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Daily Editorial Discussion and Analysis(2nd May)

 

International Relations (GS 2)

India’s Moment (Indian Express, 2nd May 2022)

Author: – Shyam Saran

Flurry Of Diplomatic Activity

  • India has witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activity during the past week with a long line of ministers, senior military officers and diplomats from a number of countries visiting Delhi.
  • The Annual Raisina Dialogue provided the ostensible reason for these visits.
  • Public interactions were no doubt accompanied by more private and candid conversations.
  • However despite India making it’s position clear on Ukraine Russia Dispute.
  • India’s posture on Russia’s was increasingly questioned on the lines of brutal assault on the hapless people of Ukraine.

The West Looking up to India

  • India will need the West more than it has in the recent past.
  • Whether in building up its deterrent capabilities or accelerating its own economic and technological transformation. 
  • Also, India’s Quad partners the US, Japan, Australia, it’s partners in Europe and several ASEAN countries.
  • They see India as an anchor that could help stabilise the international situation.
  • They have a stake in India emerging as an influential power and are willing to contribute to that end.

Should India Downgrade it’s Relations with Russia

  • There are valid legacy reasons for maintaining positive ties with Russia just as some European countries have had to do
  • The reality is that India-Russia relations are not a continuation of the old Indo-Soviet ties. 
  • At the end of the cold war, Moscow no longer saw Beijing as its main security challenge but for India, China became a bigger challenge.
  • India’s Economic and trade relationship with Russia has become increasingly marginal. 
  • Prospects of a new energy partnership between both countries were belied as for Russia, China emerged as a more proximate and attractive power.

Assumptions in India’s Policy Towards Russia

  • The Key Assumption has been that Moscow would be unlikely to accept a junior partnership with China.
  • China is increasing it’spresence and influence in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, which Russia considers its “near neighbourhood”.
  • In the long run, Russian and Chinese interests would not be aligned.
  • Therefore, India should maintain a close relationship with Moscow.
  • This was the reason why we argued with the US and other western partners that they needed to be more accommodative of Russian interests.
  • This would help Russia Distance itself from Beijing.

Concerns for India

  • The Sino-Russian commitment to dismantling the existing Western-dominated international order.
  • Both have reposed their faith in a new order more aligned with their interests as major continental Eurasian power.
  • This is of particular concern to India. 
  • What is envisaged in the Joint Declaration is not the alternative which would enhance India’s interests.
  • In a shifting geopolitical landscape, it is in India’s interest to remain engaged with Russia and China as two leading powers in the world.
  • This engagement is important to gauge how these powers are themselves adjusting to the changing geopolitical equations across the world. 

Way Forward

  • In either case, China will remain India’s major adversary and security challenge. 
  • Russia is already a seriously weakened power in a European order.
  • Russia will not be able to prevent Finland and Sweden from joining NATO.
  • The US has shaken off the taint of its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • But its domestic politics is unpredictable and this calls for caution.
  • Europe will likely emerge as a more coherent and cohesive entity, anchored in German power.
  • In the Future EU would want to play a role more independent of the US than hitherto. 
  • All the more reason why India must deepen its all-round partnership with Europe.

To Sum it Up

  • It would be easy to bask in this international prominence and forget that this may soon evaporate if India fails to make the right choices at this time. 
  • It is time to think strategically about India’s place in a world which is in the midst of a historic transformation
  • A rare but perishable opportunity has presented itself to significantly advance India’s long-term prospects.
  • It must be grasped with single-minded tenacity.


 

 

Climate Financing (GS 3)

Using Markets to Decarbonize (Indian Express, 2nd May 2022)

Author: – Ajitabh Sharma

Context

  • Economic growth is inextricably connected with energy consumption. 
  • The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2017 Report estimates that India will account for nearly 1/4thof the global energy demand by 2040. 
  • Achieving economic growth sustainably requires a strategy for reducing carbon emissions aggressively.
  • While also focusing on efficiency, equity, fairness and behavioral aspects.
  • As per the IEA’s India Energy Outlook 2021 Report, India’s energy system is highly dependent on fossil fuels.
  • Coal, oil and bioenergy — that supply about 90% of the country’s demand.

Climate Change- A Market Failure?

  • Economic activities by consumers (driving or air-conditioning, for instance) and by producers (such as electricity generation and manufacturing) cause emissions, leading to pollution and global warming.
  • These negative externalities, causing outcomes that are not efficient, are not reflected in the costs incurred by consumers or producers.
  • In other words, the true costs to the consumers, producers and society are not reflected in the market interactions.
  • This leads to an uncontrolled rise in emissions and also breeds apathy towards mitigation efforts
  • The solution to the problem of market failure calls for government intervention.

Regulating Emissions?

  • The most natural option of government intervention for reducing emissions is by fixing limits of emissions through regulation.
  • However, Experts have shown that the wrongly set emission levels could lead to cost-inefficient outcomes
  • It makes it difficult for the regulator to obtain the information about each firm’s abatement-cost and damage-cost schedules in advance.
  • It is unlikely that it would not be known that for a given amount of capital, which firm will be able to reduce maximum emissions.

Abatement Cost-  is a cost borne by firms when they are required to remove and/or reduce undesirable nuisances or negative byproducts created during production.


 

 

Carbon Tax

  • The carbon tax is a better option than regulating the pre-fixed levels of emissions.
  • The marginal cost of abatement rises as the firms keep on reducing the emissions further.
  • The firm will stop reducing emissions and choose to pay tax at the point when the cost of abatement becomes higher than the rate of tax.
  • However, the possibility of the tax being either too high or too low cannot be ruled out.

Way forward

  • An effective policy framework for emissions reduction has to be essentially rooted in the Indian energy ecosystem.
  •  Large investments are needed for the transition to a green energy economy, and market-based instruments are the most efficient tools for achieving this.
  • The emissions trading scheme will determine the optimal and cost-efficient levels of emissions reduction.
  • This can be done by providing a choice to the firms to either mitigate or trade .
  • The issue of equity in energy access must be addressed by channeling the revenues generated from carbon pricing to households and firms impacted by the carbon trading and carbon tax.

How an ETS works and who pays?

  • The government decides which entities in each sector (e.g. fossil fuel producers and importers, industrial producers, foresters, and landfill operators) will be liable for their emissions
  • In some cases (e.g. fossil fuel producers and importers), liable entities are not the actual emitters.
  • But they are responsible for the emissions generated when others use their products.
  • There is a trading market where entities can buy units to cover their emissions liability and sell units they don’t need.
  • Each liable entity is required to report emissions and surrender to the government enough units to cover the amount of greenhouse gases they release.


 

 

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Science & Technology (GS 3)

Funding Woes Haunt Indian Science (The Hindu, 2nd May 2022)

Author: – C. P. Rajendran

India’s R&D Expenditure

  • Science funding has often been touted as a marker of social advancement.
  • With very little participation from the private sector in the country that includes some of the richest by global standards.
  • Curiosity-driven basic research in India is primarily sustained by direct funding from the government
  • Still, it remains static in India and hovers between a paltry 0.6 to 0.8% of GDP over a decade.
  • This is way below the United States, China, Japan, the European Union countries and South Korea.
  • While India’s global R&D expenditure remains static at 1-3% of the global total.
  • The U.S. and China accounted for 25% and 23%, respectively

Statistics by The World Bank

  • The World Bank statistics indicate that India had 255 researchers per million people in 2017.
  • This is a minuscule fraction for its size and population.
  • In contrast to 8,342 per million in Israel, 7,597 in Sweden and 7,498 in South Korea.
  • The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has earmarked 14,217 crore in the 2022- 2023 Union Budget  a drop of 3.9% from last year.

National Research Foundation

  • 2021-22 budget offered 10,000 crore every year starting from 2021, over the next five years, for a new funding agency called the National Research Foundation (NRF).
  • This agency is expected to boost university science research, as well as the work in social sciences.
  • This newly proposed idea is also in tune with what is being stated in the National Education Policy 2020.
  • The NRF will provide a reliable base of merit-based but equitable peer-reviewed research funding.
  • This will help to develop a culture of research in the country through suitable incentives for and recognition of outstanding research.

NRF’s Importance

  • Planned to be an autonomous body and therefore less bureaucratic, the NRF was expected to bring thousands of colleges and universities under its ambit.
  • As most of the country’s scientific research is being conducted by government laboratories and a few premier institutes.
  • This new forum was thought to be a game-changer by its intent of democratization of the knowledge base.


 

 

  • But it is anybody’s guess why the current-year budget was eloquently silent on this initiative of the last financial year.
  • Which is yet to be approved by the Cabinet.

Way Forward

  • India cannot aspire to be a global leader in scientific research if enough funds are not injected into basic research by committing to raise the R&D spending to at least 1% of the GDP.
  • It is widely felt that it is often less difficult to have a project approved than to have funds periodically released.
  • To unleash the fullest potential of Indian science, a vibrant and responsive financial system is required.
  • A corollary question is how to regain the autonomy of scientific institutions in financial management that has undergone considerable erosion.
  • India must choose to break the bureaucratic barriers that exist in the government departments.

 

UPSC PYQ (2011)

With reference to the period of Indian freedom struggle, which of the following was/were recommended by the Nehru report?

1. Complete Independence for India.

2. Joint electorates for reservation of seats for minorities

3. Provision of fundamental rights for the propel of India in the Constitution

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

A. 1 only 

B. 2 and 3 only 

C. 1 and 3 only 

D. 1, 2 and 3

 

Question Framed From Editorials

  • Amidst the ongoing Ukraine Russia Crisis, India could see itself as one of the key architects of a new international order. Do you agree? (200 words)

OR

  • Lack of continuity in government policy towards science funding is a huge deterrent to achieving the fullest potential in scientific research in India (250 words)

 

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