News & Editorial Analysis 8 March 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Aadhar Linkage with Aadhar Card:
GS II Topic Government Policies and Interventions
Almost 60% of Indian voters’ Aadhaar numbers are now linked to their names on the voter lists. In States like Tripura, which just had elections, the exercise has reached saturation of over 90%, but is behind in Gujarat and Delhi, where only about 30% of the voter has submitted an Aadhaar number to poll officials. As a result, campaigners have expressed worries about deprivation of rights, compulsion, and privacy.
Why is the Aadhar and voter ID link being pushed by the government?
Updating the database:
By regular exercises, the linking endeavour would help the Election Commission keep an up-to-date and accurate record of the voter base.
to remove duplicate voters from the electoral rolls, such as migrant workers who may have registered on them more than once in multiple seats or for individuals registered more than once in the same constituency.
Indian voter identification:
The government claims that by connecting Aadhaar to voter identity cards, it will be possible to guarantee that every Indian resident has a single voter identification card.
Why and what does this link mean?
At the end of 2021, 99.7% of Indian adults possessed an Aadhaar card.
Any other officially recognised document, including those frequently used for specialised purposes like ration cards, PAN cards, and driver’s licences, cannot compare to its scope of application.
Reliable and reasonably priced:
Because it offers biometric authentication, Aadhaar-based identification and verification are seen as being more dependable, rapid, and affordable when compared to conventional IDs.
Does one have to connect their voter ID to their Aadhaar?
In December 2021, Parliament approved the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021, which inserted Section 23(4) to the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
In order to validate entries in the electoral rolls of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency for residents who have already registered, it stipulates that the electoral registration officer may ask people for their Aadhaar numbers.
Recently made changes:
The government has now revealed changes made to the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960.
The newly established Regulation 26B provides that any person whose name appears on the roll may furnish his Aadhar number to the registration officer.
Uncertainty in government actions:
The Form 6B produced under the new Regulation 26B does not seem to reflect the government’s and the EC’s statements that associating the Aadhaar with the voter identification is optional.
The format for providing Aadhaar information to the electoral registration officer is described.
Aadhaar numbers and other specified documents can also be submitted by the voter.
Only if the voter is unable to supply their Aadhaar number because they do not have one can they choose to submit the other mentioned papers.
What issues do the Aadhar and voter ID connection have?
Unknown Constitutional Status:
One of the problems that the Supreme Court examined in the Puttaswamy case was the requirement to link Aadhaar with bank accounts (Right to Privacy).
A variety of Goals:
The desire to use Aadhar to select voters is puzzling considering that it only functions as proof of residence and not citizenship.
Checking voter identity against this will not result in the expulsion of voters who are not Indian citizens from the electoral records; rather, it will just help reduce voter duplication.
There are numerous estimates of the error rates for biometric-based authentication.
The Unique Identification Authority of India reported a 12% error rate for biometric authentication using Aadhaar in 2018.
This problem is also illustrated by prior instances of utilising Aadhaar to delete election rolls.
A similar attempt made in 2015 in Andhra and Telangana resulted in the disenfranchisement of over 30 lakh voters until the Supreme Court halted the connecting procedure.
Privacy Rights Infringements:
Aadhaar’s “demographic” data could be linked with voter identification data as a result of the integration of the two electoral registration databases and Aadhaar, infringing on the right to privacy and enabling the government to enact surveillance measures.
How to Proceed:
Alterations to the law:
The Government must solicit public comment and allow for more extensive legislative examination before to passing any new laws.
It is essential to make sure that elected officials and common individuals alike have access to chances and privileges in a Parliamentary democracy like India.
It is essential to have a meaningful debate regarding the ramifications of a proposed bill in order to identify and address the problems that legislation may generate.
Protecting citizens’ privacy:
Before pursuing the Aadhaar-voter ID linkage, the government must first concentrate on passing the Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill.
Governmental entities must be governed by the PDP regime and be required to get a person’s express consent before sharing personal information with other government entities.
2 – Hailstorms:
GS I Topic Geography related issues
On March 7, Ajit Pawar, the head of the opposition and a well-known NCP member, criticised the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government for allegedly being indifferent to the needs of the farming community as unseasonal rainfall in some parts of Maharashtra compounded farmers’ issues.
What happens in hailstorms?
Unusual weather conditions where ice balls fall from the sky called hailstorms. Simply put, ice balls are solid precipitation that occurs under particular conditions.
How do hailstorms form?
Hail is produced by cumulonimbus clouds, which are frequently large and dark clouds that can also produce thunder and lightning.
These clouds’ water droplets can be carried by winds to elevations where they freeze as ice.
As soon as the hailstones begin to fall, the first frozen droplets are swiftly swept back up by the winds, where more droplets immediately freeze onto them, building up many layers of ice.
The hailstones alternate between falling and rising until they get too heavy and hit the earth.
3 – Chabahar Port:
GS II Topic International Relations
The MEA said on Tuesday that India will ship wheat via Chabahar to Afghanistan, which is currently ruled by the Taliban. The choice was taken after negotiations to extend the timetable for transporting the wheat by land with Pakistan expired and were unsuccessful at the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Afghanistan’s inaugural meeting in Delhi.
Chabahar Port: What is it?
Chabahar, a port city in southeast Iran, is located on the Gulf of Oman.
The only port in Iran with direct access to the sea is this one.
It is situated in the Sistan-Balochistan province of southern Iran, which is a region rich in energy.
India, Iran, and Afghanistan view the port of Chabahar as a route to lucrative business potential with central Asian nations.
In comparison to other international ports, Chabahar has never attracted the same level of enthusiasm and attention from India.
India will be able to travel directly from the sea to Afghanistan without having to go through Pakistan.
Pakistan currently forbids India from enlarging its borders into Afghanistan.
The International North-South Transport Corridor, to which both nations and Russia were early signatories, would as a result pick up steam.
The primary entry point for this programme is Iran.
It would mitigate Chinese dominance in the Arabian Peninsula.
4 – Pritzker Prize:
GS II Topic International Relations
Several awards, including the Padma Bhushan, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and the Pritzker Prize, were given to him. Doshi remained highly active in the field of architecture well into his eighties.
The international Pritzker prize was established in 1979 by the Chicago-based Pritzker family.
One of the most esteemed honours in the industry, it is frequently referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.
It is awarded yearly, and the winner receives a $100,000 prize as well as a bronze medallion.
What is newsworthy? Balkrishna Doshi, a prominent architect, became the first Indian to receive the Pritzker Prize.
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
How To Become A Green Hydrogen Superpower:
The federal budget for 2023 includes 19,700 crores for the National Green Hydrogen Mission. This will start a project that might aid India in becoming a green hydrogen (super)power. What is required, and why is this significant?
National Green Hydrogen Mission (NGHM):
The objective of the programme is to promote industrial green hydrogen production and make India a net exporter of the fuel. The Mission will encourage the growth of the market for green hydrogen, as well as its creation, consumption, and export.
Strategic Interventions for the Program for the Transition to Green Hydrogen (SIGHT) It will generate clean hydrogen and offer money for domestic electrolyser manufacture.
It will be determined which states and regions can support extensive hydrogen production and/or consumption, and these places will be developed into Green Hydrogen Hubs.
The nodal ministry for the programme is the Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
The significance of green hydrogen for India:
India has promised that as part of its nationally decided contributions, it will produce 50% of its electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030. (NDC under the Paris climate agreement). However, the industrial sector must transition to a more energy-efficient model. The industries in India that emit the greatest greenhouse gases are steel, cement, fertilisers, and petrochemicals.
What is green hydrogen?
Hydrogen and oxygen must be separated from water, which requires a lot of energy. When this energy is obtained from non-fossil, renewable sources, we obtain green hydrogen. It can serve as a carrier and an energy source (for heavy industry, long-distance travel, flying, and power storage), all at the same time (as green ammonia or blended with natural gas).
Green hydrogen holds the promise of fostering industrial growth while also reducing industrial pollutants. Due to its large wind energy resources and an abundance of sunshine, India is geographically lucky to become one of the lowest-cost producers of green hydrogen.
India intends to produce at least 5 million tonnes (MTs), more than any other nation, by 2030.
There would be increased demand for:
A fleet of electrolyzers with a capacity of 60–100 GW and 100–125 GW of renewable energy.
There is an investment opportunity of Rs. 8 lakh crore.
Decrease annual emissions by 50 MMT.
Industry and the government must collaborate on five objectives for the vision to become a reality.
If we are not a significant player at home, we cannot be a significant player in the global market. The mission introduces the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition (SIGHT) fund, which for 5 years at a cost of Rs. 13,000 crore would directly assist the usage of green hydrogen. Because of the increase in demand for heavy industries, suppliers will be able to charge less because of economies of scale.
Another tactic is to use government procurement as leverage. Can India, the second-largest steel producer in the world, work to lead the pack of green steel producers? Although the cost of green steel, which is made from green hydrogen, is currently significantly higher, it might be reduced with improved manufacturing efficiency and technological breakthroughs.
Attracting foreign investment:
In comparison to other countries, India has far less declared or ongoing green hydrogen generating activities. Green hydrogen transportation is difficult and expensive. Green hydrogen centres with integrated production, consumption, and export are what are intended. A mission secretariat can make sure that project clearance is accelerated and reduce financial risks to entice FDI and FII into the industry.
Putting value enhancement first:
And last, the SIGHT fund’s performance-linked incentive (PLI) scheme contributes Rs. 4,500 crore to the manufacture of electrolysers. Currently, manufacturers import stacks and assemble them. We must increase our degree of competitiveness in the manufacture of the most significant and priceless electrolyser components in India with targeted public funding.
Electrolyser technology must be improved in order to meet stringent application requirements, better efficiency goals, the capacity to use non-freshwater, and the ability to substitute necessary minerals.
Form bilateral partnerships to create resilient supply chains:
Globally, there have been over 63 bilateral alliances, with Germany, South Korea, and Japan having the most. Using loans denominated in yen or euros, respectively, for sales to Japan or the EU, could reduce our cost of capital and increase our export competitiveness. 400 crores are allocated for research and development by the mission, which can be utilised to entice private funding for collaborative technical advancement. Indian companies should consider partnering on initiatives in countries with an abundance of renewable energy sources and accessible financing.
The creation of a global framework for green hydrogen:
India must work with other major economies to develop legislation for a global green hydrogen economy. Without it, groups of private companies instead of official intergovernmental processes are in charge of endeavours to develop rules and standards. Protectionist policies and conflicting regulations are already showing up in significant markets. This put India’s goals in danger.
During India’s G20 presidency, there is a potential to create rules for a global green hydrogen economy. Green hydrogen will play a significant role as an industrial fuel in the 21st century. India is in a good position to lead, both for the good of the world and for the sake of our common goals.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
A New Trade Strategy:
India’s export performance has considerably contributed to the country’s recent economic progress.
Notwithstanding the current state of the world economy, India’s total exports, including trade and services, increased by 17.33% to $641 billion from April to January 2022–23 from $547 billion in the corresponding period of last year.
This comes after India’s exports soared by an astonishing 46% in 2021–2022, topping $422 billion. India’s ability to successfully navigate the “storm” of post-pandemic supply-chain challenges and geopolitical circumstances has astounded the globe with its resilience at this time.
Government initiatives to aid India’s exports include:
The success of the country’s exports was not an accident; rather, it was the result of well planned trade policy interventions, their effective implementation, and a number of other initiatives to create an environment that would promote exports.
Export facilitation helped to conceptualise and effectively implement a number of export promotion programmes, including the Market Access Initiative (MAI), Remission of Duties and Tax on Exported Products (RoDTEP), Trade Infrastructure for Exports Scheme (TIES), and Interest Equalization Schemes on Pre- and Post-Shipment Rupee Export Credit, among others.
According to this export development plan, India’s exports have constantly expanded.
The country’s export portfolio has evolved as a result of the targeted strategy to leverage on its inherent capabilities. For instance, from April through December 2013 to April through December 2022, India’s toy exports climbed from barely Rs167 crore to Rs 1,017 crore.
The role of PLI (changes in export dynamics) in production-linked incentives
The Production-linked Incentive (PLI) programme has changed the game. India’s trade deficit in electronics and other manufactured goods has decreased as a result of the country’s transformation into a manufacturing powerhouse.
The PLI scheme, inaugurated in March 2020 with an investment of more than Rs 2 lakh crore, first concentrated on producing mobile phones, electrical components, and medical equipment, but was later expanded to 14 manufacturing industries.
As a result, the electronics manufacturing industry attracted a lot of investment, and its exports have dramatically expanded by over 55% annually. Mobile phone exports alone could reach $10 billion during the current fiscal year.
To improve export competitiveness, increase logistical efficiency:
Logistics, a significant obstacle to India’s export competitiveness, have been proactively addressed in the Union budget for 2023–2024.
The capital expenditure budget has been drastically increased by 33 percent to a record Rs 10 trillion in order to improve the efficiency of the development of rail, road, air, and ocean infrastructure.
By connecting Indian industrial systems with global value chains, it would also boost exports (GVC).
Future challenges for the export sector:
Fears of a slowdown and an upcoming recession have put the world economy in peril. The global economic slump is projected to have an adverse effect on India’s exports.
The IMF forecasts that global commerce will grow at a 2.3% annual rate through the year 2031, in contrast to the projected 2.5% growth in the world’s gross domestic product (based on the BCG’s global trade model).
India’s trade strategy and policies must be forward-looking in order to address new challenges.
Initially, trade policy announcements were mainly limited to short-term measures, focused on a small number of incentives, and lacking in any clear strategic goal.
How to get beyond the challenges they have in encouraging export:
The rationalisation of employment allocation within the Ministry of Commerce and the reformation of its divisions and subordinate offices with forward-looking objectives are expected to transform India’s institutional mechanisms for encouraging exports.
By implementing the most recent technology in the data collection, assimilation, processing, and distribution among stakeholders, as well as the accessibility of real-time information, the information gap between the exporters and the various government departments has been closed.
In order to expedite and effectively carry out legislative steps to encourage exports, the Ministry of Commerce has been actively working with state governments and district administrations in recent years.
Each Indian state was expected to prepare an export promotion strategy that included not only the identification of feasible items and markets but also the impediments that prohibited them from attaining the full potential of their exports.
Also, a strategic shift has been undertaken by Indian missions abroad, who are now proactive in conducting market research and facilitating the introduction of new products.
The Ministry of Commerce has examined each FTA and is actively negotiating new ones in favour of India.
India recently negotiated new FTAs with the UAE, Mauritius, and Australia with remarkable speed and skill, and it is currently in the advanced stages of negotiations with the UK. It is also actively seeking out new trade agreements with the EU and the US.
The trade strategy is gradually outlining a strategy to export goods and services worth $1 trillion by 2030.
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