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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 January 2020

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 January 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:  Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. What is a complex volcano? Discuss the salient features with suitable illustrations.(250 words)

BBC

Why this question:

In the Philippines, a volcano called Taal on the island of Luzon, 50 km from Manila, erupted on January 12, spewing lava on the ground, and ash and smoke into the sky.  Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of complex volcano and the silent features of it.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define volcano in general and suggest the types.

Body:

In detail explain the concept of complex volcanoes.

A complex volcano, also called a compound volcano, is defined as one that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples include Vesuvius, besides Taal.

Discuss that the Taal volcano does not rise from the ground as a distinct, singular dome but consists of multiple stratovolcanoes (volcanoes susceptible to explosive eruptions), conical hills and craters of all shapes and sizes. Taal has 47 craters and four maars (a broad shallow crater).

Describe the key features of such volcanoes. Explain the landforms created by it. Use suitable diagrams wherever possible to illustrate better.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such phenomena in the evolution of landforms on Earth.

Introduction:

A complex volcano, also called a compound volcano, is defined as one that consists of a complex of two or more vents, or a volcano that has an associated volcanic dome, either in its crater or on its flanks. Examples include Vesuvius, besides Taal. The Taal volcano in the Philippines does not rise from the ground as a distinct, singular dome but consists of multiple stratovolcanoes, conical hills and craters of all shapes and sizes.

Body:

Taal’s closeness to Manila puts lives at stake. The volcano is currently at alert level 4, which means that a “hazardous eruption” could be imminent within a few hours to a few days. Hazardous eruptions are characterised by intense unrest, continuing seismic swarms and low-frequency earthquakes. Because the country is situated at the boundaries of two tectonic plates — the Philippines Sea Plate and the Eurasian plate — it is particularly susceptible to earthquakes and volcanism.

Salient features of complex volcano:

  • Just like the name, they are made from stratified deposits of both sticky lava droppings together with fragmental solids.
  • These solids erupts form the earth’s interior and flows through the strata into the earth surface.
  • Majority of these complex volcanoes are multifarious structures constructed by manifold eruptions from high-level meeting and margin vents.
  • Complex volcanoes only focus on eruption modifications, resulting to overlapping constructions.
  • Numerous composite volcanoes contain a crater at the top, which contains a fundamental vent or a gathered cluster of vents.
  • Lavas can either flow over breaks in the depression wall or issue from cracks on the edges of the cone. Lava cools and solidified in the crevices, forming dikes like ribs, which significantly reinforce the cone to be compact.
  • Once this lava cools below one degree, it forms these magnificent features.
  • The important characteristic of a composite volcano is a channel system over which magma from a basin deep in the Earth’s shell upsurges to the surface.
  • The volcano is assembled up by the accretion of solid exploded through the channel and rises in scope as lava, cinders, residue and others materials are added to its inclines.

Conclusion:

These volcanoes are commonly experience in USA especially Mt. St .Helens and Mt. Shasta, Italy, Philippines, Japan Ecuador, and Canada.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2. Are Indian the metros deprived of empowered Mayors who lead country on Urban Issues? Discuss the challenges faced by the position of a Mayor, Suggest what needs to be done to empower the post.  (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article highlights the fact that Many Global cities like New York, Paris, London have empowered mayors who lead their country on Urban Issues, but in India the metros have been deprived of empowered Mayors who can raise efficiency, productivity and livability. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the status of the post of mayor in the country and the real-time challenges facing it. Discuss the need to empower Mayors to ensure growth and sustainable development of our urban areas.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with constitutional status of the position of a Mayor.

Body:

  • Discuss briefly the powers and responsibilities of Mayor in India.
  • Explain what the Advantages of having empowered mayors are.
  • Discuss the challenges in the Indian scenario; key challenge is the status quo itself and the vested interests it has entrenched. State governments do not wish to delegate more authority to city-level institutions etc.
  • Suggest what needs to be done to empower the post.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s cities need a new deal that is focused on development. Only elected, empowered and accountable Mayors can deliver on that.

Introduction:

While there are multiple reasons for India’s urban woes, one of the underlying problems is the absence of powerful and politically accountable leadership in the city. Our cities have a weak and fragmented institutional architecture in which multiple agencies with different bosses pull the strings of city administration.

Body:

Need for directly elected mayors:

  • Currently, the head of the municipal corporation, the mayor, is merely a ceremonial authority and executive decisions are carried out by the municipal commissioner appointed by the state government.
  • An elected mayor with substantial powers of his own not only provides a single point for negotiations with outside agencies and investors but also ensures greater coordination among the different city departments and promotes decisive decision making.
  • A popularly elected mayor with a fixed tenure also offers more stability in governance as the person is not dependent on the elected members of the council or on the local or state level political leadership for his survival in office.
  • A stable leadership can also afford to roll out long term plans that will ensure major changes in the cities political and economic landscape.

Challenges faced for post of directly elected mayors:

  • State governments do not wish to delegate more authority to city-level institutions. Often, urban resources are transferred to rural areas in the name of development.
  • Even if the mayor is directly elected, the state governments can refuse to devolve power and resources, effectively reducing him to a figurehead.
  • Chief Ministers see a potential threat from a charismatic and empowered Mayor with progressive policies.
  • Mayors could steal the limelight through spectacular successes, leaving Chief Ministers and legislators with little direct connect with urban voters.
  • Some of them have used the excuse of poor performance of urban local bodies as a justification to replace direct election of Mayors with an indirect system.
  • Municipal commissioner also, sometimes, becomes hurdle.
  • Even if some powers are delegated to the municipality, the state governments have in place municipal commissioners to perform the executive functions, again cutting the mayor to size, the nature of mayoral election notwithstanding.
  • If a directly elected mayor belongs to a party in minority in the municipality, it becomes difficult to get other municipality members on board in taking decisions. This was witnessed in Himachal Pradesh, which ultimately led to the scrapping of this system.
  • Also, a mayor executing projects will tend to gain popularity at the expense of the local legislator whose job is to legislate and scrutinise the performance of the executive.
  • A legislator will always see the directly elected and empowered mayor as a potential future rival and will do everything in his command to undercut his authority.
  • It is also widely felt that elected mayors may blur the lines between the three tiers of government: the Union, the states and the local self governments.

Measures needed:

  • In the light of development, state governments should take up this issue seriously and confer necessary powers upon mayor to effectively discharge his duties.
  • To avoid conflict between elected mayor and municipal commissioner, mayor may be made the executive head of the municipality. Additionally, mayor may also be given the power to “authorize the payment and repayment of money relating to the Municipality”.
  • To check the spread of vested interests, mayor may also be vested with the power to veto a resolution passed by the municipality.
  • Voter awareness is also necessary as it is the only thing that will drive them to vote for a legislator based on his performance in the state assembly or Parliament and vote for the mayor and councillors based on their executive performance. This ensures that there exists separation between the two.
  • Besides direct elections, a fixed tenure should be ensured for Mayors. One or two years, as provided presently, is not sufficient to ensure the holistic development of urban areas.
  • Also, frequent changing of mayors results in discontinuation of policies and wastage of scarce resources.
  • Preferably, the Mayor’s term should be coterminous with that of the municipality, and the Mayor should be made the executive head of the municipality.

Conclusion:

A direct election of mayors in the urban centers as currently planned will ensure a sea change in the political equations at the local level and help launch a new generation of more charismatic leaders who can mobilise voters and usher in real changes in urban governance. In fact in some countries like the UK legislative changes were rolled out at the beginning of the decade to ensure direct elections of mayors in all major cities.

 

Topic:   Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3.In the backdrop of the recently released Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report, Deliberate if India’s learning crisis is linked to the weakness of the country’s pre-primary education system? Present your opinion and explain the deficiencies in India’s Education system and how children have fallen short on basic learning skills. (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

NGO Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in the past has spoken about deficiencies in India’s Education system and how children fall short on basic learning skills. In the latest edition of ASER, it directs attention to children between four and eight years of age, and suggests that India’s learning crisis could be linked to the weakness of the country’s pre-primary system. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail in what way if India’s learning crisis is linked to the weakness of the country’s pre-primary education system. Explain the deficiencies in India’s Education system and how children have fallen short on basic learning skills.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief highlight the conditions of Indian education system in general.

Body:

Discuss the key statistics of the report – ASER.

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019, 21% children in grade one of government schools could read words compared to 46.7% in private schools — an advantage of 122%.

Provide for reasons for such conditions, take hints from the article.

Discuss the crucial role played by Early childhood education, its lacunae in Indian education system.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

NGO Pratham, a well-known Non-Profit Organization has released the Annual Status of Education Report 2019. The report shared several key insights and interesting observations about the state of education, especially school-level education in the country.

Body:

 

Findings of ASER Report 2019:

  • According to a brief analysis, Pratham’s ASER Report 2019 showcases parents’ choice of school when it comes to education of their students.
  • This is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable annual estimates of children’s schooling status and basic learning levels for each state and rural district in India.
  • ASER has been conducted every year since 2005 in almost all rural districts of India.
  • ASER is the largest citizen-led survey in India. It is also the only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes available in India today.
  • In 2019, ASER aims to shine the spotlight on the early years, reporting on the schooling status as well as on a range of important developmental indicators for young children in the age group 4 to 8 across 26 districts in the country.

The reasons for poor learning outcomes in the country are

  • Infrastructure deficit:
    • Dilapidated structures, single-room schools, lack of drinking water facilities, separate toilets and other educational infrastructure is a grave problem.
  • Corruption and leakages:
    • The transfer of funds from the central to state to local governments to school leads to involvement of many intermediaries.
    • The fund transfer is drastically reduced by the time it reaches the true beneficiaries.
    • High rates of corruption and leakages plague the system, undermine its legitimacy and harm the many thousands of honest headmasters and teachers.
  • Quality of Teachers:
    • Lack of well trained, skilled and knowledgeable teachers which provide the foundation for a high quality education system.
    • Teacher shortages and poorly qualified teachers are both a cause and effect of poorly paid and managed teaching cadres.
  • Non-Academic burden:
    • The teachers are overburdened with senseless reports and administrative workload. This eats into the time which is necessary for teaching.
    • A study by the National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA) revealed that teachers spend only around 19 percent of their time teaching while the rest is spent mostly on non-teaching administrative work.
  • Poor salary:
    • Teachers are paid miserly salaries which affect their interest and dedication to work. They will look for other avenues like tuitions or coaching centers and coax the students to attend it.
    • This has dual effect, firstly the quality of teaching in schools drop and secondly, the poor students are forced to spend money despite constitutional provision of free education.
  • Teacher Absenteeism:
    • Absence of teachers during school hours is rampant. The lack of accountability and poor governance structures add to the woes.
  • Lack of Accountability:
    • School Management Committees are largely dysfunctional. Many exist solely on paper.
    • Parents are often not aware of their rights and if they are it is difficult for them to make their voice heard.
  • High drop-out rates:
    • The drop-out rates in schools, especially girls, is very high.
    • Many factors like poverty, patriarchal mindset, lack of toilets in schools, distance to schools and cultural elements lead to children dropping out from education.
  • School closure:
    • Many schools are closed to low student strength, lack of teachers and infrastructure. The competition posed by private schools is also a major challenge to government schools.

The situation of learning outcomes can be improved as follows

 

  • Teachers must only teach:
  • Employ young people, equip them with a tablet computer and let them be cluster administrators. One cluster of schools consists of around ten schools.
  • The cluster administrators will overtake the administrative tasks and ensure that teachers and headmasters can focus on academic work.
  • Better policies like transparent transfer mechanisms, which urgently need upscaling and strengthening. After adequate teacher positioning, school autonomy and teacher collaborations have demonstrated in many pilots to be the catalyst that transforms the education system.
  • Teacher’s own collectives or networks built collaborations and institutional capacities of teachers.
  • Digitization:
  • Create a single-window system for infrastructure and mainstream fund-flows: In Bihar, only around 10 percent of the schools fulfils infrastructure norms. A study revealed that files for renovating schools often go on a two-year journey through various departments.
  • The same can be applied for teacher salaries and school funds. These can be transferred directly from the State to the teachers and schools. There is no need to involve the District or Block in this process.
  • Leveraging the audio-visual edutainment to make education more interesting and easier to understand for the children. This will improve the quality as well as reduce the drop-out rates.
  • Implementing bio-metric attendance for teachers and students for every class can help reduce absenteeism.
  • Empower School Management Committees by using mobile phones:
    • To develop a system that facilitates School Management Committee members by fostering democratic accountability.
    • Social audits should also be carried out for effective functioning.
  • The Government must insist on fixing teachers’ accountability in public schools and learning outcome-based recognition for all schools, be it public or private schools.
  • Better pre-service teacher training coupled with transparent and merit-based recruitments is a lasting solution for teacher quality.
  • Improve the quality of teacher education by making teacher training mandatory. Example: National Council for Teacher Education Act amendment bill, Diksha portal to train teachers.
  • Increase the public spending on education to 6% of GDP as recommended by many committees like the recent TSR Subramaniam committee.
  • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance, while there are recommendations for removal of non-detention policy. The blame is squarely on the children, such an attitude must be wiped out.
  • Teachers’ efficiency will improve with administrative incentives, better pay and a systematic change in the professional development of this cohort.
  • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes; It has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education. This needs a change by coming out with a new policy.

Conclusion:

The latest ASER 2019 holds a mirror to a country that is aspiring to be a knowledge power. There is an urgent need to tackle some of the teething problems affecting the education in India. Innovative digital interventions to improving the teacher and education quality along with proper governance structure can help achieve the true objectives of the Right to Education as a fundamental right of every child.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. While presenting various editions of the Raisina dialogue , discuss what India hopes to achieve through it and its significance of it to the world today.(250 words)

News On Air

Why this question:

The fifth edition of the prestigious event is being jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the significance of Raisina Dialogue to Asia and world and the role that India plays.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Describe what Raisina Dialogue is.

Body:

  • First present facts associated – The three-day conference will see the participation of 12 Foreign Ministers, including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Denmark, Uzbekistan and the EU. The theme this year is ‘Navigating the alpha century’.
  • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
  • It is a multilateral conference held annually in India.
  • Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.
  • The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, an independent think tank, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of India.
  • It is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such multilateral forums.

Introduction:

The fifth edition of the prestigious event – Raisina dialogue was jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation. Indian Prime Minister has said that Raisina Dialogue has emerged as a vibrant forum for discussing important global and strategic issues over the years.

Body:

Significance of Raisina Dialogue:

  • The 5th edition of the Raisina Dialogue addressed some of the most challenging issues facing the global community.
  • The three-day event this year is addressed the theme ‘21@20: Navigating the Alpha Century’.
  • The Raisina Dialogue 2020 brings together 700 international participants from over 100 countries, Foreign Ministers from 12 countries are taking part in the Dialogue.
  • It is designed to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world.
  • It is predicated on India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region and how India along with its partners can build a stable regional and world order.
  • The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
  • Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.
  • The Raisina Dialogue was born in 2016, in the belief that the Asian century that the world was talking about was not about any exclusive geographical region.
  • It was rather about the engagement of global actors with Asia and of Asia with the world.
  • So this dialogue took birth as a platform, where the old and the new could work together, to discover their connections, their inter-dependence.

India hopes to achieve:

  • Raisina has been successful in drawing participants from countries that are at odds with each other — US, China, Russia, Iran and the Gulf Arabs.
  • Beyond political leaders and government officials, it also drew technology leaders, media personalities and policy wonks from around the world, providing Delhi an opportunity to lay out its position on controversial moves in Kashmir and on citizenship.
  • More broadly, Raisina is facilitating the development of sustainable intellectual networks between the Indian strategic community and its counterparts in the world.
  • Raisina emerged out of a recognition five years ago that Delhi did not have effective international platforms of its own despite the globalisation of India’s economy — trade now contributes nearly 40 per cent of India’s GDP.
  • India is at once more influential in world affairs as well as more susceptible to external developments. But its policy discourse appeared stuck in the past.
  • Raisina was part of the strategy to recalibrate that discourse and discard the traditional bureaucratic pretence that the government knows best.

Conclusion:

Indian foreign policy seeks to achieve a focus on key challenges, a broad engagement with many parties and managing, if not leveraging, global contradictions. Advancing the interests in a multi-polar world and contributing to global good is what it is all about. Raisina dialogue is a good forum to advance the goals of India’s foreign policy.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Besides Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) fading to engineer a reversal in DISCOM finances, government needs to revise incentive structures. Critically analyse the statement. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Almost five years after the launch of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), there are indications that the power sector is once again in trouble. The article traces the performance of the scheme so far and brings out detailed deliberation of DSICOM finances.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the issues of power sector in India in general and specifically with respect to the financial concerns of state DISCOMs. Highlight the need for efforts by the government in different perspectives.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the issue.

Body:

In the recent past, several initiatives have been taken to address the challenges in the power sector.  These include structural changes in the regulatory framework as proposed by the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014, and more recently, the UDAY scheme to address financial issues being faced by companies distributing electricity. 

Discuss what challenges are posed by the DSCOMs, why have the restructuring policies failed in the past.

Suggest what government should do to address these constraints.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a multi-pronged approach is the need of the hour.

Introduction:

Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is a financial restructuring and efficiency enhancing program, aims to reduce the debt burden of the state owned electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs) started in 2015. Though the main component of UDAY is debt management, other measures like raising operational efficiency are also proposed to permanently settle the debt scenario of DISCOMs. Almost five years after the launch of the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), there are indications that the power sector is once again in trouble.

Body:

The UDAY scheme, which involved state governments taking over the debt of discoms, had three critical components: A reduction in the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, timely revision of tariffs, and elimination of the gap between average per unit of cost and revenue realised.

Success of UDAY scheme:

  • It took off well, with a large number of states joining the scheme. Several states took over the debt of their utilities, improving their liquidity situation. Anecdotal evidence also suggests an improvement in the power supply situation.
  • Government’s UDAY scheme has helped debt-laden discoms of 24 states to reduce losses to Rs 369 billion in 2016-17 from Rs 515.9 billion in the previous financial year.
  • The participating states have achieved an improvement of one per cent in Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C or distribution) losses and Rs 0.17 a Unit in the gap between Average Cost of Supply and Average Revenue realised in 2016- 17
  • AT&C losses have declined in some states, but not to the extent envisaged. Under UDAY, discoms were to bring down AT&C losses to 15 per cent by FY19.

Limitations of UDAY scheme:

  • Not only have losses of state-owned distribution companies (discoms) risen, but their dues for power purchases have also surged.
  • At the end of November 2019, dues owed by discoms to power producers, both independent and state-run entities, stood at Rs 80,930 crore.
  • Of these, Rs 71,673 crore extends beyond the allowed grace period of 60 days. Rajasthan leads the states with the most dues, followed by Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
  • While some states have raised power tariffs, the hikes have not been sufficient as political considerations prevailed over commercial decisions.
  • As a result, the gap between the average cost per unit of power and the revenue realised has not declined in the manner envisaged, forcing discoms to reduce their power purchases and delay payments to power producers.
  • This in turn has impaired the ability of power generating companies to service their debt, causing stress to the banking sector.
  • There is no guarantee that there will not be future losses as there is no retribution if the State electricity boards choose not to reform. In fact, this has been kept out of the purview of the scheme.
  • By also mandating that State governments have to progressively take over the losses of their SEBs, the Centre has put the onus on the States to deal with the problem

Measures needed:

  • Discom business needs to be fundamentally restructured.
  • Governance needs to be improved with greater resilience to political influence.
  • Robust mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure tariff rationalisation and follow-through on subsequent increases.
  • Market-friendly electricity reforms need to be introduced and enforced. This includes expanding the role of short-term markets, as well as strict enforcement of PPAs to assure investors and developers of the legal sanctity of contracts signed with discoms.
  • Streamlining the open access process, with the fair application of additional surcharges will boost the demand for renewable energy from the commercial and industrial sectors.
  • Discoms will have to be pushed harder to invest in technical solutions and infrastructure upgrade such as feeder separation, installing smart meters and undertaking detailed data collection and analysis.
  • Strict Actions to curb Electricity theft and other actions those lead to Losses to DISCOMs.
  • Integrating UDAY scheme with Make in India and Startup India to ensure overall Development.
  • Integrating UDAY with KUSUM to increase amount of electricity to DISCOMS.

Conclusion:

The Centre should also look at altering the incentive structures of states in order to ensure compliance. Stiff penalties need to be imposed for not meeting the targets laid out in the new scheme.

 

Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

7. Discuss the challenges facing the Indian Textile Sector in detail and suggest ways and means to upsurge domestic manufacturing and promotion of exports in the this Sector.(250 words)

Business Standard

Financial Express

Why this question:

The question aims to analyse the challenges of textile industry in the country and need for a strong policy to address the issues and make the sector a strong and flourishing one.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the challenges facing the Indian Textile Sector in detail and suggest ways and means to upsurge domestic manufacturing and promotion of exports in the this Sector.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First discuss key statistics of the textile sector. Indian textile industry is one of the largest industries in India. It is the second largest industry in terms of providing employment opportunities to more than 35 million people in the country. Indian Textile industry contributes to 7 per cent of industrial output in terms of value, 2 per cent of India’s GDP and to 15 per cent of country’s export earnings.

Body:

List the challenges of the Indian Textile Sector –

  • The Indian Textile Sector is losing to competition because of lack of FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) with the EU and the USA.
  • The small scale of business is making it difficult for textile manufacturers to compete on cost with players from outside.
  • India is facing huge competition from other countries in Ready-made Garment (RMG) Exports, particularly cotton .And while the world of fashion is moving towards “Blends”, India is not making many blended apparel items. So on the one side our traditional items are facing competition, and on the other side we are behind in Product Diversification.
  • Textile imports from Vietnam and Bangladesh are cheaper for buyers across the world.

Suggest remedies to the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Exports are critical, but textile manufacturers should focus on the opportunities in the domestic market too.

Introduction:

The Indian textile and apparel industry can be broadly divided into two segments – yarn & fibre, and processed fabrics & apparel. Indian textile industry has some deep-rooted problems which needs to be addressed with long-term sustainable solutions

Body:

The government recently said the new Textiles Policy 2020 being formulated by the Centre is aimed at developing in the country a competitive textile sector which is modern, sustainable and inclusive. This new policy will have a special focus on manufacturing of apparel and garment, technical textiles, man-made fibre products and exports.

The policy will entail the strategy and action plan for the country’s textile and apparel segments, while maintaining pre-eminent position in handicraft and handloom sectors.

Challenges faced by Indian textiles sector:

  • Market Reality: India’s textile industry grapples with domestic issues including outdated technology, inflexible labour laws, infrastructure bottlenecks, and a fragmented nature of the industry.
  • The textiles sector in India, primarily dominated by the unorganized and small players, had taken a major hit with demonetization and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
  • Global Policies: According to the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, a country needs to phase out export subsidies for a product as it achieves export competitiveness, defined as 3.25% share in world trade, and the per-capita income reaches more than $1,000 per annum.
  • As per this agreement, India is under pressure to end export subsidy for the textiles sector by 2018.
  • This implies that the existing subsidy schemes including the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme will get affected by the same.
  • Demand for MMF: Globally, manmade textiles and garments are in high demand, with the ratio of cotton-to-manmade-fibre consumption at 30:70.
  • India, despite being the second-largest textiles exporter in the world, lags in this category because of unavailability of manmade fibres at competitive prices.
  • Free-trade pacts: like the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) have led to intense competition from countries like Bangladesh which have zero-duty access to the Indian market. The government should take a re-look at such pacts and try to work out a solution.
  • The government should aim at driving scale across the textiles value chain by encouraging large investment, consolidation of firms and enlargement of clusters.
  • Impact of recent reforms: The sector went through a phase of stagnating exports, demonetisation, bank restructuring and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • India, which was the second largest exporter of Textile & Clothing between 2014 and 2017 after China, slipped to the fifth place losing its position to Germany, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • Delay in disbursal of subsidies: Fast-track disbursal of subsidies for technology up-gradation under the TUFS scheme to help the industry modernise the operation.

Measures needed:

  • Government needs to move away from export-specific subsidy, which violates WTO norms, to focus on regional and cluster subsidies, technology upgradation and skill development subsidies, which benefit all the producers.
  • In India, cotton and manmade fibres (MMF) have differential tax treatment, here fibre neutrality will give a boost to the industry.
  • Under differential tax treatment cotton is taxed at 5% and manmade fibres at 12%.
  • In fact, of the total textiles and clothing exports from India, cotton accounts for around 75%, there is a need to increase production with the global consumption patterns.
  • While India has abundant supply of labour, flexibility in labour laws and adequate skilling will give a big boost to the textiles industry.
  • For instance, women should be allowed to work in all three shifts, after taking into account adequate safeguard measures.
  • Technology upgradation schemes will help Indian players to increase both their productivity and competitiveness.
  • In addition, the government needs to carefully evaluate the various trade agreement opportunities Bangladesh and Vietnam benefit from favourable access to some of the big apparel markets.
  • The government also needs to re-look at fibre neutrality and evaluate various trade agreement opportunities, while domestically focusing more on technology upgradation and skill development.

Conclusion:

There is a need to expand the production base to non-traditional areas where abundant land and labour are available.