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9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – February 1, 2021

Good evening dear reader

Here is our 9pm current affairs brief for you today

About 9 PM Brief- With the 9 PM Current affairs brief we intend to simplify the newspaper reading experience. In 9PM briefs, we provide our reader with a summary of all the important articles and editorials from three important newspapers namely The Hindu, Indian Express, and Livemint. This will provide you with analysis, broad coverage, and factual information from a Mains examination point of view.

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We know for a fact that learning without evaluation is a wasted effort. Therefore, we request you to please go through both our initiatives i.e 9PM Briefs and Factly, then evaluate yourself through the 10PM Current Affairs Quiz.

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List of 9 PM Current Affairs Articles

  • 15th Finance commission: Reforming financial governance of India’s municipalities
  • Indian cricket team’s success can be a model for country’s manufacturing sector
  • The rising concern of India’s ageing dams

Indian cricket team’s success can be a model for country’s manufacturing sector

 Source: Indian express

Syllabus: GS 3-Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.

Synopsis: The good practices behind the success of Cricketing standards can be used in the Indian manufacturing sector. It will make Manufacturing in India more competitive

Background

  • India achieved a remarkable victory in Australia recently. It is a result of high-quality governance instituted by the BCCI over the years, to make India’s cricket team a global champion.
  • Due to this systemic effort, India was able to compete so well against Australia, with a third-choice Indian team.
  • Similar practices can be adopted by policymakers for the Manufacturing sector. It can develop India into a globally competitive ‘champion manufacturing sector’.

What are the good practices that policy makers can use?

  • First, Institutionalisation of IPL facilitated the inclusion of Overseas players. Competing against the world’s best players has led to a significant rise in the skills of domestic cricketers.
    • Similarly, allowing foreign industries in India will raise the standards of the domestic manufacturing sector and make them more competitive. For example, Foreign competition in the food sector (McDonald’s) has increased the standard and competitiveness of Indian players (Haldiram’s).
  • Second, the mandatory rule for the preferential treatment for locals. It limits the number of foreign players, to be used in any team. (only 4 overseas players are allowed in any playing team).
      • This has led to an increasing number of domestic players. English Premier League (EPL) failed to create a world-class England football team due to this fact. EPL is dominated by overseas players without enough opportunities for local players in top teams.
      • So, considering this fact the policy makers should provide some limited protection from destructive competition from overseas. This move will facilitate the growth of Indian domestic manufacturers.
  • Third, BCCI provided high-class infrastructure by setting up top-class cricket facilities in non-traditional cricketing centers. It provided access, opportunity, and a level playing field to all talented cricketers.
      • Similarly, the Government should try to provide high-class infrastructure in the manufacturing sector. It includes plugging the existing gaps between Indian and global standards, particularly on logistics. This will make the manufacturing sector cost-competitive and enable a level playing field for every Indian entrepreneur.
  • Fourth, Success of Indian cricket team has ensured that every good cricketer pursues their dream during studies. This has led to the retention of the best talent in Indian cricket.
      • But, It is not the case in manufacturing due to the lack of success and the presence of obstacles. The best entrepreneurial talent of India looks for opportunities elsewhere either in the services (Flipkart) or overseas manufacturing (for example, textiles in Bangladesh).
      • For India, to create a robust manufacturing sector it needs to retain the best talent by removing the obstacles.

If policymakers learn the right lessons from cricket and implement those lessons with honesty, we can become globally competitive in the manufacturing sector. To be the best, we must be able to compete with and defeat the best.


15th Finance commission: Reforming financial governance of India’s municipalities

Source: Indian Express

Syllabus: GS 2- Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure, Devolution of Powers and Finances up to Local Levels and Challenges therein.

Synopsis:  The reforms suggested by the 15th Finance commissions (interim report) can improve the financial governance of India’s municipalities.

Background:

  • The 15th Finance Commission submitted an interim report for FY 2020-21.
  • Now, the final report for FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26 is expected to be tabled along with the forthcoming Budget 2021-22.
  • The Interim report for 2020-21 talks about raising the standards of financial governance of India’s municipalities in four specific ways.
  • Implementation of the suggested 4 changes can be a watershed moment in the financial governance reforms of India’s municipalities.

What are the four changes suggested by the 15th Finance commission?

The 15th Finance commission in its interim report has suggested the following changes to bring reforms to the financial governance of India’s municipalities.

  1. First, increasing the overall financial disbursement for municipalities (including panchayats) from the existing 30 per cent to 40 percent, in phases. This will result in increased financial resource for the municipalities over the five years.
  2. Second,  it has set two very important conditions for all municipalities, for receiving grants. First, Publication of audited annual accounts. Second, notification of floor rates for property tax. It will result in financial accountability and increased revenue of municipalities.
      • Moreover, an Additional borrowing limit has been set for states (Rs 50,000 crore). It is linked to reforms in property taxes and user charges for water and sanitation.
  3. Third, 100 percent outcome-based funding to 50 million-plus urban agglomerations (excluding Union Territories). Conditions emphasize specifically air quality, water supply, and sanitation.
      • Note: India has 4,500 municipalities out of which approx. 250 municipalities are urban agglomerations with 53 million-plus population. It contains 44 per cent of the total urban population.
      • Whereas, the remaining 4,250-plus municipalities comprise 56 per cent of the total urban population.
  4. Fourth, it has recommended a common digital platform for municipal accounts. This will give a consolidated view of municipal finances and sectoral outlays at the state level.

What are the suggestions?

Constitutional bodies like the finance commission can only prepare the grounds of reforms. The ultimate responsibility for municipal finance reforms remains with the state governments.  Thus, State governments need to enact municipal legislation towards following 5 Objectives:

  1. Fiscal decentralisation by strengthening state finance commissions.
  2. Revenue optimisation to enhance their own revenues.
  3. Fiscal responsibility and budget management to accelerate municipal borrowings.
  4. Strengthening institutional capacities by an adequately skilled workforce.
  5. Facilitate transparency and citizen participation for democratic accountability.
  • Also, State governments need to shift from the present discretionary grants practice to predictable fiscal transfers to municipalities.

The rising concern of India’s ageing dams

Source: Click here

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

Synopsis: The ageing dams in India are threatening water security for the future, as the reservoir water is being replaced by soil, technically known as silt or sediment.

Introduction:

  • In the race of building large dams, India ranks in the third position in the world.
  • India has built over 5,200 large dams. Among which 1,100 large dams have crossed the age of 50 years. Some have even completed over 120 years.
  • The number of such dams is going to reach 4,400 by 2050.

What are the issues in water reservoirs of India?

After a certain time period, the Silt or sediments start to replace the water in the reservoir due to Siltation. Therefore, the water storage capacity of the dam decreases with time.

Siltation reduces the capacity of some of India’s largest dams. Due to Siltation, the functioning of the Bhakra dam has been reduced from 47 years to 88 years.

The medium and minor dams are even in the worst position. They are in such a dangerous position that they can collapse in the near future. This situation is because of their lower shelf life as compared to large dams.

The High siltation rate shows that reservoirs of India are designed with a poor understanding of sedimentation science.

What are the consequences of the siltation of dams for farmers?

  1. Firstly, it affects crop yield- when soil replaces the water in reservoirs, water availability reduces. It results in less water for the cropped areas. It increases dependency of farmers on rains or groundwater which is already over-exploited. Reduced crop yield results in low Agri credit, crop insurance, and investment.
  2. Secondly, chances of flooding increases- Due to low capacity, reservoirs cannot store extra water from rainfall. It will lead to an increase in flooding rates.

For Example, The flooding in Bharuch in 2020, Kerala in 2018 and Chennai in 2015

Way Forward

At present 80% of the India’s large dams are in a situation of becoming obsolete. India needs to address the situation urgently. As eventually in 21st century, Nation will not be able to find sufficient water. It will not be able to grow abundant crops, feed the rising population by 2050, create sustainable cities, or ensure growth.

 

Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 1, 2021

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