IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 14th March 2018
India to eliminate TB by 2025
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said India will fully eliminate tuberculosis by 2025, a good five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030, and has already started working towards achieving this goal.
- The Delhi End TB Summit is being organised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly with the WHO’s South-East Asia Region Office and international coalition Stop TB Partnership.
- India is also implementing the National Strategic Plan for TB elimination that is backed by Rs. 12,000 crore in funding for the next three years to ensure every TB patient in the country has access to quality diagnosis, treatment and support.
- The new strategic plan adopts a multi-pronged approach which aims to detect all TB patients, with an emphasis on reaching patients seeking care from private providers and undiagnosed cases in high-risk populations.
- The latest Budget has proposed to set aside $100 million to provide nutritional support to TB patients.
TB is the leading infectious killer in India. There were an estimated 28 lakh new cases in 2016, with over 4 lakh people succumbing to the disease, including those with TB and HIV.
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TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
With French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to India, the India-France Strategic Partnership launched in 1998 seems finally to have come of age.
In these two decades, both sides have gradually enhanced cooperation in diverse fields covering civil nuclear, defence, space, counter-terrorism, education, research and development in science and technology, culture, urban development, climate change, trade and economics and people-to-people contacts.
The bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding signed, the detailed ‘joint statement’ and accompanying ‘vision statements’ on cooperation in space and the Indian Ocean Region, indicate that the relationship has received a momentum.
A shared world view:
- France has always been sympathetic to similar Indian claims based on its ancient civilisation. This is why both countries were quick to voice support for global multi-polarity once the Cold War ended.
- Defence cooperation with France began in the 1950s. Joint naval exercises, Varuna, date back to 1983.
- Cooperation in the space sector has continued since the 1960s when France helped India set up the Sriharikota launch site.
- After the nuclear tests in May 1998 when India declared itself a nuclear weapon state, France was the first major power to open dialogue and displayed a far greater understanding of India’s security compulsions compared to other countries.
- It was the first P-5 country to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.
Today, it is a relationship of near equals.
Establishment of a Strategic Dialogue:
- Cooperation in defence, civil nuclear, space, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism has grown.
- An agreement for building six Scorpène submarines in India with French help was signed in 2005.
- The ambitious offset target of 50% (nearly Rs. 25,000 crore), properly implemented, can help in building up India’s budding aerospace industry.
- Terror strikes in France in recent years by home-grown terrorists have enlarged the scope of counter-terrorism cooperation to include cyber security and discussions on radicalisation.
- B2B and P2P relations- In recent years, it was clear that for a wider partnership, strengthening business-to-business and people-to-people relationships was essential.
- Climate change and renewable energy resources, particularly solar, soon emerged as a new plank, reflected in the multilateral initiative of the International Solar Alliance.
- Another area identified was urban planning and management of services like housing, transport, water, sanitation, etc using the public private partnership model which the French have employed successfully.
- Like India, France has expressed concern about China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
French overseas territories in the Indian and the Pacific Oceans provide it with the second largest exclusive economic zone globally. It has long maintained bases in Reunion Islands and Djibouti and established one in Abu Dhabi in 2009.
- The signing of MoUs regarding the provision of reciprocal logistics support to each other’s armed forces provide the basis to strengthen joint naval exercises. Strengthening cooperation with France, particularly in the western Indian Ocean Region makes eminent strategic sense even as India develops its presence in Oman (Duqm) and Seychelles (Assumption Island).
It has grown in recent years but at $10 billion is half of the trade with Germany.
- Nearly $16 billion worth of agreements was signed at the business summit. There are nearly 1,000 French companies present in India while over a hundred Indian businesses have established a presence in France.
Potentially, the most significant was the focus on youth and student exchanges. Currently about 2,500 Indians go to France annually to pursue higher education, compared to more than 250,000 from China.
A target has been set to raise it to 10,000 by 2020. The agreement on mutual recognition of academic degrees and the follow-on Knowledge Summit, where 14 MoUs between educational and scientific institutions were signed, is a welcome move.
This is another area that has received attention.
A target of a million Indian tourists and 335,000 French tourists has been set for 2020.
- In the past, Indian companies saw the U.K. as the entry point for Europe; now with Brexit approaching, India can look at France as its entry point for Europe.
- Francophonie! The flagship programme of Smart Cities in which France is focussing on Chandigarh, Nagpur and Puducherry is taking shape.
The Strategic Partnership has already created a solid foundation; other aspects have now received the much-needed focus. Proper implementation can add to the growing strategic convergence that draws India and France together.
Connecting the dots:
- Discuss how India-France relationship has evolved over time. Outline major aspects.
General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3:
- Mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
New classification of the MSMEs
The Union Cabinet last month decided to change the basis of classification of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
This bodes well for this important segment of India’s industrial base.
Presently, enterprises qualify as micro, small or medium enterprises if their investment in plant and machinery (for manufacturing units) and equipment (for service providers) is within the limits laid down in Section 7 of the MSMED Act 2006, which are as follows:
|Type of Enterprise||Investment in Plant of Machinery||Investment in Equipment|
|Micro||Not exceeding Rs 25 lakh||Not exceeding Rs 10 lakh|
|Small||More than Rs 25 lakh but not exceeding Rs 5 crore||More than Rs 10 lakh but not exceeding Rs 2 crore|
|Medium||More than Rs 5 crore but not exceeding Rs 10 crore||More than Rs 2 crore but not exceeding Rs 5 crore|
- Although Section 7(8) of the Act provides for the Advisory Committee constituted under the Act to make recommendations regarding the need for higher investment by MSMEs in plant and machinery or equipment for technological upgradation, employment generation and enhanced competitiveness, the investment limits have remained unchanged since the commencement of the MSMED Act 2006.
These limits are too low in the contemporary context.
- Classification of enterprises based on fixed monetary limits also places newer units at a disadvantage vis-a-vis those set up in earlier years as the former have to invest more for the same type of plant and machinery or equipment.
- More importantly, self-declaration by enterprises as regards the cost of investment at the time of registration with the authorities concerned entails verification, adding to the transaction cost.
The Union Cabinet has decided to change the basis of classification from investment in plant and machinery or equipment to annual turnover without making a distinction between manufacturing enterprises and service providers.
- The revised classification and eligibility thresholds:
|Type of Enterprise||Annual Turnover|
|Micro||Not exceeding Rs 5 crore|
|Small||More than Rs 5 crore but not exceeding Rs 75 crore|
|Medium||More than Rs 75 crore but not exceeding Rs 250 crore|
- An enabling provision will be also be made in the MSED Act 2006 to permit the Central Government to vary these limits in future by simply issuing a notification.
This will ensure that the monetary limits remain contemporaneous at all times as changing these limits will not require a formal amendment to the MSED Act 2006, which is a time-consuming and cumbersome process.
- The new system of classifying enterprises based on annual turnover will be more reliable, transparent and objective as the qualifying criteria will be verifiable with reference to the data available in the Goods and Services Tax network.
- This will also reduce transaction costs as it will no more be necessary to carry out any inspection.
- With a more realistic criterion linked with annual turnover, many enterprises that presently do not qualify should come within the ambit of the MSMED Act, 2006 and benefit from a large number of schemes promulgated by the government for this sector from time to time.
- Existing MSMEs should also be able to invest more in plant and machinery and equipment without losing out on the benefits available to them.
Connecting the dots:
- The Union Cabinet has recently decided to change the basis of classification of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. What are these changes and why are they beneficial? Discuss.
An urgent prescription
First the basic science
We must enact
The new protectionism
A right for the rich