Monday, 6 July 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 03/07/2015

Reforming Irrigation in India (Very Important for Mains – Paper – 3)
Government recently launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna’ with proposed investment of Rs 50000 crores spread over next five years. Current year allocation is Rs 5300 crores aimed at irrigating 6 lakhs additional hectares. It holistically aims to bring all the existing schemes under it and put a 3 level strict monitoring mechanism viz. District, State, and National levels. In past deficit monitoring mechanisms have been biggest loophole in various schemes. It further promises to extend irrigation to every village in India. Currently irrigation is limited to just 40% of the total cultivated land. As always, here too implementation is the key challenge.

This time there is greater vertical (center, state and districts) and horizontal (ministry of water, ministry of irrigation, ministry of rural development) cooperation which will ensure fast track implementation. District committee will be responsible for planning and implementation; it will be supervised by ‘State Monitoring committee’ headed by Chief Secretary and there will be a National Executive Committee under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, to oversee issues such as programme implementation, allocation of resources, inter-ministerial coordination, monitoring and performance assessment, and administrative issues.

Further, the programme will be supervised and monitored at the national level by an ‘Inter-Ministerial National Steering Committee’, chaired by the Prime Minister. To states, 75% assistance will be provided by center and its 90% in case of north east states.

India has got numerous perennial and seasonal rivers, and more than 110 cm of average annual rainfall. So, as such we have plenty of water available, but problem is skewed availability across different geographical divides. On one hand there are severely water deficit regions like parts of Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Vidarbha, Rayalseema etc. that bear brunt of annual draught, while on the other side there are regions like eastern India and western Ghats (windward) that are among wettest regions in the world. Key challenge is to engineer ‘inter basin water transfer’. There are some success stories at regional basis under which water is transferred from one basin to another. For eg. –
  • Indira Gandhi canal(It starts from the Harike Barrage at Ferozepur, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Sutlej and Beas rivers in Punjab state) – Transfer of water from Indus basin to deserts of Rajasthan
  • Periyar project – Transfer of water from Periyar basin to Vaigai basin
  • Kurnool Cudappah Canal – Transfer of water from Krishna basin to Pennar basin
Similar projects can be replicated elsewhere like in Bihar where monsoon brings devastating floods annually. Earlier there were talks of ambitions projects like Ganga Cauvery Link Canal and Garland canal. These aimed at creating massive transfer systems at pan India level, something line ‘National Water Grid’ under which water could be moved to and at chosen places and times. But these were neither affordable nor practical. So, only option is region based water transfer.

First target will possibly be mapping of water bodies throughout India. We have 85 large reservoirs with capacity of about 253 billion cubic meters of water. Other important assets are the ancient ponds in villages. All these can be mapped along with relief of land through satellite imaging or geo tagging, which can provide useful inputs for ‘rain water harvesting’ and watershed development. This will help arresting water runoff which inhibits recharge of groundwater acquafiers. Swaminathan committee suggested promoting the ‘farm ponds’ as are prevalent in south India. These are small ponds held commonly by 2-3 farmers.

For this entire work, scheme will also utilize labor available under MNREGA scheme. This will pacify critics of MNREGA, who argue that the scheme doesn’t build and useful durable asset.

Further, integral part of the scheme will be awareness for the farmer. This will make sure that only suitable crops are planted. For e.g. Sugar cane or paddy is not sowed in areas with water problem. For this states with help of districts will draw a District Irrigation Plan and a State irrigation Plan.

Government will have to provide subsidized irrigation equipments such as sprinklers and drip irrigation systems. Farmers are in habit of waterlogging the crops, even when they need just moisture in the soil. Due to this attitude wastage is rampant. Success of this ambitious program doesn’t only depend upon seriousness of the central government, but also ambitions of and participation by the state and local governments and by farmers themselves. Currently, because of disproportionately large availability of water in North West India, about 80% subsidy provided on water and fertilizer is cornered by rich commercial farmers. ‘Irrigation to all’ is first and foremost step which will ensure correction of this distortion.

India is now a $2-trillion economy
According to a recently released World Bank report, India’s GDP has crossed the $2-trillion mark in 2014 and at present stands at $2.067 trillion. After taking 60 years to reach the $1-trillion mark, India has added the next trillion in just seven years.

What else the report says?
  • Going by income, India is still in the lower middle income category.
  • India’s gross national income per person has risen to $1,610, which converts to Rs 1,01,430 by present exchange rate.
  • India is among the world the fastest growing economies this year.
  • Despite its increase in per capita gross national income (GNI), India has remained in the ‘lower middle income’ category ($1,046-$4,125).
  • The report also shows that India would become an ‘upper middle income’ country ($4,126-$12,735) in 2026. This will put it in the category China occupies now. But, it will take India till 2039 to reach the ‘upper middle income’ level, at the assumed growth rate.
  • The World Bank’s data on gross national income per capita show Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Paraguay, Argentina, Hungary, the Seychelles and Venezuela have shifted their income categories for the better. For example, Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, and Tajikistan are now ‘middle income’ countries from being ‘low income’ nations.
GNI (Gross national income) is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad.

World Food Prize Awarded for Enhanced Food Security
Fazle Hasan Abed of Bangladesh has been awarded the 2015 World Food Prize.
  • This prize honors Fazle’s unparalleled achievement in building the unique, integrated development organization BRAC, which is headquartered in Bangladesh and operates programs in 10 other countries around the globe. It is said to be the world’s largest NGO.
About BRAC:
  • The organization, originally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, was created as a temporary relief organization to help the country recover from the 1970 typhoon that killed about 500,000 people and the subsequent war fought in 1971 to win independence from Pakistan. Bangladesh was once listed as the second poorest country in the world.
  • BRAC has grown into one of the world’s largest nongovernmental organizations focused on alleviating poverty — estimated to have helped more than 150 million people out of poverty in Africa and Asia and is expanding efforts to 10 additional countries.
About the World Food Prize:
The World Food Prize was created by Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food. Norman Borlaug is also known as the father of the green revolution.
  • The award carries a monetary reward of 250,000 dollars. The foundation that awards the $250,000 prize is based in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Since 1987, there have been 40 individuals who have won the World Food Prize and they come from a broad array of specialisations, from presidents to seed scientists and irrigation pioneers.
  • So far, seven Indians have won this award.
ED attaches land in U.S. in loan fraud case

In the first such action, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached 1,280 acres of land in the U.S. in connection with one of the biggest bank loan frauds in this country.
  • This land in California, USA, belongs to Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd and Vijay Chaudhary.
  • Chaudhary, who is allegedly absconding, had taken loans totalling Rs 2,200 crore from various banks for realty projects in Europe. However, no project was ever undertaken and the money was allegedly siphoned off by Mr. Chaudhary.
  • The unprecedented move to attach the land in California worth Rs. 1,000 crore was initiated by the ED’s Ahmedabad zonal unit.
About the Enforcement Directorate:
Enforcement Directorate, established in the year 1956, is a law enforcement agency and economic intelligence agency responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, which enforces Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) laws.
Other functions of the directorate include:
  • To collect, develop and disseminate intelligence relating to violations of FEMA, 1999, the intelligence inputs are received from various sources such as Central and State Intelligence agencies, complaints etc.
  • To investigate suspected violations of the provisions of the FEMA, 1999 relating to activities such as “hawala” foreign exchange racketeering, non-realization of export proceeds, non-repatriation of foreign exchange and other forms of violations under FEMA, 1999.
  • To adjudicate cases of violations of the erstwhile FERA, 1973 and FEMA, 1999.
  • To realize penalties imposed on conclusion of adjudication proceedings.
  • To handle adjudication, appeals and prosecution cases under the erstwhile FERA, 1973
  • To process and recommend cases for preventive detention under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA)
  • To undertake survey, search, seizure, arrest, prosecution action etc. against offender of PMLA offence.
  • To provide and seek mutual legal assistance to/from contracting states in respect of attachment/confiscation of proceeds of crime as well as in respect of transfer of accused persons under PMLA.
Parliamentary committee recommends doubling of MPs’ salary
A parliamentary committee has recommended a steep hike in the salaries and allowances of Members of Parliament. This recommendation was made by the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament and is headed by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath.

Major recommendations:
  • The committee has sought doubling of the salary of MPs from the existing Rs. 50,000 per month, increasing the pension of ex-MPs from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 35,000, and doubling the daily allowance of members when Parliament is in session, from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 4,000.
  • It has also sought facilities for companions in place of spouses, as many MPs are single. Currently, companions and spouses are only entitled to second class tickets.
  • The panel has also recommended that ex-MPs be permitted to travel economy class by air five times a year. Sitting MPs are allowed to fly executive class around three dozen times a year.
  • Since MPs rank higher than the Cabinet Secretary in protocol, the panel suggested their privileges should match their status and also include healthcare benefits for married children of MPs.
About the Joint Committee on Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament:
  • It consists of five members from the Rajya Sabha nominated by the Chairman and ten members from the Lok Sabha nominated by the Speaker.
  • The members of the Joint Committee elect its Chairperson.
  • The Joint Committee is a Standing Committee of Parliament and a member of that Committee holds office as such member for one year from the date of his nomination.
  • The Committee determines its own rules of procedure.
National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015
The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval for the India’s first integrated National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015.
  • The Policy acknowledges the need for an effective roadmap for promotion of entrepreneurship as the key to a successful skills strategy.
  • The previous National Policy on Skill Development was formulated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2009 and provided for a review after five years to align the policy framework with emerging national and international trends.
  • The Vision of the Policy is “to create an ecosystem of empowerment by Skilling on a large Scale at Speed with high Standards and to promote a culture of innovation based entrepreneurship which can generate wealth and employment so as to ensure Sustainable livelihoods for all citizens in the country”.
  • To achieve this Vision, the Policy has four thrust areas. It addresses key obstacles to skilling, including low aspirational value, lack of integration with formal education, lack of focus on outcomes, low quality of training infrastructure and trainers, etc.
  • The Policy seeks to align supply and demand for skills by bridging existing skill gaps, promoting industry engagement, operationalising a quality assurance framework, leverage technology and promoting greater opportunities for apprenticeship training.
  • Equity is also a focus of the Policy, which targets skilling opportunities for socially/geographically marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
  • Skill development and entrepreneurship programmes for women are a specific focus of the Policy.
  • In the entrepreneurship domain, the Policy seeks to educate and equip potential entrepreneurs, both within and outside the formal education system.
  • It also seeks to connect entrepreneurs to mentors, incubators and credit markets, foster innovation and entrepreneurial culture, improve ease of doing business and promote a focus on social entrepreneurship.
National Skill Development Mission
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the institutional framework for the National Skill Development Mission in keeping with the commitment made during the Budget Speech for 2015-16.

About the National Skill Development Mission:
The National Skill Development Mission aims to provide a strong institutional framework at the Centre and States for implementation of skilling activities in the country.
  • The Mission will have a three-tiered, high powered decision making structure. At its apex, the Mission’s Governing Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, will provide overall guidance and policy direction. The Steering Committee, chaired by Minister in Charge of Skill Development, will review the Mission’s activities in line with the direction set by the Governing Council. The Mission Directorate, with Secretary, Skill Development as Mission Director, will ensure implementation, coordination and convergence of skilling activities across Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
  • The Mission will also run select sub-missions in high priority areas.
  • The National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and the Directorate of Training will function under the overall guidance of the Mission.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) provides a natural home for the Mission, organically linking all three decisions making levels and facilitating linkages to all Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments.
Review of the Sagarmala initiative
Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, recently chaired a review meeting of the Sagarmala initiative. Various developments under the initiative were reviewed.

Sagarmala Initiative:
The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The objective of this initiative is to promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline.
  • It aims to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.
  • The Union Ministry of Shipping has been appointed as the nodal ministry for this initiative.
The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely:
  • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development,
  • Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and
  • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.
  • In addition to strengthening port and evacuation infrastructure, it also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promotes usage of electronic channels for information exchange leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.
  • The Sagarmala initiative would also strive to ensure sustainable development of the population living in the Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ). This would be done by synergising and coordinating with State Governments and line Ministries of Central Government through their existing schemes and programmes such as those related to community and rural development, tribal development and employment generation, fisheries, skill development, tourism promotion etc.
  • A National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) is envisaged for overall policy guidance and high level coordination, and to review various aspects of planning and implementation of the plan and projects. The NSAC shall be chaired by the Minister incharge of Shipping, with Cabinet Ministers from stakeholder Ministries and Chief Ministers/Ministers incharge of ports of maritime states as members.

Compare and contrast the economic growth of India with that of China’s since 2008 global economic crisis. Critically examine what this economic growth means to India’s large population. (200 Words)

Critically analyse the relationship between India and Britain.
India now a $2 trillion economy having high GDP and one of the fastest growing economy but in comparison to china is lacking . 
- China's economy is 5 times of india's economy around $10 trillion with accomplished technology in defence as well as social sector , having good export and with new AIIB , china has bored strong roots in economy .
- Since 2008 global economic crisis , india has recovered fast rather fastest growing economy with service sector contributing highest in GDP.
- Schoal says india will be head to head with china by 2026 , slow pace in india is due to focused service cestor and lacking manufacturing sector , with various poverty issues , unemployment problems , brain drain , tech startups moving foreign .
- China tranformation was step by step focusing more on manufacturing sector , while india was dependent on import more .
- population difference , social problem , corruption , handful democracy , poverty are some factors but despite of it india has maintained good growth in economy , and with more export and advance ment in technology , curbing brain drain by providing opportunity to tech startups , Make in India programme and focused approach for development will result good bringing india ahead of china fast.

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