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TV Summeries Lok Sabha TV : NITI Aayog:

NITI Aayog recently constituted an expert group to chart out detailed contours of proposed mission relating to promotion of Innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. NITI Aayog was built on promise of cooperative federalism, but states are shying away from taking up meaningful constructive role in the body. Few days back 2nd meet of Governance Council was held and many Non- NDA ruled states chose to stay away.

Erstwhile Planning Commission was a decaying body which was turning into just another bureaucratic wing of the government. All the main policy and finance decisions regarding different ministries and different states (horizontal and vertical) were taken at this level. It was often alleged that planning commission is out of sync with ground realities. About 80% of total center’s assistance to states went through PC determined Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
Now NITI Aayog is more of a think tank and a platform where representatives of different states and central ministries can meet decide future discourse. Earlier this job was meant to be done by National Development Council, which failed miserably. It was often lamented by Chief Ministers that they were made to sit as audience in NDC meets.
Having said this, NITI aayog as of now too lacks internal subject expertise and domain specialists. It relies on external expertise which will be recruited as and when needed, as recently Expert Group of domain specialists was constituted for Atal Innovation Mission. Internal expertise is imperative for long term success of the institution.
This year Government accepted recommendations of 14th F.C. under which states will get 42% of total divisible pool. This is the spirit of cooperative federalism and envisioned Team India. Through this states are supposed to chart out plans as per their own supposed needs. However, time and again central schemes are still being launched like Swacchh Bharat Mission, PM Jan Dhan Yojna and Smart City project. Further, P.M. recently reaffirmed its commitment to give Bihar a special package and special status. This all doesn’t fit well with cooperative federalism. It seems central government through its schemes is focusing to rationalize subsidies, improve infrastructure etc. Swacchh Bharat Mission and Beti Bachao Beti padhao andolan are more of attempts toward moral revival of Indian masses. These are much necessary missions, have less to do with money spent and more with change in societal values.
Government has so far not made clear that whether Five Year Plans will be continued or not. 12th FYP will expire in 2017, in case there will be 13th FYP then this is the best time start preliminary work. Five Year Plans are reminiscent of Planning Commission’s centralized planning. It seems unlikely that NITI Aayog will take up such work. Further, when more untied funds are with states, center’s role to direct them is curtailed automatically.
Notwithstanding noble intentions behind cooperative federalism, there are some serious concerns. State politics is much parochial and polarized in comparison to national politics. State governments are much more vulnerable to falling prey to populism. For some states fiscal management is something alien and they rampantly distribute laptops, mobile phones and other freebies. Center must frame some minimum rules regarding utilization of this money. For this problem, Center is planning to inculcate competitive spirit among the states. States will be ranked on basis of their performances on various indicators, and this report card will have implications for the future political prospects of ruling party, as well as future financial support from the Center.
There are two initiatives by NITI Aayog having bearing on innovation –Atal Innovation Mission
The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is being set up under NITI. AIM will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers drawing upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D in India. The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and grand challenges for India. Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU)
The Government has established a mechanism to be known as SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilization) under NITI Aayog. SETU will be a Techno-Financial, Incubation and Facilitation Programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas.


Lok Sabha TV : Climate Change Debate

Year 2015 is being tagged as a landmark year for global climate change discourse due to Paris meet (COP 21) of UNFCC which will be held in 2015. It’s another thing that nothing much is expected from the meet, but its outcomes will certainly give conclusive indicators about the future of the earth. Climate change experts are already claiming that we are tremendously late, yet there is some unrealistic optimism that leaders will rise above their national interest and think global.
Almost every big emitter (except India) has submitted its ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs) to UNFCCC. US’s INDC promises reductions of 26-28% emissions of Greenhouse gasses – by 2025 – from 2005 levels. China has adopted other was – it has promised that its emissions will peak by 2030 and start declining thereafter. Further, it claims reduction of ‘emissions per unit of GDP’ by 60-65% on 2005 levels by 2030. In case of Japan, reduction will be 26.5% by 2030 from 2013 levels or by 25% from 2005 levels. Other INDCs can be seen here. These are voluntary contributions and no binding commitments.
A decision ‘at COP 19 held in 2013 at Warsaw’, invited INDCs from all countries well in advance of Paris meet (or COP 21) which shall include quantifiable reduction targets and some means to achieve those targets. Developed countries want to limit INDCs to mitigation only, while developing ones want adaptation and finance to be included. INDCs of various countries put together are hoped to be enough for achieving goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2° by 2030 as compared from pre- industrialization era, which is also the official target of UNFCCC.
At the first place target in itself is quite modest, but any more ambitious target will be utterly disregarded by most countries. By now .8° rise is already observed and there is noticeable increase in climate related natural disasters. Heat wave in India and Pakistan claimed lives of about 3000 people. Erratic rainfalls are taking toll on farm productivity. There is marked increase in random cyclonic activity all over the world. All types of extreme weather events are being observed. Intense summers, winters, downpours suggests that target limit of 2° is quite modest.
Even if we accept that something is better than nothing and agree with 2° target, INDCs promised by various countries indicate that countries are non-committal toward target and trying to evade their responsibility. Above mentioned INDCs are way lower than what is required. U.S. has already expressed its inability to contribute more owing to constraints posed by domestic politics. Now world bizarrely expects India to contribute liberally to targets. India has not so far declared its INDC, perhaps to observe commitments of nations who are more responsible and then decide its course.
India owing to its sheer size and dense population is 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter. However, its per capita emission is just 30% of that of China and 13% of USA. Further, above mentioned data is about ‘current aggregate emissions’, if we take ‘cumulative historical emissions’ or ‘legacy emissions’, India’s contribution to greenhouse gasses is just 2.5%. For this 2.5% of emissions India can’t be expected to contribute a lion’s share in total reduction.
India has taken various measures – Target of 100 GW solar power and 38 GW wind power by 2022, clean energy cess of Rs. 100 on Coal, High excise duty on petrol and diesel, there are attempts to shift to cleaner coal technologies for which Ultra Mega Power Projects are in pipeline, India has National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) which contains 8 missions. Despite all this, India’s reliance on coal will not abate in near future as 300 million Indians are still waiting for electrification.
India is planning to submit two INDCs. One based on what its domestic resources allow and other based on international support regarding finances and technology. It is amply clear that India has to maintain its developmental space. It has to provide atleast minimum standards of living to Indians at all costs. India is already a low carbon intensive economy. But if manufacturing sector picks up, carbon emissions will follow. Yet India in 2010, promised that its ‘emission per capita of GDP’ will reduce by 20-25% by 2020, from 2005 levels. While India is on path of delivering on earlier promise, it is expected to make similar but enhanced promise for INDCs. It can be 45-55% reduction in emissions per capita GDP from 2005 levels. Experts say this would be a reasonable target. But this will not in any way contribute in absolute reduction of Indian emissions; in fact they will probably double. India can only decouple 2-3% of its growth from emissions. If its GDP grows at 8%, then emissions will grow at least 6-5%.            Read More »

IAS World, an institute for Civil Services Examination (CSE), has moved into its new spacious and well equipped premises from 26th November 2011.

              

              

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