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The Hindu Daily Editorial DiScussion 8/2/19 By - Ashish Singh
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Page 8 Page 9 Governing India's many spaces Ill fares the land where wealth accumulates, but the social and natural environment suffer Will the 6,000/- farmer payout help? The PM-KISAN scheme will provide farmers assured supplemental income The road to peace runs through Tehran he Iranian card could help India enhance its role in stabilising Afghanistan Growth prop concerns over the fiscal deficit remain As the RBI cuts the benchmark repo rate, .Irking the Dragon Still partisan Trump was restrained in his State of the Union address, but did nothing to bridge the divide By walking out of the INF treaty, the U.S. may have dragged China and Russia into a new arms race
Governing India's many spaces GS PAPER 2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation U N DIP Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update EASE OF DOING BUSINESS INDIA RANK WORLD BANK 2018 ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX 2018 EPI RANKINGS 100 COUNTRY 3350 23 so Polarsd 73 Leathe 132 132 12 133 139 294 26 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 207 2018 2019 So30a7
As the general elections approach, it would be politic to take stock of the progress made by the incumbent party and look out for the areas that call for particular attention by the one that gains power. . Without anticipating complete agreement on the indicators that ought to be used, I look at the changes since 2014 in three indices for India Starting a business Getting electricity EQUATION OF A EASE OF DOING BUSINESS Dealing with credi Protecting Trading across borders Paying taxes Enforcing contracts Labor market
Starting a business Getting a location Labor market Dealing with business permits Getting property Accessing Operating in a secure business environment Enforcing contracts B finance Getting credit Paying taxesTrading across minority borders Dealing with day-to-day operations
The business ecosystem They are self explanatory, and their importance unlikely to be contested, even though they may not exhaust all concerns. Published by separate international bodies, they are used to rank the world's countries according to their performance in the related sphere. Rankings by themselves do not reveal the level of attainment but they do convey how far a country is from the global frontier. The EDB, an indicator put out by the World Bank, is meant mainly as an index of the effect of government regulations on running a business. It is also meant to reflect the extent of property rights in a society. Responses are sought from government officials, lawyers, business consultants, accountants and other professionals involved in providing advice on legal and regulatory compliance.
The Narendra Modi government has set much at store by India's improved ranking in terms of the EDB index. Actually, the improvement is considerable. From a rank of 134 in 2014, India's rank improved to 77 in 2018. -As 190 countries were ranked in 2018, India was in the top 50%. The position is not spectacular but the improvement is, as said noteworthy.
It is important to note that the use of the EDB has not been without controversy, with the World Bank's Chief Economist, a Nobel Laureate, suggesting in an interview that in the past political bias may have crept into the ranking of countries. Let us for a moment overlook this episode and assume that in the case of India the ranking reflects reality. Perhaps a bigger problem with the EDB is that it measures the effect of government regulations alone. While it is important to take this aspect into account, in any situation the ease of doing business is dependent upon other factors too.
One of these is the availability of 'producer services', with electricity, water supply and waste management coming to mind. There is little reason to believe that this infrastructure has improved in India in the last five years. The Planning Commission used to release data on infrastructural investment, but we have had none since its demise. Despite all these shortcomings, it is yet important to be concerned with the ease of doing business in India, an aspect that has been given or no importance in public policy for over 50 years, and to note that the EDB ranking for the country shows significant improvement since 2014. little
What is HDI? Life AverageStandard of Epctancy duvaton Living (GNI/capita Education at Birth Levels Adult Literacy Rates
HDI RANKING 2017 76 101 130 134 BANGLADESH 136 149 150 BRICS RANKINGS A point of concern for India, desplite satisfactory growth trends, is the perceptible rise n inequality in access to education, health and living standards SRI LANKA MALDIVES INDIA BHUTAN Human Devel opment Indes HDO HDI RANK 013 2014 74 75Brazil 50 50" Russia 0.755 0.798 0.609 0.727 0.666 India 131 130 93 90. China 112116 South Africa NEPAL PAKISTAN
Second, while it does go beyond purely economic measures of progress, in that it looks at the health and education achievements in a population, it can say little about the 'quality' of development. As pointed out by Selim Jahan of the UNDP, data can "[tell] us only a part of the story about people's lives. For instance, it is increasingly clear that it is not enough simply to count how many children are in school: we need also to know whether they are learning anything." He could have had India in mind!
Environmental impact assessment India 2018 ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX Stakeholders Awareness, Environmental Predictive 2018 EPI RANKINGS EIA Environmental capacity, Consent decisions Accountability, etc RANK COUNTEY SCORE R RANK COUNTRY SCORE REO RANK COUNTRY COREEG Domincan Rpubc 47 Bin 6431 13 108 k 423 17.74 3750 23 so Poland Change 2.14 2574 42 Values, visioning, design decisions, etc. Beliefs, Structure, economics, etc. 12 14 Hondas 4 r Sudan 74 Ha 175 Madaganca 32 15 0911 074 4 26
Environmental costs Finally, we may look at India's recent record on the Environmental Performance Index. The EPI is produced jointly by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum The index ranks countries on 24 performance indicators across several issue categories', each of which fit under one of two overarching objectives, namely, environmental health and eco-system vitali Performance index (EPD ranking High rank shows long-standing commitments to protecting public health, preserving natural resources and decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic activity TOP 5 COUNTRIE IN 2018 ist Switzerland (1 6th BOTTOM5 COUNTRIES N 2018 180th . Burundi (168th) RANKING OF OTHER BIG COUNTRIES IN 2018 | 27th-USA d26th)- 69th-Brazil (46th) 2nd-France (o 17th-Bangladesh a73rd) 52nd-Russia (32nd) rd-Denmark (4th)206178th-Congo (171st 4th- Malta (9) th-Sweden Ord) 20th-China (109th 77th-India4 76th-Nepal (149th 142nd-South Africa (81st) 2Leadens in Air Laggards in i Quality Australia Bartados Jordan Canada Denmark Quality Nepal China Pakistan
These outcomes would not surprise anyone familiar with public policy since 2014. The Narendra Modi government has marginally lowered health and education expenditure as a share of national income and distinctly lowered environmental standards. Nein An instance of the latter would be the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2018 which allows construction and tourism development on land earlier considered inviolable due to its ecological value. This de-regulation is a setback for India
Will the 6,000/- farmer payout help? All farmers affected by severe natural calamities where assistance is provided from National Disaster Relief Fund, will be provided the benefit of interest subvention of 2% and prompt repayment incentive of 3% for the entire period of reschedu lement of their loans. l0 GS PAPER 3 Issues related to direct and .indirect farm subsidies
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna Fasal ki Suraksha Har Pal Aapke Saath Pradhan Mantri Klsan SAmman Nidhi PM-KISAN BUDGET 2019-20 ' Direct income support of 6,000 p.a for farmers, effective 01.12.2018 Kisan Credit Card To benefit 12 cr small and marginal farmer families having cultivable land upto 2 ha FEDERAL BANK Direct transfer into the bank accounts in three equal instalments asemer as KISAN CARD First installment upto 31.03.2019, to be paid this year itself 75,000 cr in outlay for 2019-20 and 20,000 cr in RE 2018-19 RuPay DEBIT CARDHOUD
In the 2018-19 Budget, the government announced that minimunm support price (MSP) would be 1.5 times the cost of production for all the notified commodities. . The Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan was approved by the Cabinet last year to ensure remunerative prices to the farmers. There have been various interventions to boost the production of pulses and oilseeds. Earlier, in 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yoiana to provide insurance to farmers from all risks. Thus, in the broader framework of farmers' welfare, it is easy to understand the importance of the PM-KISAN scheme.
Institutional credit The government was concerned that although our farmers work very hard, and we have had record foodgrain production in the last three years, they were unable to get good prices for their produce, especially for non-MSP commodities, because of the adverse terms of trade, including depressed international prices. What has gone unnoticed is that the government is also trying to bring all farmers into the fold of institutional credit. The target is to bring more than six crore farmers into the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) regime. Directions have been issued for this to the States and banks. They have been advised to issue KCCs within 15 days of application by the farmers. All the charges which were being levied by the banks, including documentation and inspection charges, up to 3 lakhs have been waived.
It is important to keep in mind that the average annual income of small and marginal farmers is well below the average income of all farmers. The benefit being given to small and marginal farmers through PM- KISAN will provide them assured supplemental income and also meet their emergent expenses, especially immediately after harvest. The scheme will be implemented with an estimated expenditure of l rode them assured suprlaily immesdlaelk aterharvest 1 lakh crore till 2019-20, benefiting 12.50 crore small and marginal farmer families.
The explanation for politicians turning a blind eye to the crisis is simple While solutions to the bottlenecks in business and industry could be dished out in comfortable offices in New Delhi or State capitals, agriculture, for long, had no spokesperson or lobby in India. All the so-called elites of India looked down on farmers as poor and unwanted citizens that the country could well do without.
No vikas for farmers All this suddenly changed. The drastic alteration took place when three of the five States that went to polls at the end of 2018 turned hostile to the BJP . Those victories were not so much victories for the Congress as they were a resounding defeat for the BJP. The underlying message was crystal clear: All the noise about vikas'(development) meant nothing to the farmer. The toiling Indian in the field decided, after 71 years of utter neglect, that enough is enough. . The farmers realised that numbers favoured them. They were not willing to be pawns in the hands of those who debated whether or not the of India could be printed on a postage stamp.
Such a realisation also implied deep understanding. The farmers decided that the neo-liberals want a laissez faire economy only to help big businesses. The past and present governments were concerned primarily with restructuring corporate laws, refunding financial institutions that were sick because of bad lending, providing subsidies to industries and attracting foreign investments. They completely forget or knowingly ignore the fact that real India is in no way involved with their cocktail circuits, foreign jaunts, and monogrammed jackets.
The farm crisis is real Farmers with two hectares of land want not just 2,000 every four months, as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi promises. That is not even enough to fill diesel in their hired tractors. Farmers are not begging for doles. The system of governance has to understand who the small farmer is What does the word share-cropper imply? Who is a tenant farmer? Are the land records sorted out in rural India, or are they all being purposefully kept vague to enable big sharks to grab large tracts? What is land settlement and why has most of the country not gone through this process? . These are the questions that we need to ask.
However, the Budget has shown an implicit appreciation of the idea and proposed it for a large part of the rural labour force. Landless labourers are a category in the Census and National Sample Survey Office, but as the Finance Secretary clarified, they cultivate at least kitchen plots, and so are marginal farmers for revenue purposes and are eligible for the scheme. When we count the economic costs we factor in the terminal costs (for the year when the scheme is fully implemented) as a percentage of, say, GDP or agricultural GDP, but such schemes take time to implement and the initial costs are lower.
Will it work? Of course, there is no way of testing if sufficient funds have been provided for the scheme. Small farmers till around two-fifths of the land but are two-thirds of the labour force, since agricultural labourers also till small plots of land The Budget speech compares the revised estimates for this year with the Budget estimates for the next fiscal Since Budgets get scaled down when the fiscal crunch begins mid- fiscal year, this gives a false sense of expansion.
The road to peace runs through Tehran GS PAPER 2 Effect of policies and politics of developed a developing countries on India's interests nd
Even if an American military pullout from Afghanistan is on the cards, the U.S. will want to leave behind a stable country. And any peace settlement in Afghanistan will stand a better chance of staying on the rails if it is supported by regional powers. In other words, ties between Afghanistan and its neighbours, including Iran, will impact the security of southern and western Asia. Like India, Russia, China and the U.S., Iran would want to see a steady hand at the helm in Afghanistan. While lacking military influence, India can build on its good ties with the U.S. and Iran to secure Afghanistan.
Iran is not a newcomer to regional diplomacy in Afghanistan. First and foremost, India should try to dissuade the U.S. from dealing with Iran, Russia and China as enemies. In fact, U.S. President Donald Trump's perception of all three as foes is at odds with America's earlier engagement with them to end its military campaign in Afghanistan. For instance, from 2014 to 2016, Washington and Moscow quietly arranged talks on the Afghan peace process. The meetings, known as the 6+1 group, included representatives from Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and the U.S. The 6+1 process assumed that each of these countries was essential to the achievement of a political settlement in Afghanistan Moreover, last November, the U.S. and the Taliban joined for the first time the Russia hosted conference