Recently, the Haryana government announced its policy of reserving 75 per cent of the State’s jobs in the private sector for candidates who are domiciled in the State. This is not a new case as the Andhra Pradesh government had passed similar legislation in 2019 and many States in India are in the line to enact such legislation to ensure employment to its unemployed population. The recent trend of ‘the locals first’ policy in job is more about fulfilling poll promises than ensuring job to the unemployed and it has several implications for the State, and the country as a whole. It not only acts as a hurdle to the hopes of the inter-state migratory population but also brings into question some of the constitutional dimensions which grant certain rights to all the citizens of India.
On 23rd March this year, a large container vessel ran aground and blocked Suez Canal, leading to the maritime shipping traffic coming to a halt at one of the world’s busiest waterways. It had remained struck for 6 days, with more than 400 ships being stranded in the waterway. While the vessel was dislodged using tugboats and dredgers, it caused significant adverse implications to the already suffering global economy amid the pandemic. This rare incident highlights the importance of strategic chokepoints in economic growth.
In a recent webinar, the Prime Minister of India stated that in recent years, India has added 139 Giga Watts capacity and reached the goal of one nation-one grid-one frequency. He added that reforms like the UDAY scheme were undertaken to improve financial and operational efficiencies. He further added that India has become a power surplus country from a power deficit one. The idea of One Nation, One Grid has been making rounds in the news for the last few years. However, the idea is not new to us. To reach the ambitious goal of India becoming a nation using renewable energy sources for most of its needs, the idea of One Nation, One Grid is vital. The energy sector plays a crucial role in the progress of the country and influences both ease of living and ease of doing business. To fulfil the goals, the nation needs to have last-mile connectivity and One Nation, One Grid is a step forward in this direction.
Due to its high dependence on roads for the goods’ movement, India had long suffered from high logistics costs and slow economic progress. This situation is expected to change next year when Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor are set to be operationalised after the completion of the first phase of the DFC project.
Vehicle scrappage programs serve multiple purposes like reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, pressure on mines, etc. However, it is also a key tool for economic revival as it has a direct bearing on the automobile sector– a critical determinant of economic growth. Many countries used it in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to aid their recovery. Recently, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways released the draft Vehicle Scrappage Policy. This could serve as a much needed leg up for the Indian auto industry and post-COVID economy.
Industrial capacities and critical infrastructure are key targets in warfare. This has been so especially since the Industrial Revolution. Today, cyberwarfare poses a greater threat in this regard as it can cause much greater damage to the target with very little cost to the attacker. The ShadowPad attack on Mumbai’s electricity distribution grid has shown the damaging potential of cyberattacks directed at critical infrastructure. Though the energy sector is one of the most targeted in such attacks, it isn’t the only one. Sectors like transport, telecommunication, manufacturing units and other public sector services could be brought down by cyberattacks.
Recently, the Union Budget(2021-22) has announced to provide additional funds for micro-irrigation projects and improving the efficiency of irrigation in the country. This has brought back the spotlight on irrigation schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), which is one of the premier irrigation schemes of the country. Out of 141 million hectares of net sown area in the country, 45% of the area is covered under irrigation. A lot of farmers are dependent upon rainfall for irrigating their lands which makes them vulnerable to crop failure and other risks. In such a situation, government-sponsored schemes play a key role in ensuring a steady flow of income to the farmers. Irrigation schemes form an important part of such efforts leading to productivity enhancement and increased farm income.
In the Union Budget 2021-22, the Finance Minister proposed the revival of the DFI model to meet the needs of infrastructure financing. The government has set a target of 5 lakh crore INR loan within 3 years. For this, the proposed DFI is to be capitalized with 20,000 crore INR. Given the importance of infrastructure development in the post-COVID world, there is a need to examine the viability of the DFI model and how it can be made to work in India.
Last year, the world saw the 25th anniversary of WTO’s establishment amid the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Indeed the global trade body played a critical role in ensuring a stable multilateral trading regime over the past decades. Yet its credibility is currently challenged due to the lack of consensus and crippled dispute resolution system. The pandemic has exacerbated this situation to a whole new level, with protectionism prevailing over the need for liberalisation. The WTO members must cast aside their differences and work towards a mutually beneficial and sustainable future.