|Sr No||News Headline||Topic|
|1.||Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana||Government schemes|
|2.||Vulture Culture: How the bird was saved from extinction||Environment|
|3.||SC order on Cauvery should be adheared to||Environment|
|4.||Tropical storm lashes rain on hurricane hit- Bahamas||Environment|
|5.||The Mystique Behind the Wall||History|
|6.||Editorial: Why India’s Growth figures are of the mark||Economy|
|7.||Editorial: A dilution that falls short of the law||Polity & Constitution|
|8.||OPED: The Litmus Test for free speech||Polity & Constitution|
|9.||Editorial: Waiting for Reforms||Governance|
|10.||Editorial: Effort for Emulation||Governance|
1. Vulture Conservation & Breeding Centres (VCBCs)
Prelims- Diclofenac, Indian Vulture
Mains- Nothing much
Why in News- Starting with just a few vultures, the total number of vultures in these VCBCs has increased to more than 700.
- The VCBCs were in 2004, when the vulture population had already crashed significantly, almost
by 99 %.
- At present there are 9 VCBCs in India, of which 3 are directly administered by Bombay Natural
History Society (BNHS)
- The 3 species of vultures bred in the VCBC are the White-backed, Long billed and the Slender billed vulture
- The objective of the VCBCs was not only to look after the vultures and breed them in captivity, but also to release them into the wild.
- The first objective of the VCBC was to produce a few hundred pairs of each of the three species of the endangered vultures
- The VCBCs were in 2004, when the vulture population had already crashed significantly, almost
- The threat to Vultures-
- The major reason behind the vulture population getting nearly wiped out was the drug Diclofenac, found in the carcass of cattle the vultures fed on.
- The drug, whose veterinary use was banned in 2008, was commonly administered to cattle to treat inflammation.
2. Survey of India:
Prelims- Survey of India
Mains- a survey of india, its responsibilities and related news
Why in News- India’s oldest scientific department, the Survey of India (SoI) — historically tasked with mapping the country — will for the first time rely on drones to map the country.
- Why such move?
- The aim is to map 75% of India’s geography— about 2.4 million sq km of the 3.2 million sq km — within the next two years.
- The organisation aims to procure about 300 drones — so far about 30 have been sourced — for the gargantuan exercise.
- However forests, hills and deserts are likely to be left out.
- Every square kilometre mapped by drones will be encapsulated in 2500 pictures and thus be a trove of digital data.
- For precise mapping-
- A consequence of the mapping will be creating high resolution maps of land in villages facilitating the digitisation of land titles in villages, according to officials involved with the survey.
- Currently the best SoI maps have a resolution of 1:250000, meaning a 1 cm on the map represents 2500 cm on the ground.
- The maps being prepared, according to senior officials associated with the project will be of 1:500 resolution, meaning 1 cm will represent 500 cm.
- Sorting rural issues-
- A major consequence of the drone-based exercise will be the mapping of settled habitations in villages (called abaadi areas in legal parlance).
- Based on the availability of accurate maps, residents will finally be able to get property cards as well as proper legal titles to their lands.
3. Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY):
Prelims- main highlights of scheme
Mains- Facts and other details of the scheme
Why in News- Central government has recently started a movement to promote Tribal Enterprise through value Addition & Marketing of Forest Produces
- The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi launched the Van Dhan Scheme of Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED on 14th April, 2018 during the celebrations of Ambedkar Jayanti at Bijapur, Chattisgarh.
- Emphasizing the important role of value addition in increasing tribal incomes, he stated that Van Dhan, Jan Dhan and Gobar-Dhan Schemes had the potential to change the tribal-rural economic system. All these three schemes in tandem need to be promoted for this purpose by the State Governments.
- Van Dhan Kendras-
- The establishment of “Van Dhan Vikas Kendra” is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility.
- This first model Van DhanVikas Kendra in Bijapuris being implemented for training of 300 training beneficiaries with a total outlay of Rs.43.38 lakhs for training, providing equipments & tools for primary level processing and infrastructure & building for housing the Kendra.
- This Kendra to start with will have processing facility for Tamarind brick making, Mahua flower storage facility and chironjee cleaning and packaging.
- Under Van Dhan, 10 Self Help Groups of 30 Tribal gatherers is constituted. They are then trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products, which they collect from the jungle. Working under the leadership of Collector these groups can then market their products not only within the States but also outside the States. Training and technical support is provided by TRIFED. It is proposed to develop 30,000 such centres in the country.
- Value addition-
- It assumes critical importance in ensuring remunerative prices to the tribals in this approach.
- Three stage value addition would be the corner stone for enhancing incomes of the tribals under the scheme.
- The grass root level procurement is proposed to be undertaken through Self Help Groups associated with implementing agencies.
- Convergence and Networking with other Govt. departments/scheme shall be undertaken to utilise the services of existing SHGs like Ajeevika, etc.
- These SHGs shall be appropriately trained on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and be formed into clusters so as to aggregate their stock in tradable quantity and linking them with facility of primary processing in a Van DhanVikas Kendra.
- The stock after primary processing shall be supplied by these SHGs to the State Implementing Agencies or direct tie up for supply to corporate secondary processor.
- For creation of secondary level value addition facility at district level and tertiary level value addition facility at State level, Big Corporates shall be involved under PPP model.
- This PPP model will be based on utilising Private entrepreneur skills in undertaking processing as well as marketing of the produce and Central/ State Govt. support in terms of creating infrastructure and providing enabling environment for undertaking value addition of systematic scientific lines.
- These will be sophisticated large value addition hubs managed by Private entrepreneur.
The Van Dhan Vikas Kendras will be important milestone in the economic development of tribals involved in collection of MFPs by helping them in optimum utilization of natural resources and provide sustainable MFP-based livelihood in MFP-rich districts.
Why India’s Growth figures are off the mark:
Prelims- Nothing much
Mains- why is there a slowdown in economy, detailed analysis
Why in News-
- The over-reliance on the organized sector for official GDP data is causing a gross miscalculation.
- During the global financial crisis, it was said that the experts were behind the curve. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and financial sector experts continued to predict till October 2008 that the global economy would grow rather than shrink. They were way off the mark since the global economy was rapidly slipping into a great recession.
- Is India facing a similar situation at present?
- The economic growth rate (quarterly) has been sliding for the last five quarters from 8% to 7% to 6.6% to 5.8% and now to 5%. Yet, experts have been talking of a 7% annual rate of growth;
- Every quarter when the rate of growth has been announced, they have argued that things have bottomed out and that the rate would rise henceforth.
- The Economic Survey in July talked of a growth rate of 7% for the current year.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its August policy statement, talked of a slowdown to 6.9%, from the 7% predicted in June and 7.2% predicted before that.
- The Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast from 7.2% to 7% in April 2019.
- IMF cut its forecast for the year from 7.3% to 7%.
- So, they all talked of a 7% rate of growth when a year earlier it had fallen below that.
- How could these agencies be so far off with their estimates?
- The reason is that they are not independent data gathering agencies and depend on official data.
- So, if official data is erroneous, their projections would also turn out to be incorrect.
- If the economy is growing at 5 or 6%, which is historically a good rate of growth, why is investment rate not rising and consumption in the economy stagnant? Where is growth dissipating?
- The explanation is that the rate of growth is much less than 5%; that is why investment rate and consumption are stagnating or declining.
- The investment rate has hovered at around 30% for the last several years because the capacity utilization in the economy has been around 75%.
- Unless this rises, fresh investment will mean even lower capacity utilization and lower profitability since capital will be underutilized.
- In June, the stock market was at a record high and yet the investment rate did not rise. Data from the Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt. Ltd. shows that investment proposals are at a 14-year low. In the last year, the RBI has cut interest rates four times and by a total of more than 1%; but the investment rate has not budged.
- Impact of announcements
- The Ministry of Finance has now gone into hyper drive to make major announcements so soon after the full Budget was presented in July. This is an admission of there being a slowdown in the economy.
- The big bank merger- Bank mergers will have little impact on the immediate problem of the slowing economy. It may only further disturb a major chunk of the banking system in the coming year — and that would not be good for a slowing economy.
- The package for the automobile sector or making banks pass on interest rate cuts to businesses, announced a little earlier will also have little impact since the problem did not originate there.
- The announcement of a transfer of ₹1.76 lakh crore from the RBI to the government will only cover the shortfall expected in revenue (which is a result of an unduly high projection of revenue growth). It will allow the government to maintain the fiscal deficit target at 3.3%. But, this will not provide the needed stimulus. For that the fiscal deficit would have to be allowed to rise or there has to be an increase in expenditures on the basis of mobilization of additional revenues.
- Where does the problem originate from?
- It is from the unorganized sector which has been in decline since demonetization.
- It was further hit by the Goods and Services Tax though it is either exempt from it or there is a simplified provision for this sector. This sector producing 45% of the output and employing 94% of the workforce, has been in decline, which is pulling down the rate of growth of the economy.
- Why does it not show up in the growth data?
- In simple terms, the reason is that the data for this sector is collected once in five years (called reference years) since the sector has tens of millions of units for which data cannot be collected monthly, quarterly or even annually. In between the reference years, the data is only projected on various assumptions.
- The government document on estimating advance annual estimates and quarterly estimates makes this clear. For estimating quarterly growth it uses, “latest estimates of Agricultural Production, Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and performance of key sectors like, Railways, Transport other than Railways, Communication, Banking, Insurance and Government Revenue Expenditure”. Except for agriculture, these belong to the organized sector of the economy.
- Even for the annual estimates, basically data for the organised sector are used — like in the case of mining, banking, hotels and restaurants, and transport. For construction, steel, glass, etc are used which are also derived from the organized sector production.
- Thus, the implicit assumption is that the organized sector can be a proxy for the unorganized sector. But with the economy suffering three shocks in quick succession over the last three years which adversely impacted the unorganised sector, this assumption does not hold true. Most of the experts have implicitly accepted the government’s fallacious argument and have thus fallen behind the curve.
In brief, the official data only represents the organised sector. To incorporate the unorganised sector, data from alternative sources need to be used. The decline in the workforce, the rise in the demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc. suggests that the unorganised sector has declined by at least 10%. If this is taken into account, the current rate of growth is much less than 5%. If the government does not accept this, then it must reveal the rate of growth of the unorganised sector that it is using in its estimates and which is not based on using the organised sector as a proxy.