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Daily Current affairs 5 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

SL. NO.

TOPICS

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

Economic Survey sets out blueprint for $5 tn economy

01

2

Govt. can sell PSU land, reduce majority stake to boost non-tax revenue

01

3

Economic Survey sets out blueprint for $5 tn economy

10

4

Greying India must delay retirement Survey

13

5

Private funds needed for Swachh Bharat

13

6

Needed: a well designed minimum wage system

13

7

Call to ease logjam for better contract enforcement

13

8

Economic Survey moots central welfare database of citizens

15

9

Reward top taxpayers, shame defaulters

15

Title

1. Economic Survey sets out blueprint for $5 tn economy (The Hindu, Page – 1)

Syllabus

Indian Economy & Economic Development

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-1)

Highlights

• Govt. has targeted $5 trillion economy by 2024-25. The Economic Survey highlights the growth model to be followed to achieve this target.
• The $5 trillion economy is intended to be achieved through a self-sustaining Virtuous Cycle Economic Model. VCEM would include three inter-linked parameters that increase economic growth - Investment, Savings and Exports.
• The key driver among all three parameters would be investment especially an increase in private investment within the Indian economy.  
• In addition to this, there are three important economic parameters that would support increase in investment and savings: domestic consumption, a favorable demographic dividend and fiscal consolidation.
• Domestic consumption increases demand, which increase productivity for private sector & therefore increases their ability for investment in Indian economy. 
• In addition, increase in domestic consumption also causes an increase in the likelihood of foreign investment within the Indian economy. 
• The second important economic parameter is a favorable demographic dividend in India. Demographic dividend results from an increase in the proportion of workers relative to non-workers in the population. 
• The third parameter is of fiscal consolidation whereby government has committed to a fiscal deficit of 3.4% of GDP in 2019-20, and 3% each in the subsequent 2 years. 

 

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Title

2. Govt. can sell PSU land, reduce majority stake to boost non-tax revenue: (The Hindu, Page-1)

Area of interest

Indian Economy & Economic Development

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19

Highlights

Problem:
• The interim Budget pegged the government’s receipts in 2018-19 at ₹17.2 lakh crore, while the Economic Survey’s provisional actual figures show this will be only ₹15.6 lakh crore. 
• Therefore the government is expected to receive ₹1.6 lakh crore less than what was estimated in the interim Budget.
• The main reason for this sharp downward revision is a reduction in the tax revenue the government expects to earn in 2018-19. The interim budget estimated ₹14.84 lakh in tax revenue, but is expected to receive ₹13.16 lakh crore. The reduction was caused by tax concessions that were given over the last year.
 
Solution:
• The govt. can increase its non-tax revenue by disinvestment wherein the government can monetize or sell land held by PSUs.
• The second option is that the government could reduce its holdings in some PSUs to below the majority stake of 51% of direct control. It is not required that the reduction in govt. stake be sold to private sector but can be sold to profitable PSUs.

 

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Title

3. Economic Survey sets out blueprint for $5 tn economy (The Hindu, Page-10)

Syllabus

Indian Economy & Economic Development

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-3)

Highlights

Problem: 
• 'Dwarf’ firms accounted for more than 50% of all organized firms in manufacturing by number. Despite this, their contribution to employment was just 14%  & to productivity 8%. 
• Large firms are just 15% in no. but account for 75% employment and close to 90% of productivity. Therefore, there is a need to “unshackle” MSMEs & enable them to grow into larger firms. 
 
Solution: 
• Economic survey provides two main policies for improving the MSME sector to ensure its higher growth. 
• First policy is that all size based incentives should have a sunset clause of less than 10 years, meaning incentives to a particular MSME section should end within 10 years so as not to make that MSME section dependent on government support and ensure they become independent and self-sustaining.
• Second policy is that labour law restrictions should not be applied in the same manner & format to all the MSME companies, whereby smaller companies with few employs should have more liberal and easier labour laws.

 

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4. Greying India must delay retirement Survey (The Hindu, Page-13)

Syllabus

Social Issue and Justice

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-7)

Highlights

It highlights changes in demography in India & secondly the impact it would have on government policies.
 
• There is a fall in the total fertility rate (TFR) & is projected to decline between 2021-2041 and fall below replacement level fertility at 1.8 around 2021. The current TFR in 14 major States is already below the effective replacement level fertility. 
• This means there would be a decrease in labour availability in future and therefore an increase in female labour participation is required.
• Population size of those between 0-19 years, which is on the decline, is likely to drop from as high as 41% in 2011 to 25% by 2041. 0-19 age group has already peaked & therefore there would be a decrease in demand for primary & secondary schools.
• India's Demographic dividend will be peaking around in 2041, with working age population at ~59%. This means additional jobs will have to continuously created to keep pace with increase in working age population.
• The elderly population is expected to increase from 8.6% in 2011 to 16% by 2041. 
• Population is aging and therefore there should be an increase in old age healthcare expenditure, increase in aged population would increase expenditure on pension for government. Govt. may also have to raise the retirement age in future. 

 

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Title

5. Private funds needed for Swachh Bharat (The Hindu, Page-13)

Syllabus

Social Issue and Justice

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-8)

Highlights

• 99.2% of rural India is now open defecation-free & therefore the next goal of the Swachh Bharat should be to have 100% safe and scientific disposal of solid and liquid waste.
• The safe and scientific disposal of solid and liquid waste would include improvement in working conditions for sanitation workers and manual scavengers, sewer construction and water availability, treatment of industrial effluence, drain bio-remediation, river surface cleaning, apart from other measures.
• Government must also allocate adequate resources to undertake such measures and apart from this, private partnerships such as through corporate social responsibility, crowd funding aligned with local government financing, among other measures can be undertaken to finance scientific disposal of waste.

 

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6. Needed: a well designed minimum wage system (The Hindu, Page-13)

Syllabus

Indian Economy & Economic Development

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-11)

Highlights

Problem:
• Currently, the minimum wage system in India is complex, with 1,915 different minimum wages defined for different job categories across States.
• There is a large wage & income inequality among men and women. However, the law is largely gender neutral and does not include safeguards for women against work exploitation. 
• Several minimum wage jobs such as domestic workers are covered in only 18 States and Union Territories. 
• ILO: One in every three wage workers in India is not protected by the minimum wage law.
 
Solution:
• A well-designed and streamlined law for minimum wage system is required to reduce wage inequality in the country.
• Increase the ambit of the minimum wage system by deciding minimum wages on the basis of skills and split across geographical regions. 
• The government should notify a “national floor minimum wage” across five regions, after which the States can fix their own minimum wages, but not lower than the floor wage. This would help the wage earners or workers. 
• It would also ensure that labour cost for investment remains relatively same for companies across India and it would also reduce distress migration.

 

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7. Call to ease logjam for better contract enforcement (The Hindu, Page-13)

Syllabus

Polity & Governance

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 (Chapter-5)

Highlights

Problem:

• Contract enforcement is the biggest constraint to improve India’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking.
• The courts must achieve a 100% case clearance rate (CCR) so that there is zero accumulation to the existing pendency. 
• The backlog of cases already present in the system must be removed.
 
Solution:
• Judicial capacity can be improved through three main parameters: increase appointment of Judges in Courts as per the sanctioned strength.
• Secondly, increase the productivity of Indian courts through use of technology, improving judicial administration & reducing vacation times in Courts.
• Thirdly, establish of Indian Courts and Tribunal Services.

 

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8. Economic Survey moots central welfare database of citizens (The Hindu, Page-15)

Syllabus

Social Issues 

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19

Highlights

Recommendations:
• The Economic Survey 2018-19 pitched for setting up a central welfare database of citizens — by merging different data maintained by separate Ministries and departments.
• This would allow to analyse data in a holistic manner to ensure make data supported government policies, improve targeting in welfare schemes, integrate & interlink different sectors, ensure greater accountability in public services & citizen participation in governance, etc.
• Economic Survey has recommended for selective monetization of data whereby granting access to select database to private sector for a fee, however data privacy must be ensured. 
• Data should be treated as a public good. Data analytics by private sector is done with a profitable motive, therefore government intervention is needed in several social sectors which are overlooked by private investment. 
• The decline in marginal cost of data clubbed with an increase in marginal benefit should augment economic harnessing of data.

 

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9. Reward top taxpayers, shame defaulters (The Hindu, Page-15)

Syllabus

Social Issues 

Theme

Economic Survey 2018-19 

Highlights

Major highlights:
• The Economic survey highlights the usage of behavioural economics to bring a social change among people in India. Now the economic survey highlights the Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and other government schemes and policies that have been successful in changing the social mindset within India. 
• Similarly, the economic survey intends to ensure a social change or a change in mindset of people in India to achieve three main goals: Gender equality, Healthy India and increase in tax compliance. 
• Using behavioural economics, Economic Survey proposes for social change: (i) from BBBP to BADLAV (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi); (ii) from Swachh Bharat to Sundar Bharat; (iii) from “Give it up” for the LPG subsidy to “Think about the Subsidy”; and (iv) from tax evasion to tax compliance.
• An example in ES is to provide services to high tax paying individuals that honors them such as expedited boarding privileges at airports, fast-lane privileges on roads and toll booths, special ‘diplomatic’ type lanes at immigration counters, etc. It added that the highest taxpayers over a decade could be recognised by naming important buildings, monuments, roads, trains, initiatives, schools and universities, hospitals and airports in their name.
• Apart from this, tax evaders can be publicly shamed to nudge them and make other tax evaders fearful of tax evasion.

 

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Relevant articles from pib:

GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Surrogacy regulation bill

 

What to study?

For prelims: key features of the bill.

For mains: need for regulation, concerns and issues associated with surrogacy.

 

Context: The Cabinet has approved the introduction of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 that aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India.

 

Key features of the bill:

  • The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union Territories.
  • The purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy, and allow ethical surrogacy.
  • While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited, including sale and purchase of human embryos and gametes, ethical surrogacy for needy couples will be allowed on fulfilment of stipulated conditions.
  • It will also prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.
  • There will not be any financial implications, except for the meetings of the National and State Surrogacy Boards and appropriate authorities, which will be met out of the administrative budgets of respective departments.

 

Need for regulation:

India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries and there have been reports concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy, and rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes. The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy by enacting suitable legislation.

 

What is an altruistic surrogacy arrangement?

The Bill includes contracting a ‘close relative’ as a surrogate by a heterosexual married couple who have been childless for five years of their marriage.

 

Mains Question: Analyse the ethical and economic implications of latest surrogacy bill.


GS Paper 2 and 3:

Topic covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
  2. Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

 

Minimum Support Prices (MSPs)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: MSP- crops covered, how is it decided.

For Mains: MSP- need, significance, concerns and rectifying measures.

 

Context: Union Cabinet has announced a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 14 Kharif crops.

 

About MSP:

What is it?

In theory, an MSP is the minimum price set by the Government at which farmers can expect to sell their produce for the season. When market prices fall below the announced MSPs, procurement agencies step in to procure the crop and ‘support’ the prices.

 

Who announces?

The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs announces MSP for various crops at the beginning of each sowing season based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP takes into account demand and supply, the cost of production and price trends in the market among other things when fixing MSPs.

 

Why is it important?

Price volatility makes life difficult for farmers. Though prices of agri commodities may soar while in short supply, during years of bumper production, prices of the very same commodities plummet. MSPs ensure that farmers get a minimum price for their produce in adverse markets. MSPs have also been used as a tool by the Government to incentivise farmers to grow crops that are in short supply.

 


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 3:

Topic covered:

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

What are Core Investment Companies (CICs)?

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: CICs- significance, challenges and their regulation.

 

Context: The Reserve Bank has constituted a working group that will review the regulatory and supervisory framework for core investment companies.

  • The six-member working group is to be headed by Tapan Ray, non-executive chairman, Central Bank of India and former secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • The terms of reference of the working group include examination of the current regulatory framework for CICs in terms of adequacy, efficacy and effectiveness of every component thereof and suggest changes therein.

 

Background:

In August 2010, RBI had introduced a separate framework for the regulation of systemically important core investment companies (CICs), recognising the difference in the business model of a holding company relative to other non-banking financial companies.

 

What are Core Investment Companies (CICs)?

CICs are non-banking financial companies with asset size of ₹100 crore and above which carry on the business of acquisition of shares and securities, subject to certain conditions.

CICs, which are allowed to accept public funds, hold not less than 90% of their net assets in the form of investment in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt or loans in group companies.

Investments of CIC in the equity shares (including instruments compulsorily convertible into equity shares within a period not exceeding 10 years from the date of issue) in group companies constitutes not less than 60% of its net assets as mentioned in clause.

Exemption: CICs having asset size of below Rs 100 crore are exempted from registration and regulation from the RBI, except if they wish to make overseas investments in the financial sector.

 

What do the term public funds include? Is it the same as public deposits?

Public funds are not the same as public deposits. Public funds include public deposits, inter-corporate deposits, bank finance and all funds received whether directly or indirectly from outside sources such as funds raised by issue of Commercial Papers, debentures etc. However, even though public funds include public deposits in the general course, it may be noted that CICs/CICs-ND-SI cannot accept public deposits.

 

Need:

This Concept was originated in order to safeguard NBFCs which are formed for group investments from stringent RBI procedures.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

What is a privilege motion?

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: All about Privilege motion and privilege committee.

 

Context: Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra has moved a breach of privilege motion in the Lok Sabha against a private Hindi news channel and its Editor for reporting that her first speech in Parliament was plagiarised.

 

What is a privilege motion?

Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”. When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

 

Who can move it? How?

A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.

 

What are the rules governing privilege?

Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege. It says that a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee thereof. The rules however mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House. Notices have to be given before 10 am to the Speaker or the Chairperson.

 

What is the role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha Chair?

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motionThe Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament. If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

 

What is the privileges committee?

In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.

A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed. In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Central welfare database of citizens

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Need for database, significance, challenges in the absence of data and measures to improve data accuracy.

 

Context: Economic Survey moots central welfare database of citizens.

 

About the Proposed Central Welfare Database of citizens:

It will be created by merging different data maintained by separate Ministries and departments — which can be tapped for enhancing ease of living for citizens, particularly the poor.

Governments can create data as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy. Care must also be taken not to impose the “elite’s preference of privacy on the poor, who care for a better quality of living the most.”

Private sector may be granted access to select database for a fee.

The datasets talked about include administrative data such as birth and death records, pensions, tax records, marriage records; survey data such as census data, national sample survey data; transactions data such as e-national agriculture market data, UPI data, institutional data and public hospital data on patients.

 

Significance:

The governments already has a rich repository of administrative, survey, institutional and transactions data about citizens, but these data were scattered across numerous government bodies. Merging these distinct datasets would generate multiple benefits with the applications being limitless.

The government could utilise the information embedded in these distinct datasets to enhance ease of living for citizens, enable truly evidence-based policy, improve targeting in welfare schemes, uncover unmet needs, integrate fragmented markets, bring greater accountability in public services and generate greater citizen participation in governance, etc.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topic covered:

Conservation related issues.

Coral Rehab Programme

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: coral bleaching- causes, effect and various ways to restore.

 

Why in News? The National Centre for Coastal Research’s (NCCR) proposal of dropping ‘melted plastic rocks or slabs’ on the seabed for growing coral reefs and address the problem of disposal of plastic waste has drawn criticism from the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) Marine National Park, which has been implementing coral rehabilitation programme since 2002.

 

What’s the issue?

  • The NCCR suggested that plastic waste materials could simply be wound around as hard substrates as a way of disposing of them and help build coral colonies.
  • Therefore, researchers have expressed apprehensions that the NCCR’s ‘innovative idea’ for the growth of marine organisms like algae for coral reefs building would destroy the existing coral reef colonies.
  • Corals in the GoM were already stressed and bleached under climate change and the NCCR’s idea would turn the reefs into graveyards.

 

About the Coral Rehabilitation Programme:

  • The GoM Marine National Park has been implementing the corral rehabilitation programme since 2002.
  • It has so far covered eight sq km areas in GoM region, where coral reefs suffered bleaching and degradation due to climate change and high temperature.
  • The program employs ‘concrete frame slabs’ method.
  • Corals would start growing in 60 days using the concrete frames as sub-state. The acropora coral species grow by 10 to 12 cm per year on these slabs.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Centre and IBM to jointly study on using AI in Agriculture:

Context: Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) with IBMIndia Private Limited for undertaking a pilot study to utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) and weather technology solutions in agriculture in selected pilot districts.

The pilot study will be undertaken in 3 districts of Bhopal, Rajkot and Nanded in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively.

 

Turnover ratio:

Context: According to the World Bank, India’s turnover ratio at 58 in 2018 was a 43 per cent drop from 101 recorded in 2004.

What is it? A turnover ratio represents the amount of assets or liabilities that a company replaces in relation to its sales. The concept is useful for determining the efficiency with which a business utilizes its assets.

In most cases, a high asset turnover ratio is considered good, since it implies that receivables are collected quickly, fixed assets are heavily utilized, and little excess inventory is kept on hand. This implies a minimal need for invested funds, and therefore a high return on investment.

Conversely, a low liability turnover ratio (usually in relation to accounts payable) is considered good, since it implies that a company is taking the longest possible amount of time in which to pay its suppliers, and so has use of its cash for a longer period of time.

 

About Export Credit Guarantee Corporation:

ECGC is a premier export credit agency of the Government of India to provide Export Credit Insurance Services to facilitate exports from the country.

The ECGC offers credit insurance schemes to exporters to protect them against losses due to non-payment of export dues by overseas buyers due to political and / or commercial risks.

It functions under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce & Industry, and is managed by a Board of Directors comprising representatives of the Government, Reserve Bank of India, banking, and insurance and exporting community.

 

Ashadhi Beej:

It is an auspicious day for farming communities in North India especially Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and some other places. This festival is celebrated mainly to predict the monsoon.

 


 

Key Highlights of Economic Survey 2018-19:

 

  1. Private Investment as the Key Driver of Growth, Jobs, Exports and Demand:

 

Target: Sustained real GDP growth rate of 8% needed for a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.

Need of the hour: “Virtuous Cycle” of savings, investment and exports catalyzed and supported by a favorable demographic phase required for sustainable growth.

Private investment– key driverfor demand, capacity, labor productivity, new technology, creative destruction and job creation.

Key ingredients for a self-sustaining virtuous cycle:

  1. Presenting data as a public good.
  2. Emphasizing legal reforms.
  3. Ensuring policy consistency.
  4. Encouraging behavior change using principles of behavioral economics.
  5. Nourishing MSMEs to create more jobs and become more productive.
  6. Reducing the cost of capital.
  7. Rationalizing the risk-return trade-off for investments.

  1. Using insights from behavioural economics to create an aspirational agenda for social change:

From ‘Beti Baco Beti Padhao’ to ‘BADLAV’ (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi).

From ‘Swachh Bharat’ to ‘Sundar Bharat’.

From ‘Give it up” for the LPG subsidy to ‘Think about the Subsidy’.

From ‘Tax evasion’ to ‘Tax compliance’.


  1. Nourishing Dwarfs to become Giants: Reorienting policies for MSME Growth:

Focus on enabling MSMEs to grow for achieving greater profits, job creation and enhanced productivity.

Concerns: Dwarfs (firms with less than 100 workers) despite being more than 10 years old, account for more than 50% of all organized firms in manufacturing by number. Contribution of dwarfs to employment is only 14%and to productivity is a mere 8%. Large firms (more than 100 employees) account for 75% employment and close to90% of productivity despite accounting for about 15% by number.

What needs to be done?

Unshackling MSMEs and enabling them to grow by way of:

  • sunset clause of less than 10 years, with necessary grand-fathering, for all size-based incentives.
  • Deregulating labor law restrictions to create significantly more jobs, as evident from Rajasthan.
  • Re-calibrating Priority Sector Lending (PSL) guidelines for direct credit flow to young firms in high employment elastic sectors.
  • Focus on service sectors such as tourism, with high spillover effects on other sectors such as hotel & catering, transport, real estate, entertainment etc., for job creation.

  1. Data as public good:

As data of societal interest is generated by the people, data can be created as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy

Need of hourGovernment must intervene in creating data as a public good, especially of the poor and in social sectors.

Merging the distinct datasets held by the Government already would generate multiple benefits.


  1. How to Ramp up Capacity in the Lower Judiciary?

ChallengesDelays in contract enforcement and disposal resolution are arguably now the single biggest hurdle to the ease of doing business and higher GDP growth in India. Around 87.5 per cent of pending cases are in the District and Subordinate courts.

What needs to be done? 100 per cent clearance rate can be achieved by filling out merely 2279 vacancies in the lower courts and 93 in High Courts.

States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal need special attention.

Productivity improvements of 25 percent in lower courts, 4 percent in High Courts and 18 percent in Supreme Court can clear backlog.


  1. India’s Demography at 2040: Planning Public Good Provision for the 21st Century:

Expectations:

  • Sharp slowdown in population growth expected in next 2 decades.
  • Most of India to enjoy demographic dividend while some states will transition to ageing societies by 2030s.
  • National Total Fertility Rate expected to be below replacement rate by 2021. 
  • Working age population to grow by roughly 9.7mn per year during 2021-31 and 4.2mn per year during 2031-41.
  • Significant decline to be witnessed in elementary school-going children (5-14 age group) over next two decades.

What needs to be done? States need to consolidate/merge schools to make them viable rather than build new ones.

Policy makers need to prepare for ageing by investing in health care and by increasing the retirement age in a phased manner.


  1. Enabling Inclusive Growth through Affordable, Reliable and Sustainable Energy:

Challenges:

  • 5 times increase in per capita energy consumption needed for India to increase its real per capita GDP by $5000 at 2010 prices, and enter the upper-middle income group.
  • 4 times increase in per capita energy consumption needed for India to achieve 0.8 Human Development Index score.
  • Market share of electric cars only 0.06% in India while it is 2% in China and 39% in Norway.

Present state:

India now stands at 4th in wind power, 5th in solar power and 5th in renewable power installed capacity

Savings: Rs 50,000 crore saved and 108.28 million tonnes of CO2 emissions reduced by energy efficiency programmes in India.

Share of renewable (excluding hydro above 25 MW) in total electricity generation increased from 6% in 2014-15 to 10% in 2018-19. Thermal power still plays a dominant role at 60% share.

Measures suggested:

Access to fast battery charging facilities needed to increase the market share of electric vehicles. 


  1. A well-designed minimum wage system as a potent tool for protecting workers and alleviating poverty.

Challenges:

Present minimum wage system in India has 1,915 minimum wages for various scheduled job categories across states.

1 in every 3 wage workers in India not protected by the minimum wage law.

Need of the hour:

  • Rationalize minimum wages as proposed under the Code on Wages Bill.
  • Minimum wages to all employments/workers proposed by the Survey.
  • National Floor Minimum Wage’ should be notified by the Central Government, varying across five geographical regions.
  • Minimum wages by states should be fixed at levels not lower than the ‘floor wage’. 
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