Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Scheme

It was launched to promote agricultural education.
Under the scheme 100 centres are opened with a fund of Rs.5.35 crore.
“Attracting and retaining youth in Agriculture (ARYA)” is a project sanctioned by the Indian Council of Agriculture (ICAR) and is being implemented at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs).
The main objective of the project was to provide complete knowledge and skill on processing, value addition and marketing of coconut and banana products through capacity building programmes involving research and development organizations.

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Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization on farmers in India.

Approach:
● Introduce with what is globalisation
● Positives and Negative impact of globalisation on Indian agriculture
● What measures were taken to safeguard farmers
● Way forward

Answer:
Globalization aims at integrating national economy with that of the world. Increased free and open international trade, foreign investment, technology exchange etc. are all integral to the globalised world. Globalisation had a significant impact on Indian agriculture – in many good and some bad ways.

Positive Impact of globalisation:
Economic impact: Globalisation enabled greater access to technological advancements in
agriculture, including high yield varieties, genetically modified crops (GM crops) and micro-irrigation techniques. Foreign investment in agriculture in contract farming, cold storage and food processing have helped farmers. Access to foreign markets has greatly boosted Indian agricultural exports.
Social impact: Globalisation helped improve food productivity and production and helped transform rural agrarian societies. It has empowered the farmers to understand, reach out and compete in global markets. The new technologies, especially in irrigation, helped in addressing rural water stress and keeping agriculture viable. It has also helped change the agrarian society’s attitudes towards new technologies in farming.

Negative Impact of globalisation:
Economic impact: Multi National Companies (MNCs) captured the Indian markets making farmers dependent on the expensive high yield seeds and fertilizers. Attraction of global market resulted in farmers shifting from traditional or mixed cropping to unsustainable cropping practices. The competition from cheaper imports pushed down the prices of crops like cotton, wheat etc making agriculture unsustainable for many farmers.
Social impact: Unsustainable agriculture practices post-globalisation and the inability to
compete against cheaper imports contributed to distress migration of rural farmers, destroying rural agrarian societies and traditional family structures. The dependency of MNC seeds resulted in farmers losing touch with indigenous seeds and farming methods. Globalisation caused change in food habits with increased consumption of proteins, sugars and fats causing increase in lifestyle diseases.

In light of certain harmful impact of globalisation, government has taken many steps to safeguard the farmers from globalisation including:

● Negotiating at the WTO for fairer rules and trade practices
● Imposing higher duties on imports to safeguard farmers from import surges
● Higher MSPs for farmers to protect against fall in prices due to cheaper imports
● Promotion of Indian produce through GI tags & organic foods
● Encourage sustainable agricultural practices, indigenous breeds and seeds

Way forward:
More than 50 per cent of Indian population is still dependent on agriculture as the main source of income. In this era of globalisation, the farmer not only needs to be protected from the harmful impact of globalisation, but also needs to be empowered through institutional and infrastructural reform to take full advantage of it.

GST- Pros and Cons of Electricity Inclusion

Why should electricity be brought in GST

1. Multiplicity of rates

  • Currently, there is a confusing number of electricity taxes that vary by states and across user categories (lower tax rates for consumers and high for industrial users).
  • Taxes levied by the states thus vary from 0% to 25%.
  • The current situation imposes large costs that seriously undermine the government’s Make in India initiative.

 

2. Higher cost of electricity making manufacturing costlier:

  • The most serious problem is that costs to industrial users of electricity are higher because they include the taxes on inputs that have gone into the supply of electricity.
  • These include taxes on raw materials (coal, renewables) and other equipment (solar panels and batteries).
  • Not being part of the GST means that input-tax credit can not be claimed.
  • This results in input taxes getting embedded in the final price.
  • This, along with the cross-subsidisation of domestic and agricultural users, total up to increased costs and lower margins of between 1-3% for several industries.

Hurts domestic manufacturers:

  • This embedding of taxes hurts manufacturers selling to the domestic market.
  • For the textile industry, for example, these embedded taxes amount to about 2% of the price.

Hurts exporters even more:

  • In particular, they hurt exporters of electricity-intensive products because they are not liable to any duty drawback—relief for taxes embedded in exports.
  • 1-3% increased costs for manufacturers are significant especially for exporters who face ferocious international competition and where a 1% extra cost could be fatal.

3. Will remove current bias in GST towards renewables:

  • Currently, there is a large bias in favour of renewables in GST policy.
  • Inputs to renewables generation attract a GST rate of 5% while inputs to thermal generation attract higher rates of 18%.

GST in not the tool to support renewables:

  • Support for renewables should be direct, conscious, and transparent.
  • GST should not become the instrument for adding (non-transparently) to that support.
  • Supporting renewables might be conscious policy (and also good policy), but currently subsidisation is proliferating across many policies, making it difficult to quantify the overall support.

Electricity in GST will level the field:

  • If electricity were to be included in GST, then there would be no discrimination between renewables and thermal energy. This is because all inputs going into both forms of electricity generation would receive tax credits.
  • GST would then become neutral between different forms of electricity generation as good tax policy should be.
  • Thus, the case for including electricity in the GST is compelling.

Won’t be easy to get electricity in GST

It would lead to losses for both Centre and especially States:

  • As explained above, including electricity in the GST would reduce or eliminate embedded taxes in electricity-using products.
  • That means that both the central and state governments would lose revenues from these products.
  • In addition, state governments would lose taxes from electricity use itself.

States would be reluctant to lose taxes on electricity:

  • Taxes on electricity is an important source of revenue for the states, amounting to about Rs. 31,000 crore for all the states combined.
  • On average, electricity taxes account for about 3% of own tax revenues of the states, going up to close to 9% in other states.
  • States are therefore reluctant to give up the right to levy these taxes.

What can be done to make it possible to include electricity in GST

1. Centre and States share the burden in light of benefits:

The Centre and the states can bear the losses of the embedded taxes since the benefits would also be shared.

The Centre would then compensate the states only for the direct loss of revenues.

2. Allow state governments to impose a small non-GST able cess:

Tax (about 5%) could be imposed on electricity in the GST—allowing inputs tax credits to flow through the GST pipeline.

To compensate for loss of revenue, the state governments may be allowed to impose a small non-GST able cess on top of the GST rate.

In this case, however, the greater the cess, the more it would resemble situation as is now, with all its problems. So, this half-way solution must come with some limits on state governments’ freedom to levy further taxes on electricity.

Summary of benefits of electricity in GST:

In sum, there are four clear benefits from bringing electricity into the GST:

  1. Reducing the costs for manufacturing
  2. Improving the competitiveness of exporters
  3. Reducing the cross-subsidisation of electricity tariffs that further undermines the competitiveness of manufacturers and exporters
  4. Eliminating the large biases—and hence restoring neutrality of incentives—in electricity generation

Conclusion:

There would be costs in terms of foregone revenues but the benefits would be large and states could be partially or fully compensated. Indian manufacturing is saddled with costs. Efficient GST policy should aim to reduce them.

China Myanmar Economic Corridor

  • China and Myanmar have moved a step closer on negotiating the China-Myanmar economic corridor.
  • This initiative is being given a high priority on account of the stalled Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) connectivity proposal.
  • The negotiations for the formation of the BCIM corridor have virtually been stalled after Beijing went ahead with its plans to establish the China-Pakistan economic corridor.

Y- shaped corridor

  • China-Myanmar economic corridor will be a Y- shaped corridor.
  • It will start from China’s Yunnan province and head towards Mandalay in Myanmar.
  • From Mandalay, it will extend towards Yangon New City in the East and Kyaukphyu special economic zone (in the Rakhine province) in the West.

Importance of the corridor

The corridor is important for both China and Myanmar in the following ways:

  1. It will enhance the connectivity between the two countries.
  2. It will connect Beijing with the Indian Ocean.
  3. It will accelerate the transfer of China’s industries to Myanmar (Due to the rising cost of labour, overcapacity and industrial development, China has begun to transfer some of its industries abroad).
  4. It will turn Myanmar into an important destination for China and other East Asian countries.
  5. It will create more jobs and bolster development.

Myanmar’s approach

  • Despite a flurry of diplomatic interaction between China and Myanmar in the aftermath of the Rohingya crisis, the Myanmar side is shedding a zero-sum approach and is also actively engaging with India.
  • Myanmar is seeking Indian investments in the central Myanmar region.
  • Myanmar has backed India’s Act East Policy and Neighbourhood First approach that promoted India’s relationship with the ASEAN countries including Myanmar.
  • Recently, India-Myanmar Bilateral Military Exercise (IMBAX-2017) was concluded at the Joint Training Node in Umroi, Meghalaya.

Everything about Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

• It is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world.

• It was started by U.S. government in 2010.

• It serves as a vital link between governments and the private sector and convenes global participants to showcase projects, network, exchange ideas and champion new opportunities for investment.

Aim

• It aims to highlight entrepreneurship as means to address some of the most intractable global challenges.

GES-2017, Hyderabad

• It is the eighth annual GES summit.

• It is the first GES summit being held in South Asia.

• Since 2010, it has been hosted by Kenya, Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and last year it was held in Silicon Valley in the US.

• The Theme of GES-2017 is ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.

• The main focus will be on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally.

Areas of focus:

The GES 2017 will focus on four key industry sectors:

1 Energy and Infrastructure

2 Healthcare and Life Sciences

3 Financial Technology and Digital Economy

4 Media and Entertainment

National Testing Agency

Features of National Testing Agency

• The National Testing Agency (NTA) will be created as a Society registered under the Indian Society Registration Act, 1860.

• It will be an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.

• The NTA will begin by conducting exams managed by the CBSE and gradually conduct other examinations too.

• The entrance examinations will be conducted in online mode at least twice a year.

• In order to serve the requirements of the rural students, it would locate the centres at sub-district/district level and as far as possible would undertake hands-on training to the students.

Aim

• Establishment of NTA will bring in high reliability, standardized difficulty level for assessing the aptitude, intelligence and problem solving abilities of the students.

Composition

• The NTA will be chaired by an educationist appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

• There will be a Board of Governors comprising members from user institutions.

• The CEO will be the Director General to be appointed by the Government and will be

• assisted by 9 verticals headed by academicians/ experts.

Finances

• The Centre will give an initial grant of ₹25-crore to the NTA to start its operations in the first year. Thereafter, it will be self-sustaining.

Any attempt by an institution to withhold information from its stakeholders should invite strict censure. Do you agree?

No, I do not completely agree. There may be situations where information would
need to be withheld for larger public interest. Such circumstances can arise when the matter concerns:

i. Preserving national security e.g. it would be wrong for the media to relay live
coverage of a terror attack while the operation is still in progress, as happened in Mumbai in 2008.
ii. Matters that are sensitive in the socio-political context and likely to arouse
negative public sentiment e.g. if a political leader is assassinated by a person
from a different religion, disclosing the assassin’s religion could lead to communal
violence.
iii. Protecting the privacy of an individual e.g. the personal details of a rape victim.
iv. Policies and programs that are still under consideration e.g. the master plan for an upcoming project which is likely to lead to a spurt in land prices.
v. Privileged and sensitive information that few people have access to e.g. writing a
book that chronicles the private functioning and inter-personal relations of a highranking functionary.
vi. Privileged information that is confidential and can be misused for speculative gains e.g. Insider trading.