Indian Express 03rd December 2019

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1)Explained: India’s bullet train project — where things stand :-

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a review of the bullet train project sending out signals of uncertainty over the prestigious enterprise.

Some existing Bottlenecks in the Bullet train Project :-

  • From its inception, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), the body implementing the project, has been facing controversies over land acquisition in tribal-dominated areas, and cases filed by farmers in court.
  • There is a fundamental opposition to the idea of a Rs 1.1 lakh crore train corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad — even though the project is being funded by an 80% loan from Japan.

Can the New Maharashtra Govt. Scrap the Project ? :-

Maharashtra is not investing any money per se in the project. Its equity is through land. Both Gujarat and Maharashtra own 25% each in the project, while the remaining 50% is owned by the Government of India.  The state  government can change the rules for land acquisition, as that is within its purview.

However, the contract with Japan that the Centre has entered into, cannot be impacted.

How can the acquisition process be expedited?

NHSRCL has adopted the strategy of land acquisition by consent, and not by invoking the various laws that empower government agencies to acquire land for public purposes.

The provisions of the central Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, would have allowed the linear project to acquire land even without the consent of certain parties, if needed, against the payment of compensation. But the company is not looking to invoke such provisions, officials said.


2) Explained 2 :- Issue :- Incident of Anaemia in Babies and Children.

Let’s see the numbers first :- As many as 58.5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 59 months, and 53.1% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 years, are anaemic in the country.

29.8% of children in rural India suffer from moderate anaemia, and 40.3% of women in the villages are mildly anaemic.

The data, based on the findings of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) IV (2015-16), divide the incidence of anaemia into ‘Mild’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Severe’ kinds for both rural and urban India.

What has the govt. Done to tackle the Anaemia problem :- union government had, in 2018, launched the “Anaemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Strategy under POSHAN Abhiyaan with the aim to reduce anaemia prevalence by three percentage points every year till 2022”.

Strategy for AMB :- AMB is a 6x6x6 strategy that is targeting six age groups, with six interventions and six institutional mechanisms”.

The six age groups include pre-school children (6-59 months), children (5-9 years), adolescent girls (10-19 years), adolescent boys (10-19 years), women of reproductive age group (15-49), and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Among the six interventions are prophylactic iron folic acid supplementation,periodic deworming, and addressing non-nutritional causes of anaemia in endemic pockets, with special focus on malaria, haemoglobinopathies and fluorosis.

Six Institutional mechanisms include a National Anaemia Mukt Bharat Unit, and a National Centre of Excellence and Advanced Research on Anaemia Control.

Explained :- When is the Oath taken by a Minister valid 

Background of the issue :- On the first day of the Assembly session in Maharashtra on November 30, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis alleged that the oath-taking ceremony of the new government had violated the constitution.

Why Devendra fadnavis complained :- Uddhav thackrey and other ministers invoked the name of Shivaji , “my parents”etc — at the start of the oath, before reading out the text, which he alleged had altered the oath itself.


Constitutional Provision:-

Article 164(3) says: “Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.”

The Third Schedule requires the taker of the oath to either “swear in the name of God” or to “solemnly affirm” to “bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution…”.

Art 164 makes it clear that the text of the oath is sacrosanct, and the person taking the oath has to read it out exactly as it is, in the given format. If a person wanders from the text, it is the responsibility of the person administering the oath — in this instance the Governor — to interrupt and ask the person being sworn in to read it out correctly.

Role of the Governor

The Governor’s approval is key. According to experts, if the person administering the oath approves the oath, the matter is closed. Immediately on taking the oath, the person who has been sworn in, must sign a register. The register is attested by the Secretary to the Governor, which means it has been approved by the Governor.

4 )Raja Mandala by C. Raja Mohan (International Relations Expert

Topic :- India and Mauritius (Time to change our strategy)

Basic Premise of the author :-For far too long, Delhi has viewed Mauritius through the prism of diaspora. This was, perhaps, natural since communities of Indian origin constitute a significant majority in the island. But the time has come to reimagine Mauritius in much larger terms.

Recent efforts by India to involve with Mauritius :-

  • Prime Minister saw Mauritius as part of India’s neighbourhood and invited its leadership to join his inauguration along with other South Asian leaders.
  • During his visit to Mauritius in 2015 that Modi unveiled an ambitious policy called the SAGAR (security and growth for all). It was India’s first significant policy statement on the Indian Ocean in many decades.

What needs to be changed :- It is the urgent need to discard the deep-rooted perception that Mauritius is simply an extension of India.

Historical background of Mauritius:

Early European explorers sailed around the African continent and ventured eastwards to India, they began to call Mauritius, the “Star and Key of the Indian Ocean”.

It Was the Portuguese and the Dutch were the first to gain a foothold in Mauritius, it was the French who gained effective control over the island in the early 18th century.

The French developed sugar plantations, introduced ship building and developed a naval base. The French certainly understood the strategic significance of Mauritius.

The enduring value of its location is reflected in the fact that Diego Garcia, once part of Mauritius, today hosts one of America’s largest foreign military bases in the world.

As a member of the African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Indian Ocean Commission, Mauritius is a stepping stone to multiple geographies.

Why and How Mauritius provides an opportunity to India :-

One, as new investments pour into Africa, Mauritius is where a lot of it gets serviced. Mauritius can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach.

Two, until now India has tended to deal with the so-called Vanilla islands of the south western Indian Ocean — Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles — on a bilateral basis. If the Indian establishment thinks of them as a collective, it could make Mauritius the pivot of Delhi’s island policy.

Three, the Mauritius pivot can facilitate a number of Indian commercial activities in the south western Indian ocean — as a banking gateway, the hub for flights to and from Indian cities and tourism.

Four, India could also contribute to the evolution of Mauritius as a regional centre for technological innovation.

Five, climate change, sustainable development and the blue economy are existential challenges for Mauritius and the neighbouring island states. Mauritius will be the right partner in promoting Indian initiatives in these areas.

Finally, if Delhi takes an integrated view of its security cooperation in the south western Indian Ocean, Mauritius is the natural node for it.

Topic 5 :- Issue : India’s poor growth statistics (GDP)and what needs to be done

What are athe numbers :-  6.1% year-on-year, the growth in India’s nominal GDP in Q2FY20 is the lowest in more than 16 years.

In real terms, a 4.5% y-o-y growth in GDP is the lowest since Q4FY13.

What reasons does the govt. Cite for this :- The government has cited weakening global growth as a reason for India’s sharper-than-expected growth slump. But India is a relatively closed economy, and domestic factors have played a bigger role; the weak domestic demand has been cushioned somewhat by government spending and contracting imports.

What is the impact of lower nominal GDP:- At a time when the economy is slowing, it is only to be expected that tax collections too, will slow. And since the denominator — nominal GDP — will be lower, the deficit-to-GDP will go up even more.

What are the reasons for decreased consumption and Growth :-

Consumers are clearly not willing to spend, especially on big ticket items such as homes. The fact that there is no quick fix for the compression in credit growth will.

One big reason why consumption demand has tapered off is rural stress — with prices of agri goods collapsing, farm incomes have been badly hurt.

It is even harder to visualise where the jobs are going to come from, since the manufacturing sector is in a slump — manufacturing GVA contracted 1% in the September quarter.

The services sector is in big trouble since the financials of a couple of large telecom players are fragile following adverse regulation.

The biggest challenge today is to unclog credit flows to industry — small and large. The reason for this is Banks don’t want to give more loans because of the NPA problem.

But the reality is if the growth is to revive credit flow must be there, consumption needs to be increased.




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