• The year 2020 witnessed turmoil due to COVID-19 pandemic which emerged as the biggest threat to economic growth. Indian economy has witnessed a sharp contraction of 24.4 per cent in Q1 and 7.3 per cent in Q2 of FY 2020-21.
• To convert COVID pandemic related challenges into opportunity, a series of measures have been taken by the Government to improve the economic situation including inter-alia announcement of the Atmanirbhar package amounting to Rs.29.87 Lakh Crore. Targeted interventions were made to support the economy and livelihood. Moreover, the pace of structural reforms was expedited.
• The major reforms undertaken under Atmanirbhar package include Credit guarantee for MSME loans, sectoral structural reforms, policy on strategic disinvestment of CPSEs, reforms in public procurement, setting up of Empowered Group of Secretaries and Project Development Cells for facilitating investment, reduction in compliance burden and single window system for clearances.
• These measures, in addition to structural reforms taken up, have assisted the economy in its early revival. India, which was not producing N-95, PPE Kits, ventilators, etc. prior to Corona pandemic has started producing the same and even catering to world markets and became self-reliant. Government has started vaccination drive in January, 2021 and indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine in its fight against Covid pandemic. As on date more than 143crore Covid doses have already been administered in India. This has not only saved the lives of people but also set momentum for early recovery of the economy.
• Economy has started showing sign of recovery with GDP growth rebounding to 20.1 per cent in Q1 and 8.4 percent in Q2 of 2021-22. Several high frequency indicators like E-way bills, rail freight, port traffic, GST collections and power consumption have demonstrated a V-shaped recovery in the economy.
• Industrial sector performance during 2020-21 declined considerably, by -8.4%, mainly due to nationwide closure of industries by the Government to limit the impact caused by Covid-19 pandemic on public health from March 2020 onwards. The Mining & Manufacturing sectors were majorly impacted as they declined by -7.8% & -9.6% respectively, whereas Electricity generation sector declined by -0.5%.
• The cumulative Index of Industrial Production for April-October, 2020 declined by 17.3 percent. However, various measures undertaken by the Government including vaccination & the structural reforms and resilience of the Indian industry have helped early revival of the economy, which led to surge in IIP for same period in 2021 by 20.0 per cent. Similarly, the Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity sector have registered growth of 20.4 percent, 21.2 percent, and 11.4 percent respectively during the same period.
III.TRENDS IN GROWTH OF EIGHT CORE INDUSTRIES
• The Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) measures the performance of eight core industries i.e. Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Petroleum Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity. The industries included in the ICI comprise 40.27 per cent weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
• During 2020-21, the ICI growth rate was -6.4 per cent compared to average growth rate of 3.0 per cent during last 3 years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20. The rate of growth has been robust during the current financial year (April to October, 2021-22) i.e. 15.1%. Out of Eight Core sectors, six of them have shown double digit growth with Cement and Steel sectors leading the pack with growth rates of 33.6% & 28.6% respectively. Whereas, Crude Oil & Fertilizers sector growth remain muted in the same period i.e. (April to October, 2021-22). These shows the revival of core industries.
IV.DPIIT has been spearheading a number of initiatives in this area, ‘To Make in India for the World’. The key steps taken in this regard are as follows:
1.PRODUCTION LINKED INCENTIVE SCHEME:
• Keeping in view India’s vision of becoming ‘Atmanirbhar’ and to enhance India’s Manufacturing capabilities and Exports, an outlay of INR 1.97 lakh crore (US$ 26 billion) has been announced in Union Budget 2021-22 for PLI schemes for 14 key sectors of manufacturing starting from fiscal year (FY) 2021-22. These 14 sectors are namely: (i) Automobiles and Auto Components, (ii) Pharmaceuticals Drugs, (iii) Specialty Steel, (iv) Telecom & Networking Products, (v) Electronic/Technology Products, (vi) White Goods (ACs and LED Lights), (vii) Food Products, (viii) Textile Products: MMF segment and technical textiles, (ix) High efficiency solar PV modules, and (x) Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery (xi) Medical devices (xii) Large scale electronics manufacturing including mobile phones (xiii) Critical Key Starting materials /Drug intermediaries and API; and (xiv) Drones and Drone Components.
• The guidelines for all PLI schemes have already been issuedand applications have also been received under a majority of the schemes.
• While DPIIT is doing the overall coordination for PLI Schemes, it is the nodal Department for PLI scheme for White Goods (Air Conditioners and LED lights), which has an outlay of an outlay of Rs. 6238 Crore. The Scheme Guidelines was published on 4th June 2021. 42 applicants with committed investment of Rs 4,614 crore have been provisionally selected as beneficiaries under this PLI scheme. The selected applicants include 26 for Air Conditioner manufacturing with committed investments of Rs. 3,898 crore and 16 for LED Lights manufacturing with committed investments of Rs. 716 crore.
2.PM GATISHAKTI NATIONAL MASTER PLAN (NMP):
• The Prime Minister launched Gati Shakti, a National Master Plan for Infrastructure Development, on 13th October, 2021. Gati Shakti is a digital platform which will bring 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
• PM Gati Shakti aims to address the past issues through institutionalizing holistic planning for stakeholders for major infrastructure projects. Instead of planning & designing separately in silos, the projects will be designed and executed with a common vision. It will incorporate the infrastructure schemes of various Ministries and State Governments like Bharatmala, Sagarmala, inland waterways, dry/land ports, UDAN etc. Economic Zones like textile clusters, pharmaceutical clusters, defence corridors, electronic parks, industrial corridors, fishing clusters, agri zones will be covered to improve connectivity & make Indian businesses more competitive. It will also leverage technology extensively including spatial planning tools with ISRO imagery developed by BiSAG-N (Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics).
3.Start-up India Programme:
• The Start-up India initiative was launched by the Prime Minister on 16th January 2016 as a flagship initiative of Government of India. The initiative was intended to build a stronger ecosystem for nurturing India’s start-up culture that would further drive our economic growth, support entrepreneurship, and enable large-scale employment opportunities. With over 60,000 recognized start-ups, India has transformed into the third largest start-up ecosystemsupplementing employability as well as enhancing our self-reliance. Start-up India’s role has been vital in nurturing entrepreneurship beyond Tier 1 cities. The regional growth through the efforts of States and Union Territories (UTs) has created a national ecosystem to thrust our economic goals. While 55% of the recognised start-ups are from Tier-1 cities and 45% of the start-ups are from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities respectively, 45% of start-ups are represented by women entrepreneurs. This shows the roots of startups have grown deep in the country.
• Recognized start-ups have made deep inroads into Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Startups are now spread across 633 districts with a total of 30 States and UTs with Startup Policies in place. DPIIT recognised start-ups have reported creation of close to 2 lakh jobs in 2021, the highest in four years. Cumulatively, more than 6.5 lakhs jobs have been generated since the launch of Start-up India initiative.
• Under the Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS), Rs. 6,495 crore has been committed to 80 Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) and Rs. 8,085 crore have been invested by supported AIFs in 540 startups. For Start-up India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS), 58 incubators have been selected and Rs. 232.75 crore have been approved as grant under the Scheme
i. Investment Clearance Cell:
While presenting Budget 2020-21, Union Finance Minister announced plans to set up an Investment Clearance Cell (ICC) that will provide “end to end” facilitation and support to investors, including pre-investment advisory, provide information related to land banks and facilitate clearances at Centre and State level. The cell was proposed to operate through an online digital portal.
Subsequently, DPIIT along with Invest India initiated the process of developing the portal as a National Single Window System (NSWS). Envisioned as a one-stop for taking all the regulatory approvals and services in the country, NSWS [www.nsws.gov.in], was soft-launched on 22nd September 2021 by the Commerce & Industries Minister, Shri Piyush Goyal.
This national portal integrates the existing clearance systems of the various Ministries/ Departments of Govt. of India and State Governments without disruption to the existing IT portals of Ministries/ Departments. Approvals of 18 Ministries/ Departments and 10 States Single Window Systems have been on-boarded in Phase I. Complete on-boarding of 32 Central Departments and 14 States would be in next phases, all remaining States will be on-boarded in a phase manner.
ii. Ease of Doing Business:
DPIIT is continuously making efforts to improve ease of doing business in the country through the three major initiatives being pursued, focusing on – World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, State & District Reform Action Plan and systematic approach to reduce regulatory compliance burden on businesses. As a result, India’s rank as per World Bank’s EoDB Report improved from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2020.
In order to monitor large database of compliances across Central Ministries/Departments and States/UTs, DPIIT has launched the Regulatory Compliance Portal on 1st January, 2021 (https://eodbrcp.dpiit.gov.in/). Based on data uploaded on Regulatory Compliance Portal, more than 25,000 compliances have been reduced by Central Ministries/Departments and States/UTs combined.
DPIIT had identified 194 compliances for reductions pertaining to PESO, Boiler, IPR, NEIDS, Industrial Licensing. Out of these, 134 compliances have been ‘Reduced”, 31 are ‘under review’ and 29 have been ‘Retained’. Types of compliance reduced are: (i) Certificate, License and Permission (ii) Filings (iii) Inspection, Examination and Audits (iv) Registers and Records, (v) Display Requirements, (vi) Redundancy (vii) Decriminalization (viii) Technology and (ix) others.
III. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT CELLS:
Project Development Cells (PDCs) have been set up in 29 Ministries/Departments to fast track investment in coordination between the Central Government and State Governments and thereby enhance the pipeline of investible projects in India and in turn increase domestic investment and FDI inflows.
IV. INDIA INDUSTRIAL LAND BANK (IILB):
The IILB is a GIS based portal developed by DPIIT as a one stop repository of all industrial infrastructure related information – connectivity, infra, natural resources & terrain, plot level information on vacant plots, line of activity and contact details. Currently, the IILB has approximately 4500 industrial parks mapped across an area of 5.11 lakh hectare of land serving as a decision support system for investors scouting for land remotely. The system has been integrated with industry-based GIS systems of 24 States/UTs namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Telangana, Uttarakhand, UP and have details of 2113 GIS enabled parks on a real-time basis. A mobile application (wherein login is not required) of IILB is also available on Android and iOS stores for the ease of investor.
6.FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT
• FDI policy provisions have been progressively liberalized and simplified across various sectors in the recent past to make India an attractive investment destination. Measures taken by the Government on FDI Policy reforms have resulted in increased FDI inflows in the country, which year after year is setting up new records. FDI inflows in India stood at US $ 45.15 billion in 2014-2015 and have continuously increased since then. FDI inflows increased to US $ 55.56 billion in 2015-2016, US $ 60.22 billion in 2016-2017, US $ 60.97 billion in 2017-2018, US $ 62.00 billion in the year 2018-19, US$ 74.39 billion in the year 2019-20 and India registered its highest ever annual FDI inflow of US$ 81.97 billion (provisional figures) in the financial year 2020-21. These trends in India’s FDI are an endorsement of its status as a preferred investment destination amongst global investors.
FDI POLICY REFORMS DURING 2021:
• Insurance Sector: Government issued Press Note 2(2021) dated 14.06.2021 to raise the permissible FDI limit from 49% to 74% in Insurance Companies under the automatic route and allow foreign ownership and control with safeguards. This will facilitate an increased flow of long-term capital, global technology, processes and international best practices, which will support the growth of India’s insurance sector.
• Petroleum & Natural Gas sector: Press Note 3 (2021) dated 29.07.2021 has been issued to permit foreign investment up to 100% under the automatic route in cases where the Government has accorded an ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) engaged in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector.
• Telecom sector: Press Note 4 (2021) dated 06.10.2021 has been issued to permit foreign investment up to 100% under automatic route in Telecom services sector.
7.Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): Framework to attract foreign investors, disseminate creativity and encourage local innovators
• An effective IPR framework is indispensable to attract foreign investors, disseminate creativity and encourage local innovators to invest in their own ideas. In this context, DPIIT is committed towards strengthening of the IP ecosystem in India. Major initiatives and steps taken during 2021 in this regard are given below:
Please read concluding on thedailyguardian.com
• Design (Amendment) Rules, 2021 notified in the Gazette of India on 25.01.2021 incentivize start-ups and small entities to seek protection of their designs and promote design filings, fees have been reduced on similar lines as under Patent and Trademark Rules.
• Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021 notified on 30.03.2021, with the objective of bringing the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislations. It introduces a mandatory annual transparency report to be issued by Copyright Societies. It aims to ensure smooth and flawless compliance in the light of the technological advancement in digital era by adopting electronic means as primary mode of communication and working in the Copyright Office.
• Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2021: Patent fees for educational institutions have been reduced by 80 percent by way of the Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2021, which came into effect on 21st September 2021. The amendment will provide the same level of support to educational institutions as MSMEs and start-ups and further ensure greater participation of the education institutions in IP ecosystem.
Since the adoption of the National IPR Policy, IP filing in India has witnessed a considerable amount of increase in filing. Despite the adverse Covid situation in India, no negative impact has been seen in the filing of the IPs. Further, the filing of application of Trademark and GI have drastically increased over the years.
8.ONE DISTRICT ONE PRODUCT (ODOP)
• Government of India is working on a transformational initiative to foster balanced regional development across all districts of the country. This is called the One District One Product (ODOP) initiative, with the objective of identifying and promoting the production of unique products in each district in India that can be globally marketed. This will help realise the true potential of a district, fueling economic growth, generating employment and rural entrepreneurship. ODOP initiative is operationally merged with the ‘Districts as Export Hub’ initiative being implemented by DGFT, Department of Commerce with DPIIT as a major stakeholder to synergize the work undertaken by DGFT. The major activities that are being facilitated by DPIIT with Invest India under ODOP initiative are manufacturing, marketing, branding, internal trade and e-commerce.
• Ongoing expansion exercise entailing expansion of list from Phase-1 that consisted of 106 products from 103 districts to current Phase-2 that would consist of 739+ products covering 739 districts. Considerable success has been achieved for boosting exports under ODOP initiative.
• During this special campaign, 49,686 files have been reviewed in DPIIT and its sub-organizations. Out of the reviewed files, 49,449 files have been weeded out. Due to weeding of files, 2222 sq ft area has been vacated/freed in DPIIT and its sub organizations. Due to disposal of redundant/obsolete items, 3277 sq feet of area has been vacated, which has improved cleanliness and hygiene conditions. Besides, revenue of Rs 5,60,000 has been generated.
• The Department achieved 100% target in respect of public grievances by disposing of all 31 public grievances and 3 public grievances appeals. Further, out of 48 VIP reference, 29 cases have been disposed off. The Department had identified 194 rules/regulation for simplification under “Ease of Doing Business”. Out of these, 134 rules have been simplified.
• Digitization of old files/records: Even before the special campaign, as per directions of the CIM digitization of old files/ records was undertaken on a priority basis. During the period, scanning/digitization of 12,387 files containing 19,53,666 pages have been completed and all the scanned files have been migrated to e-office for future reference.
• Increasing Efficiency decision making in the Government on direction of Cabinet Secretary and advice of DARPG, with the approval of the Competent Authority, DPIIT has revised the Channel of Submission & Level of disposal, for increasing efficiency in decision making and reducing the level up to 4 (maximum). This will speed up the disposal of cases and improve decision making.
• Review by CIM: CIM has reviewed the special drive continuously during the campaign period. After completion of the Special Drive on 31.10.2021, CIM is reviewing progress of the Cleanliness Campaign on weekly basis. CIM is also undertaking frequent rounds of Udyog Bhawan to review the cleanliness of the premises.
12.Events organised by DPIIT during India’s presidency of BRICS in 2021:
• The 13th BRICS Summit was held under India’s Chairship in 2021. It was the third time that India hosted the BRICS Summit after 2012 and 2016. The theme for India’s Chairship was ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’. During India’s presidency of BRICS, 4 events were organized by DPIIT on industry related issues namely- Industry Ministers Meeting, PartNIR Meeting (Partnership on New Industrial Revolution) to promote investment, industrialization, innovation, inclusiveness and digitization, 13th HIPO (Head of Intellectual Property Offices) meeting and Round Table of an interaction among the Trade and Investment agencies of BRICS.
13DPIIT has organised following events under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM):
• Ministry of Commerce and Industry was allocated the week from 20.09.2021 to 26.09.2021. Accordingly, DPIIT has held various events during the ‘Udyog Saptah’ i.e. from 20th -26th September, 2021 which was widely published by different platforms. Some of the events organized by DPIIT were:
a) Press Briefing addressed by Additional Secretary, DPIIT held on 21st September, 2021 on measures to ensure industrial safety in petroleum and explosives Sector as well as reducing cost of doing business and creating an enabling ecosystem for domestic as well as international investors.
b) Soft launch of National Single Window System on 22ndSeptember, 2021 by Shri Piyush Goyal, for providing end-to-end facilitation, support, including pre-investment advisory, information related to land banks and facilitating clearances at Central and State levels and bring Transparency, Accountability & Responsiveness in the ecosystem and all information will be available on a single dashboard.
c) Startup India had coordinated with various States/UTs to organize/participate in startup events consisting of diverse programs, launch of key initiatives, inaugural of startup summits, and launch of startup policies, etc during 21.09.2021 to 26.09.2021 with the aim to foster entrepreneurship on the ground.
d) Northeast Business Roundtable held on 23th September, 2021 in the presence of Minister of State Shri Som Parkash to showcase the business and investment opportunities and deliberations on the reforms implemented in the region.
e) National Workshop on Reducing Compliance Burden held on 28th September, 2021 in the presence of Hon’ble Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State Shri Som Parkash and Smt. Anupriya Patel. More than 25,000 compliances have been reduced by Union Ministries, States & UTs so far.
f) Industrial Park Rating System Report 2.0 was launched by MoS (Commerce and Industry), Shri Som Parkash on 5th October, 2021.
g) PM Gati Shaki launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 13th October, 2021 for multi-modal connectivity.
• Good Governance Week during 20-25th December, 2021:DPIIT has organized a National Workshop on the “Next Phase of Reforms for Reducing Compliance Burden” on 22nd December, 2021 to realize the nation’s goals of improving “Ease of living” and “Ease of doing business”. Hon’ble Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal addressed the workshop.
• DPIIT will also be organising Innovation Ecosystem week (10th – 16th January, 2022): In the proposed event DPIIT will showcase efforts taken up for promotion of Unicorns and Start-ups. Event will be led by M/o Education.
PLI schemes to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ and enhance India’s Manufacturing capabilities.
PLI schemes rolled out with an outlay of INR 1.97 lakh crore (US$ 26 billion) for 14 key sectorsFDI policy further liberalized, – FDI limit raised from 49% to 74% in Insurance sector & up to 100% in PNG & Telecom sectors under automatic route.
India registered highest ever annual FDI inflow of $ 81.97 billion in 2020-21.
Launch of PM Gati Shakti, a National Master Plan for Infrastructure Development.
Start-ups created around 2 lakh jobs in 2021, the highest in four years.
Launch of National Single Window System (NSWS) – a one-stop for regulatory approvals.
DPIIT launched Regulatory Compliance Portal on 1st January, 2021, more than 25,000 compliances reduced.
Revival of Industrial Production as indicated in trends of IIP and ICI.
IIP surges by 20% during April-October, 2020 compared to contraction of -17.3% during same period last year; Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity sectors record double digit growth over significant declines during the period.
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
Where did the farm laws go wrong?
The three new agriculture laws implemented by India in September 2020 with little public or legislative debate have piqued the world’s curiosity. The initiatives were portrayed as a gift to farmers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, but farmers in various Indian states, headed by smallholders in Punjab and Haryana, have refused to accept them.The three laws are:
• The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act,
• The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act and
• The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act.
The court stated that dozens of rounds of negotiation between the Centre and farmers had yielded no breakthroughs, despite the fact that senior individuals, women, and children among the protestors were exposed to major health risks caused by the cold and COVID-19. It was stated that deaths had already happened, not as a result of violence, but as a result of illness or suicide. The court praised the protesters’ nonviolent character and indicated that it did not intend to stop them.Essentially, in the midst of a pandemic, with a critical vaccination drive underway, the government appears to be employing a two-pronged strategy to break the impasse: reaching out to farmers to bridge the trust deficit in farm laws, and combating disruptive forces that are attempting to take advantage of the situation.
Farmers are concerned that agriculture sector changes would result in the abolition of the minimum support price (MSP) system and the abolition of APMC markets. The government buys farm commodities at a fixed price under the MSP framework. The MSP guarantees that farmers are guaranteed a set price, regardless of supply and demand limits. Farmers have been calling for legislation to ensure that agricultural food is purchased at the MSP. They also urge the government to repeal the Electricity Act modifications.Farmers are concerned that it would lead to the corporatization of agriculture, which will eventually force them out of the industry. They contend that the sale of agricultural produce would be governed by contracts, rendering the MSP regime ineffectual. The law permitted farmers to engage into a direct arrangement with the buyer before to the sowing season and sell their goods at the agreed-upon price at the time of contract signing.
What were the main issues in THE FARMER’S PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION AND FACILITATION) ACT, 2020 OR THE FPTC ACT as regarded by the farmers?
Though farmers objected to all three agricultural laws, the main issue was this Act, commonly known as the ‘APMC Bypass Bill.’ Cultivators were concerned that its provisions would undermine the APMC mandis.
Sections 3 and 4 of the Act permitted farmers to sell their goods in regions beyond the APMC mandis to purchasers from inside or outside the state. Section 6 barred the collection of any market charge or cess under any state APMC Act or other state law in connection with trading outside the APMC market. Section 14 overruled the contradictory sections of the state APMC laws, while Section 17 enabled the Centre to make regulations for enforcing the law’s provisions.
Farmers were concerned that the new laws would result in insufficient demand for their goods in local marketplaces. They said that moving the produce outside of mandis would be impossible due to a lack of resources. This is why they sell their goods at prices lower than MSP in local marketplaces.
Farmers were also upset with the provisions in Section 8 of the law that stated that a farmer or merchant might approach the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) to reach an agreement through conciliation procedures. While farmers claim they lack the right to enter SDM offices for conflict resolution, others say this amounts to seizure of judicial authorities.
POSSIBLE ISSUES WITH FARMERS (EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT OF PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES ACT, 2020
Sections 3-12 of the statute attempted to provide a legal framework for contract farming. Before the planting season, farmers might get into a direct arrangement with a buyer to sell their products at predetermined pricing. It enabled farmers and sponsors to enter into agricultural partnerships. The law, however, made no mention of the MSP that purchasers must provide to farmers.
Though the Centre claimed that the law was intended to liberate farmers by allowing them to sell anywhere, farmers were concerned that it would lead to the corporatisation of agriculture. They were also concerned that the MSP will be eliminated. Critics also claimed that the contract system would expose small and marginal farmers to exploitation by large corporations unless selling prices were continued to be regulated as they were before to the new law’s implementation.
HOW DID THE FARMERS REACT TO THE FARM BILL?
Despite the potential benefits, both parties were unable to reach an agreement on the farm laws, which resulted in their repeal. Farmers who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders and in their states since last year have rejected the Central government’s offers to alter the contentious new agriculture rules. They said that the plan was insufficient and accused the administration of being “insincere,” while also warning the Parliament to step up their protests. Parliament approved these Acts during the monsoon session in 2020. Farmers have long feared that the Centre’s farm reforms will pave the way for the demise of the MSP system, leaving them at the whim of large corporations. However, no resolution was reached, and no date for the next round of discussions was set for the first time. Following the failure of these discussions, the Supreme Court suspended the execution of these farm legislation. Farmers were overjoyed when these rules were removed on November 19, 2021.
Declaring vaccination mandatory in India: A last resort towards battling Covid-19
With the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the globe, there is hardly any country which has been able to protect its citizens from it. During this unprecedented situation which has persisted more than a year, this pandemic has claimed as many as 3.18 lakh lives in India itself, making the situation abysmal and chaotic in the country. But a silver lining arose on January 03rd, 2021, when the Government of India approved emergency authorization for Covishield and Covaxin for effectively tackling the pandemic situation.
Till date, around 160 crore people have been vaccinated out of which around 4.24 crore have been fully vaccinated. As can be evidently seen, India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is alarmingly behind schedule, especially when India is facing an unforeseen situation and it is the need of the hour to rustle up the vaccination drive. Indubitably, the government has miserably failed in procuring vaccines leading to an inordinate delay in inoculating people. One of the reasons behind such a delay is an acute shortage of supply of vaccines from the manufacturers. But there is another hidden but known facet which has conspicuously reduced the percentage of vaccinated population despite vaccines being available at local vaccination centers. Suspicions and myths pertaining to vaccines in general are creating mistrust among people, especially for those residing in rural or marginalized areas, who are very skeptical about getting inoculated. Due to such fear and apprehension, people are not registering for vaccination and even after scheduling an appointment, they are not turning up for vaccination at the centers leading to wastage of thousands of doses raising a cause for concern in the entire country.
First and foremost step to be taken by the government is to initiate an awareness drive throughout the country by educating the people residing especially in rural and marginalized areas about the various personal and community health benefits of getting vaccinated. However, in case there is timely and unhindered supply of vaccines and yet people refuse to take it then the government must promulgate laws making vaccination compulsory in the nation. Although, it is not always necessary to go through the trouble of making vaccination compulsory but it should only be kept as a last resort to tackle the problem. It is well within the legislative powers of the State Legislature to enact such a law related to public health and sanitation. (vide Entry 6 List-II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution on India). Here, a focus needs to be drawn to a similar step taken by the British Government to make smallpox vaccination compulsory by way of the Vaccination Act of 1892. Another example was laid down by the US Supreme Court which upheld the law made by the State for compulsory vaccination stating that is well with its police power for the protection of public health.
LAWS EMPOWERING THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE VACCINATION MANDATORY
The Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 contains provisions empowering the government to take whatever measures it deems necessary to prevent the outbreak or spread of an epidemic disease, provided the existing laws are not sufficient to deal with the situation. Moreover, a collective reading of numerous provisions of the National Disaster Management Act of 2005 shows that the Central Government is empowered to constitute a National Disaster Management Authority which can lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management for ensuring timely and effective response to a disaster. The Central Government has invoked its power under Section 6 (2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 directing the State Governments to restrict the movement of people and various other activities in the beginning of the pandemic and those can be applied for the process of vaccination too. Under such laws, the government can formulate policies for compulsory vaccination during the current unprecedented situation in India.
ENFORCING MANDATORY VACCINATION
It is certainly not advisable to impose penal action like imprisonment against an individual who refuses to get inoculated. There are several ways through which the government can enforce mandatory vaccination on such individuals. For instance, it can impose fine on people who refuse vaccination. Another way can be by imposing a reasonable restriction on the movement of an individual within any part of this country since the freedom to move freely within the territory in India is subject to reasonable restrictions as laid down under Article 19(5) of the Constitution of India. Moreover, for the people who are visiting India, vaccination must be compulsory upon failure of which can lead to restricting the use of their passport by the Government by exercising its powers under the Passport Act, 1967. Alternatively, if a person still refuses to get vaccinated upon his arrival in India, he shall be mandatorily kept under 7 days institutional quarantine as per the guidelines for international arrival issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Moreover, for foreigners who are not vaccinated, the government can pass an order under Section 3 (2) (e) of the Foreigners Act, 1946. For example, people applying for immigration to the United States need to show their vaccination certificates. Otherwise the applicant must be given those vaccines at the time of medical exam.
Making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for people can have some serious legal concerns. A person can claim that the legislation making vaccination compulsory is violative of the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The term privacy has been interpreted in its widest sense so as to restrict the government from infringing it by way of an unfair, unjust and unreasonable laws and regulations. But it is pivotal to argue that the right to privacy is embraced under the right to life and personal liberty which may be restricted according to the procedure established by law. Therefore, the right to privacy can very well be curtailed by the government by way of enacting just, fair and reasonable law which is in interest of public at large (vide K.S Puttaswamy v Union of India). Further in the case of Evara Foundation vs Union of India in the affidavit it was stated that “It is humbly submitted that the direction and guidelines released by Government of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, do not envisage any forcible vaccination without obtaining consent of the concerned individual”.
At this juncture, it is also pertinent to give reference to Hohfeld’s theory of jural relations. As Hohfeld says, if a person has a right, then that right is accompanied by a duty to protect the rights of others. In other words, the people are guaranteed the right to privacy which can be restricted by making the vaccination compulsory for the people refusing to take the vaccination for collective public interest, since COVID-19 will continue to spread if people do not get vaccinated. For instance, if majority of the population in the Country is vaccinated then it will obviously break the chain of the spread of the virus and the positivity rate will come down.
Moreover, there are many developed countries across the world like U.K., Australia, France, Italy, who have made the vaccination mandatory for their citizens despite the fact it is not the last resort but it was the only way to break vicious cycle of waves of the virus. In addition, India is a developing country where the health care system is ineffective to cater the vast number of populations. So, India should also follow the footsteps of the developed countries in order to save the lives of its citizens.
In order to achieve herd immunity by vaccinating a large number of people either by way of voluntary vaccination or forced vaccination, equitable distribution of vaccines is a pre-requisite, failure of which can render the former otiose. There is an obligation on part of the government to ensure that there are no obstacles or impediments in providing vaccines all across the nation without any discrimination.
PIYUSH GOYAL CALLS UPON STARTUPS TO LEVERAGE ‘DEEP TECH’
Goyal says start ups to build solutions for local & global markets: AI, IoT, Big Data, etc.
The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal today called upon the Indian industry to aim for raising 75 unicorns in the 75 weeks to the 75th anniversary of Independence next year.
“We have added 43 unicorns added in 45 weeks, since the start of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on 12th March, 2021. Let us aim for atleast 75 unicorns in this 75 week period to 75thAnniversary of Independence,” he said, while releasing the NASSCOM Tech Start-up Report 2022.
Goyal said Startup India started a revolution six years ago and today ‘Startup’ has become a common household term. Indian Startups are fast becoming the champions of India Inc’s growth story, he added.
“India has now become the hallmark of a trailblazer & is leaving its mark on global startup landscape. Investments received by Indian startups overshadowed pre-pandemic highs. 2021 will be remembered as the year Indian start-ups delivered on their promise, – fearlessly chasing opportunities across verticals – Edtech, HealthTech & AgriTech amongst others,” he said.
Goyal lauded the ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) industry including the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector for the record Services exports during the last year. “Services Export for Apr-Dec 2021 reached more than $178 bn despite the Covid19 pandemic when the Travel, Hospitality & Tourism sectors were significantly down,” he said.
• “Let us aim for at least 75 unicorns in the 75 weeks to the 75th Anniversary of Independence”: Piyush Goyal
• Goyal lauds the ITES industry including the BPO sector for the record Services exports during the last year despite the pandemic
• Piyush Goyal says the PM’s interaction with Startups a week ago has supercharged our innovators
• The next “UPI moment” will be the ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) – Goyal
• New India is today being led by new troika of Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship (ITE), ‘India at 100’ will be renowned as a Startup nation: Goyal
Subhas Chandra Bose statue to be installed in India Gate, announced PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday that a grand statue of iconic freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at India Gate. This announcement came ahead of the 125th anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his statue will be installed at India Gate to honor his contribution to the independence movement.
The Prime Minister further said that Bose’s grand statue will be made of granite and will be a symbol of India’s indebtedness to him. “Till the grand statue of Netaji Bose is completed, a hologram statue of his would be present at the same place. I will unveil the hologram statue on 23rd January, Netaji’s birth anniversary” PM Modi tweeted
“At a time when the entire nation is marking the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I am glad to share that his grand statue, made of granite, will be installed at India Gate,” PM Modi tweeted on Friday. “This would be a symbol of India’s indebtedness to him.”
The statue will be installed under the grand canopy near which the Amar Jawan Jyothi flickers in remembrance of India’s martyrs. The eternal flame, which has not been extinguished for 50 years, will be put off on Friday, as it will be merged with the flame at the National War Memorial.
The canopy, which was built along with the rest of the grand monument in the 1930s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, once housed a statue of the former king of England George V. The statue was later moved to Coronation Park in Central Delhi in the mid-1960s.
The announcement was hailed by many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, Union ministers and civil society members.
“Great news for the entire nation as PM @narendramodi Ji has today announced that a grand statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, will be installed at the iconic India Gate, New Delhi. This is a befitting tribute to the legendary Netaji, who gave everything for India’s freedom.” Amit Shah tweeted.
“Netaji is an epitome of India’s true strength & resolve. Congress has left no stone unturned to forget the immortal contributions of India’s brave son. PM @narendramodi’s decision to install Netaji’s statue at India Gate on his 125th Jayanti will inspire our generations to come.” Amit Shah added in his tweet.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a 216-foot statue of Ramanujacharya, a 11th century saint and a social reformer, in Hyderabad on February 5. The statue described as the ‘Statue of Equality is located in a 45-acre complex at Shamshabad on the outskirts of the city.
‘US, India should set bold goals to attain $500bn target’, said Keshap
Having achieved a huge success in their bilateral relations, two of the world’s greatest democracies – India and the United States of America should opt in favour of setting bold goals in order to take their relationship to a new high thereby achieving the ambitious target of $500 billion in bilateral trade echoes retired American Diplomat Atul Keshap, who recently became the new president of the US India Business Council (USIBC).
“I think it’s vitally important that we show that democracies can deliver; that the United States and India can be a driver of global growth and a model for prosperity and development in the 21st century,” Keshap said.
During his illustrious career, the veteran diplomat has served in various capacities with the US State Department. He has been the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and has also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
In 2021, he took over as the Chargé d’affaires of the United States mission to India and has been instrumental in shaping the US-India ties under the Joe Biden administration.
“I feel it’s critically important that we show that open societies powered by a free enterprise can be relevant for their people and can help power the world out of this pandemic. I tend to agree entirely with President Biden and PM Narendra Modi that the US India Partnership is a force for global good and it’s going to have a huge impact on economic growth,” he said.
Keshap feels that USIBC is the podium where he can give his best and help the people from both countries. “We need to move forward on the global trade agenda. We need to ensure the prosperity of the future, especially after this pandemic,” he said.
The 50-year-old diplomat reflected on the vision set by Biden, about potentially having a $500 billion trade in goods and services between the US and India. “That’s a very ambitious number and I believe in it. It is a great idea to try to have ambitious targets, else we are on a standstill” he said.
Having donned the new role recently, Keshap said he wants to help meet that $500 billion bilateral trade goal. “This is where the government and the private sector have to work together hand-in-hand,” he said.
“We have to articulate the benefits and have to convince all our stakeholders that there is value in lowering trade barriers, in creating strong standards and in creating positive ecosystems. There is value in dealing with small technical issues that might be creating a blockage to greater prosperity between our countries,” Keshap said.
Coal crisis: How private sector can power India’s growth
India has been reeling under a coal shortage crisis and the situation got aggravated in October 2021 leading to a lot of concern amongst various stakeholders including government bodies, thermal power plants, industry and investors. The shortages, triggered by global factors, of course with Indian peculiarities, threatened supplies to thermal-based power plants, leading to an alarm.
Recovering from Covid-19-induced reverses, the global economy has rebounded and gathered steam. This was one of the prime reasons why there was an acute shortage of coal and sources of energy, worldwide. Global coal prices have risen by 40 per cent.
Port based Indian power plants normally rely on imports. Given the global conditions, and the sharp rise in coal prices internationally, the power plants are now almost solely dependent on Indian coal. It’s in this context that the coal crisis has been amplified by various stakeholders.
While global factors did contribute, did we fail to take necessary action, over a period of time? To highlight one prominent factor: Why should the Coal India Limited have monopoly over coal mining / supplies? Consider the CIL performance in the last few years: Its output was 606 MT in 2018-2019, 602 MT in 2019-2020, and 596 MT in 2020-2021. Contrast this with various governments’ efforts to ramp up Coal production in the 1992-2010 period.
So, why did Coal India Limited fail to expand capacity? This is one big question that must be debated. It can therefore be argued that CIL’s monopoly on coal extraction and supplies (till very recently) is one of the prime reasons why India’s thermal power plants faced a coal crisis.
India has the world’s fourth-largest coal reserve, with around 300 billion tonnes of coal. But it is also true that it imports approximately 250 million tonnes of coal. This is because we don’t mine enough and use our resources optimally.
CIL supplies 80 per cent of India’s coal needs. The demand for coal in India is nearly a billion tonnes a year, and the supply is below 800 million tonnes.
Unfortunately, based on then CAG Vinod Rai’s miscalculations and the Notional Loss theory, the Supreme Court cancelled 214 coal blocks in September 2014. Private players were not given a patient hearing on the issue. Rather than encouraging them, the private sector got punished unfairly for its efforts to strengthen the economy through coal mining. If 100 out of 214 of those mines were functional and each one was producing, say, 4 mtpa of Coal, India today would be a net exporter, not importer, of Coal.
Rai’s theory and the Supreme Court judgment had devastating consequences. The coal production in the country took a hit. The country’s GDP declined by almost 1 per cent. Millions of jobs were lost. NPAs of banks with exposure to power, steel and mining sector rose exponentially. Such is Rai’s credibility that he recently tendered an apology to a Congress leader, who, Rai claimed in his book, “requested him to remove then PM Manmohan Singh’s name from the coal scam”. Taking a cue, if someone sues Rai for his Coal Scam theory and numbers, would he be able to defend his report in court?
Against the recommendations of CAG of incentivizing good performers who produce coal, the Supreme Court imposed an additional levy of 295 rupees per ton on the coal extracted from operational mines retrospectively from 1993. The private miners were directed to deposit more than Rs. 9000 crore as penalty.
The stagnating CIL coal output should be seen in this background. Being a monopoly, CIL could have been a saviour for the nation. CIL however neither ramped up production nor invested in technology or expansion of new mines.
In 2020, in a bold and much welcome development, the Union Government opened up commercial coal mining, thus ending Coal India’s monopoly. PM Modi said that he wanted India to be a net exporter of coal, as he set ambitious targets.
A lesson from the recent crisis is this – the CIL monopoly, along with the no-entry sign for the private sector, harmed the country.
There are lessons to be drawn from the opening up of the aviation sector for the recent coal crisis episode. With a series of measures, the aviation sector was opened up, with the Air India privatisation being the latest example. The economy, the nation and consumer benefitted. When sectors as diverse as Steel, Infrastructure and Healthcare were unshackled, the end consumer, the economy and the nation benefitted.
Similarly, if the private sector in coal mining would have been encouraged consistently, and ill-advised measures like cancellation of coal blocks not taken, the coal situation would not have come to such a pass. In 2014, the private sector was said to be accounting for 90 million tons of coal – a substantial figure. Instead of getting encouraged, the private sector had to fight protracted court cases and spend its time wastefully.
There’s a consensus that Coal would continue to power economic growth for a country like India for the next two decades. It’s important that this abundantly-available natural resource is used optimally. The Private Sector can play a key role here.
The Government has shown intent and commitment. It’s time for all the stakeholders to ensure that the country faces no shortage of Coal hereafter. It’s time we all learnt our lessons and ensure that Coal and Mining booms and fires India’s growth march.
Opinion1 year ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports2 years ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News2 years ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News2 years ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Legally Speaking2 years ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Sports2 years ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Royally Speaking1 year ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur