IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th August, 2019


What will happen if Pakistan closes its airspace to India again?

Pakistan has threatened to close it again to flights taking off from India, apparently to punish New Delhi for removing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Pakistan had closed its airspace on February 26 after Indian Air Force warjets hit a terrorist camp in Balakot, and opened up to all civilian aircraft only on July 16.


Impact on flights:

-        The path of westbound flights was increased. Flight times for aircraft to and from India that normally use Pakistani airspace for transit are likely to increase by at least 70-80 minutes on average.

-        Spice jet had cancelled its Delhi-Kabul flight.

-        Non-stop flight had to take a refuelling stop. 

-        Indian carriers will suffer losses as flight time’s increase and more fuel is burnt. The last time around, Indian carriers lost a total of around Rs 700 crores due to the Pakistani action.

-        For passengers, tickets could get more expensive.

-        Flying longer also increases the cost of running a flight. No of captains, crewmembers increase.


Impact on Pakistan:

-        The last time it shut its airspace, the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority took a blow of almost $50 million in revenue.


Why airspaces are closed:

-        Political reasons: Pakistan closed its airspace after Balakotstrike, Russia closed its airspace for American flights during cold war, making them difficult to operate.

-        Conflict regions: Generally, conflicts regions govt closes the airspace. Libya had closed its airspace during heightened tension. Even pilots avoid conflict region airspaces. Today Syria, Ukraine and Iraq are conflict region airspaces.

-        Terrorism: Terrorist attack also are cause to close the airspace. USA had closed the airspace after 9/11 attack.

-        Natural disaster: Volcanic activity also compels govt to close down the airspace. Bali had closed down its airspace after volcanic activity.


Hong Kong Crisis 

Reasons behind the crisis:

-        China has alleged attempts to erode the city’s autonomy. This has created tensions between the city’s youth and the local government.

-        Barring of leaders critical of Beijing. 

-        In 2018, the Hong Kong National Party, a localist party that has been critical of Beijing, was outlawed.

-        The extradition Bill, which sought to extradite Hong Kongers to places with which the city does not have extradition agreements.



The regional disparity challenge

On many development parameters, India appears to be almost like a continent, with different states at vastly different stages of development. 


At the beginning of the millennium, the per capita income of the five richest states (based on per capita income) in India was 145% higher than that of the bottom states.

That difference rose to 289% in 2010-11, and further to 338% in 2017-18.


Reasons behind this inequity:

-        Flawed Centrally Sponsored Scheme: In designing central schemes, the Union government fails to take into account the per capita requirements of each state. As a result, richer states often tend to gain more from such schemes compared to poorer states. 

-        Flaw in Finance Commission allocation: While Finance Commission allocation formulas tend to account for backwardness in general, they also take into account performance of states on various parameters, which tend to penalise states, which have a legacy of poverty and bad governance.

-        Inequitable Norms of Borrowing: Poor states also have to operate under the same deficit norms as richer states, which crimps their borrowing ability and limits their capacity to correct a long legacy of under-development.

-        There is a lack of state capacity to undertake faster development.

-        They have fewer resources (mainly lower revenue incomes) to invest. Poorer states are constrained in their ability to raise revenues.

-        Most poorer states have high population growth making it difficult to have faster development.



-        Poorer states spend less on health compared to the richer states.

-        They also spend less on education.

-        Development outcomes, measured in terms of multi-dimensional poverty have also not converged across states.

-        The per capita spending on physical assets is less unequal compared to that on social infrastructure although it is worth noting that some of the poorest states are geographically larger hence, their needs are higher.

-        Given that the overwhelming majority of children are in the poorer states, this has grave implications for inter-generational equity and equality of opportunity in the country.


Some Solution:

-        In some sectors such as health, the Finance Commission could calculate the minimum spend required on a per capita basis nationally, take into account the capacity of each state to fund that minimum spend, and then allocate grants based on the shortfall between the desired minimum and the states spending ability.

-        The central government could cut its own borrowing and debt limits to facilitate more liberal borrowing limits for poor state governments since central government transfers.


Reference: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-s-growing-regional-inequality-challenge-1566980280456.html



75 medical colleges in three years

The Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of 75 medical colleges in the next three years with the Centre spending Rs.24,375 crore on them.


The colleges would be set up in areas with at least 200-bed district hospital and having no such college.



-        Increase availability of qualified health professionals

-        Improve tertiary care in the government sector,

-        Promote affordable medical education.


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/75-medical-colleges-in-three-years/article29281759.ece




Govt makes fresh growth push with big-ticket FDI reforms


The Union cabinet cleared a raft of changes in foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations, including easing rules for overseas single-brand stores and permitting FDI through the automatic route in contract manufacturing and all areas of coal mining.


Need for Changes:

-        Slowdown in the Economy

-        Need for Continuous reforms in the economy

-        Become more integrated part of Global supply chain

-        Get benefit out of the US-China trade war




Single Brand Retail

-        Cabinet decided that all procurements made from India by the entity for that single brand should be counted towards local sourcing of 30%, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported. 

-        The current cap of considering exports for five years only was removed, to give an impetus to exports.

-        Total sourcing, including by group companies, will be considered for meeting the 30% local sourcing norm.

-        allowed them to sell online even before setting up physical stores  

Contract Manufacturing

-        The cabinet allowed 100% FDI in contract manufacturing, allowing large foreign electronics and pharmaceutical companies to directly invest in local or foreign contract manufacturers. 

Coal Mining

-        100% FDI under the automatic route was allowed for coal processing plants as well as for coal mining for captive consumption by power projects, iron and steel and cement units. 


-        Making India attractive destination

-        Enhance Ease of doing business

-        Increased Investment in the country

-        Push to Make in India policy


Reference: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/govt-makes-fresh-growth-push-with-big-ticket-fdi-reforms-1567015304926.html



New Rs 9.3 crore study to check antibiotic resistance in Ganga'


The government has commissioned Rs9.3 crore study to assess the microbial diversity along the entire length of the Ganga and test if stretches of the 2,500 km long river contain microbes that may promote “antibiotic resistance”.

The project, expected to last two years, is to be undertaken by scientists at the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology, Allahabad; the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur; Sardar Patel Institute of Science & Technology, Gorakhpur, as well as start-up companies, Phixgen and Xcelris Labs.


Aim of the Study:

-        Indicate the type of “contamination” (sewage and industrial) in the river.

-        threat to human health (antibiotic resistance surge)

-         Identifying sources of Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the gut of animals and humans. 

-        Several studies have taken isolated stretch in Ganga. This study will undertake complete Ganga.


Earlier studies reported that levels of resistance genes that lead to “superbugs” were about 60 times greater during the pilgrimage months of May and June than at other times of the year.


More on National Mission on Ganga:

-        It comes under Jal Shakti Ministry.

-        National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) was registered as a society on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

-        It acts as the implementation arm of National Ganga Council constituted under Environment Protection act.

-        It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee.

-        Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG.

-        The NMCG now has the status of an Authority and its key focus would be maintaining required ecological flows in the Ganga, abate pollution through planning, financing and execution of programmes including that of – 
Augmentation of Sewerage Infrastructure

  • Construction of decentralized STPs.
  • Tapping of nalas/drains.
  • Renovation of Sewage Pumping Station (SPS).

-        Catchment Area Treatment

-        Protection of Floodplains

-        Creating Public Awareness

It can fine those responsible for polluting the river. Earlier this power was vested solely with the Central Pollution Control Board.