DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC | 22 MAY 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

22 May 2021

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

Fitful approach

The Hindu

2

How Fertiliser Subsidy works

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Doctrine of impossibility: SC stay on Allahabad HC Covid order

Syllabus–GS 2: Health, Governance

Analysis: –

  • The supreme court friday stayed the may 17 order of the allahabad high court asking the up government to consider a series of covid measures after the state contended that most of the directions were “unrealistic” and “incapable of being performed in the timelines granted”.
  • An apex court vacation bench of justices vineet saran and b r gavai said high courts should consider the possibility of execution of their directions, and they may not be passed if they cannot be implemented. “the doctrine of impossibility is equally applicable to courts,” the bench said.
  • When the up government pointed to suggestions in the may 17 order on vaccine manufacture, the bench stated that when the supreme court hears matters with national and transnational ramifications, high courts should avoid passing orders on them.
  • However, the bench rejected a prayer to direct that covid-related matters in various high courts be heard by a bench comprising the respective chief justices.
  • On monday, while passing its order in the case of a covid patient being reported “missing” from meerut district hospital by relatives as his body was disposed of by authorities as unidentified, the high court had made scathing observations.
  • It said the “entire medical system” of up “pertaining to the smaller cities and villages can only be taken to be like a famous hindi saying, ram bharose (at the mercy of god)”.
  • The high court had asked the state to improve facilities at medical colleges in prayagraj, agra, meerut, kanpur and gorakhpur within four months.
  • It had also asked the state to provide at least 20 ambulances to b- and c-grade towns, two ambulances with ICU facilities for every village, oxygen facilities at all nursing home beds, an oxygen plant at nursing homes with more than 30 beds, and more ICU beds at all nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Appearing for the state, solicitor general tushar mehta referred to the high court’s “ram bharose” comments and contended that such observations demoralise doctors and paramedical staff who are overworked.

Sunderlal Bahuguna: Gandhian pioneer of Indian environmentalism, spirit behind Chipko

Syllabus -GS 3:Environment

Analysis: –

  • Sunderlal Bahuguna, the Gandhian who was the driving force behind the legendary Chipko movement against deforestation that marked a key milestone in Indian environmentalism, succumbed to Covid at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh at 12.05 pm Friday. He was 94.
  • Born on January 9, 1927 in Maroda village in Tehri — now a district in Uttarakhand — Bahuguna’s life was dedicated to social causes, activism, and writing.
  • He participated in the Independence movement and was subsequently a part of Vinoba Bhave’s Sarvodaya movement.
  • Over the decades, his name became closely associated with environmental issues — in particular, the Chipko movement and protests against the building of the Tehri dam from the 1980s to 2004.
  • Bahuguna’s Gandhian methods of protest and hunger strikes against the dam defined the Tehri movement for over two decades.
  • After the Chipko movement in the 1970s, he gave the message across the globe that ecology and ecosystem are more important.
  • He was of the opinion that ecology and economy should go together. He was also a follower of Gandhian values in food, attire, and behaviour and celebrated January 26 and August 15 as festivals.

Mains Analysis

Fitful approach

Why in News?

WhatsApp had recently announced its new privacy policy which has stirred a massive debate.

Syllabus–GS 2/3 : Laws and Science & Tech.

Background: –

  • WhatsApp, updated its privacy policy, according to which users would no longer be able to stop the app from sharing data (such as location and number) with its parent Facebook unless they delete their accounts altogether.
  • The Centre’s recent notice to WhatsApp to withdraw its updated privacy policy is an avoidable intervention into what is a legitimate business decision.
  • WhatsApp initially proposed a February 8 deadline but later it was updated to May 15. Eventually, it decided not to enforce this as well.

WHY IS THE POLICY BEING CRITICIZED?

  • The policy has been criticized by the public for mainly two significant reasons:
    1. Consent of users is not being taken for sharing their personal data; and
    2. Sharing of metadata.
  • In the present updated policy, the biggest issue is that the users do not have a say in their information being shared.
  • They have the option of either consenting to the terms of the policy or deleting their WhatsApp account.
  • The present “all or nothing approach” of the policy has led to an uproar among the masses.
  • When Facebook had acquired WhatsApp in 2014, it had vowed the protection of the privacy of its users and had claimed that in no case would it be compromised.
  • Each time Facebook had been involved in data protection controversy, it had promised

 

that the users would be given more control over their personal data.

  • Upholding their vow, WhatsApp had always asked for the consent of the users before sharing their personal information with Facebook.
  • The new policy has led to a belief among the users that Facebook has failed to adhere to its data protection commitment.
  • Metadata Sharing: –
    • The metadata collected by the WhatsApp includes contact information, location of the user, financial details etc.
    • This metadata is then used to form a complete profile of that individual.
    • This would further be used by Facebook to target the users with those business advertisements which will match with their profile.
  • In the new policy, the users have not been given the freedom to consent for such metadata sharing.

INDIA’S STANCE ON THE ONGOING SITUATION

  • India has taken a strong stand against the updated privacy policy of WhatsApp.
  • The Indian government has asked WhatsApp to not apply its policy in the Indian market given it has the largest number of WhatsApp users.
  • WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging platform in India. With 340 million users,
  • The government has asked WhatsApp to review its policy as it will affect the privacy of a lot of India users.
  • India is also against the differential and discriminatory treatment of WhatsApp to not apply its privacy policy on the European countries.
  • The stringent privacy rules of the Europe called the General Data Protection Guidelines (GDPR) govern the data protection in European Economic Area and the European Union.
    • It prevents data sharing between the applications and also provides that the consent must be taken from the application users which should be free and unambiguous.
  • India is against this differential treatment and has shown displeasure over the application of the policy on such large base of users.

What’s App Stand

  • Its privacy updates are designed to make the business interactions that take place on its platform easier while also personalising ads on Facebook. That is how it will have to make its money.
  • In its affidavit in the Delhi High Court, WhatsApp has said that it is not forcing users to accept the updated privacy policy. They have an option — to delete their accounts.
  • And if WhatsApp is ready to take the risk of users abandoning it, asking govt. what problem it has with the move. The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has sought a response from WhatsApp within seven days.

 Way forward:

  • The ongoing controversy also shows how important it is now more than ever to come up with a data protection legislation in India.
  • In the times of ongoing pandemic, when every interaction is getting digitalized, enormous personal data of the individuals are being collected and processed.
  • Indian consumers to electronic platforms are currently vulnerable to any data breach without there being a statutory protection.
  • Other than the regulatory framework, there is need for awareness among the Indians regarding data protection and privacy.
  • A large stratum of India’s population is not aware of how much personal data is being processed and what are the consequences of their personal data breach.

Question: –

India needs to carefully assess the problem as a fitful approach to issues concerning the user may do more harm to India’s approach to data protection and freedom than anything else. Explain

How Fertiliser Subsidy works

Why in News?

The central govt has announced a 140% increase in the subsidy on Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) which is estimated to cost the exchequer an additional Rs 14775 crore in the coming Kharif season alone.

Syllabus–GS3: Issues related to Agriculture Subsidies

  • In India, Fertilizers are made available to the farmers at a subsidized and affordable price to help with increase in yield.
  • The Department of Fertilizers has subsidized fertilizers in the range of 30% to 70% of its cost.
  • The subsidy is passed onto companies manufacturing fertilizers so that farmers get the fertilizers at subsidized MRP.
  • The quantum of subsidy varies with type of fertilizer like Urea, DAP etc. The subsidy is given only to those fertilizers which meet the standards laid down by the government.
  • The government has enhanced the subsidy on di-ammonium phosphate or DAP fertilisers in order to retain the selling price for farmers at the current level of ₹1200 per bag, following a review meeting on fertiliser prices chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
  • The move, which entails raising the subsidy from ₹500 per bag to ₹1200 per bag of DAP, will raise India’s annual fertiliser subsidy bill of about ₹80,000 crore by ₹14,775 crore as subsidy in the Kharif season, a statement said.

DAP & its importance to Farmers:

  • Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) is the second most commonly used fertilizer in India after urea, which is applied just before or at the beginning of sowing as it is high in phosphorus that stimulates root development.
  • Without well-developed roots, plants growth is stagnated & takes a long time to mature.
  • DAP contains 46% P and 18% nitrogen (N). While there are also other phosphatic fertilisers – single super phosphate (SSP), for instance, has 16% P and 11% sulphur (S) – DAP is the farmer’s preferred choice. This is similar to urea and muriate of potash (MOP), which again have very high N and potassium (K) content of 46% and 60%, respectively.

What is the subsidy scheme in DAP?

  • For urea, the MRP is controlled by govt & the subsidy per tonne is varied according to the market. In simple, for urea price fixed but the subsidy is varied.
  • But for other fertilisers, the MRP is decontrolled & companies fix their own MRP & govt pays a fixed Subsidy. In other terms, MRP is varied but the Subsidy is fixed.

Subsidy & Pricing Mechanism:

  • The subsidy for all non-urea fertilisers varies which is governed by nutrient-based subsidy.
  • Depending upon the nutrient content for different fertilisers, the per-tonne subsidy also varies.
  • For 2020-21, the centre fixed the NBS rates at 18.8/kg for N, 14.9/kg for P, 10.12/kg for S.
  • Till recently when the DAP subsidy for 2020-21 was Rs 10231/tonne, companies were selling DAP at around Rs 24000/tonne because the international prices were at reasonable levels.
  • But global prices of fertilisers & inputs have surged over the past 6-7 months, tracking a general bull run in commodities, that has made it unviable for companies to continue selling at the old rates.
  • So all the fertilizer companies have announced the hike in their MRP for DAP & other non-Urea fertilizers.
  • The hikes were effective from April 1st till the old stock lasts.
  • As the old stock running out, the companies started selling the new material at higher rates.
  • The farmers realized the extent of the price increase in the May 2nd week.
  • The focus fell on DAP because a steep 58% increase was too much.

Measures taken:

  • The dept of fertilizers had notified NBS rates for 2021-22 on par with last year’s levels, leaving companies little choice but to go ahead with the MRP hikes.
  • But a recent meeting chaired by PM on global fertilizers price, the historic decision to increase the subsidy on DAP from the existing Rs 10231/tonne to Rs 24231/tonne.
  • The dept of fertilizers too notified a higher NBS rate for P. while keeping those for the N, K, S nutrients unchanged.
  • This will enable; le companies to sell DAP at earlier MRP but other fertilizers at hiked MRP.

Value-Addition: –

  1. Parliamentary standing committee

A parliamentary standing committee recently submitted its report on the ‘study of system of fertilizer subsidy’ in March 2020. Among other things, the committee noted that there was a delay in settlement of subsidy dues. It advocated for DBT of fertilizer subsidy to the farmer instead of the manufacturer.

  1. Subsidy scheme for fertilizers was first introduced in 1977

Subsidy scheme for fertilizers was first introduced by the Indian Government in 1977 through the Retention Price Scheme (RPS) for indigenous nitrogenous fertilizer units. Subsequently, it was extended to phosphatic and other complex fertilizers and Single Super Phosphate.

Question: –

The timing of keeping at least DAP prices is good as farmers will start sowing operations with the arrival of the southwest monsoon rains. It also sends positive signals to the farmers in taking up dialogues with govt. Discuss.

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