11 ,12 and 13 Feb 2016

Is the war against the IS India’s war?

Background :- Recently there has been several discussion going on at various levels and various platforms – whether India should join the fight against IS ?At a recent counter-terror conference in Jaipur, which included experts from about 25 countries, the most prominent discussion was on a unified global response to the threat from the Islamic State (IS). “The problem the world faces is that while the bad guys think global, the good guys still think national, sometimes still departmental,” said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar. “Encouraging a ‘whole of the world’ approach in countering terrorism is one of the major goals of Indian diplomacy.” 

Excerpts From the article:-

Link to article

A less heated consideration of the issue must prevail over what exactly India’s role in the “global war on IS” should be, if sending troops is indeed a possibility. To begin with, the theory of a global war suggests that the threat to all countries is uniform in nature. The IS has claimed that its Caliphate represents Muslim populations everywhere, and its targeting of people from the U.S., France, Jordan, China and Japan indicates that it does not see a difference. Yet, on the ground, the ‘target populations’ are very different, with varied motivations.

While the threat in the U.S. and Europe comes from immigrants who have settled in these places in recent decades, in South and Central Asia, the Muslim populations are indigenous. In West Asia, many of the populations from which fighters are joining the IS were already fighting against their governments. And in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, those who migrated to IS territory received no opposition from their governments, which were already at odds with the Iraqi and Syrian regimes. Therefore, while the motivation for all of them may have been the desire for an Islamist jihad, the factors influencing them are entirely different.

In particular, there is a difference between India and other countries. According to government figures, 27 Indians are confirmed to have travelled to IS-held territories, 200 are under watch, and about 18 have been charged with attempting to join the IS in India (not counting 30 recent detentions on which details are awaited). The figures for Indians joining the IS are low enough to be statistically negligible (less than 0.00004 per cent) compared to the rest of the world

In the 44 countries tracked by the U.K.-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and the Central Intelligence Agency, India finds no mention.These statistics should certainly not give the impression that India has nothing to fear. But they must be seen in relation to the threat perception at present, so as to guard against an overreaction. If India were to consider sending troops under the U.N. flag to IS territories, as Defence Minister said it could, what would be the human costs of such a venture over the benefits?

Analysis :-

  • The analysis needs an  approach that cuts across multiple facets of what it means by “global terrorism” and “global fight against terrorism”
  • In light of this it is indeed very important to understand the Syrian crisis – Details can be found here – Click Here .
  • The spill over of failed Arab Spring resulted in mass exodus,internal displacement ,  extremism in all forms , and this decade has seen the worst brutalities that mankind has ever endured in the past.The sheer no. of  human casualties is numbing. People  became refugees in their own country , the refugee crisis is enervating the Government across Europe and to protect their demographic profile without any significant alteration , Countries have stepped up vigil along the border with intermittent sealing of border.Desperate attempt by many to flee the conflict zone has led to loss of lives. Children and women are the most vulnerable groups among these and the brutalities that laid upon them is emotionally numbing.There seems no vestige of beginning , no prospect of an end of this crisis.Solution lays in constructive engagement of global powers and institutions , but major players are fighting each other , and Syria became their geopolitical battleground
  • An interesting note from the National Security Adviser of India who stated recently –  “Why is it, that 15 years after countries have signed on to the global war on terror, terror casualties are 320 per cent higher than in 2001, terror groups have spread to areas they have never been in before, and states have spent enormous figures on fighting terror?
  • Keeping in view the aforementioned facts , it is important to note that terrorism is a political tool where religion is selectively used to run the propaganda. The vital questions on who funds the terror camps gives a different dimension to the meaning of terror altogether.The more one delves to understand the terrorism , the more it takes shape of a geopolitical ambition than savior of any cast or creed or religion.And , given the geopolitical overtones is it essential to question – why should India fight and how it should fight ?
  • It is also said that – threat to humanity anywhere is a threat to humanity everywhere . And hence it makes sense to fight the war on terror. How to fight, is a different question altogether. Fight on terror has 2 dimensions – ideological level and geopolitical level.
  • Just when we thought we have progressed to modernity and filth such as slavery and sex slave is over. The situation in the conflict ridden region  and the sex slave trade is deeply disturbing.Women and children have been captured and sold as merchandise and against this backdrop it becomes necessary to transcend beyond the geopolitical boundaries and do something for the sake of humanity.
  • Given the scale, reach and fire power of the extremist organisation it is indeed became necessary for India and other such countries to stand for humanity and save it from the clutches of horrors  it is currently enduring.
  • How and what kind of approach is the best approach – is a question for policy makers to decide , but at the core of it India or any country for that matter can not remain indifferent to it.

 

Note:-The  analysis part  is exclusive to upsctree.Do let us know if you have any alternative viewpoints or feedback in this regard.We will be glad to debate, deliberate and discuss on this.


A wave of awe and opportunity, and yet again Einstein was right:-

Backgorund:-After four months of analysis, a consortium of scientists— including from India — confirmed recently that they had detected a signal from space from 1.3 billion years ago. The signal, which travelled as a gravitational wave was from the fusion of two black holes into a single one — the first time ever that such a phenomenon was observed — and registered as a “çhirp’’ at two highly sensitive detectors, called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) located in Washington and Louisiana.

Details:-Gravitational waves are the last, unobserved prediction from Albert Einstein’s iconic general relativity equations that were developed 100 years ago. These equations are the reason space and time — in the eyes of contemporary science — are seen as malleable shape-shifting entities rather than fixed and eternal, as our senses suggest to us. Black holes, which result when stars die, can collide with each other and sometimes birth new universes. These collisions are so violent that they can distort space and time around it, just as dropping a heavy ball on a tarpaulin sheet can massively wrinkle it. These wrinkles propagate, as gravitational waves through space-time but are extremely hard to detect.

Gravitational waves Explained

What are gravitational waves?

Gravitational waves are small ripples in space-time that are believed to travel across the universe at the speed of light. They are like tiny waves on a lake — from far away, the lake’s surface looks glassy smooth; only up very close can the details of the surface be seen. They were predicted to exist by Albert Einstein in 1916 as a consequence of his General Theory of Relativity.

What does Einstein say about gravity?

While Sir Isaac Newton visualised gravitational force as a pulling force between objects, Albert Einstein opined it to be a pushing force due to the curvature of four dimensional spacetime fabric. The curvature of spacetime stems from the dent heavy objects produce on spacetime fabric, which can be compared to the dent one could see on a plastic sheet when a massive ball is placed.

Why is the study of gravitational waves important?

Discovery of gravitational waves would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.


India’s digital transformation:-

Background:-

There is little doubt that China has stolen a march on India when it comes to leveraging the Internet. Of the top 20 Internet companies in the world, 13 are American, five are Chinese, with one each for Japan and the United Kingdom. Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, has a market capitalisation that is 25 times higher than that of Flipkart, the largest e-commerce company in India.

Why did India, which has had the remarkable achievement of being the largest exporter of information technology services and skilled manpower among developing countries, fall behind China in digitally transforming its economy? Is it now making a comeback?

Details:-

The World Bank’s recently released World Development Report (WDR) ‘Digital Dividends’ provides some answers.

The WDR finds that digital technologies have spread rapidly throughout much of the world, but their digital dividends — the broader development benefits from using these technologies — have lagged behind. In many instances digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed.

The report argues that for digital technologies to confer their full benefit on society, it is vital to close the digital divide, especially in Internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on its “analogue complements” — by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that government institutions and others are accountable.

Measuring the performance of India and China with the WDR metrics of connectivity and complements shows why India has not yet taken full advantage of the digital revolution.

The contrast with China:-

At the end of 2014, India had 227 million Internet users, compared to 665 million in China. Fewer than two out of every five Indian businesses had an online presence compared to almost two-thirds of firms in China.

The cost of a 1 Mbit/s residential broadband service in India is 6-10 times higher than in China. And by most accounts, the digital divide across age, gender, geography and income within India is significantly higher than in China. Thanks to its successful digital ID programme, Aadhaar, India scores higher than China in digital adoption by governments, but the need now is to use the platform that Aadhaar provides more widely and effectively.

The slow pace of improvement of the quality of basic infrastructure — expressways, logistics, storage, postal delivery system and reliable supply of electricity — have also hampered the growth of e-commerce in India. And the excessively cautious approach of Indian regulators towards disruptive technological innovations such as mobile money or ride-sharing services has made it difficult for digital start-ups to enter new markets and achieve scale

While Indian technology workers and entrepreneurs excel in Silicon Valley in the United States, the skills level of the average Indian worker remains significantly behind his or her Chinese counterpart. India has made considerable strides in improving its human capital, but a vast majority of its population still lacks the skills to meaningfully participate in the digital economy.

Around 25 per cent of India’s adult population cannot read and write compared to fewer than 5 per cent in China.

There is also major difference in quality of education: The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) test scores in rural India show that 10 per cent of children aged 16 and below cannot identify single-digit numbers consistently. Fewer than one in five can do a subtraction, performing considerably below their grade level.

Clearly, India’s challenge to becoming a digital economy remains formidable. The government has announced a slew of new initiatives: Digital India; Make in India; Start-up India; and innovative applications of Aadhaar such as JAM (Jan-Dhan Yojana-Aadhaar-Mobile trinity) and Digital Lockers. Successful and accelerated implementation of these programmes can make up for some of the lost time. But India also needs to do more by strengthening the basic foundations of its digital economy.

Making the Internet accessible, open and safe for all Indians is an urgent priority. The cost of mobile phone access is already low by international standards. And with a supportive policy environment involving smart spectrum management, public-private partnerships, and intelligent regulations of Internet markets, the same can be achieved for Internet access. Zero-rated services for mobile data access have become controversial, though they could be an intermediate step to fully open and affordable Internet access for the poorest, provided that the choice of selecting services is transparent and inclusive.

The road ahead:-

Access, however, is only one part of the agenda. An important lesson from the WDR is that even the most sophisticated technologies are no substitute for tackling long-standing shortcomings in other areas — most importantly basic health, education and a regulatory ethos that encourages competition and enterprise.

When the World Bank adopted in 2013 “shared prosperity” as one of its mission goals, it was the first time that combating inequality was being set up as a target. There was a lot of initial opposition because while the battling of poverty seems like a fairly impersonal goal, the goal of “sharing” makes many uncomfortable.

Fortunately, the way the shared prosperity goal is formalised has deep conceptual roots.  The aim of ending the digital divide discussed in our most recent WDR stems from this same basic idea and is an urgent need of our times.


 

Inclusive Development :-The quintile income and the poverty line

Background:-

The rhetoric of “inclusive development” tends often to be lost in vague generalities, when it is not altogether absent in various processes on the ground or in state policy that claims to be inspired by its demands. This note suggests that in at least one specific and restricted area of application – the intersection of poverty, inequality and growth – it should be possible to capture some elementary  aspect of inclusiveness by monitoring trends, set against targets, of the “quintile income” statistic. This statistic, which was proposed in earlier work by Kaushik Basu, is a simple and useful aid to  verifying the reach of inclusiveness in a specific dimension of development, a theme that is elaborated on in this note.

Introduction:-

Every season has its buzzword, and the vogue today, it would appear, is “inclusive development”. One supposes that the term is intended to cover a multitude of desirable aims and goals. As such, it seems reasonable to believe, for instance, that “inclusive development” would have implications for the notions of “national integration” and “citizenship”, and therefore for recent events on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir, the north-east, and the so-called “Maoist Belt”. Similarly, one must expect that an engagement with “inclusive development” must imply also an engagement with  various manifestations of social exclusion based – for example – on caste, religious,and gender identities. A third area of relevance would presumably relate to the extent – measured by both depth and coverage – of social security provisioning for the deprived. This is just a minute sample of the objects of concern of the term under discussion – but the sample is large enough to highlight  certain elementary distinctions and contrasts. In particular, it is impossible not to see that there is the engagement in principle and disengagement in practice, just as there are pretty phrases and ugly  facts. Thus, for many, the State’s protestations of “inclusive development” make for a clanging, angling discord when juxtaposed with talk of sedition and anti-national activity; with the facts of  manual scavenging, the socio-economic status of Muslims (as revealed in the Sachar Committee’s report), and the scale of sex-selective foeticide in the country; and with the widespread perception  that the unique identification (UID) programme which has been advertised as facilitating the “targeting” of public benefits is, on the contrary, a mechanism for excluding large numbers of deserving citizens from the ambit of social assistance (when it is not associated with more sinister forms of intrusive surveillance of the citizenry). But we live in the age of the specialist, and it may not be for  me to dwell at any length on these subjects. Having said this, it is also true that a further area of concern when we speak of “inclusive development” relates to the domains of poverty, inequality, and growth.

The Quintile income:-

It appears that the World Bank is planning to maintain and disseminate systematic information on a version of what Kaushik Basu  had some years ago advanced as the ‘quintile income statistic’. The quintile income—which we shall find convenient to refer to simply as Q—is just the average income of the poorest quintile (that is to say, poorest 20 per cent) of a population. The quintile income statistic is a very simple, but also very versatile, welfare indicator—one which can be employed to cast light, admittedly in a somewhat elementary way, on aspects of both income poverty and the ‘inclusiveness’ of growth. The World Bank aims to track, subject to the availability of data, country-specific performance with respect to the average income of the poorest 40 per cent of the population (rather than 20 per cent, as Basu had proposed in his original version of the statistic).

The Poverty Line:-

As is well-known, extant protocols of money-metric poverty measurement follow what one may call the route of ‘identification-cum-aggregation’. The identification exercise is concerned with specifying an income ‘poverty line’ designed to distinguish the poor segment of a population from its non-poor segment. The aggregation exercise is concerned with combining information on the distribution of income and the poverty line in order to come up with a single real number which is supposed to signify the extent of poverty in the society under review. A particularly simple aggregate measure of poverty, and one which is very widely employed, is the so-called headcount ratio, or proportion of the population in poverty (that is to say, the proportion of the population with incomes or consumption expenditure levels below the poverty line).

It is important to recognize that the language of a ‘poverty line’ is ill-suited to treating income as anything but a means to an end—specifically the end of avoiding deprivation in the space of human functionings. After all, what is the common sense meaning of the term ‘poverty line’? Is it not a reference to that level of income which, when it is attained, enables an individual to escape deprivation? And what is deprivation, if not a failure to achieve certain ‘minimally satisfactory’ states of being and doing—such as the state of being reasonably well-nourished, reasonably mobile, reasonably free of disease and ignorance, reasonably sheltered against the forces of nature and climate, reasonably equipped to participate without shame in the affairs of one’s society, and so on? And if this is the case, surely the right way of going about fixing the poverty line would be to first make a list of human functionings in respect of which it is reasonable to insist that one should avoid deprivation in order to be counted non-poor; to identify the reasonable cost of achieving each reasonable level of functioning; and to add up all of these functioning-specific costs in order to arrive at the money-metric poverty line.

Notice now that there can be both inter-personal and ‘environment-’ or ‘context-dependent’ factors which can make for differences in the rate at which incomes (or resources in general) are converted into functionings.

Thus, a pregnant or lactating mother will typically need more nutritional resources than a person who, other things equal, is not in this condition. Similarly, a differently abled person would typically need more resources to achieve the functioning of mobility than one who is not so. Apart from such individual heterogeneities, are also differences wrought by variations in the objective environment. Thus, a person living in unsanitary conditions without access to clean drinking water might be expected to require more food to achieve the same nutritional status as one whose absorptive capacity is not compromised by infected potable water. Similarly, a person living in a cold climate would require more resources to expend on protective clothing than one living in a temperate climate. We owe all of these insights to Amartya Sen who, many years ago, employed this line of argumentation to assert that poverty is best seen as an absolute concept in the space of functionings, but (and precisely because of variations across regimes in the ability to convert resources into functionings), as a relative concept in the space of resources (including income).

The practical issue is this: for poverty comparisons to be meaningful, the poverty standard must be invariant across the contexts of comparison. But invariant in what space? In the space of functionings (which is compatible with variability in the space of resources), not in the space of real incomes or of commodity bundles.

Yet, in practice, the World Bank’s ‘dollar-a-day’ international poverty line preserves invariance in the space of real incomes, while India’s official poverty lines preserve invariance in the space of commodity bundles. Regrettably, the language of a ‘poverty line’—in terms of which incomes or resources are seen as a means to the end of avoiding deprivation in the space of functionings—is wholly incompatible with such postulated invariance of real incomes or commodity bundles. The resulting estimates of ‘poverty’ are, quite straightforwardly put, hard to interpret in any conceptually coherent or meaningful way. And the problem cannot simply be taken care of by impatient assertions regarding the unavoidability of some element of arbitrariness in the specification of an income poverty line

Conclusion:-

Rectification of standard practice would require that poverty be treated as an absolute conception in the space of human functionings, and as a relative conception—allowing for both interpersonal and contextual heterogeneities—in the space of incomes. This is a practically very difficult exercise to implement, but is the price that must be paid for treating income—in terms of the language of a ‘poverty line’—as a means to an end. Failing this, income could be treated as an end in itself, in which case the quintile income can be employed as a legitimate money-metric indicator of poverty. Over-time comparisons of the actual quintile income with reasonably targeted levels based on a normative growth rate should yield a picture of how money-metric poverty has fared over time. Suitable comparisons of the over-time performance of the average incomes of the richest and the poorest declines over time—should yield a picture of the inclusiveness or otherwise of growth. In conclusion, there is a strong case for replacing dollar-a-day-type approaches to the estimation of money-metric poverty by a more straightforward ‘quintile income approach’, which can also be employed in order to pronounce judgment on whether or not growth in income has been ‘pro-poor’ or inclusive.


India handloom Brand Scheme:-

Background:-India Handloom brand has been launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the first National Handloom Day on August 7, 2015.  The Handloom Mark Scheme was launched by the Government of India on June 28, 2006 to provide assurance to the consumers about authenticity of handloom products. However, it did not cover the aspect of product quality assurance.Therefore, the India Handloom brand is an initiative for branding of high quality handloom products with zero defects and zero effect on the environment.It would differentiate high quality handloom products and help in earning trust of customers by endorsing their quality in terms of raw materials, processing, embellishments, weaving design and other quality parameters and by ensuring social and environmental compliances in their production.The registration for India Handloom will be granted to certain specified eligible entities in respect of identified product categories which meet prescribed quality parameters.

Objectives of India Handloom Brand:-

  • To earn the trust of consumers by endorsing the quality of handloom products in terms of raw materials, processing, embellishments, weaving design and other quality parameters.
  • To ensure social and environmental compliances in production of handlooms.
  • To create a niche market space for high quality handloom products which cater especially to the demand for diverse products among the younger generation and export markets with high growth potential.
  • To increase the earnings of the weavers.

Benefits of India Handloom Brand:-

The India Handloom brand initiative is intended to bring the following benefits to various stakeholders of the handloom sector:

  • Handloom products with the premium India Handloom brand would be differentiated from other products in terms of quality.
  • Through the brand, the customer will be assured that the product quality is high because of proper texture, use of good quality yarns and dyeing with safe dyes which are free from banned amines.
  • Bulk buyers and exporters will be able to source quality branded fabrics as per their designs.
  • Weavers will be able to get bulk orders and higher wages by interacting directly with the market.
  • Weaver entrepreneurs and other manufacturers will take up production and marketing of quality handloom fabrics in bulk within and outside the country.
  • Ministry of Textiles will actively promote the brand through media campaigns to raise awareness among manufacturers as well as consumers and create demand for products with the India Handloom brand.

Mega handloom Clusters of India:-

Varanasi
Sivasagar
Murshidabad
Godda
Virudhunagar
Prakasham and Guntur
Trichy
Bhagalpur

Significance:-

India’s Textile Industry is the country’s second largest industry in terms of employment potential. Handloom sector plays a very important role in the country’s economy. Handloom industry is the largest cottage industry in the country with 23.77 lakh looms.

The major handloom export centres are Karur, Panipat, Varanasi & Kannur where handloom products like Bed linen, Table linen, Kitchen linen, Toilet linen, Floor coverings, embroidered textile materials, curtains etc. are produced for export markets.

The Handloom industry mainly exports fabrics, bed linen, table linen, toilet and kitchen linen, towels, curtains, cushions and pads, tapestries and upholstery’s, carpets, floor coverings, etc. The major importing countries of Handloom products from India are USA, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Netherland and UAE.

Handloom Export Promotion Council (HEPC) is a nodal agency constituted under “The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India” to promote exports of all handloom products like fabrics, home furnishings, carpets, floor coverings, etc. HEPC was constituted in the year 1965 with 96 members and its present membership is around 1400 spread all over the country.

The prime object of HEPC is to provide all support and guidance to the Indian Handloom exporters and International buyers for trade promotion and international marketing. HEPC organizes / participates in International Trade fairs, Buyer Seller Meets in India and abroad & seminars.

“When the world starts dreaming Our hand starts weaving”

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By | 2016-02-13T16:49:02+00:00 February 13th, 2016|Daily Current Events|9 Comments
  • cherry

    sir analysis is very much usefull,if any body asks me i will say strongly tht ur site is must follow one……..for upsc
    thanks for yr effort

  • sachin

    sir can you please elaborate directive as mentioned in mains examination like critical analysis and examine etc…

    • Will do soon sachin.

      • sachin

        sir can you provide the all india radio news analysis???

  • navneet

    sir I am not able to download your monthly magazine…what to do?

    • While downloading wait for sometime as it takes sometime to load.Also check your mail, you would have got a link from Instamojo to download.

  • Sir I cannot download ur magazine..plz help