- Centre announces stimulus package worth over Rs 6,28,993 crore to boost economy; focus on Health & Tourism sectors in fresh package
- Central govt plans to develop rating system for MSMEs
- Dept of Fertilisers prepares action plan to make India Aatmanirbhar in Rock Phosphate
- President Kovind to lay foundation stone of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar cultural centre in Lucknow today
- Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT summons Facebook and Google officials to appear before it today
- EAM S Jaishankar to attend G20 ministerial meetings in Italy today
- D V Sadananda Gowda assures vaccine for all by December
- Indian Railways delivers nearly 34,760 MTs of LMO to various states
- Centre allocates additional over 2.12 lakh vials of Liposomal Amphotericin- B to States, UTs, Institutions
- Sweden's PM Stefan Lofven resigns
- India’s Rahi Sarnobat wins Gold in women’s 25 metres pistol event at ISSF World Cup shooting
- Australia's COVID-19 Response Committee to hold emergency meeting to deal with Delta variant
- NIA court sent former Mumbai Police Officer Pradeep Sharma to judicial custody in Hiren Murder case
- South Africa reimposes restrictions for two weeks to combat surge in Corona virus Delta variant
- Saudi Arabia to start inoculating young people aged 12 to 18 yrs against COVID-19
Jammu Challenge | ToI
Why are drones so dangerous?
- It is cheap and can be bought online by anyone.
- Anonymity is afforded to the user due to drones’ uncontrolled proliferation.
- Drones do not require much technical expertise to configure them to navigate using GPS and carry a small payload
- Disproportionate psychological effect
- Can be deployed anywhere in the country
So, what are the countermeasures?
- Broadly and obviously, detection, engagement and neutralisation.
Why is detection difficult?
- Drones are battery powered, and hence relatively quiet, and can be manually controlled or programmed to fly low giving the defender very little warning time.
- Detection by normal civil and military radars is difficult as their radar cross-section is very small
How can detection be improved?
- A combination of special millimetric wave radars, acoustic, electro-optic and infra-red sensors will be needed in a fused and networked architecture. This needs to be deployed.
How are drones neutralised?
- Either kinetic means using guns or special net catchers etc and/or electronic measures that basically involve interfering with and/or destroying their guidance electronics. Physical destruction has also been demonstrated using high-powered lasers.
Why is neutralisation tough?
- When a drone makes an approach at night or drones are used in a swarm to saturate defences, quick response can be difficult.
So, what should government do?
- Since it is impossible to address every vital installation, a graded list be made of those to be protected; unfortunately, this list would include personages too as the world has been witness to assassinations through unmanned systems, including drones.
- Since R&D and manufacture of anti-drone systems is at a nascent stage in India, some numbers should be sourced through imports for certain vital areas.
- While DRDO has produced anti-drone systems that guard VIPs during national day celebrations.
- Given DRDO’s record, private industry should be involved.
- The government’s iDEX initiative must enable multiple players as there are many sub-parts in an anti-drone architecture.
- A mechanism to monitor the proliferation of drones and anti-drone technology needs to be instituted quickly.
More Can Be Done | ToI
- The second wave of Covid-19 abruptly cut short a nascent economic recovery and introduced uncertainty.
- In this backdrop, GoI has been urged by many, including RBI’s monetary policy committee, to extend fiscal support.
- FM Sitharaman yesterday announced a Rs 6.28 lakh crore package of measures.
- A large part of it is a set of reforms measures spread out over five years.
- Some of it are procedural changes in existing schemes and measures that had been announced earlier.
- The core of the package is premised on banks willing to step up lending with government-backed guarantees.
- GoI’s policy approach since last year has been to let the banks do the heavy lifting.
- In line with this approach, Rs 2.67 lakh crore of new package is built around the hope that banks will lend to Covid-affected businesses and others when backed by guarantees.
- Bank credit over the last year has grown just 5.7% and lags the 9.7% growth in deposits.
- An environment of risk aversion has neutralised the efficacy of monetary measures.
- Urban poor need urgent fiscal support through cash transfers.
- GoI has a pipeline of infrastructure projects.
- Executing them with fiscal support will provide the stimulus in the form of a surge in spending.
- This is the only way to create a virtuous cycle as contracts to private firms will have a positive impact on jobs and aggregate demand.
- A delay will create permanent damage as some firms may never recover from two shocks in 15 months.
- Vaccination and speed are essential for recovery.
- Offering free visas to foreign tourists as the FM did yesterday can work only when there’s normalcy.
Reopen the files, reconsider privatisation | TH
- Privatisation of the public sector, including banks, has been part of the wish list of economic reformers since 1991.
- The private sector is inherently more efficient.
- India is right now going through its worst economic crisis.
- The highest-ever contraction in the economy took place last year, unemployment has risen, incomes for growing numbers are falling, bank non-performing assets (NPAs) may be ballooning, and the fiscal deficit is rising.
- There are three categories of public sector enterprises, with each needing its own analysis.
- There is the category of enterprises which have been sick for a long time.
- Their technology, plants and machinery are obsolete.
- Their managerial and human resources have atrophied.
- They should be closed, and assets sold.
- The Government should be able to close these in a time-bound manner with a generous handshake for labour.
- After selling machinery as scrap, there would be valuable land left.
- Prudent disposal of these plots of lands in small amounts would yield large incomes in the coming years.
- These enterprises may be taken away from their parent line Ministries and brought under one holding company which should have the sole mandate of speedy liquidation and asset sale.
- Then there are enterprises which have been financially sick but can be turned around.
- Their difficulties can be traced to ministerial micromanagement especially in enterprises with a direct consumer interface.
- Where private management through privatisation or induction of a strategic partner is the best way to restore value of these enterprises, this should be pursued on priority.
- Air India and the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) hotels are good examples. But these need bold decisions.
- Air India should ideally be made debt free and a new management should have freedom permitted under the law in personnel management to get investor interest.
- Once debt free, management control with a 26% stake may be given. As valuation rises, the Government could reduce its stake further and get more money.
- Then there are many profitable enterprises. Pragmatism instead of ideology should guide thinking about them.
- The Chinese chose to nurture their good state-owned enterprises as well as their private ones to succeed in the domestic and global markets by increasing their competitiveness in cost, quality, and technology.
- n the Fortune 500 list, the number of Chinese enterprises is 124, and of these, 91 are state-owned enterprises.
- The Chinese chose to promote both their public as well as their private sector enterprises to rise.
- Both have made China the economic superpower that it is today.
- With profitable public enterprises, the Government can continue to reduce its shareholding by offloading shares and even reducing its stake to less than 51% while remaining the promoter and being in control.
- Calibrated divestment to get maximum value over the medium term after considering market conditions should be the goal instead of being target driven to get a lower fiscal deficit number to please rating agencies.
- In correct accounting practice, asset sales should not be classified as revenue income for computing the fiscal deficit.
- Outright privatisation has other implications.
- The number of Indian private firms which can buy out public sector firms are very few.
- Their limited financial and managerial resources would be better utilised in taking over the large number of private firms up for sale through the bankruptcy process and where a paucity of buyers is slowing down the much-needed rapid turnaround of these firms to give a higher growth momentum to the economy.
- Then, these successful large corporates need to be encouraged to invest and grow both in brownfield and greenfield modes in the domestic as well as international markets.
- This would be better for India entering a higher growth trajectory with an increase in investment rates which have been falling, than in using their scarce resources for taking over government enterprises with no real value addition to the economy in the near term.
- Sale at fair or lower than fair valuations to foreign entities, firms as well as funds, has adverse implications from the perspective of being ‘Atma Nirbhar’.
- These enterprises provide for reservations in recruitment.
- With privatisation, this would end and unnecessarily generate social unrest.
- In dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis, the Government has been able to use its ownership to get banks and public enterprises to do so many things on an immediate basis.
- A similar option does not exist with private enterprises.
Q.) Ivan Duque is the President of which country?
Q.) Weaponised drones were used by Islamic States in which country?