Reading Time: 6 mins The government has set a disinvestment target for 2020-2021 to Rs.2.10 lakh crore, having failed to achieve the current fiscal year’s target of Rs.1.05 lakh crore. It hopes to achieve the unmet target of this fiscal year in the next fiscal year. A large part is likely to come from the sale of stakes in Life Insurance Corporation and IDBI bank. However, the strategy of how this target is going to be achieved is absent. Nevertheless, selling off stakes from high return public enterprises like LIC can ensure the achievement of targets set by the government. Achieving this alone is not enough. The government must use these earnings not to pay off its loans or achieve its fiscal deficit target but to reinvest in aspects that ensure improvement in economic growth and sustainable returns.
Reading Time: 8 mins Coal is variously referred to as the ‘black gold’, ‘black diamond’ etc. in reference to its value in driving the economy. Recently, the cabinet approved the ordnance for liberalising the sector further- only the latest addition to a series of measures by the government to stimulate the sector. This is noteworthy given India’s stand in the fight against climate change. It shows the significance the carbon based material has on the Indian economy despite its proven deleterious effects on the environment.
Reading Time: 9 mins With the decreasing revenue and increasing expenditure, the Finance Minister took the fiscal expansion path not just for the current fiscal, but also for the next fiscal. This is despite over 37% reduction in food subsidy and nearly 11% reduction in fertilizer subsidy. The deficit for the current fiscal is to be 3.8% as against 3.3% announced in the last year’s budget. This was done by making use of Section 4(2) of the FRBM Act that provides for the deviation from the estimated fiscal deficit. The government argued that this fiscal path aims for fiscal consolidation without compromising the investment needs from the public funds. This shows that there is a need for a comprehensive investment on the capital front to ensure an increase in the revenue for the government and reform in the FRBM Act to make sure that the targets set by this law are achieved.
Reading Time: 5 mins Celebrations ensued among the Bodo people following the signing of a peace accord between the Indian government and the much-dreaded insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland and other factions calling for secessionism. This accord stands out because it successfully brings together the leading stakeholders under one framework.
Reading Time: 6 mins On December 13, 2019, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had announced its intention to extend the deadline of the Accessible India Campaign to March 2020 due to its slow progress. The Central Advisory Board (CAB) chaired by social justice and empowerment minister took this decision. Failure to provide for the accessibility to persons with disability is showing the government’s negligence to provide for the inclusive growth and equal opportunity to all of the Indian citizens.
Reading Time: 5 mins Seeds occupy a peculiar position in agriculture. They are at the root of big policy-making, scaled agricultural outputs, while also at the top of discourses on food security, livelihood and innovation. They may seem to strengthen the quality food policy but are integral to farmers. Recently, the ministry of agriculture and farmer’s welfare introduced the draft seed bill, 2019 in the parliament. It was introduced with the aim of regulating the seed industry in India and ensuring the welfare of farmers through regulating the prices of hybrid seeds, ensuring certification of seeds, holding seed companies accountable if seeds don’t perform according to the expectations, etc. It was followed by the protest by farmers all over India stating that it threatens the sovereignty of farmers over seeds.
Reading Time: 9 mins The annual UN Climate Conference, 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) in Madrid, became the longest on record, following more than 2 weeks of fraught negotiations. Nearly 27,000 delegates went to Spain’s capital in early December last year aiming to finalise the “rulebook” of the Paris Agreement. However, the COP25 failed to address the issue of climate change despite yearlong demonstrations and demands across the globe to mitigate it. Mere technicalities hindered the progress that needs to be made by the global community to safeguard the future generation and the vulnerable biodiversity.
Reading Time: 5 mins Recently, Government of India privatized the Tejas express running from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, which is operated by the IRCTC, arm of the Indian railways. Indian Railways has launched itself on the road to privatisation by flagging off the Tejas Express running between Lucknow and Delhi and announcing plans to privatise the running of as many as 150 passenger trains. Privatisation of railways has benefits like improved efficiency, services, operations, etc. At the same time, it has disadvantages like it can’t provide affordable services, informalisation of jobs, revenue loss to the government in the form of a dividend, etc.