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Editorial Notes

Editorial Notes 9th November 2016

Need for food grain stock management; Measuring private stocks; What is tolerance? Ill effects of intolerance.
By IT's Editorial Notes Team
November 09, 2016

 

GS (M) Paper-1: “Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.”

 

A duty of tolerance

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What is tolerance?

  • It refers to the conditional acceptance of or non-interference with beliefs, actions or practices that one considers to be wrong but still “tolerable,” such that they should not be prohibited or constrained.
  • Disagreement with the belief and ideology of others is no reason for their suppression, because there can be more than one path for the attainment of truth and salvation.
  • Even if there is only one truth, it may have a hundred facets.

Significance of tolerance:

  • An unmistakable feature of any nation which professes to be democratic is the prevalence of tolerance.
  • Tolerance is vital because it promotes the receiving or acknowledging of new ideas and this helps to break the status quo mentality.
  • It is particularly needed in large and complex societies comprising people with varied beliefs, as in India. This is because readiness to tolerate views other than one’s own facilitates harmonious coexistence.

Ill effects of intolerance:

  • Intolerance stems from a strong assumption of the infallibility and truth of one’s beliefs, the rigid conviction about the rightness of one’s beliefs and their superiority over others.
  • With the passage of time, this leads to forcible imposition of one’s ideology on others, often resulting in violence.
  • At present, the virus of intolerance has acquired global dimensions. Religious and political persecution has become rampant and curiously that too sometimes in the name of God Almighty or some Divine Power.
  • Intolerance has a chilling, inhibiting effect on freedom of thought and discussion.
  • Galileo suffered for his theory that the sun was the centre of the solar system and not the earth. Darwin was a victim of intolerance and was lampooned and considered an enemy of religion for his seminal work, The Origin of Species.
  • Nearer home we have the example of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, whose efforts for reform, especially for the abolition of Sati, evoked fierce opposition because of intolerance.
  • We must not revert to those dark days because when that happens democracy is under siege.
  • An intolerant society does not brook dissent. Suppression of dissent by censorship is an indispensable instrument for an intolerant authoritarian regime.

Legal backings for tolerance:

  • The necessity for tolerance has been internationally recognised.
  • The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations proclaims that to achieve the goals of the Charter we need to “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”.
  • Another significant UN instrument is the Declaration of November 25, 1981 on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief which emphasises that it is essential to promote tolerance and requires states to adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of intolerance in all its forms and manifestations.
  • The Supreme Court promptly in a landmark decision in the case regarding the screening of the film Ore Oru Gramathiley, laid down an extremely important principle: “Freedom of expression protects not merely ideas that are accepted but those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the
    Such are the demands of the pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no democratic society”.
  • Supreme Court’s judgment in another case – Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala is also significant. Students belonging to the faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, stood up when the national anthem was sung to show their respect but declined to sing along. The students were expelled by the school authorities. The Supreme Court reversed the decision and observed that the students did not hold their beliefs idly or out of any unpatriotic sentiment but because they truly and conscientiously believed that their religion forbade singing the national anthem of any country. The Supreme Court concluded: “Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our Constitution practices tolerance. Let none dilute it”.
  • Fundamental duty calls “to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities”

Way ahead:

  • At present, the virus of intolerance has acquired global dimensions. Religious and political persecution has become rampant and curiously that too sometimes in the name of God Almighty or some Divine Power.
  • A liberal democracy accepts the fact that in a free country, one can have different opinions and should have equal rights in voicing them. This is pluralism, and tolerance is its ultimate rationale.
  • Therefore the practice of tolerance should be the most fundamental duty of every citizen to curb the growing menace of intolerance.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

GS (M) Paper-3: “issues of buffer stocks and food security”

 

Getting a fix on privately held food stocks

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Introduction:

  • International Seminar on Approaches and Methodologies for Private Food Grain Stock Measurement to be held on 9th November, 2016 in New Delhi.

Need for food grain stock management:

  • Information on food grain stocks is vital for food security and can influence the world prices of certain crops.
  • There is a growing need to ensure stock-taking of domestic food availability which is both accurate and up-to-date. This would enable in framing adequate policies to handle with food shortages, excesses and also plan for future production.

Why private stocks matter?

  • In India, stocks of grains and oilseeds are held by various stakeholders, including farmers, individual non-farmer households, the Government (Central and State), processing units, traders and exporters.
  • Often, these entities are fragmented across the width and breadth of the country.
  • Given the vastness of the country, the seasonal and regional nature of production and consumption, the operation of a large number of small to medium entities in the private sector, measuring privately held stocks has been a challenge.
  • Adequate foodgrain stocks can help contain price rise. While stocks held by public agencies are fairly well known, those held by private entities are not.
  • The growing involvement of multiple stakeholders, private stockists in particular, often leads to price volatilities.

Steps previously taken to measure private food stocks:

  • Strengthening Agricultural Market Information System, a G20 initiative was set up in 2011 with the task of improving agriculture market information and forecasting national and international level stocks.

Measuring private stocks:

  • Reliable information on private foodgrain stocks is a challenge due to the non-existence of a scientific approach and methodology.
  • While public stocks maintained as buffer are used to absorb supply shocks to dampen price spikes, the paucity of information on the volume of private stocks is used by private traders to ‘rig’ prices.
  • The commercial storage and warehouses maintained by commodity exchanges and warehousing receipts by agencies such as the Warehouse Development and Regulatory Authority play a crucial role in stocking for private entities.
  • Evolving a scientific approach and methodology for measuring stocks held privately and by commercial storage entities can help predict the direction of prices and the designing of appropriate public policy and business planning.
  • The Philippines conducts sample surveys on a monthly basis to estimate private stocks of rice and maize. However, the suitability of this methodology for a large country like India has not been tested.

Conclusion:

The upcoming seminar in New Delhi organised by the FAO and the agriculture ministry will hopefully throw light on approaches and methodologies for India and will help design robust policies and focus on new technologies and their integration into the food grain stock data management system.

[Ref: Business Line]

 

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