A. GS 1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS 2 Related
Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Prelims: Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) – Member countries and focus areas.
Mains: Significance of IPEF
- The Indian Prime Minister along with the U.S. President, Japanese Prime Minister, and leaders of 10 other countries, participated virtually in the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in Tokyo.
- The IPEF grouping includes seven out of 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It does not include Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
- All the four Quad countries – India, U.S., Japan and Australia along with New Zealand are members of the IPEF.
- The four main pillars of the proposed framework include trade, supply chain resiliency, clean energy and decarbonisation, and taxes and anti-corruption measures.
- Notably, the IPEF’s contours are still to be formally agreed upon and negotiations for the same are to begin.
Significance of the new framework:
- The new framework with its focus on trade could help strengthen economic ties between the member countries. This gains more significance given the fact that the member nations represent about 40% of global GDP.
- The measures focussing on supply chain resiliency would help build a more inclusive and flexible economic framework in the region. More resilient supply chains would also help counter inflation pressures.
- The focus on clean energy and decarbonisation would contribute to the global climate action efforts.
- India has signalled its readiness to be part of the new economic initiative and would be actively taking part in the proposed negotiations.
- There have been repeated clarifications from the U.S. officials stressing that the IPEF won’t be a free trade deal nor are countries expected to discuss reducing tariffs or increasing market access. This gains significance in the backdrop of India’s decision to walk out of the 15-nation RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership).
- One of the focus areas of IPEF would be to set and follow standards for the digital economy and cross-border data flows and data localisation. Notably, India has had strong differences with the U.S. and its partners on this issue.
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity offers huge potential for strengthening cooperation between the member countries in diverse areas. This is seen as an attempt to counter the increasing influence as well as assertiveness of the Chinese in the Indo-Pacific region with its focus on ensuring resilient supply chains.
C. GS 3 Related
Syllabus: Inclusive Growth and issues arising from it.
Prelims: International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitor
Mains: Linkage between decent employment and economic and social development
- The ninth edition of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Monitor on the “world of work” was released recently.
- The report notes multiple challenges or points of concern with respect to work or job opportunities.
- There has been a drop in the number of hours worked globally in the first quarter of 2022. In fact, it has dropped to levels noted before the pandemic. This could be considered indicative of job losses. According to the report, about 11.2 crore jobs might have been lost during this period.
- The growing divergence between richer and poorer economies in the post-pandemic economic recovery remains a point of concern given that the lack of decent job opportunities in low- and middle-income countries will only adversely impact the socio-economic development in these countries.
- The gender gap in the employment scenario continues to remain a major point of concern in lower-middle-income countries including India. The number of women who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic is larger as compared to the number of men. Hence, the pandemic seems to have exacerbated the already substantial gender imbalances in employment.
- The fresh lockdowns in China and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia which would lead to global supply chain disruption and the global rise in the prices of food and fuel which would add to financial turbulence and potential debt distress could add more pressure to the current situation.
- Given the direct link between work and standard of living, countries must adopt a humane approach to address the dire situation.
- The focus should be on the creation of decent jobs and ensuring decent wages. Implementing minimum wage and living wage will be critical. The focus should be on improving the purchasing capacity of the workers.
- Ensuring social security for all workers should also be pursued.
Ensuring enough job opportunities with decent living wages is a sine qua non for socio-economic development of India.
D. GS 4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Syllabus: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.
Prelims: Related constitutional articles and provisions
Mains: Arguments for and against the vaccine mandates
- The Supreme Court in a recent verdict upheld the government’s current vaccination policy. However, it termed the restrictions imposed on unvaccinated individuals as being disproportionate as it amounted to ingression on an individual’s bodily integrity and personal autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- The vaccine mandates of some states require partial or full vaccination of individuals as a precondition for accessing public spaces, services, or using public transportation.
For more information on this refer to the following article:
- The Supreme Court used the test of proportionality to scrutinise the vaccine mandates introduced by the government.
- The proportionality test is a standard of review used to keep a check on the unsubstantiated infringement of bodily integrity and privacy of an individual by the state.
- The following conditions need to be satisfied for any state action to pass the proportionality test.
- State action should be sanctioned by law
- The state action should have a legitimate aim
- The extent of interference should be proportionate to the need for such interference meaning the absence of any other less restrictive measure which can be employed
Arguments against the Court observation on vaccine mandate:
Vaccine mandate in line with the proportionality test:
- States are empowered to act on issues concerning ‘public health’ as it is a subject mentioned under Entry 6 of the State List of Schedule VII of the Constitution. The Disaster Management Act of 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 provide the required legislative backing for state action during medical emergencies.
- The vaccine mandate has proven to be effective in preventing serious illnesses and reducing deaths in persons infected with COVID-19. Also, it will help prevent future mutations of the virus. Hence there exists a legitimate aim behind vaccine mandates.
- The vaccine mandate cannot be said to be disproportionate. There seems to be no other less restrictive measure which could help stop the spread of the pandemic.
Community interests over individual rights:
- The court’s view that the States’ vaccine mandates are disproportionate could undermine community interest.
- In times of epidemics, a community has the right to protect itself from the disease which threatens the safety of its members. This right is more important than individual rights.
- Even the Indian Supreme Court in the Asha Ranjan v. State of Bihar (2017) case had prioritised community interests over individual interests.
- Also, there have been many cases of imposition of vaccine mandates to safeguard the community interests of the society in other countries as well like the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld such vaccine mandates.
Could undermine the fight against the pandemic:
- The Court’s observation holding the vaccine mandates to be disproportionate until the time infection rates remain low would adversely impact India’s fight against the pandemic and its ability to restrict the development of newer mutations.
- Also, such an approach would be reactionary and not proactive as required in such scenarios. This also threatens to overburden the healthcare system.
Obligation on the state to protect the right to health:
- India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Article 12 of this treaty mandates a country to take all possible measures to progressively realise the enjoyment of the “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” of its citizens. Mandating vaccination is a step in this direction.
- The Right to Health is a part and parcel of the Right to Life and therefore right to health is a fundamental right guaranteed to every citizen of India under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court’s view on the vaccine mandate threatens to derail India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and needs to be relooked.
Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
Prelims: Total Fertility Rate; Mission Parivar Vikas
- According to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS), there has been a reduction in the Total Fertility Rate from 3.4 in 1990-92 to 2.0 in 2019-21.
- This could be mainly attributed to the success of India’s family planning programme which has helped improve access to contraceptives.
- Mission Parivar Vikas has been able to enhance access to high-quality family planning choices. It has been successful in increasing the modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR), especially among female non-users from vulnerable communities.
- In present times there is a wide range of options available for contraceptives. Apart from barrier methods such as male and female condoms and oral contraceptive pills (COCP), there are also injectable contraceptives available now.
- While there has been impressive progress, the article makes the following suggestions.
Involving youth population:
- As per the NFHS-5 and the 2022 report by the United Nations Population Fund, there has been a rise in adolescent childbearing in some States. This requires improving access to family planning services to even the youth population. This will help address the low mCPR in youth in some districts in India.
Capacity building among health workers:
- Building capacity among health workers in using the Family Planning Logistics Management Information System will empower them to ensure better availability of and access to contraceptives by marginalised communities.
- Family Planning Logistics Management Information System is a dedicated software for family planning commodities across all the levels of health facilities.
- Family planning interventions need to be tailored around the diversity of contexts, health needs, and populations for whom the intervention is to be implemented. This will ensure better effectiveness of such interventions.
Promoting male engagement:
- Involving men in the family planning discourse should be mainstreamed given that this would not only be gender neutral but also more effective.
Involving the private sector:
- There is the need to leverage the capabilities of the private sector to improve service delivery in terms of family planning. The private sector can offer innovative solutions in family planning, thereby improving the community’s access to services.
Ensuring access to contraceptives and ensuring high levels of modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) will remain an important intervention in India’s family planning programme.
F. Prelims Facts
Syllabus: Structure, Organization and Functioning of the Executive
Prelims: Inter-State Council – Composition, functioning and associated Constitutional provisions.
- Reconstitution of the Inter-State Council.
- Article 263 of the Indian Constitution provides for an Inter-State Council.
- The Inter-State Council works to promote and support cooperative federalism in the country.
- The Committee has been reconstituted with Prime Minister as Chairman and Chief Ministers of all States and six Union Ministers as members.
- Ten Union Ministers have been made permanent invitees to the Inter-State Council. The standing committee of the Inter-State Council has also been reconstituted with Union Home Minister being made the Chairman. The standing committee would have continuous consultations and process matters for consideration of the council before they are taken up in the council.
- The heavy rains in Dima Hasao, Assam and the consequent landslides have severely affected an important railway line passing through this district.
- Dima Hasao straddles the Barail mountain range between the Brahmaputra and Barak River basins.
- This railway link is of vital importance for both trade and travel.
- Dima Hasao is the geographical link to a vast region comprising southern Assam’s Barak Valley, parts of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
- This railway track is also vital for India’s Look East policy that envisages shipping goods to and from Bangladesh’s Chittagong port via Tripura’s border points
- ASHAs (accredited social health activists) were one of the six recipients of the WHO’s Global Health Leaders Award 2022.
- ASHAs were introduced under the National Rural Health Mission, 2005 and constitute India’s frontline health workforce. The 10-lakh strong workforce act as a crucial link between the community and the health system.
- A new Oxfam brief, titled “Profiting from Pain” notes the wealth of billionaires in the world has risen amid the pandemic. The total wealth of the world’s billionaires is now equivalent to 13.9% of the global GDP, up from 4.4% in 2000.
- Gender inequalities have also deepened as women were disproportionately pushed out of employment and have had to face the gender pay gap as well.
- The report recommends tax measures to stop deepening income disparities and permanent wealth taxes.
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
- “The Indian Government has shown a new vigour in the last few years towards joining new trade agreements.” Discuss. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS III- Economics)
- The success of India’s family planning program depends on changing the male mindset and having them take more responsibility. Do you agree? Elaborate. (250 words; 15 marks) (GS I- Indian Society)