Ojaank IAS Academy




23 JANUARY 2023 – Current Affairs

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Intra-national COP

GS Paper- II

Context: India raised its aim for reducing the carbon intensity of its GDP to 45 percent by 2030, up from 34 percent previously. These national carbon emission targets have been widely praised and have improved the country’s status as a leader in climate action.
Role of States:
Power of States and UTs: Provisions in the Indian Constitution, Parliamentary legislation, executive orders, and judicial decisions allow states/UTs to have a significant influence on issues such as land, electricity, mobility, labour, pollution control, skill building, law and order, financial incentives for commercial activities, and so on.

Role of States and UTs in Policy Execution: Through interventions in policy, regulation, and project implementation, states and UTs may become primary movers in the last mile.

Potential of India’s Cooperative Federalism: Speaking to the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised the potential of India’s cooperative federalism in becoming a “torch bearer of the world” in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

How India’s model of ‘Intranational COP’ will work?

Using the GST council model for climate action: Climate action is an uniting subject, and building a forum similar to the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) council, which produced effective participation models throughout the GST roll-out across India, would be beneficial.

Facilitating cross-party dialogue: The Intranational COP can provide opportunity for parties to share a platform in a neutral context where outcome-oriented dialogues can take place.

Promoting cooperative and competitive federalism for net zero: It can reawaken the friendly spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism, with each state/UT committing to bolder net zero measures.

Gauging stakeholder performance through consensus building: It has the potential to establish new assessment parameters for measuring stakeholder performance based on their capacity to build consensus across borders while ignoring their myopic and constrained vote-bank-centered politics.

Learning from and Applying Best Practices: For all stakeholders, climate change is a fresh and dynamic subject. It is an equaliser in which no state/UT has an inherent advantage. States and UTs can share best practises for implementing, achieving, and measuring the effects of their initiatives.

Electricity distribution: A case of cooperation

Even though a project is designed, financed, and implemented by central agencies, site-specific resource mobilisation requires the active participation of states/UTs.

A good example is power distribution, where states may exponentially boost India’s renewable energy objectives.

Furthermore, they may directly assist municipal corporations/village panchayats in developing customised ways for the speedier and more inclusive adoption of national climate targets in accordance with the region’s socioeconomic and cultural sensitivities.

‘Intranational COP’ for common but differentiated responsibilities:

In India, there is a forum to discuss climate change. It is commonly known that some sections of India are economically more developed than others. This means that the generally more wealthy regions of India contribute more to India’s carbon emissions. Such nations are better positioned to invest in and distribute costly low-carbon technology in order to obtain economies of scale.

Addressing Regional Carbon Emission Imbalances: India The Conference of the Parties (COP) can activate innovative procedures to address regional inequalities while preserving local cultural sensibilities.

Mutual Cooperation Agreements: It can serve as a platform for states/UTs to construct MOUs that compliment each other’s strengths while covering shortages in technical/financial/human resources. Small hilly states, for example, have significant hydroelectric power potential but may lack financial resources; states like Rajasthan have good solar energy potential but currently lack adequate trained staff, and so on.

Way Forward:

The intra-national COP might serve as a dedicated flagship venue to forge a national consensus on India’s climate goals and how to accomplish them. The Finance Commission, for example, can play a role in distributing resources based on state climate initiatives and requirements.

Climate finance and distribution methods, led by the Finance Commission, can be debated and agreed upon on this forum. Because it is reached collaboratively by the union and state/UT governments, such a consensus will have double legitimacy.


The success of India’s “Intra-national COP” model can serve as an example for federal nations throughout the world to interact with provincial/local governments to address various socio-political and economic concerns. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to the promotion of India’s soft power, particularly when it assumes the chairmanship of the G20.

Source – The Hindu

Forex Reserves

GS Paper- III

Context: India’s foreign reserves increased by $10.417 billion to $572 billion, marking one of the largest weekly increases in recent memory.
Recent trends in FOREX Reserves:

The entire reserves had fallen by $1.268 billion to $561.583 billion in the previous reporting week.

The country’s FOREX hit an all-time high of $645 billion in October 2021.

The reserves have been dwindling as the central bank uses the funds to safeguard the rupee against pressures brought on mostly by foreign events.

During a week in October 2022, the reserves increased by $14.721 billion.

What is Foreign Exchange (Forex) Reserve?

Foreign exchange reserves are essential assets kept by the central bank as reserves in foreign currencies.

They are frequently employed to sustain the currency and determine monetary policy.

Foreign reserves in India include gold, dollars, and the IMF’s allotment for Special Drawing Rights.

Given the currency’s prominence in the worldwide financial and trade system, the majority of reserves are normally stored in US dollars.

In addition to US dollars, several central banks retain reserves in Euros, British pounds, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan.

India’s forex reserves cover:

Foreign Currency Assets (FCAs)

Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)

Gold Reserves

Reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Countries with the highest foreign reserves:

China now has the most reserves, followed by Japan and Switzerland.

India had previously surpassed Russia to become the fourth-largest country in terms of foreign exchange reserves. (Data as of August 20, 2022)

China – $3,349 Billion

Japan – $1,376 Billion

Switzerland – $1,074 Billion

Russia – $597.40 Billion

Why are these reserves so important?

Because all foreign transactions are completed in US dollars, India’s imports must be supported.

More crucially, they must retain public support and trust in central bank action, whether it is monetary policy or exchange rate intervention to protect the home currency.

It also helps to minimise any susceptibility caused by abrupt disruptions in foreign capital flows during a crisis.

Holding liquid foreign currency protects against such consequences and gives assurance that there will be adequate foreign money to cover critical imports in the event of external shocks.

Initiatives taken by the government to increase forex:

The Government of India has attempted several attempts to boost foreign exchange reserves, such as AatmaNirbhar Bharat, in which India is to be made self-sufficient so that it does not have to import products that India can make.

Aside from AatmaNirbhar Bharat, the government has launched programmes such as the Duty Exemption Scheme, the Remission of Duty or Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP), the Nirvik (Niryat Rin Vikas Yojana), and others.

Aside from these initiatives, India is one of the top countries in terms of attracting the most Foreign Direct Investment, hence increasing India’s foreign exchange reserves.

Source – The Hindu

Hakku Patras or Title Deeds

GS Paper- II

Context: During a launch function in Karnataka, the Prime Minister gave Hakku Patra (land title deeds) to five Lambani (Banjara) tribes, a nomadic Scheduled Caste group.
What are Hakku Patras?

A title deed is a property ownership document in which the holder owns the land.

The title deeds allow owners to get bank loans with the paperwork.

They will also be able to buy or sell land to whom the government has awarded a title deed.

This Hakku Patra will ensure the future of thousands of people living in “Tandas” (Lambani habitats) in the districts of Kalaburagi, Bidar, Yadgiri, Raichur, and Vijayapura.

Benefits of Hakku Patra:

Hakku Patra, like any other legal property instrument, has several advantages.

It establishes one as the legal owner of one’s land or property by providing an up-to-date and official record of who owns the land.

The individual is not required to do study because the document is issued by the government.

It is a state-backed document.

The registration of Hakku Patra settles all forms of land ownership or rights problems.

The paper aids in preventing encroachment through boundary trespassing.

Who are the Banjaras?

The Banjara, also known as Lambadi, Gour Rajput, and Labana, are a historically nomadic trade caste with origins in what is now Rajasthan’s Mewar district.

According to the National Informatics Centre, the word Banjara/Banjari is derived from two sources: ‘Banijya’ – trade or ‘Banachara’ – forest residents.

Laban/Labana is derived from the Sanskrit word lavanah, which means salt, as they were salt dealers.

Despite being classified as a tribal group due to their way of living, the Banjaras are an important scheduled caste sub-group in Karnataka.

Despite the community’s adoption of a variety of languages, Banjara is used across India, albeit the word is changed to Banijagaru in Karnataka.

Questions of a political move:

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes account for approximately a quarter of the state’s population, making them a key constituency for political parties.

The expenditures for the programme were paid for by the state exchequer.

Source – Indian Express

Erosion along the Banks of River

GS Paper- I

Context: Massive erosion along the Ganga river’s banks has displaced hundreds of residents in West Bengal.
Major Reasons:

The most important cause of river bank erosion is flooding.

River bank erosion is also caused by deforestation.

Humans take enormous amounts of dirt from the bank for their own purposes, or they take massive amounts of sand and gravel, which help to keep the soil back. They have accelerated river bank erosion by doing so.

‘Aggradation’ (rising of the river bed owing to silt deposition), extensive ‘braiding,’ and enormous water flow are key elements causing the river to be exceedingly unstable in several stretches.

Aside from natural processes like as storms and sea level rise, manmade factors such as aquaculture, port construction, and other development activities also contribute to erosion.

Implications and Concerns :

The frequent incidences of river bank erosion have increased people’s safety worries.

Aside from the loss of agricultural land, they are concerned that their residential areas would collapse.

People have begun to leave settlements as river erosion has impacted agricultural grounds.

River bank erosion is also affecting education and jobs in the area.

Locals have found it difficult to complete their children’s education since they must constantly relocate.

The residents are largely farmers and agricultural labourers, and it has grown more difficult for them to make a living as enormous swaths of farmland have been consumed by the river.

River bank erosion protection is an issue in flood-prone locations, and it is expensive.

Many local governments are likewise hesitant to spend their own cash because they expect contributions from other government sources.


The grass vetiver, ChrysopogonZizanioides, has been planted experimentally on the Mundeswari River embankment in the Hooghly district as part of the MGNREGA programme.

For the award period 2021-22 to 2022-26, the XVth Finance Commission recommended the establishment of a National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) and State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) comprised of a Mitigation Fund at the National and State levels (NDMF/SDMF) and a Response Fund at the National and State levels (NDRF/SDRF).

The Commission has also made specific recommendations under NDMF for ‘Mitigation Measures to Prevent Erosion’ and NDRF for ‘Resettlement of Displaced People Affected by Erosion’.

Flood management and control initiatives are developed and implemented by separate state governments/Union Territories using their own funds and priorities.

The Central Government offers financial help to states/UTs for the implementation of key projects. Since the XI Plan, the Central Government has provided financial support under a plan known as the Flood Management Programme (FMP).

Since its establishment, the plan has undergone multiple adjustments in response to state/UT needs as well as different instructions and policies issued by the Government of India.

Suggestions and Way Forward:

There is a need to adopt appropriate rules for erosion mitigation measures, as well as for both the Union and state governments to develop a strategy to cope with the widespread displacement of people caused by coastal and river erosion.

For erosion mitigation, a phased approach is required that includes a mix of interventions such as strategic dredging and protection of erodible bank materials with anchored bulkhead or tie-back sheet piles, spurs, toe and bank revetments.

Experts have also advised improving data quality and quantity by expanding rain, flow, and sediment monitoring networks using cutting-edge technology and exploring physical modelling to examine severe and possible scour areas and their control.

Adoption of holistic river management science, as well as complete land use planning for sensitive areas, is required.

There is an urgent need to raise public awareness. People must recognise that this is river land, and the river requires space to play.

Source – Indian Express

RBI’s report on state government Budgets

GS Paper- III

Context: The Reserve Bank of India published its paper ‘State Finances: A Budget Study’ on state government budgets for 2022-23.
About the Report:

It is an annual study issued by the Reserve Bank of India that offers statistics and analysis on the fiscal positions of Indian state governments.

With the topic ‘Capital Formation in India – The Role of States,’ it investigates the role and impact of state governments’ capital outlay in India, as well as the issues they face in this respect.

Capital creation is the process of investing resources in assets such as plants, equipment, machinery, transportation assets, power, and other physical assets, as well as in human capital via education, health, skill development, scientific progress, and research.

These investments boost the economy’s productive potential, enable greater utilisation of underutilisedlabour and other natural resources, and encourage efficiency and innovation.

The salient findings of the report:

Due to economic recovery and high tax collections, the states’ budgetary health has improved after a significant pandemic-induced decline in 2020-21.

The gross fiscal deficit (GFD) of states is expected to fall from 4.1 percent of GDP in 2020-21 to 3.4 percent in 2022-23.

The pandemic-induced drop in own tax revenue, non-tax revenue, and tax devolution from the Centre reduced state revenue receipts in 2020-21.

States planned a significant increase in revenue receipts for 2021-22, headed by their own tax and non-tax income, as well as Centre grants.

States have planned for increased revenue receipts in 2022-23, mostly due to SGST, excise taxes, and sales tax collections.

Revenue spending by states grew dramatically in 2020-21, indicating the reaction to the COVID-19 epidemic.

States’ revenue expenditure climbed by 20.7 percent in 2021-22 (RE), owing mostly to increases in development spending on medical and public health, water supply and sanitation, and social security and welfare.

States have budgeted an increase in revenue spending for 2022-23, headed mostly by non-developmental expenditures such as pensions and administrative services.

States’ capital outlay increased by 31.7 percent in 2021-22, aided in part by the Centre’s budgetary allocation for states under the ‘Scheme for Financial Assistance to States for Capital Investment,’ which provided the required assistance to the rebounding economy.

They have budgeted for a 38.4% rise in capital spending in 2022-23.

The state’s debt-to-GDP ratio is high. The debt-to-GDP ratio has dropped from 31.1 percent in 2020-21, a year in which nations struggled to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, to 29.5 percent in 2022-23.

It is still greater than the 20% suggested by the FRBM Review Committee in 2018.

The largest interest payments to tax collections ratios are seen in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and West Bengal.

This means that interest payments account for a substantial amount of the governments’ revenues in these states, leaving them with less money to spend on other areas of priority, such as health or education.

State governments’ contingent obligations have also grown significantly. Contingent liabilities are a state government’s responsibilities to repay principle and interest payments if a state-owned firm fails on a loan.

Finally, new hazards have surfaced as some governments return to the old pension structure.

There was a growing realisation in the early 2000s that funding the previous pension plan would be difficult.

Returning to the previous pension structure will merely increase pension liabilities, leaving less room for more constructive expenditure.


State governments can encourage investment in both direct and indirect ways.

Spending on physical infrastructure and human capital is part of the direct route.

The indirect channels work through attracting private investment, supporting good governance, and encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI).

States have allocated more capital for 2022-23 than during 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22. Increased allocations for areas such as health, education, infrastructure, and green energy transition can assist enhance productive capacity in the future.

Consider establishing a capex buffer fund during good times when revenue flows are robust in order to smooth and sustain spending quality and flows across the economic cycle.

State governments may continue to focus on establishing a conducive environment for the private sector to grow in order to attract private investment.

States must also encourage and enable more inter-state commerce and business to reap the full benefits of state capex throughout the country.

Source – Indian Express

Hybrid Immunity

GS Paper- I

Context: According to a new study published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, “hybrid immunity” gives superior protection against severe Covid-19.
What is Immunity?

Immunity refers to the body’s capacity to prevent pathogen invasion. Pathogens are disease-causing alien substances such as bacteria and viruses.

Types of Immunity:

Immunity is classified into two types: active and passive.

Active immunity occurs as a result of exposure to a disease, which causes the immune system to create antibodies against that illness.

Natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity can both lead to active immunity.

Infection-induced immunity is described as the immunological protection experienced by an unvaccinated person following one or more illnesses.

Vaccine-induced immunity is obtained by introducing a deceased or weakened version of the disease organism via vaccination. As an example, consider the COVID-19 vaccination.

Passive immunity is supplied when antibodies against a disease are given to a person rather than produced by his or her own immune system. A newborn infant, for example, received passive immunity from its mother via the placenta.

Hybrid Immunity:

Hybrid immunity is characterised as immunological protection in people who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and have had at least one SARS-CoV-2 infection before or after immunisation.

Seroprevalence   SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination results in the development of antibodies that can be easily quantified in the blood (known as’seroconversion’). A person is considered to be’seropositive’ if the level of antibodies in their blood surpasses a certain threshold.   Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in a population is defined as the proportion of seropositive people in that population at a certain time point.
Source – Indian Express

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