Current Affairs -18th October 2019
GS Paper II, Paper III
What can India do to overcome the global slowdown?
The recent IMF World Economic Outlook Report slashes the global economic growth rate at just 3%, the lowest since the global year of financial crisis in 2008.
Causes of the amiss in the economy of India (our concern here)
- Mainly the economic critics and mandarins suggest that the US-China trade war and the trade policies of the western economies concentrated on “protectionism” is said to be the apex of the slackening growth.
- Since it’s the era of global integration, all economies get affected and India is one of the top victims of the spillover effects it causes.
- A flat global growth rate, as the recent WTO indication of 1.2%, down from 3% is pulling down the economy.
- The emerging market economies have no imperative to increase their productivity, hence downplaying the chance of slight growth.
- Since the 1991 policy makeovers, Indian counterpart has had bothersome effects not only through trade but through capital inflows and foreign investment.
- The Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) crisis has hit a blow to the flow of credit to the capital goods.
- There is a slump in the domestic market demand, a delayed tax exemption for corporate players and the burdening import tariffs have caused a crush in the social and economic capital.
What can India contribute to reverse the slowdown?
- India must now tap the Asian market and also utilize the access through the preferential market.
- In this context, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is an important initiative to integrate the value chains of the East-Asian countries.
- Increase domestic finance (public investment) and governance mechanisms and focus on reducing our cost of doing business.
- Avoid appreciation of the rupee factor to strengthen the domestic manufacturing industry, as rupee appreciation leads to import surplus and affects domestic production hitting the export sector.
- Avoid merger of banks and financial institutions to gear up financial instruments that feed rain during a drought in the market trends.
- We need to raise the tide in the manufacture and the industry front while we have since long survived on the paybacks of the service sector profits.
- Strive to localize the industries (esp. textile) that are flying to countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh due to domestic policies.
GS Paper I, Paper III
Greening the powerhouses
Climate change is still not integral to the Indian cities and towns despite the risk it poses.
What’s in the news?
The cities that are major contributors to the global distress due to climate change, indiscriminate carefree pollution and the lack of risk assessment to surpass these effects still pay no need to town planning designs centric around climate change to bear its pernicious effects.
In the recent C40 Cities initiative summit of mayors held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the admission of the cities contributing to an estimated 70% of the global carbon dioxide emissions with the high-risk region of the urban livelihoods that lie close to the coastline of about 90%, especially of rough storms.
The road for expeditious action
Cities generate over 80% of the world GDP and with the trend of urbanization, around 70 million people are estimated to be drawn to urban areas and therefore there is an urgency for the cities to draw effective action plans to the urban centres.
Efficient steps taken by various cities around the globe
- Switching to greener options to retrofit their infrastructure and energy efficiency pockets.
- Replacing the auto industry by introducing the electric vehicles on road.
- Banning of diesel emissions by incorporating better urban mobility like biking and public bicycle sharing system, smart bus service.
- Harvesting of super typhoons in new drainage tunnels that reuses rainwater to grow biodiversity.
- Betterment activities to ensure faster practice of biking, walking and urban mobility to improve infrastructure for the same.
Indian cities response to stimulus
At the C40 summit, Kolkata bagged an award for green mobility and Delhi has proposed to introduce 1000 electric buses on street, elimination of hazardous industrial chemicals, massive afforestation and a special task force for clean air.
- All cities and the national government or the mayors in- charge must show special interest in taking to innovation, technology and appropriate financing to mitigate, adapt and ameliorate floods, drought and heat islands.
- Incentivise eco-friendly design in urban governance to rely on the right technology and energy systems.
GS Paper II
NITI Aayog’s India Innovative Index 2019
Karnataka has bagged the rank of being the most innovative State in the NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index 2019. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, Haryana, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh follow in the rankings of the top major states.
What is the Index about?
- It is an index formulated on the holistic approach of building a tool to be used by the policymakers to identify the challenges to be addressed and the strengths to build on while designing the economic growth policies for the regions.
- It also promotes competitive federalism.
- Creates synergies between different stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem and India would shift to competitive good governance.
- It’s based on the average scores of two dimensions- Enablers and Performance.
The Enablers are the factors that underpin innovative capacities, grouped in five pillars: (1) Human Capital, (2) Investment, (3) Knowledge Workers, (4) Business Environment, and (5) Safety and Legal Environment.
The Performance dimension captures benefits that a nation derives from the inputs, divided into two pillars: (6) Knowledge Output and (7) Knowledge Diffusion.
Why the index?
The index presents the latest findings and highlights the regional catalysts and caveats for promoting innovation readiness.
The Report offers a comprehensive gist of the innovation ecosystem of 29 states and seven union territories. It also includes a section on state profiles covering 33 indicators looking at the different facets of innovation in India.
The index attempts to create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of the innovation environment of 29 states and 7 union territories in India and intends to perform the following three functions-
1) ranking of states and UTs based on their index scores,
2) recognizing opportunities and challenges, and
3) assisting in tailoring governmental policies to foster innovation.
Takeaways from the index report
- The index shows that the innovation ecosystem of the country is strong in south and western parts of India.
- Immediate provisions to broaden the learning levels and some policy imperatives at the national level to include efficient financing on research and development bag, improving the innovative abilities of the top rung institutions imparting better outputs in the innovation sector.
- Development of a collaborative platform consisting of all the stakeholders of innovation – innovators, researchers, and investors from the industry.
- Building a platform the innovators to present their inventions by tightening the linkages between the industry and academia.
- State-level: Broad key learning includes policymaking to seek innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Need to leverage the cluster-based development programs for a collaborative approach to ensure coordination.
- Industrial policies must abide by the standards of procuring the best inventions through cluster-based innovations for global competitiveness.
GS Paper II
Abolition of the Legislative Council of J&K
After 70 years of stifling discourses and settling panel for heated debates, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council, the upper house of the assembly was abolished as per Section 57 of the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019 that reduces the State to 2 Union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
Council and its contentious platform for debates
The Council has discussed major bills like the autonomy resolution, resentment bill, discussion of the Delhi agreement of 1952, Delhi-Srinagar Accord 1985, Land to Tiller laws, etc.
The Council was also a part of the electoral college for the Rajya Sabha elections.
Directions post abolition of the Council
- The Secretary of the Council has been asked to transfer all the records pertaining to the Council Secretariat and the affairs of the legislative business to the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
- The term of the 22 current MLCs has also come to an end.
- All staff members of the Council shall report to the General Administration Department on October 22, 2019.
- J&K and Ladakh will become Union Territories from November 1, 2019.
J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019
The Bill reorganises the state of Jammu and Kashmir into:
(i) the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and
(ii) the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
The Union Territory of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.