- The jute industry faces a number of issues which hinder it from reaping benefit from plastic bans across different states in India
- Major issues with jute cultivation and jute industry:
- Decrease in quality of raw jute
- Continuous decrease in land under jute cultivation- according to Union Textile Ministry, there has been a 9.5% drop in area under jute cultivation
- Further, since raw jute prices is below support price in 2017-18, it is estimated that area under cultivation may further decrease or stagnate in 2018-19
- Primitive labour intensive cultivation methods, retting (drenching raw jute in water to extract fibre) create problems
- Jute industries have not upgraded their technology and are dependent on government support like packaging reservations. Only limited number of industries has diversified into non-packaging sector
- Initiatives taken:
The Jute Foundation” (TJF)
- They have been trying to engage all stakeholders (farmers, mill workers, research organizations and consumers) for revival of jute industry and promote use of jute.
- They have been working with Indian Jute Research Association to introduce thin and slim jute bags so as to compete with the plastic bags
- It is a programme launched by National Jute Board and Jute Corporation of India
- It has launched a pilot project on retting technology which aims a increasing farmer’s returns
- Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has notified that it will give priority to locally produced cyber-security products where intellectual property rights are owned by companies or start-ups incorporated or registered in India
- In India, IP Registration is not mandatory. However, a firm which claims benefit should have the right to use, modify and commercialize the product without third-party consent.
- The notification is based on Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order 2017. The Order aims to enhance income and employment in the country
- The mandate is expected to promote indigenous cyber-security products and protect India’s information space and yield economic benefits
Recently, The RBI has advised the states to be cautious that are planning to shift to cash transfers
- At present, three UTs- Puducherry, Chandigarh and urban areas of Dadra and Nagar Haveli are implementing the mode of cash transfer
- However, Puducherry has approached the Centre to permit to return back to the old system of supplying rice after there have been complaints about poor facing difficulty to get rice
- Advantages of DBT:
- Cash transfers reduce the need for physical movement of food grains
- It provides greater autonomy to beneficiaries to choose their consumption basket
- Important for reducing leakages in the public distribution system (PDS)
- Issues in implementing DBT
In a report on state finances, RBI has highlighted the following problems:
- Inadequacy of transfers to maintain pre-DBT consumption levels
- Insufficiency of last mile delivery mechanism
- Weak grievance redressal mechanism
- Pre-conditions to be taken prior to DBT execution
- Complete digitisation and de-duplication of beneficiary database
- Seeding of bank account details and Aadhaar number in the digitised database
According to a recent study, there has been a decline in population of Harrier birds at their roosting sites in India
- The harrier bird is a migratory raptor species. The Harrier birds in winter migrate from Central Asia to the grasslands in the Indian subcontinent
- In India, at least five species of harrier birds have been recorded over the years. India has one of the largest roosting sites in the world for Pallid harriers and Montagu’s Harriers
- Out of 16 Harrier species, 2 are listed as endangered by IUCN
- Key highlights of the study:
- The study was conducted on 6 of the 15major roosting sites in India
- The researchers collated published data, unpublished accounts and field research to analyse population trends of the birds since 1980s
- The study shows a general decline in all the monitored sites. However, there has been a dramatic decrease at the Rollapadu Bird sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh
- The study further points put the there has been no substantiate decrease in harrier population in Central Asia. According to the study, the possibility of the birds migrating to different roosting place is unlikely
- Reasons for Decline:
- Loss of grasslands due to urbanization or agriculture-Out of 15 roosting sites surveyed, 8 do not exist as grasslands and only 5 are protected
- Excessive use of pesticides in farms near roosting sites has led to decline in grasshoppers which are primary food for harriers. Further, pesticides might have poisoned the harriers
- According to recent study, habitat destruction of golden jackals has led to man-animal conflict in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh
- The conservation status of golden jackals is ‘least concerned’. The animal preys on wild crabs and fish
- The study shows that due to destruction of mangrove forest in Bandar Reserve Forest (BRF), golden jackals have been moving out its habitats. This has led to man-animal conflict.
- In 2017, the Vigilance Authorities had recommended the State government to provide 24, 363 acres under the BRF and BRF extension (I to IV) to the forest Department for protection. However, not much has been achieved in this regard
- C. Raj kumar of OP Jindal University observes that corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding shoulding be made available for universities in India.
- The companies Act, 20113 introduced the Corporate Social Responsibility.
- According to ministry of corporate Affairs in data, in 2015-16 out 5097 companies only 3118 companies made some contribution towards CSR expenditure.
- During fil 2014-15, 3139 companies had spent 74% of the prescribed CSR expenditure.
- Issues with CR
- Lack of strategic thinking and innovation in CSR
- Companies have taken CSR a charitable Endeavour and have not understood its goals.
- Issues with funding in the Higher Education sector
- Public universities in India are highly dependent on the govt. for its funding. This has limited its capacity for funding.
- Access to funds is a major problem due to complex procedures, delays and regulatory obstacles.
- Universities do not have the flexibility to the speed resources according to their need and prioniters.
- There is limited philanthropy. Further, banks and financial institutions have not made much funding is higher education
- Private higher education institutions are mediocre in avidity and are profit driven
- Role of Cooperate Sector in Higher Education
- Narayan Murthi committee Report:
- It acknowledges the role of private initiatives in higher education sector. It had made the following recommendations
- Free land for 999 years
- 300% deduction in taxable incomes to companies for contributing towards boosting higher education
- 10 years multiple entry visas for foreign research scholars
- RS 1000 crore scholarship fund (with tax exemption for corporate sector contributions) to promote greater accessibility of higher education to the underprivileged
- Way Ahead
- Reexamination of budgetary resources to higher education
- Policy interaction to ensure funding from banks and financial institutions
- MHRD should worth in cooperation with MCA to incentivize CSR funding to higher education institutions
- Ensure transparency in the system and promote robust institution building.
- The Govt. has been planning a proposal to impose additional charges on airlines for operating flights during peak hours.
2. Current provisions
- At present, leading fees paid by the airlines are determined by the aircraft. It does not vary according to the time of the day
- Airlines are awarded slots for summer and winter schedules on a first-come-first basis and also historicity of slots.
3. Peak-hour pricing- Heathrow Airport case study
- Heathrow introduced peak hour pricing in 1972 to check air traffic congestion.
- It further levies a steep penalty on airlines that fail to be punctual.
4. Rationale behind peak hour pricing
- The move will spread demand throughout the day
- It would help reduce air traffic congestion
- It would enhance airport capacity
- It would help avoid flight delays.
- Airlines have criticized the proposal and opined that this would not help n reducing air traffic congestion. It would only impose additional charge on airlines holding peak hour slots.
6 .The Airport Authority of India has appointed a consultancy firm to prepare a national strategy for airport development. The plan would be prepared to cater to the growth in traffic demand in next 30 years.
7. India is the 7th country to adopt Central Traffic Air Flow management system (C-ATFm)
- The system uses sophisticated computers to calculate exactly where are aircraft will be at any when moment. It also predicts when the demand for airspace or airport is exceeding the declared capacity
- This ensures predictability of operations and help airlines to save cost by burning fuel due to delays.