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Indian Express Explained and Editorials 23/06/2020

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1)Mobilising resources with FCI Reforms

Source – Indian express

Syllabus – GS 3 – Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security

Context – Fighting the coronavirus on one hand, and defending the borders from Chinese incursions on the other will require mobilising large resources for which FCI can be transformed.

FCI – The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was set up in 1965 under the Food Corporations Act, 1964 with the primary duty to purchase, store, move/transport, distribute and sell food grains and other foodstuffs.

Objectives and associated issues: The intervention of Government has led to a disconnect between demand and supply of grains in food grain markets in following way:

Figure 1 – Objectives along with challenges

Suggested solutions to reform the three functioning stages of FCI:

  1. Procurement– If food grain markets are opened for active participation of private players with Government as an equal player, competition would lead to more efficiency in the operations and development of adequate infrastructure in storage and warehousing.
  • Example -The recent amendment of the Essential Commodities Act can come handy to instil confidence in the private sector for building large scale storage.
  1. Distribution– As per Economic Survey 2020, the coverage of NFSA needs to be restricted to the bottom 20 per cent and the issue prices for others could be linked to the procurement prices. A better alternative would be giving income transfers to consumers through Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) to reduce subsidy burden.
  2. Buffer stock – Liquidating “excess stocks” through open market operations by inviting the private sector in a big way to hold these stocks, at whatever reasonable market price it can get.

By not liquidating it, FCI will keep incurring unnecessary interest costs of about Rs 8,000-10,000 crore per annum.

Way Forward – Given fiscal constraints, there is always a trade-off between allocating money through subsidies and increasing investments. As investments are the crucial input to increase in productivity, the increasing focus on subsidies via FCI is harming the growth of agricultural sector in the long-run. This imbalance between subsidies and investments needs to be urgently corrected for sustainable development of agriculture.

2)

Relation between Leader and leadership  

Source – Livemint

Syllabus – GS 4 – Ethics and Human Interface

Context – The current pandemic and the policies adopted by leaders across the world has shown the difference between leader and leadership.

Leader – A leader is a person who holds high position as well as power in political, economic and social organisation and leads the people to attain goals. He may or may not have leadership qualities which are innate as well as nurtured by people themselves.

Leadership – It comprises of the skills and qualities with which leaders rally people towards the goal. The qualities and foundational values required in a leader are:

Relation between the two is explained below:

Figure 1 – The Venn diagram depicting the relation between the two

  1. Leaders having the leadership qualities: History has many examples of such leaders who have inspired people through their values and actions. Example – Mahatma Gandhi had the support of masses in all his movements against the British Empire.
  • COVID – The strong leaders having leadership qualities have tackled pandemic with following approach:

Figure 2 – Leadership qualities exhibited in pandemic

  1. Not all leaders have leadership qualities: Consider, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), who came to power on the back of a US-supported coup and he left behind a legacy of human rights abuse. Thus, not all strong leaders necessarily have the leadership qualities to promote well-being of all. Same is true with leaders who have acquired power and position because of dynastic rule.
  • COVID – In some countries with so-called strong leaders, the response to the pandemic has been unilateral, arbitrary, whimsical, chaotic and non-scientific. In some cases, the leaders have provided undue primacy to the economy and business over individual lives. Thus, they have used the covid opportunity to appropriate additional power and deepen social divides.
  1. Not all those who have leadership qualities are leaders: There are many in the society who have the potential to become leaders, but the structure of society is such that it prevents new leaders from rising up the ladder. For Example, communist nations have single party rule with power concentrated in a single leader and it prevents others from exercising their leadership skills.

Way Forward – Leader is one who knows the way, shows the way and walks the way. COVID has created the perfect opportunity for true leaders to exhibit leadership and it also has highlighted the leaders who just have power without any sense of how to use it.

3)Additional funds sought for Jal Jeevan Mission

News: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has asked for additional funds of ₹82,000 crore from the 15th Finance Commission for the Jal Jeevan mission as only 18% of households are currently covered.

Facts:

  • Launched Year: 2019.
  • Aim: Toprovide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections (HarGharJal) to all rural households by 2024.
  • Implementing Agency: It is being implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • Funding: The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  • Features:
    • It focuses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
    • It will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across India.
    • It seeks to generate maximum community participation in the form of ‘jan andolan’ to achieve the target of functional household tap connection by 2024.

4)Even Golden Langurs suffer forced abortion, infanticide

News: Golden Langurs found in the state of Assam is suffering from forced abortion and infanticide.

Facts:

  • Golden langur: It is an Old World monkey found in western Assam, India and in Bhutan.
  • Vegetation: Moist evergreen and tropical deciduous forests as well as some riverine areas and savannas.
  • IUCN Red list: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule I
  • Threats: Habitatloss and fragmentation, Poaching among others.
  • Chakrashila sanctuary: It is a wildlife sanctuary located in Assam.It is famous for having golden langur as it’s primary species.

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