Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 27th September 2021

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1.  Maoist influence down from 96 to 41 districts: Home Ministry

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III – Internal Security
Sub Theme: Naxalism in India UPSC | Left wing extremism UPSC

Context: Addressing the review meeting on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) at New Delhi, Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit Shah said that LWE is one of the major internal security challenges faced by the Nation for the last several decades. However, there has been a sharp decline in influence of Maoists from 96 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts in 10 States in 2010 to 41 districts.

Important Highlights of the Meeting

  • Reduction in LWE Affected Districts – Owing to improved scenario, the number of SRE districts were reviewed twice in last 03 years with a reduction from 126 districts to 90 in Arpil-2018 and then to 70 in July-2021. The number of most LWE affected districts were also reduced from 35 to 30 in April-2018 and further reduced to 25 in July 2021.
  • Decrease in LWE Incidents and Deaths – Incidents of Left Wing Extremism have come down by 23 per cent, the number of deaths has come down by 21 per cent with death toll being less than 200 for the first time. The incidents have reduced from 2,258 in 2009 to 349 incidents till August 31 this year. The number of deaths reduced from 908 to 110 during the same period.
  • Welfare Programmes must reach to common people in LWE Affected Districts – In order to ensure that common people do not join LWE, complete development and decentralisation of power at the grass roots is necessary. Focus must be given on health, education and livelihood along with strengthening panchayats and implanting of Forest Rights Act.
  • Review Developmental Works at ground level – To tackle LWE in affected districts and review developmental process, the Chief Secretaries of the affected states should hold a review meeting with the DGPs and officers of central agencies at least every three months along with their Chief Ministers.
  • Neutralizing Financial Source – It is very important for LWE affected states to neutralize the sources of income of the Left Wing Extremists and for this, states and central agencies should work together by building pressure, increasing speed and ensuring better coordination.
  • Surrender by Extremists in North-East – Government of India has been successful in getting many extremist groups surrender and lay down arms, especially in the North East. So far, about 16,000 cadres have joined the mainstream of the society, including the Bodoland Pact, the Bru Pact, the Karbi Anglong Pact and the surrender by the insurgent cadres of Tripura.
  • Revised Categorisation of LWE Districts – To arrest the expansion plan of the CPI (Maoist) and also to restrict them to bounce back in the areas recently taken away from LWE influence, 8 districts have been categorized as ‘District of Concern’.

Grievances Raised by States  

  • Reducing Number of LWE Districts by Centre – Addressing the meeting, Jharkhand Chief Minister accused the Centre of slashing the number of LWE-affected districts in the State that could avail Rs. 33 crore under the Special Central Assistance (SCA) and Security Related Expenditure (SRA) scheme for infrastructure-related projects.
  • Centre to provide funds for deployment of Central Forces – As per norms, State governments have to reimburse the amount incurred on deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in a State. However, the CM of Jharkhand has asked the Home Ministry to write off a bill of Rs. 10,000 crore for deployment of central forces in Jharkhand and asked the government to take a decision not to send such bills to State governments in the future.
  • Survey on children from LWE areas clearing national level exam – Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanded that the Union Home Ministry should conduct a study on how many children from LWE affected areas across the country are able to clear national level exams such as NEET, IIT-JEE. The CM said that if our systems continue to bypass these areas, it is not going to help the cause of people of LWE affected areas.

STEPS INITIATED BY GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TO TACKLE LEFT WING EXTREMISM

CREATION OF LWE WING UNDER MHA – LWE Division was created in October, 2006 in the Ministry of Home Affairs to effectively address the Left Wing Extremist insurgency in a holistic manner.

  • The Division implements security related schemes aimed at capacity building in the LWE affected States.
  • The Division also monitors the LWE situation and various counter-measures taken by the affected States.
  • The LWE Division coordinates the implementation of various developmental schemes of central government with states affected with LWE.

LWE Division of MHA performs the following roles and functions:

  • Deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in LWE affected States.
  • Reimbursing security related expenditure incurred by the LWE affected States under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme.
  • Provides assistance to the State Governments for construction and strengthening of fortified police stations.
  • Provides funds to the CAPFs for Civic Action Programme in LWE affected areas.
  • Reviews the security situation in the LWE affected States and issues advisories to the State Governments concerned.
  • Provides assistance to State Governments towards capacity building to combat LWE.
  • Co-ordinates implementation of LWE related Schemes of other Central Ministries for LWE affected Districts.

SAMADHAN – Problem of LWE is extremely complex and multi-layered and requires a strategic, balanced and nuanced approach at various levels. Thus, the government is looking forward to a policy for short term, medium term and long term so as to cover all bases effectively. The government has proposed the concept of SAMADHAN which stands for

  • S –  Smart Leadership
  • A – Aggressive Strategy
  • M – Motivation and Training
  • A – Actionable Intelligence
  • D –  Dashboard Based KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KRAs (Key Result Areas)
  • H – Harnessing Technology
  • A – Action Plan for each Theatre
  • N – No Action to Financing

NATIONAL POLICY AND ACTION PLAN – To combat the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) menace in a holistic manner, the Government of India has formulated a National Policy and Action Plan since 2015, which envisages a multi-pronged approach comprising security, development and ensuring rights and entitlements of local communities etc. The significant features of the policy are zero tolerance towards violence coupled with a big push to developmental activities so that benefits of development reached the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas. Resolute implementation of National Policy and Action Plan has resulted in consistent decline in LWE violence and its geographical spread.

ENSURING SECURITY OF LWE AFFCTED AREAS – Pursuant to the Policy, Ministry of Home Affairs is supporting the State Governments for Capacity Building and strengthening of Security Apparatus by deployment of CAPF Battalions, provision of helicopters and UAVs and sanction of India Reserve Battalions (IRBs)/ Special India Reserve Battalions (SIRBs). Funds are also provided under Modernization of Police Force (MPF), Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme and Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) for modernization and training of State Police.

DEVELOPMENTAL ACTIVITIES – Apart from flagship infrastructure schemes of the Central Government, several development initiatives have been implemented for construction of roads, installation of mobile towers, skill development, improving network of banks and post offices, health and education facilities. For imparting quality education to the youth in areas affected by LWE, special focus is given to opening of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS). Total 234 EMRSs have been sanctioned for LWE affected districts, of these 119 are functional.

FUNDS UNDER SCA SCHEME – Funds for development are also provided to most LWE affected districts under Special Central Assistance (SCA) scheme which is a sub-scheme of the Umbrella Scheme, ‘Modernization of Police Forces’. The main objective of SCA Scheme is to fill the critical gaps in Public infrastructure and Services.

MOST AFFECTED DISTRICTS UNDER LWE – MHA had categorized certain districts as LWE affected and covered under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme for specific resource mobilization to the affected States for counter LWE measure. Of these SRE districts, the districts accounting for more than 85% of country-wide LWE violence and are categorized as ‘Most Affected Districts’ for focused deployment of resources – both security and development related.

CIVIC ACTION PROGRAMME – Under CAP, funds have been provided to CAPFs (CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB) for conducting various civic activities for welfare of local poor peoples in LWE affected areas. It helps in bridging the gap between the Security Forces and the local people and also increases people’s confidence in the security forces and the government.

GSI MAPPING – LWE Division initiated a new proposal of GIS mapping of the essential services in the 35 most affected LWE districts. A project has been initiated for mapping of financial services, school, post offices, health facilities, mobile towers, PDS services, Road and security features etc. In time bound manner.  This will help in taking informed decision on the developmental and security related issues.

STRENGTHENING PANCHAYATS – The Left Wing Extremism affected States have been asked to effectively implement the provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) on priority, which categorically assigns rights over minor forest produce to the Gram Sabha.

 

2.  Govt.-industry panel drives policy to revive manufacturing.

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III- Indian Economy
Sub Theme: Make in India- Initiatives, Challenges and Strategies UPSC | Make in India UPSC

The Indian manufacturing sector exhibits many peculiarities: first, it contributes small and stagnant share to GDP (17%) ; second, its composition is more skewed towards skill  and capital intensive activities;  third, only a small share of employment in manufacturing is in organized manufacturing (the unorganized manufacturing sector accounted for almost 70 per cent of total manufacturing employment); and fourth, employment is heavily concentrated in small firms.

Government Initiatives to boost Manufacturing

  • Make in India Action Plan: Increasing the manufacturing sector’s contribution to 25 per cent of GDP by 2020
  • National Manufacturing Policy 2011: Create 100 million additional jobs by 2022
  • Infrastructure: National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) , Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Industrial Corridors, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Sagarmala, Bharatmala etc.
  • Policy Initiatives: Recent changes in definition of MSMEs; Consolidation of labour laws into 4 Labour Codes; Reduction in Corporate tax rates; Increase in FDI limits on various sectors such as Defence, Public Procurement Policy etc.
  • Aatma Nirbhar Bharat– Vocal for Local and protection to domestic Industries through tariffs.
  • Schemes: Start-up India, Stand-up India, MUDRA, Schemes for development of MSMEs etc- National Manufacturing Competitiveness Program (NMCP), Zero Defect, Zero Effect etc.

Analysis of the “Make in India” campaign

The success of the “Make in India” campaign can be analyzed from three important economic parameters- Investment rates, Output Growth, and employment growth.

Investment rates: There has been decline in the overall capital investments in the manufacturing sector in the last 5 years. The investment rate within the Indian Economy has reduced from 31.3% in 2013-14 to 28.6% in 2017-18.

Output Growth:  The output growth of the manufacturing sector can be analyzed by looking at high frequency indicators such as Index of Industrial production. The IIP has registered double-digit growth rates only on two occasions between 2012 to 2019. The share of Manufacturing sector to GDP has also remained stagnant.

Employment Growth: The Unemployment within India has increased to 45-year high of 6.1% as highlighted by PLFS Report.

Reasons for the failure of ‘Make in India”

Poor Condition of the Financial Sector:  The NPAs of the Indian banks and liquidity crunch faced by the NBFCs has led to reduced credit creation within the Indian Economy.

Archaic labour laws: The archaic and outdated labour laws have led to higher compliance burden on the firms and disincentivized the private sector from investing in the manufacturing sector.

Problem of Missing Middle: The Manufacturing sector is basically dominated by a large number of small enterprises and a relatively a smaller number of large-scale manufacturing enterprises. There is almost near absence of mid-sized firms. Such a peculiar scenario is referred to as “Problem of Missing Middle”. This is basically attributed to the Government incentive structure and policies.

Skilled Human Resources:  As per census 2011, India has almost 53% of the population in the working-age group. However, in order to optimally utilize the demographic dividend, we need skilled human resources. The lack of availability of skilled human resources is considered to be a constraint for the manufacturing sector.

Logistics cost: The Logistics cost account for almost 12-14% of India’s GDP as compared to 8-9% in other countries.

Impact of FTAs: The FTAs signed by India with the developed economies such as Japan, South Korea etc. have led to import of cheaper foreign goods and hence adversely impacted the domestic manufacturing.

High Taxation: The Corporate tax rates within India was considered to be at least 50% higher as compared to other emerging economies. It was only recently that the Government has decided to reduce the corporate tax rates and bring them on par with the tax rates prevailing in other countries.

Technology adoption: The adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine-to-machine communications, robotics and related technologies, collectively called “Industry 4.0”, are a bigger challenge for SMEs than for organized large-scale manufacturing.

Other important reasons that could be attributed to the failure of “Make in India” are cumbersome land acquisition procedure, poor ease of doing business, greater amount of policy uncertainty, poor infrastructure etc.

Broad contours of New Manufacturing Policy

  • Focus on Coastal Economic zones (CEZs): Port-led Industrialisation by fast tracking implementation of CEZs. Setting up of Coastal SEZs in China such as Shenzhen enabled it to attract manufacturing companies from Taiwan and Hongkong; Need to replicate the same to attract the companies from China now.
  • Focus on Sunrise Sectors based on new-age technologies such as blockchain, robotics, machine learning, big data, AI etc to leverage opportunities created by Industrial Revolution 4.0.
  • Boosting Innovation through Start-Ups: Conducive ecosystem for nurturing and promoting start-ups through access to finance, handholding, tax incentives, access to market etc.
  • Attracting foreign Investment though Plug and Play Model: Under the plug-and-play model, the investors are provided with land at affordable cost with all the necessary pre-clearances including Environmental clearances. It would provide in-built office spaces and all the basic facilities such as Electricity, water etc. One of the biggest advantages of such a model is that it kickstarts the production as early as possible without any hurdles.  Some of the States such as Maharashtra, Haryana etc. have decided to adopt such a model to boost foreign Investment. This model needs to be replicated by the other states as well.
  • Facilitate Investment: Reforms in Public Sector Banks to enhance credit creation; Strengthen corporate Bond market; Improve financial position of NBFCs.
  • Government’s financial support to manufacturing clusters and provide single window clearances to entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Extend Product Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to other sectors.
  • Focus on Quality standards to boost exports: Task the Bureau of Indian Standards and Quality Council of India with assessing the improvements in standards and productivity required to achieve global standards.
  • Renegotiate FTAs to India’s advantage and address inverted duty structure.
  • Skilling India: Greater connect between government-industry-academia is required to identify the changing requirements in manufacturing and prepare an employable workforce. In the context of employability of engineers, there is a need for thorough review of standards of engineering education and its linkages with industry.

 

3. Delhi Metro earned ₹19.5 crore from the sale of carbon credits

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Environment and Biodiversity
Sub Theme: Carbon Credits UPSC

Context:

  • The Delhi Metro said it has earned ₹19.5 crore from sale of 3.55 million carbon credits collected over a period of six years from 2012 to 2018, in its bid towards gaining greater energy efficiency.

History: 

  • In 2007, Delhi Metro became the first Metro or Railway project in the world to be registered by the United Nations under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enabled it to claim carbon credits for its Regenerative Braking Project.

What is Clean development Mechanism?

 

  • It is defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol. 
  • It allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.
  • Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets.

 

  • Or in other words, It is a project-based Green House Gas (GHG) offset mechanism allowing the public and private sector in high-income nations the opportunity to purchase carbon credits from greenhouse gas emissions-reducing projects in low or middle-income nations as part of their efforts to meet international emissions targets under the Kyoto protocol.
  • CDM projects generate emissions credits called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), which are then bought and traded.
  • One CER is equal to one ton of CO2(eq) emission reduced.
  • The CDM helps to deliver sustainable development benefits to the host country.

4.  Beijing-Lhasa key road link completed

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: International Relations
Sub Theme: Beijing-Lhasa key road link | UPSC

Context: Continuing its infrastructure build-up in Tibet, China has completed a key section of the Beijing-Lhasa expressway, a 295-km stretch from Lhasa to Nagqu. This section is located at an average altitude of 4,500 metres above sea level, which Chinese state media have termed the world’s highest expressway.

  • The Beijing–Tibet Expressway, commonly abbreviated to Jingzang Expressway, also known as Beijing–Lhasa Expressway or China National Expressway 6, is part of the Chinese national expressway network and is planned to connect the nation’s capital, Beijing, to the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa.
  • The Lhasa-Nagqu section is part of the G6 Beijing-Lhasa expressway and is the first expressway linking Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region to north Tibet. It also connects the PLA’s Central Theatre Command with the Western Theatre Command which is responsible for the border with India.
  • The completed expressway will pass through seven major cities of China including Beijing, Hebei, inner Mangolia, Ningxia, Gansu, Qinghai and Lhasa with an approximate length of 3,710 km.
  • In June, China had launched a high speed bullet train connecting Lhasa with Nyingchi, a strategically located Tibetan town located close to Arunachal Pradesh.
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