Q.1) For successfully decoupling Indian economy with that of China's, a strategy to create a globally competitive industrial sector in India is required. Comment (15 marks - 250 words)
Why this question? - Amid debates on the needs, challenges and opportunities of Indian economy decoupling with that of China's, the first thing India needs is to create a free and competitive market and a globally competitive industrial sector.
Intro - A brief about India-China trade relations.
- Needs, challenges and opportunities of Indian economy decoupling with that of China's.
- Strategy to create a globally competitive industrial sector in India.
- Challenges that India may face while implementing such strategies.
Way ahead - How to overcome these challenges.
Conclusion - A clear long-term strategy requires imagination and will like China.
Q.2) In the Union Budget 2020-21, a meagre defence hike threatens military modernisation. Critically analyse. (10M, 150 Words)
Why this question?
- The defence budget has been going down as a percentage of the GDP, and the novel coronavirus pandemic has put further budgetary constraints on military modernisation.
- Briefly discuss Union Budget outlay for Defence: The govt. increased India’s defence budget by a mere 1.82 per cent to Rs 3.37 lakh crore, excluding expenditure on pension.
- The capital budget for the military, which is used for new acquisition and modernisation, has seen an increase of just 3 per cent, or Rs 3,400 crore, over the revised estimates.
Body: Analyse the poor outlay for defence capital expenditure.
- The Army’s pay and pension bill has been increasingly steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.
- In the last five years, though the growth in the defence budget has been 68%, and for defence salaries 75%, defence pensions have increased by a staggering 146%.
- The army has the biggest share of the annual defence budget -- Rs 1.71 lakh crore out of the total Rs 3.18 lakh crore.
- But 83% of its outlay is meant for revenue expenditure that is for day-to-day running costs and salaries and merely 17% is left for modernisation.
- Capital allocation down: Of the total capital allocation of ₹1.13-lakh crore, the IAF got 38% but in real terms the capital allocation for IAF has gone down from the revised estimates of 2019-20.
- The armed forces’ slow modernisation, mainly due to the financial crunch, is dangerous for the country’s national security. With a poor tooth-to-tail ratio, the army is not fully geared to effect swift high-voltage strikes.
- Delayed projects like Scorpene Submarines.
Conclusion: Provide a way forward
- Trimming Indian Army’s huge work-force
Q.3) NATGRID is the integrated intelligence grid which connects databases of core security agencies. Discuss the advantages and concerns regarding NATGRID.
Why this question?
- The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.
Introduction to the answer:
- Brief info about NATGRID
Advantages: NATGRID will act as a link between intelligence and investigation agencies.
- Safeguarding from leaks: Currently, the security agencies directly contact an airline or a telephone company if they are on a suspect’s trail. The data is shared through international servers such as Google etc.
- The NATGRID will ensure that such information is shared through a secure platform, safeguarding it from leaks.
- There is no human interface and therefore chances of the system being misused are almost impossible
- Cooperative federalism: Some say that the MoU infringes on the federal system of the Constitution, since the NCRB under the Union government is only a repository and the data pertaining to FIRs of a particular police station are a State subject.
- Privacy: The NATGRID was proposed after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but generated controversy primarily over concerns about privacy.
- Multiple agencies: Earlier the Civil Aviation Ministry and airline companies had raised concerns in providing information to yet another agency — NATGRID as they already provide information to the Bureau of Immigration and the Customs authorities.
Conclusion: The European Union and the USA, along with a host of other countries have comprehensive privacy laws, which also lay down conditions for access to databases, and the limitations of such use. A similar approach is imperative in the case of NATGRID to uphold the sovereign electorate’s right to oversee institutions that may affect it in the future.