03 March, 2020
16 Min Read
|GS-II||State Funding of Elections|
|Call drops need an infra fix|
|New business model for Railways|
|Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) Scheme|
|GS-III||Long-term Repo Operations (LTRO)||Economic Issues|
Syllabus subtopic: Salient Features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the issue and various committees related to it
News: The Election Commission has informed the Government that it is not in favour of state funding of elections.
About the issue
State funding of elections has been suggested in the past in response to the high cost of elections. A few government reports have looked at state funding of elections in the past, including:
Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the issue of call drops and its remedy; about TRAI
News: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman has rubbished telecom operators’ claim that free voice calls are to blame for the poor quality of voice calls.
What is a call drop and why does it occur?
Has the problem become worse?
Four years ago, Reliance Jio entered the telecom sector with rock-bottom data tariffs and free voice calls. This exploded consumption on mobile networks, both for voice and data. It also led to a lot of voice traffic originating from Jio, but terminating at rival networks. The drastic cut in tariffs shrunk the revenue streams of operators, thereby reducing their appetite to invest in upgrading networks. Financial stress on the balance sheets of operators is a significant factor for poor quality networks. India has three private operators—Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. Of these, only Jio is profitable.
Who is responsible for improving call quality?
What do operators say about this menace?
Operators say that in order to offer seamless network coverage without call drops they need to take their network closer to customers. This is possible only if hurdles are not created in the installation of towers, they say. Telcos complain that states and municipalities have not devised bylaws and right-of-way guidelines that could address the problem. They argue that mobile tariffs in India are among the world’s lowest. Lower tariffs imply more consumption per user and also less resources for telcos to invest.
What is the way to resolve this issue?
Installation of in-building solutions can offer customers some relief from the disruption caused by call drops. Last-mile telecom infrastructure needs to be erected to ensure people get faster connectivity in their high-rise complexes. Unlike developed nations, in India there is heavy dependence on wireless networks. India must invest in creating a robust optical fibre network to carry more traffic. A few operators have also launched voice-over-WiFi calling that users can activate on high-end smartphones.
About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Prelims and Mains focus: about the move and its significance; reforms in the railways sector
News: The government has decided to delink the cost of energy consumed by the private trains from the overall haulage charges payable to Railways.
Aim of the move : To make the business of running trains more viable for private operators in the future.
A new business model for the Railways
The government is on course to bring in private sector into the business of running passenger trains. The idea is that when Dedicated Freight Corridors take away at least 70 per cent of freight trains, a lot of capacity will open up in the conventional network. To meet the huge demand for more trains without spending on investments, the idea is to get private sector to share some of that burden. More routes will eventually be opened, The current exercise is to try and present a lucrative business proposition for the private players to enter the segment and invest for the long term.
Details of the move
What are haulage charges?
Haulage charge is the money private players will have to pay to Railways, on a per-km basis, for using its infrastructure in operating the trains – track, signaling, associated manpower and the like.
Significance of the move
So far, big names from industry like Tata Realty, Adani Ports and SEZ, the Essel Group and others, and PSU IRCTC have shown interest in bidding for the routes.
Syllabus subtopic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the scheme: features; eligibility criteria and significance
News: A least two private higher education institutes, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) in Odisha and Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) in Tamil Nadu, which were declared ‘Institutions of Eminence’ (IoEs) on August 2, 2019, are ineligible for the coveted status. It was found that the two institutes do not meet the eligibility criterion on the net worth of the sponsoring organisation members.
What is the eligibility criteria to get IoE status?
About IoE scheme
Other benefits include the freedom to:
Controversy with the scheme
The scheme first ran into controversy in July 2018, with the selection of Reliance Foundation’s non-existent Jio Institute among India’s first six IoEs (three public and three private). The announcement of the second and final tranche of IoEs was in August last year, in which seven private and seven public institutions were awarded the status. VIT, KIIT, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Bangalore, Jamia Hamdard in New Delhi, OP Jindal University in Haryana, Shiv Nadar Universty and Satya Bharti Foundation’s proposed institute were among the seven private IoEs announced last year.
Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Prelims and Mains focus: about LTRO: features and significance
News: The Reserve Bank of India had received Rs.1.71 lakh crore in the third long-term repo operation (LTRO) conducted for an amount of Rs.25,000 crore. The central bank received 66 bids in the three-year tenor LTRO, which has reversal date on March 1, 2023.
What is long-term repo operation (LTRO)?
Why is it important?
Features of Long-Term Repo Operations (LTRO)
Syllabus subtopic: Basics of Cyber Security
Prelims and Mains focus: about KrOOk and its threat
News: At the RSA 2020 security conference in San Francisco, security researchers from Slovak antivirus company ESET will present details about a new vulnerability that impacts WiFi communications.
What is it?
What’s Kr00K and how does it work?
Not as bad as KRACK
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