Daily Mains Newsletter for UPSC 20 Jan 2022

Daily Mains Newsletter For
UPSC | RaghukulCS

20 Jan 2022 - Thursday

Index

Table of Contents

Changing World Order and India

Introduction:

  • Globally transformative events occurred in the years 2020 and 2021. Indeed, nowhere could it be more evident than in the Indo-Pacific region, which is undergoing rapid transformation on several fronts and levels.
  • The conclusion is that even in the next year, a rules-based international order is a distant prospect. Rather than that, global events are likely to be dominated by unpredictability and impermanence.
  • With domestic crises blazing in India’s strategically vital areas and ongoing stand-offs with China, India’s best course of action is to increase its diplomatic flexibility while using pre-existing groups and good bilateral connections against China.

The Difficulties of a Changing World Order

  • To be sure, the globe has lately seen the emergence of authoritarian leaders in a number of nations. However, this is not a novel phenomena.
  • China has abandoned the policy of ‘one country, two systems,’ depriving Hong Kong of its independence and drawing international condemnation.
  • The second significant danger of war in 2022 derives from the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine — the latter of which is supported by the United States and NATO soldiers.
  • The Taliban’s re-establishment in Afghanistan has shifted the balance of power significantly in an already problematic area on India’s periphery.
  • Adding to these worries is recent indications that radical Islamist operations are reviving on India’s eastern edge, namely in Indonesia.
  • China’s participation is perhaps the most disruptive, considering the threat it presents to the established international order.
  • On the military front, China is openly challenging the United States’ superiority in a number of sectors, including ‘state-of-the-art weapons’ such as hypersonic technology.
  • China’s economic profile has deteriorated significantly over the last year and may result in fresh conflicts in the Asia-Pacific area in 2022.
  • The constant dual threat posed by Pakistan and China laid the groundwork for a difficult continental dimension to India’s security. The militarization of the frontiers with Pakistan and China has escalated.
  • In 2022, violations over the Line of Actual Control in several parts of Ladakh are likely to be extended.
  • In Central Asia, India will have a dilemma over how to handle its old affinity with Russia in light of the dramatic shift in India-US ties in recent years.
  • In West Asia, India’s problem is to reconcile its participation in the Second Quad (India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States) with the region’s competing interests.

The Path Forward

  • What India and India’s foreign policy need to do is display more adaptability in order to handle existing contradictions.
  • It is critical that India finds sensible solutions to a slew of challenges that it cannot ignore for much longer.
  • India must avoid cognitive bias-induced blind spots and take care to appropriately interpret signals.
  • India’s leaders and diplomats must not only assess the hazards that exist, but also be prepared to handle them.
  • India must decide how to effectively react to China’s sabre-rattling.
  • India would need to bolster its military posture, both to deter China and to demonstrate to India’s neighbours that it can stand up to China.
  • At the same time, India should concentrate on preventing China’s naval force projection in the Indian Ocean region. Much will rely on India’s response to the circumstance in this fight of wits and might.
  • India should achieve what China cannot, namely establish regional connectivity, offer its markets, schools, and services to its neighbours, and establish itself as a source of economic and political stability on the subcontinent.
  • Quad-style collaborations may potentially be extended to include Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This will undoubtedly bolster its ability to compete with China in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Africa’s eastern and southern continents, as well as the Indian Ocean island nations, need sustained governmental attention and financial resources.
  • The ASEAN member states are caught in the crossfire of China’s aggressiveness and escalating great power competition, and hence have the most work to perform. Multilateral consultations between the Quad countries and the ASEAN states are required.
  • On a more personal level, India must strengthen ties with major Southeast Asian partners such as Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Conclusion

India has performed well in terms of humanitarian obligations during the epidemic. In 2022, the nation’s attention will be on converting them intelligently into economic and strategic possibilities on its perimeter.

Democratize and strengthen municipal governments

What is the issue?

  • In India, the overall strategy to urban empowerment, including financial capability, has remained fragmented.

What significance do ULBs have?

  • India has around 5,000 statutory towns and 5000 census towns.
  • Nearly 35% of the population resides in urban areas.
  • Cities account for about two-thirds of the country’s GDP.
  • Nearly 90% of government income is generated in metropolitan areas.

What are the issues about urban local governments?

  • The RBI’s suggestions on local governments are similar to those in the 15th Finance Commission’s report on local governments.
  • India’s third-tier governments are leading the fight against the epidemic by establishing containment tactics, providing healthcare, and so on.
  • However, their finances have been severely strained, prompting them to curtail spending and seek support from a variety of sources.
  • According to an RBI poll, income fell by more than 70%; nevertheless, spending increased by over 71.2 percent.
  • According to the OECD, India has the world’s lowest rate of property tax collection.
  • The state and federal governments eliminated the octroi tax, which remained a significant source of revenue for cities.
  • It is replaced with grants under the GST system based on a demographic profile calculation. About 55% of urban centres’ total revenue expenditures were covered by octroi. Currently, the award covers just 15% of expenditures.
  • The GST has essentially eliminated the city’s capacity to tax.
  • Civic bodies’ functional autonomy must be increased.
  • They must enhance their governing structure.
  • This might be accomplished by financially empowering people via increased resource availability.
  • During the epidemic, municipal mayors were discovered lacking from catastrophe mitigation efforts.
  • The policy paradigm continues to be dominated by cities being considered as adjuncts to state administrations.

Which changes have been implemented so far?

  • Urban development is a function of the state.
  • In the 1980s, the National Commission on Urbanisation was established to plan with a pan-Indian perspective.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments moved 18 of the 12th Schedule’s powers to urban local governments, allowing them to produce their own revenue.
  • The concept of “competitive cites,” which aims to attract investments in urban centres by making land regulations more flexible, has been unable to significantly improve their financial capacity.
  • Kerala’s people’s plan model, which allocated 40% of the state’s plan budget to local bodies (directly) while transferring responsibility for critical topics such as planning, prepared the way for a new dimension in urban government.

What actions are required?

  • Cities in Scandinavian nations excel at managing their functions like urban planning to transportation to waste management.
  • Cities get a portion of people’ income taxes.
  • For big urban cities in India, a share of income tax might be allocated to manage their affairs.
  • A committee charged with reviewing the 74th constitutional amendment suggested that cities get 10% of income tax collected as a direct revenue allocation from the central government.
  • This should be accomplished by transferring ‘functions, funds, and officials’ to local governments.
  • Democratic decentralisation has the potential to produce astounding achievements (as seen in Kerala). There will be openness and an acceptable level of public engagement.
  • Cities must be seen as critical loci of government.
  • Cities must be seen as areas for planned development, with an emphasis on resource conservation rather than investment attraction.
  • Cities lack adaptable solutions for mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • Resources for quantitative and qualitative data collection must be made available quickly to ensure that a catastrophe risk reduction strategy is developed with vulnerable populations in mind.
  • Rather than that, the Centre’s funding must be increased.

Conclusion:

  • Cities must be tasked with developing their own strategies. Individuals must be involved in the decision-making process. City leadership must be chosen for a five-year term. In certain cities, the mayor serves a one-year term. Permanent cadres of officials must be transferred to cities.

Ethics | Paper – IV

Conscience:

  • Conscience is a thought process that makes people feel and think about things that are important to them based on their moral philosophy or value system.
  • In a moral fight, the voice of our inner self tells us whether we should do something or not.
  • Often, the personal ethics that prevent you from cheating on an exam are an example of conscience.

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