The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 25 January 2021

The shipping sector

  • The author speaks about the shipping sector and the problems ailing the same; we need to understand that the shipping sector is pivotal for economic growth and many nations have understood the importance of the same and banked on it, for instance China whose OBOR initiative is based on the maritime power and is trying to control the Bay of Bengal region or the Indian ocean region.
  • China is not as geographically blessed as India is as it has only one opening to the sea at the eastern part and is climatically very diverse unlike India which has huge coastline. Even then China has top 7 of 10 container ports in the world and receives trade from across the world.
  • The historical records say that India and its maritime power was great in the ancient times but the same has been lost in the past 70 years.
  • We need to analyze the problems that aid the same.
    • The author calls the action that India has taken vis-à-vis the ports have always been counter effective and not to the point, the author calls this visionless administration which has only provided short term solutions.
    • The policies have been empowering or the prioritizing the foreign liners or foreign companies than Indian ones.
    • It was far worse than the colonial times as it was well balanced and well connected back then.
    • The carrying capacity has not been catered to.
    • Our solutions have been very basic in mature and not catering to the advanced methods or no innovations have been seen.
    • Our infrastructure is not in accordance to the global standards as the ports in the nation are not well connected to the hinterlands or international sea routes are less encouraged.
    • We need to make sure that the supply chain logistics are strengthened and cost-effective solutions have to provided also it should be done in a balanced way.
  • The Sagarmala program has been a ray of hope in this regard as this is helping in improving logistics, aims to port led development, strengthen the lives of coastal people and communities, also improve domestic capabilities.
  • Apart from this, some other aspects also have to be catered to as the local ship builders and companies have to be encouraged as we have been speaking on Atma Nirbharta and Make in India.
  • All kinds of voyages have to be encouraged, the skills of local ship builders have to be harnessed and help them grow by upskilling and reskilling. This has also to be passed on the youth and better and innovative solutions have to be reached.

Education post pandemic

  • This article is in the backdrop of the International day of education celebrated on January, 24 annually which aims to honor education and its values like humanity, inclusiveness, sustainable development among others.
  • The theme of 2021 was ‘revive and revitalize education for COVID 19 generation’ as the education sector from the across has been affected due to the pandemic. But we also need to note that the pandemic allows us to provide innovative solutions and effective use of resources.
  • We need to note that 1.6 billion students from across 190 countries have been affected and in Indian scenario we have 1.5 million schools and several million students have been bothered.
  • On an average the schools and other educational institutions have been shut for 3-5 months. The problem has also aggravated the problem by pushing other problems like school dropout and others.
  • The spending on education has reduced in almost all nations even in high income nations but south Asian countries have seen good progress in this regard as they have made good use of ICT or Information communication technology through tools like internet, TV, Radio among others.
  • But we have to see that everyone does not have access to remote learning and we need to shape this, we need to understand the fact that the pandemic has provided us space to make innovations and provide better solutions with resilient, innovative and sustainable solutions.

Agri-credit and small farmers

  • This article speaks about the access of small farmers to agricultural credit which has been spoken about by the central Govt, state Govt, the RBI as well.
  • We need to note that the volume of credit has grown well but the impact it has had is reduced. We can note this with the fact that income of 85% of farmers has been stagnant and the targets set by the Govt on a yearly basis has been reached as well.
  • The agricultural credit support provided by the Govt has been increased by 500% and not even 20% of 12.56 crore small and marginal farmers. 95% of the equipment that the farmers use is financed by NBFCs and not institutional lending.
  • The share of loans and subsidies has also reduced in this regard. Study has also pointed to the fact that there is wide disparity between what was allocated and what is presented to the farmers.
  • The reason for this is that:
    • The maximum amount of loans is taken by the large farmers that have large landholdings as loans are also based on the land that the farmers own.
    • Apart from this the agri-business companies have also become a part of this and start to extract loans instead of small and marginal farmers.
    • Indirect loans and lending have become an issue and this has led to the targets being reached and the loans being not available to the small and marginal farmers.
  • The way forward is also as follows:
    • We need to provide income support to the farmers directly on a per hectare basis which will lead to a proper solution to the farmers.
    • Use of technology is key to avail loans like through mobile apps among others, the images could be shot using satellite images.
    • We need to use the idea of Digital India also with the help of other platform like Kisan credit card among others.
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