The litigation concerning the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in Punjab and the constitutional implications of the Centre's decision to increase the operational jurisdiction of the BSF. It explores the clash between the central and State governments on this issue and the concerns raised by Punjab and West Bengal regarding the breach of federal principles and encroachment into the law and order powers of the State police. The article also highlights the Supreme Court's decision to examine the questions arising from the expansion of the BSF's area of operations.
Punjab has filed a suit against the Union government challenging the decision to increase the operational jurisdiction of the BSF from 15 km to 50 km.
Punjab sees the Centre's move as a breach of federal principles and an encroachment into the law and order powers of the Punjab police.
West Bengal also opposes the expansion and has passed resolutions in their Assembly against it.
The Supreme Court will examine the questions that arise from the expansion of the BSF's area of operations.
In October 2021, the Centre issued a notification standardizing the area over which the BSF would have jurisdiction to operate.
The distance was raised to 50 km in Punjab, West Bengal, and Assam, reduced to 50 km in Gujarat, and kept unchanged at 50 km in Rajasthan.
The Union government claims that the extension of the BSF's jurisdiction will help it discharge its border patrol duty more effectively.
The Union government's move to expand the jurisdiction of the BSF should not be seen as encroaching into the domain of State governments.
The BSF's main focus is on preventing trans-border crimes and it does not have the power to investigate or prosecute offenders.
BSF personnel usually work in close coordination with the police to hand over those arrested and contraband seized to the local police.
The expanded jurisdiction may authorize the BSF to conduct more searches and seizures in cases where offenders enter deep into the country's territory.
There should be strong reasons for the expansion of the jurisdiction of any central force.
The Supreme Court has framed relevant questions regarding whether the Centre's notification encroaches upon the State government's domain and what factors should be considered in determining the "local limits of areas adjoining the borders of India".
The recent success of India's toy industry in becoming a net exporter. It analyzes the reasons behind this success, including the impact of protectionism measures such as increased import duties and non-tariff barriers. The article also raises questions about the role of domestic productive capabilities in this turnaround.
Toy exports in India have increased by 239% between 2014-15 and 2022-23, while imports have declined by 52%.
This has turned India into a net exporter of toys.
An unpublished case study by IIM Lucknow credits the export success to promotional efforts under the 'Make in India' initiative.
The trade balance for toys was negative ₹1,500 crore in 2014-15 but turned positive from 2020-21 after 23 years.
The success could be attributed to either protectionism or an investment upswing.
The evidence is not provided in the article.
Customs duty on toys was tripled from 20% to 60% in February 2020.
Non-tariff barriers such as quality control order and mandatory sample testing were imposed on toy imports since January 2021.
Imports of toys fell and net exports turned positive in 2020-21.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains and affected toy imports.
Net exports reduced to ₹1,319 crore in 2022-23, from ₹1,614 crore in the previous year.
The government raised the basic customs duty to 70% in March 2023 to control the rise in toy imports.
Data from the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) for 2014-15 to 2019-20 shows that the factory or organised sector accounted for 1% of the total number of factories and enterprises in the toy industry.
The organised sector employed 20% of workers, used 63% of fixed capital, and produced 77% of the value of output in 2015-16.
Labour productivity in India has steadily declined from ₹7.5 lakh per worker in 2014-15 to ₹5 lakh in 2019-20.
Export growth before and after 2014-15 is not significantly different.
India's turnaround in the toy trade since 2020-21 is likely due to rising protectionism.
Protectionism can be beneficial if accompanied by investment policies and infrastructure development.
Without these pre-conditions, protectionism may lead to "rent-seeking" and policy failures.
The claim that 'Make in India' policies have made the toy industry a net exporter is not supported by published industry and trade data.
The IIM-L's study supporting the claim should be made public for meaningful policy review and dialogue.
The issue of traffic rule violations and the lenient penalties imposed on violators in Telangana. It highlights the need for stricter enforcement of traffic rules to ensure road safety and reduce accidents. As a UPSC aspirant, it is important to be aware of the challenges and issues related to governance and public policy in India.
The Telangana government has announced a discount scheme for traffic rule violators with pending unpaid challans.
The discounts range between 40% and 90% and the scheme has been extended till January 31.
The scheme is part of the Congress party's pre-poll promises and is being criticized for providing immunity to traffic rule violators.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which imposes higher penalties for traffic violations, has been delayed in Telangana.
The penalty for not wearing a helmet in Telangana is still ₹100, which is significantly lower when adjusted for inflation.
In 2022, there were 1,68,491 road accident deaths in India, with 7,559 deaths occurring in Telangana alone.
The number of road accident deaths in India has increased by 21.87% in the past decade.
Traffic rule violations are a major reason for high rates of accidents and fatalities on Indian roads.
Over-speeding accounted for 71.2% of the people killed in road accidents, followed by driving on the wrong side of the road (5.4%).
Road rules are sometimes tweaked to ease traffic, but they instead encourage driving on the wrong side of the road.
CCTV images of traffic accidents regularly become viral on social media, highlighting the horror of these incidents.
Despite horrific incidents, traffic rule violations are not treated as criminal offences.
Indian roads and highways are becoming wider and smoother, leading to an increase in the number of vehicles.
The absence of a firm regulatory system for motorists is a dangerous combination.
Enforcing rules more stringently is crucial for ensuring road safety.
Telangana has a high number of CCTV cameras, with over a million cameras in Hyderabad alone.
The State has the necessary tools to bring order on the roads and ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
18.1% of road accidents in Telangana are hit-and-run cases, resulting in a significant number of fatalities and injuries.
The new Bharat Nyay Sanhita provides for a 10-year sentence and a fine of up to ₹7 lakh for drivers who flee the accident spot.
The recent truckers' strike against the stringent punishment for hit-and-run cases highlights the need for consultation with truckers before enforcing the law.
The lives of citizens should take precedence over populist policies.
There is one death every three and a half minutes on Indian roads, emphasizing the urgency of addressing road safety.
The mid-term appraisal of the semiconductor Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme in India. It highlights the goals of India's semiconductor strategy, the issues with the current scheme, and proposes revisions to improve its effectiveness.
The semiconductor Design-Linked Incentive (DLI) scheme has only approved seven start-ups, falling short of its target of supporting 100 over five years.
The mid-term appraisal of the DLI scheme is due soon, providing an opportunity for policymakers to evaluate and improve the scheme.
India's semiconductor strategy aims to reduce dependence on semiconductor imports, build supply chain resilience, and leverage India's comparative advantage in chip design.
Stimulating the design ecosystem is less capital-intensive and can establish strong forward linkages to the fabrication and assembly industry in India.
The lack of policy scrutiny on the DLI scheme's lack of results is concerning, especially compared to the quick revisions made to Production-Linked Incentive schemes for foundries and assembly stages.
Lacklustre uptake of the DLI scheme due to certain barriers
Beneficiary start-ups must maintain domestic status for at least three years and cannot raise more than 50% of their capital via foreign direct investment
Costs for semiconductor design start-ups are significant and funding landscape continues to be challenging
Lack of success stories and mature start-up funding ecosystem for hardware products in India reduces risk appetite of domestic investors
Shortfall in investment for DLI beneficiary start-ups could be bridged by equity financing bringing in foreign funds, if not for the scheme's riders on ownership
Relatively modest incentives under the DLI scheme may not be worth the trade-off for start-ups
Need to delink ownership from semiconductor design development and adopt more start-up-friendly investment guidelines to boost financial stability and provide global exposure.
The primary aim of the DLI scheme should be to cultivate semiconductor design capabilities in India
The scheme needs to be revised to focus on facilitating design capabilities for a wide array of chips within the country
The entity engaging in the design development process should be registered in India
The financial outlay of the scheme must be enhanced substantially to support this policy shift
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing's role as the nodal agency should be re-looked at due to concerns of conflict of interest
The Karnataka government's Semiconductor Fabless Accelerator Lab (SFAL) could be an appropriate blueprint for an implementing agency for DLI.
A similar agency under the India Semiconductor Mission could provide start-ups access to mentors, industry, and financial institutions.
This agency could also provide financial incentives to start-ups under the scheme.
The agency could focus on attracting a broader range of semiconductor design start-ups, not just those ready for volume production.
The agency could help start-ups overcome initial hurdles in developing design ideas.
A recalibrated policy focused on chip design can establish India's foothold in the high-tech sector.