EDITIORIAL- Keeping an eye on the elderly
AFSPA extended in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh
INDEX OF EIGHT CORE INDUSTRIES (BASE: 2011-12=100) FOR AUGUST, 2022
Reserve Bank of India
Context- Reserve Bank raises rates by 50 bps
The Reserve Bank of India was established on April 1, 1935, in accordance with the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 based on the recommendation of Hilton Young Commission Report (1926) with a share capital of Rs. 5 crores.
- The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of the country. RBI is a statutory body. It is responsible for printing of currency notes and managing the supply of money in the Indian economy.
- The Reserve Bank of India is the highest monetary authority of India.
- It also acts as the representative of the Government in the International Monetary Fund and represents the membership of India.
- Powers of RBI – The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 have given the RBI wide powers of Supervision and Control over commercial Banks – relating to:
- licensing and establishments,
- branch expansion,
- liquidity of their assets,
- management and methods of working,
- amalgamation (merger)
- reconstruction and liquidation.
FUNCTIONS OF THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA
- The RBI has extensive power to control and supervise the commercial banking system under the RBI Act, 1934 and the Banking Regulation Act, 149.
- The Banks are required to maintain a minimum Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with RBI.
- The RBI provides financial assistance to scheduled banks and state cooperative banks.
- It uses various measures such as qualitative and quantitative techniques to regulate credit in the economy. It uses quantitative controls such as bank rate policy, cash reserve ratio, open market operations etc. Qualitative controls include selective credit control, rationing of credit etc.
- RBI is the regulator of the Banking & Finance & Money Market.
Custodian of foreign exchange reserves:
- The RBI functions as the custodian and manager of forex reserves, and operates within the overall policy framework agreed upon with the Government of India.
- The ‘reserves’ refer to both foreign reserves in the form of gold assets in the Banking Department and foreign securities held by the Issue Department, and domestic reserves in the form of ‘bank reserves’.
- It commonly includes foreign exchange and gold, special drawing rights, (SDRs) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserve positions.
Issue of Currency:
- RBI is the sole authority for the issue of currency in India other than one rupee notes and subsidiary coins, the magnitude of which is relatively small. The RBI is also called “Bank of Issue”.
Controller of credit:
- Credit control is generally considered to be the principal function of the Central Bank. By making frequent changes in monetary policy (like CRR, SLR, Repo Rate and Reverse Repo Rate), it ensures that the monetary system in the economy functions according to the nation’s needs and goals.
Lender of last resort:
- Lender of the last resort means “Central Bank (RBI) helps all the commercial and other banks in times of financial crises.
|Note: Under the Section 22 of the RBI Act 1934, RBI has the sole right to issue Bank notes of all denominations except one rupee note. The One Rupees notes, and coins are issued by the Central Government., The Ministry of Finance.|
Banker to the Government
As Bankers to the Govt. RBI performs the following functions:
- It accepts money, makes payments,s and also carries out their exchange and remittances for the Government.
- It makes loans and advances to the States and local authorities.
- It also sells treasury bills to maintain liquidity in the economy.
- It makes ways and means advances to the Governments for 90 days.
- It acts as an adviser to the Government on all monetary and banking matters.
Repo rate or repurchase rate is referred to as the rate at which the central bank (RBI) lends money to the commercial banks for meeting short-term fund requirements in order to maintain liquidity and control inflation.
Reverse Repo Rate
RRR is the rate at which RBI borrows money from banks in the short term.
Keeping an eye on the elderly
Increasing elderly population around the world
Countries all around the world are experiencing an increase in the proportion of their elderly population because of falling fertility rates and rising life expectancy.
By the United Nations’ population projections, the headcount of people aged 65 and above, which constituted 703 million people in 2019, will double to 1.5 billion in 2050, thus accounting for 16% of the world population.
The elderly population in India
The Quality of Life for Elderly Index mentions some interesting information about the elderly population in India. Its key findings are,
- India is currently enjoying the demographic dividend. But the age group above the age of 65 will become the fastest-growing age group by 2050.
- The share of elders, as a percentage of the total population in the country, is expected to increase from around 7.5% in 2001 to almost 12.5% by 2026, and surpass 19.5% by 2050.
According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s (MOSPI) “Elderly in India 2021” report mention that the old-age dependency ratio is increasing in India at high level.
- The old-age dependency ratio provides a clearer picture of the number of persons aged 60-plus per 100 persons in the age group of 15-59 years.
- According to the report, an increasing trend has been observed in the old-age dependency ratio. It has risen from 10.9% in 1961 to 14.2% in 2011 and is further projected to increase to 15.7% and 20.1% in 2021 and 2031 respectively.
- The projected dependency ratio for females and males is 14.8% and 16.7% respectively in 2021.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH OLD AGE
- Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.
- Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
- Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
- Sudden increase in out of pocket expenses on treatment.
- Migration of young working-age persons from rural area have negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse usually poverty and distress.
- Insufficient housing facility.
- Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.
- Health issues like blindness,locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.
- Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.
- Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural area.
GOVERNMENT SCHEMES AND INITIATIVES TOWARDS THE BETTERMENT OF THE ELDERLY POPULATION
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)– The scheme provide an old-age pension for persons above the age of 60 years and belongs to the BPL category.
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) – The scheme provides Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to the BPL category.
- Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana – The scheme aims to provide social security during old age. It also protects elderly persons aged 60 and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
- Senior care Ageing Growth Engine (SAGE) Initiative and SAGE portal– It aims to help startups interested in providing services for elderly care.
Conferred as a National award, and given to eminent senior citizens & institutions under various categories for their contributions on International day of older persons on 1st october.
- Elderline – a toll-free helpline number for elderly persons to provide emotional care, health and legal assistance through dedicated call centers.
THE ARMED FORCES SPECIAL POWERS ACT, 1958 (AFSPA)
CONTEXT-AFSPA extended in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 is an act of Parliament that gives the armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. It gives the armed forces the authority to use force or even open fire after warning a person who is found to be in contravention of the law.
A disturbed area is one where the “use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary”. Under section 3 of the AFSPA, any area can be declared disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language, or regional groups or castes or communities.
Supreme Court verdict, 1998:
In the case of Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights vs. Union of India, the validity of AFSPA was challenged before the Supreme Court and the five-judge bench concluded that the act cannot be considered as a violation of the Constitution and the powers conferred under the section 4 and 5 of the act are not arbitrary and unreasonable and therefore not in violation of the provisions of the Constitution.
The Jeevan Reddy Committee:
On November 19, 2004, the Central government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice BP Jeevan Reddy to review the provisions of the act in the northeastern states.
The Committee had recommended a complete repeal of the law. “The Act is a symbol of hate, oppression, and an instrument of high-handedness,” it said.
Arguments in favour of AFSPA
- Protect borders: With the powers given by AFSPA, the armed forces have been able to protect the borders of the country for decades.
- Effective Counter-insurgency: A strict law is needed to tackle the insurgent elements inside the country particularly in the Kashmir and northeastern region.
- Morale of forces: AFSPA boosts the morale (mental well-being) of the armed forces for ensuring the public order in the disturbed areas as removal of the Act would lead to militants motivating locals to file lawsuits against the army.
- Operational requirements: Absence of such a legal statute would adversely affect organisational flexibility and the utilisation of the security capacity of the state = armed forces cannot fulfill their assigned role.
- There are adequate safeguards provided by the Act and the Army’s guidelines as follows-
- Section 5 of the Act mandates that arrested civilians should be handed to the nearest police station with a ‘least possible delay’ in addition to a ‘report of circumstances that led to the arrest’.
- Army HQ has also mandated that all suspects who are arrested will be handed over to civilian authorities within 24 hours.
- According to the army’s guidelines, a fire may be opened in towns and villages only in self-defence and that too when the source of terrorist or militant fire can be clearly identified.
Arguments against AFSPA
- Violates Human Rights: There are several instances where the armed forces have found to be misusing the oppressive powers given by the Act like fake encounters, sexually exploiting the women in the disturbed areas. What’s more disturbing is the fact that the armed forces escape with impunity for their actions since legal suits cannot be filed against them as per the Act. Thus AFSPA clearly violates human rights.
- Colonial-era law: AFSPA is generally compared to the Rowlatt Act of the British regime because just like the Rowlatt Act, any suspicious person can be arrested only based on doubt in the AFSPA also.
- Not a better solution: Critics assert that there is no need to run the nation on the basis of the bullet while the issue could be addressed on the basis of the ballet (election).
What are the solutions?
- Repeal AFSPA: Jeevan Reddy Committee suggested the repeal of AFSPA and incorporate some of its provisions into other laws like CrPC, unlawful activities prevention act which provides protection to forces.
- Amend AFSPA: The lacunae in the Act, as a result of unclear definitions like “disturbed“, “dangerous “and “land forces” need to be amended to ensure greater clarity.
- Establish committees: at the district level with representatives of the army, administrators, and the public which will report, assess and track complaints in that area.
- No delay: All investigations should be done without delay and if there is a delay, the reasons for the same must be communicated with the victims. Furthermore, all cases of human rights violation should be fast-tracked.
|Generation||2G||3G||3G HSPA+||4G||4G LTE-A||5G|
|Average speed||0.1Mbps||1.5Mbps||5Mbps||10Mbps||15Mbps-50Mbps||50Mbps and up|
Fifth Generation (5G) technology is generally seen as the 5th generation cellular network technology that provides broadband access. The industry association 3GPP defines any system using “5G NR” software as “5G”, a definition that came into general use by late 2018
Fifth Generation (5G) technology is a wireless communication technology using radio waves or radio frequency (RF) energy to transmit and receive data.
Difference between 5G and other Generation
2G and 3G mobile networks relied on microwave wireless backhaul to connect cell sites with the nearest switching centre.
- 4G LTE introduced IP-based connectivity, replacing copper- or microwave-based cell sites with optical fibre.
- 5G deployment is based on optical fibre infrastructure.
Advantages of 5G Technology
· Faster Data Speed – Currently 4G networks are capable of achieving the peak download speed of one gigabit per second. With Fifth Generation (5G) the speed could be increased up to 10Gbps.
- Ultra-low latency – Latency refers to the time it takes for one device to send a packet of data to another device. In 4G the latency rate is around 50 milliseconds but 5G will reduce that to about 1 millisecond.
- A more Connected World – 5G will provide the capacity and bandwidth as per the need of the user to accommodate technologies such as Internet of Things. Thus, will help to incorporate Artificial Intelligence in our lives. It can also support Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services.
- In agriculture, Fifth Generation (5G) can enable improvement in the entire value-chain, from precision farming, smart irrigation, improved soil and crop monitoring, to livestock management.
- In manufacturing, 5G will enable use of robotics for precision manufacturing, particularly where humans cannot perform these functions safely or accurately.
- In the energy sector, ‘smart grids’ and ‘smart metering’ can be efficiently supported. With the rise of renewable and storage technologies, low latency communications will be critical to manage these grids.
- In health-care, Fifth Generation (5G) can enable more effective tele-medicine delivery, tele-control of surgical robotics and wireless monitoring of vital statistics.
Challenges of 5G Technology in India
· Huge Investment Required: India needs a massive Rs 5 lakh crore ($70 billion) investment to bring in 5G.
- Expensive spectrum: Indian spectrum prices are some of the highest in the world and the allocated quantity is well below global best practices, while 40% of the spectrum is lying unsold.
- Lack of uniform policy framework: Delays due to complex procedures across states, non-uniformity of levies along with administrative approvals have impacted telecom service providers in rolling-out Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) and telecom towers.
- Local Regulatory Issues: Many of the local rules and regulations are prohibiting the rapid and cost effective roll-out of small cells in city centres where Fifth Generation (5G) is initially expected to be most in demand.
- Debt scenario in the industry: According to ICRA, the collective debt of telecommunications service providers (TSPs) stands at Rs 4.2 lakh crore.
- Low optical fibre penetration: India lacks a strong backhaul to transition to 5G. Backhaul is a network that connects cells sites to central exchange. As of now 80% of cell sites are connected through microwave backhaul, while under 20% sites are connected through fibre.
- High Import of Equipments: Imports account for a 90 per cent of India’s telecom equipment market. However due to lack of local manufacturing and R&D, Indian telecom providers have no option other than to procure and deploy 5G technologies from foreign suppliers.
- Security: According to the Global Cyber Security Index released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), only about half of all the countries had a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one. The index, which was topped by Singapore at 0.925 saw India at 23rd position.
- Possibility of increased digital divide: Initial deployment of 5G networks in dense urban areas could left
behind rural areas due to commercial viability, may led to increase the digital divide.
- Human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: There has been concern about the said impact of these frequencies on health of human as well as on animals.
INDEX OF EIGHT CORE INDUSTRIES (BASE: 2011-12=100) FOR AUGUST, 2022
Petroleum Refinery Products–Petroleum Refinery production (weight: 28.04 per cent)
Electricity –Electricity generation (weight: 19.85 per cent)
Steel –Steel production (weight: 17.92 per cent)
Coal –Coal production (weight: 10.33 per cent)
Crude Oil–Crude Oil production (weight: 8.98 per cent)
Natural Gas – Natural Gas production (weight: 6.88 per cent)
Cement –Cement production (weight: 5.37 per cent)
Fertilizers –Fertilizers production (weight: 2.63 per cent)