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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (25th April)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Reforming defence planning in India

doval_modi

Composition of the DPC

  • A permanent body, comprising of
  1. Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC),
  2. service chiefs,
  3. Defence Secretary,
  4. Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry,
  • DPC will prepare a draft national security strategy besides undertaking a strategic defence review and formulating an international defence engagement strategy.
  • Considering the past record of the government appointed committees on national security whose reports lie buried deep inside official vaults, this move is bound to be met with scepticism. But the new committee holds promise and significance in its conception and charter.

The silo-driven, ad hoc approach has meant that issues like threat perception and force structure are not managed via a centralized and authoritative overview.

Need of the DPC

  1. First, the silo-driven approach to defence planning has resulted in the lack of an integrated view
    (Silo mentality is an attitude that is found in some organizations; it occurs when several departments or groups within an organization do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same organization.)
  2. The three services as well as the civilian and defence agencies are often seen to be working at cross purposes
  3. Second, India’s $250-billion military modernization programme is often talked about
  4. But even as India remains keen on acquiring significant weapons platforms, there have been persistent doubts about its ability to harness these resources in service of a long-term strategy
  5. Third, The absence of an Indian “grand strategy” that sets out political objectives for Indian power projection has been a perennial topic of discussion within Indian strategic circles
  6. Fourth, India’s defence reform campaign has existed nearly as long as the current system itself
  7. This drive focuses on extending resource integration and coordination throughout defence policymaking
  8. Moreover, it recommends a state infrastructure able to adequately implement political judgements and to combine state resources to meet these judgements
  9. This is currently missing in India
  10. Recognizing this link between the grand strategy discourse and India’s defence predicament can help develop a better articulation of political judgement to resources

Expectations from the DPC

  1. Effective defence planning and force structuring is a function of an institutional framework that allows for a clear delineation of political goals, efficient mobilization of resources and effective use of these resources for developing instrumentalities of state power
  2. With the formation of the DPC, India seems to have finally acknowledged that a new institutional framework is needed
  3. Hopefully, this will provide an overarching vision for Indian’s defence planning

What should be done?: Other issues

  1. India needs to cut the flab on an urgent basis as over half of the annual defence budget going to meet salary and pension requirements is clearly not sustainable
  2. The priorities of India’s “Make In India” initiative and cumbersome defence procurement process will also have to be brought in sync with each other
  3. India’s status as the world’s largest arms importer hardly does justice to its ambitions to emerge as a defence manufacturing hub
  4. The debate on integration (both among the services headquarters, and between the services and the ministry of defence) also continues unabated and should be concluded

2. Panchayati raj at 25

Every state is progressing, some at snail’s pace, others leapfrogging. Much remains to be done.

Devolution as provided for in parts IX and IXA of the Constitution is a process towards ushering in participatory democracy. This process is set in a framework with several standardised features such as quinquennial elections, reservations for historically marginalised communities and women, the introduction of participatory institutions for governance, the creation of a State finance commission to rationalise State-sub State level fiscal relations, the establishment of a district planning committee to evaluate resource endowments, to do spatial planning, and manage the conservation of resources with a mandate to draw up a draft development plan for the district as a whole, and so on.

Reference: Challenges and solutions to Panchayati Raj

3. Govt meets Rs10 trillion credit disbursal target for FY18

Agriculture ministry will soon bring a proposal before the cabinet for improving lending to small and marginal farmers.

Agriculture credit is growing every year and reached Rs10 trillion last fiscal, the government said on Tuesday while stressing upon the need to increase the flow to small farmers as well as providing loan access to tenant cultivators.

Record credit disbursal

  1. Agriculture credit is growing every year and reached Rs10 trillion last fiscal
  2. Agriculture credit flow is going up every year
  3. Government has achieved the disbursal target of Rs10 lakh crore in 2017-18 fiscal
  4. The target for the current financial year has been enhanced to Rs11 lakh crore

Government efforts

  1. The government is stressing upon the need to increase the flow to small farmers as well as providing loan access to tenant cultivators
  2. The agriculture ministry will soon bring a proposal before the cabinet for improving lending to small and marginal farmers based on the recommendations of the Sarangi committee
  3. To provide credit access to lessee cultivators, government think tank NITI Aayog is working to find a suitable mechanism

4. Heavy metals in fertilizers raise risk of diabetes, heart diseases in farmers

The health ministry has been running screening programs in rural areas to get to the bottom of the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in these areas.

Synthetic fertilizers used in farming can trigger diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, government scientists have found.

The scientists, from the nanoscience and water research unit of the central government’s department of science and technology, found a close link between toxic heavy metals used in fertilizers and the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among farmers.

Particulars of the research

  1. The government funded research was carried out in a village in Tamil Nadu on around 900 people whose urine samples were tested
  2. Around 82.5% of the study population was involved in farming and high levels of toxic metals were detected in the synthetic fertilizers used in the study village
  3. The prevalence of pre-diabetes, diabetes and atherosclerosis was 43.4%, 16.2% and 10.3%, respectively
  4. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes in which the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin
  5. Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease in which there is narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup on the artery walls

Seriousness of the government

  1. The health ministry has been running screening programs in rural areas to get to the bottom of the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases in these areas

Prevalence of Non-Communicable disease

  1. The phase one results of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-INDIAB (India diabetes) study have also shown that the prevalence of non communicable diseases is higher in both urban and rural areas of India compared to earlier studies
  2. A recent analysis of trends done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi revealed an increase in diabetes prevalence among the rural population at a rate of 2.02 per 1,000 population per year

5. Nabbing absconders: on Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance

The ordinance is not enough; the government needs to plug many more legal loopholes.

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to promulgate Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018 that provides for confiscating properties and assets of economic offenders like loan defaulters who flee the country

Procedure

  • According to the ordinance, a director or deputy director (appointed under the PMLA, 2002) may file an application before a special court (designated under the 2002 Act) to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender.
  • The application will contain the reasons to believe that an individual is a fugitive economic offender.
  • The application will have information about his whereabouts, a list of properties believed to be proceeds of a crime for which confiscation is sought, a list of benami properties or foreign properties for which confiscation is sought, and a list of persons having an interest in these properties.
  • Upon receiving the application, the special court will issue a notice to the individual, requiring him to appear at a specified place within six weeks. If the person appears at the specified place, the special court will terminate its proceedings under the provisions of the Bill.
  • Any property belonging to the fugitive economic offender may provisionally be attached without the prior permission of the special court, provided that an application is filed before the court within 30 days.
  • Appeals against the orders of the special court will lie before the High Court.

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