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1.Is ‘deep sea fishing’ the silver bullet? (The Hindu)

2.Food for new Industrial policy (Live Mint)

3.World Bank warning for learning crisis (Live Mint)

1.Is ‘deep sea fishing’ the silver bullet? (The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of trawling and deep-sea fishing. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • Deep sea fishing has always been an integral part of the country’s Blue Revolution vision to exploit fishing resources to the maximum within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
  • Recently the Tamil Nadu Fisheries University (TNFU) had organised workshop in Chennai on deep sea fishing, with the aim to promote deep sea fishing as an alternative to trawling in the Palk Bay. Proponents of deep sea fishing argue that the lure of better catch in far-off seas and avoiding the risks of cross-border fishing in Sri Lankan waters will ensure its success.

Deep sea fishing

  • ‘Deep sea fishing’ actually refers to the commercial fishing industry where the fishermen look for large hauls of fish at the bottom of the ocean. Deep sea fishing aims at giving fishermen and fishing buffs access to the deeper parts of the ocean and the fish species that only live in the open ocean. Deep sea fishing is practiced worldwide, especially in the coastal areas with no ecological damage.

What is bottom trawling?

  • Bottom trawling is an ecologically destructive practice, involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources. The net is spread along the sea-floor to catch shrimp and fish like halibut and sole; however, bottom trawling also captures juvenile fish, thus exhausting the ocean’s resources and affecting marine conservation efforts.

Proposed plan

  • The Sri Lankan Parliament had unanimously passed an Amendment to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act this year declaring that the method of fishing by bottom trawling an offence. It is aimed at curbing local trawlers as well as deterring trawlers from Tamil Nadu.
  • The solution lies in transition from trawling to deep-sea fishing. Prime Minister formally launched the project to promote deep-sea fishing among the fishermen by handing over work orders to five fishermen for the construction of tuna long-liners with gill nets. As per the project, 2,000 deep-sea fishing boats, costing ₹1,600 crore, will replace trawlers in three years.
  • So the present plan in the Palk Bay is to extract 2,000 trawlers from the bay and replace them with deep sea vessels that fish in the Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar. The time period for this transition is three years (2017-2020), with 500 boats to be replaced in the first year alone.
  • The Central and Tamil Nadu governments. Both have committed to the plan. Each vessel will be fitted for tuna long-lining and or gillnetting. Of this unit cost, trawl owners have to only pay ₹8 lakh upfront and ₹16 lakh through a loan from the Pandyan Grama Bank. The balance amount will be a subsidy shared by the State and Central governments.

Complexity

  • The main issue is what to do with the oversized fleet of Tamil Nadu trawlers that fish regularly in Sri Lankan waters, often damaging the boats and gear of small-scale Tamil fishers from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government has not only passed a legislation banning trawling but its navy has also been vigilantly patrolling the International Maritime Boundary Line, ‘capturing’ Indian trawl boats and fishers.
  • The plan is to remove as many trawl vessels from the Palk Bay as possible. Prospective beneficiaries of the deep sea fishing project should possess a registered, seaworthy trawl vessel of over 12m in length that must be scrapped or disposed of outside the Palk Bay.
  • The new replacement tuna long liner boats cannot trawl or operate in the Palk Bay. The government is now creating a new deep sea fishing harbour at Mookaiyur, located just south of the Palk Bay in the Gulf of Mannar, where many of these vessels are likely to be berthed. Priority is to be given to owners who have had their boats apprehended or damaged in Sri Lanka. Beneficiaries are not allowed to sell their boats within five years of obtaining them though it is unclear how that will be enforced.
  • Administrators and scientists have raised questions, such as are there sufficient stocks of fish in the adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar to make deep sea fishing economically viable for a large and new fleet of vessels? And secondly do Palk Bay trawl fishers, who are used to one-day fishing, have sufficient skills and an interest for deep sea fishing?
  • The Indian government report of the Working Group for Revalidating the Potential of Fishery Resources in the Indian EEZ suggests that oceanic regions have a maximum potential yield of 208,000 tonnes, though it highlights that oceanic stocks are not fully exploited, but it does not state where the remaining oceanic stocks in the Indian Ocean exist nor whether this might be in the Bay of Bengal or the Gulf of Mannar. Moreover, the report warns that oceanic resources are transboundary and hence are targeted by a number of other countries too.
  • On the other side for trawl fishers, the main concern is whether deep sea fishing is a sound investment or not. Some fishermen have expressed doubts about the high operational costs of deep sea fishing and the loan repayment schedule imposed by the Pandyan Grama Bank. Therefore, they have been pressurising the government to minimise the applicants’ financial contribution.

Way forward

  • Whether deep sea fishing will reduce the Palk Bay fishing conflict depends entirely on the downsizing of the existing trawl fleet. There is need to ensure that remaining vessels are not upgraded in size or engine horsepower, as many trawl owners in the Palk Bay have been increasing their engine capacities surreptitiously, well beyond legal limits.
  • Though regulations have always existed, but it has rarely been implemented judiciously. The deep sea vision, moreover, is monomaniacal with no other solutions to trawling offered. The Palk Bay conflict requires a multi-dimensional approach.

Question– Recently the government had launched the project to promote deep-sea fishing among Ramanathapuram fishermen, explain what is deep sea fishing? And also analyse the government step whether it will be able to solve the Palk Bay conflict or not.

2.Food for new Industrial policy (Live Mint)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the need of a new reformed Industrial policy. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • A recent report by Deloitte pointed out that India’s young population will drive its economic growth to overtake China and other Asian tigers in the next few decades. Hence there is need for India’s new industrial policy which must focus on improving overall competitiveness and avoid the lure of protectionism.

Situation for India

  • The potential workforce in India is set to increase from 885 million to 1.08 billion in the next 20 years and hold above the billion mark for 50 years. This potential can only be achieved if enabling conditions for growth are created and sustained.
  • In this context, the discussion paper on Industrial Policy 2017, released recently by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), becomes relevant. The paper reviews the progress made in the last 25 years and provides thoughts on facilitating discussions for the formulation of a new industrial policy aimed at building a globally competitive Indian industry equipped with skill, scale and technology.
  • It recognizes the need to gainfully employ a growing workforce, among others, and lists long-term and medium-term measures and related challenges. The government’s initiative on starting a discussion on a future-ready industrial policy is timely and welcome.
  • In relation to the rising workforce, the Economic Survey 2016-17 pointed out that the richer peninsular states in India will initially witness a sharp increase in working age populations, followed by a sharp decline.
  • In contrast, the poorer hinterland states will remain young and dynamic, characterized by a rising working age population for some time, plateauing towards the middle of the century. The poorer states in the hinterland are characterized by a substantial rural, informal economy where agriculture and allied non-farm activities are the principal sources of livelihood.
  • For India to realize its economic potential, it is this population which needs to be tapped and provided opportunities. Significant migration in search of better sources of livelihood is also being witnessed from such areas towards urban centres, which needs to be carefully managed.

Need for a new Industrial policy

  • A new industrial policy for India must necessarily discuss ideas for creating jobs  forand in  The paper recognizes the importance of competition, enhancing the competitiveness of domestic industry, and strengthening global linkages and value chains. However, it suggests incentives to select sunrise sectors, and possibly enterprises, which could potentially disincentivize competition and innovation, and curb the growth of other sectors. Such a straitjacket sector-specific approach might result in policies soon becoming out of sync with dynamic economic developments and with our World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. While sectoral policies can be a valuable supplement to an industrial policy, an effective industrial policy cannot be merely a collection of sectoral policies.
  • Any design of industrial policy must appreciate its linkages and interaction with agriculture and services policies at a granular level, and with trade, competition and sector-specific policies at a broader level. This will not be possible without a systems view informed by a whole-of-government approach.
  • The Indian economy has suffered from several ill-advised medications in the past, and more recently as well. Such experiments need to be prevented. Therefore, it is essential to understand the functioning of the system as a whole and review the interlinkage among the sub-systems before one fixes the parts.
  • A whole-of-government approach requires different actors and government departments engaged in specific sub-systems to work with each other. Stakeholders involved in the design of specific policies must interact with each other, align forces, optimize and harmonize the functioning of crucial sub-systems to create an industrial policy. It is important to institutionalize such a whole-of-government approach and authorize a powerful nodal department in the prime minister’s office to ensure coherence through coordination with different departments and related stakeholders, and enable swift decision making within predetermined time frames.

Way ahead

  • A new forward-looking industrial policy for India must have Bharat as its soul. It must prioritize the creation of livelihoods in rural and semi-urban areas, and should recognize the importance of growth in the rural non-farm and agriculture-allied economy for industrial development.
  • A long-term view needs to be taken on competition and trade-related issues, and the industrial policy should avoid the temptation of short-term benefits of over-protectionism.

Question– What is the need to move towards new Industrial policy? How it will be useful to fulfil the agenda of Make in India?

3.World Bank warning for learning crisis (Live Mint)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of inefficient education system in India. (GS paper III)

Overview

  • The World Bank has warned of a learning crisis in global education particularly in low and middle-income countries like India, underlining that schooling without learning is not just a wasted development opportunity, but also a great injustice to children worldwide.

Findings of World Bank report

  • The World Bank in a latest report noted that millions of young students in these countries face the prospect of lost opportunity and lower wages in later life because their primary and secondary schools are failing to educate them to succeed in life.
  • According to the ‘World Development Report 2018: ‘Learning to Realise Education’s Promise’, released on Tuesday, India ranks second after Malawi in a list of 12 countries wherein a grade two student could not read a single word of a short text. India also tops the list of seven countries in which a grade two student could not perform two-digit subtraction.
  • In rural India, just under three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do so, the World Bank said.
  • The report argued that without learning, education will fail to deliver on its promise to eliminate extreme poverty and create shared opportunity and prosperity for all. Even after several years in school, millions of children cannot read, write or do basic math.
  • This learning crisis is widening social gaps instead of narrowing them,” it said. Young students who are already disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, gender or disability reach young adulthood without even the most basic life skills. For communities, education spurs innovation, strengthens institutions, and fosters social cohesion. But these benefits depend on learning, and schooling without learning is a wasted opportunity. More than that, it’s a great injustice: the children whom societies fail the most are the ones who are most in need of a good education to succeed in life.
  • Even the average student in grade 5 had about a 50% chance of answering a grade 1 question correctly compared with about 40% in grade 2, the report said. An experiment in Andhra Pradesh, that rewarded teachers for gains in measured learning in math and language led to more learning not just in those subjects, but also in science and social studies—even though there were no rewards for the latter.

Way ahead

  • The report recommends concrete policy steps to help developing countries resolve this dire learning crisis in the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making; and mobilising a strong social movement to push for education changes that champion ‘learning for all’.

Question– How do you think that Indian education system can be reformed to meet the global benchmarks? Discuss it in the context of World bank report on Education.