IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 11th November, 2016
General Studies 3
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
General Studies 2
Development processes and the development industry
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Improving economic prosperity through nation branding
What is a brand?
A brand is a distinguished symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market.
When the companies build their brand image in customer’s minds, they are able to have a more loyal customer base which is willing to pay extra or buy more products.
Companies such as Apple Inc., Google Inc., Coca-Cola Co., and Toyota Motor Corp are four of the most valuable brands in the world.
Hence, these successful companies spend worthwhile time, energy and money managing their brands as it is economically beneficial to them.
They understand that to maintain and grow their customer bases more effectively, they have to carefully nurture positive consumer perceptions of their products or services and correct negative misconceptions.
Brand loyalty enhances the brand image which helps the companies to expand their services to larger base.
A Nation brand
Just as companies, nations also have brand images of their own. The idea of country of origin (COO) effect – the power of an explicit or implicit Geographical Indication adds appeal to products and services to create a price premium for them and to stimulate customer loyalty towards them.
There are individual’s perceptions of nations that are based on their experiences as consumers, investors, tourists, politics and followers of global news and social media.
Their perceptions are also based on experiences communicated to them by others, including family, friends and colleagues.
Such experiences help people to learn and develop generalised views about various nations of the world.
For instance, Italy has stylish products, French wine is best or German cars are well engineered.
Also, there are some nations that are perceived to have unique capabilities such as Israel’s cybersecurity or China and India for their low cost manufacturing capabilities.
Though it is known that such generalisations may not perfectly correlate with objective facts, but what matters is the nation brand’s perception.
Positive perceptions of a nation lead to commerce in a variety of forms and negative perceptions may reduce commerce.
India as a nation brand
In 2015, India became world’s seventh most valued ‘nation brand’.
The nation brand valuation is based on five year forecasts of sales of all brands in each nation and follows a complex process. The Gross domestic product (GDP) is used as a proxy for total revenues.
India’s ‘Incredible India’ slogan worked well to boost its image.
Among BRICS nations, India is the only country to have witnessed an increase in its brand value with all others – Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa – seeing a dip in their respective brand valuations.
Economy and nation branding
The effect of a nation’s brand on its economy cannot be understated. Without a powerful and positive reputation or ‘nation-brand,’ no country can consistently compete for consumers, tourists, investors, immigrants and the respect and attention of other countries and the world’s media.
A nation’s brand has quantifiable effect on tourism industry along with powerful effects on the value and volume of the nation’s product exports and foreign direct investment. This has a direct impact on GDP of the nation.
The recent ‘Make in India’ campaign is aimed at encouraging businesses to manufacture in India.
Recently, India was ranked 22nd on an inaugural list of the world’s best 60 countries. In a survey released at the World Economic Forum 2016, the countries were ranked on the basis of sustainability, adventure, cultural influence, entrepreneurship and economic influence.
India ranks 35th in adventure, 39th in citizenship, 29th in open for business, 26th in quality for life. But it ranks high- No. 1 in movers, 6th in heritage and 14th in power.
Tourism is often the most visible aspect of a country’s brand. It is usually also the most competent marketing force.
A nation’s idea in tourists’ minds creates a visual image of the country which can impact many other areas of the nation’s performance.
In India, tourism holds a special place in boosting the economy and providing a sustainable source of livelihood. With diverse tourism options like pilgrimage, medical, natural, heritage etc., the economy is steadily carving its niche in economy and employment.
As per World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism generated ?8.31 lakh crore (US$120 billion) or 6.3% of the nation’s GDP in 2015 and supported 37.315 million jobs, 8.7% of its total employment.
In developing countries, products and services are all too often exported as unbranded commodities.
This in turn fails to capitalise on the significant potential for enhanced market value through the IP of brand.
Hence, a powerful, distinctive, broad-based and appealing national brand is the most valuable gift a government can give to its exporters.
India’s exports were $261.1 billion in 2015-16 where major exports from India includes gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, engineering goods, readymade garments and petroleum products.
Many of the best examples of rapid growth during the last century occurred because certain places became magnets for talent, investment and business ventures.
Thus, intellectual capacity created a virtual circle of accelerating quality and innovation which in turn generated positive economic opportunities.
‘Make in India’ branding is done to increase the investment opportunities for the potential and interested investors to explore available prospects.
India has also overtaken China as world’s top foreign direct investment (FDI) destination with US$ 63 billion of FDI announced in 2015 including high-value project announcements across the coal, oil and natural gas and renewable energy sectors.
A nation brand is a national identity which is made tangible, robust, communicable and useful.
A quality brand represents a real competitive edge and is a single most valuable item of intellectual property which any nation possess.
Requisite knowledge about protecting, developing and exploiting nation’s assets is a key to translate intangible wealth of developing countries into economic growth.
The physical products require physical distribution to generate income. And where ideas can generate wealth, the knowledge economy follows strategic discipline and distribution channel to become successful by turning those ideas into wealth.
Thus, now is the time for India to optimally utilise its resources (time, manpower and natural wealth) along with opportunities in creating a ‘Brand India’ to boost economic prosperity.
Connecting the dots:
What is ‘Nation Brand’? How can it help to boost the economic value of a nation? Examine.
Is ‘Nation Brand’ only for monetary gains? Critically analyse.
TOPIC: General Studies 3
Linkages between development and spread of extremism.
Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Naxalism – Evolution, Spread and Challenges
Origin of Naxalism
The origin of Naxalism dates back to 1967 when a peasant uprising occurred in the Naxalbari police station area in West Bengal under the local leadership of Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M). The movement started under the leadership of people such as Charu Majumdar
The Naxals used to snatch land from the rich and give it to the poor and the landless. The movement has gradually spread to almost 75 districts in 9 states. A few causes to which the rise of Naxalism can be attributed are:
Denial of rights regarding security of tenure or production
Exploitation by money lenders
Non payment of fair wages
On October 24, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) lost around 30 of its cadres in a covert operation jointly organised by the Greyhounds of Andhra Pradesh and the Special Operations Group of Odisha.
This has led to claims by members of security forces and the media,that time has come for downfall of the Naxalite movement in the country. However, the same is not true, even though the movement has suffered numerous setbacks in the recent years.
Evolution of the Movement
Due to the very strong and ideological leadership in its initial years the movement has had a very strong foundation. Due to this strong base, it has been able to face and tackle the changing methods adopted by the various security agencies in contemporary times as well.
Its popularity has reduced among the urban sections but it still finds favour among the more ideologically oriented elements in universities and colleges. The movement consequently still has considerable depth. Due to this reason it would not be correct to compare it to Boko Haram.
In many remote areas in the major affected states of the country, the Maoist movement is still a force to reckon with and it requires the presence of large security forces to keep it in check.
With time the character of the movement has changed and it has become more brutal and involved a lot of bloodshed.
It has still maintained its Robinhood style character of being true supporter of the poor, especially the tribal people.
West Bengal is one state, where due to economic and developmental measures; the movement has seen signs of weakening.
Evolution of Strategy
A lot of changes have occurred since the first phase of Naxalism (1967 to 1972) and today’s Maoist movement. It is said that these changes are a reaction to shift in tactics on the part of the administration, employing a combination of counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency techniques.
In present day the movement has become a highly rigid and militaristic movement with the intention of terrorising people than on supporting people’s causes. It has shed its original ideological and intellectual fundamentals.
It maintains its own small arms factories for manufacturing its weaponry.
It has a well-established arms trail to obtain state-of-the-art weapons from sources outside the country.
It is extremely adept in the use of IEDs and resorting to unconventional methods to deploy them. This had led to large-scale security force casualties.
Geographical Resurgence of the Movement
2015 and 2016 has seen a revival of the Maoist movement after a downfall observed in 2013-2014.
The entire Dandakaranya region, which includes areas of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and parts of Maharashtra, show signs of a Naxalite revival. This region is of high strategic importance for India.
The movement is also radiating out to other parts from this epicentre to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
In Andhra Pradesh, re-emergence of Naxalite activity has been observed in the Araku Valley after nearly two decades. Threats to politicians and their backers are being freely held out.
In Chhattisgarh, Dantewada, Bastar, Bijapur and Sukma are the main centres of Maoist activity and areas within these districts remain out of bounds for the local administration, the police and the security forces.
Present day Maoist movement has definitely moved away from the initial ideology and lacks the similar credibility as the initial movement.
Other than the ideology, the leadership has also changed and does not match up to the capability and stature of leaders who started this movement.
However, it cannot be said that the movement is dying down because of its continued popularity in many rural pockets and more neglected tribal regions. People still believe that Maoists are the torch bearers of change. The government and the administration and the security agencies need to ensure that they also bring changes in their approach. Law and order enforcement alone cannot help solve this problem. There is need to bring development. Empowerment of rural poor, downtrodden and the tribal population is essential. This will help in building trust and reduce the popularity of Naxals among these sections of the people.
Efforts have been over the years to improve the condition of the needy but there is still a lot of ground that has to be covered. It is this gap which the Maoists are using to their advantage and exploiting the situation.
Connecting the dots
Naxalism poses numerous challenges to the internal security of the country. Discuss those challenges and suggest measures that should be taken to overcome those challenges.
Define Internal Security. Critically analyse the role played by various internal security agencies and the government to fight the problem of Naxalism.