News & Editorial Analysis 6 March 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Great Indian Bustard:
GS III Topic Environmental Conservation
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s top power regulator, has suggested that only power lines below 33 KV need to be buried and that the remaining ones be fitted with bird-diverters. While this will help solar power projects in Rajasthan, it may also obstruct efforts to make the area safe for the endangered Great Indian Bustard. Environmentalists have criticised the plan, saying that it would cause the “extinction” of the species.
The Great Indian Bustard (GIB), the state bird of Rajasthan, is regarded to be the most seriously endangered bird in the country.
It is recognised as the flagship grassland species because it represents the health of the grassland ecology.
There are only two actual locations where it has a population: Rajasthan and Gujarat. Little populations can be found in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
The bird is always in danger from things like colliding with or being electrocuted by power transmission lines, hunting, which is still prevalent in Pakistan, habitat loss and change brought on by rapid agricultural expansion, etc.
International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List Critically Endangered Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Appendix I Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972.
The last known wild population of GIBs is found in Rajasthan’s Desert National Park (DNP), which has a grassland ecosystem that is very similar to that of the Cholistan Desert, where the GIBs were killed.
DNP is situated in the vast Thar desert, close to the towns of Jaisalmer and Barmer.
It was established as a national park in 1981 to preserve the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard.
The gun-toting poachers in Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab, which have international borders with Rajasthan, would have little trouble getting their hands on the birds.
The hunt for the threatened bird will have an effect on the desert’s ecosystem in addition to drastically reducing the number of GIBs in India.
It is kept up as part of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change’s species recovery project, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (MoEFCC).
A programme named “Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-An Integrated Approach” has also been initiated by the MoEFCC.
By raising Great Indian Bustards in captivity and releasing the chicks into the wild, the programme aims to boost the population of these birds.
The Rajasthan government’s “Project Great Indian Bustard” programme intends to provide infrastructure to minimise human pressure on the species’ habitats as well as breeding cages for the species.
2 – UIDF:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
The Urban Infrastructure Development Fund, created to aid in the growth of Tier II and Tier III cities, should prioritise existing projects, provide for critical services, and promote efforts that minimise carbon footprints in order to make the best use of its resources.
These are only a handful of the many regulations that will likely be produced to put the UIDF programme into action. This year’s General Budget included an allocation of Rs. 10,000 crore for the effort.
Details on the Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF):
The deficit in loans to the prioritised sectors will be used to fund the UIDF.
Governmental agencies will use the funds to develop urban infrastructure in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
It will be managed by the National Housing Bank.
It will be established similarly to how the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund was established (RIDF).
States will be asked to impose fair user fees for accessing the UIDF by using cash from grants from the 15th Finance Commission and other programmes.
What are tiers two and three cities?
Tier 3 cities have a population between 20,000 and 50,000, while Tier 2 cities have between 50,000 and 100,000 residents.
The RIDF was founded by the government in 1995–1996 to provide money for ongoing rural infrastructure projects.
The Fund is overseen by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Contribution: Domestic commercial banks contribute to the Fund an amount equal to their shortfall in lending to agriculture, which is the sector’s designated priority.
The main objective is to provide loans to state governments and state-owned companies so they may complete ongoing initiatives for rural infrastructure.
After a two-year grace period and seven years from the date of withdrawal, the loan must be repaid in equal yearly payments.
3 – Hindu Rate of Growth:
GS III Topic Indian Economy
Former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has cautioned that India is “dangerously close” to the Hindu pace of growth in light of muted private sector investment, high interest rates, and a slowing global economy.
The most recent estimate of national income from the National Statistical Office (NSO), which was released last month, according to Mr. Rajan, indicated a sequential slowdown in the quarterly increase.
Are we starting to grow at the “Hindu” rate again?
Due to India’s weak GDP growth of 4.8% in the first quarter of 2013, hopes of achieving a double-digit growth have grown a little fuzzy. Also, it has opened a window into the controversial idea of Hindu rate of progress.
What is the Hindu population growth rate?
The term “Hindu rate of growth,” coined by Indian economist Professor Rajkrishna in 1978 to explain the slow growth and offer a justification in light of socialistic economic principles. The expression was developed to convey India’s pleasure with the country’s moderate post-independence growth rate. It was proposed that Indian fatalism could be the reason why policymakers were not seeking for ways to improve the economy while other countries clamoured for higher growth.
The slow growth was attributed by some early economists to the fatalism and contentment of the Hindus, according to the word “Hindu” used by these economists. Nevertheless, as various economists later pointed out, the so-called Hindu rate of development was actually the result of socialist policies implemented at the time by fiercely secular governments and had nothing to do with Hinduism.
Contrary to the adage, GDP estimates from Belgian economic historian Paul Bairoch, who was published in 1982, raise questions about this contentment. This research showed that India made up nearly a quarter of the world’s Economy in 1750, and it was later confirmed by British economist Angus Maddisson. Following the start of colonisation, India’s share fell, reaching 20% by 1800 before dropping rapidly to 3% in 1880.
When is it appropriate to describe a country’s growth as Hindu?
Hindu growth rates are not sufficiently represented by modest growth rates. A consistently low growth rate is insufficient to be recognised as the Hindu rate of growth, even while it is not an economic recession. In addition to being slow and lasting a long time, the phrase also implies a low per-capita GDP when population growth is taken into account.
For instance, India’s population growth rate in a given year was over 2% in the 1980s, yet the meagre 1% per-capita GDP growth rate, with 3.5% GDP growth, defined Hindu pace of growth.
With annual population growth currently hovering at 1.4%, it is possible to see stronger per capita income growth. As a result, even while the phrase “Hindu rate of growth” may have applied to a certain time, it cannot be used to define India’s growth rate as a whole. Even if we tried, it would be impossible to return to this era in an open global market. As we entered the neo-Hindu cycle of expansion and became more in sync with the global economy, the expression might have become obsolete within a few years of its coining.
4 – Bio Computers:
GS III Topic Biotechnology
The development of “biocomputers” is the goal of the creative new field of study “organoid intelligence,” which has just been revealed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). These “biocomputers” connect real sensors and input/output devices to brain cultures created in the lab. The tool is anticipated to assist researchers in understanding the biological foundations of human cognition, learning, and a variety of neurological disorders.
The creation of specialised microcomputers known as “biological computers” had the goal of being used in the medical industry.
An implantable device called a biological computer is mostly utilised for molecular or cellular functions like monitoring bodily activity or producing therapeutic effects.
This is made up of RNA, DNA, and proteins, and it can also perform simple mathematical computations.
This would enable the researcher to develop a system or collection of biosensors that can find or focus on specific cell types that may exist in the patient’s body.
Also, this might be used to execute or carry out target-specific medical operations that could provide prescribed treatments or procedures for ailments.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
Clean Tech As The Next Big Thing In Rural India:
Sustainable energy-based livelihood strategies are being used by an increasing number of rural Indian women to start their own businesses. Locally, distributed renewable energy (DRE), such as solar refrigerators, machinery for reeling silk, biomass-based cold storage, and bulk milk chillers, is revolutionising how women make a living.
The part DRE plays in changing women’s lives:
More than 80% of the 13,000 early adopters of clean technology work appliances are women, according to a recent survey by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW). DRE-powered technologies give women farmers and microentrepreneurs a competitive advantage by increasing earning alternatives through mechanisation. Also, they free women from a variety of demanding manual chores that are particular to their gender.
By 2030, 150 million people are expected to be employed by India’s 30 million women-owned micro, little, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). With women at the centre of this transition, sustainable livelihood technologies have the ability to alter rural livelihoods. The market opportunity in India alone is $50 billion.
But how can we make this impact reach millions of women instead of just a few thousand? The Powering Livelihoods initiative’s attempts to reach rural women are summarised in the following key actions.
First, take advice from early female adopters. Due to their novelty and high initial costs, digital appliances are perceived as high-risk purchases, particularly by female consumers who, due to socioeconomic considerations, have a significantly lower risk appetite.
Early adopters can help potential consumers learn about their experiences and serve as demo champions or sales representatives to promote these products based on their reputation and firsthand product expertise. Early adopters must be used by technology suppliers.
Importance of live events and funding:
Plan hyperlocal actions and demonstrations next. Consumers want to touch and study high-tech, pricey products before putting their faith in its capabilities and benefits, especially in the case of women who have historically had less access to new information.
These events also offer networking opportunities, product awareness, and contacts with individuals who can help women acquire, finance, and use these devices.
How to get financing:
Make goods purchases easy to fund, and finally. A continuing barrier is the lack of funding sources for these clean technology products. The technology should be treated as collateral by financial institutions that support women who own small businesses and farms, while expediting the loan application process.
The creators and advocates of technology should also promise ample after-sales support and buy-backs. To convince financiers of the economic sustainability of these technologies, advocates must disclose data and offer guarantees against partial default.
Fourth, support bidirectional market connections. Offering technology alone is insufficient in some circumstances. Many rural goods have a bigger market potential. It is essential to identify and connect urban consumption hotspots with manufacturers in order to boost earnings.
Women frequently struggle with established market relations because of their limited mobility and lack of networks outside of their local communities. In this context, developing business models that enable women to sell to an intermediary or collectingivizing them can ensure a consistent income stream.
Fifth, encourage policy convergence. As no private sector organisation has the kind of reach and size that government organisations do, it is crucial to take advantage of their reach in order to grow exponentially. Many Ministries are working to support women’s livelihoods, including the State Rural Livelihood Missions, Horticulture and Agricultural Departments, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Companies, and Ministry of Textiles. They should employ renewable energy options in order to further their own programmes and aims.
To grow the influence of sustainable energy solutions on women’s livelihoods, a village of legislators, investors, financiers, technology promoters, and other ecosystem facilitators is necessary, much like it takes a village to raise a child. We won’t be able to fully realise the potential of rural women and clean technology until then, and only then.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
In Parliament’s Court:
Recently, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners must be chosen by a high-power committee made up of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India (ECs).
The election commission has to be reformated in order to maintain its independence and objectivity during the electoral process.
Historical context of the decision:
Since over 50 years ago, there has been a call for an impartial procedure for choosing Election Commission members.
The Justice Tarkunde Committee in 1975, the Dinesh Goswami Committee in May 1990, the second administrative reforms commission in January 2007, and the Law Commission of India in its 255th report from March 2015 have all regularly endorsed it.
Since elections are the foundation of democracy, the integrity of the commission is essential to the legitimacy of the democratic process. The now-reformed system of nominations assures that the independence, autonomy, and institutional integrity of the Commission remain intact and well-protected by severely limiting the hold and control of the executive body over the organisation.
In most nations, the nomination is not only approved by Parliament but also after consultation with the Opposition. The Supreme Court has taken into account the system used in many different nations.
Relevance of judgement
According to Article 324(2) of the Constitution, the President shall appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, subject to the terms of any law passed by Parliament in this regard. It has been seven decades since this occurred.
The Bench observed that despite having multiple political parties in power, none of them had created a legislation or a procedure for selecting members of the Election Commission. It was stated that there is a “lacuna” in the law and that it is essential to pass legislation in accordance with Article 324 of the Constitution.
The Election Commission’s function in the modern electoral process allows for misuse, including by manipulating the election calendar, among other things.
The Commission is made to become and remain a partisan body and a branch of the executive because it is the only governmental branch involved in the appointment. It invokes the idea of the influence of reciprocity and fidelity to the appointing body.
The appointment “must not be overshadowed by even a perception that a yes man will decide the fate of democracy and all that it promises,” the court ruled. “A person who is in a state of obligation or feels indebted to the one who appointed him fails the nation and can have no place in the conduct of elections, forming the very foundation of democracy.”
The new CEC and EC election procedure will improve democracy:
The institution will have more credibility and objectivity thanks to this new method.
Most critically, this will guarantee that the Electoral Commission’s reputation for neutrality is upheld.
For the sake of public perception and trust, the institutions must not only appear to be autonomous but also to be such.
As a result, the judgement also lends some consistency to the appointment processes used by institutions and statutory bodies that are in charge of upholding democracy and institutional autonomy on their own.
Many criticisms of the judgements:
The idea of separation of powers has been brought up by the judgment’s detractors. The Supreme Court ruled on this matter in Golak Nath and others versus State of Punjab and another in 1973, stating that the Constitution is supreme and that all authorities must abide by it.
The court has been charged with judicial activism by some. Definitely not. The Court has not responded to a PIL, an appeal, a representation on a postcard, or a suo motu request. Not one, not two, but four civil writ applications have been decided. Although it has the authority to issue a writ of mandamus, it has chosen not to.
Further reforms are needed to strengthen the election commission even more:
The Court makes a “fervent appeal” that the Union of India/Parliament “may consider” enacting the necessary changes so that the Commission becomes truly independent with regard to the relief relating to setting up a permanent secretariat for the Election Commission of India and charging its expenses to the Consolidated Fund of India.
The verdict did not address some crucial issues, such as whether Election Commissioners should have the same protection against removal as the Chief Election Commissioner under the Constitution.
Even though Justice Ajay Rastogi stated in a separate judgement that it is “desirable” that the grounds for dismissing election commissioners be the same as those of the Chief Election Commissioner, the protection from dismissal that is necessary for the commissioners’ independence has not been granted.
The election process will be strengthened by the Supreme Court’s appointment decision, which will increase the legitimacy and independence of the Election Commission.
But, there are still more areas that need improvement, including the criminalization of politics, the influence of money, and the dubious role of the media, all of which, while significant, were only incidental. It is anticipated that comprehensive legislation, which this decision may lead to, will address the remaining difficulties.
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