Problems in India’s Growth Story
(GS-III: Indian Economy and issues)
COVID-19 pandemic is receding and economies are on the path of re-growth with similar bullishness for the Indian economy but the worrisome issue is that the slowdown in India began much before the pandemic.
Economic disruptions even in the pre-COVID era like demonetization and GST reforms.
Economic Survey 2020-21 also points out the debt forbearance by RBI and other regulators after the 2008 Global Financial crisis that led to NPA (Non-Performing Assets) crisis.
Forbearance is a form of repayment relief involving the temporary postponement of loan payments, typically for home mortgages or student loans.
The NPA crisis also had the cascading effect of low credit supply. The imbalance was led by the decline of credit by Public sector banks as well as the NBFC liquidity crisis.
Youth employability is low due to a lack of skills and vocational training in formal education.
Low manufacturing base: Decline of agriculture led to gross rural-to-urban migration. However, this youth could not be absorbed into higher productivity due to a lack of skill (needed in the service sector) and industrial base.
The investment rate in the economy fell from nearly 40% in FY14 to 32.2% in FY20.
The investment rate (business statistics) is the ratio of gross tangible investment to value added.
Shift the policy focus from a few rich corporations to the larger segments of the population — small businesses, farmers, and ordinary labourers.
Focussing on the skilling of youth and re-skilling of employed workers to increase employment as well as productivity.
Capacity building and welfare measures to provide basic amenities. This is seen in schemes like PM-Gareeb Kalyan Yojana, Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY), and PM-Awas Yojana.
Improving credit supply by rationalisation of public sector banks and pushing for last mile reach of formal credit via institutions like NABARD.
Leveraging diplomatic might to include India in global supply chains, attract FDI and long-term credit from Global Development Finance institutions (World bank, AIIB, NDB, et al)
Recent steps like the PLI (Production Linked Incentive) scheme for the manufacturing sector and various skilling programs paired with COVID-led welfare measures have the potential to turn around growth and make ‘the India story’ a reality. India’s current already outpaces most developed and developing economies and hence, it has the potential.
Voting for NRIs
The Union government is considering ways to facilitate non-resident Indians (NRI), especially migrant labourers, to cast their votes remotely while ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.
The government introduced the ‘Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill’ to amend the RPA to allow overseas Indians to vote by proxy. However, Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Impact of remote voter facility on NRIs:
Allowing NRIs to vote from abroad may see expatriates — a bulk of whom are migrant labourers, mostly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern parts of the country — emerge as a decisive force in the country’s electoral politics.
What is the ‘Remote Voting’?
Remote voting is a method of casting vote, which may take place in person somewhere other than an assigned polling station or at another time, or votes may be sent by post or cast by an appointed proxy.
The Chief Election Commissioner has proposed to include the ‘remote voting facility’ in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The project is being developed by the IIT-Madras using blockchain technology.
Li-Ion Battery and New Anode Material
Researchers from IIT Gandhinagar and Japan discovered a new anode material which could be helpful in ensuring the life and ultra-fast charging of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).
New Anode Material:
It is a two-dimensional (2D) anode material, developed using Nano sheets derived from Titanium Diboride (TiB2). This anode had an ultra-fast charging capacity with a considerable discharge capacity at high-capacity retention. This innovation holds the potential to make India a leader in renewable energy.
Batteries are comprised of 3 essential components:
The Anode is the negative or reducing electrode that releases electrons to the external circuit and oxidizes during an electrochemical reaction
The Cathode is the positive or oxidizing electrode that acquires electrons from the external circuit and is reduced during the electrochemical reaction.
The Electrolyte is the medium that provides the ion transport mechanism between the cathode and anode of a cell.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve buffer
An invasive species, Senna spectabilis, an exotic tree, has taken over between 800 and 1,200 hectares of the buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the picturesque Nilgiris hill district.
What is the ‘Invasive species’?
An invasive species is an organism that is not indigenous, or native, to a particular area. Invasive species can cause great economic and environmental harm to the new area.
It was Introduced as an ornamental species and for use as firewood from South and Central America. The species has become highly invasive in the Sigur plateau in both the core and buffer zones of the MTR.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR): Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
It is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (1st Biosphere Reserve in India).
It is surrounded by Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) in the West, Bandipur National Park (Karnataka) in the North, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley in the South.
Amur falcon hunting banned in Manipur
The hunting, killing and sale of amur falcons have been banned in Manipur.
Locally known as Akhuipuina, the amur falcons arrive mainly in Manipur and Nagaland on its southbound migration from breeding grounds in North China, Eastern Mongolia and far-east Russia en route to its wintering grounds in South Africa.
Over two lakh amur falcons come each year to Manipur alone.
The Manipur Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: “The Act has made it clear that these migratory birds cannot be hunted, sold or killed. Those who disobey it will be pulled up”.
The migratory bird is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and included under Schedule IV.
Hunting of the birds or possessing their meat is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to Rs 5,000.
Amur falcon: Scientific Name: Falco amurensis, Breeds in Southeast Russia and northern China, Migrates west through India and across the Arabian Sea to Southern Africa.
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern.