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10 Jun, 2020

27 Min Read

Crossing the line: On Delhi’s decision to limit health services

GS-II : Governance

Crossing the line: On Delhi’s decision to limit health services


Delhi should not hide failures by limiting health-care access to just its residents

The decision announced by Chief Minister to restrict COVID-19 treatment in Delhi’s private hospitals and those run by the government of NCT only to those with proof of residence in the city was ill-thought-out.

  • As Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal noted in his order overruling the decision, ‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • While health care is far from being universal in India, positively denying that to someone on the grounds of residency is insensitive and irresponsible.
  • The Lieutenant-Governor has now directed that treatment should not be denied to anyone.
  • Mr. Kejriwal depicted a scenario of “people of the whole country” overwhelming hospitals in the city as justification for his nativism.
  • After the LG’s intervention, the Chief Minister and his deputy, reiterated the argument and preemptively sought to wash their hands of the worsening situation.
  • They expect 5.5 lakh COVID-19 cases by July-end for which 80,000 beds could be needed.
  • The 10-week lockdown was meant to ramp up health infrastructure, and if the AAP government has not done that, it has only itself to blame. In fact, it must come clean on what it has done.

What to do?

  • Restriction of movement is a crucial tool in pandemic management, but it has to be justifiable.
  • The NCT is functionally contiguous with Gurugram in Haryana and NOIDA in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Thousands cross these borders for work and other needs including health care. People contribute to tax revenues in three different jurisdictions.
  • This makes Mr. Kejriwal’s rhetoric unreasonable as much as Karnataka’s decision to prevent residents of Kasargod in Kerala from accessing hospitals in Mangaluru earlier.
  • The AAP government’s approach is contentious for more reasons, however, as it is using it also as a diversionary tactic.
  • While the city is recording an exponential growth in infections, the government is trying to deflect attention from its inadequacies by hiding the numbers.
  • It has reduced testing dramatically — on June 2 it was 6,070, on June 7, 5,042, and on June 8, 3,700.
  • The AAP government accused private labs of flouting ICMR guidelines and discouraged testing of asymptomatic people. The high positivity rate — the proportion of positives to total tests — indicates that the NCT is not testing enough.

The ICMR’s May 18 strategy directed testing of direct and high risk contacts of confirmed coronavirus individuals even if asymptomatic. The government revised this by removing “asymptomatic” from the clause, which was also overturned by the LG who ordered that guidelines must be adhered to in their entirety. Delhi is testing more than the national average for per million population but that does not say much given that it has a population density 30 times the national figure. Delhi needs to get its act together.

Source: TH

Pincer provocations? India-China-Pakistan 

GS-II : International Relations

Pincer provocations? India-China-Pakistan

GS- PAPER-II India and China

India should not conflate the various threats to its security in the Kashmir-Ladakh region

Although the latest news on the Ladakh front suggests that Chinese and Indian forces have begun to disengage in select areas, this does not detract from the reality that in the past few weeks Beijing and Islamabad are making coordinated efforts to challenge India’s presence in the Kashmir-Ladakh region. There is stepped-up activity on Pakistan’s part to infiltrate terrorists into the Valley. China has undertaken provocative measures on the Ladakh front to assert control over disputed areas around the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Overlapping interests

  • In Pakistan’s case, the intensification of its terrorist activities is related in part to the dilution of Article 370 which it perceives as undercutting its claims on Kashmir with finality.
  • China seems to have calculated that the division of Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir, which delinks Ladakh from the Kashmir problem, allows India a freer hand in contesting China’s claims in the region.
  • Increasing road-building activity on India’s part close to the LAC augments this perception.
  • In addition to bordering China’s most restive provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet, Ladakh is contiguous to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Gilgit and Baltistan, where the Chinese have invested hugely in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
  • When completed, the CPEC will connect Xinjiang with Gwadar port in Balochistan.
  • External Affairs Minister's remark last year that India expects to have “physical jurisdiction over (POK) one day” has alarmed Beijing which sees any such Indian move as threatening the CPEC project.
  • These factors demonstrate the overlapping interests that Beijing and Islamabad have regarding India in this region.
  • Both would like India to be so preoccupied with taking defensive measures in Kashmir and Ladakh as to have little time and energy left to attempt to alter the status quo in POK or in Aksai Chin.

Divergence in VIEWPOINT OF Pak and China

  • However, there are major differences in Pakistani and Chinese objectives regarding India that are related to their divergent perceptions of their disputes and their different force equations with India.
  • For China, Ladakh is primarily a territorial dispute with strategic ramifications.
  • China also believes it is superior to Indian militarily and, therefore, can afford to push India around within limits as it has been attempting to do in the recent confrontation.
  • For Pakistan, its territorial claim on Kashmir is based on an immutable ideological conviction that it is the unfinished business of partition and as a Muslim-majority state is destined to become a part of Pakistan.
  • Islamabad also realises that it is the weaker power in conventional terms and therefore has to use unconventional means, primarily terrorist infiltration, to achieve its objective of changing the status quo in Kashmir.
  • China is a satiated power in Ladakh having occupied Aksai Chin and wants to keep up the pressure on New Delhi to prevent the latter from trying to change the situation on the ground.

Changing the status quo

It is true that China is agitated about the recent vociferous revival of India’s claims on PoK but its primary concern with regard to Kashmir is to prevent any Indian move from threatening the CPEC project. It does not challenge the status quo in Kashmir. Pakistan, on the other hand, is committed to changing the status quo in Kashmir at all costs. It has been trying to do so since Partition not only through clandestine infiltration but also by engaging in conventional warfare. Therefore, while it is possible to negotiate the territorial dispute with China on a give-and-take basis this is not possible in the case of Pakistan which considers Kashmir a zero-sum game. India should, therefore, distinguish the different objectives on the part of Beijing and Islamabad and tailor its responses accordingly without conflating the two threats to its security. Lumping the two threats together because of a tactical overlap between them makes it difficult to choose policy options rationally.

Source: TH

River water dispute

GS-II : Governance Inter State Water Disputes

River water dispute


Recently, the Union government has decided to take the stock of water utilisation from the Krishna and Godavari rivers following the filing of complaints against each other by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments.

Water Dispute:

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh share stretches of the Krishna and the Godavari and own their tributaries.

Both states have proposed several new projects without getting clearance from the river boards, the Central Water Commission and the Apex Council, as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Imp Points

  • The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 mandates for constitution of an Apex Council by Central Government for the supervision of the functioning of the Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board.
  • The Apex Council comprises the Union Water Resources Minister and the Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government’s proposal to increase the utilisation of the Krishna water from a section of the river above the Srisailam Reservoir led to the Telangana government filing a complaint against Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Srisailam reservoir is constructed across the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh. It is located in the Nallamala hills.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government retaliated with its own complaints saying that Palamuru-Rangareddy, Dindi Lift Irrigation Schemes on the Krishna river and Kaleshwaram, Tupakulagudem schemes and a few barrages proposed across the Godavari are all new projects.

Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal:

Two tribunals have been constituted to resolve the disputes of the Krishna water.

Andhra Pradesh has countered the second Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT) order issued by Justice Brijesh Kumar in 2010.

The Brijesh Kumar Tribunal has allocated 81 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of surplus water to Maharashtra, 177 tmcft to Karnataka and only 196 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh.

After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.

It has challenged the order of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal in the Supreme Court.

Godavari River

  • Source: Godavari river rises from Trimbakeshwar near Nasik in Maharashtra and flows for a length of about 1465 km before outfalling into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Drainage Basin: The Godavari basin extends over states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha in addition to smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry.
  • Tributaries: Pravara, Purna, Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Wainganga, Pranhita (combined flow of Wainganga, Penganga, Wardha), Indravati, Maner and the Sabri

Krishna River

  • Source: It originates near Mahabaleshwar (Satara) in Maharashtra. It is the second biggest river in peninsular India after the Godavari River.
  • Drainage: It runs from four states Maharashtra (303 km), North Karnataka (480 km) and the rest of its 1300 km journey in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before it empties into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Tributaries: Tungabhadra, Mallaprabha, Koyna, Bhima, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga.

Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal:

  • The Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal headed by Justice Bachawat was constituted by the Government in April, 1969.
  • The tribunal was tasked to look after the dispute over Godavari river between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka over the sharing of the Godavari river water.
  • The Bachawat Tribunal gave its final award in 1980.
  • Accordingly, each State was free to utilise the flow in Godavari and its tributaries up to a certain level.
  • Thus, Andhra Pradesh decided to divert 80 tmcft of Godavari water from Polavaram to Krishna river, upstream of Vijayawada, so that it could be shared with Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • Once Telangana came into existence in 2014, the Godavari water and, more specifically, the Polavaram project became the bone of contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • While the project will take care of the irrigation needs of the Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana fears it would submerge many villages in its Khammam district.
  • Odisha too has expressed its reservations over the Polavaram dam's design.

Union Government’s Move:

It has asked the Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards to procure the details of the irrigation projects on these rivers, including from Maharashtra and Karnataka and submit them to the Centre in a month. The main objective of the exercise appears to be to assess whether surplus water will be available for the new projects in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, in the light of the disputes.

Inter-State Water Disputes

  • Article 262 of the Constitution provides for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes.
  • Under this, Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
  • Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.
  • The Parliament has enacted the two laws, the River Boards Act (1956) and the Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956).
  • The River Boards Act provides for the establishment of river boards by the Central government for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys.
  • A River Board is established on the request of state governments concerned to advise them.
  • The Inter-State Water Disputes Act empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley.
  • The decision of the tribunal is final and binding on the parties to the dispute.
  • Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.

Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 25, 2019 by the Minister of Jal Shakti, Mr. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. It amends the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. The Act provides for the adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers and river valleys.
  • Under the Act, a state government may request the central government to refer an inter-state river dispute to a Tribunal for adjudication. If the central government is of the opinion that the dispute cannot be settled through negotiations, it is required to set up a Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication of the dispute, within a year of receiving such a complaint. The Bill seeks to replace this mechanism.
  • Disputes Resolution Committee: Under the Bill, when a state puts in a request regarding any water dispute, the central government will set up a Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), to resolve the dispute amicably. The DRC will comprise of a Chairperson, and experts with at least 15 years of experience in relevant sectors, to be nominated by the central government. It will also comprise one member from each state (at Joint Secretary level), who are party to the dispute, to be nominated by the concerned state government.
  • The DRC will seek to resolve the dispute through negotiations, within one year (extendable by six months), and submit its report to the central government. If a dispute cannot be settled by the DRC, the central government will refer it to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal. Such referral must be made within three months from the receipt of the report from the DRC.
  • Tribunal: The central government will set up an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal, for the adjudication of water disputes. This Tribunal can have multiple benches. All existing Tribunals will be dissolved, and the water disputes pending adjudication before such existing Tribunals will be transferred to the new Tribunal.
  • Composition of the Tribunal: The Tribunal will consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, three judicial members, and three expert members. They will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a Selection Committee. Each Tribunal Bench will consist of a Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson, a judicial member, and an expert member. The central government may also appoint two experts serving in the Central Water Engineering Service as assessors to advise the Bench in its proceedings. The assessor should not be from the state which is a party to the dispute.
  • Time frames: Under the Act, the Tribunal must give its decision within three years, which may be extended by two years. Under the Bill, the proposed Tribunal must give its decision on the dispute within two years, which may be extended by another year.
  • Under the Act, if the matter is again referred to the Tribunal by a state for further consideration, the Tribunal must submit its report to the central government within a period of one year. This period can be extended by the central government. The Bill amends this to specify that such extension may be up to a maximum of six months.
  • Decision of the Tribunal: Under the Act, the decision of the Tribunal must be published by the central government in the official gazette. This decision has the same force as that of an order of the Supreme Court. The Bill removes the requirement of such publication. It adds that the decision of the Bench of the Tribunal will be final and binding on the parties involved in the dispute. The Act provided that the central government may make a scheme to give effect to the decision of the Tribunal. The Bill is making it mandatory for the central government to make such scheme.
  • Data bank: Under the Act, the central government maintains a data bank and information system at the national level for each river basin. The Bill provides that the central government will appoint or authorise an agency to maintain such data bank.

Source: TH

World University Rankings 2021

GS-III : Economic Issues

World University Rankings 2021


Recently, QS World University Rankings 2021 shows a decline in the rankings of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Only the newer IITs in Guwahati and Hyderabad have shown some improvement.

QS World University Rankings

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a leading global career and education network for ambitious professionals looking to further their personal and professional development.

  • QS develops and successfully implements methods of comparative data collection and analysis used to highlight institutions’ strengths.
  • The “QS World University Rankings”is an annual publication of university rankings which comprises the global overall and subject rankings.
  • Six parameters and their weightage for the evaluation:
    • Academic Reputation (40%)
    • Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
    • Citations per faculty (20%)
    • Employer Reputation (10%)
    • International Faculty Ratio (5%)
    • International Student Ratio (5%)
  • Only three educational institutes from India, the IIT Bombay (172), IISc Bengaluru (185) and IIT Delhi (193) feature in the top 200 list.
  • Despite the Centre's flagship Institutes of Eminence (IoE) scheme to boost the Indian presence in these global rankings, the total number of Indian institutions in the top 1,000 global list has fallen from 24 to 21.

Institutions of Eminence Scheme

It is a government's scheme to provide the regulatory architecture for setting up or upgrading of 20 Institutions (10 from public sector and 10 from the private sector) as world-class teaching and research institutions called ‘Institutions of Eminence’.

Excellence and Innovation: To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels.

Specialization: To engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system.

Global Rating: To aim to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time.

Quality teaching and Research: To provide for high quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination.

Autonomy: Institutes with IoE tag will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures.

Grant: The public institutions under IoE tag will receive a government grant of Rs 1,000 crore, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.

  • In private universities, BITS Pilani and the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) have dropped out of the top 1,000 list, but OP Jindal Global University has climbed to the 650-700 band in the rankings.
  • Out of the six parameters, Indian institutions get zero scores on the ratio of international faculty and students while scoring well on research impact, measured through citations per faculty.
  • India also scores poorly on faculty-student ratio because of counting only full-time faculty whereas American universities include PhD students who are teaching or are research assistants.
  • Indian academics have focused on that if a parameter comparing the cost of education to students is introduced, Indian institutions would be among the world’s top 50.
  • Earlier in 2020, IITs jointly decided to boycott the World University Rankings released by the Times Higher Education (THE) questioning its methodology and transparency.
  • One of the reasons for a drop in Indian universities’ rank is lack of sufficient efforts.
    Other universities across the world are making increasingly-intense efforts to enhance their educational offerings.
  • A committee of IIT directors has been formed to see how Indian institutes can improve the perception about them abroad and also make efforts to enhance the quality of standards within the country.


The government should launch a campaign for improving educational institutes, similar to Incredible India which promotes tourism in India and engages with the travellers.

Success should be based on five pillars:

      • Not-for-profit status.
      • Strong commitment to faculty hiring and research.
      • Focus on internationalisation.
      • Devotion to humanities and social sciences.
      • Drive to build a reputation through students and employers.


The perception about India and its education standards play a major role which cannot be changed by an individual institution so all of the universities and institutes have to come together to tackle the issue.

To regain lost ground, Indian higher education must find ways of increasing teaching capacity and of attracting more talented students and faculty across the world to study and work in India.

Source: TH

Gross Value Added

GS-III : Economic Issues GDP/GNP

Gross Value Added

GS-Paper-III Economics

In 2015, India opted to make major changes to its compilation of national accounts and decided to bring the whole process into conformity with the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) of 2008.
The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity. It describes a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts in the context of a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.

As per the SNA, GVA is defined as the value of output minus the value of intermediate consumption and is a measure of the contribution to growth made by an individual producer, industry or sector.
It provides the rupee value for the number of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services.

  • It can be described as the main entry on the income side of the nation’s accounting balance sheet, and from an economics perspective represents the supply side.
  • At the macro level, from a national accounting perspective, GVA is the sum of a country’s GDP and net of subsidies and taxes in the economy

**Gross Value Added = GDP + subsidies on products - taxes on products

Earlier, India had been measuring GVA at ‘factor cost’ till the new methodology was adopted in which GVA at ‘basic prices’ became the primary measure of economic output.

    • GVA at basic prices will include production taxes and exclude production subsidies.
    • GVA at factor cost included no taxes and excluded no subsidies.

The base year has also been shifted to 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05. The NSO provides both quarterly and annual estimates of output of GVA. It provides sectoral classification data on eight broad categories that includes both goods produced and services provided in the economy. These are:

    • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing.
    • Mining and Quarrying.
    • Manufacturing.
    • Electricity, Gas, Water Supply and other Utility Services.
    • Construction.
    • Trade, Hotels, Transport, Communication and Services related to Broadcasting.
    • Financial, Real Estate and Professional Services.
    • Public Administration, Defence and other Services.

Importance of GVA

  • While GVA gives a picture of the state of economic activity from the producers’ side or supply side, the GDP gives the picture from the consumers’ side or demand perspective.
    • Both measures need not match because of the difference in treatment of net taxes.
    • GDP is the sum of private consumption, gross investment in the economy, government investment, government spending and net foreign trade (the difference between exports and imports).
    • GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government investment + government spending + (exports-imports)
  • GVA is considered a better gauge of the economy. GDP fails to gauge the real economic scenario because a sharp increase in the output can be due to higher tax collections which could be on account of better compliance or coverage, rather than the real output situation.
  • A sector-wise breakdown provided by the GVA measure helps policymakers decide which sectors need incentives or stimulus and accordingly formulate sector-specific policies.
    • But GDP is a key measure when it comes to making cross-country analysis and comparing the incomes of different economies.
  • From a global data standards and uniformity perspective, GVA is an integral and necessary parameter in measuring a nation’s economic performance. Any country which seeks to attract capital and investment from overseas does need to conform to the global best practices in national income accounting.

Issues with GVA

  • The accuracy of GVA is heavily dependent on the sourcing of data and the accuracy of the various data sources.
  • GVA is as susceptible to vulnerabilities from the use of inappropriate or flawed methodologies as any other measure.

Source: TH

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