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1. The commerce and industry ministry has outlined its new priorities. The priorities include firming up a district-wise industrial investment plan. What was the reason for shift in priorities and change of plan. What are the main objectives of the new plan?

The Hindu

Commerce Ministry has said that the ministry is looking at certain measures to rev up country’s exports in a “shortest possible time” and will also strive to address the issues facing exporters post GST. Exports to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio of India has to improve substantially as the outbound shipments have a great ability to generate economic activity.

Main objectives of district-wise industrial investment plan:

Following are the objectives:

  •  Firming up a district-wise industrial investment plan to help boost the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP.
  •  Improving India’s economic diplomacy to spur exports and investments.
  •  Addressing challenges being faced by exporters owing to the Goods and Services Tax.
  •  Integrating India’s exports into the global supply chain.
  •  Improving logistics to reduce transaction costs of exporters.
  • Bringing out an agricultural export policy.

Reasons for change in priorities and change of plan:

  • District-wise plan for boosting investments in manufacturing and other sectors.
  •  Every investor makes their investments in districts, and then base their decisions on factors including the district’s human resources, natural resources and the law and order situation.

Way forward:

  • There should be a re-evaluation of the ‘Make In India’ initiative to find out ways to revitalize manufacturing.
  • There is a need to  lay emphasis not only on the ‘Make in India’ initiative but also on ‘Design In India’ for attracting investments.

2. The government has constituted a new task force led by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to recommend measures to increase employment by promoting labour-intensive exports. Why was there a need to set up the committee? Discuss the key strategies of the new committee. Why is there a shift in the policy? Discuss.

The Hindu

About the task force:

  • The task force by NITI Aayog would propose an action plan to create well-paid, formal sector jobs and alleviate underemployment in both goods and services sectors.
  • Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish.

Reasons for setting up a new panel:

Following are the reasons:

  • While the Indian workforce has high aspirations, a majority of the workers are still employed in low-productivity, low-wage jobs in small, micro and own-account enterprises.
  • An urgent and sustained expansion of the organized sector is essential to address India’s unemployment and underemployment issue.

What is the key strategy of the panel? Why is there a shift in the policy?

Following is the main strategy and reason for change in policy:

  • The most important strategy is to enable a shift towards more labour-intensive goods and services that are destined for exports.
  • Given the importance of exports in generating jobs, India needs to create an environment in which globally competitive exporters can emerge and flourish.
  • The committee has been asked to submit its report by November 2017

Q 3- The recent killing of journalist again raised the question on freedom of press. In this context discuss the problems that Indian press is facing? What need to be done for securing freedom of press?

Ans’·   The killing again raised the question on freedom of press and challenges that Indian press is facing in present scenario.

What are the challenges that Indian press is facing today?

Press is the fourth pillar of democracy, but in the largest democracy of the world it is facing serious challenges.

  •         Freedom of press: Instances like in the case of NDTV shutdown for reporting during Pathankot attack, weak whitsle –blower protection act, defamation suits etc have restricted the freedom of press.
  •         Paid News, a nexus between media persons and politicians seems to have taken firm roots in India.
  •         The Election Commission is reported to have identified more than 1,400 cases of paid news between 2009 and 2013.
  •         Biasness of reporters, editors etc have dented the image of news channels and newspapers.
  •         Corporate and political lobbying and ownership
  •         Yellow journalism: Unnecessary sensationalisation of issues to fetch TRP meddles with the real content of news.
  •         Weak regulation: only a self regulating body like PCI(Press Council of India) has little power or legislative backup to regulate the press.
  •         Advent of social media; Competition for instant and quick news and reporting without first checking the facts.
  •         Media trials: Often media declares the verdict immediately after an allegation. This is contempt of court and also violates right to reputation of an accused who later gets evicted.

What need to be done for securing freedom of press?

  •         The Supreme Court is the “Upholder and Protector of the Constitution. It is essential that proper reform is brought about by way of Legislation or Precedent by the SC to ensure the legitimcy of news and the “Freedom of the Press”.
  •         A regulatory body comprising both of media persons and government bodies should be established to give media a fair play and check its arbitrariness at the same time.
  •         Reform should come from within the media especial from senior editors and journalists. They should start exposing cases of fake news, conflict of interest, making the working of press more transparent.
  •         The legislative backup for PCI to give it more power for regulation is also required.

Conclusion:

  •         In a developing country like India the press have a great responsibility to fight against backward ideas like casteism and communalism, and other social evils.
  •         Large section of the people in India are backward and ignorant, so it is necessary that modern ides are brought to them and their backwardness removed so that they become part of enlightened India. The free and fearless press plays a key role here.

 

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