • The Revenue Department has brought up the assessment will just influence a little gathering of ‘high total assets people’s (HNIs).
  • The federal retirement aide plot for formal area laborers should turn into a venture assessment safe house for the very much obeyed corporate VIP.

Government’s attempts to tax PF saving: –

  1. In the 2016-17 Budget, it proposed to tax 60% of EPF balances at the time of withdrawal, but backtracked after a backlash.
  2. Now, it has covered even government employee’s contributions into the GPF, but left NPS investments over Rs2.5 lakh a year untouched. 
  3. Tax treatment inequity between India’s limited retirement savings instruments aside, employees and employers have some serious doubts on the implementation.

Benefits of taxing the PF savings

  1. The move is aimed at taxing high-value depositors in the Employees Provident Fund.
  2. The big-ticket money which comes into the fund and gets tax benefit as well as assured about 8% returns that would come under the tax ambit.
  1. The reasoning a few representatives are contributing colossal sums into their PF accounts and getting tax-exempt earnings.
  1. In order to rationalise tax exemption for the income earned by high income employees, it is proposed to restrict tax exemption for the interest income earned on the employees’ contribution to various provident funds to the annual contribution of ₹2.5 lakh.
  2.  It may be noted that the new provision only takes into account employees’ contribution and not the total contribution to the fund during any year.
  3. This will have a limited impact specifically on the high-income salaried individuals

Arguments against taxing the PF savings

  • It is also not clear when and how the tax is to be paid at retirement or each year that the PF rate is announced.
  •  This may not be smart timing for a government looking to lean on huge borrowings to dent large inflows into EPF most of its corpus is captively deployed in government bonds.
  • Up to Rs.2.5 lakh has been kept as the deposit limit for which interest is tax exempt.
  • Anyone who earns more than ?20.83 lakh a year will attract his or her interest on EPF contribution being taxed.
  • This could potentially impact employees in high income bracket or employees making large voluntary employee provident fund contributions.
  1. If employee’s contribution to provident fund on or after 1 April 2021 exceeds ?2.5 lakh in any year, interest earned on contribution over ?2.5 lakh shall be taxable.

 The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO):

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, under Ministry of Labor and Employment) Is government association that oversees opportune asset and benefits records of part representatives.
  • It is one of the World’s biggest Social Security Organizations as far as records of part and the volume of monetary exchanges embraced.

The Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS):

  • The government managed retirement conspires, given by EPFO from 1995, that is makes arrangements for annuities for the workers in the coordinated area after the retirement at 60 years old years.
  • Both manager and worker contribute 12% of representative’s month to month pay and Employees who are individuals from EPF consequently become individuals from EPS. 

Way Forward

  • The individuals (HNIs) using the PF savings to avoid taxation is laudable, the Centre should consider recalibrating the arithmetic and operational details of this tax.
  • If an employee and an employer are in agreement to allocate share of their total earnings for the provident fund purposes then EPFO should provide full benefit of the same to the employee.
  • The financial burden of the pension on the government is huge. Investment avenues for the EPFO need to be increased so that government is able to provide pensionary benefits to the people. Formation of a separate organization specifically for the investment purposes can also be considered.

Question: –

Comment on the important changes introduced in respect the proposed tax on Provident Fund incomes in the Union Budget for 2021-22.

The poor state of the Indian state.

Why in News: –Two new books reveal stark weaknesses of the Indian state in serving India’s poorer citizens. The first, Locking Down the Poor and the second, Despite the State Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope by M. Rajshekhar.

Syllabus: –

  GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

  • Two new books uncover distinct shortcomings of the Indian state in serving India’s less fortunate residents.
  • The principal, Locking Down the Poor and The second, Despite the State Why India Lets Its People Down and How They Cope by M. Rajshekhar,
  • The books uncover millions, who lost livelihoods and asylum, and food and clinical consideration as well, in a cruel lockdown to make a disinfected cordon for good Indians during the pandemic.
  • Also, a sharp assessment of the frameworks of the Indian state before the lockdown.
  • These books clarify how the shortcoming of the Indian state to really focus on its less fortunate residents isn’t a disappointment of the current government in particular, or of the past government. In any case, the shortcoming is foundational.

The pillars of Strong State

  1. They are built with support from the people
  2. They have a strong administrative machinery to provide stability and deliver public services
  3. They have the managerial ability to shape and implement change.
  1. The Strong support of the people is essential. Mere election by a majority is not sufficient as History shows,
  2. To builders of strong states have bound people around a shared identity: ethnic, racial, or religious; Aryan, Han Chinese, Japanese, Muslim, Catholic Christian. The peoples’ identity is not formed by legal constitutions.
  3. The Strong leaders who unite people around their shared identity are even given liberty by the people to change constitutional structures because they trust their leaders do it for the sake of citizens. Thus, dictators emerge loved by the people.

Issues of Indian state: –

  • The manufacturers of the Indian state have a troublesome issue; it is difficult to join Indians around a common ethnic or strict character.
  • The variety among India’s races and religions, there are settled in rank divisions even inside the Hindu religion of the lion’s share.
  • In the event that Indians should be joined to help a solid state, it should be around a cutting edge, comprehensive thought of India, as the Constitution envisioned.
  • The current decision administration, while attempting to constrain a majoritarian personality, is separating Indians and debilitating the state. 

 Role of the Administration:

  • The job that proficient common administrations have played in the arrangement of solid states, in Han China, the Ottoman Empire, France, and Japan. India acquired the ‘iron casing’ of common administrations from Britain.
  • It was intended to furnish dependability and consistence with rules: it was not prepared to shape change, the necessity for organizations of a decent formative state.
  • Indeed, even the Prime Minister has griped that officials appear to be not to really focus on the nation’s advancement however much business people do.
  • Concurrent administration of both changes and steadiness is fundamental for the advancement of good states and social orders.
  • The Unmanaged change can cause confusion, while too little change digs in the set-up framework.
  • This was the substance of the ‘incredible discussion’ in the eighteenth century.
  • The extraordinary discussion, about steadiness versus change for great administration, advanced into new contentions in the twentieth century: private enterprise versus communism; and markets versus governments.
  • Before the finish of the twentieth century, private enterprise and markets were situated in the public creative mind as the central players of financial development, and communists and governments as retarders of progress.
  • The Capitalists accepted the job of ‘abundance makers’, consigning governments to the job of ‘redistributors.
  • A well-known trademark that abundance should be made before it tends to be reallocated prompts the end that there ought to be less government when nations are poor, and more opportunity for huge, private, abundance makers.
  • With the rationale that administrations are dull, even open administrations, for example, wellbeing and training are given over to private undertakings.

The economical angle: –

  • It’s said that privatization of government fits with ‘endeavors of financial analysts to expand their model of sane, utility-amplifying conduct into the political domain and to consider legislative issues to be simply an augmentation of financial aspects’.
  • The philosophy of private is acceptable and public is awful necessitates that local officials should think like private area chiefs focused on developing the pie and not think like communists worried about the state of individuals who are trusting that abundance will stream down to them.
  • To help local officials, specialists from the private area are brought inside government to help the state run more like a business organization.

The Concerns: –

  1. a) Ethical, moral consequences:
  1. The purposes of a private enterprise to making money and the state are different purposes like political, social economic justice.
  2.  Private sector managers move from one competitor to another, like professional mercenaries, serving the interests of owners of corporations wherever in the world they may be.
  3. Whereas public servants, whose mission is to build their nations and states, are expected to devote their lives to the care of citizens in their own countries.
  1. b) GDP cannot be the scorecard:
  1. The pandemic has revealed the chronic inability of the Indian state to take care of its poorest citizens. The scorecard for the nation cannot be its GDP. 
  2. The Economic justice, environmental sustainability, and improvement of the dignity of all citizens must be measured too, and these must improve much faster.
  3. The present ‘top up the top’ model of India’s economic growth, with hopes of trickle down, is not delivering these.

 Way forward:

  1. The doctrine of Separation of Power refers to the model of governance where the executive, legislative and judicial powers are not concentrated in one body for “a good nation with strong state” all organ work with accountability and responsibility. 
  2. India must build a strong and good state. This requires: political leaders who can unite all Indians into one India, whatever their religion, race, or caste; cadres of good public managers to build and run services for all citizens equitably;
  3. Also requires, the business leaders who are not just wealth creators for themselves (distributing some of it in philanthropy), but creators of opportunities, very soon, for millions of Indians to earn and create wealth for themselves too.
  4. The Political leaders, administrators, and business leaders must work together, with a shared vision, to build an Indian state that is good for all citizens, especially the poorest. Time is running out.
  1. Private corporations are not states designed for citizens. CEOs are not elected by employees, and they have the authority to hire and fire workers.
  2. The state must perform primarily for its poorest citizens for economic growth to be equitable and sustainable, and not for investors in corporations.
  3. The Leaders of states must ensure that all citizens have opportunities to work and earn. They must also ensure that all citizens, even those who cannot afford it, have good health and education.

Question

“The Indian states are not in strong and good positions to care for its poorer citizens”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation.

Hitting the right notes with the health budget.

Why in News: –

The Union Budget 2021–22 was an eagerly awaited one and the announcements for the health sector, in particular, have been widely discussed.

Syllabus: –

  GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

GS- 3: Government Budgeting: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Packages announced: –

  1. The various Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan packages announced by the Government of India, which also include several short-term and longer-term measures to strengthen the health sector. 
  2. The Production-Linked Incentive schemes have been announced to boost domestic manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
  3.  The Mission COVID Suraksha has also been launched to promote the development and testing of indigenous vaccine candidates.
  4. At least 92 countries have approached India for a COVID-19 vaccine, thus bolstering the country’s credentials as the vaccine hub of the world.
  5. To ensure food and nutrition security for the poor and the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package for providing free foodgrains to 800 million beneficiaries.
  6.  To facilitate access to subsidised grains across the country, the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme has been enabled in 32 States/Union Territories covering 690 million beneficiaries.

 Health Budget amidst the “Pandemic”

  1.  The health Budget, with allocations for water, sanitation, nutrition and clean air, it is important to appreciate that the presentation of a combined ‘health and well-being’ budget, is a welcome step.
  2. The National Health Policy (NHP), 2017, highlights the close links between health, water and sanitation.
  3. This year’s Economic Survey too recognises that improvements in access to bare necessities such as water, sanitation and housing are strongly correlated with progress in health indicators.
  1. The substantive allocation for the newly launched Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) is especially commendable as access to adequate, good quality water supply has major positive externalities for the health sector.
  2. Suboptimal access to clean water and sanitation is directly linked to diseases such as diarrhoea, polio and malaria. Moreover, water contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic increases the risk of developing heart ailments and cancer.
  3. Another announcement in Budget 2021 was to expand the coverage of the pneumococcal vaccine across the country. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a major killer of children under the age of five years.

The Budget Strengthen “PMANSBY” and “PM-JAY” Yojana:

  1. The priority accorded to capital expenditure through the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMANSBY), is also a much-need step.
  2. Further, PMANSBY lays emphasis on the health system being strengthened at all levels, including establishing integrated public health laboratories and institutes of virology.
  3. This is crucial as experts have repeatedly highlighted the need for enhancing disease surveillance and diagnostic capabilities to be better prepared for disease outbreaks.
  4.  The emphasis on expansion of health and wellness centres under PMANSBY, together with a ?13,192 crore Finance Commission grant for strengthening the primary health system through local government bodies, is also noteworthy.
  5. The health Budget is the stagnant allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), a flagship scheme launched by the government in late 2018 as part of the Ayushman Bharat initiative.
  6.  The Economic Survey estimates a 20% decline in the infant mortality rate between 2015–16 and 2019–20 in States that adopted PM-JAY, compared to a 12% decline in States that did not.
  7.  It is important, therefore, to persist with this highly ambitious scheme and accelerate its roll-out as the absorptive and governance capacity of States improves

 Promotion of Ayurveda

  1. The health Budget is the nearly 40% hike for the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
  2. The pandemic has catalysed a behavioural shift in favour of preventive care, holistic health and wellness.
  3. There is considerable potential for promoting ayurveda and yoga as well as integrative health-care approaches in the post-COVID-19 scenario, especially for stress reduction and the management of chronic diseases.

 The State’sefforts

  1. We also have to ensure adequate funds for critical and closely-linked sectors such as nutrition, water and sanitation. 
  2. sThe onus of increasing health spending, however, does not lie with the Centre alone but also with the States also.
  3.  As elucidated in the National Health Accounts 2017, 66% of spending on health care in India is done by States.
  4. The States increase expenditure on health to at least 8% of their budget by 2022 as recommended by the National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 and the Fifteenth Finance Commission.

Way Forward

  1. The High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage had estimated that by 2020, India needs a 114 per cent increase in sub-centres and primary health centres, 179 per cent increase in community health centres and a 230 per cent increase in sub-district and district hospitals.
  2. The health sector has found a prominent place in the government’s agenda over the last few years, with the implementation of a series of well-thought-out and carefully sequenced reforms.
  3. While much remains to be done, the Union Budget 2021–22 has laid a strong foundation to increase the resilience of the sector in the post-COVID-19 era and achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Question

The Union Budget 2021–22 has laid a strong foundation to increase the resilience of the health sector in the post-COVID-19 era. Explain.

She said

Why in News: –Priya Ramani’s acquittal in criminal defamation case is an empowering judgment, a landmark for women’s rights

Syllabus: -GS1- Role of women and women’s organisation.

A landmark in India’s #MeToo movement. 

  • A Delhi court’s acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani in a criminal defamation case brought against her by former Union minister and editor M J Akbar is an empowering judgment.

What was the case?

  • In 2018, as women across the country broke a long silence by calling out powerful sexual predators on social media, Ramani, too, had alleged sexual harassment by the editor during a job interview 20-odd years ago.
  • Akbar, who resigned after a spate of allegations, had sued Ramani for speaking up, accusing her of tarnishing his “stellar reputation”.

The Judgement

  • The court acknowledged that 20 years ago, neither Ramani nor one of the witnesses had the protection offered by the Vishakha guidelines or the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.
  • The order affirms the spirit of those guidelines by upholding the right to a violence-free, safe workplace.
  • It pointed out that a woman’s right to speak up about her violations was not restricted by the passage of time.
  • The court observed that a woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sex abuse on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation as the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”.

Ramani’s Defence

  • In standing up to defend herself, even if it meant submitting to a long-drawn legal process, Ramani was also defending the right of other women to speak up against powerful men, to refuse to be intimidated into silence.
  • That she was backed up by other women, who spoke their truth and lent weight to hers, is an affirmation of the power of solidarity.
  • Their spirited, fearless fight — and the wisdom of the court, in times when the judiciary has not always been so hearteningly resolute in upholding individual rights and drawing the line — enables countless more women to call their violators to account.

Way Forward

  • Worldwide, the #MeToo movement attempted to break the asymmetry of patriarchal power that makes sexual harassment invisible, and silences and discredits women’s voices.
  • In India, it has been much harder to call impunity to account. In the entertainment industry, women have faced a backlash for speaking up, while men accused of grievous abuse have been reinstated.
  • The allegations against a former chief justice of India were disposed of with a flagrant lack of due process. 

Value addition

  • Across the world, the #MeToo movement resulted not only in a re-evaluation of toxic patriarchal cultures but also resulted in convictions of powerful men like film producer Harvey Weinstein, comedian Bill Cosby and gymnastics coach Larry Nassar. 

Vishakha Guidelines: –

  • The Vishaka guidelines were laid down by the Supreme Court in Vishakha and others v State of Rajasthan judgment in 1997.
  • It imposes three key obligations on employing institutions – prohibition, prevention, and redress.
  • The institutions are mandated to establish a Complaints Committee.
  • This was to look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.
  • These guidelines are legally binding.
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act was passed in 2013.
  • It broadens the Vishaka guidelines, which were already in place.
  • Definition – An aggrieved victim is a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”.
  • The Act thus covers the rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity.
  • Sexual harassment is any one or more of “unwelcome acts or behaviour”, committed directly or by implication. Saloni Chopra, Priyanka Bose, Mandana Karimi etc.

Criticismof the MeToo Movement

· Many phony stories were flowed on the web that had no appropriate distinguishing proof of the individual who made the claim.

· Associations are zeroing in more on the redressal of these issues than attempting to forestall it.

·More compassion is being appeared than individuals really putting forth attempts to prevent ladies experiencing sexual maltreatments.

·Name disgracing has gotten simple similarly as with this #MeToo development, anybody can name and disgrace any man to annihilate his picture.

·Another negative effect of this MeToo backfire is that a considerable lot of the denounced can hurt those coming out and taking their name.

·There are numerous individuals who accept that MeToo is an elitist development which may carry equity to prominent cases while ladies working at the grassroots level are as yet irritated.

·MeToo stories are more often than not coming from metropolitan ladies who are financially engaged and furthermore have a voice.

·      Despite the fact that this development expects to bring inappropriate behaviour cases under the open air, it flops in that since ladies outside the metropolitan zone don’t think about this.

· This mission just draws out the MeToo cases before individuals without giving any answer for get equity.

· Other than being just cantered around prominent cases and being a MeToo Bollywood development, this mission ought to likewise zero in on trans-ladies, non-parallel people, gay people.

Question

“A woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sex abuse on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation as the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution”. Critically examine.

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