Mains Q & A 29 May 2023
Q1. A human-centered path forward, Atmanirbhar Bharat is founded on the ideals and principles of our own civilisation. Elaborate. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II à Government Policies and Interventions
India’s self-reliance, according to the prime minister, does not support self-centered arrangements. It is fundamental to the world’s joy, harmony, and peace. It is predicated on the idea that ” ” – the culture that views the planet as the mother – is true.
Atmanirbhar Bharat’s concept is supported by these 5 pillars:
Economy is the first pillar, with a focus on quantum leap rather than incremental development.
Infrastructure is the second pillar.
The third pillar is Our System, which specifically mentions modern policy and technology as components of it.
Our Demography is the fourth pillar.
Lastly, there is Our Demand.
Atmanirbharta: An Indian ethos-based work:
The appeal for Swadeshi made by Mahatma Gandhi inspired our country. In 2022, Atmanirbhar Bharat will be Swadeshi adapted to India.
The conceptual underpinning of this thought is not just applicable to modern India; it also tackles existential issues facing the nation and difficulties in its interaction with a tense international system.
It is much more crucial to manage and harmonise the divergent goals and expectations of States inside the nation in order to showcase a unified, self-assured India. For instance, the comprehensive notion of Atmanirbhar Bharat should be in line with the objectives of the Dravidian model of development and other region-specific aspirations.
India would descend into anarchy if a harmonious national model is not developed.
It becomes crucial to place more of a focus on unity than diversity in our polity.
Fundamental issues like the sharing of the Cauvery waters and coal for energy will remain unaddressed in the absence of cooperation.
Atmarnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’s aspects:
Faster Economic Recovery: The resilience of Indian industry will determine how quickly India is able to recover from the effects of COVID-19 and its economic repercussions.
Through reforms and government initiatives, the mission seeks to advance Indian industry while increasing their competitiveness.
Supply Chain Fragility: To be able to withstand upcoming supply chain shocks, nations all over the world are currently trying to strengthen local capabilities.
Developmental gaps’ emergence can be attributed to an economy’s long-term, constant reliance on the external sector. For instance, the amount of domestic innovation and R&D has been significantly impacted by technological dependence on imports.
Health and Economic Security: COVID-19’s aftermath has shown how dependence on any kind, such as labour, raw materials, or other resources, can lead to a security issue.
For instance, during the initial phase of the crisis, India was placed in a crisis position due to a lack of enough production capacity for personal protective equipment (PPE).
Geopolitical considerations: A country’s geopolitical position in a region is impacted by its high reliance on other nations for resources. Take India’s significant reliance on imports from China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).
Making subsidies performance-dependent and increasing public regulation, together with other extensive and long-term reforms, will be necessary to realise the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Even more crucially, more funding must be allocated to education and skill development in order to fully implement the package’s structural improvements.
Q2. Analyse Ujjwala 2.0's success in providing the underprivileged with universal access to LPG (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana). (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II à Government Policies and Interventions
Many households’ budgets have been severely strained by the ongoing increase in LPG cylinder prices for more than a year. Compared to the previous year, the cost of LPG refills has increased by more than 50%, from about 600 to over 900 per cylinder in November 2021.
There is serious concern that many homes are again turning back to utilising dirty solid fuels for cooking, such firewood and dung cakes, given there haven’t been any refill subsidies in place since May 2020.
Features of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana include:
Ujjwala 1.0: The goal of Ujjwala 1.0 was to connect 50 million women from below-poverty-line (BPL) households to LPG by March 2020. But beginning in August 2018, women from seven additional categories were included in the programme.
8 crore low-income families, including those from Dalit and tribal communities, received free cooking gas hookups during the PMUY’s first phase.
In the nation, the LPG infrastructure has greatly increased. Over 11,000 new LPG distribution centres have sprouted across the nation in the previous six years.
Ujjwala 2.0: The recipients of Ujjwala 2.0 would receive an additional 10 million LPG connections.
Additionally, the government has set a goal of supplying piped gas to 21 lakh houses across 50 districts.
The effectiveness of Ujjwala 2.0:
On August 10, 2021, PMUY 2.0 was launched, and by January 2022, the aim of one crore connections had been reached.
PMUY beneficiaries’ per-capita consumption climbed from 1 refill in 2019–20 to 3.66 refills in the current Financial Year (through February 2022).
The release of 8 crore LPG connections under the programme has also contributed to a rise in the country’s LPG coverage, from 62% on May 1, 2016, to 99.8% on April 1, 2021.
Problems encountered when obtaining LPG cylinders:
Due to the high cost of LPG, almost 30% of Indian households still utilise biomass as their major source of cooking fuel.
In rural areas, especially in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal, biomass usage is primarily practised.
The effectiveness of LPG as a dependable and economical option is further diminished by the ease with which free biomass is accessible and the lack of home delivery of LPG refills.
The ability of households to regularly purchase LPG has been further impacted by the loss of earnings and livelihoods caused by the new coronavirus outbreak.
Defects include the granting of connections to unwanted beneficiaries, issues with the state-run oil marketing businesses’ software for determining intended beneficiaries, and shortcomings in the deduplication procedure.
Conclusion and next steps:
Poor households in slum regions of urban and semi-urban areas should be included in the programme.
Resumption of subsidies: Low-income households should be eligible for the subsidies on LPG refills once again.
An typical Indian household would need to spend 10% of its monthly income on LPG to cover all of its cooking energy demands at the present refill costs.
Finding real beneficiaries: The government has a variety of options for finding beneficiaries.
This may entail utilising reliable indicators to exclude affluent households and capping the subsidy provided at seven to eight LPG refills annually.
For example, eliminating households who own a non-commercial four-wheeler vehicle or lowering the income-based exclusion level for LPG subsidies from 10 lakh to 2,50,000 per year can both drastically reduce the number of eligible recipients.
LPG home delivery: Only half of rural LPG consumers get their LPG refills delivered to their homes, while the other half must drive around five km one way to get a cylinder.
Urban pockets, particularly slum neighbourhoods, also have gaps in the doorstep delivery of LPG cylinders. These require correction.
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