UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 1st February 2022
- The Budget and Agriculture
- Equity in the Budget
- 30 years of India-Israel Diplomatic Relations
- Rani Gaidinliu
- Martyr’s Day
1.The Budget and Agriculture
- The finance minister’s upcoming Union Budget for 2022-23 is expected to focus heavily on macroeconomic recovery. Common people, on the other hand, are more concerned about rising inflationary pressures, which impose a “inflation tax” on their savings.
In depth information
- Budgetary accounting must be transparent in order for the budget to be credible.
- The Union budget of last year was a major step forward in terms of openness, clearing practically all arrears owed to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the fertiliser business.
- Consider increasing the food subsidy budget estimate from Rs 1.15 lakh crore to Rs 4.22 lakh crore, as well as the fertiliser subsidy budget estimate from Rs 71,309 crore to around Rs 1.34 lakh crore.
- Even this year, revised food and fertiliser subsidies are expected to be far higher than the budgeted projections of Rs 2.43 lakh crore and Rs 79,530 crore, respectively.
Agri-R&D must be prioritised.
- Subsidies on food, fertilisers, and payments under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi would take centre stage in the budget, easily exceeding Rs 4 lakh billion.
- This share of subsidies, which are really handouts, is more than double the government’s agri-R&D spending, which is roughly Rs 8,000 crore through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- Our research at ICRIER has found that investing in agri-R&D yields five to ten times larger returns in terms of agri-GDP or even poverty reduction than spending the same amount on, say, fertiliser subsidies (or even power subsidies by states).
Increase agri-R&D spending:
- The Union government should increase or even triple the amount spent on agri-R&D and extension, particularly in high-value agriculture’s rising areas (horticulture, medicinal plants, livestock, fishery, etc.)
- The private sector’s role is to not just increase productivity, but also to create efficient value chains that can provide goods to lucrative markets.
- To make its research findings marketable, ICAR requires not just a large infusion of funding, but also a complete revamp to engage with the business sector and FPOs.
Food Subsidy Review
The rising food subsidy is due to the following factors:
- The huge financial cost: Wheat and rice have an economic cost that is about 40% more than their MSP.
- Low issue pricing for cereals for the public distribution system (PDS).
- The National Food Security Act will cover a big portion of the population (67%) (NFSA).
- Ground sources show that, due to the PDS’s poor governance, there is not only enormous rice leakage into the free market, but that this is also contributing to an increase in our rice exports, which may reach 20 million tonnes this year, the most in history.
Rice’s MSP is substantially lower than the export unit value.
- We are exporting at least 40 to 50 billion cubic metres of water to produce this amount of rice, which is made possible by large subsidies on power for irrigation and exceptionally low urea prices.
Suggestions for enhancing PDS
- Based on NFHS data, the NITI Aayog has created a Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) that puts Indian poverty at 25% in 2015-16.
Reduce NFSA coverage:
- The Economic Survey had previously advocated for cutting NFSA beneficiary coverage from 67 percent to 30 percent, which makes perfect sense for targeting the poor and streamlining the PDS.
- In lieu of actual grains, beneficiaries will be given the option of receiving money in cash in their accounts, which might be equal to MSP plus, say, 20%.
- This would cut down on leaks while also lowering the hefty cost of these grains.
Increase the issue price for non-poor beneficiaries:
- If the NFSA coverage of beneficiaries cannot be reduced, non-poor beneficiaries can be charged half the cost of the economic cost.
- Consider the question, “What are the problems with India’s food subsidy?” “Could you suggest a course of action?”
- On the fertiliser subsidy front, similar steps are required. Otherwise, the budget materials will be nothing more than an accounting exercise, with no guarantee of efficiency or inclusivity in government spending.
2.Equity in the Budget
- Oxfam International released their annual global “Inequality Report” on January 17, 2022. The paper analysed and displayed the quantum increase in wealth of a small number of people while simultaneously impoverishing millions of workers.
In depth information
What conclusions can be drawn from the Inequality Report?
- According to the data, India accounts for more than half of the world’s new impoverished during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- 84 percent of Indian households have lost money, and 4.6 crore people have fallen into abject poverty.
- During this time, the wealth of the richest 142 persons has increased by more than 53 lakh crores.
Inequality reduction is a constitutional mandate.
- The Union Budget is one of the most significant areas to demonstrate commitment to equity.
- All governments have a “obligation” to observe Part IV of the Constitution, the Directive Principles of State Policy, when creating policy.
- The Directive Principles should serve as a guiding light for the Budget, which is one of the most significant annual exercises in state policy.
- Articles 38 and 39 necessitate a policy direction in terms of inequality.
- The State shall, in particular, direct its policies towards ensuring that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the detriment of the general good, as stated in Article 39 (c).
- The Indian government should therefore implement a rights-based policy framework to defend the poor and marginalised.
- Reduced inequality should be a top objective in a country like India.
Spending on the social sector has decreased.
- India must be one of the only countries in the world where the health budget has decreased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – and by a massive 10% in the last year.
- Social security spending has decreased from 1.5 percent of the Union Budget in 2020-21 to 0.6 percent in 2022.
- The pandemic has also resulted in a generation of children who have lost sight of the importance of formal education.
- Many teenagers from low-income families have already started working. The education budget has been decreased by 6% throughout this time period.
- It may be up to society to rise up and ensure that we keep our constitutional promise to develop a more just and equitable society. That is our most basic responsibility.
3.30 years of India-Israel Diplomatic Relations
#GS2: Bilateral relations
- New Delhi established formal diplomatic links with Tel Aviv on January 29, 1992, when P.V. Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister, according to a recent speech by PM Modi.
In depth information
A Backgrounder on the India-Israel Relationship
- Following a protracted struggle against British colonialism, both countries gained independence practically simultaneously in the late 1940s.
- Despite the fact that India recognised Israel on September 17, 1950, official diplomatic relations were established between the two countries on January 29, 1992.
- Their diplomatic connection was originally based on public consensus and became official only much later.
India’s apprehension about deepening relationships
- Israel was seen negatively by the general public because it was a religiously based state, similar to Pakistan.
- This was due to the fact that India was a young country at the time, and it needed to account for the numerical influence of Arab states at the UN.
- It also couldn’t afford to alienate its Muslim populace by forming links with a Jewish state.
- These motivations lead to sympathy for the Palestinian cause.
- India’s newfound interest in Israel
- Despite voting against a UN resolution authorising Israel’s existence, India recognised Israel once it was established (in 1950).
- However, official diplomatic relations were finally established in 1992.
India prioritises Israel for a variety of reasons.
India’s exclusion from the OIC:
- One of the key causes for the change was the founding of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1969, which ignored the concerns of Indian Muslims by denying India’s membership in the body.
Support for Kashmir:
- On the Kashmir issue, India has received no support from Arab countries. The Arab world has made no meaningful attempts to put pressure on Pakistan to end the cross-border insurgency in Kashmir.
Support in critical wars:
- Even before complete diplomatic relations were established, Israel backed India during the Indo-Pak wars.
- With the fall of the Soviet Union and the development of the United States as a superpower, India began to align itself with the United States, which aided our improved relations with Israel.
Deviation from the NAM:
- In 1992, India reversed its strategy of non-alignment and pro-Arab policy and established full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Support in international forums:
- Israel has long been a prominent proponent of India’s permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
- India’s world-class higher education institutions might benefit from Israel’s strong research and high-end innovation culture.
Interests of Israel in India
- For Israel’s produced goods and technology, India is a huge market.
- As the only country in the world where Jews have not encountered anti-Semitism, India has long been regarded favourably by Israel’s inhabitants.
- There are several reports of Jews fleeing Hitler’s persecution seeking refuge in India, some of which are alleged to have been assisted by Nehru.
- The tiny Jewish community rose to prominence in a variety of sectors.
- Israel has many supporters in India because of its ability to prosper in the face of adversity during its brief history as an independent nation.
- India and Israel have collaborated in the past.
Collaboration between military forces
- In the fight against terrorism, India and Israel have expanded military cooperation as both countries face the prospect of increasing extreme terrorism and separatism.
- India is Israel’s largest customer of military equipment, while Israel is India’s second-largest defence supplier behind Russia.
- Border management, internal security and public safety, police modernization and capacity building for combatting crime, crime prevention, and cybercrime have all been constituted as working groups.
- Defence R&D: For the Indian Navy and Air Force, IAI is developing the Barak 8 missile, which can protect naval vessels and land infrastructure from aircraft and cruise missiles.
Collaboration in politics
- Defense and agriculture have become the two main cornerstones of bilateral engagement since the upgrading of relations in 1992.
- Under the Modi administration, political relations have improved significantly.
- Prime Minister Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel in 2017.
Cooperation in agriculture
- In the realm of agriculture, India has chosen Israel as a strategic partner (G2G).
- Based on a memorandum of understanding signed by Indian and Israeli agriculture ministers in 2006, the Indo-Israel Agricultural Project (IIAP) was established under the Indo-Israel Action Plan.
- The goal of the alliance is to increase agricultural diversity, productivity, and water efficiency.
- India can learn a lot from Israel’s dryland agriculture. The Economic Survey 2016-17 advocated for Indo-Israeli collaboration in drip irrigation technology.
Collaboration in the field of business
- After China and Hong Kong, India is Israel’s third-largest Asian trading partner.
- In recent years, bilateral trade has expanded to include a variety of industries, including medicines, agribusiness, information and communications technology, and homeland security.
- India’s main exports to Israel are precious stones and metals, chemical products, textiles and textile articles, and so on.
- Chemicals and mineral products, base metals, machinery, and transportation equipment are all major imports from Israel. Potash is a major export from Israel to India.
Various deterrents in ties
- Bilateral trade and investment are still falling short of their potential: Bilateral trade (excluding military) peaked at around $5 billion in 2012, but has subsequently decreased to around $4 billion. Furthermore, bilateral trade has remained largely undiversified—diamonds and chemicals continue to account for the lion’s share of the pie.
- With only one direct flight from Mumbai three times a week and no direct flights from Delhi, connectivity between the two countries remains weak.
- Historical retreat: India’s unwavering support for a sovereign, independent, viable, and united Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side and at peace with Israel, as well as its pro-Arab posture, has been a sticking point.
- Limited interpersonal links and cultural differences: Israelis and Indians approach business in very different ways, making it difficult to be on the same page.
- India’s support for the Palestinian cause: Though formal links were established in 1992, India’s love for Palestine has resurfaced the ideological difference time and time again.
a path forward
- India’s foreign policy appears to be mostly influenced by strategic factors.
- Soft power diplomacy must be used to establish people-to-people relationships and increase economic benefits through robust inter-country tourism.
- The Indian and Israeli markets complement one another rather than compete with one another.
- A hypothetical quadrilateral with the United States and the United Arab Emirates might help this relationship fly to new heights.
4. Rani Gaidinliu
- The Indian Prime Minister praised the arrival of the country’s first goods train at Rani Gaidinliu Railway Station in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.
In depth information
Rani Gaidinliu’s Biography
- She was born in the present-day Tamenglong district of Manipur on January 26, 1915, and died in 1993.
- She was the spiritual and political head of the Rongmei tribe of Nagas (also known as Kabui).
- In Manipur, Nagaland, and Assam, she spearheaded an armed insurrection against the British.
- Gaidinliu joined the Heraka movement in 1927, at the age of 13, alongside her cousin Haipou Jadonang, with the goal of reviving the Naga tribal religion and creating Naga self-government (Naga Raj) to end British domination.
- She was captured when she was 16 years old in 1932 and sentenced to life in jail by the British overlords.
- The Naga independence fighter was imprisoned in different Northeastern jails between 1932 and 1947.
- She continued to work for the betterment of the community after her release in 1947.
- She died on February 17, 1993, in her hometown of Luangkao.
- She was the pinnacle of bravery and valour.
- Despite her restrictions, she was one of the few female political leaders who had exceptional courage during the colonial period.
Steps to pay tribute to her
- In recognition of her involvement in the war against the British, Jawaharlal Nehru dubbed her the “Daughter of the Hills” and bestowed the title “Rani” or queen on her.
- Her support to the liberation fight earned her the Tamara Patra award from the Indian government in 1972.
- In 1982, she was also awarded the Padma Bhushan.
- A commemorative postage stamp was issued in her honour by the Union government in 1996.
- In 1983, he received the Vivekananda Sewa Summan, and in 1991, he received the Stree Shakti Puraskar.
- In 1996, she was posthumously awarded the Bhagwan Birsa Munda Puraskar.
- In the same year, the Indian government released a commemorative stamp in her honour.
- In 2015, on the occasion of her 100th birthday, the Centre issued a Rs 100 commemorative coin.
- In 2016, the Indian Coast Guard commissioned the “ICGS Rani Gaidinliu” as a Fast Patrol Vessel.
- In Manipur’s Tamenglong district, the Union Home Minister recently lay the foundation stone for the ‘Rani Gaidinliu Tribal Freedom Fighters Museum.’
- On the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, India’s Prime Minister paid respect to Mahatma Gandhi.
In depth information
- Every year on January 30th, India commemorates Martyrs’ Day, or ‘Shaheed Diwas,’ to commemorate the nation’s founder, Mahatma Gandhi, and to pay tribute to the freedom fighters and warriors who gave their lives for their Motherland.
- On March 23, Martyrs’ Day is observed to honour liberation fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar.
- These three brave rebels were hanged by the British on this day in 1931 for assassinating British officer John Saunders in 1928.
- On January 30th, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was killed in the Birla House by Nathuram Godse after his evening prayers.
- The President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and all three Chiefs of the Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, and Navy) pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in Delhi every year on January 30.
UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 1st February 2022
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