9 PM Daily Brief – May 16th ,2020

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9 PM for Main examination

GS-1

  1. What are the issues with migrant housing in urban India?

GS-2

  1. Whether NEET is not student-friendly and merit-promoting?

GS-3

  1. Distressed Aviation Sector
  2. How the government is trying to free the farm sector from COVID-19?

9 PM for Preliminary examination

FACTLy


1.What are the issues with migrant housing in urban India?

Source:Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-1- Society- Urbanization

Context: The Central government has announced to create affordable rental housing for the urban poor and migrants. The scheme will be launched under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

Migration in India:

  • According to the recently released Census 2011 migration data, there are over 45.58 crore internal migrants in India.
  • UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP had the highest ‘outmigration’. Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat had the largest ‘in-migration’.
  • Marriage and employment were the major reasons for migration.

Housing Challenges for Labour Migrants:

  1. Affordable housing: Labour migrants face problem in finding affordable housing facilities in urban areas and end up living in slum clusters, unauthorised colonies or even in pavements.
  2. Congestion: Labour migrants live in cramped up spaces and share toilets where it becomes impossible to maintain personal hygiene.
  3. Tenancy Rights: Labour migrants are often denied of rental agreements or any form of tenancy rights.
  4. Proof of residence: The migrants inhabiting the tenements often receive no proof of residence, consequently no ration cards.
  5. Access to basic services: Migrants living in slums and squatter settlements lack access to basic services like clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

Steps taken:

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) – Housing for All Mission was launched on 25th June 2015.
  • The objective of the Mission is to provide Central assistance to implementing agencies through States/Union Territories (UTs) for providing houses to all eligible families/beneficiaries by 2022.

Components of the scheme:

  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource
  • Promotion of Affordable Housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS)
  • Affordable Housing in Partnership with Public & Private sector
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.

Recent announcement:

  • The government has said that both public and private agencies will be incentivised to build rental housing on government and private land.
  • The existing government housing which lie vacant will be converted into rental units.
  • The credit linked subsidy scheme for lower middle-class housing under PMAY will also be extended by one year to March 2021,

Way Forward:

The recent announcement by the government to provide affordable rental housing for migrants is welcome step. However, the government should also focus on introducing social-physical infrastructures in already existing working-class settlements to improve their liveability.

 

2.Whether NEET is not student-friendly and merit-promoting?

Source: The Hindu

Syllabus: GS 2-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context: In April 2020, The Supreme Court held that there is no fundamental right violation in prescribing National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions of graduate and post-graduate programs in medical and dental courses across aided and unaided minority professional institute

Control of state on education:

  • “Freedom of individual development is the basis of democracy,” observed the Commission (1948-49) appointed by the Government of India “to report on Indian University Education and suggested improvements and extensions that may be desirable to suit present and future”. It was cited in the judgment in M.A. Pai Foundation & Ors vs State Of Karnataka & Ors (2002).
  • The Commission added (also cited in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation judgment): “Exclusive control of education by the State has been an important factor in facilitating the maintenance of totalitarian tyrannies.”

Issues in NEET:

  • Reduction in Autonomy: NEET is seen as an assault on the autonomy of universities and higher education institutions, particularly private, unaided ones.
  • Over-centralization: It is alleged as over-centralization in the field of education.
  • Constitutional guarantee:
    • Though minorities do not have the right to “mal-administer” their institutions yet due to admission mal-practices practiced by the few institutions, denial of Article 30 and Article 19(g) rights of private unaided institutions is considered wrong.
    • Differential treatment: Minority rights are not the violation of the equality provision in Article 14 as the Constitution does permit classification. Infact substantive equality as opposed to formal equality, mandates differential treatment.
  • Disadvantage to Students:
    • For poor students: Coaching institutes are prospering due to such tests and since most of them are in cities, poorer students from a rural background and who have studied in the vernacular medium face a disadvantage.
    • Variation in Syllabus: There is also large-scale variation in the syllabus and standards of the CBSE and State boards.
    • Advantages of Multiple tests:
      • If he falls ill or has not done well in one test, he will still have a chance to qualify in another without losing a year.
      • It gives a student a right to select an institution of his choice.
      • The NEET paper was leaked twice in the last four years; therefore, there are issues of fairness and transparency.
      • There is the issue of wrong translation. In the 2018 NEET, as many as 49 questions had errors in Tamil translation.
    • Element of class in merit:
      • The education system requires competition and equality of opportunity and the competition should be fair and just.
      • There is substantial scholarship in the West that argues that common admission tests cannot measure abilities that are essential for learning such as imagination, curiosity and motivation.

Way Forward

The Uniform entrance exams should ensure improvement in future public health by encouraging merit in furtherance of the Directive Principles enshrined in the Constitution. The NEET should clear all doubts and come clean.

 3.Distressed Aviation Sector

Source –Indian Express

Syllabus – GS 3 – Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Context – COVID and associated lockdown has inflicted greater damage to an already ailing Aviation Industry

Importance of Aviation sector

  1. Contribution to GDP – The air transport industry, including airlines and its supply chain, is estimated to contribute directly or indirectly $72 billion of GDP to India.
  2. Employment opportunities – According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), aviation sector has one of the largest employment rate across its various segments- Cabin crew, pilots, maintenance and repair operations etc.
  3. Important Component of Logistics –In the supply chain of goods and services, aviation is a critical component as its time saving, has high-end technology, managed by private players and thus is competitive.
  4. Boosts intra-country and inter country tourism – Aviation promotes tourism which in turn supports local economy, culture, forex, revenue earnings and also strengthen bilateral ties between nations.

Challenges Aviation is witnessing

  1. Aviation turbine fuel – First, it is out of GST and second, it is highly volatile thus creates uncertainties in business models of aviation sector.
  2. Capital intensive sector – Leasing or buying planes, cost of maintaining Aircraft on Ground (AoG) is extremely high which makes it capital intensive sector. Add to this, the remunerations and perks of thousands of employees.
  3. Seasonal profitability – Aviation doesn’t run with full capacity throughout the year, this in turn affects its profitability and revenue in longer run.
  4. Lack of proper Maintenance and Repair Operation (MRO) – Indian airlines generally depend on MRO centers in Dubai and Singapore which also increases the turnaround time and decreases the hours of operation of flights.
  5. Government policy issues – Schemes like UDAN provides for fixed and low price to attract customers which distort market for airlines.

Challenges arising out of COVID and lockdown

  1. Decreased productivity – Currently, Indian airlines have total of 650 planes out of which 50% are taken on lease. Since lockdown grounded all the flights for nearly two months, machines like airplanes have become unproductive in longer term.
  2. Loss of employment – IATA report says that in India, 29.32 lakh jobs in the aviation sector are at risk due to COVID 19.
  3. Reduced demand and revenue – COVID 19, hygiene factors, social distancing will automatically lead to reduced Passenger Load Factor (PLF) which will hurt the revenue of the sector. According to ICRA, airlines will see 41-46% and 67-72% contraction in domestic and global passenger traffic, respectively, in FY2021.

Suggested Reforms

  1. Financial relief – The industry body, FICCI, has sought tax relief, deferment of payment of goods and services tax (GST) for airlines, bringing jet fuel under GST, reduction in airport charges and overflight fees, a temporary cut in excise duty on jet fuel to make airlines survive this crisis.
  2. Priority sector lending – All airlines and aviation-related business must be treated as priority sector lending for easy availability of credit at low cost.
  3. Relief in loans – This includes two important provisions:
    1. A moratorium for the next 12 months on all interest on the principal amount of loans without limitations of size or turnover and
    2. No loans to airlines and other aviation-related business should be classified as NPAs and no collateral enforced or enhanced during this moratorium.

Way Forward – Countries like Australia, Singapore has announced financial relief packages for their aviation sector to survive. India, under its self-reliant mission can take appropriate sector specific measures for a severely damaged industry to keep it afloat.

4.How the government is trying to free the farm sector from COVID-19?

Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 3-Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Context: The Finance Minister announced the third part of the economic package to fight COVID-19. It focused on agriculture and allied activities

Focus of Measures in Agriculture and allied sectors:

  1. It aimed at boosting credit flow to parts of the agri-ecosystem.
  2. It is related to the government’s intention to amend the Essential Commodities Act, usher in agricultural marketing reforms and put in place a legal framework to facilitate direct dealings between farmers and buyers.

Problems in Agriculture sector:

  • Not suitable for current requirement: The Essential Commodities Act was enacted in an era of scarcity and is ill-suited for the nation when it is faced with problems of plenty.
  • Put restrictions: The Act imposes restrictions on holding of stocks and has disincentivised private players from making investments in the farm sector in warehousing and storage. This has thwarted the creation of integrated value chains across the country. The government’s announcement of excluding food items such as cereals, edible oils, pulses, onions and potatoes and doing away with stock limits is a welcome move.
  • Less choices to Farmers: Move to initiate marketing reforms meant to provide more choice to farmers. This move by the Centre comes after states such as Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have recently moved to open up agricultural marketing.

Long term Benefits:

  • Ending monopoly over agricultural trade: As the situation exists today, farmers are bound to sell their produce only to licensees in APMCs.
  • Provide flexibility to retailers: The current changes will enable farmers to sell their produce to anyone and provide traders and organised retailers the flexibility to procure and stock food items.
  • Boosting Private investments: The government steps could facilitate private investment in the sector, strengthening the farm-to-fork chain and benefiting both producers and consumers.
  • Push towards Contract Farming: Other announcements such as the creation of a legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers suggest a push towards contract farming.

Way Forward

While governments in the past have indicated their preference to carry out the much-needed reforms, they have shied away due to political compulsions. The government should not let go of this moment to reform Indian agriculture.


9 PM for Preliminary examination

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