News & Editorial Analysis 10 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Poverty Estimation in India
Topic à Social Issues
After 2011–12, there hasn’t been a formal estimate of poverty in India. There are, however, a lot of available private estimates.
Estimating poverty in India:
A person or household is said to be in poverty if they lack the means to maintain even the most basic of living standards.
The first step in ending poverty is accurate poverty measurement since it informs the creation, execution, and monitoring of anti-poverty projects.
Two important factors are considered while estimating poverty in India:
Information on consumer spending; this spending is compared to a predetermined poverty line.
In 2011, it was estimated that 21.9% of Indians were living in poverty.
8% of the world’s population lives below the international poverty line (WB), which is set at US$1.90 per person per day.
Problems with India’s poverty estimates:
varied widely: from a high of 35% of India’s population in 2017–18 (by S. Subramanian) to a low of 1.4% (discovered for 2019–20 by Bhalla, Bhasin, and Virmani).
It is unclear if poverty increased or decreased after 2011–2012.
Why do these variations exist?
Because the consumption and expenditure data were different.
India’s level of poverty has decreased, according to statistics updated (by Bhalla) from the Consumer Pyramid Household Survey (CME).
According to data from the National Statistical Office (NSO) (by S. Subramanian), poverty in India has increased.
NSO abandoned its lone consumption expenditure survey from 2017–18.
Due to the various poverty lines being used:
According to the consumption aggregates from the PLFS, poverty is expected to drop from 21.9% in 2011–12 to 17.9% in 2020–21.
Using the same PLFS consumption data, the most recent report (Panagariya and More) estimates that the poverty rate was 32% in 2019–20 and 26% in 2020–21.
Fortunately for India:
A survey of consumer spending is currently being conducted.
The national accounts and inflation indexes will be updated as a result.
The newly chosen methodology: Since there isn’t a comparable survey, it won’t be able to shed light on what happened to poverty after 2011–12.
No mention of the new methods in public.
By spotlighting the poor’s living conditions and the efficacy of government action, the discourse on poverty measurement has been extremely helpful. Therefore, it is imperative that a scientific process be adopted in order to produce data that is uniformly error-free.
Source àThe Hindu
2 – Financial Inclusion
Topic à Indian Economy
Financial inclusion (FI) for women is difficult to attain until they actively participate in the formal financial sector.
The process of ensuring vulnerable groups, such as weaker portions and low-income groups, have cheap access to financial services and timely, enough credit as needed. (RBI)
Why do females require FI?
At least eight of the 17 SDGs are said to be enabled by FI, which is regarded as a crucial indication of development.
The outcomes of health, education, employment, and economic independence and empowerment for women all directly improve when they have access to bank accounts, loans, insurance, and other financial services.
In turn, this development aids in achieving our common objectives of ending poverty, fostering equitable growth, and lowering inequality.
The programme encouraging FI in India:
The PMJDY, or Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana:
Women own 56% of all new accounts, indicating a phenomenal FI that has drastically narrowed the gender gap from 17% in 2011 to 6% in 2017.
The Indian government has given recipients a total of 16.8 trillion through DBT since its start in 2013. Because they make up a substantial portion of the beneficiaries under the schemes, this has resulted in the FI of women.
Women are still underrepresented in the official financial sector. For instance, the majority of women solely use their PMJDY accounts to withdraw benefit transfers from several government programmes.
The majority of them don’t utilise these accounts to save money, establish credit, or take use of any financial services like insurance and loans.
Accessibility: Most women are unable to access financial services, especially in the rural hinterland.
Privacy and confidentiality worries: hesitation when talking to strangers about personal finances.
Their ability to obtain loans is hampered by the lack of collateral brought on by restricted access to assets and property.
They have less say in the crucial financial decisions the family makes, which might result in waste or the use of benefits for non-essential items.
How should these issues be handled?
Encourage women’s use of and literacy in regard to digital tools.
Encourage women to adopt digital payments.
Increase the number of female Business Correspondents (BCs).
Increase convergence with self-help organisations.
Obtain gender-specific data and create plans to create women-centric initiatives.
Encourage small and medium-sized businesses to use digital credit.
Best practises include:
The National Rural Livelihoods Mission’s Bank Sakhis project prepares SHG members to serve as BCs in rural areas.
By offering small and micro businesses collateral-free loans up to Rs. 1 million, the PM Mudra Yojana aims to increase financial inclusion for women.
It is simple to modify digital payment methods to make it possible for women to obtain information that is a major barrier to their financial independence.
Source àThe Hindu
3 – Global Land Outlook Report:
Topic à Social Issues
The second edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO) report states that humans have crossed four of the planet’s nine limits.
It is a flagship publication of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), whose first edition was released in 2017 at the UNCCD COP13 (China).
It highlights issues with the land system, highlights innovative practises and policies, and identifies practical strategies to scale up sustainable land and water management at a reasonable cost.
Report highlights include:
Land restoration is essential to resolving interrelated challenges because it is the operative link between biodiversity loss and climate change.
What are the borders of planets?
Planetary boundaries are the environmental limits that define a “safe operating space for humanity”.
The following nine planetary limits are:
Loss of biodiversity
Change in land use
Cycles of phosphorus and nitrogen in the environment
utilisation of freshwater
Acidification of the sea
loss of ozone
More than 70% of the earth’s land surface has already undergone human modification.
Climate change, biodiversity loss, land-use change, and geochemical cycles are three of the nine planetary limits that have already been crossed.
Food systems (including agriculture) are the single largest contributor to the loss of terrestrial biodiversity and are responsible for 70% of freshwater usage and 80% of deforestation worldwide.
Global food security is also greatly threatened by land degradation, desertification, and drought.
The term “land degradation” refers to the decline or loss of a region’s biological and economic productivity, including its soil, water, and biodiversity.
This has made a sizable contribution to global warming and environmental degradation, which has in turn increased poverty, hunger, inequality, the spread of zoonotic diseases, etc.
Restoring land effectively:
The paper describes environmental degradation practises, such as the conversion of land and ecosystems and socioeconomic inequities, as a continuum of actions that should be avoided.
With the specific goal of addressing human needs and enhancing ecology, reverse (by restoring soil, watersheds, and other components of natural ecosystems) and reduce (by implementing sustainable land and water management practises) land degradation.
By 2030, it is anticipated that global land restoration will cost $300 billion annually.
According to estimates, every dollar invested will generate between $7 and $30 in economic benefits, paving the way for a future that is both equal and sustainable.
To achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), the amount and quality of land resources needed to maintain ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security must be stable or increasing.
Planning for integrated land use:
deciding on the optimal combination of land uses that will both sustainably meet stakeholder needs and protect land resources.
Identifying landscapes and optimising benefits, such as in global restoration hotspots, is a cost-effective strategy.
Terrace farming and rainwater gathering are two examples of regenerative agriculture practises that can help recover land, boost crop yields, lower greenhouse gas emissions, store atmospheric carbon, and provide worthwhile livelihoods.
The transition to sustainable land use and management practises must be facilitated by inclusive and responsible governance.
Restoration of the Land Initiatives:
350 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands must be restored by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011.Land degradation has already occurred across 97.85 million hectares (mha), an area that is 2.5 times the size of Rajasthan, the largest state in India.
United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration The UNEP and FAO are the two organisations leading the Decade (2021-2030).As part of the Bonn Challenge, India increased its objective for land restoration in 2019 from 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares by 2030.
The G20 Global Initiative was launched in 2020 with the goal of preventing, halting, and reversing land degradation and reducing degraded land by 50% by 2040.MGNREGS will now provide funding for efforts to stop land degradation.
Indian best practises include:
Holiyas: In Gujarat, these are water management systems that subsurfacely store rainwater. When there is a shortage, groundwater can be extracted and distributed using solar pumps.
Plantopathy is a novel, all-natural method that can reduce the effect of plant diseases on yields without the use of pesticides or other synthetic chemicals.
Zero budget natural farming (ZBNF) is a method of farming that uses locally available organic inputs to increase yields and improve the health of the entire farm while lowering expenditures (i.e., zero budget).
Restoring the land is a common duty. Therefore, setting restoration goals for lands and ecosystems that alter land-use systems requires collaboration between governments, scientists, public society, and business players.
Source àThe Hindu
4 – Mridangam:
Topic à Indian Culture
A great mridangam vidwan who ruled the Carnatic music world for fifty years, Karaikudi R Rani, popularly known as Karaikudi Mani, just died away.
About the Mridangam:
It started more than 2,000 years ago in different regions of South India.
It is a well-known bifacial drum that is used in South Indian Classical music, especially Carnatic music, as an accompaniment.
It is played on both ends with the hands and fingers while being held across the lap.
Tannumai, Pakhawaj, and Mrdanga. Similar to the Pakhavaj, this instrument is used in the Hindustani music of Bangladesh, Pakistan, and northern India.
A single block of wood, ideally Jack Wood or Redwood, is carved out to reveal the body. It has a barrel-like form with a little smaller right head than left.
Source àThe Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
LACK OF DRUG RECALL LAW IN INDIA:
Due to lax regulatory standards and a lack of a law requiring the recall of medications, the number of defective drugs is increasing in India.
The control of drugs in India:
The $42 billion pharmaceutical market in India ranks third internationally in terms of volume.
A pharmaceutical business must obtain DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) approval before marketing a brand-new prescription drug in India.
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in India is led by the drug controller general of India (DCGI). The country’s pharmaceutical regulating system is overseen by DCGI.
The Central Drug Authority for carrying out duties delegated to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act is the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
According to the Drug and Cosmetics Act (DCA), State authorities are largely in charge of regulating the production, marketing, and distribution of drugs, while Central Authorities are in charge of approving new drugs.
Fragmented regulatory framework – Since each state in India has its own drug regulators and there are 38 in all, a medicine that is prohibited in one state may nonetheless be sold in another.
Issues with jurisdiction – The presence of numerous regulators has resulted in uneven application of the law.
Lack of emphasis on processes – The Indian system is still focused on final goods rather than processes (medicines sold on the market).
Absence of openness – The law has no provisions requiring the disclosure of medical requirements or requiring transparency.
Drug regulation is complicated, making it challenging to regulate, according to the union health ministry’s drug control section.
Lack of knowledge at the union health ministry’s drug relation branch.
Pharmaceutical industry over public health protection – The government is more interested in promoting the expansion of the pharmaceutical industry than in safeguarding the general population’s health.
There is no binding law on drug recall, despite the fact that the government has been considering one since 1976. Instead, there are guidelines for drug recall.
Change the pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics Act: The Drugs and Cosmetics Act’s main objective is to prevent the sale of substandard pharmaceuticals rather than to react to them after the fact. Therefore, the DCA must be changed to stop the production of inferior pharmaceuticals in the first place.
Establish a stringent quality control system: Manufacturers should implement good manufacturing practises. Simple checks and balances must be followed, such as checking raw materials before incorporating them into drugs, purchasing raw materials from authorised producers, keeping equipment clean, etc.
Coordination and uniformity across several departments: Each state has its own regulations for handling cases. A system should be set up so that regulators may communicate effectively with one another. A set of uniform guidelines should be followed as well.
Address the structural problems with drug regulation by giving the employees the necessary training. Additionally, the positions should be filled immediately away to prevent overwork.
Due to India’s strong foundation in pharmaceutical third-party manufacture and the perseverance demonstrated particularly during the epidemic, it is clear that the country’s pharmaceutical sector contains significant power and development potential. India can effectively utilise its gifted human resource to expand on a worldwide scale with the aid of careful policy development, quality assurance, and an efficient drug regulations framework.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
INDIA WEST ASIA RELATIONS:
India, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently met to discuss the potential for rail connectivity with West Asia through sea lanes.
West Asia’s present situation and past:
West Asia has always been the scene of conflicts, whether they were motivated by sect (Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shia Iran) or religion (Jewish Israel vs. Muslim countries) or great power politics (Russia supported Iran, Iraq, etc. vs. US supported Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.).
However, a couple of these established dynamics have significantly changed recently, leading to de-hyphenation as a result of:
The US-mediated Abraham Accords 2020 for normalising ties between Muslim Bahrain and the UAE and Jewish Israel.
The relationship between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia was repaired in 2023.
The rise of China poses a threat to established great powers like the U.S. US presence there.
The US has faced a challenge from the Russia-China axis, which indirectly pulled India into the US fold.
The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s attempt to increase its regional influence.
Another strategy for gaining influence is debt trap diplomacy.
The friendship between China and Pakistan is a problem for India in its neighbourhood.
West Asia’s importance to India:
West Asia is regarded as being in close proximity to India. India’s relationship with the area is based on history, cross-cultural interactions, and a thriving diaspora. India has significant interests in the region, including those related to trade, energy, stability, and security for the Indian people there.
Energy safety: The country imports about 40% of its oil and 70% of its gas needs from the area.
The country that receives the most international remittances from west Asia is India. A rise from US$ 83 billion in 2020 to US$ 87 billion in 2021 went to India. A significant portion of India’s overall contribution comes from remittances from the Gulf States. In reality, Saudi Arabia ($34.5 billion) and the UAE ($43 billion) will be the world’s second and third-largest sources of remittance outflow in 2020, respectively.
11 million Indians living abroad, mostly in West Asia. Therefore, maintaining regional stability is a top priority for India.
In order to combat radicalization, terrorism, and crime in India, collaboration and coordination are essential.
West Asia is the entry point to the landlocked, energy-rich region of Central Asia.
Reduce the influence of China in west Asia and the Arabian Sea, which is of strategic importance. Through the OBOR programme, China is making steady progress towards west Asia.
India’s 2014 Link West Policy:
India’s Link West Policy is a new paradigm in multifaceted engagement with West Asia that breaks free from local politics and ideological restraints. This policy’s main tenets include:
Removing the hyphen from relationships between opposing sides of a dispute, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia or Israel and Palestine. It implies that relationships with either party shouldn’t be impacted by those with the other. Both relationships are still separate.
Dealing with superpowers like the US or Russia while taking principled stances on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and other contentious regional topics of importance.
Direct interaction with the region’s influential diaspora is necessary to assure their security.
To defend India’s interests in the area, it will be important to contain China, with a particular focus on maintaining control over the Indian Ocean region through West Asia.
Steps to Take:
Due to the growing threat posed by the Taliban, non-conventional threats, cyber warfare, Fourth Generation Warfare or proxy warfare, etc., West Asia is crucial to maintaining peace in the South Asia region. If India contributes positively to the advancement of peace in the area, it can enhance its case for a permanent seat on the UNSC. This will safeguard its investments in the area, energy security, and crucial diaspora interests.
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