News & Editorial Analysis 23 May 2023
The Hindu News Analysis
1 – Jallikattu:
Topic à Indian Culture:
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 was amended by TN, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, and these modifications were supported by a five-judge SC bench, enabling bull-taming games like Jallikattu, Kambala, and bullock-car races.
What is eruthazhuvuthal/Jallikattu?
It is a bull-taming sport that has historically been practised in Tennessee as a celebration of nature and as a part of the Pongal harvest festival, which includes cow worship.
However, it has long been disputed due to the sport’s brutal and hazardous nature as well as its treatment of animals.
History of the case:
A. Nagaraja v. Welfare Board of India (2014):
Such sports, including Jallikattu, were outlawed by a two-judge SC bench.
The top court ruled that “bovine sports” violated the PCA Act, which establishes the responsibilities of those in charge of animals and defines animal cruelty.
The PCA Act supersedes alleged traditions and cultural norms, and the Parliament is required to treat animal rights as constitutional rights (in accordance with Articles 14, 21).
2016 MoEFCC notification:
The “exhibition or training of bulls as performing animals” was forbidden.
Bulls may still be trained as performance animals at Jallikattu, per an exception, in accordance with the traditions and cultures of various tribes.
In 2017, TN changed the PCA Act:
This was done to permit Jallikattu in the state, conserve Tennessee’s cultural history, ensure the survival and welfare of native bull breeds, and reduce animal cruelty in the relevant sports.
Following the filing of a number of petitions contesting the changes and the aforementioned exception, the SC referred the case to the Constitution Bench since it entailed constitutional interpretation.
Jallikattu’s preservation as a cultural right of TN under Article 29(1) of the Constitution was up for debate in front of the Bench.
The SC’s most recent decision:
Jallikattu has a significant cultural component, overturning its 2014 decision in Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja.
The PCA amendments were deemed “valid legislations” since they relate to List III of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution (the prohibition of animal cruelty) and are not a piece of colorable legislative.
The 2017 change, according to the court, does not violate:
In accordance with Articles 51-A (g) and (h), Indian citizens are required to preserve the environment and foster humanism, science, and other liberal values.
Constitutional Articles 14 (Right to Equality) and 21 (Right to Life).
The Jallikattu problem, however, is “debatable” and must eventually be addressed by the Parliament because it calls for a more thorough social and cultural research.
Source à The Hindu
2 – Heli Tourism:
Topic à Indian Culture:
Heli-tourism would be introduced by Kerala Tourism to draw in more expensive visitors. Guidelines for heli-taxi services connecting Kochi with well-known tourist locations including Thekkady, Munnar, and Kumarakom have been created. The department wants to support this endeavour by establishing the required infrastructure through public-private partnerships (PPP).
Source à The Hindu
3 – Minimum Import Price of Apples:
Topic à Indian Economy
The Minimum Import Price (MIP) for apples in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was established by the Central Government of India to safeguard the local market against predatory pricing and unfair competition.
MIP is a short-term measure put in place by a government to safeguard domestic businesses from unfair import prices and competition. The MIP establishes a base price below which imports of a specific commodity are prohibited.
Who sets the guidelines?
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the department within the trade ministry in charge of formulating laws governing imports and exports, including MIPs.
By establishing a minimum import price, the government hopes to provide J&K producers an equal playing field and stop apple imports from flooding the market at ridiculously low costs.
About apple farming:
India’s apple-growing regions include Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, the highlands of Uttar Pradesh, and Uttaranchal. Additionally, it is grown to a smaller amount in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Punjab. Apple production in the world is dominated by China. India is in fifth place.
Apples’ optimal climatic conditions:
During the active growing period, the ideal summer temperature for apple cultivation is between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius. In the range of 1500 to 2700 metres above sea level, apple trees can be planted. The best conditions for apple trees to thrive and bear fruit are well-distributed rainfall of 1000–1250 mm during the growing season. Additionally, loamy, well-drained soils are optimal for growing apples.
Source à The Hindu
4 – Forest Fires in Uttarakhand:
Topic à Environmental Conservation related issues
There are substantial issues with forest fires in the chir pine belt in Uttarakhand, India.
Chir Pine Belt: What is it?
It designates a region where Pinus roxburghii (chir pine) trees predominate. The state of Uttarakhand is where it is most frequently found. This belt’s high concentration of chir pine trees further increases the risk of forest fires there.
About the chir pine:
The Himalayan region is home to this kind of pine tree. In the subtropical and temperate areas of Uttarakhand, it is an evergreen tree that grows quickly and creates dense forests.
Challenges caused by forest fires in Uttarakhand’s Chir Pine Belt include the following:
High density of forest:
1.6% of the total land area of India is made up by Uttarakhand. However, the state accounts for 45% of the nation’s forest cover, compared to just 21.67% for the state.
Pine trees are widely distributed:
The predominant type of forest in the area is chir pine. Due to their abundance in organic polymers, pine trees are more susceptible to forest fires.
Litter made by plants, such as pine needles, can start fires. The risk of wildfires spreading is increased by dry biomass.
The vulnerability of plants with narrow leaves:
Pinus, Picea, and Abies are examples of narrow-leaved species that predominate in the local forest ecology. When exposed to low temperatures and humidity, some species can catch fire.
Fires caused by people:
Fires are frequently started on purpose by timber smugglers to deflect attention and assist illegal activity. Human-induced fire dangers are a result of land use patterns and development activities that are out of control.
High temperatures and little rainfall are common in Uttarakhand. The summer months present increased fire threats due to the abundance of dry material available. Strong winds are another factor that hastens the spread of forest fires.
Efforts to Put Out Forest Fires in Uttarakhand’s Chir Pine Belt:
Planting of appropriate broad-leaved species:
Introduce plants that are less prone to fire, such as oak and rhododendron. Increase forest diversity to lower overall fire danger.
Building watchtowers to aid in early detection:
To catch forest fires early, install watch towers. Encourage quick response and action to manage fire incidents.
Activation of fire watchers:
Assign people to watch out for fires in sensitive regions. regular observation to find and quickly report fires.
Establishing and maintaining fire lines:
Cleared vegetation serves as a barrier by forming fire breaks and lines.
Use of satellite data and remote sensing technology:
Use technologies to locate burning forests from space. Facilitate quick detection and reaction to fire occurrences.
Exclusive hiring of personnel for battling forest fires:
Employ skilled workers who are outfitted with cutting-edge firefighting equipment. Make sure there are specialised crews accessible to put out fires.
Van panchayats, joint forest management (JFM), and communication:
Encourage collaboration and community involvement in forest management. Use radio, television, social media, technological devices to raise awareness. Encourage responsible forest practises and raise awareness of them.
In order to suppress fires in Himalayan regions, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recommended a number of strategies, including early detection and reporting, fireline establishment, community involvement, training and capacity building, use of technology, and firefighting teams.
A few actions include:
National Forest Fire Danger Rating System; Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPMS, 2017); National Plan for Forest Fire Management; Firefighting Tools and Equipment (e.g., Fire Beaters, Pulaskis Tools, Forest Fire Showel, etc.); National Policy on Forest Fire (finalised by the government).
A comprehensive strategy that involves early detection, community involvement, capacity building, technology use, and efficient communication between many stakeholders is needed to address and mitigate forest fires in the Himalayan region. By putting these safeguards in place, forest fire risk and damage can be considerably decreased, safeguarding the region’s priceless biodiversity and ecological balance.
Source à The Hindu
5 – Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojna:
Topic à Government Policies and Interventions
The National Productivity Council (NPC), an organisation in India, is supporting the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) with the results of seven significant field studies.
Regarding the studies:
The purpose of these studies is to strengthen the fisheries industry and its contribution to the GDP of the nation.
Domains covered The research address a range of topics, including infrastructure for fish marketing, innovative fishing methods, storage container upgrades, post-harvest loss minimization, and technology evaluation.
In order to promote the “Blue Revolution” and the sustainable growth of the fisheries industry, PMMSY (Under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry) was established in 2020.
From FY 2020–21 to FY 2024–25, it is being implemented across all States and Union Territories. It offers financial support and insurance coverage to fisherman.
Goals and Purpose:
The modernization of Indian fisheries; strengthening the rural economy; development of core and trunk infrastructure; and the “Reform, Perform, and Transform” motto.
Type of scheme:
Umbrella programme having Central Sector Scheme and Centrally Sponsored Scheme components, where the Central government pays for the project’s overall costs while the States/UTs pay for its various components and activities.
22 million metric tonnes more fish produced; a 9% increase in the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution to agriculture; double export revenue to almost Rs. 1 trillion; increasing the profits of fish farmers and fishermen by two times while reducing post-harvest losses to roughly 10%.
Success of the scheme:
The production and export of fish have reached record highs in the fisheries sector, which has experienced outstanding growth of over 14%. Over 31 lakh farmers now have insurance thanks to the programme.
Kisan Credit Cards for Fishermen; Fisheries & Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF).
Sector of fishing in IndiaIndia is second in the world for aquaculture production and third for fish production.
About the National Productivity Council (NPC):
NPC is an independent organisation that falls under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (est. 1958; HQ: Delhi). It offers training, consultancy, and research services related to productivity to the public, private, and government sectors.
Source à The Hindu
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The Hindu Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 22 MAY 2023 à THE HINDU
HUMAN PANGENOME MAP:
A pangenome reference map was created using the genomes of 47 anonymous individuals, mostly from Africa but also from the Caribbean, the Americas, East Asia, and Europe, according to a recent study that was published in the May 10 issue of the journal Nature.
Genome and genome sequencing definitions:
The genome, which is made up of all the genes and the spaces between them that are found in each of our 23 pairs of chromosomes, is the blueprint for life.
A continuous DNA thread makes up each chromosome.
In other words, our genome is made up of 23 distinct strings, each of which is made up of millions of little units known as nucleotides or bases.
All 23 of our chromosomes are made up of the four different building blocks (A, T, G, and C), which are ordered and repeated millions of times in various configurations.
The process of genome sequencing is utilised to pinpoint the four letters’ exact placement within chromosomes.
Understanding the genetic diversity of humans and our susceptibility to specific diseases is made possible by the sequencing of individual genomes.
An identity card like Aadhaar is the genome. As unique as each Aadhar card is, so too is our genome.
Newly sequenced genomes are compared to a reference genome, which serves as a reference map. This aids in our comprehension of the locations where the recently sequenced genome and the reference genome diverge.
The creation of the first reference genome in 2001 was one of the scientific achievements of this century. It assisted in the identification of hundreds of genes associated with numerous diseases, improved genetic understanding of conditions like cancer, and the development of new diagnostic procedures.
Despite being a fantastic achievement, the reference genome of 2001 was only 92% complete and had several flaws. Furthermore, because it was constructed mostly from the genome of a single person with a mixed African and European background, it was not representative of all humans. Since then, all 23 human chromosomes’ entire end-to-end sequences have been added to the reference genome map, which has been updated and polished.
What is a pangenome map?
The pangenome is a graph, in contrast to the older reference genome, which is a linear sequence.
Each chromosome’s network resembles a stem of a bamboo, with nodes where the sequences of all 47 individuals converge and internodes of various lengths that indicate genetic variances between those individuals of various ancestries.
In the pangenome project, the researchers used long-read DNA sequencing technologies, which result in strings of contiguous DNA strands that are tens of thousands of nucleotides long, to generate entire and contiguous chromosome maps.
Longer reads make it possible to construct sequences with the fewest possible errors and read through repetitive chromosomal regions that were previously difficult to sequence with short-read technology.
Why Pangenome Maps are crucial:
We can better appreciate the differences between any two people and comprehend human diversity if we have a full and error-free human pangenome map.
It will also aid in our understanding of the genetic variations that underlie underlying medical disorders in particular groups.
Despite the fact that the current map lacks Indian genome sequences, it will improve the mapping of Indian genomes against the error-free and comprehensive reference genomes already available.
Future pangenome maps will provide insight into disease prevalence, aid in the discovery of new genes for rare diseases, aid in the development of improved diagnostic techniques, and aid in the development of novel drugs to treat those diseases. These maps will include high quality genomes from Indians, including those from many endogamous and isolated populations within the nation.
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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis
EDITORIAL ANALYSIS à 23 MAY 2023 à THE INDIAN EXPRESS
ECONOMIC REFORMS IN INDIA:
Shaktikanta Das, governor of the RBI, recently stated that a 7% growth in India’s GDP is anticipated for FY23.
Important economic indicator data for the Indian economy:
India will have the world’s largest economy with the quickest growth rate in 2023.
According to purchasing power parity (PPP), India has the third-largest economy in the world.
India’s nominal GDP is $3.7 trillion, making it the fifth-largest economy in the world.
Due to its draconian lockdown, India saw one of the largest absolute GDP declines among the world’s major economies in 2020–21. The present growth rate is inflated by the low base that this decline caused, from which it is being measured.
According to PIB, the fiscal deficit would be 5.9% in FY 2023–2024 and the revenue deficit will be 2.9% in FY 2023–2024.
In the three months that concluded in December 2022, India’s current account deficit (CAD), or 2.2% of GDP, decreased consecutively.
India’s foreign exchange reserves totaled $563.499 billion as of December 16, 2022, including $498.5 billion in foreign currency assets.
The current exchange rate for India is 1 US Dollar = 82.76 Indian Rupees.
For every 16 voters in India, one direct tax payer is present. In India, only 1% of people pay income taxes. India has a tax to GDP ratio of 16.6%, which is substantially lower than the averages for emerging market economies (21%), as well as the OECD (34%).
In comparison to the previous year, India’s Gross Savings Rate increased from 30.2% to 30.2% in March 2022.
The latest CMIE Report states that India’s unemployment rate is 8.11% as of April 2023.
In February, the unemployment rate in urban areas decreased to 7.93% from 8.55%, while it increased in rural areas to 7.23% from 6.48%.
India’s budget deficit was 6.4% of GDP, while its public debt was high at 83% of GDP.
Investment as a percentage of GDP decreased from 34.3% in 2011–12 to 27.3% in 2020–21, the epidemic year.
Except for the pandemic year of 2020–2021, it has since increased, but the investment ratio has averaged about 29% since 2014–15.
According to a UNDESA report, India will likely grow at a 6.7% annual rate in 2024.
For instance, the IMF projects that the Indian economy would expand by 5.9 percent in 2023–2024, which is significantly less than its prediction of 6.8 percent for 2022–2023.
In 2023, inflation in India is predicted to fall to 5.5% as global commodity prices stabilise and imported inflation is lessened by a slower currency depreciation.
Since May 2022, the repo rate has increased by a total of 250 basis points due to the Reserve Bank of India’s rate-hiking binge.
According to information from the Ministry of Statistics, India’s industrial output, as determined by the Index of Industrial Production or IIP, decreased to 1.1 percent in March 2023.
Agriculture will account for 18.3% of GDP in 2022, followed by industry at around 25% and services at 53%.
According to a survey by Statista and Credit Suisse, India’s wealth Gini coefficient ended 2021 at 82.3 (High). Although the figures have not changed since 2020, they have significantly increased from 74.7 in 2000.
According to an Oxfam analysis, more than 40.5% of all wealth in India was owned by the top 1% in 2021.
According to the research, there were 166 billionaires in the nation in 2022, up from 102 in 2020.
Government-led economic reforms of note:
Reforms to Direct and Indirect Taxes:
2019 saw a considerable reduction in tax rates designed to increase investment and promote employment growth.
If no specific exemption or incentive is taken advantage of, the tax rate for new manufacturing domestic enterprises under the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 has been dramatically decreased to 15%.
Additionally, these businesses are not subject to the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT). To 15%, MAT has been decreased.
The assessment procedure now uses Faceless Assessment, which minimises interactions with the tax administration and speeds up the settlement of problems.
The Direct Tax Code is a significant tax system reform that intends to consolidate all existing tax laws and regulations into a single piece of legislation. Important suggestions are:
In the 2012–2013 fiscal year, the administration accepted the increased tax slabs that had been recommended.
Without a corporate tax surcharge, corporate income tax should be set at 30%.
In place of the previous tax rate of 18.5%, the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) rate should now be 20%.
There are still several programmes that fall under EEE, such as PF, gratuities, pension funds, etc.
Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) Elimination: The Finance Act, 2020 eliminated the Dividend Distribution Tax in order to improve the appeal of the Indian Equity Market and to offer relief to a sizable class of investors and businesses.
Only the recipients of the dividend income will be subject to tax at their respective rates.
Reforms to indirect taxes:
GST: This indirect tax system was established to collect taxes and decrease tax evasion. India finally began the shift to a single GST in 2017.
Entry tax and the Central Sales Tax (CST) were eliminated as a result of the unification of State and Central indirect taxes into the GST.
This has had significant economic knock-on repercussions. The elimination of the entry charge has decreased travel times on the main thoroughfares, which has helped industries save money.
It is an indirect tax that was put in place to replace a number of previous indirect taxes, including the purchase tax, excise duty, and value-added tax (VAT). GST is a tax that India imposes on the supply of specific products and services.
There is only one tax that is imposed in India.
employment Codes: To simplify the regulation of employment, the federal government also passed a set of four labour law amendments.
Agriculture reform legislation was introduced to increase transparency and openness in the industry in order to double farmer income.
Production-linked incentive (PLI) programme boosts manufacturing for sustained growth:
The government’s top priority is structural reform:
To speed up the implementation of infrastructure projects, the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan has been introduced.
Among them are the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, Neem Coating of Urea, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, and the Soil Health Card.
Agricultural loans totaling Rs. 15 lakh crore are being offered at 4% interest, and in the last five years, farmers have received assistance totaling Rs. 77,000 crore.
One thousand mandis have been connected to the internet as part of the E-Mandi programme, and so far one lakh crore worth of transactions have taken place.
The 2016 Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code establishes a timeline for resolving insolvency in businesses and among people.
The Samagra Shiksha Scheme is a general educational programme.
Important economic initiatives:
NITI Aayog’s creation and the implementation of cooperative federalism.
By implementing an aspirational district programme, inequality will be reduced and the advantages of development will be distributed fairly.
Indicators for the development of skills, health, and education have been created in addition to the India Human Development Index to assess the effectiveness of the policies and their results.
the creation of the Monetary Policy Committee, which will help manage economic growth and inflation more effectively.
Based on excellent macroeconomic statistics, India’s economy has been stable, and it has demonstrated resilience in the face of crises like the Covid-19 outbreak. Along with strong implementation mechanisms for human development in terms of education, health, and skill development, India needs to make economic decisions that promote efficiency, transparency, and accountability. By 2024, India’s economy will reach $5 trillion thanks to this.
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