It’s time to take a relook at privatisation

News: This article discusses that privatization and the short-term gain associated with it should not overshadow the long-term interest. Hence, there is need to take a relook at privatization.  Why privatization is being considered as panacea? India’s fiscal deficit (for the Centre) in FY22 is expected to be at 6.8% of the GDP and with… Continue reading It’s time to take a relook at privatisation

Budget 2022: Some musings

News: Recently, union budget 2022-23 has been presented. This article analyses the positives of the budget and suggest way forward to deal with the challenges. What are the challenges currently faced by the economy? This Budget is presented in an extremely challenging economic situation. Pandemic has disrupted the economy and it has not recovered completely… Continue reading Budget 2022: Some musings

Step up agri-spending, boost farm incomes

News: The present budget (2022-23) has increased allocation towards the agricultural sector by 4.4%. What is the issue with the current budgetary allocation for agriculture? First, the current rate of increase in budget is lower than the current inflation rate of 5.5%-6%. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, the government expenditure on… Continue reading Step up agri-spending, boost farm incomes

Back to nature: Immense need for crop diversification and role of agroforestry

News: This article discusses how crop diversification can help in dealing with numerous issues faced by the Indian agriculture and how agroforestry can add to it. What are the issues associated with Indian Agriculture? One, farmers face numerous challenges and climatic vagaries during agricultural production, such as untimely rainfall, stone hail, drought, flood etc. Other… Continue reading Back to nature: Immense need for crop diversification and role of agroforestry

Stricter policy for accreditation of journalists, and the concerns

News: Recently, the government has issued a new policy on accreditation of journalists, drafted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). What does the policy say? One, it lays down guidelines on how PIB accreditation will be granted to journalists. Two, it has introduced a new section about reasons that can result in the suspension… Continue reading Stricter policy for accreditation of journalists, and the concerns

Safeguarding childhoods from online harm during COVID-19 and beyond

News: Recently on 8th February, safer internet day was celebrated. It reminds to analyse internet’s impact on children while providing uninterrupted learning during the pandemic but also exposing them to several online risks How pandemic has increased online risks for children? One, during the lockdown, children did not have option of outdoor games, and it… Continue reading Safeguarding childhoods from online harm during COVID-19 and beyond

Notes for India as the digital trade juggernaut rolls on

News:  In December 2021, Australia, Japan, and Singapore, have stated that they might schieve convergence on more issues linked to the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce by the end of 2022. These 4 countries are co-convenors of the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on e-commerce. How present rules existing on digital trade progressed? In the… Continue reading Notes for India as the digital trade juggernaut rolls on

Poor drafting – on amendments to the Customs Act

News: Budget 2022-23 has proposed to amend the Customs Act. It will criminalize the publishing of any information relating to the value or classification or quantity of goods entered for export from India, or import into India, or the details of the exporter or importer of such goods. What is the objective of the proposed… Continue reading Poor drafting – on amendments to the Customs Act

Let business houses with good track records run banks

Source: This post is based on the article “Let business houses with good track records run banks” published in Livemint on 8th Feb 2022. Syllabus: GS3- Mobilization of Resources Relevance: Corporatization of banks News: The RBI has revised the guidelines to allow 26% long-term promoter ownership in private banks based on recommendations of its internal working… Continue reading Let business houses with good track records run banks

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Our broken system of clearances

News:  Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has said that it will rank the state environmental impact assessment authorities based on the speed at which environmental approvals are given. What is the issue with such ranking? Read Here How the EIA process of assessment has been systematically destroyed over the years?… Continue reading Our broken system of clearances

The interpretative answer to the hijab row

News:  Recently, six students were banned from entering a college in Karnataka’s Udupi district for wearing a hijab. Read more here: https://blog.forumias.com/9-pm-daily-current-affairs-brief-february-5th-2022/#f4 What is the implication of the essential religious practices test? It assured traditionalists that the Court would be sympathetic to their respective religious faiths. But on the other hand, it also supported state-sponsored… Continue reading The interpretative answer to the hijab row

Weighing in on a health data retention plan

News:  Recently, the National Health Authority (NHA) has initiated a consultation process on the retention of health data by healthcare providers in India. NHA administers the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). Why a privacy-centric policy is needed for health data retention plan? One, health care access is not in good shape in India. Thus, many… Continue reading Weighing in on a health data retention plan

Social justice opportunities are too unevenly spread across India

News:  Recently the Supreme Court has upheld reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in medical seats for the All-India Quota (AIQ). What is the case?  Read here: https://blog.forumias.com/9-pm-daily-current-affairs-brief-february-5th-2022/#gs11 How does one’s domicile influences access to social justice when it comes to medical seats? First, 85% of the seats for Bachelor… Continue reading Social justice opportunities are too unevenly spread across India

In 60 years, climate change took seven years of agri-productivity growth

News: Recently, Ariel Ortiz-Bobea who is an economist discussed his research findings about climate change and its impact on agricultural productivity with Times Evoke. This article discusses the rich plant diversity in India, its significance and impact of climate change on Agri-productivity. What is the significance of plants in India? One, India has rich plant… Continue reading In 60 years, climate change took seven years of agri-productivity growth

India calling with quite a lot of trade in mind

News: Recently, India and UK formally launched the negotiations for free trade agreement (FTA). Why India and UK trade deal will be “a new age FTA”? One, negotiations are aimed at achieving a “fair and balanced” FTA. It covers more than 90% of tariff lines. It will not only cover goods, services and investments, but… Continue reading India calling with quite a lot of trade in mind

Interrogating the false merit-reservation binary

News:  Recently the Supreme Court has upheld the admissions notice of NEET-2021 in view of implications on public health due to delay in medical admissions and hearing on the validity of the ₹8 lakh limit is listed for March. What was the case? The case was related to resolution of the issues around the implementation… Continue reading Interrogating the false merit-reservation binary

Go cold on China: India right to diplomatically boycott Winter Games

News: India has recently joined leading democracies diplomatically and has decided to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. Why India’s decision is right? One, China has made PLA regiment commander involved in the 2020 Galwan clashes the torch bearer in the Olympic relay. Therefore, China has politicized the Games. Two, due to China’s human rights violations,… Continue reading Go cold on China: India right to diplomatically boycott Winter Games

INDIA’S Quest to Decarbonize Transport

News: India has recently committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 and public transport is one of the largest emitters. This article discusses the Opex model of Ahmedabad and the challenges that exist while modernizing urban transport. How did Ahmedabad modernize its transport system? Ahmedabad introduced an operational expenditure (opex) model in 2007. The municipality… Continue reading INDIA’S Quest to Decarbonize Transport

Show Me the Money – On Fugitive Economic Offenders

News: Recently, Supreme Court suggested halting criminal proceedings against economic fugitives, who are  willing to repay the money they owe to lenders and others they defrauded. This article discusses that government should revisit its current stance on fugitive economic offenders. What is the case? The co-accused in the Sterling Biotech fraud case has claimed that… Continue reading Show Me the Money – On Fugitive Economic Offenders

Fiscal constraints – On Capital Expenditure of Government

News: Recently released Union Budget 2022-23 has increased capital expenditure. Why increasing CAPEX is a significant step? The economy is recovering from a pandemic-induced disruption, and the private sector is not investing because of weak demand. Hence, increased capital expenditure will help in increasing growth and crowd in private investment. It will also increase medium-term… Continue reading Fiscal constraints – On Capital Expenditure of Government

Great On Growth, Not on Jobs

News: Recently Union Budget 2022-23 has been released.  The article discusses the wise choices made in the budget along with challenges still existing to be resolved. What are the excellent strategies seen in the Budget 2022-23? One, the finance minister has avoided populist measure and focused on increasing public investment. Government capital expenditure is expected… Continue reading Great On Growth, Not on Jobs

A takeaway is the good infrastructure push

News: Recently Union Budget 2022-23 has been released which has focused on expanding capital expenditure. The article discusses the projected growth, revenue, expenditure, debt and real growth. What is projected income growth? Budget has projected a nominal GDP growth estimate of 11.1% for 2022-23. The real GDP growth is estimated of 8% with an implicit… Continue reading A takeaway is the good infrastructure push

MGNREGA: Is the govt expecting unemployment levels to change soon?

News: Recently finance minister released Union Budget 2022-23. This article discusses the regressive nature of budget in terms of social welfare. Why the budget 2022-2023 appears regressive in nature with respect to social welfare? One, last year only Rs 73,000 crore was budgeted but the allocation for MGNREGA was increased to Rs 1.11 trillion due… Continue reading MGNREGA: Is the govt expecting unemployment levels to change soon?

Doing Business in a New World

News: Recently, Luttwak an amercian startegist discussed the legacy of the Indian strategist late K Subrahmanyam and addressed the emerging consensus on the importance of economics in global affairs. What is current scenario of Indian economy? India’s is recovering after a slowdown and its geopolitical significance will continue to rise. India’s total trade is expected… Continue reading Doing Business in a New World

Amplify e-commerce and help all MSMEs reach markets online

News: The author of this article says that to achieve a $5 trillion economy, India should boost digitalization. It will support MSMEs, ensure GST parity and empower small businesses to venture into the online ecosystem and diversify their operations. What is the significance of digitalization? One, Covid has caused shift in all spheres of lives,… Continue reading Amplify e-commerce and help all MSMEs reach markets online

A hazy picture on employment in India

News: This article says that the employment data in India is not consistent and does not show a clear pattern. The two important indicators of structural transformation in any economy are rates of growth and changes in the structural composition of output and the workforce. India has experienced fairly consistent changes in the first indicator,… Continue reading A hazy picture on employment in India

Show commitment to equity in the Budget

News: Recently, Oxfam International presented “Inequality Report” with the title “Inequality Kills”. What does the report say? One, the report highlighted the growth in wealth of a few and the simultaneously increasing poverty among millions. Two, more than half the world’s new poor are from India and 84% of Indian households have suffered a loss… Continue reading Show commitment to equity in the Budget

Good News Before Budget

News: The 2022 budget session of the Parliament commenced today. This article discusses the need of sustaining export growth. Also, it emphasizes that budget 2022 should focus on the agriculture and health sector to ensure efficiency and inclusiveness in government expenditure. Performance of exports One, India’s goods exports are at a record high of $393… Continue reading Good News Before Budget

PM’s Punjab Security Breach: Lessons For SPG

News: The Special Protection Group (SPG) has been in news recently due to security lapse in Punjab. The Supreme Court has also set up a five-member panel to probe the security breach. What is SPG? The SPG was created in1985 as a specialized armed force of the Union to provide undivided attention to the safety… Continue reading PM’s Punjab Security Breach: Lessons For SPG

Flying Home – on Air India privatisation

News: Recently, the Tata group regained Air India by winning the bid of Rs 18,000 crore and acquired Air India after seven decades. Tatas will gain 100 percent ownership in Air India, Air India Express, and a 50 percent stake in the ground handling firm AI-SATS. Why Air India privatization is seen as a beneficial… Continue reading Flying Home – on Air India privatisation

Neglected Tropical Diseases Day: India can beat them but that needs bold action

News: Neglected tropical disease day is on January 30 and it reminds that India needs an integrated approach to eliminate NTDs. What is Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)? NTDs is an umbrella term that refers to 20 medically diverse, communicable diseases that flourish in impoverished environments, tend to coexist, cause significant mortality. Why there is need… Continue reading Neglected Tropical Diseases Day: India can beat them but that needs bold action

India’s economy and the challenge of informality

News: This article says that fiscal policy efforts to formalize the economy are not enough in the case of India. There is a need for a coherent approach that focuses on the productivity of workers, efficiency, and overall economic growth.  What is the fiscal perspective of formalization? One, according to international financial institutions such as… Continue reading India’s economy and the challenge of informality

Political economy of regulatory reform

News: This article discusses the status of implementation of regulatory reforms announced in the last seven budgets. Why financial regulatory reforms are needed? Financial regulatory reforms clarify the role and objectives of regulation, establish sound agency architecture and institutionalize sound governance and processes within a statutory regulatory authority (SRA). For example, Securities and Exchange Board… Continue reading Political economy of regulatory reform

Fiscal policy must take centre-stage for a broad revival

News: The third wave of the pandemic is receding but the impact of the pandemic on the economy may last longer. However, response of the government in dealing with the pandemic-induced disruptions can change the scenario. This article discusses the need to reduce inequality and how fiscal measures can help in that. Why inequality is… Continue reading Fiscal policy must take centre-stage for a broad revival

Unlock India’s food processing potential

News: There is a challenge in front of all of us to feed the 10 billion population by mid-century. Hence, food production needs to be both economically viable and ecologically sustainable. How Production-Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) scheme is helping in the growth of the food processing sector? One, India is one of the largest producers… Continue reading Unlock India’s food processing potential

A brief history of Indian budgets as economic constraints shifted

News: India will complete 75 years as an independent nation in August 2022 and the Finance minister will present the annual budget against the backdrop of this anniversary. This article analyses the budgets of the following years 1948, 1972, 1997, and explains the various reforms undertaken to overcome the constraints/challenges faced during those budgeted years.… Continue reading A brief history of Indian budgets as economic constraints shifted

Keeping faith – On India- Pakistan Relations

News: Recently, Pakistan Hindu Council has sent a proposal to India to allow pilgrims of both countries to travel by air to avoid complicated procedures. The proposal is sent at a time when other India-Pakistan exchanges are suspended. What is the scenario in religious exchanges? First, the Kartarpur corridor came up in 2019 due to… Continue reading Keeping faith – On India- Pakistan Relations

Credibility of govt accounting – On Public Account Committees

News: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) completed a hundred years of existence, and this article discusses ways to improve the PAC’s oversight. What is the significance of the PAC? One, it plays a crucial role in scrutinizing the use of government funds. The PAC is a parliamentary committee, and customarily the leader of the largest… Continue reading Credibility of govt accounting – On Public Account Committees

Let’s universalize India’s employment assurance

News: Recently head of Hindustan Unilever has suggested that it’s time for the government to launch an urban job guarantee along the lines of India’s rural employment scheme. What is the need urban employment scheme? First, India’s rural employment scheme helped village-dwellers during the covid crisis. Second, service sector has been severely affected by the… Continue reading Let’s universalize India’s employment assurance

Rules For a Civil Service

News: Recently the chief minister of West Bengal and other states objected to the central government’s proposed amendments to the rules governing the deputation of IAS officers. What are the amendments proposed by the government? Read: What are the proposed amendments to Rule 6 (deputation of cadre officers)? Why changes are proposed? First, IAS officers… Continue reading Rules For a Civil Service

The country must criminalize marital rape right away

News: The Delhi high court is hearing whether the marriage exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code should be struck down. It will provide legal recourse to married women if they are forced into sexual intercourse by their husbands. What is the present legal position? According to law, consent is presumed and continuous… Continue reading The country must criminalize marital rape right away

A chance to support growth, fiscal consolidation

News: Recently, the National Statistical Office (NSO) released the first advance national accounts estimates for 2021-22.  What are the growth prospects for India? IMF and OECD forecasts have indicated growth rates at 8.5% and 8.1%, respectively, for 2022-23. However, these are optimistic as the base effects characterizing 2021-22 are limited. However, India may expect real… Continue reading A chance to support growth, fiscal consolidation

Climate change for practical people

News: Due to lack of availability of data there is a reasonable chance that impact of climate change is not measured accurately and to confront the climate problem we need to think more strategically. What is current scenario of climate change? Climate scientists warn that an increase in the global average temperature of more than… Continue reading Climate change for practical people

Poverty, Wellbeing, Hunger: Where Do We Stand?

News: Recently, there have been comments that hunger in India has increased, based on the GHI 2021 report that showed a decline in India’s ranking to 101 from 95 in 2020. This article examines the question – how best to measure poverty? It also stresses that poverty based on consumption is still important and there… Continue reading Poverty, Wellbeing, Hunger: Where Do We Stand?

Can inequality be solved or is it a natural human state?

News: Recently, Oxfam revealed that India’s richest 10% had 45% of Indian wealth, while the bottom half had only 6%. This article says, even if inequality is a natural consequence, it is evil. There is no need to declare it as sacred. Also, money can never be the correct measure of inequality. Is inequality a… Continue reading Can inequality be solved or is it a natural human state?

Negotiating pitfalls: Are there basic lacunae in India’s practices?

News: India’s tactics of negotiations has not worked the way China’s tactics have worked. Hence, India needs to prepare ground by negotiating better deals.  What is China’s tactic in negotiations?  First, it accepts some principle but do nothing in practice or make a commitment with no intention of honoring. Second, it tries to provoke a… Continue reading Negotiating pitfalls: Are there basic lacunae in India’s practices?

Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders

News: The unending threats to Indian borders and recent developments call for a comprehensive review of border management to ensure the all-weather security. What are the current developments in border areas? One, China is trying to take over territory. For example, Doklam and Galwan crisis. The recent China’s Land Border Law (LBL) will enhance its… Continue reading Why India needs a single agency to guard its borders

The Case for Liberal Democracy

News: India’s political system has always risen to challenges facing the nation. After Independence, India’s democracy was faced with numerous challenges. However, it was able to self-correct and rise against all odds. Democracy functioned as a safety valve, managing and mediating pressures that emerged from our vast country. Having said that, contemporarily India’s democracy is… Continue reading The Case for Liberal Democracy