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9 PM for Main examination
- Structural injustices in Bollywood
- Concerns related to Sub-National Fiscal Policy
- More sabre-rattling, more isolation
- Is reservation policy being undermined?
- In stand-off, keeping an eye on the nuclear ball
9 PM for Preliminary examination
1.Structural injustices in Bollywood
Source – The Hindu
Syllabus – GS 1 – Social empowerment
Context – The debates on nepotism also reveals other structural injustices in the industry.
Structural injustices in the industry
- Conventional culture network within the industry is leading way for absence of social diveristy.
- Bollywood’s middle-class bias has pushed away the poor audience
- Nepotism– After the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, there are allegations that certain powerful elites decide the flow of the industry’s economy and also distribute the privileges without much concern for professional ethics.
- Cinema is not the mirror of society– The mainstream narratives of the films represent the taste and values of the social elites and visibly neglect the life stories of the Dalit-Bahujan-Adivasi world.
Implications of these injustices –
- Favouritism kills talent– Such an atmosphere undermines creative instincts and a robust respect for artistic talent. It shows its limitation in breaking the clutch of commercial logic and has failed to produce cinema that can be honoured at the global level for its creative motifs.
- Social exclusion because of social elites– Even if issues related to marginalised are represented on –screen (Sujata, Ghulami, Mrityudand, Manjhi, Article 15, etc.), the industry has to operate according to the emotive and psychological concerns of the social elites.
Way Forward – When we are discussing the ills of nepotism in Bollywood, these partner maladies also need equal diagnosis so that a more comprehensive cure can be prescribed.
2.Concerns related to Sub-National Fiscal Policy
Source – Livemint
Syllabus –GS 2 – Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Context – India’s fiscal responsibility rules for states might need a relook in post-corona world.
Facts related to State’s Borrowing in India
Dated Securities– State Development Loans – SDLs are basically dated securities (original maturity of one year or more) and they are auctioned by the RBI through the Negotiated Dealing System (NDS).
Guarantor of SDL – Union government acts as the guarantor of loan taken by states.
Borrowing rates of SDL are dependent on –
Demand-supply of Government securities – For instance, if union government is borrowing highly than the interest rate charged from states for SDL will be considerably higher.
Liquidity in market – When RBI injects liquidity than interest rate is lower compared to when RBI decreases liquidity from market.
Limits on borrowing – Like centre is restricted under FRBM Act to borrow upto a certain limit, similar restriction has been imposed on states to for fiscal prudence.
Figure 1 – Concern related to limited borrowing
The reduced capital expenditure has following implications–
Way Forward – States are at the frontline of our development efforts and may need greater flexibility in borrowing to achieve their goals. Thus, the fiscal relation between state and union government demands a revisit to empower states to fight the battle with adequate resources.
3.More sabre-rattling, more isolation
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: Chinese muscularity in the South China Sea is leading to a growing chorus of protest
The South China Sea (SCS): It has been a transit point for trade since early medieval times containing rich fisheries and is a repository of mineral deposits and hydrocarbon reserves.
- The Philippines invoked the dispute settlement mechanism of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2013 to test the legality of China’s ‘nine-dash line’ regarding the disputed Spratly islands.
- The PCA verdict:
- Undermined Chinese claim: It held that none of the features of the Spratly qualified them as islands and there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights and to the resources within the ‘nine-dash line’.
- The UNCLOS provides that islands must sustain habitation and the capacity for non-extractive economic activity. Reefs and shoals that are unable to do so are considered low-tide elevations.
- Violated Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): It noted that China had aggravated the situation by undertaking land reclamation and construction and had harmed the environment and violated its obligation to preserve the ecosystem.
- China dismissed the judgment as “null and void.”
Issues in South China Sea:
- Accepted status quo: The Philippines did not press for enforcement of the award due to the power equations.
- China agreed to settle disputes bilaterally and to continue work on a Code of Conduct with countries of the ASEAN.
- Growing discontent with China: ASEAN are seeking political insurance, strengthening their navies and deepening their military relationships with the United States.
- Strengthening their power:
- Vietnam has added six Kilo-class Russian-origin submarines to its navy.
- Japan is partially funding the upgradation of the Indonesian coast guard.
- Indonesia and the Philippines are in early stages of exploring procurement of the BrahMos missile from India.
- Growing Chinese muscularity: It is visible in the increased patrolling and live-fire exercising by Chinese naval vessels and building of runways, bunkers and habitation for possible long-term stationing of personnel on the atolls claimed by China.
- Chinese exploration: Chinese exploration and drilling vessels compete aggressively with those of other littoral countries in the disputed waters.
- Increase protest by other countries:
- Indonesia protested to China about Chinese vessels trespassing into its waters close to the Nantua islands, towards the south of the SCS.
- The Philippines protested to China earlier this year about violations of Filipino sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.
Options for India and Way Forward:
- India is the fulcrum of the region between West and East Asia and between the Mediterranean and the SCS.
- Stakes of India: The SCS carries merchandise to and from India.
- Defence diplomacy outreach: India must continue to actively pursue this in the Indo-Pacific region by:
- Increasing military training and conduct exercises and exchanges at a higher level of complexity
- Extend Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief activities
- Share patrolling of the Malacca Strait with the littoral countries, etc.
- The Comprehensive Strategic Partnerships that India has concluded with Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the U.S., and Vietnam could be extended to Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.
- India must also buttress the military capacity of the tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command.
- These areas have immense geo-strategic value as they overlook Asia’s maritime strategic lifeline and hence India cannot afford to continue undervaluing one of its biggest assets.
4.Is reservation policy being undermined?
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS-2 Government policies and interventions
Context: The reservation policy has been undermined off late by recent developments and government policies.
Reservation: Reservation in India is provided as a form of affirmative action acting as a positive discrimination, which means reserving access to seats in the government jobs, educational institutions, and even legislatures to certain sections of the population such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
- Article 15 (4):It allows State to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
- Article 16 (4):It allows State to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
- Article 16 (4A):It allows State to make any provision for reservation in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
- Article 335: It recognises that special measures need to be adopted for considering the claims of SCs and STs in order to bring them to a level-playing field.
Benefits of Reservation- Statistics:
- In the Central Administrative Services, SCs reached 14% of the Class C in 1984, 14.3% of the Class B in 2003 and 13.3% of the Class A in 2015.
- In the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), their proportion rose from 14.6% in 2004 to 18.1% in 2014.
- SCs’ literacy rate increased from 21.38% in 1981 to 66.1% in 2011.
Other Backward Classes:
- In 2013, OBCs represented 8.37% of the Class A in the Central Government Services, 10.01% of Class B and 17.98% of Class C.
- Their percentage in the CPSEs increased from 16.6% in 2004 to 28.5% in 2014.
How has the reservation policy been undermined recently?
Employment in Government jobs:
- The total number of employees has dropped so dramatically between 2003 and 2012, from 32.69 lakh to 26.30 lakh in the Central Government Services that the number of Dalits benefiting from reservations has been reduced by 16% from 5.40 lakh to 4.55 lakh.
- In CPSEs the number of OBCs benefiting from reservations had increased from 14.89 lakh in 2008 to 23.55 lakh in 2012, however, it has dropped to 23.38 lakh in 2013.
- There are concerns that new Public Sector Enterprises Policy (PSEP) and consequent privatization would further undermine reservation for SC, ST and OBCs.
Lateral Entry in Bureaucracy: Reservations have also been undermined by lateral entry in to the bureaucracy. In February 2019, 89 applicants were short listed (out of 6,000 candidates from the private sector) for filling 10 posts of Joint Secretary, however, quotas did not apply.
Supreme Court judgements:
- Reservation in Universities:The Supreme Court upheld Allahabad high Court judgement under which, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was allowed to issue a notification in 2018, which sought to shift the unit of provision of reservations from a university as a whole to the departmental level. This reduced the quantum of reserved seats and restricted the entry of lower castes in smaller departments.
- Reservation in job promotion as a Fundamental Right:In February 2020, the Supreme Court overturned a 2012 Uttarakhand High Court verdict, and ruled that reservation in job promotions was not a fundamental right.
Educational Fund cuts: Funds earmarked for Dalit education in the Indian budgets were reduced in 2014-2019. As a result, scholarship funds were cut drastically. According to S K Thorat, nearly five million Dalit students have been affected by this reduction and delays in payment.
Conclusion: The implementation of reservation policy has been a function of the political clout of Dalits and OBCs. The backward castes and classes gained when caste-based parties were in a position to put pressure on the governments.
5.In stand-off, keeping an eye on the nuclear ball
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: GS 2- India and its neighborhood- relations.
Context: There is growing evidence that China continues to expand its nuclear arsenal despite domestic and external challenges.
- Planned Modernization of nuclear arsenals: China fears the multi-layered missile defense capabilities of the United States.
- It is arming its missiles with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) capabilities to neutralize America’s missile shield such as DF-31As.
- The Peoples Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) also fields a range of Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs) and Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBMs).
- According to the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), China is estimated to possess 2.9+-0.6 metric tonnes of Weapons-grade Plutonium (WGP) compared to India’s 0.6+-0.15 tonnes.
Concerns due to increasing China’s nuclear arsenal:
- Expansionist mode: The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) observes that China’s nuclear arsenal has risen from 290 warheads in 2019 to 320 warheads in 2020.
- Motivation: The Chinese state mouthpiece has recently called for a 1,000-warhead nuclear arsenal to match U.S. and Russian nuclear force levels.
- Nuclear powered neighbourhood: India also has to contend with a nuclear-armed Pakistan. As per SIPRI, India has roughly 150 nuclear warheads with the Pakistani are slightly ahead with 160 warheads.
- Effect on conventional military escalation: The conventional military balance between Indian and Chinese forces along the LAC presents significant challenges for India as nuclear weapons give Beijing considerable coercive leverage. Beijing could commit further aggression under the cover of its nuclear arsenal.
- Nuclear signaling:Beijing is communicating that an escalatory response from New Delhi will incur punitive responses with China mounting aggressive military action at several points along the LAC.
- The Chinese nuclear arsenal could serve as an instrument of coercion under which the PRC could press ahead with a limited aims war.
- The PRC is believed to base a part of its nuclear arsenal in inland territories such as in the Far-Western Xinjiang Region, which is close to Aksai Chin.
- China’s land-based missiles are primarily road mobile and could play a key role in any larger conventional offensive of PLA against Indian forces along the LAC.
- India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) needs to be on a heightened state of alert to ward off Chinese nuclear threats and brinkmanship as well as geared to support India’s conventional forces.
- India should start seriously assessing its extant nuclear doctrine and redouble efforts to get a robust triadic capability for deterrence.
9 PM for Preliminary examination
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