DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |12 Feb 2021| RaghukulCS

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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS (UPSC) |12 Feb 2021| RaghukulCS

12th February News Analysis for Mains

Mains Value Addition

The Indians top in average time spent on smartphones

Context: –GS3: – Science and Technology

Analysis: –

  • The annual report,” MobileBroadband India Traffic Index, (Mbit) 2021 “found that the average time spent by Indians on smartphones is the highest in the world.
  • The duration for watching short videos is likely to rise four-fold by 2025.
  • India ranked second in the world in terms of broadband usage on mobile phones after Finland.
  • The data traffic in the country has increased around 60 times over the last five years, which is also highest globally.
  • The 164 petabytes of data were consumed in December 2015, which reached close to 10,000 petabytes in December 2020.

 

India’s GDP Ratings: India Will Grow 10.4% In FY22

Context: -GS3: -Economy

Analysis: –

  • India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to bounce back to 10.4 per cent growth in FY22 driven by base effect, signalling that a meaningful recovery will not happen before FY23.
  • The rating agency expects GDP growth to turn positive at 0.3 per cent in the January-March quarter of FY21 after shrinking in first nine months of the year.
  • The YoY recovery in FY22 will be V-shaped, but the size of GDP will barely surpass the level attained in FY20.

BIAL: Bengaluru Airport Bags ACI World’s ‘Voice of The Customer’ Award

Context: -GS 2- Schemes and Public Policies.

Analysis: –

  • The Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) or Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru has bagged global recognition from the Airports Council International World’s ‘Voice of the Customer’ award.
  • The ‘Voice of the Customer’ recognises airports that continued to prioritise their customers and remained committed to ensuring that their voice was heard during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
  • BLR Airport has made significant efforts in gathering passenger feedback through ACI’s Airport Service Quality (ASQ) programme.
Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin Wins Wildlife Photographer of The Year 2021

Context: -GS3- Environment

Analysis: –

  • Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin has won the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award with a drone image of a raging Cape York bushfire.
  • Mr Irwin, whose father Steve was a world-famous conservationist, said his work was “about telling a story to make a difference for the environment and our planet”.

Mains Analysis

The agonising cost of ham-handed development.

Why in News: –The flash floods at Uttarakhand havenecessitated India’s recommitment towards activism and ideas by environmentalistsinvolved with Uttarakhand.

Context: –GS-1 Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

GS-3: – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. and Disaster & disaster management.

Introduction: –

  • With more than three days since the flash flood struck Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, hopes of finding any more survivors at the Tapovan and Rishi Ganga power project sites dimmed.
  • The NDRF and defence personnel are looking for missing persons in rock, mud, water, and debris, airlifting rations to inaccessible villages, and repairing bridges and telecommunication networks. 
  • The Social scientists work on assessing the disaster’s impact on region’s economy.
  • There is a debate among Scientists and policy makers on climate change or unchecked development in an ecologically fragile region which is primarily responsible for the Uttarakhand disaster and the death toll.
  • The News reports of ancient temples having been swept away in the Alakananda’s raging raises a serious question.
  • The disaster shows the profound importance of Uttarakhand and generated a need to revisit the question on emergence of Uttarakhand as a deva bhumi and itsdevelopment into a focus of Hindu pilgrimage,

Historical Background: –

  • Many and varied agents and processes played important roles in gradually transforming Uttarakhand into a sacred landscape.
  • The Artefacts found in the Himalayan foothillsare datable to the period extending from 300 BCE and 600 CE.
  • This includes an Ashokan rock edict (at Kalsi), brick altars for conducting ashvamedha yagnas, coin hoards, and sculptures etc.
  • The artefacts and its find-spots indicate deepening contact between communities living in the Gangetic plains and in the foothills.
  • These developments fostered the growth of Haridwar and Kalsi ascosmopolitan towns and as “gateways” into the Himalayas.
  • The people passing through this gateway towns were:
    • mendicants in search for retreats,
    • merchants eager to enlarge trading networks,
    • adventurous princes in their quest to establish principalities,
    • artisans in search of employment
  • In the seventh century, a regional tradition of stone temple architecture commenced in the Uttarakhand Himalayas.
  • The earliest shrines in this tradition were built at Palethi and Lakhamandal, just upstream from Haridwar and Kalsi,by visiting sovereigns.

Developments of Uttarakhand as a Cultural site:

  • The Palethi and Lakhamandal with royal patronage never became major tirthas.
  • The Jageshwar is situated well east of Lakhamandal and Palethi attained this stature.
  • Between 7th and 10th centuries, builders at Jageshwar modified local geography and ecology.
  • This encouraged comparisons between it and celebrated locales such as Kashi and Devadarunavana, Shiva’s legendary deodar forest.
  • Eventually, Jageshwar came to have 150 stone temples.
  • These early developments at Jageshwar are relatable to the sway of the Pashupatas and other Shaiva ascetics and not to the rise of local dynasties.
  •  The 12th century, architects, master-masons, and sculptors from lands as far away as Gujarat travelled to Uttarakhand.
  • In the 13th century, larger entourages of ascetics, and occasionally rulers from distant lands began undertaking pilgrimages.
  • Their journeys paved the way for the Char Dham Yatra.
  • The Char Dham Yatra consists of a pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
  • The Badrinath and Kedarnath have long been associated with gods and sages, like the Mahabharata, Badrinath.
  •  The Kedarnath is mentioned in the Skanda Purana, in medieval lists of jyotirlingas.
  • The both Badrinath and Kedarnath are associated with Adi Shankara.
  • His followers played a role in constructing temples at Pandukeshwar.
  • The Badrinath temple has been built and rebuilt several times in its history.
  • As sites located close to the glacial sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, Gangotri and Yamunotri have also been given sacred associations.
  •  In 20th century, the Jaipur royal family supported the construction of a temple at Gangotri.
The Cultural Shifts: –
  • Demographic, political, social and economic shifts that have occurred in the past six decades.
  • This have led to an increase in the number of pilgrims visiting sacred centres in Uttarakhand.
  •  After 1962, the Indian government recognised that the world’s highest and loftiest mountain range no longer served as an insurmountable wall.
  • The government have established theagencies like Border Roads Organization, the Indo Tibetan Border Police, and the THDC India Limited.
  • After 2000 when owing to regional demands for greater political autonomy, Uttarakhand separated from Uttar Pradesh.

Way Forward:

  • The Indian leaders shouldrecommit themselves to the ideas and activism of Chandi Prasad Bhatt, Gaura Devi, Guru das Agrawal, Ravi Chopra, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Vandana Shiva, and other Gandhian environmentalists and social workers.
  • The mobilised local communities to protect Uttarakhand’s forests, created local employment, and questioned the wisdom of constructing large hydroelectric projects in a seismically sensitive sacred landscape.

Question: –

The frequency of flash floods appears to have increased in the state of Uttarakhand. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating their impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects of disaster management.

 

 

 

In Biden’s policy pursuit, the world order challenge.

Why in News: –The U.S. withdraws from the nuclear agreementJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Context:GS-2: International relations: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Introduction: –

  1. U.S promised that, subject to Iran’s compliance with its obligations, the U.S. would re-enter the agreement.
  2. Mr. Biden of his commitment and called on him to end the “failed policies” of the earlier administration on West Asia “the most militarized region in the world.
  3. Israel and the U.S.’s Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also insisted that they be involved with the discussions with Iran on the revival of the agreement.

 The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):

  • The US Signed in 2015 with Iran and several world powers.
  • The JCPOA placed significant restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
  • President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018.
  • It claims to curtail Iran’s missile program and regional influence.
  • Iran began ignoring limitations on its nuclear program a year later.
  • President-Elect Biden has pledged to return the United States to the JCPOA if Iran resumes compliance, but it is unclear whether Iran will agree to new negotiations.

 Iran’s Strategic Significance: –

  • Iran’s regional influence remains significant, based on the backing of Shia militia in such diverse locales as Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.
  • The Iranian ability to mobilise militants across the region is viewed by Israel.
  • The Gulf Arab states as threatening their security, the latter being concerned about Iran’s influence with their Shia populations as well.
  • The capabilities of Iran’s precision missiles and drones are also a matter of regional anxiety.
  • Iran has focused on the domestic development of missiles due to international sanctions on defence supplies.
  • The advanced air and missile power available with Israel, Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states, there is no prospect of Iran curtailing its missiles and drone programmes.
  • Mr. Biden in office has already revealed that despite some differences in policy content and diplomatic style.

Mr. Biden’s Iran policy: –

  1. The U.S claims that it will act firmly in defence of our national interests in response to actions by Russia.
  2. Mr. Biden’s Iran policy is likely to match Mr. Trump’s hardline approach on substantive matters, but without the bravado and crude brinkmanship of the former President.
  3. The Iran’s “active ballistic missiles” programmes, highlighted the need to protect the U.S.’s regional partners from Iran’s “acts of terrorism”.

Concerns for US: –

  • The U.S. is looking at long-term diplomatic engagement not just on nuclear issues but on all matters that have security implications for the U.S. and its regional partners.
  • To encourage this dialogue, the U.S. could offer some palliatives to Iran, such as International Monetary Fund providing funds to combat the novel corona virus pandemic.
  • The no early easing of sanctions on oil sales, Iran may quickly find that it has to largely depend on its own resources to manage its interests at home and in the region.

International Outlook: –

  • The Central Asia region Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will be in a face-off with Iran.
  • Besides its allies, Iraq, Syria and its Shia militia in a prolonged war of attrition that does not resolve any issue, but continues to wreak death and destruction.
  • Qatar’s Foreign Minister has proposed direct engagement with Iran Perhaps, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, already facing heat from USA, will see the value of this approach as they had done during heightened tensions in the Gulf waters in 2019.
  • The UAE had then discussed maritime security with Iran, while Saudi Arabia had encouraged mediation efforts by regional states.
  • The emphasis on a free and open Indo-Pacific region will continue.
  • Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are likely to have a far more critical role to play than India in achieving security in the Indo-Pacific.

 The Concerns for India:

  1. Hope for under a Biden Administration, defence and security cooperation between India and the U.S. are likely to be further stepped up.
  2. Regional security cooperation is also likely to be further enhanced, at least till such time as U.S.-China relations improve.

Way Forward:

  •  Mr. Biden will find that much has changed in West Asia and the world since he was last in office.
  • Russia is now an influential player in the region along.
  • Chinawith its Belt and Road Initiative, has high stakes in regional stability.
  • The Sino-Iran 25 year’s agreement, last year, envisages their substantial and long-term cooperation in political, security, military, economic, energy and logistical connectivity areas.
  •  Its formal finalization was deliberately postponed by both sides to see what the U.S. elections would throw up. 
  • With Mr. Biden being confrontational, they are likely to pursue this partnership more openly and robustly.

 

Question: –

Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)in the context of Indian scenario.

 

 

The Tender Cut

Why in News: –The government’s plane to bringing law on crypto currencies is welcome, as it could put an end to the existing ambiguity over the legality of these currencies in India.

Context: -GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

GS-3: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

  • Earlier the government hassuggested that it does not consider them to be legal tender and cannot put in use.
  • The understandable disapproval arising out of the fact that such currencies are highly volatile, used for illicit Internet transactions.
  • These currencies are wholly outside the ambit of the state into any sort of regulation.

The Crypt Currency:

  • It is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records.
  • It typically does not exist in physical form and is typically not issued by a central authority. 
  • Cryptocurrencies typically use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems.
  • When a cryptocurrency is minted or created prior to issuance or issued by a single issuer, it is generally considered centralized.
  • When implemented with decentralized control, each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically a block chain that serves as a public financial transaction database.
  • Bitcoin, first released as open-source software in 2009, is the first decentralized cryptocurrency.

 

 

Indian effort:

  • In 2018, the RBI did send a circular to banks directing them not to provide services for those trading in cryptocurrencies
  •  The Supreme Court in 2018, which found the circular to be “disproportionate,” given that the central bank had consistently maintained that virtual currencies were not banned in India.
  • The fledgling cryptocurrency exchanges industry in India and went against their entrepreneurial right to operate a business enshrined in Article 19(1)(g).
  • Bitcoin, has hit new peaks in price and is gaining influential followers such as Tesla founder Elon Musk.

 What will the Bill seek to do?

  1. The new bill associated with this niche but growing ecosystem will be worried about this question the most.
  2. The Cryptocurrency exchanges, which have sprung up, are reportedly lobbying with the government to make sure these currencies are regulated rather than banned outright.
  3. The Smart regulation is preferable, as a ban on something that is based on a technology of distributed ledger cannot be implemented for all practical purposes.
  4. The China, where cryptocurrencies have been banned and the Internet is controlled, trading in cryptocurrencies has been low but not non-existent, as an India inter-ministerial committee found out.

Indian Concerns:

  1. The Regulatory bodies like RBI and Sebi etc also don’t have a legal framework to directly regulate cryptocurrencies as they are neither currencies nor assets or securities or commodities issued by an identifiable user.
  2. That the Supreme Court struck down as “disproportionate” a 2018 circular by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that directed entities not to provide services to those trading in “virtual currencies” (crypto currencies) is understandable.

 

 

Way Forward: –

  • For an official digital Cryptocurrenciesas well as for the promotion of the underlying blockchain technology.
  • The government must resist the idea of a ban and push for smart regulation.
  • The Cryptocurrencies have now been adopted by international trading firms for use in lending, raising funds for other crypto projects besides facilitating easier cross-border payments.

Question: –

Why is cryptocurrency one of the key technologies of the 21st century? Describe the Indian Government’s steps and the scope of its application in the development process of the country.

Wealth of nations

Why in News: – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the course of his speech in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, mounted a robust defence of the role of the private sector.

Context: – GS-3: Economy-Sectors of economy.

  • The private sector of Indian economy is the past few years have delineated significant development in terms of investment and in terms of its share in the gross domestic product.
  • The key areas in private sector of Indian economy that have surpassed the public sector are transport, financial services etc.
  • This is an ideological battle that India should have decisively resolved back in 1991 with liberalisation and loosening of controls.
  • The historical legacy of suspicion towards the private sector, the evolution of Indian capitalism since 1991.
  • It entirely antiquated ideological positions that prioritise State-led distribution without thought to the processes of wealth creation has meant that, unfortunately, business and profit remain dirty words in the Indian political lexicon.
  • Itpolitical ownership of capitalism and the private sector is significant, for there is no other way for India to become more prosperous.

 

Statistics of Private Sector

  • In the past, India has shown strong resilience in the face of global volatility and has continued to grow steadily, placing it among the world’s fastest-growing economies.
  • The Indian economy grew at a rate of 6.8% during 2018 and is projected to grow at a rate of 7% and 7.2% during 2019 and 2020, respectively.
  • The private sector has played a huge role in India’s development and is largely responsible for the phenomenal growth registered by the country since the economy was opened up in 1991.

Challenges of Private Sector in India

  • The private sector of Indian economy is also adversely affected by the huge number of permits and enormous time required for the processing of documents to initiate a firm.
  • However, the central government has decided to abolish MRTP Act and incorporate a Competition Commission of India to bring the public sector and the private sector at the same platform.
  • The main reasons behind the low contribution of the private sector in infrastructural development activities are that:
  1. The small and medium scale companies in the private sector of Indian economy suffer from lack of finances to welcome the idea of extending their business to other states or diversify their product range.
  2. The private sector of Indian economy also suffers from the absence of appropriate regulatory structure, to guide the private sector and this speaks for its unorganized framework.
  3. The unorganized framework of the private sector is interrupting the proper management of this sector resulting in the slowdown of its development.

Driving investments is vital

  • Private investments by the corporate sector are critical to higher growth rates and economic development.
  • More investment creates a multiplier effect in the economy by generating both direct and indirect employment, boosting consumption and fostering further development.
  • The total gross capital formation in India as a proportion of GDPduring 2017-18 stood at around 31%.
  • The private sector, including small enterprises in the household sector, accounted for about two-thirds of this.
  • Effective partnerships between the government and private sector in critical areas of infrastructure and long-term investments would expedite development.

Making use of technology

  • With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, India is at the cusp of a technology revolution that could transform manufacturing and industrial production in the country.
  • An important objective for the private sector must be to facilitate the transfer or spread of new technology through industry-led initiatives or by building new business models.

Start-ups

  • India has emerged as a significant player when it comes to converging technology and entrepreneurship. 
  • It is the second-largest start-up nation in the world, with more than 14,000 start-ups recognized under the Startup India scheme.
  • CII has led initiatives to boost innovation in the country and encourage young entrepreneurs, including the CII Startups Coalition and CII Startupreneurs which connect new entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and service providers.

Environmental efficiency

  • Scarcity of natural resources and environmental degradation pose major threats to sustainable growth.
  • Engaging the private sector has become critical to ensuring environmental efficiency through its greater adoption of cleaner, greener technologies and the adoption and sharing of best practices.
  • The private sector’s use of new technologies in sustainable production, while coming at some cost, will promote sustainability, efficiency and better use of inputs and raw materials.
  • Green growth and climate change action require significant financing and investments.

 

 

 

Way Forward

  • The private sector is being looked at as the primary driver of the India growth story.
  • Therefore, its role to support the call for equitable and inclusive growth is becoming increasingly critical.
  • A more responsible Indian private sector is not just important for India alone but also globally. 
  • Indian private sector has been rapidly expanding overseas and its role in global development will soon be more evident.
  • On the other hand, with increased foreign investment in India the small and medium enterprises will need to be compliant with international standards to compete.

 

Question:

Critically analyse the statement “Private enterprise is key for wealth creation.”

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