UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 5th February 2022
- Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
- The budget and pandemic
- Delinking Depsang
- The Graphene Innovation Centre
1.Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
#GS1-Art and Culture
- Pandit Bhimsen Joshi celebrated his 100th birthday on February 4th.
In depth information
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s Biography
- Born in the Karnataka district of Gadag on February 4, 1922.
- He was the supreme Hindustani vocalist because of his tremendous voice, amazing breath control, fine musical perception, and firm command of the foundations.
- Career in Music:
- Because he mixes melody and dexterity, he became the most popular artist of the Kirana Gharana.
- Abdul Karim Khan, Sawai Gandharva’s teacher, was a pioneer and originator of the Kirana Gharana.
- Kirana Gharana takes its name from a tiny town in Uttar Pradesh called Kerana. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan established it.
- The Kirana Gharana placed a premium on melody over rhythm.
- Shuddha Kalyan, Miyan Ki Todi, Puriya Dhanashri, Multani, Bhimpalasi, Darbari, Malkauns, Yaman, Asavari Todi, Miyan Ki Malhar, and others are some of the most well-known ragas.
- Bhimsen’s melodious film songs include ‘Ketaki Gulab Juhi’ with Manna Dey in Basant Bahar (1956), and ‘Raghubar Tumako Meri Laaj’ and ‘Thumak Thumak Pag Dumak Kunj Madhu’ for Amol Palekar’s Ankahee (1985), for which he won the National Award for playback singing.
- During the 1960s, he also composed songs for a number of Marathi plays, and during the 1970s, he became well-known for his devotional songs.
- However, his most known rendition to date is of the Doordarshan song ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ from the 1980s.
He has received the following honours:
- Padma Shri (1972), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani vocal music (1975), Padma Bhushan (1985), and Madhya Pradesh government’s “Tansen Samman” in 1992 were among the awards he received.
- In 2008, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna.
- He died on the 24th of January, 2011.
A Graduate Degree is held by over 2 crore persons who have signed up for the Centre’s portal for unorganised sector workers.
In depth information
- The Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) inaugurated the E-Shram web platform on August 26, 2021, with the goal of building a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW) that will be seeded with Aadhaar.
- It aims to register 398-400 million unorganised employees and furnish them with an E-Shram card.
- It’s better to be late than never to move.
- It happened despite the Supreme Court of India’s constant prodding.
- It is the product of government indifference.
- Much of the suffering of lakhs of vulnerable people could have been prevented if the Central and State governments had started these legally mandated processes on time.
- In fact, the political elite owes informal labourers a “apology.”
1.Limitations on time
- Long procedure: Due to the massive nature of enrolling each worker, this will be a lengthy procedure.
- There is no mention of a gestation period to evaluate the government’s strategy and efficiency.
2.No hurried procedure:
- Employers are encouraged or forced to register their employees.
- While the government can appeal to them, any punitive action will make doing business more difficult.
3.Pandemic conceals itself.
- Using the anticipated 380 million workers as the universe of registration — a questionable assumption given that the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced thousands of workers into informality.
- Data security, including potential abuse, is a major concern for e-portals, especially when dealing with large databases.
- There is currently no national framework in place: There have also been media publications highlighting the lack of a national data security infrastructure.
5.Local server issues:
- It has been claimed that the server was down for a few days in various states, including Maharashtra.
A structural problem
Seeding of Aadhaar:
- Many workers would lack an Aadhaar-enabled phone or even a smartphone. Seeding Aadhaar is a contentious topic with political implications, particularly in the North-eastern districts.
- There are various concerns with regard to a person’s eligibility to register, as well as definitional issues.
- By removing workers covered by EPF and ESI from the UW universe, lakhs of contract and fixed-term contract workers will be left out. Hazardous establishments with even a single employee must be covered by the ESI, which means these workers will be excluded as well.
There are no perks for the elderly:
- Millions of workers above the age of 59 are excluded from the NDUW, which is age discrimination.
Workers’ identities are complicated.
Circular migrant workers:
- Many are circular migrant workers who shift from one trade to another swiftly and unpredictably.
- Many others do both formal and informal work, and some may work in the gig economy, such as as an Uber cab driver or a Swiggy employee, during non-office hours. They work in both formal and casual settings.
- Although MOLE has included gig workers in this procedure, it is uncertain if the gig/platform worker can be defined as a worker in the first place.
Dependence on States:
- For this project to succeed, the federal government will have to rely on state governments.
Lack of coordination:
- In many states, the social dialogue among stakeholders, in particular, is either non-existent or very weak. Apart from trade unions, the project’s success is contingent on the participation of a wide range of stakeholders.
- Corruption is a worry because middle-service businesses, such as Internet providers, could demand high fees to register and print E-Shram cards.
- In the medium to long term, workers will benefit from registration.
- However, the immediate benefit of accident insurance up to 0.2 million for registered workers is hardly enticing.
- The key draw is the benefits they stand to earn in both regular and crisis situations, such as the current new coronavirus pandemic, which the government must properly disseminate.
a path forward
- E-Shram is a critical mechanism that gives previously unseen labourers much-needed visibility.
- It will give them a copy of the Labour Market Citizenship Document.
- The government could take one step further and link the One-Nation-One-Ration Card (ONOR), E-Shram Card (particularly bank account seeding), and Election Commission Card for efficient and leakage-free delivery of all kinds of benefits and voices to workers/citizens.
- Last but not least, a person’s registration cannot be used to prevent them from getting social assistance or benefits.
3.The budget and pandemic
- The budget deficit for 2022-23 is greater than the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s recommendation. When we look at the path of consolidation, however, we can see that it is leading to a reduction in the fiscal deficit.
In depth information
The budget prioritises capital expenditures.
- Capex is expected to rise by Rs 3.14 lakh crore in this fiscal year’s Union budget, compared to the previous fiscal’s estimated figures.
- Private and household investments are likely to be reactive to the broader economic environment, given the economy’s savings-investment profile and macroeconomic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Obtaining a strong and long-term recovery:
Making capital investments in such uncertain times is a far higher priority for the government, and it is equally necessary for obtaining a strong and long-term recovery from the epidemic.
- Gross fixed capital formation by the general government (Centre and states) increased as a percentage of GDP from 3.48 in 2011-12 to 3.82 in 2019-20, according to National Accounts data, while other sectors, particularly households, saw their share fall from 15.75 percent to 11.39 percent during the same period.
- The post-pandemic budgets’ budgetary attitude of increasing capital investment, particularly the budget for 2022-23, is anticipated to boost the general government’s share of overall capital formation even more.
States play a key role:
it is also crucial to recognise that states fund two-thirds of the federal government’s capital expenditure, and the offer of Rs 1 lakh crore in interest-free loans to states to boost public investment is a big move in this direction.
- Because states account for a larger proportion of the country’s public capital spending, successful absorption of this new borrowing facility will be crucial for increased public investment.
On the subject of fiscal consolidation, there are three basic patterns to consider.
Increase in taxes:
- The Rs 5.71 lakh crore increase in taxes between 2020-21 (the first year of the epidemic) and 2022-23 demonstrates that the fiscal constraints have lessened, but they remain as we navigate economic recovery in unpredictable times.
Revenue deficit reduction:
- Between 2020-21 and 2022-23 (BE), the revenue shortfall was reduced significantly, from 7.3 percent to 3.8 percent of GDP.
The revenue deficit continues to dominate the fiscal deficit:
- The revenue shortfall continues to account for more than 55% of the fiscal deficit, and the management of such a deficit is limited to interest payments and allocation under various government sponsored and central sector programmes.
CSS’s role in the revenue deficit:
- As of 2022-23 (BE), the aggregate allocation under centrally sponsored and central sector schemes (CSS) is Rs 3.83 lakh crore, while the Union government’s interest payment cost is Rs 9.56 lakh crore.
- Beyond scheme-specific allocations, CSS allocation should be viewed as a macro-fiscal management issue at the Union and state levels, particularly when it contributes to the central government’s high revenue deficit and binds state resources for matching contributions, thereby increasing states’ deficits.
Recognizing the path of fiscal consolidation
- The budget deficit for 2022-23 is greater than the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s recommendation.
- When we look at the path of consolidation, however, we can see that it is leading to a reduction in the fiscal deficit.
- Though the fiscal storey is focused on aiding recovery in the medium term, it is also true that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to fiscal reduction and debt sustainability.
- In an unprecedented period like this, the direction of fiscal consolidation rather than a specific quantifiable path is arguably the most relevant consideration.
#GS2-Bilateral agreements involving India
- General M.M. Naravane, the Indian Army Chief, claimed in a recent television interview that “five or six friction points (in Ladakh) have been handled.”
In depth information
Ladakh’s friction spots
- The Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), through regular patrols to the claimed territories, exert control over the ‘friction spots,’ which are places of Chinese entrance into formerly India-controlled territory in Ladakh.
- Depsang, Galwan, Hot Springs, Gogra, North bank of Pangong Tso, Kailash Range, and Demchok are the ‘friction points.’
- By stating that only one of the friction points — Hot Springs or PP15 — needs to be fixed, Army Chief implied that Depsang isn’t one of them.
- This attempt to separate Depsang’s strategic importance from the ongoing Ladakh border dispute is concerning.
- Depsang is a flat-land enclave located in the Army’s Sub-Sector North (SSN) sector, which gives land access to Central Asia via the Karakoram Pass.
- The Army has traditionally seen the Depsang plains as the most vulnerable area in Ladakh, and has devised strategies to counter the big Chinese threat.
- The flat terrain of SSN’s Depsang, Trig Heights, and DBO — which allows direct access to Aksai Chin — is well adapted to mechanised warfare, but it is at the end of only one very lengthy and vulnerable communication axis for India.
- China, on the other hand, has a network of roads that give easy access to the region.
- SSN is now extremely vulnerable to PLA capture, with tens of thousands of square kilometres between the Karakoram Pass and Burtse likely to be lost.
- The PLA is unlikely to win that much territory in Ladakh in one fell swoop anywhere else.
- SSN is located to the east of Siachen, between the Pakistani-controlled Saltoro mountain and the Chinese-controlled Saser ridge.
- On paper, it’s the only site where Pakistan and China might engage in direct military cooperation — and the threat of a two-front conflict may materialise in the worst-case scenario.
- It will be practically impossible for India to mount a military operation to reclaim Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan if it loses this area.
The dangers of separating Depsang from the rest of the world
- Invalidation of Indian claims: The greatest risk of delinking Depsang from the current border problem in Ladakh is that it will bolster the Chinese position, invalidating India’s legitimate claim to a vast area of land.
- Regular patrolling is the only way to assert territorial claims in sparsely populated areas like Ladakh, where advance deployment of troops is limited.
- The Chinese side can assert that the blockade at Y-junction predates the current standoff — a ‘legacy issue’ that extends back years — and hence that Indian patrols never had access to the area, and thus that India has no genuine claim to the land.
- When it comes to preserving the land, as China demonstrated in the aftermath of the 1962 War, there should be no hesitation in adamantly asserting one’s claims.
5.The Graphene Innovation Centre
#GS2-India & Foreign Relations
- The Kerala government has announced the establishment of the country’s first Graphene Innovation Centre, which is a collaboration between Digital University of Kerala, the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), and Tata Steel Limited.
In depth information
- At a cost of Rs 86.41 crore, the India Innovation Centre for Graphene would be built in Thrissur.
- Graphene is a carbon atom layer that is one atom thick and organised in a hexagonal lattice.
- Graphene is the building unit of graphite, but it is a unique substance in and of itself, having a variety of extraordinary qualities.
- It is the world’s thinnest, most electrically and thermally conductive material, as well as the most flexible and robust.
- Because it only absorbs 2% of light, it is practically completely transparent.
- Due of its immense potential in the energy and medicinal fields, graphene is also known as a wonder substance.
- The initiative would provide a significant boost to both scientific research and the state’s industrial economy.
- The project’s fundamental infrastructure would be provided by the state government.
- The Centre would aid in attracting investors interested in developing graphene-based products.
- The planned Centre may efficiently use Kerala’s human resources wealth, assisting Kerala’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.
UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 5th February 2022
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