Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 26th August-2020

 

1) Challenges in making India a manufacturing hub:

Context: Many think that in the aftermath of the pandemic, several manufacturing companies operating from China will relocate their businesses to other destinations including India.

Many American, Japanese and Korean companies based in China have initiated discussions with Indian government to relocate their plants to India; this can be used as an opportunity by India to pursue the goal of self reliant India

Can India succeed in attracting manufacturing firms and jobs from China:

  • India lags far behind China in manufacturing, China ranks first in contribution to world manufacturing output while India ranks sixth.
  • Industry value added grew at an average annual rate of 10.6 8 % since China opened up its economy in 1978 in contrast against the target of 12%, the manufacturing sector has grown at 7% after India opened up its economy.
  • Next to European Union, China was the largest exporter of manufactured goods in 2018 with an 18% world share, India is not even among top 10 exporters

Constraints faced by India in promoting the manufacturing sector:

  • Infrastructural constraints
  • A disadvantages tax policy environment
  • A non-conducive regulatory environment
  • High cost of industrial credit
  • Poor quality of the work force rigid labour laws
  • Restrictive trade policies
  • Low R&D expenditure
  • Delays and constraints in land acquisition and the inability to attract large-scale foreign direct investment into the manufacturing sector.

Unless these challenges are addressed the dream of making India a manufacturing powerhouse rivalling China would be difficult to realise.

Role of States:

  • Since India follows a Federal government system, a lasting solution to these constraints cannot be possible without the active participation of state governments and effective policy coordination between the centre and the states.
  • Currently manufacturing growth in India has been powered majorly by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Important requirement for the development of manufacturing sector is the availability of land area this could be one of the reasons why manufacturing activity is mainly concentrated in five states which cover a substantial portion of India’s geographical area.
  • However some states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal that have large area contribute disproportionately little in manufacturing GSDP, the reason for less manufacturing activity in the states have to be examined carefully and a state specific industrialisation strategy need to be devised and implemented in coordination with central government

Suggestion put forth by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is worth attempting here, he suggested to promote electronic manufacturing he suggested forming a strategy group consisting of representatives from the central and state governments along with top industry executives this is to instil teamwork and leverage ideas through sharing the best practices of centre and States a similar approach is needed for developing the whole manufacturing sector.

 

2) INS Viraat

  • A centaur class aircraft carrier weighing 27,800 served in the British Navy as HMS Hermes for 25 years from 1959 to1984
  • Commissioned into Indian Navy in 1987 and had operated harrier fighter jets
  • Decommissioned in March 2017
  • The decommissioned aircraft is said to be scrapped at the ship breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat

 

3) National Investigation Agency NIA:

NIA filed charge sheet on Pulwama terror attack which occurred an year ago in which 40 personnel CRPF personnel were killed by a car -borne suicide bomber, the car was packed with improved explosive devices (IEDs) which contained high grade RDX explosives

About NIA:

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was set up in 2009 under the NIA Act, 2008.
  • It was set up in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack.
  • At present, NIA is functioning as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.
  • It aims to be a thoroughly professional investigative agency matching the best international standards at the national level, by developing into a highly trained, partnership-oriented workforce.

Functioning of NIA:

  • To curb various aspects of terrorist financing, a Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell (TFFC) has been created in the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • The Cell maintains data base of terror financing and cases of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN).
  • It also conducts part investigation into terror financing aspects of regular cases investigated by the NIA.

 

4) India to protest Pakistan claims on terror at United Nation

India will approach the United Nations Security Council President to bring to its notice a series of false claims levelled by Pakistan on terrorism

This is not the first time Pakistan has tried to make allegations against India on the issue of terrorism, the officials say they see a pattern in Pakistan recent statements with a view to targeting India ahead of January 2021 when India will join as a non permanent member for a two-year term at the UN Security Council.

In addition Pakistan that has been grey listed and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is also trying to build a case given that India will face routine scrutiny for mutual evaluation report on terrorism financing and money laundry issues at FATF.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Paris, initially to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.

In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering. In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

5) Raising age of marriage

Context: Government’s proposal following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Independence Day in which he said that a committee was deliberating a change in marital age, a task force appointed by women and child development ministry has been Consulting civil society members in view of this.

Problems:

  • Increasing age from 18 to 21 for women will lead to an increase in parental backlash against youth adults who marry against the wishes of their parents and will lead to criminalize action of sexual activity.
  • An analysis of cases reported under the prohibition of Child Marriage Act PCMA 2006 the data analysis found that is 65% of the cases the PCMA was used to punish elopement of two consenting older adolescents in the remaining 35% of the cases of child marriage, the PCMA was invoked in more than half of them to see dissolution of marriage that didn’t work and not to punish the parents for Breaking the Law.
  • Moreover the law was used mostly by parents and relatives of the girl and only a small percentage of the cases were initiated by legal functionaries such as child marriage prohibition office.
  • The PCMA was invoked along with penal provisions for kidnapping and rape under Indian penal code as well as protection of children from sexual offence act 2012, the minimum punishment under the later for aggravated sexual assault is 20 years however marriages arranged by parents in violation of the law only see PCMA a been applied which provides for a maximum punishment of 2 years.
  • This is not a time to think with PCMA, It’s the time to look at POCSO and Age of Consent which should be wise to 16 years from 18 at least in cases of non-coercive or non-exploitative relations among peers.
  • Data from National family health survey 4 states that a vast majority of women are married by the age of 21 and raising the age of marriage for women will lead to the criminalization of these women and their families.
  • Emphasis needs to be on schooling and access to job opportunities to delay the age of marriage and address poverty to prevent under-age marriage and fight malnutrition.

 

6) National Clean Air Programme, NGT Slams MoEF Report:

Context: The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over its report on the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which proposes 20-30 per cent reduction of air pollution by 2024.

It said that MoEF’s view is against the constitutional mandate under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The Environment Ministry told the tribunal in order to assess impact of technological and policy interventions on air quality levels, a mid-term nationwide review with the help of identified technical experts may be conducted and targets can be updated, if required.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said the stand of the MoEF that pollution cannot be controlled except to the extent of certain percent is directly hit by the Constitutional and statutory mandate.

Under the NCAP, target is to achieve norms in 10 years and reduce load to the extent of 35 per cent in first three years with further reduction of pollution later.

It means for 10 years pollution will remain unaddressed which is too long period.

The tribunal said that NCAP for reduction of air pollution does not fully meet the mandate of sustainable development, air pollution levels resulting in large number of deaths and diseases needs to be addressed expeditiously

Right to clean air stands recognized as part of right to life and failure

The tribunal said the enforcement of ‘Sustainable Development’ principle and ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ require stern measures to be adopted to give effect to the mandate of international obligations for which the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and other laws have been enacted.

It also said that Non-Attainment Cities cover cities where standards are not consecutively met for five years.
What about other Cities. It is not clear as to what is monitoring mechanism for enforcement. There is no data how much pollution has been reduced in the last two years. Infact, in 2019, number of NACs has gone up from 102 to 122.

Targeted time of reduction of pollution loads needs to be reduced and planned steps need to be sternly implemented on the ground.

 

7) Bricks Innovation Base:

  • China proposed the creation to take forward 5G and artificial intelligence cooperation among the countries
  • Russia has said it would work with China on 5G, and were open to working with Chinese telecommunications firm which has been largely banned by the United States.
  • In South Africa, Huawei is providing services to three of its Telecom operators in the roll-out of their 5G networks.
  • Brazil has allowed participation in trials but is yet to take a final call.
  • India is unlikely to allow Chinese participation in 5G, particularly in the wake of recent moves to tighten investment from China and to ban 59 Chinese apps, citing national security concerns, which followed the June clash in Galwan valley, cited a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India posed by the apps.

Indian Intelligence assessments have also expressed concerns on the possible direct or indirect links of several Chinese companies, including Huawei, with the Chinese military.India has made clear a return to normalcy cannot be possible while tensions along Line of Actual Control remain unresolved.

 

8) ICICI to use satellites for farm credit

  • ICICI bank has announced the introduction of satellite data imagery from earth observation satellites to access credit worthiness of its customers belonging to farm sector.
  • The bank, the first in India and among a few globally to do so.
  • The bank will use parameters related to land irrigation and cropping patterns and in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make faster lending decisions for farmers.
  • This improves better access to credit by farming community

 

9) 6th Schedule:

Context: Arunachal Pradesh to seek 6th Schedule status, the schedule is towards protecting the rights of indigenous people

Arunachal demanded for the creation of two autonomous Councils- Mon Autonomous Region in western part and Patkai Autonomous Council in the Eastern part had led to the creation of the committee.

Arunachal is being protected by ILP, Inner Line Permit, ILP warranted by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1870, is an official travel document issued by the state government concerned to let in an Indian citizen into protected area for a limited period.

Provisions of article 371 (H) for Arunachal Pradesh do not ensure full protection to the state’s people.

Sixth schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram

 

10) Emerging nature of monsoon in Kerala:

Context: Natural disasters have now come to be accepted as a feature of annual monsoon season in Kerala.

In past two years there has been flooding on an unprecedented scale along with landslides with many people losing lives.

This year too, a hill collapsed submerging the houses of estate workers while they slept with estimated death reaching 65 some days ago, with persons still missing

Why this is happening?

  • Everywhere in Kerala earth has been violated.
  • The rivers are polluted, valleys are filled with garbage, and Hills cleared to accommodate residents and religious houses. Ground water availability and the nutrient content of the soil has diminished which is impacted sectors of the economy like agriculture and has harmed Mother Earth, This is held by a section of Intelligentsia as representing the gold standard of development.
  • This reflects in absence of governance, Political parties are reluctant to dampen the aspiration for Greater consumption for fear that it might affect the electoral prospects

Kerala was named for its Geography, (God’s own country), it was name for conserving natural resources by restraining the consumption this was lost as its economic globalisation in domestic consumption came to be fuelled by wealth generated offshore. Building local infrastructure to support this consumption has become a threat to life for the state to have a future; consumption has to be limited so that the state’s natural capital is not irretrievably lost.

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