- Making cities inclusive
- From plate to plough: A clear trend towards non-vegetarianism in India
- What ails India’s IT industry?
Defence & Security Issues
- The Right to Self-Defence
GS (M) Paper-1: “population and associated issues; urbanization, their problems and their remedies”
GS (M) Paper-3: “Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.”
Making cities inclusive
- The challenges of a rapidly urbanising world and of providing people with equal opportunities in cities were the central themes at the just-concluded UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, in Quito, Ecuador.
Background: Habitat conferences
- UN-Habitat’s headquarters in Nairobi.
- The Habitat conference sets a guiding compass for member-countries for the next 20 years, and attracts wide governmental and civil society participation
- The first of these summits, then called the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements, took place in Vancouver, in 1976.
- The second took place in Istanbul, in 1996.
- The third took place in Quito, in 2016.
- Yet, the process has to be strengthened to evaluate how countries have fared since the two previous conferences on issues such as reducing urban inequality, improving access to housing and sanitation, mobility, and securing the rights of women, children, older adults and people with disability.
- Moreover, as services come to occupy a dominant place in the urban economy, the divide between highly paid professionals and low-wage workers, the majority, has become pronounced.
- All these trends are relevant to India, where 31 per cent of the population and 26 per cent of the workforce was urban according to Census 2011, with more people moving to cities and towns each year.
- Urban governance policies, although mainly in the domain of the States, must be aligned with national commitments on reduction of carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement, and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11.
- India’s ambition to harness science and data for orderly urbanisation is articulated in a set of policy initiatives, chiefly the Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
- There is little evidence so far that these could achieve the scale needed to address the contradictions of building 21st century cities for 20th century industrial technologies.
- Today, these conflicts are reflected in the lack of adequate parks and public spaces, suitable land for informal workers who offer services in a city, egalitarian and non-polluting mobility options and new approaches to low-cost housing.
- In the national report prepared for the Quito conference, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation identified subsidised redevelopment of slums (which represented 17 per cent of urban households in 2011) involving private agencies, and low-cost, disaster-resistant, prefabricated constructions as key to the ‘Housing for All’ policy.
- The government should also take its own National Urban Transport Policy on developing cities around mobility networks seriously, and liberate cities from the tyranny of traffic.
- UN Habitat plans to review country-level progress on its New Urban Agenda in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.
- India’s performance on improving the quality of life in its cities will be watched.
GS (M) Paper-3: “food security”
From plate to plough: A clear trend towards non-vegetarianism in India
- India is seen as a vegetarian country.
- India’s largest household consumption surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) reveals the various data related to Dietary consumption of Indian households.
Survey’s key findings:
- Survey conducted in 1993-94, 2004-05 and 2011-12, each time with a sample size of over one lakh households, Define non-vegetarians as those consuming either eggs or fish or meat or any combination of these.
- 62.3 % of Indian households consumed non-vegetarian food in 2011-12, up from 56.7 per cent in 1993-94, and 58.2 per cent in 2004-05.
- So, the trend is quite clear — non-vegetarianism is on the rise.
Sample Registration System Baseline Survey Vs NSSO survey:
- The Sample Registration System Baseline Survey 2014, states that 71 % of Indians were non-vegetarians which covers population of above 15 years of age but the NSSO survey includes individuals of all age groups.
State wise analysis:
- While 28 per cent of Gujarat’s population eats non-vegetarian food, Punjab has an even lower percentage (23 per cent) of non-vegetarians.
- Haryana, however, has the lowest non-vegetarian population in the country with just 19 per cent, followed by Rajasthan (20 per cent), Punjab (23 per cent) and Gujarat (28 per cent).
- Seven states in the Northeast had the highest proportion (97 per cent) of non-vegetarians in 2011-12, followed by West Bengal (95 per cent) and Kerala (92 per cent).
- In Jammu and Kashmir there is sharp increase in the proportion of non-vegetarians — from 35 per cent in 1993-94 to 74 per cent in 2011-12, reason might be due to the exodus of Hindus from the state during this period.
- While the trend toward non-vegetarianism is clear, what is interesting to note is that it has been marked by a “chicken revolution”.
- The proportion of households consuming chicken shot up from eight per cent in 1993-94 to 38 per cent in 2011-12, with fish-eating from 30 per cent to 32 per cent over the same period.
- The proportion of goat-meat/mutton-eaters has fallen significantly — from 30 per cent in 1993-94 to 15 per cent in 2011-12.
- The population of beef and buffalo meat-eaters has remained constant at about six per cent over this period.
- Interestingly, the proportion of “eggetarians” (those consuming only eggs) has fallen drastically from about 24 per cent in 1993-94 to merely 3.5 per cent in 2011-12.
- A structural change in the poultry industry by organised large hatcheries. Thus, broiler meat production rose from less than 0.2 million metric tonnes (mmt) in 1991 to about 2.47 mmt in 2011-12, and egg production from about 24 billion to 66 billion by 2011-12.
Non-vegetarianism and increasing incomes:
- Normally, rising non-vegetarianism is attributed to increasing incomes and resulting diversification of diets for better and higher protein intake.
- However, Religious beliefs have played an important role in keeping meat consumption low in some states. For example, Kerala and Punjab are both prosperous states with comparable per capita incomes, but Kerala has 92 per cent non-vegetarians and Punjab only 23 per cent.
Badri Raina writes – Who owns the nation?
Religious movements in Punjab — Arya Samaj, Radhasoami and Namdharis — seem to have played an influential role in restricting meat consumption in the state.
Milk for vegetarians:
- It is likely that vegetarians consume more milk to meet their protein requirements.
- The proportion of milk-consuming households increased from 70 per cent in 1993-94 to 81 per cent in 2011-12.
- India has the lowest level of per capita meat consumption among countries with comparable or even lower per capita incomes — 2.9 kg in 2015, of which 1.7kg/ capita is poultry.
- Pakistan’s annual per capita meat consumption is about four times that of India.
What do these numbers indicate for food and nutritional security?
- Indians draw only about one per cent calorie-intake and three per cent protein-intake from eggs, fish and meat, which is worrisome for nutritionist.
- Will government policy promote egg or meat consumption for better nutrition?
- The government can give a fillip to poultry consumption by reducing import duty on chicken legs from 100 per cent to say 20 per cent.
- Meat consumption will increase primarily through private sector initiatives such as of KFC and McDonald’s, Modernised, well-equipped abattoirs will also help as they have in making India one of the largest exporters of buffalo meat.
- Milk and milk-products can be promoted by cooperatives with support from the government.
Chicken rules the roost:
- Its chicken, not pork or beef, the feed pressure will be much less in India, with feed-to-meat ratio of 1.6:1 compared to 5:1 for pork and 7:1 for beef.
- This, coupled with low levels of meat consumption, will keep demand for feed food subdued.
GS (M) Paper-3: “Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.”
What ails India’s IT industry?
- Blip or trend? That’s the question analysts and journalists are asking themselves about the poor performance of Indian information technology (IT) services companies.
- For business media (and the interested public), Flipkart is the new Infosys, Amazon India, the new Cognizant, and Snapdeal, the new Wipro.
- Several articles in recent days have pointed to the decline of Indian IT services companies.
IT sector and its evolution in India:
- Many of India’s IT services companies began life as body shoppers. They would ship warm bodies to cold climes to serve customers who realized that these companies and coders cost far less than local software companies and engineers. This was in the 1980s and reached its peak in the 1990s.
- Private engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were churning out thousands of engineers, many of whom were happy to work overseas for a dollar stipend, with their regular salaries being credited into their salary accounts in India.
- The late 1990s were all about the scare around the so-called millennium or Y2K bug—software programs, and therefore, the businesses and utilities they powered, coming to a halt because no one had anticipated the need for an automatic date shift from 1999 to 2000. Much of this software was in Cobol, and changing the date field everywhere a date was mentioned in lines and lines of code was a lot of fetch-work, but it was also good business.
- Somewhere along the way, body shopping was replaced by outsourcing, a more respectable term; customers discovered that the Indians who were managing the Y2K issue so well could also build and run their other software applications; and the Indian companies realized that they could actually do some of the work in India (which meant even more labour arbitrage).
- Gradually, this grew into the business model Indian IT companies grew fat on—the so-called Global Delivery Model. Much of the work was done in India or off-site, with only some work being done at the customers’ location or on-site. This was a real innovation, and it disrupted the business—hurting companies such as International Business Machines Corp, Accenture Plc, and Cap Gemini S.A. Many responded by focusing on growing their services business and making India a hub for this.
- A decade-and-a-half later, the disruptors have been disrupted. If it was the Global Delivery Model that did this in the 2000s, it is revolutionary new developments in artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, data analytics, the so-called Internet of Things, mobile technologies, and cloud-based computing, all clubbed under that all-encompassing term, digital, that are doing so now.
- The term Innovator’s dilemma has entered popular lexicon—all around us.
- Indian software services firms, for all their seriousness of intent when it comes to digital, are still laggards in the business.
- The reason for this was beautifully articulated in the 1990s by Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma. Large and successful companies are often the first or early experimenters with new and potentially disruptive technologies, but often abandon them because their existing customers see no value in them or the returns are too low.
- The Innovator’s dilemma can be seen in various other sectors like:
- In car makers: late to the electric and autonomous vehicles party.
- In retailers: slow to adopt e-commerce.
- Even in media companies: flogging digital extensions of their own products instead of launching entirely new ones (for entirely new audiences).
Can they break out of it?
- The answer is yes and as evidence, I offer Microsoft Corp.
- Satya Nadella has made Microsoft cool again—by focusing on the mobile and cloud, developing interesting new products, and spending big money on acquisitions such as LinkedIn Corp., Mojang AB (the maker of Minecraft), and several AI start-ups—and many people thought the day would never come.
Defence & Security Issues
GS (M) Paper-3: “Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism”
The Right To Self-Defence
- It was not surprising that there was strong tacit approval at the international level of the surgical strike by India across the LoC as a right to Self-Defence.
What international Law says?
- International law today is clear that every nation has the right to self-defence, extending to even the use of force.
- The right to self-defence can be exercised under both customary international law and the UN Charter and has been resorted to even outside the aegis of the latter. The NATO air strikes during the Kosovo war of 1999 may serve as the best example.
- Under the UN Charter, a state can take recourse to Article 51 and use force when it becomes a victim of an armed attack. Though the term “armed attack” does not find mention in the UN Charter, state practice and opinion juris have evolved to fill the gap in international jurisprudence.
Right of self-defence- how it evolved?
- There are two watershed developments that have articulated such a right of self-defence. The first was the decision of the ICJ in Nicaragua v. US (1986) and the second, the international response in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
- In the former instance, the court held that the “arming, equipping, financing and supplying” or “otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities” is a “breach” of a nation’s “obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another state”.
- Faced with recurring instances of terrorist attacks like 9/11, the Bali bombing (2002), the Madrid train bombing (2004), the efficacy of the test laid down in the Nicaragua case to meet threats to national security have come under question.
- The judgement of the ICJ, in Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda (2005), expanding the interpretation of self-defence, reflects this. The justices opined that nations have a right to self-defence against terrorist attacks emanating from the territory of a state, even when the state is not supporting such actions. It is sufficient that it is unable to control them.
- The US bombing of a pharmaceutical company in Sudan in 1998 in response to attacks on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were justified under Article 51 of the UN.
- The right to self-defence got further implicit recognition when the criticism of Israel’s deployment of forces in response to the abduction of two officers, was largely of the disproportionate use of force rather than the right to use force.
- Seen in this context, Pakistan’s training, financing, arming and allowing the use of its soil to launch terror attacks on India, and the three major attacks on India (in Pathankot, Pampore and Uri) this year alone, gave New Delhi the right to resort to self-defence.
- The Indian response too met the legal requirement of necessity and proportionality. The surgical strike was based on the evidence that terrorist organisations were preparing to attack major cities.
- The surgical strike was also targeted at terrorist outposts close to the border, specifically and carefully avoiding both civilian and military establishments.
- A state has the responsibility to both desist from organising, assisting or acquiescing in terrorist acts and has a duty to take steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts.
- There are obligations laid down by both the General Assembly Resolution 2625 (XXV) and the UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001).
- It is time that Pakistan lived up to these obligations and if it does not, international law does not prevent India from taking action in defence of her citizens.