Comprehensive News Analysis

UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis. Dec 27th, 2023 CNA. Download PDF l www.insightdaily.in


D. GS 4 Related

E. Editorials


Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. The outlook for 2024, for the world and India

Syllabus: GS-2, Regional and global groupings involving India and/or affecting India’s interests 

Mains: External and Internal Challenges faced by India in 2024

Context: Global risks soar in 2024, with the Ukraine war ready to explode, the Middle East simmering, and alliances reshaping. India faces election heat, China tensions, and regional shifts, demanding careful navigation through choppy waters. 

Navigating the Storms of 2024: Global Risks and Indian Challenges

  • Ukraine Tinderbox: The simmering war in Ukraine threatens to become an inferno in 2024. Desperate actions from both sides, influenced by US elections and waning European support, could ignite the region.
  • Middle East Flashpoint: Hamas’s attack on Israel has kindled a fire that could engulf West Asia. Western “hypocrisy” in drawing moral distinctions further fuels the flames.
  • Shifting Sands: Geopolitical alliances are reshaping, with Iran-Russia-China challenging Western dominance in West Asia. This realignment has global repercussions, demanding the West to tread cautiously in other regions like the Indo-Pacific.

India’s Crossroads:

  • Election Fever: India anticipates its mid-2024 general election, with the ruling party showing confidence after winning recent regional elections. However, unforeseen events (“black swans”) could affect the economy and political landscape.
  • China Conundrum: Sino-Indian relations are expected to remain at a standstill, with neither side accommodating the other’s viewpoint. China perceives India as part of an anti-China alliance led by the U.S., hindering any progress in bilateral relations. Despite strained relations, a direct confrontation between India and China in 2024 seems improbable. However, there’s a slight chance of China taking assertive actions in border regions. Strengthening Russia-China ties might weaken Russia-India relations, impacting India’s access and relations with Central Asia. Moreover, India faces uncertain situations with neighbouring countries due to China’s increasing influence, potentially reducing their reliance on India.
  • Neighbourhood uncertainties: Relations with Afghanistan remain frozen, while China’s influence pressures India’s ties with Bangladesh, Nepal, and Maldives.
  • In West Asia, with the possible exception of the United Arab Emirates, India’s influence appears to be diminishing. As more West Asian countries break free from the clutches of the West and tend to gravitate towards China and Russia, India’s position in the region will become even more tenuous.

Internal Dynamics

  • Political Climate
    • The internal political situation is expected to be highly charged, with both ruling and opposition parties gearing up for a fiercely competitive election.
      • Underlying Tensions: Despite outward appearances of calmness, strong emotions exist, driven notably by factors like caste loyalties.
      • Social Dynamics: There’s an unseen manipulation of social groups using tactics like social engineering, creating divisions. Additionally, there’s concern about the overwhelming influence of electoral power and the lack of significant debates on crucial societal issues.
      • Role of Technology: The anticipated increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in politics might alter the power dynamics, affecting perception and debates.
      • Shift in Constitutional Focus: There’s a growing inclination toward favouring unitary aspects over federal aspects in India’s diverse Constitution.
  • Centralization of Authority
    • Centralization Trends: Certain political parties show a tendency towards a more regimented approach and increased centralization of authority, limiting the autonomy of individual states.
    • Lack of Compromise: Decision-making in Parliament seems dominated by a majority-based approach, reflected in incidents like the expulsion of a Member of Parliament.
    • State-Centre Tensions: Governors in various states show resistance, contributing to strained relations between states and the central government.
    • Potential Turning Point: The recent Supreme Court ruling affirming the President’s power to revoke Article 370, a provision related to the special status of certain regions, might spark further conflicts and contentious issues.

Reevaluation of Centre-State Relationships

  • Reassessment Urgency: There’s a critical need for both central and state-level political parties to reassess their approaches in the current circumstances.
  • Opposition’s Perspective: Many opposition parties and state governments seem inclined towards opposing the central government as a fundamental aspect of their existence, neglecting constructive engagement. This attitude may hinder collaborative efforts.
  • Potential State Advantages: States possess inherent advantages in both political and economic realms that could be beneficial, but these advantages might not be utilized effectively.
  • Importance of Cohesive Relations: Recognizing the strength that lies in unity, there’s a call for the central government to better understand the significance of improved relations between the Centre and the States.
  • Enhanced Synergy: When both central and state entities collaborate, they can provide a more effective and comprehensive governance framework than either could alone.
  • Need for Adaptation: This requires a deeper understanding of the evolving dynamics and power structures, yet achieving this understanding by 2024 appears uncertain.

Nut Graf: 2024 promises a perilous year for India on both internal and external fronts. India needs to steer through the coming election year with an emphasis on social cohesion and healthy Centre-State ties.


Category: ECONOMICS

1. A new economics for inclusive growth

Syllabus: GS-3,  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. 

Mains: Localisation of Production for more inclusive and employment-oriented growth

Context: The persistent struggle of the Indian economy to generate adequate employment and income opportunities despite substantial investments in high-end skills and technology calls for a new growth paradigm for India. 

Past Failures and Present Realities: 

Raghuram Rajan and Rohit Lamba in their book “Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future” recommended directly focusing on exporting high-end services bypassing the manufacturing sector. However, the article argues that India has struggled in job creation despite pursuing this strategy over the past 30 years.

The Achilles Heel: A Jobless Economy

Despite boasting impressive economic figures, India’s Achilles heel lies in its inability to translate growth into sufficient job opportunities. The signs are stark: farmers clamour for better prices, informal and contractual workers yearn for fair wages and social security, and a staggering 60% of the population falls under the “economically weaker sections” category. This stark reality exposes the hollowness of mere “growth” when it fails to trickle down to the masses.

Leapfrogging Manufacturing: A Flawed Trajectory?

India has bypassed manufacturing and jumped straight to the services sector. This shortcut, touted as a leapfrogging manoeuvre, has yielded disappointing results. China’s successful ascent from poverty illustrates the power of a robust manufacturing sector in powering mass upward mobility while India invested heavily in advanced science and engineering institutions. They also produced CEOs for U.S. multinational companies. India’s space programme is delivering results at a fraction of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s costs. However, India’s pattern of growth, with investments in high-end skills, has not generated enough decent jobs for India’s masses.

The Missing Link: Skills, Jobs, Income and Location

  • The crux of the problem lies in the disconnect between skills, available jobs, and income potential. India’s pattern of growth, favouring high-end skills, hasn’t adequately addressed the needs of millions yearning for a decent livelihood. 
  • In rural areas, an agricultural worker, while eager to transition to a new job, faces constraints in dedicating time to learn new skills due to the need for continuous work and income. Hence, the ideal next job should align closely with their existing capabilities and be geographically close to their current residence to facilitate skill enhancement while reducing living expenses.
  • Therefore “Adjacencies” in work and location, particularly in rural areas are important for the rural masses to learn new skills while pursuing their present job. 
  • This entails fostering small-scale, labour-intensive enterprises centred around processing agricultural produce and facilitating local trade. Such micro-economic ecosystems offer a more tangible stepping stone for skill development and income growth, compared to distant, large-scale factories requiring significant capital and land.

The pattern of economic growth must be changed

  • Targets of trillions of dollars of GDP will not be achieved if economic growth does not become inclusive and sustainable very soon. 
  • More Indians must be employed so that they can earn and learn and, by earning more, increase the market for more producers. 
  • India cannot afford to neglect its small-scale and informal manufacturing sector any longer. 
  • While India has abundant resources of willing human beings, large, capital-intensive, factories require more land and financial capital to operate on scale resources which are relatively scarce in India.

Make more for India, in India

  • Investing in education and skills for “high-end” manufacturing and services will not benefit the masses if they cannot be employed. 
  • The richness of economic activity within local webs will create more sustainable growth than policies to participate in long, international supply chains when barriers are rising. The Indian state has limited financial capacity. It cannot afford to misspend it, by reducing taxes and duties and giving incentives to investors, with the expectation that benefits will gush down to the masses. 
  • More imports will not increase the well-being of Indian citizens if they do not have more income to buy. 
  • Foreign direct investment will not boost growth if it does not increase employment soon.

Breaking the Mould: A New Economics for a New India

  • The mould in which economics was cast in the later part of the 20th century must be broken. 
  • Policymakers must reimagine the path for India’s growth. They must get down to the basics of inclusive economic growth. There are no shortcuts.
  • The global economy is not growing like it was when China became the factory for the world. 
  • Producers everywhere are looking for new markets. India, with its unmet needs, is very attractive for them. 
  • India’s policies must take advantage of this opportunity and make more for India in India, thus growing both jobs and incomes for India’s masses.

Nut Graf: India needs to move beyond GDP number-based growth and chart a new economic course that prioritizes the masses, fosters local production, and unlocks the power of learning and labour for an inclusive and sustainable future.

G. Tidbits

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. Consider the following statements:
  1. INS Imphal, which was recently in the news, is a ‘Project 15 Bravo Visakhapatnam class’ guided missile destroyer.
  2. It is capable of launching the BrahMos cruise missile, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) rockets and Torpedoes.

Which of the statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: INS Imphal is the third of the four ‘Project 15 Bravo Visakhapatnam class’ guided missile destroyers. The fourth will be named INS Surat. INS Imphal is among “the most technologically advanced guided missile destroyers in the world”. It was launched and “christened” as ‘Imphal’ on April 20, 2019. It is capable of launching the BrahMos cruise missile, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) rockets and Torpedoes. The ship measures 163m in length, and 17m in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes and is amongst the most potent warships built in India. It is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas configuration, and is capable of speeds over 30 knots.

Q2. The recent performance of 1,282 tabla players at the 'Tansen Festival’ 
which entered the Guinness Book of World Records was organized in which state?
  1. Kerala
  2. Bihar
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Rajasthan
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: The Prime Minister applauded the performance of 1,282 tabla players at the ongoing ‘Tansen Festival’ in Madhya Pradesh for entering the Guinness Book of World Records.

Q3. Consider the following:
  1. Automobiles and Auto Components
  2. Pharmaceuticals Drugs
  3. Food Products
  4. Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Which of the above have Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation: The 14 sectors are: (i) Mobile Manufacturing and Specified Electronic Components, (ii) Critical Key Starting Materials/Drug Intermediaries & Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, (iii) Manufacturing of Medical Devices (iv) Automobiles and Auto Components, (v) Pharmaceuticals Drugs, (vi) Specialty Steel, (vii) Telecom & Networking Products, (viii) Electronic/Technology Products, (ix) White Goods (ACs and LEDs), (x) Food Products, (xi) Textile Products: MMF segment and technical textiles, (xii) High efficiency solar PV modules, (xiii) Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery, and (xiv) Drones and Drone Components.

Q4. With reference to the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and 
Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR), consider the following statements:
  1. The institute will scientifically document, record, research and validate the folk medicine of the Northeast.
  2. It functions as the apex Research Centre for all aspects of Local Health Traditions (LHTs) and Ethno Medicinal Practices (EMPs).

Which of the following statements is/are incorrect?

  1. Only 1 
  2. Only 2 
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: d

Explanation: The North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Folk Medicine Research (NEIAFMR) institute will scientifically document, record, research and validate the folk medicine of the Northeast. It functions as the apex Research Centre for all aspects of Local Health Traditions (LHTs) and Ethno Medicinal Practices (EMPs).

Q5. Who among the following rulers of medieval Gujarat surrendered Diu to 
the Portuguese?
  1. Ahmad Shah
  2. Mahmud Begarha
  3. Bahadur Shah
  4. Muhammad Shah
CHECK ANSWERS:-

Answer: c

Explanation: Bahadur Shah (1526), the ruler of medieval Gujarat, was the one who surrendered Diu to the Portuguese. Diu, a strategic coastal town, was an important port and held significant economic and military value.





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