12 October The Hindu ePaper

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Is Europe Out of Sync with India — and Asia?(India-EU relations ,IR )

The progress in co-operation between the United States and India during the last decade has been quite extraordinary. Admittedly, problems remain in the relationship and there are limits as to how far it can go — in particular because of the ongoing (though declining) resonance of the Indian ideas of “non-alignment” and strategic autonomy. But it is clear that the United States sees India in strategic terms and in particular wants India to play a role in balancing against China.
The question is, do Europeans? Should they? Europeans find it difficult to give a clear answer to these problems. European cooperation with India is much narrower in terms of scope — it is focused almost exclusively around trade liberalization — and slower in terms of progress. This was apparent at the German Marshall Fund’s India Trilateral Forum in September, an event that brought together academics, policymakers, and think tankers from Europe, India, and the United States.
The central question is whether it is in the European interest for China to become a regional hegemon in Asia. For many Europeans, especially policymakers, thinking in terms like “hegemony” and “balancing” seems zero-sum and anachronistic. As a result, in discussions about international politics in Asia, there is often a disconnect between Americans and Asians on one hand and Europeans on the other. Rightly or wrongly, Europeans are out of sync.
The question of whether Europeans should want India to play a role in balancing against China is not merely a theoretical one. Rather, it has important policy implications. In particular, it has implications for the question of European arms exports to Asian countries. It is often said that, with the possible exception of France and the United Kingdom, Europeans are not significant security actors in Asia. But one way Europeans could make a contribution to regional security is through the selective transfer of weapons, and in particular of high-end military technology, to Asian countries. India has bought weapons from several EU member states, including Scorpene-class submarines and Rafale fighter jets from France and Type 209 submarines from Germany. However, it is not clear whether such sales are strategically or merely commercially motivated.
Cooperation with India on military technology could also support EU policy toward Russia. Going back to the 1960s, India has overwhelmingly depended on Russia for weapons systems. But by continuing to purchase Russian arms, India is not only backfilling Western sanctions but also propping up the Russian arms industry. Indians have long complained that they have no choice but to buy weapons from Russia because the West is not prepared to share advanced military technology with them. But while the United States is working hard to overcome this problem — it has even set up a Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Cooperation, which met for the first time in Washington in August — Europeans are way behind. For example, the breakdown of negotiations with the EU over the sharing of source codes for the Galileo satellite navigation system led India to join Russia’s alternative, GLONASS.
A second area for possible EU-India cooperation is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China is the largest shareholder in the newly formed bank, with 26 percent of the voting rights. But in the absence of Japan and the United States, which declined to become founding members, India is the second-largest shareholder, with 7.5 percent of the voting rights. It is thus a pivotal player in the bank. Europeans collectively have around 20 percent of the voting rights (Germany, with 4 percent, is the fourth-largest shareholder). The arithmetic of voting rights means that the EU and India could be a powerful voice in the AIIB and could even form a blocking minority were they to cooperate. But whether the EU and India will be able to co-operate in this way depends on whether they can develop a shared agenda in the AIIB.
This in turn depends on how the EU and India view China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) set of infrastructure projects across Eurasia, which the AIIB is partly meant to finance. In particular, do they see it a public good, as China presents it, or as a strategic project that could alter the balance of power in Asia. Both the EU and India are taking a wait-and-see approach to the project. But while Indians understand that OBOR could be a potential threat to them — hemming them in while allowing China to build military capabilities in India’s neighborhood — Europeans tend to see it simply as an economic opportunity. If Europeans want India to care about European security and recognize threats to them, they must also care about Asian security and recognize threats to India.


Source: New feed




Catching up with China (Development and environment)

EVERY so often a country comes along whose economic transformation has a vast impact on the world’s climate system. For the past generation that country has been China. Next it will be India.

Given India’s size and population (1.3 billion), its emissions of carbon dioxide are in relative terms still tiny. At 1.6 tonnes of carbon per person each year, they are roughly the same as China’s per-head emissions in 1980, when that country dived into economic reforms. Now India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to emulate China’s sizzling growth. He has set India a target of expanding GDP by 8% a year. If it comes close to meeting that target, emissions will soar, just as China’s have done. Today, Chinese emissions per head are four times those in India.

Government planners think that, with economic growth of 8-9%, India’s total emissions of carbon dioxide would more than triple by 2030, from 1.7 billion tonnes in 2010 to 5.3 billion tonnes. Per-head emissions would increase to 3.6 tonnes. And that assumes a fair amount of energy savings. If India were to use the same amount of energy per unit of GDP in 2030 as it does now, then emissions would top 6 billion tonnes by 2030. India is on the way to becoming the biggest contributor to increases in greenhouse gases within 15 years—a powerful reason for caring about its progress on environmental matters.

On October 1st Mr Modi’s government filed its emissions plans in advance of a UN climate conference to take place in Paris in November. Unlike most other big countries, India refused to set a date at which the absolute amount of carbon it pumps out would peak and start to fall. Instead it promised that its carbon intensity—that is, carbon emissions per unit of GDP—would fall by a third before 2030.

By setting a relative rather than an absolute target, India has come in for criticism. That is unfair, for to cap emissions would be to deny many Indians the chance to better their hard lives. The country has more poor people than anywhere else in the world: 230m living on $1.90 a day or less—the World Bank’s definition of extreme poverty. Almost half of rural households, or 250m-300m people, have no electricity. For the poor, growth is essential—and carbon comes with it.

Yet to accept that is not to give up on curbing emissions. India has huge potential to change its trajectory. To put this in context, consider that plans announced by Barack Obama’s administration would cut American emissions by 26-28% by 2025, or just under 2 billion tonnes of carbon a year. By contrast, the difference between a good and a bad outcome in India over the same period, depending on whether good policies are adopted or not, would amount to almost 3 billion tonnes. In other words, India could do more good for the climate, as well as more harm, than most.

If there is reason to be optimistic, it is that the environment matters to Indians themselves. Thirteen of the world’s 20 most-polluted cities are in the subcontinent. Smoke from cooking with wood or dung in Indian homes may be responsible for 500,000 early deaths a year, mostly of women and children. Climate change could do grave harm to India. Some two-thirds of its agriculture depends on the monsoon, which may become less reliable as a result of global warming. Some Himalayan glaciers are retreating, sending less water to rivers that feed hundreds of millions of people downstream. A quarter of Indians live near coasts that are vulnerable to sea-level rises. Many countries suffer one or more of these problems. Few have all of them. So while Indians need growth, they cannot ignore the consequences of it.

Given the environmental pressures, gloom is not hard to find. Jairam Ramesh, environment minister in the previous Congress-led government, shakes his head as he reflects on the near-total local opposition to a plan to protect the Western Ghats, a mountain range that is one of the world’s most biologically diverse regions. “We are losing the battle of ideas,” he says. Although tree plantations are growing in India, old-growth forests are still shrinking. Pressure to cut down more trees will increase because most of India’s untapped coal reserves are underneath its forests. Coal accounts for more than half of India’s power generation—and India plans to double coal output by 2020.

As for water, another crucial environmental resource, for the moment India is one of the lucky large developing countries with adequate supplies. But according to a study in 2013 by two UN agencies, it will go from having 1,800 cubic metres of water per person per year in 2001 to only 1,340 cubic metres in 2025—and little more than 1,000 cubic metres per head by 2050, which is the international definition of water scarcity.

As if all that were not enough, Mr Modi came to power in 2014 vowing to sweep aside regulatory obstacles to growth (including, by implication, environmental regulations). He vowed to expand a manufacturing sector which, at 17% of GDP, is half the relative size of China’s. Factories pollute more than services do.

If India faces a trade-off between growth and greenery, then the only likely outcome is that growth wins. Yet it is not a simple swap. Rather, the government has multiple objectives, and this multiplicity makes pro-environment policies more likely to stick.

To see how, look at energy. The government has four main goals beyond increasing power to cities and industry. First, it wants to bring electricity to those without it. Total electricity production has risen sharply in recent years, but the number of people without power has fallen only slowly. Something needs to change.

Next, India wants to improve its energy security by buying less from abroad. At the moment, the country spends about half its foreign-exchange earnings on fuel imports, an unusually high share. Though the world’s third-largest coal producer, India imports a fifth of its coal because domestic mines cannot keep pace. And it imports four-fifths of its oil. That leaves the country vulnerable to oil shocks, even if right now it is a beneficiary of cheaper supplies.

Third, with 10m-12m young Indians entering the labour market each year, the country needs jobs, and factories without power are no way to create them. And lastly India needs to reform the inefficient electricity-distribution system. Blackouts and brownouts are rife, and almost all the state utilities are bankrupt.

India needs to do all these things regardless of environmental considerations. But research by the Centre for the Study of Science, Technology and Policy (C-STEP), a think-tank in Bangalore, suggests that the energy mix you get if you try to improve access, security and so on is similar to what you get if you just concentrate on cutting carbon and preventing deforestation. In other words, the trade-off between doing the right thing for the economy and the right thing for the environment is not as stark as it looks.

Again, the energy sector shows why. Given the atrocious quality of the electricity grid, the quickest way to improve energy access is to supply power away from the grid through “distributed energy”—things like solar panels on houses or a micro-grid for a particular village linked, say, to a wind turbine. Distributed energy can use various sources of power, but renewable energy is particularly suited to it. Providing villages with reliable energy would allow families to switch from burning wood and dung to electric stoves, saving many of the lives now cut short by filthy air.

Solar and wind power are domestic energy supplies, so they help conserve foreign exchange. Import substitution is usually a bad idea, because it keeps prices high and makes producers lazy. But in many parts of the country solar and wind are competitive on price. Electricity from power stations that run on imported coal costs about 6 rupees (9 cents) per kilowatt-hour. In Karnataka state, in the south, new providers of solar power are selling it for 5.5 rupees per kilowatt-hour, while wind costs about 6 rupees per kilowatt-hour. The solar business also provides jobs, typically more than from generating power through burning fossil fuels. Arunabha Ghosh of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a think-tank in Delhi, the capital, reckons that building 100 gigawatts of solar capacity would produce 1m jobs, albeit most of them short-term.

Lastly, alternative forms of energy might even help solve those problems of the grid which have their roots in India’s unwise decision to supply farmers with free electricity to pump water for irrigation. A huge lobby for subsidised power exists as a consequence, along with neglect of the electricity infrastructure, the beggaring of utility companies, which lost a staggering $300 billion in 2012, and a catastrophic overuse of water for farming. Because pumping water is in effect free, farmers are using groundwater faster than it can be replenished. In north-west India states are withdrawing up to nearly three times more water from aquifers than is being recharged by rains. The perversities of the power sector damage many parts of economy. So expanding solar and wind power could help with a range of things that have little to do with the environment but are essential for other reasons. That is the main justification for thinking greenery can take off even in a country that is trying to grow as fast as it can.

But the big questions are whether India’s environmental policies are the right ones and whether they will be overwhelmed by the demands of growth. The government’s signature policies are a huge expansion in solar and wind power, a sketchy “100 smart cities” plan to improve urban design and infrastructure, and a “clean-up India” campaign which includes everything from better waste management to building over 100m lavatories (about half of Indians defecate in the open—an environmental crisis in its own right, since it causes a panoply of diseases).

Soon after coming to office, Mr Modi promised to increase renewable energy more than fivefold by 2022. This would require doubling solar capacity every 18 months for the next seven years and cost about $100 billion. At a big conference on renewable energy earlier this year, investors said they would be happy to build all that and more, but they made financial commitments to less than a third of their proposals. Mr Modi’s plan would save perhaps 170m tonnes of carbon a year compared with adding the same amount of power using the current energy mix. At about 3% of emissions forecast for 2030, that is something, but not a huge amount.

More important are a number of actions that usually get short shrift when talking about climate policies. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California calculates that if India switched to using the most efficient air conditioners, with the least-polluting refrigerants, it would save over 300m tonnes of carbon a year compared with expanding sales of current air conditioners—twice as much as the savings from solar power. India’s programme to subsidise the replacement of 400m cheap incandescent light bulbs with dearer LED ones would save 6,000 megawatts of installed capacity—equivalent to the entire electricity-generating capacity of Nigeria.
And now they can do their homework, too

As for urbanisation, India has a “last mover” advantage. Perhaps seven-tenths of the urban infrastructure that it will need in 2030—such as roads, buildings and sewers—has yet to be built. In the meantime, India can learn from the lessons of others as they grow. Building compact cities with efficient transport systems and non-wasteful buildings would go a long way to slowing the rise of emissions.

Greenish India

So how much would all that achieve? Using varying assumptions about future policies and actions, five Indian forecasting groups predicted that emissions in 2030 could be between 3 billion tonnes and 5 billion tonnes a year, compared with a range of 4 billion tonnes to 5.5 billion tonnes on current trends. It is a significant difference, but not a huge one. According to C-STEP, the think-tank in Bangalore, it would be possible to cut emissions by a further 20-30% through more drastic actions, such as having four-fifths of lighting from LED bulbs by 2030 and sending half of all freight by rail instead of road rather than 39%, as is planned. That really might help India avoid the pattern of “grow first, clean up later”.

India has shown that it can enact reforms that have a big environmental impact. In the past two years, for example, it has removed a subsidy on diesel consumption (which subsidised carbon), and replaced subsidised liquefied natural gas with a cash payment for the poor, encouraging people to use gas less wastefully.

India’s emissions are still too modest for it to rival China anytime soon. Modest, too, are its manufacturing sector and middle class, both big polluters. As always, India will go its own sweet way. But it could do more to make that way greener.


Source: New feed




India’s climate change leadership (Climate Change ,GS paper 3 )

On 1 October 2015, India submitted its INDCs to the UN. The ambitious goals set by the Narendra Modi government have no doubt silenced its critics. However, to achieve these lofty goals, India needs a paradigm shift in the kinds of business and development models it encourages.
Unto Heaven be Peace, Unto the Sky and the Earth be Peace, Peace be unto the Water, Unto the Herbs and Trees be Peace” – Yajur Veda 36.17
India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on October 1, opens with this peace prayer[1]. The spirit of this Vedic invocation and the ambitious carbon emissions targets outlined in the document raise the level of the challenge to which India has now committed itself to.
Can these goals be met without a paradigm shift in India’s modes of industrial activity? This is now the key question.
India’s high targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a third of 2005 levels in the coming 15 years, have certainly helped to  push back the  critics who have long  accused the country of shirking its responsibility on climate action.
However, so far, India’s climate strategy is within the conventional frame – revolving around expansion of renewable energy, deployment of clean coal power generation, reduced emissions in the transportation sector, energy efficiency and afforestation.
Effective implementation of even this framework of solutions is in itself a herculean task. But it is in the sphere of afforestation, for which ­which both  China and India have set impressive targets – that India’s goal, given our size, is far more ambitious.  India has set itself the task of undertaking enough afforestation to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes.
If India succeeds in meeting all these goals, the country’s  per capita carbon emissions will be about 3.5 tonnes in 2030,  still be  way below that of the U.S. and China. The latter are projected to have about 12 tonnes per capita carbon emissions by 2030.
The best way for India to achieve its afforestation goals is to utilize a combination of government and private funding for social enterprises that can enable forest dwelling people to increase green cover in ways that will enhance their livelihoods through sustainable harvesting of forest produce.
The hardest test for the government’s promise to increase forest cover will be in areas that are rich in mineral resources, like the controversial Niyamgiri hills of Odisha, where the local tribals voted against a bauxite mine and aluminum plant. The solution lies in enforcing ecologically responsible mining practices to minimize damage, and later restore forest cover after the minerals have been extracted. For this strategy to succeed, a combination of political will and enlightened private sector initiatives will be necessary.
But this is not enough. India must strive for a paradigm shift in the kinds of business models it encourages. This is a must if the country wants to lead the world in dealing with climate change and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For instance, India’s commitment to convert approximately 40% of its electricity consumption to non-fossil fuel sources by 2030  can be met by the creation  of gigantic wind or solar farms that feed into an electricity grid. However, this is likely to cause new environmental problems which might cancel out the gains of the renewable energy – for example the devastation of local vegetation and hillsides by some kinds of wind-energy farms[2]. Alternatively, India  can promote de-centralised generation, storage and use of renewable energy, some of which may include small grids. This will  not only make large segments of the population self-sufficient in energy, but  the manufacture, installation and maintenance of these systems can potentially generate the  millions of jobs that the government has promised.
If this big push for renewable is accompanied by a move towards a decentralised industrialisation based on ‘closed loop systems’–  where most wastes become resources for some other industry – then India can become the leader in sustainable and equitable development. For example, ACIDLOOP, a project supported by the European Union (EU), enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across India to introduce systems which minimize waste and improve energy efficiency in metal finishing companies[3]. The government must keep such plans at the forefront of India’s strategy for the Paris Climate Summit in December. While individual INDC submissions have been lauded, the promises made by 119 countries to the UNFCCC are yet to be analysed and co-related. The UNFCCC secretariat is now in the process of calculating the aggregate effect of all the INDCs submitted to it. This report will be released 1 November, 2015.
Environmental analysts warn that the aggregate effect of all the INDCs may not succeed in restricting global temperature increase to below 2 degrees – as required by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[4,5]. In that case the negotiations in Paris are poised to be a cliff-hanger – with environmental scientists and activists pushing governments to commit to a more rapid shift away from fossil fuels.
It is thus vital for India to take the lead in working for a paradigm shift towards new models of industry and business, one that will be compatible with the spirit of  the lofty invocation at the start of its INDC document. Primarily this will involve a shift towards production systems and life-styles based on frugality, simplicity and ingenious maximisation of natural resources.


Source: New feed




UNSC and sanctions: A balanced role ( GS paper 2 ,Gateway House )

The sanctions against Iran impacted the country’s oil, banking, aviation, and other sectors, and had a major humanitarian impact. But neither is armed attack a more suitable method in most instances to address allegedly recalcitrant states. What then is the middle ground? And can the UNSC assume a more proactive role in this context?
The E3 +3 countries[1] and Iran, on 14 June 2015, powered through the diplomatic impasse on Iran’s nuclear programme and signed the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The JCPOA allows Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while curtailing its ability to develop nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA covered only sanctions imposed by UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. But the European Union and the U.S. had also imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran. In the spirit of the JCPOA, these too are being dismantled.
Sanctions have become an important tool of state diplomacy in the post-Cold War era. Though considered a relatively passive way of dealing with recalcitrant states, sanctions can have devastating consequences for the local population, on a scale similar to an armed attack. On the other hand, countries must indeed be able to take pre-emptive measures against modern military technology. What, then, is the middle ground that can protect the citizens of both sides?
The sanctions against Iran were debilitating, and impacted the country’s nuclear energy, oil and petroleum, banking, finance, aviation, and other sectors. The U.S. sanctions were the most far-reaching, including penalties on foreign companies that invested more than $20 million[2] in Iran’s petroleum sector; Iran’s state-owned or state-affiliated banks were prevented from using the U.S.’s financial system even indirectly, limiting the amount of funds that could be remitted or transferred to and by Iranian entities. The sanctions even included restrictions on the business that certain non-U.S. companies could have with Iran.
The sanctions purportedly targeted the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Guards rose to prominence after the 1979 revolution to protect Iran from internal and external enemies and eventually positioned themselves at the helm of major industries, including Iran’s nuclear programme. But this removed all industry competition, and introduced Guards-dominated monopolies, market distortion, and higher prices at the expense of consumers.
Since sanctions were imposed, low growth, high unemployment, 20% inflation[3], widening income inequality, energy shortages, and a falling stock market have characterised the Iranian economy.
The humanitarian impact of sanctions was evident in Iraq too in the 1990s: a lack of basic goods and services, over 1 million malnourished children, and a 70% prevalence of anaemia among women[4]. Similarly, in 2013, 50% of the Iranians surveyed by Gallup reported that within the preceding 12 months they could not afford food, shelter, or housing; 34% said that their standard of living had deteriorated[5]. Life-saving western medication became unavailable and locally produced medication became expensive.
When Israel attacked Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981 to arrest Iraq’s nuclear capability, 11 people were killed[6]. The UNSC condemned this attack. However, despite having a larger humanitarian impact, the sanctions against Iran have not been condemned, even though they were applied for the same reason as the attack on Osirak: to deter the development of nuclear weapons.
Sanctions were imposed against Iran despite a lack of concrete evidence. Iran has consistently denied developing a nuclear bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency, after years of investigation, did not have evidence of an Iranian nuclear bomb. But the agency still concluded that it could not be sure there were no undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
This, however, does not imply that there should be no preventive action at all. “Nuclear hedging” or developing a nuclear weapon that stops just short of actual weaponisation (thereby staying within the confines of international law), is a risk against which pre-emptive action may be required.
An equal threat is that the nuclear material may reach terrorist organisations like the Islamic State. Under Muammar Gaddafi, Libya was rumoured to have been developing a nuclear bomb. Given the present situation in Libya, a nuclear arsenal in the hands of any of the warring factions would be catastrophic. In such a context, preventive action, including sanctions, was indeed required.
Unlike sanctions, under international law force as “self-defence” can only be used if a threat is reasonably perceived to be imminent. Without such a threat, there can be no right to pre-emptive self-defence. Going by these guidelines, no state could have attacked Iran without UN approval, since there was no imminent threat. Sanctions, thus, was the preferred route.
Separately, in December 2011, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed on the 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relations, which urges states to refrain from unilateral economic and trade sanctions that are not in accordance with international law or the UN Charter. The Doha Mandate at the 13th UNCTAD session in April 2012 echoed this principle.
But then should force be used instead of sanctions? In 2004, a UN High-level Panel of Experts addressed the issue of “not imminent but… real (risks)” like a state “with (an) allegedly hostile intent of nuclear weapons-making capability”[7] and stated that such unilateral pre-emptive self-defence does not exist. However, recognising that in some cases pre-emptive strikes may be needed, the panel said that such action must be sanctioned by the UNSC case-specifically.
This is a practical view that can be extended to sanctions as well. As a multistate body, the UN can decide on sanctions in a more balanced manner, since different states are likely to be concerned with different facets of the sanctions. The UNSC has the option of amending sanctions or voting against them, acting as a mediating factor, and helping reach the middle ground.


Source: New feed




Sagarmala: Concept and implementation towards Blue Revolution (GS paper 3 ,Infrastructure-Ports,PIB )

Question-Despite being a country surrounded by water from three sides Indian Ports lag in terms of infrastructure and other logistics.For “Make in India” initiative to be successful we need to focus on Port- led development.Discuss the constraints and suggest remedies.

(Read this article too Click Here )

The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Therefore, the Sagarmala Project shall, inter alia, aim to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.

The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely (i) Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development, (ii) Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and (iii) Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

The Sagarmala Project therefore intends to achieve the broad objectives of enhancing the capacity of major and non-major ports and modernizing them to make them efficient, thereby enabling them to become drivers of port-led economic development, optimizing the use of existing and future transport assets and developing new lines/linkages for transport (including roads, rail, inland waterways and coastal routes), setting up of logistics hubs, and establishment of industries and manufacturing centres to be served by ports in EXIM and domestic trade. In addition to strengthening port and evacuation infrastructure, it also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promotes usage of electronic channels for information exchange leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.

For a comprehensive and integrated planning for “Sagarmala”, a National Perspective Plan (NPP) for the entire coastline shall be prepared within six months which will identify potential geographical regions to be called Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs). While preparing the NPP, synergy and integration with planned Industrial Corridors, Dedicated Freight Corridors, National Highway Development Programme, Industrial Clusters and SEZs would be ensured. Detailed Master Plans will be prepared for identified Coastal Economic Zones leading to identification of projects and preparation of their detailed project reports.

In order to have effective mechanism at the state level for coordinating and facilitating Sagarmala related projects, the State Governments will be suggested to set up State Sagarmala Committee to be headed by Chief Minister/Minister in Charge of Ports with members from relevant Departments and agencies. The state level Committee will also take up matters on priority as decided in the NSAC. At the state level, the State Maritime Boards/State Port Departments shall service the State Sagarmala Committee and also be, inter alia, responsible for coordination and implementation of individual projects, including through SPVs (as may be necessary) and oversight. The development of each Coastal economic zone shall be done through individual projects and supporting activities that will be undertaken by the State Government, Central line Ministries and SPVs to be formed by the State Governments at the state level or by SDC and ports, as may be necessary.

Sagarmala Coordination and Steering Committee (SCSC) shall be constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary with Secretaries of the Ministries of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Tourism, Defence, Home Affairs, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Departments of Revenue, Expenditure, Industrial Policy and Promotion, Chairman, Railway Board and CEO, NITI Aayog as members. This Committee will provide coordination between various ministries, state governments and agencies connected with implementation and review the progress of implementation of the National Perspective Plan, Detailed Master Plans and projects. It will, inter alia, consider issues relating to funding of projects and their implementation. This Committee will also examine financing options available for the funding of projects, the possibility of public-private partnership in project financing/construction/ operation.

Improvement of operational efficiency of existing ports, which is an objective of the Sagarmala initiative, shall be done by undertaking business process re-engineering to simplify processes and procedures in addition to modernizing and upgrading the existing infrastructure and improved mechanisation. Increased use of information technology and automation to ensure paperless and seamless transactions will be an important area for intervention. Under the Sagarmala Project, the use of coastal shipping and IWT are proposed to be enhanced through a mix of infrastructure enhancement and policy initiatives.

The Sagarmala initiative would also strive to ensure sustainable development of the population living in the Coastal Economic Zone (CEZ). This would be done by synergising and coordinating with State Governments and line Ministries of Central Government through their existing schemes and programmes such as those related to community and rural development, tribal development and employment generation, fisheries, skill development, tourism promotion etc. In order to provide funding for such projects and activities that may be covered by departmental schemes a separate fund by the name ‘Community Development Fund’ would be created.

The Institutional Framework for implementing Sagarmala has to provide for a coordinating role for the Central Government. It should provide a platform for central, state governments and local authorities to work in tandem and coordination under the established principles of “cooperative federalism”, in order to achieve the objectives of the Sagarmala Project and ensure port-led development.

A National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) is envisaged for overall policy guidance and high level coordination, and to review various aspects of planning and implementation of the plan and projects. The NSAC shall be chaired by the Minister incharge of Shipping, with Cabinet Ministers from stakeholder Ministries and Chief Ministers/Ministers incharge of ports of maritime states as members. This committee, while providing policy direction and guidance for the initiative’s implementation, shall approve the overall National Perspective Plan (NPP) and review the progress of implementation of these plans.

At the Central level, Sagarmala Development Company (SDC) will be set up under the Companies Act, 1956 to assist the State level/zone level Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), as well as SPVs to be set up by the ports, with equity support for implementation of projects to be undertaken by them. The SDC shall also get the Detailed Master Plans for individual zones prepared within a two year period. The business plan of the SDC shall be finalised within a period of six months. The SDC will provide a funding window and/or implement only those residual projects that cannot be funded by any other means/mode.

In order to kick start the implementation of projects it is proposed to take up identified projects covered in the concept of Sagarmala for implementation forthwith. These identified projects for implementation in the initial phase will be based on the available data and feasibility study reports and the preparedness, willingness and interest shown by the State Governments and Central Ministries to take up projects.

All efforts would be made to implement those projects through the private sector and through Public Private Participation (PPP) wherever feasible. Funds requirement for starting the implementation of projects in the initial phase of Sagarmala Project is projected at Rs. 692 crores for the FY 2015-16. Further requirement of funds will be finalized after completion of Detailed Master Plan for Coastal Economic Zones for future years. These funds will be used for implementation of projects by line ministries in accordance with approvals by the SCSC.

Background:

Presently, Indian ports handle more than 90 percent of India’s total EXIM trade volume. However, the current proportion of merchandize trade in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India is only 42 percent, whereas for some developed countries and regions in the world such as Germany and European Union, it is 75 percent and 70 percent respectively. Therefore, there is a great scope to increase the share of merchandising trade in India’s GDP. With the Union Government’s “Make in India” initiative, the share of merchandise trade in India’s GDP is expected to increase and approach levels achieved in developed countries. India lags far behind in ports and logistics infrastructure. Against a share of 9 percent of railways and 6 percent of roads in the GDP the share of ports is only 1 percent. In addition high logistics costs make Indian exports uncompetitive. Therefore Sagarmala project has been envisioned to provide ports and the shipping the rightful place in the Indian economy and to enable port-led development.

Amongst Indian States, Gujarat has been a pioneer in adopting the strategy of port-led development, with significant results. While in the 1980’s the state grew at only 5.08 percent per year (National average was 5.47 percent), this accelerated to 8.15 percent per annum in the 1990’s (All India average 6.98 percent) and subsequently to more than 10 percent per annum, substantially benefitting from the port-led development model.

The growth of India’s maritime sector is constrained due to many developmental, procedural and policy related challenges namely, involvement of multiple agencies in development of infrastructure to promote industrialization, trade, tourism and transportation; presence of a dual institutional structure that has led to development of major and non-major ports as separate, unconnected entities; lack of requisite infrastructure for evacuation from major and non-major ports leading to sub-optimal transport modal mix; limited hinterland linkages that increases the cost of transportation and cargo movement; limited development of centres for manufacturing and urban and economic activities in the hinterland; low penetration of coastal and inland shipping in India, limited mechanization and procedural bottlenecks and lack of scale, deep draft and other facilities at various ports in India.

An illustrative list of the kind of development projects that could be undertaken in Sagarmala initiative are (i) Port-led industrialization (ii) Port based urbanization (iii) Port based and coastal tourism and recreational activities (iv) Short-sea shipping coastal shipping and Inland Waterways Transportation (v) Ship building, ship repair and ship recycling (vi) Logistics parks, warehousing, maritime zones/services (vii) Integration with hinterland hubs (viii) Offshore storage, drilling platforms (ix) Specialization of ports in certain economic activities such as energy, containers, chemicals, coal, agro products, etc. (x) Offshore Renewable Energy Projects with base ports for installations (xi) Modernizing the existing ports and development of new ports. This strategy incorporates both aspects of port-led development viz. port-led direct development and port-led indirect development.


Source: New feed




Need for ‘quick pace’ development in ports, space technology: Narendra Modi(Economy ,GS paper 3,IE )

India needs to move at a “quick pace” to develop maritime and space sectors which will have the greatest impact in this century, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today.
Stressing on “port-led” development for realising India’s aspirations to become a global power, Modi said his government is reviving the ‘Sagarmala’ project in partnership with the coastal states as it believes in co-operative and competitive federalism.
Modi asserted that under Ports and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, his government has done more for the sector in the last 15 months than what the previous UPA government could do in 10 years.
UPA regime kept the Sagarmala project of port-led development, conceived by the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on the backburner because it had “a different agenda”, he said at a public meeting in the financial capital.
The ambitious project envisages development of major and non-major ports, enabling them to become drivers of economic development, developing new linkages for transport, setting up of logistics hubs, and establishment of industries and manufacturing centres.
The PM today laid the foundation stone of a fourth container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, which will double the capacity of the country’s largest container port in two years.
“In the 21st century, progress in the space and maritime fronts will have the greatest impact. India wants to move ahead with the changing times in these fields,” Modi said.
“Be it space & sea, we need to be moving at a quick pace,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also said the pace at which the economy is growing, and the initiatives like `Make in India’ demand that ports do not lag behind.
Modi asserted that rather than port development, India wants to have ‘port-led’ development, as the vibrancy of the port sector and the economic growth go hand-in-hand.
The port-led development would involve working on rail, road and air connectivity and developing warehousing and cold storage facilities, he said.
The country aspires to become a formidable player at the world stage, Modi said, adding “we are creating our own place in the world and partnering with Iran to build the Chhabar port.”
He also stressed the need to develop ports, modernise them and expand capacities for realising India’s aspirations to become a global power.
Modi also underlined the importance of road connectivity.
Construction of roads needs money, but once created, roads too create money, he said.
The Prime Minister also complimented Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu for the initiatives he has taken, and added that results of this work will show on the ground in coming days.


Source: New feed




Defeat negative marking in civil services exam(The Hindu)

Here is a concrete strategy to approach the exam.

Attempting the civil services preliminary exam is a different ball game from tackling the main exam. In the preliminary exam there is negative marking, and the question paper is a booklet consisting of many pages. There are 100 questions in Paper I and 80 in Paper II, with four choices under each question. The time allotted is two hours for each of the papers. One may have to read 20 – 25 pages of the question booklet, and to mark the correct answer, one has to read the question and the four choices. Thus, it is not possible to read all the questions and the answers more than once, and also one has to attempt all the questions.
Therefore, you have to begin attempting the questions right from the start. As soon as you read the first question and are sure about the correct answer, attempt it immediately by blackening the correct circle in the answer sheet. Go on attempting all the questions to which you know the answers for sure. It is only when you are not sure about the one correct answer that you should leave that question to be re-read and re-thought later on. If you feel that there could be two possible correct answers among the four given choices, you should put a small mark with pencil in the two circles corresponding to these in the answer sheet.
Say, for question number 7, you think either B or C could be the correct choice and therefore you want to think over it again later on, but you also feel that B could be a better than C, then mark 1 with pencil against B and mark 2 in pencil against C in the answer sheet. The marking of 1 or 2 in the answer sheet should be done softly and with a blunt pencil, as later on these markings have to be erased. Thus, the circle marked 1 is the better choice. Now, out of 100 questions, there may be 15 – 25 questions about which you might be in two minds about the correct choice.
There might be 10 or 15 questions about which you have no idea, and, due to negative marking, there is no point in attempting such questions, so forget these. These 15 – 25 questions which you have narrowed down to the two answers must be attempted. In the end, if you are left with 15 – 20 minutes, then you should go back to the question booklet and again read the question and the two probable answers and try to think about which one is the better and blacken the circle with the better answer. But suppose you are left with only four or five minutes to attempt these 15 – 20 questions, instead of going back to the question booklet, you should straightaway blacken the circles marked 1.
You must attempt all such questions where you have narrowed down to the two answers, because the ratio of negative marking is 1:3. If you mark one correct answer you get two marks whereas you lose two marks if you mark three wrong answers. The theory of probability says that, out of 20 such questions, you will happen to mark ten correct answers, and, therefore, you will gain despite the negative marking.
To put it in another way, if you attempt four such questions out of which one is correct and three are wrong, there is still no loss as such. And in the end, don’t forget to erase the pencil markings from the answer sheet.
The author is in Indian Revenue Service as Commissioner of Income Tax.


Source: New feed




TPP vs. RCEP: America and China Battle for Control of Pacific Trade (IR ,GS paper 2 ,Gateway House )

Within hours of President Obama’s announcement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on Monday, the landmark deal looked like it had already run into trouble in the U.S. Congress. The influential Nelson Report suggested the pact might be “DOA”—dead on arrival. The Senate and the House get an up-or-down vote on “the most ambitious trade pact in a generation,” and opponents were lining up early to criticize its terms.
The issue for America is not, as some think, TPP versus no TPP. The issue is whether the Asia-Pacific region follows Washington’s vision of trade or Beijing’s. As President Obama noted in his statement on Monday, “When more than ninety-five percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.”
And whoever writes those rules also sets the template for trade agreements elsewhere. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, therefore, is more than just about the Pacific as it could end up as the model for future deals. And as important, geopolitical influence will undoubtedly follow trade in East Asia, as it already has in recent years.
The TPP, once implemented, will include the U.S. and 11 other nations bordering the Pacific: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Those dozen states account for roughly forty percent of global gross domestic product, thirty percent of global exports and twenty-five percent of global imports.
And the pact’s membership is not closed. As Joshua Meltzer of the Brookings Institution notes, the TPP is “an open platform.” Already, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan have expressed interest in joining.
India for the moment is outside the TPP tent, but the missing giant that everyone talks about is, of course, China. The comprehensive free-trade pact—the agreement will reduce or eliminate tariffs in nearly 18,000 categories of goods—is often viewed as part of Washington’s effort to contain Beijing, but it’s more accurate to say China contained itself. Beijing, after all, had been invited to become part of the initial group negotiating the deal but declined. Later, Chinese officials “put out feelers,” as Obama noted in June, but then it was much too late to join the discussions which were then in their eighth year.
The truth is that China’s leaders know their country has to remain outside the TPP because they cannot sign onto the “high standards” that are incorporated into the structure of the pact. Even if China could somehow meet labor, food safety and environmental rules, it would have to adhere to restrictions on the business activities of state enterprises, which would mean a fundamental change in the Chinese economic model and permit wider internet access, which would strike at the heart of the Communist Party’s quasi-monopoly on information.
Furthermore, China would have to further open its services sector. At the moment, Beijing cannot even agree to allow investment in a few protected areas, which has stalled agreement on the long-awaited Bilateral Investment Treaty with the U.S.
Liberalization would be good for China: a bonanza awaits Beijing should it decide to make the reforms necessary for TPP inclusion. In a 2014 study, Peter Petri of Brandeis University, Michael Plummer of John Hopkins and Fan Zhai of China Investment Corp. estimate China, if it were to join TPP, could reap income gains of $809 billion by 2025. If it fails to do so, however, it might lose over $46 billion by that year.
This should not be a mystery to Chinese leaders. Their country reaped large gains after it joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, due mostly to the reforms required by its accession agreement. The big story is that today, despite the obvious benefits of being a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, there is no longer a consensus in Beijing to accept liberalizing change.
In fact, there is a consensus to reject it. Many people say Chinese President Xi Jinping is trying to reform China, but that is misleading. It’s true he’s responsible for the issuance of an impressive restructuring plan in November 2013 at the Communist Party’s Third Plenum, but since then there has been little implementation.
Instead, Xi has been leading China back to a 1950s-inspired system of increased state involvement. Among other things, he has effectively been shutting his country’s market off to foreign companies with highly discriminatory prosecutions, he has been increasing state-directed investment, he has authorized a partial renationalization of enterprises and he has recombined already large state businesses back into formal monopolies. On top of this, Xi is pushing a number of national security laws and regulations that will effectively prevent foreign companies from doing business with state enterprises.
His reaction to the stock market slide has been to outlaw many forms of selling, his remedy for the outflow of capital has been to impose restrictions on legitimate fund transfers, and his solution to the currency crisis he created has been direct and unprecedented intervention in both domestic and foreign markets.
Xi Jinping, in short, has moved China even further away from a domestic economy that is compatible with a rules-based, open trading regime that is at the core of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
China’s version of global trade is found in the far less rigorous Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would include nations with about 30% of global GDP but exclude the U.S. In addition to China, the proposed pact would include the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. RCEP, as the Chinese-backed free-trade agreement is called, “will not achieve a level of ambition or comprehensiveness to provide a real alternative to the TPP,” as Meltzer, the Brookings scholar, tells us, but it will nonetheless form the center of East Asia’s trade regime if the Trans-Pacific Partnership does not come into existence.
What else is at stake? On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calledthe TPP “a far-sighted policy for all participating countries that share the same values and are trying to build a free and fair economic zone.” China, as it tries to defend its outmoded system, challenges both those values and the principles of economic freedom and fairness.
That set of challenges has geopolitical implications. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in April said the TPP was worth an aircraft carrier.
Beijing would rather face one more American flattop than an American-led trade grouping. With their peculiar view of the world, Chinese leaders are now seeking to use trade clout to enforce their China-centric—and narrow—vision. For example, they obviously do not subscribe to the concept of a global commons. On the contrary, they are working to exclude others from their country’s periphery, especially the international waters off their shores, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. A staggering $5.3 trillion of commerce crosses on and over that last body of water each year.
One vision will eventually prevail, Beijing’s closed one or the open system embodied in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Congress, as it considers TPP, has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to affirm the principles underpinning the post-war order, which has for decades ensured peace and stability in Asia and elsewhere.


Source: New feed




[Mains] Supreme Court upholds pollution levy on trucks entering Delhi [ Environment , Law , DTE ]

    Light duty vehicles and two-axle trucks will have to pay Rs 700, while three- and four-axle trucks will pay Rs 1,300 (Photo: Vikas Choudhary)
Question From This Article
Light duty vehicles and two-axle trucks will have to pay Rs 700, while three- and four-axle trucks will pay Rs 1,300. The payment will be collected by toll operators at 127 entry points into the city.”

Also Read : You have been doing it all wrong (UPSC mains answer writing)


Q1.  Polluters Pay principal has become the new normal . Is this the correct policy to fight Pollution? What implications this approach will have on the masses? 

[ Do not restrict yourself to this article while formulating your answer , and Write the answer in points in the comment section below or Write on paper and upload the pic . We will try to give feedback on each reply . 
Light and heavy duty commercial vehicles entering national capital Delhi will have to pay an environmental compensation charge for causing pollution in the city, indicated a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in a special sitting on Friday.

Light duty vehicles and two-axle trucks will have to pay Rs 700, while three- and four-axle trucks will pay Rs 1,300. The payment will be collected by toll operators at 127 entry points into the city.

Vehicles carrying people and essential commodities such as food, medicines and fuel will, however, be exempt from paying the tax. The court said this compensation arrangement will be experimented with for four months and could be modified thereafter.
On Monday, the apex court will pass orders based on directions filed by the amicus curiae Harish Salve, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and senior advocate Dushyant Dave who represents the Delhi government. The order of the Supreme Court will supersede all previous orders passed by various courts, including the order by the National Green Tribunal on October 5 which had called for a similar compensation model to mitigate air pollution. 
Salve cited the “polluter pays” principle of environment law and appealed to the court to levy an “environment compensation charge” on commercial vehicles travelling through Delhi. He also said the additional tax collected should be used for improving the state of public transport and roads in Delhi. The apex court, however, directed the Delhi government to issue a separate notification in this regard, based on the Supreme Court’s order.
The court also directed neighbouring state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to coordinate with the Delhi government and speed up the construction of alternate road projects, which will help these vehicles avoid Delhi.

The money collected from these tolls will be handed over to the Delhi Government which will use it to mitigate the losses caused by air pollution, promote public transport and green spaces, and make pedestrian and cycle lanes on roads. The court has also asked toll tax operators to incur the cost of installing Radio Frequency Identity systems and CCTVs at all 127 points. These facilities will have to be installed at nine main entry points, which see 75 per cent of the commercial traffic, by November 2015.

Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) applauded the Supreme Court for acknowledging and recognising the problem of severe pollution caused by trucks in Delhi. “This is a major victory for fight against deadly air pollution,” said CSE Director General Sunita Narain. “We would like to thank the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the decision, and amicus curiae Harish Salve who filed an application in the court, seeking immediate measures before winter sets in.”

Narain also congratulated the Centre and Delhi government for agreeing with and supporting this decision.

In a recent study, CSE monitored nine entry points into Delhi and found that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) underestimated the number of trucks entering Delhi. Their figure was 70 per cent less than actual. It investigated the levies on other routes and found that Delhi’s taxes were cheaper and, therefore, more lucrative for trucks using Delhi as a transit corridor.

According to submissions of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi (Traffic Police), nearly 66,069 commercial vehicles enter Delhi, of which six-wheel trucks, 10-wheel trucks and 14-wheel trucks and above account for approximately 14,000. More than 25 per cent of these vehicles are en route to other destinations and pass through Delhi only for convenience, better roads and less toll tax.


Source: New feed