INDIAN EXPRESS EDITORIALS AND EXPLAINED 25TH FEBRUARY 2020

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ISSUE: US INDIA BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT

The current balance of trade, which is tilted in India’s favour, has long been a sore point with Trump, who has described India as a “tariff king”. This is where things stand.

US-India trade: The big picture

$142.6 billion US goods and services trade with India in 2018.

$25.2 billion US trade deficit with India in 2018

$87.9 billion total (two-way) US-India goods trade in 2018; India is US’s ninth largest goods trading partner. US goods exports to India $33.5 billion; goods imports from India $54.3 billion (2018)

$54.8 billion total US-India trade in services. US services exports $25.2 billion; services imports from India $29.6 billion (2018)

1,97,000 American jobs supported by US exports of goods and services to India (2015 Department of Commerce data; latest available)

US exports to India 

India was the US’s 12th largest goods export market in 2018

$33.5 billion US goods exports to India in 2018; up 30.6% ($7.9 billion) from 2017, and up 89.5% from 2008. US exports to India accounted for only 2% of overall US exports in 2018

$25.2 billion US services exports to India in 2018; up 6.6% ($1.6 billion) from 2017, and 151% from 2008.

Top US exports (2018)

* Precious metal and stone (diamonds) $7.9 billion
* Mineral fuels $6.7 billion
* Aircraft $2.9 billion
* Machinery $2.2 billion
* Organic chemicals $1.6 billion

US imports from India 

India was the US’s 10th largest supplier of goods imports in 2018

$54.3 billion were US goods imports from India in 2018; up 11.9% ($5.8 billion) from 2017, and up 111.4% from 2008. US imports from India accounted for 2.1% of overall US imports in 2018

$29.6 billion were US imports of services from India in 2018; 4.9% ($1.4 billion) more than 2017, 134% greater than 2008 levels

Top US imports (2018)

* Precious metal and stone (diamonds) $11 billion
* Pharmaceuticals $6.3 billion
* Machinery $3.3 billion
* Mineral fuels $3.2 billion
* Vehicles $2.8 billion

ISSUE: HOW TO HANDLE THE HUMAN ANIMAL CONFLICT

WHY IN NEWS?

Death of four tigers in Mhadei, Goa, and the reported arrest of the locals who poisoned the animals after their complaints were not attended to in a way it should have been.

India is a unique country with respect to wildlife conservation. Despite a billion people we still have most of our large wildlife species. Compared to relatively lower human density countries in south-east Asia, India today has the largest population of the tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, gaur and many others: These animals cannot be restricted to inside a few hundred kilometres of protected areas.

Had that been done, they would have all died due to inbreeding and lack of connectivity. Tigers need large spaces because they are large animals. Because we cannot create large spaces without humans in India, wildlife does not have a choice but to also use human-use landscapes. This rationale is as old as tigers and humans are in India.

SOLUTIONS

The best way forward is to ensure that the locals view an engagement with tigers as a path towards development: This is something the administration can definitely do as has been shown in many other tiger reserves, including in Maharashtra.

Government should establish Tiger Conservation Fund, which in turn should be used for the development of the local villages — as has been done in Tadoba tiger reserve, Maharashtra.

Crores of rupees that come in yearly should be used to provide training to the local youth, to better the services in the villages around the tiger reserve. The tiger reserve staff facilitate these development activities for the locals. There is no way the locals will then grudge their tigers, if the benefits are there for all to see.

In the short term, compensation procedures need to be improved. The communication and interaction between the forest department and the locals has to be improved.

The solutions are simple: Inclusive development with a long-term vision that cares for the environment. It is about better public services in terms of transparency, accountability and genuine assistance.

 

 

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