Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

21 APRIL 2021


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



A low-carbon future through sector-led change

The Hindu


The long battle against the Maoists

The Hindu

Mains Value Addition

Govt. says container shortages resolved

Syllabus– GS 3: Indian Economy

Analysis: –

  • World Container Index was 233% higher than a year earlier, suggesting that overall container shortages were high worldwide.
  • India has begun drafting a long-term plan with steel producers to make containers domestically.
  • If exports are the lifeline of an economy, shipping containers are the lifeline of exports.
  • From a ‘modest beginning in 1956 when a refitted vessel carried 58 containers from Newark to Houston, container shipping has reshaped manufacturing, destroyed old ports, devastated waterfront communities created new ports, reduced costs of transportation and changed the economics of shipping.’
  • Today it is estimated that there are more than 17 million containers (20 foot and 40-foot containers are the standard industry norms) circulating globally and more than 5300 vessels handling exclusively container cargo. More than 85 percent of global trade happens in containers.
  • Containers thus are necessary for trade. And it is essential that containers move from one port to another; this is determined, like all things, by demand which again gets triggered by requirement-or in other words by the quantum of imports and exports. Thus, a balance, where import containers are destuffed and available for exports is necessary.
  • The pandemic resulting in shutting down of manufacture, loss of jobs and economies stuttering, meant a steep reduction in trade-both imports and exports.
  • The fall in imports after the pandemic led to a huge imbalance in the demand and supply of containers, hitting the availability of containers for exports.
  • In effect, containers remained stationary wherever they were-circulation of containers not happening because of the fall in trade.
  • This has impacted exports and worse, sharply increased costs by almost 3 times as compared to the pre-COVID rates.

World Press Freedom index: India retains 142 of 180 spot, remains “one of the world’s most dangerous countries” for journalists

Syllabus– GS 2: Polity

Analysis: –

  • While India has not slipped further on the World Press Freedom Index 2021 published by the international journalism not-for profit body, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), however, it continues to be counted among the countries classified “bad” for journalism and is termed as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their jobs properly.
  • The latest index released on Tuesday ranks 180 countries, topped, yet again, by Norway followed by Finland and Denmark, while Eritrea is at the bottom.
  • China is ranked 177, and is only above North Korea at 179 and Turkmenistan at 178.
  • India is ranked 142, same as last year, after it had consistently slid down from 133 in 2016.
  • In the South Asian neighbourhood, Nepal is at 106, Sri Lanka at 127, Myanmar (before the coup) at 140, Pakistan at 145 and Bangladesh at 152.
  • For India, the latest report has blamed an environment of intimidation created by BJP supporters for any critical journalist, who, the report said, is marked as “anti-state” or “anti-national”.
  • Indians who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to radical right-wing Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the public debate.
  • The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are terrifying and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered.

Mains Analysis

A low-carbon future through sector-led change

Why in News?

In the build-up to the ‘Leaders’ Climate Summit’ organized by the United States this week (April 22-23), there has been a flurry of articles about whether India should announce a ‘net-zero’ emissions target, and by when.

Syllabus– GS 3: Climate Change

  • In recent years, scientists have underscored the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.
  • A key goal of both the Leaders Summit and COP26 will be to catalyze efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach.
  • The Summit will also highlight examples of how enhanced climate ambition will create good paying jobs, advance innovative technologies, and help vulnerable countries adapt to climate impacts.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C report called for global carbon emissions to reach net-zero by 2050, call for all countries to announce 2050 as the net-zero target year.
  • Since a disproportionate share of the carbon space has been used up by developed countries, it is important that they act boldly at home, to match the vigour of their diplomatic efforts.
  • Nonetheless, as a climate-vulnerable country, India must also up its game to contribute to limiting global temperature rise, ideally below 1.5°C.
  • While doing so, it should not lose sight of the history of global climate negotiations and its own developmental needs.
  • Though a large country and economy, we are still a very poor country with a significant development deficit — for example, our per-capita carbon emissions are less than half the world average.

Key themes of the Summit will include:

  1. Galvanizing efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical decade to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degree Celsius within reach.
  2. Mobilizing public and private sector finance to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts.
  3. The economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on job creation, and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy.
  4. Spurring transformational technologies that can help reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, while also creating enormous new economic opportunities and building the industries of the future.
  5. Showcasing subnational and non-state actors that are committed to green recovery and an equitable vision for limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, and are working closely with national governments to advance ambition and resilience.
  6. Discussing opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of climate change, address the global security challenges posed by climate change and the impact on readiness, and address the role of nature-based solutions in achieving net zero by 2050 goals.

Lessons for India:-

  • Yet, announcing an Indian 2050 net-zero commitment risks taking on a much heavier burden of de-carbonization than many wealthier countries, and could seriously compromise India’s development needs.
  • We suggest a third path, focused on concrete, near-term sectoral transformations through aggressive adoption of technologies that are within our reach, and an earnest effort to avoid high carbon lock-ins.
  • This is best accomplished by focusing on sectoral low-carbon development pathways that combine competitiveness, job-creation, distributional justice and low pollution in key areas where India is already changing rapidly.
  • This approach is directionally consistent with India moving towards net-zero, which should be our long-term objective.

De-carbonize power sector

  • To achieve net-zero emissions, a key piece of the puzzle is to decarbonize the electricity sector, which is the single largest source (about 40%) of India’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • De-carbonised electricity would also allow India to undertake transformational changes in urbanization and industrial development, for example by expanding the use of electricity for transport, and by integrating electric systems into urban planning.
  • So far, our efforts in the electricity sector have focused on expanding renewable electricity capacity, with targets growing by leaps and bounds from 20GW of solar to 175GW of renewable capacity by 2022, further growing to 450GW of renewable capacity by 2030.
  • While useful as a direction of travel, India now needs to shift gears to a comprehensive re-imagination of electricity and its role in our economy and society.
  • One way to do this is to go beyond expanding renewables to limiting the expansion of coal-based electricity capacity.
  • This will not be easy: coal provides firm, dispatchable power and accounts for roughly 75% of electricity today; supports the economy of key regions; and is tied to sectors such as banking and railways.

The ceiling for coal power

  • A first, bold, step would be to pledge that India will not grow its coal-fired power capacity beyond what is already announced, and reach peak coal electricity capacity by 2030, while striving to make coal-based generation cleaner and more efficient.
  • Coal is increasingly uneconomic and phasing it out over time will bring local gains, such as reduced air pollution, aside from climate mitigation.
  • Such a pledge would give full scope for the development of renewable energy and storage, and send a strong signal to investors.
  • A second, necessary step is to create a multi-stakeholder Just Transition Commission representing all levels of government and the affected communities to ensure decent livelihood opportunities beyond coal in India’s coal belt.
  • This is necessary because the transition costs of a brighter low-carbon future should not fall on the backs of India’s poor.
  • Third, a low-carbon electricity future will not be realised without addressing existing problems of the sector such as the poor finances and management of distribution companies, which requires deep changes and overcoming entrenched interests.
  • Through a careful partnership with the private sector, including tools such as production-linked incentives, India should use the electricity transition to aim for job creation and global competitiveness in these key areas.

Improve energy services

  • Growing urbanization and uptake of electricity services offer a good opportunity to shape energy consumption within buildings through proactive measures.
  • Cooling needs are expected to increase rapidly with rising incomes and temperatures.
  • Air conditioners, fans and refrigerators together consume about 60% of the electricity in households.
  • Today, the average fan sold in the market consumes more than twice what an efficient fan does and an average refrigerator about 35% more.
  • India could set aggressive targets of, say, 80% of air conditioner sales, and 50% of fan and refrigerator sales in 2030, being in the most efficient bracket.
  • In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this would have the benefit of lowering consumer electricity bills.
  • India can leverage this transition too as an opportunity to become a global leader in the production of clean appliances.

Way Forward: –

  • Going further, India may even consider committing to submit plausible pathways and timelines to achieving net-zero emissions as part of its future pledges.
  • India can also use this period to develop a strategic road map to enhance its own technology and manufacturing competence as part of the global clean energy supply chain, to gain benefits of employment and export revenues.
  • Such an integrated approach, which is ambitious, credible and rooted in our developmental needs — including climate mitigation needs — will represent an ambitious, forward-looking and results-oriented India.

Question: –

India will need to work hard to become a leader in technologies of the future such as electricity storage, smart grids, and technologies that enable the electrification of other sectors such as transportation. Explain critically the statement.

The long battle against the Maoists

Why in News: –In the April 3 encounter between security forces and the Maoists in Sukma, a Maoist stronghold in Chhattisgarh, 22 jawans were killed — seven from the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), a unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and 15 from the Chhattisgarh Police.

One CoBRAjawan, Rakeshwar Singh Minhas, who was held hostage by the Maoists, has since been released.

  • GS 3: Internal Security
  • The Maoist movement in India is among the longest and most lethal homegrown insurgencies that the world has seen. While the origin of Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) in the country goes back to the Telangana peasant rebellion (1946-51),the movement took the young republic by storm in 1967.
  • On 25 May that year, peasants, landless labourers, and adivasis with their lathis, arrows and bows undertook daring raids of the granaries of a landlord at the Naxalbari village of West Bengal.
  • The rebellion, quelled by the police in a matter of a few days, gave birth to what would be called the Naxalite movement (named after the hamlet) led by the charismatic Charu Majumdar and his close associates, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal.
  • The rebels quickly found support not only amongst the nearby villages, but also from the People’s Republic of China.
  • The Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, People’s Daily, not only called the event “Spring Thunder”, it also devoted an entire editorial page highlighting the importance of the Naxalbari incident.

Maoists Determination and tactics

  • The ease with which the Maoists are able to strike at security forces and indulge in indiscriminate killing from time to time has confounded many analysts.
  • The frequency of attacks may fluctuate depending on the preparedness of the extremists and the strength of the establishment’s retaliation.

  • But the tactics of the Maoists have not changed greatly. They usually spread misinformation about the numbers of Maoists on the ground in a village as well as their location.
  • Communication equipment in the hands of government forces has not greatly improved over the years.
  • Ambushes have, therefore, yielded rich dividends to the rebels.
  • What should surprise an objective observer is the determination displayed by the extremists regardless of the difficulty in periodically replenishing their ranks and keeping them in a reasonable state of morale against great odds.
  • Gory incidents like the recent one in Chhattisgarh have often led to the quick charge of lack of intelligence and planning on the part of the government, as though intelligence is a piece of cake.
  • The criticism conveniently ignores the ruggedness of the terrain from where the extremists operate and the intoxication that an anti-establishment propaganda offers to almost all members of the group.
  • All that the Central and State governments often do to step up their operations is to deploy more policemen and pour in more money and improve technology, but this has an impact only for a short span of time.

Government Developments?

  • A lot of well-meaning people, some of whom are from the five States that are often affected by Maoist fury — Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Maharashtra — have ceaselessly put forward the argument that rapid economic development of a region alone would lure people away from extremist ideology.
  • To be fair, the governments involved, both in the States and at the Centre, have taken the plea seriously and implemented several development schemes in these areas.
  • However, this has helped only partially. Andhra Pradesh is perhaps an exception where the magic of development has succeeded, especially in Srikakulam district.
  • Civil servants who have served in that area say a dedicated leadership at the district and grassroots levels is one explanation for this transformation.
  • Some also say inducting local youth into the security forces helps in fighting the extremists.
  • Over-dependence on Central forces is counterproductive.
  • For able-bodied locals to comprise security forces is commendable.
  • The Greyhounds, raised in Andhra Pradesh in 1989, is an eloquent illustration of this.
  • History will remember the results it produced under the phenomenal leadership of K.S. Vyas, a courageous IPS officer who unfortunately paid with his life for the valour and dynamism that he had displayed.

One must also realise that shared ideology and resources by like-minded groups boosts their capabilities.


  • The objective of the Maoists is to drive a wedge between the security forces and the government so as to sow disaffection against the latter.
  • Another aim is to serve a warning to the government that it has no option but to concede all the demands of the extremists.
  • It is another matter that these demands, such as the formation of a ‘people’s government’, are secessionist in nature, which no constitutionally elected establishment will ever concede.
  • If this assessment proves right, we may see a gradual migration of younger rebels aspiring for a better life going to other parts of the country where there are better educational opportunities.

Way Forward: –

  1. Modernisation of Police Forces

The Centre soon realised that the Maoist insurgents were able to work vast swathes of territories largely because of lack of strong and effective policing. The government then sought to strengthen and improve the quality of policing in the Maoist-affected states, and in the mid-2000s implemented a Police Modernization Scheme. The Centre channeled substantial sums of funds to aid states in modernising and upgrading their police forces in terms of acquiring modern weaponry, communication equipment, mobility, and infrastructure.

  1. Strengthening Intelligence Networks

For a long time, poor intelligence infrastructure especially at the state level was a major bane in counterinsurgency. The Centre, in close consultation with states, then took certain critical steps to strengthen and upgrade the capabilities of intelligence agencies. This includes round-the-clock intelligence-sharing through Multi Agency Centre (MAC) at the Central level and through State Multi Agency Centre (SMAC) at the State level.

  1. Aiding States in Security-Related Infrastructure

One of the most critical components of the Centre’s anti-Maoist strategy was the launching of the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme. A brainchild of the UPA government, this scheme allowed state governments to reimburse 50 percent of their expenses on provisions like insurance scheme for police personnel, community policing, rehabilitation of surrendered Maoists, other security-related items not covered under the Police Modernization Scheme. Recently, the NDA raised the SRE reimbursement to up to 100 percent.

  1. Deployment of Central Paramilitary Forces

Perhaps amongst the most critical counterinsurgency initiatives from the Centre has been the creation of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to assist the Naxal-affected states. The Centre has extended the deployment of CAPFs on a long-term basis—this is a replication of its approach in the case of both, Northeast and Kashmir. At present, more than 70,000 CAPFs have been deployed across Maoist-affected states. In addition, the Centre has helped states to raise 14 Specialized Commando Battalion (CoBRA) that are equipped and trained in guerilla and jungle warfare techniques and deployed to the worst-affected districts.

  1. Special Infrastructure Scheme

To fill the critical infrastructure gaps that are not covered under existing government schemes, the Centre created the Special Infrastructure Scheme. These include requirements of mobility for the police and security forces by upgrading existing roads and rail tracks in inaccessible areas, and providing secure camping grounds and helipads at strategic locations in remote and interior areas. Under the scheme, some 250 Fortified Police Stations were opened in LWE-affected states.


The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched other initiatives, amongst them the SAMADHAN which was announced by the minister of Home Affairs in May 2017. The acronym stands for the following: S – Smart Leadership, A – Aggressive Strategy, M – Motivation and Training, A – Actionable Intelligence, D -Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and KRAs (Key Result Areas), H- Harnessing Technology, A – Action plan for each theatre and N- No access to Financing. This policy aims to re-energise the government’s anti-Maoist initiatives, even as the elements are indeed the basic components of any effective counterinsurgency campaign.

Question: –

Economic deprivation and religious fundamentalism often hijack the thinking processes of many populations. Explain in terms of growing Maoist’s activities in different parts of India.

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