We have initiated some changes in the 9 PM Brief and other postings related to current affairs. What we sought to do:
- Ensure that all relevant facts, data, and arguments from today’s newspaper are readily available to you.
- We have widened the sources to provide you with content that is more than enough and adds value not just for GS but also for essay writing. Hence, the 9 PM brief now covers the following newspapers:
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Business Standard
- Times of India
- We have also introduced the relevance part to every article. This ensures that you know why a particular article is important.
- Since these changes are new, so initially the number of articles might increase, but they’ll go down over time.
- It is our endeavor to provide you with the best content and your feedback is essential for the same. We will be anticipating your feedback and ensure the blog serves as an optimal medium of learning for all the aspirants.
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
- Its time to build BRICS better
- Making the Paralympics count
- The next step in democratic evolution is overdue
GS Paper 3
- Sand and dust storms impact over 500 million in India: Study
- Land, freshwater species in Asia-Pacific impacted by plastic pollution: UN Study
- Substantial Investment Subsidies for Solar Power
- The truth about asset monetisation
- Social Stock Exchanges: A Chance to Invest into Our Future
- Policy harmonization will help our MSMEs create jobs
- Does the economy need more people?
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
- India in chair, UNSC adopts resolution on Taliban; Russia and China abstain
- China opens first road-rail transport link to Indian Ocean
- Fundamental Rights to Reside and to Move About Freely
- A sign of Rlys’ poor health
- India’s most GIFTed city
- New online platform to promote reuse, repair, recycle e-waste
- Odisha’s Kendrapara now India’s only district to have all 3 species of crocodilians
- Indian Navy’s Maiden Exercise with Algerian Navy
- PM to release a special commemorative coin on the occasion of 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
- Managing natural resources
- What are the new BH series registration plates for vehicles?
- What is the ‘school bubble’ Karnataka has proposed for its students?
- Centre targets five areas for reforms in higher education
- CSIR-CMERI Mechanized Scavenging System- A Filip to the Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan
- India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas to participate in the 6th Eastern Economic Summit in Vladivostok
Mains Oriented Articles
GS Paper 2
Source: This post is based on the article “Its time to build BRICS better” published in The Hindu on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS-2 important International institutions.
Relevance: To study the importance of BRICS.
Synopsis: Although BRICS grouping succeeded up to a point, it now confronts multiple challenges.
The 13th BRICS summit is set to be held under India’s chairmanship on 9th September. This meeting will be held in digital and virtual format.
What is BRICS?
- It is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies that have similar economic development. The five countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
- The acronym was first used in 2001 by economist Jim O’Neill. Originally, the first four were grouped as “BRIC”. In 2010, South Africa was officially admitted as a BRIC nation. Thus, making the current acronym BRICS.
Structure of BRICS
- The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym BRICS.
- Currently, India is holding the chairmanship of the BRICS. India was the chair in 2012 and 2016 too.
What is the Importance of BRICS?
The BRICS nations collectively represent,
- 42% of the world’s population,
- 30% of the land area
- 24% of global GDP
- 16% of international trade
Working of the BRICS
The grouping has gone through a reasonably productive journey.
- It attempts to serve as a bridge between the Global North and Global South.
- It developed a common perspective on a wide range of global and regional issues.
- Furthermore, the BRICS established the New Development Bank with the objective of financing infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.
- It created a financial stability net in the form of Contingency Reserve Arrangement.
- It is about to set up a Vaccine Research and Development Virtual Center.
|Read more: BRICS Environment Ministers adopt the New Delhi Statement on Environment|
What are the immediate goals of the BRICS Group?
As India holds the current chair, it outlined four priorities:
- Reform of multilateral institutions: BRICS was founded on the desire to end the domination of the western world over institutions of global governance (IMF, World Bank, UN) and strengthen multilateralism.
- Combat Terrorism: Terrorism is an international phenomenon impacting all parts of the world. Recent developments in Afghanistan stressing the need to bridge the gap between rhetoric and action.
- In this context, BRICS is attempting to shape its counter-terrorism strategy by crafting the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan. It contains specific measures to fight radicalisation, terrorist financing and misuse of the Internet by terrorist groups
- Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals: This will help to improve governance and will also prove beneficial in the current situations e.g. Global pandemic response.
- Expanding people-to-people cooperation: This will improve gradually once all the travel restrictions are eased.
What are the challenges facing BRICS?
- Relations with other countries: There are differences within BRICS and with other countries like:
- There is a rift between India and China. This is because of various reasons like Chinese aggression in Eastern Ladakh.
- China and Russia have strained relations with the west. On the other hand, the other BRICS member has a liberal approach with the west. This is also impacting the functioning
- Internal challenges of Brazil and South Africa.
- BRICS countries have not done enough to assist the Global South to win optimal support for their agenda
- Trade: Though BRICS seeks to deepen trade ties, Chinese domination of trade creates apprehensions in the minds of other countries that the Chinese economy may threaten their economies.
- Maintaining Internal Balance: Current pandemic exposed the over-dependence of value chains on China and their vulnerability. Thus, there is a need to deepen intra-BRICS cooperation in areas like agriculture, trade etc. But at the same time, the BRICS have to ensure there is no critical dependency on anyone partner country.
- China policies: China’s economic rise has created a serious imbalance within BRICS. Also, its aggressive policy, especially against India, puts BRICS solidarity under exceptional strain
It is necessary for leaders, officials and academics of this grouping to undertake serious soul-searching and find a way out of the present predicament.
What should be done?
BRICS should narrow down its goals and focus on areas of immediate concern. Tangible deliverables will help in strengthening the group and its global perception.
Source: This post is based on the article “Making the Paralympics count” published in The Hindu on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS-2 Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections.
Relevance: Paralympics empowering disabled people
Synopsis: This is the chance to improve the conditions of the disabled pursuing sports and to refresh the way we view disability.
Indian athletes have given their best performance in Paralympics 2021. It gives a platform for disabled people to perform and shine. It also offers everyone the chance to watch them in action. Media attention ensures that athletes with disabilities capture the public imagination.
Though they have made India proud, but they face numerous challenges in society which they have to overcome on a daily basis.
|Read more: Sports sector in India: Issues and challenges – Explained, Pointwise|
What are the problems disabled people are facing?
- Stereotypes: In India, persons with disabilities find it difficult to live a life of equal dignity. The status of Divyang — persons with divine bodies —presents them as beings with supernatural powers. However, despite all efforts, stereotypes and unfounded biases about the disabled people’s incompetence, inability to make informed choices and asexuality etc. continue.
- Access to Recreational activities: Disabled people have to face multiple obstacles as most facilities do not provide a conducive environment for them, e.g. Parks, swimming pools etc.
- Unfriendly sports governance Framework: Section 30 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, requires appropriate governments and sporting authorities to take measures to improve access to meaningful sporting opportunities for the disabled. These include redesigning infrastructural facilities and providing multisensory essentials and features in all sporting activities to make them more accessible.
What India should do?
- There is need for proper introspection of all the existing rules/laws.
- There is need to reorient the strategy/ plan as per the need of disabled people.
What Indian Government has done?
- At the systemic level, India brought governance reforms to the Paralympic Committee of India.
- The Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs brought parity to the cash rewards structure for medal-winning Paralympians by placing them on equal footing with their able-bodied counterparts at the Olympics.
What more can we do?
- At the individual level: We should view athletes with disabilities in a holistic sense, while also acknowledging their additional challenges. We should strive to create more opportunities for disabled people so that they can participate in all walks of life.
- Sports Broadcaster: The government should take steps that enable disabled people to watch and participate in sporting activities.
- Media: Pictures of the Paralympics in electronic media and on social media should be accompanied by image descriptions for the visually challenged.
It is easy to admire the courage of our para-athletes from far. But, with intent, resolve and action, we can make the Paralympics count for India, not just in the medals tally but in the lives of disabled people.
Terms to know
Source: This post is based on the article “The next step in democratic evolution is overdue” published in The Hindu on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
Relevance: The article highlights the importance of democracy and the base or structure on which it is built i.e constitutions and laws.
Synopsis: India must change, from an elected authoritarianism towards participative governance.
What is the difference between democratic and authoritarian regimes?
The democratic regime is different from the authoritarian regime due to,
- Citizen Participation: In a democracy, citizens participate effectively in shaping policies and laws by which they are governed.
- Democratic constitutions provide elected assemblies of citizen’s representatives to shape new policies and pass laws.
What are the problems with democracy?
- Inter and Intra Party politics
- Floor battles are often seen in Parliament
- Citizens being dissatisfied with the performance of their elected representatives
What is required for a healthy democracy?
- Open-minded discussions: These are necessary for a good democracy. It can provide an effective and acceptable solution to various problems like climate change, historical inequities, increasing economic inequalities etc from different perspectives.
- Democratic deliberations among citizens: Democracies are not limited to elections alone. People from different walks of life, with different views and perceptions, must come together to deliberate and solve the problems.
- Filling the gaps: There is a huge divide between people like ‘us’ from ‘people not like us’ – especially in the Indian context. Majoritarian electoral systems of democracy further harden these divisions. Therefore, stronger processes are urgently required for democratic discourses among citizens to bind the fabric of the nation before it frays further.
- Role of media: The media used to provide space for diverse perspectives. But now, with fake news and paid news, the role of media itself is under the scanner. The media should regain its role as the 4th pillar of democracy.
- Role of Technology: Technology backed smart algorithms have created echo chambers of people who like each other. They do not listen to the opinion of those in other chambers. This blocks the other viewpoints and reinforces and hardens their own partisan beliefs. Technology should in fact act as an enabler for the open exchange of views.
What can be done?
Consent of the governed is about more than periodic elections. So we should go beyond period elections through widespread inclusion of people in the political arena.
A civil society movement, Citizens for Europe, has proposed a solution: a European Citizens’ Assembly — a permanent transnational forum for citizens’ participation and deliberation.
|Read more: Why the citizen assembly is an idea whose time has to come|
What is the significance of dialogues?
We need to understand that the debates have a broader purpose. The aim of the debate is not to listen to what the other person is saying, but to understand ‘why’ or his/her perspective on his/her view. India, which has had a diversity of views from its inception, should strengthen the culture of debates and discussions to strengthen democracy.
GS Paper 3
Source: This post is based on article “Sand and dust storms impact over 500 million in India: Study” published in Down to Earth on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Disaster and Disaster Management.
Relevance: Impact of sand and dust storm.
Synopsis: More than 500 million people in India and more than 80 per cent of the populations of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran are exposed to medium and high levels of poor air quality due to sand and dust storm. It also impacts agriculture, energy, environment, aviation, human health and cities.
Context: A recent report titled “Sand and Dust Storms Risk Assessment in Asia and the Pacific” is released by the Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM). The report highlighted various concerns both positive and negative associated with sand and dust storm.
Findings of the report:
- Sand and dust storms contribute significantly to poor air quality in Karachi, Lahore and Delhi in ‘southwest Asia’. Nearly 60 million people in these places experienced more than 170 dusty days a year in 2019.
- The situation is much worse for six million residents of eight cities across the region. Out of these three in China, two in Iran, two in Pakistan and one in Uzbekistan. These places had unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter in the air every day for at least ten months in 2019.
- It identified ’east and northeast Asia’, ’south and southwest Asia’, ’central Asia’ and the ’Pacific’ as the four main sand and dust storm corridors of Asia-Pacific. The region is the second-largest emitter of mineral dust.
- Impact on energy– India, China and Pakistan lost 1,584 gigawatt-hours (gWh), 679 gWh and 555 gWh of energy loss, respectively, due to sand and dust storms in 2019.
- Impact on agriculture– Dust deposition impacted large portions of farmland in Turkmenistan (71%), Pakistan (49%) and Uzbekistan (44%). The dust has high salt content which is toxic for the plants.
- Impact on the environment– The deposition of dust on glaciers induces a warming effect, increasing the melting of ice.
- The risk of impacts from sand and dust storms is projected to increase in the 2030s due to more extreme drought conditions in parts of Western Australia, south-easternTurkey, Iran and Afghanistan.
The positive impacts of sand and dust storm:
- It can increase the nutrient content in the areas of deposition and benefit vegetation.
- Dust deposited on water bodies can alter their chemical characteristics, triggering both positive as well as adverse outcomes.
- Dust particles that carry iron can enrich parts of oceans, improving the phytoplankton balance and impacting marine food webs.
Correlation with SDG:
Sand and dust storms directly affect 11 of the 17 United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDG):
- Ending poverty in all forms
- Ending hunger
- Good health and well-being
- Safe water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry innovation and infrastructure
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
|Terms to know: Asian and Pacific Centre for the Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM)|
What is the news?
Recently a study titled “Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Freshwater Aquatic, Terrestrial and Avian Migratory Species in the Asia and Pacific Region” was conducted by CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) secretariat.
The study looked at species in the Ganga and Mekong basins that together contributed an estimated 200,000 tonnes of plastic pollution to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean every year.
Findings of the study
- Both Ganges and Irrawaddy dolphin species faced threats due to entanglement in plastic waste such as fishing nets and lines. This could prevent them from coming up to the surface to breathe and thus drown them.
- The dugong or sea cow also faced threats of entanglement in plastic gear as well as ingestion of plastic.
- Migratory birds such as the Black-faced Spoonbill and the Osprey had been observed making nests out of plastics, using fishing lines and shipping debris, often resulting in the entanglement of their chicks.
- Terrestrial and avian species in addition to freshwater ones had been reported getting entangled in discarded fishing gear as well as kite strings in the Mekong basin.
- Protected under CMS since the 13th Conference of the Parties in 2020, the Asian Elephant has been observed scavenging on rubbish dumps in Sri Lanka and ingesting plastic in Thailand.
- The study highlighted that the problem of plastic pollution is only going to get worse. Some 53 million tonnes of plastic could enter aquatic systems annually by 2030, which could eventually increase to 90 million tonnes.
The report calls for
- More effective waste management
- Design of products
- Preventing plastic pollution at the source.
It also cites the need for increased research efforts to understand the negative effects of plastic pollution on organisms and ecosystems, particularly on terrestrial species that have been poorly studied.
Source: This post is based on article “Substantial Investment Subsidies for Solar Power” published in Down to Earth on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS3 – Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Relevance: solar power’s role in addressing the issues of groundwater exploitation and DISCOM distress.
Synopsis: Substantial investment subsidies on solar pump has the potential to address the irrigation-energy nexus in Indian agriculture sector. Along with its potential, it is also necessary to check its viability, drawbacks etc.
The Government of India (GoI) has been promoting solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) by offering substantial investment subsidies. These SIPs promise a low carbon footprint, consistent energy availability, zero fuel costs and low operational costs.
- The west-south corridor spanning from Punjab to Tamil Nadu has lower groundwater availability than the Ganga-Brahmaputra belt. Electric water pumps for irrigation dominate this corridor. This domination of electric water pump led to severe depletion of the water table, along with leading to the DISCOMs crisis.
- Farmers in this corridor also face frequent power cuts, low voltage and receive stable electricity only at night.
- The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin in the eastern corridor is a water-rich and flood-prone area dominated by diesel water pumps.
Potential of SIPs
- Benefit to farmers of west-south corridor: The west-south corridor will benefit significantly from introducing SIPs since the region has many solar hotspots and receives peak sunlight hours.
- This ensures a regular and efficient supply of electricity to farmers.
- It will also help relieve the DISCOM’s subsidy burden from Rs 30,000-35,000 per year per SIP.
- SIPs will help move towards a zero-carbon footprint in the groundwater economy by decreasing reliability on fossil fuel-based electricity production.
- The recent rise in diesel prices has naturally increased the costs of irrigation. Therefore, introducing SIPs in this region may boost agricultural growth.
- However, this region receives lesser sunlight than the West-south corridor, making it a less viable option.
- Despite these reservations, SIPs are being viewed as the answer to erratic power supplies, the DISCOMs crisis and a more sustainable source of irrigation by the government.
- There is risk of over-exploitation of groundwater since on-demand cheap power will always be available after introduction of SIPs.
- However, the govt has introduced several solar irrigation schemes, such as PM–KUSUM and SKY.
- Another programme called Solar Power as a Remunerative Crop [SPaRC] was initiated in Gujarat by the International Water Management Institute.
- In these schemes, preference is given to farmers who are already using water-saving micro-irrigation systems or are open to doing so.
- The criteria for availing subsidies may benefit only medium- and large-scale farmers, as they are more likely to have a micro-irrigation system in place.
- High initial capital investments– Despite subsidies, the initial capital investment remains high, raising questions about the viability of SIPs.
- High operational and maintenance cost– The operation and maintenance of solar PV systems require trained professionals and machine components, which may be hard to find in rural areas. However, to overcome the obstacle, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy aims to upskill youth for employment opportunities in the growing Solar Energy Power Project in India and abroad under it’s the Suryamitra Skill Development Programme.
About SPaRC programme:
- Under it, the International Water Management Institute had proposed incentivising farmers to sell solar power as a remunerative crop to curb the usage of diesel pumps in the west-south corridor.
- Farmers can sell surplus solar power by feeding into the grid. This alternative will incentivise farmers to conserve groundwater and energy.
- It could also increase farmer income and enable more efficient irrigation by encouraging farmers to adopt crops with high returns to irrigation.
- The programme includes a balanced incentive, comprising a capital cost subsidy and feed-in tariff [FiT] paid to farmers for the energy they sell back through grid-connected solar pumps.
While SIPs hold immense potential to mitigate groundwater depletion and power subsidy burden on DISCOM, steps are required to improve its adoption, viability and benefits.
Source: This post is based on the article “The truth about asset monetisation” published in Indian Express on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Relevance: Resource mobilisation and Investment in Infrastructure.
Synopsis: Criticism of the government’s plans to lease out assets to private players, raise resources for public investment, is baseless
Criticism of NMP is baseless
Arguments have been offered against the criticism of asset monetisation.
- On crony capitalism: Assets under the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) project are going to be leased out to private partners through an open and transparent bidding process on terms which more than safeguard the public interest.
- Ensures Public participation: The Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), are like mutual funds, pool investments, which then flow to infrastructure and real estate. This will allow the people of India and prominent financial investors to invest in our national assets. Some InvITs and REITs are already listed on stock markets.
- On anti-competitive practices: India has institutions that deal with issues related to uncompetitive practices. There are sector specific regulators. For instance, the Competition Commission of India, consumer courts. All of these have the authority, quite independent of the Government of India, to come down heavily on any anti-competitive practices.
- On Monopoly: The government is also committed to market competition and will design processes in a way that minimize the probability of any concentration of market power. In some areas, like Railway tracks, where there is a natural monopoly, there will be no asset monetisation.
- Generates Positive multiplier effect: In addition to an increase in jobs in the assets being monetised, an entire new set of jobs will be created when the government reinvests its revenue proceeds.
- On lack of public consultation: The asset monetisation was announced several months ago in the Union Budget in February 2021. Several rounds of webinars and national-level consultations were also organised.
Source: This post is based on the article “Social Stock Exchanges: A Chance to Invest into Our Future” published in Livemint on 1st September 2021.
Syllabus: GS3- Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth
Relevance: Social Stock Exchange
Synopsis: The concept of a Social Stock Exchange is a worthy idea, but still needs deliberation and consultations with all stakeholders.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) constituted a 15-member working group on a social stock exchange (SSE) in September 2019.
Need for a Social Stock Exchange
- To enable Non-Profit Organizations to raise money from the market by registering and listing on the SSE.
- It would enable the use of market instruments for investing in social endeavors.
- The SSE would boost both corporate and individual investments in social and ecological projects.
Proposals by working group
- First, the working group has proposed that first-time retail investors be allowed to avail a 100% tax exemption on a maximum investment of ₹1 lakh in an SSE mutual fund.
- Second, it has proposed doing away with the 10% cap on income eligible for deduction for donations to NPOs that benefit from the SSE.
- Third, the SSE is also meant to aid for-profit social enterprises (FPEs). The working group has not defined an FPE, and it has left it to enterprises to choose whether they want to be categorised as a social enterprise and consequently commit to additional reporting on social impact.
- Fourth, the SSE technical group notes that an FPE can list on the stock exchange provided it is a company registered under the Companies Act 1956/2013.
- Lastly, to enhance transparency the working group’s proposals ask that NPOs furnish more rigorous assessments of the social impact and shift towards outcomes-oriented measurement. It also places emphasis on the role of social auditors for the independent verification.
- First, since the working group has proposed a five-year tax holiday for FPEs listed on the SSE, it could be potentially misused and used as tax-saving vehicle.
- Second, the SSE seeks to give the NPO sector transparency by mandating increased reporting. However, it leaves out smaller NPOs from the SSE’s ambit.
- Third, it also risks alienating organizations whose or impact may not be amenable to adequate data-capture. For instance, NPOs involved in environmental justice, digital rights where the existing systems and processes are stacked against them.
- Fourth, the SSE technical group lays down protocols for social auditors, but the worry is that middlemen agencies might emerge. They may gain unchecked influence over the SSE-NPO-donor ecosystem due to lack of checks and balances.
Fund-raisers such as social stock exchanges that go beyond a narrow set of quickly measurable outcomes need a proper plan.
Source: This post is based on the article “Policy harmonization will help our MSMEs create jobs” published in Business standard on 1st September 2021.Syllabus: GS3- Government’s Fiscal policy and its impact
Relevance: e-commerce in India, Flaws in GST structure, challenges faced by MSMEs
Synopsis: India’s indirect taxation needs immediate harmonization to put offline and online business transactions on par.
Only 27% of online small and medium businesses were using e-commerce channels in 2015. After the pandemic, customer behaviour across the globe has shifted towards purchases through e-commerce platforms, irrespective of product category.
To make the most of this trend, India must reverse all policies that disincentivizes MSMEs.
Problems posed by GST
GST is creating problems for adoption of e-commerce platforms by MSMEs.
- First, we have no regulatory clarity on recognizing part-time workers, and this hinders quick expansion.
- Second, a reduced GST of 1% on turnover applies to offline sellers that are selling their wares within a city or state, but no such provision is available for MSMEs using e-com platforms.
- Third, there is a new 1% tax-deducted-at-source levy on e-com transactions, over and above GST’s 1% tax-collected-at-source, that businesses using e-com platforms are subject to. Thus, a straight 2% upfront tax deduction on sales disincentivizes use of online avenues to expand market reach.
- Tax refunds can take up to two years, which affects their cash flows for operations.
- Heavy compliance burden and contradictory provisions in Income Tax Act and labour laws, foreign direct investment (FDI) norms, Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.
- There are also concerns over India’s draft foreign trade policy, which is inadequately geared for an online export thrust that would offer MSMEs a significant opportunity.
- FDI 2018 rules stopped online platforms from offering products made by entities in which they had a significant direct stake. This stalled investments that would have ensured the standardization of quality and packaging, apart from other such market enablers.
- Need a proper understanding of term wages for extended work hours.
- Allow for collective discussions with managements in case of any violation of these rights.
- Address the need of part time workers in labour codes.
- The industrial relations code also needs to be harmonized to ease the adaptation of MSMEs to automation-rich business realities.
To sustain and encourage growth, the entire ecosystem needs to changed so that MSMEs achieve their potential. It will help shape a new Indian growth story in terms of both GDP and jobs.
Source: This post is based on the article “Does the economy need more people?” published in Business Standard on 1st September 2021.Syllabus: GS3- Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment
Relevance: Technological advancement and its impact on Demography
Synopsis: In the age of technological disruptions and climate change, the case for a young and fast-growing population driving India’s economy is growing weaker
Is Demographic dividend needed for economic growth?
Not always. Growth no longer requires large labour resources. Higher youth populations are not always needed to drive growth. This has happened for two main reasons.
- One is the increasing contribution of capital and technology to growth. Now, we can grow and generate wealth and income without that many people. Technology can even substitute for a young population, as a society grows greyer.
- Rapid “dematerialization” of most things produced. The term dematerialization means that most physical products made today use less and less materials and energy than they did before. Dematerialization, along with decreasing population trend in the richer parts of the world, means that even demand for raw materials will not remain that strong in the future.
- For instance, Cars use less steel and aluminium than they did a few decades ago.
Countries with a falling population are coping without the so-called demographic dividend aiding them.
- Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and some parts of Northern Europe are facing population declines in the future since their total fertility rates (TFRs) are well below replacement levels.
- But even with a rapidly ageing population, most countries are able to get what they want done without excess immigration or higher birth rates.
Impact of tech advancement on employment generation
As the world has become more and more dependent on sophisticated technologies, the market for skills has polarized.
- Demand for middle functions is decreasing: There is a huge need for highly skilled people and also for low-skilled people. But demand for middle-skilled, middle-class, middle-income professions is shrinking. Technology weakens the middle functions earlier done by humans. For example, today banking has become easy by using a mobile phone with no need for the people manning bank branches. The current situation implies that you can hold on to your middle-income job only if you upskill, which may not be an easy thing to do for mid-career slower learners.
- Problems for India: The real problem is for countries like India, where too TFRs are reaching replacement levels but the working population numbers are so huge as to make it near impossible to find them jobs.
- Continuous learning challenge: Further, in a world of skill polarization, staying on top is a continuous learning challenge, and only those who have resources can achieve this. In this context, having a huge youth demography is hardly an advantage, especially when the skills you can learn are always the next ones to be automated.
There is a significant threat if populations continue to bulge in the most vulnerable parts of the world. Dealing with the existential crises (Climate change and a deteriorating environment) needs us to moderate consumption, and that means a slower growth in population. Young people need more resources than older people, and the planet cannot afford a rapidly rising rate of consumption in its poorest countries.
Prelims Oriented Articles (Factly)
Source: This post is based on the following articles:
- “Under India’s presidency, UNSC adopts strong resolution on Afghanistan” published in TOI on 31st August 2021
- “India in chair, UNSC adopts resolution on Taliban; Russia and China abstain” published in Indian Express on 1st September 2021
- “UNSC resolution addresses “key resolution on Afghanistan”: India” published in The Hindu on 31st August 2021
Recently, The UN Security Council, under India’s Presidency, adopted Resolution 2593. The resolution was sponsored by France, UK & USA. Along with 13 other members, India voted in favour of the resolution. Amongst permanent ‘members’ Russia and China both abstained from voting.
Demands of Resolution 2593:
- It demands that territories in Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country.
- Afghanistan should not provide shelter or train terrorists. Also, it should not plan or finance any terrorist acts.
- In compliance with Resolution 1267, it should emphasize combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
- The resolution expects the Taliban to adhere to its commitments regarding the safe and orderly departure of Afghans and all foreign nationals from the country.
- It emphasized the importance of maintaining humanitarian access, upholding human rights and reaching an inclusive political settlement.
What is UNSC?
UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. The organization has its headquarter in New York.
Structure of UNSC
It consists of fifteen members, which include 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.
Permanent Members or P5: Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States.
Non-permanent members: These are elected from different regions on a rotational basis to serve two-year terms.
Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The council’s presidency rotates every month amongst its 15 members.
- Veto Power: P5 members have a special voting power known as the “right to veto”. If any one of the P5 cast a negative vote in the 15-member Security Council, the resolution or decision would not be approved.
- Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.
|Read more: Why UNSC need reforms?|
Source: This post is based on the following articles:
- China opens first road-rail transport link to Indian Oceanpublished in The Hindu on 1st Sep 2021.
- China expands its activities to Sri Lanka’s north; India worried published in TOI on 1st Sep 2021.
What is the news?
- Firstly, the first shipments on a newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China were delivered last week. A “test cargo” through what is being called the China-Myanmar New Passage arrived at the Chengdu rail port in Sichuan province.
- Secondly, red flags are going up in India over China’s fresh attempts to expand its footprint in northern Sri Lanka in the garb of infrastructure projects, with Beijing even making efforts to woo the ethnic Tamil community there.
China-Myanmar New Passage
The transport corridor involves a sea-road-rail link.
- Goods from Singapore reached Yangon Port, arriving by ship through the Andaman Sea of the northeastern Indian Ocean, and were then transported by road to Lincang on the Chinese side of the Myanmar-China border in Yunnan province.
- The new railway line that runs from the border town of Lincang to Chengdu, a key trade hub in western China, completes the corridor.
Other port dev plans by China
- China also has plans to develop another port in Kyaukphyu in the Rakhine state, including a proposed railway line from Yunnan directly to the port, but the progress there has been stalled by unrest in Myanmar.
- Gwadar port: China has also looked at the Gwadar port in Pakistan as another key outlet to the Indian Ocean that will bypass the Malacca Straits. The costs and logistics through CPEC are also less favorable than the Myanmar route to Chengdu. Transportation time on the railway line from the Myanmar border to Chengdu takes just three days.
Expanding Chinese footprint in Sri Lanka
China, which has already made deep strategic inroads into Sri Lanka through its predatory debt policies, is now working towards establishing its presence on the island nation as close to the Indian coast as possible.
- Earlier, the Chinese projects were largely restricted to southern Sri Lanka. But the present Rajapaksa government is now facilitating several Chinese ventures in northern Sri Lanka as well, often ignoring sentiments of Tamil residents there.
- These development projects in the Northern province of Sri Lanka are a cause of concern for India as they could be later exploited for strategic reasons in the future.
Apart from Sri Lanka, China has been systematically spreading its wings in the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by forging maritime links with Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar and east African countries, among others.
Source: This post is based on the article “Fundamental Rights to Reside and to Move About Freely” published in The Indian Express on 28th August 2021.
What is the news?
The Supreme Court has held that the power of the State to pass an externment order or a direction barring certain people entry to specified areas should be exercised only in “exceptional cases”.
The observation by a SC bench came while setting aside an externment order against a journalist and social worker issued by the district authorities in Amravati city, Maharashtra.
- Present case: The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone-1, Amravati City, had passed the externment order under Section 56(1)(a)(b) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951, directing journalist Rahmat Khan not to enter or return to Amravati City or Amravati Rural District for one year from the date on which he leaves or is taken out. Khan had been filing applications under the Right to Information Act, seeking information from authorities on alleged illegalities in the disbursement of funds to various madrassas.
What does externment mean?
The word ‘extern’ is derived from the Latin root ‘externus’, meaning outward. It is a pretty old method of controlling crime in ancient India, where unwanted elements were banished from a certain geographical area. In modern India, the provisions for providing the power of externment were enshrined in various statutes such as The Bombay Police Act (MPA), 1951, that subsequently changed to Maharashtra Police Act (MPA).
- The principle of externment is to protect an area or areas of districts from the probable danger of the commission of offenses by known criminals.
- The logic being that banishing a criminal from his area of operation would sever his link with the normal area of his criminal activities and reduce his criminal propensity in general.
In cities, the commissioner of police has the power to extern a criminal while a sub-divisional magistrate is empowered with externment duties in districts.
SC made the following observations:
- The drastic action of externment should only be taken in exceptional cases, to maintain law and order in a locality and/or prevent the breach of public tranquillity and peace.
- Externment orders have their use in maintaining law and order. However, they cannot be employed as a vindictive or retaliatory measure.
Source: This post is based on article “A sign of Rlys’ poor health“ published in Business Standard on 1st September.
What is the news?
Railways’ accounts reveal it spent Rs 98 to earn Rs 100 in 2019-20. In 2019-20, the capital expenditure of Indian Railways (IR) increased 60% over 2016-17. But an analysis by Business Standard shows that Indian Railways has come to depend more on borrowings and budgetary support.
A 2015 Committee on Restructuring Railways had flagged that over-reliance on borrowings could worsen the financial situation of Railways.
- Outside borrowing– In 2016-17, while 11% of its capital expenditure (capex) was funded by internal sources, in 2019-20 the ratio dropped to less than 1%.
- Less revenue realisation– Freight earnings are down, and passenger services have suffered. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), released in September 2020, showed that freight profits could barely catch up with passenger losses.
- Failing to capitalise on its assets– Sundry earnings (non-fare revenue), which account for revenues from advertising and lease of space and land, have also fallen.
- Increased expenditure on subsidies– In 2004-05, Railways spent Rs 5,738 crore towards its net social sector obligations (revenue forgone due to transporting essential commodities, passenger concessions and fare subsidies). Last year it stood at Rs 45,542 crore, a nine time increase.
- Operating ratio is on decline– For the last two years, CAG has been highlighting that Railways is adjusting advance payments to manage its operating ratio.
- Decline in appropriation towards Depreciation Reserve Fund (DRF)– The appropriation under DRF has reduced by over 90% in the past five years. Instead, the Railways has been carrying out track renewal and repairs using the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh.
- Not paying dividend– Railways has also not been paying dividend on its borrowings from the government since 2015-16.
Thus, the above findings suggest that the financial health of Railways is less than optimal and it is facing various issues in handling the freight and passenger traffic.
Terms to know:
Source: This post is based on article “India9’s most GIFTed city” published in Business Standard on 1st September 2021.
What is the news?
India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gandhinagar seems to be moving up, at least on paper, after delays in land acquisition, infrastructure development snags and political crosswinds.
About IFSC & GIFT
- Promoted as India’s offshore alternative to Singapore, Hong Kong and London, the IFSC is located in an under-development “smart” township called Gujarat International Financial Tec-city (GIFT).
- In April 2015, the then finance minister unveiled IFSC regulations at GIFT city to set in motion the process of laws for setting up tax paradise within India.
- GIFT City was conceived as a public-private partnership (PPP) project so that it could be developed in a fast track mode.
- India International Exchange, the country’s first inter national stock exchange, was inaugurated at GIFT city in January 2017.
|Must Read: What is GIFT City?|
Measures by the govt
Govt announced various measures for IFSC.
- The nature of financial services set up at GIFT IFSC required permissions from multiple regulators in India from multiple regulators in India: RBI, SEBI, Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India, Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority of India and even, possibly, the Direct orate General of Civil Aviation. In 2017, the government decided that the powers of all these regulators would be vested with a single entity called the IFSC Authority.
- Non-resident Indians trading on stock exchanges in IFSC were spared short-term capital gains tax. The finance ministry also exempted intermediary units from goods and services tax (GST).
- Setting up of the first bullion exchange at GIFT city.
- The RBI permitted the trading of rupee derivatives, which could be settled in foreign currency at stock exchanges located in GIFT city.
- Aircraft leasing, another big source of foreign exchange out-flow, was exempted from capital gains tax.
- In August 2021, the government announced that Indians could trade in select US stocks on American exchanges through facilities in GIFT city.
|Must Read: What is IFSCA?|
Source: This post is based on the article “New online platform to promote reuse, repair, recycle e-waste“ published in Down to Earth on 31st August 2021.
What is the News?
IIT Madras is developing an online platform called “e-Source” to tackle electronic wastes (e-waste) by linking stakeholders in the formal and informal economy.
About e-Source Platform:
- e-Source is an exchange platform that will serve as an online marketplace for waste electrical and electronic equipment. It will also facilitate a formal supply chain between various stakeholders (buyers and sellers).
- Led by: The initiative is being led by Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) which is located at the IIT-Madras campus.
- Funded by: It is funded by the Government of India’s Department for Science and Technology and the German Academic Exchange Service.
What was the need for this initiative?
- Currently, the world generates 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste every year. This is expected to double in the next 16 years. Around 85% of this e-waste is being lost globally.
- Moreover, E-waste is also a pressing issue in India. It is the world’s third-largest producer of e-waste. But only 5% of its e-waste is recycled properly.
Significance of this platform:
- The platform uses machine learning for better traceability of e-waste. This will help increase the opportunities for the repair and re-use of e-waste.
- The platform will also potentially:
- Improve livelihoods for youth and women in peri-urban settings by upgrading their skills and improving occupational health and safety
- Reduce the flow of toxic materials in waste streams, and
- Broaden the market for affordable, second-hand e-devices.
Source: This post is based on the article “Odisha’s Kendrapara now India’s only district to have all 3 species of crocodilians“ published in Down to Earth on 31st August 2021.
What is the News?
Odisha’s Kendrapara became the only district in India to be home to all three species of crocodilians found in the country.
- The crocodilian family consists of 27 different species that are subdivided into three families: True crocodiles, alligators and caimans and gharials.
Which are those three crocodiles found in Odisha’s Kendrapara District?
- Gharials (IUCN Status: Critically Endangered)
- Mugger crocodile
- Saltwater crocodile
About Mugger Crocodile:
- Mugger Crocodile is also called marsh crocodile or broad-snouted crocodile. It is an egg-laying and hole-nesting species.
- It is native to freshwater habitats from southern Iran and Pakistan to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable
- Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule 1
- CITES: Appendix I.
- Threats: a) Habitat destruction, b) Entanglement and drowning in fishing equipment, and c) Increasing incidents of conflict with humans.
About Saltwater Crocodile:
- It is considered as the Earth’s largest living crocodile species native to saltwater habitats and brackish wetlands.
- Habitat: It is found throughout the east coast of India, Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
- Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha houses 70% of India’s estuarine crocodiles or saltwater crocodiles.
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
- Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule 1
- Threats: a) Illegal hunting b) habitat loss and c) antipathy toward the species because of its reputation as a man-eater
Source: This post is based on the Article “Indian Navy’s Maiden Exercise with Algerian Navy” published in “PIB” on 31st August 2021.
What is the News?
The Indian Navy has carried out a maiden maritime exercise with the Algerian Navy.
India-Algeria Maritime Exercise:
- Indian Naval Ship(INS) Tabar took part in a maritime partnership exercise with an Algerian Navy ship.
- As part of the exercise, diverse activities including coordinated manoeuvring, communication procedures were undertaken between the Indian and Algerian warships.
- Hence, the exercise enabled the two navies to understand the concept of operations followed by each other, enhanced interoperability and opened the possibility of increasing interaction and collaboration between the countries in the future.
About India-Algeria Relations:
- Algeria is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is the largest country by total area in Africa.
- The diplomatic relations between India and Algeria were established in 1962, the year Algeria gained independence from French colonial rule.
- India and Algeria are both parts of the Non-Aligned Movement. As a member of the African Union, Algeria supports India’s candidacy for a permanent seat in a reformed Security Council.
- India had provided Algeria with US$1 million as humanitarian aid for the victims of the earthquake which struck Algeria in 2003.
- Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) launched the Satellite Alsat 2A of Algeria into orbit in 2010.
PM to release a special commemorative coin on the occasion of 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Source: This post is based on the article “125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada” published in PIB on 1st September,2021.
What is the News?
The Prime Minister will release a special commemorative coin of ₹ 125 on the occasion of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Ji.
About Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
- He was an Indian spiritual teacher and the founder-acharya (preceptor) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the “Hare Krishna movement”.
- Aim: The mission was to propagate throughout the world Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavite Hinduism.
- Significance: ISKCON has translated Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta and other Vedic literature into 89 languages playing a stellar role in the dissemination of Vedic literature across the world.
- It is a Vaishnava Hindu religious movement inspired by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Here, “Gaudiya” refers to the Gaura or Gauḍa region of Bengal with Vaishnavism meaning “the worship of Vishnu”.
- The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (known as bhakti-yoga) of Radha and Krishna, and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, Svayam Bhagavan.
- Most popularly, this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna’s holy names, such as “Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama”, most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna (mantra) also known as kirtan and dancing along with it.
Source: This post is based on the article “Managing natural resources” published in “The Hindu” on 1st September,2021.
What is the News?
Meghalaya Government is implementing the Meghalaya Community-Led Landscape Management Project(MCLLMP) to manage its natural resources.
- Meghalaya is a state with almost 70% of the geographical area under forest cover. However, around 40% of this forest cover has degraded into open forests and shrubs.
- There are many reasons for the widespread land degradation. Several of them are deforestation, mining and shifting agriculture (Jhum Cultivation).
- Hence, to manage the natural resources effectively, the Government of Meghalaya is implementing the MCLLMP Project.
About Meghalaya Community-Led Landscape Management Project(MCLLMP):
- MCLLMP is a unique project of the Government of Meghalaya. The project is being supported by the World Bank.
- Aim: To leverage on the strength of the community to develop a sustainable Natural Resource Management system that will lead to
- The restoration of the degraded landscape of the state,
- Build climate resilience and generate opportunities for livelihoods.
- Duration of the Project: 2018-2023 (5 years).
Centre of Excellence in Meghalaya:
- The Centre of Excellence is a one-stop centre for natural resources management.
- Its mandate is to build leadership capabilities to enable close cooperation among departments, democratise access to knowledge and continue with research and development on every aspect of natural resource management.
Source: This post is based on the article “New BH series registration plates for vehicles” published in Indian Express on 1st September,2021.
What is the News?
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified Bharat series of “BH” series of registration to ensure seamless transfer of vehicles across states.
What is the Existing system?
- Currently, under Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a vehicle can reside in another state with the same registration for 12 months during which it has to be re-registered in the new state.
- To get re-registered, the vehicle has to first get a No Objection Certificate(NOC) from the state where the vehicle is currently registered.
- Moreover, when one had earlier bought and registered a new personal vehicle in the parent state, the state had charged the road tax up front for the whole registered life of the vehicle, which is 15 years.
- But when this same vehicle relocates to another state after say five years, the parent state has to refund the remaining 10 years of road tax it has already received. This provision to get a refund from the parent state is a very cumbersome process and varies from one state to another.
What is the BH Series?
Read the following article:
- Government introduces a new registration mark for new vehicles “Bharat series (BH-series)” to facilitate seamless transfer of vehicles
How is the new BH Series different from the existing system?
- The new system amends Rule 47 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. It now says that vehicles bearing the BH registration mark will not require to be re-registered in a new state once it relocates.
- Moreover, vehicles registered under the BH system will be levied road tax for two years and in multiple of two thereafter, instead of the owner paying for the whole amount of 15 years’ worth of road tax upfront. This frees the owner from having to seek a refund before or after relocation because the tax has not been prepaid.
Source: This post is based on the Article “What is the ‘school bubble” published in “The Indian Express” on 31st August,2021.
What is the News?
The Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) constituted by the Karnataka government has proposed the ‘school bubble’ concept to mitigate the spread of the disease among children (aged below 18) attending offline classes at schools and pre-university colleges across the state.
What are school bubbles?
- School bubbles are physical classifications made between groups comprising a small number of students.
- As per the concept, each such bubble will include students who tend to remain as a group during school hours throughout the term or an academic year.
- For instance, a school bubble can include 30 students. If one among them gets infected, the others can self-isolate, but the school need not be closed completely. This would allow uninterrupted learning to others as well.
Why are school bubbles significant?
- The concept of school bubbles will be more relevant to students studying in primary school or below. These students will have more chances of peer-to-peer interactions on a daily basis.
- Hence, with school bubbles in place, the risk assessment process to identify close contacts of a Covid-positive student will also get easier.
Is this concept completely new?
- No. This concept has already been implemented in the United Kingdom. The UK government has relaxed social-distancing measures for students within a particular school bubble.
- However, all members of the bubble are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR tests if a student is infected.
Source: This post is based on the article “Centre targets five areas for reforms in higher education” published in Livemint on 1st September,2021.
What is the News?
University Grants Commission(UGC) has identified five key areas of focus in the next phase of reforms in the higher education sector.
Which are those Five Focus Areas?
- Education Finance: The government will encourage universities to raise money from the market through collaborations, industry projects and sponsored projects.
- Administration: Universities should promote simplification of methods in administration and finance.
- Accounting system reforms
- Central Higher Education Data Repository: UGC to establish a centralised database for pooling of data regarding Higher Educational Institutes(HEIs)
- Internal Autonomy within the institutions.
Other Focus Areas:
Accessibility to internet facilities in rural areas: This is an issue that was exposed during the pandemic as schools and colleges closed their campuses to curb the spread of the virus. This move severely impacted education delivery, more so outside cities.
Significance of these reforms:
- India has a massive higher education sector with nearly 51,000 colleges, institutions, and universities catering to almost 38 million students.
- However, the education ministry has always been criticised for over-regulation. Hence, these reforms are being initiated to ease the traditional burden and move on a path of reform.
Source: This post is based on the article “CSIR-CMERI Mechanized Scavenging System” published in PIB on 1st September 2021.
What is the News?
CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute is developing a Mechanized Scavenging System.
What is a Mechanized Scavenging System?
- A Mechanized Scavenging System is being developed with the aim to eliminate human contact with faecal waste.
Key Features CSIR-CMERI Mechanized Scavenging System:
- The system focuses upon Sustainable Usage of water. This means that the system sucks in Slurry Water from the choked Sewerage Systems.
- The slurry is the thin mixture of an insoluble substance such as cement, clay, or coal with a liquid such as water or oil.
- This slurry water is then purified and filtered to make it suitable for Agricultural, Household and Drinking Water usage.
Significance of this system:
- Drinking-Water Scarcity problem is prevalent in Flood-Affected regions can be solved by this system as it will help in providing an outlet for flood stagnated water, as well as provide Water Purification solutions in Flood Disaster Zones.
India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas to participate in the 6th Eastern Economic Summit in Vladivostok
Source: This post is based on the article “India to participate in the 6th Eastern Economic Summit” published in PIB on 31st August 2021.
What is the News?
The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas will lead a delegation to Russia to participate in the 6th Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) Summit in Vladivostok.
About Eastern Economic Forum(EEF)
The Eastern Economic Forum was established by decree of the President of Russia in 2015. Its aim is to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The summit takes place each year in Vladivostok, a city in Russia.
India-Russia Energy Ties
India and Russia have robust and growing bilateral energy cooperation, which is a key pillar of Special and Privileged Strategic partnership. Russia is the largest investment destination for the Indian oil and gas companies. Indian public sector companies have made investments in Russia of about US$ 16 billion, including in the Far East in oil and gas assets such as Sakhalin-1, Vankor and Taas-Yuryakh.
Largest investor in India’s Oil & Gas Sector
Russia is also the largest investor in India’s oil & gas sector and India is encouraging further investments by Russian companies in India’s oil and gas sector, especially in gas infrastructure.
India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was established following a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation during the 19th edition of the annual India-Russia Bilateral Summit in the year 2018. Its aim is to identify the most promising areas to improve bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation and to define joint projects in the framework of national programmes.