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8th September – Editorials/Opinions Analyses

Contents

  1. Reviving the economy
  2. Scramjet vehicle: Explained
  3. ‘Green-Blue’ policy: Delhi Master Plan 2041

REVIVING THE ECONOMY

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • The collapse of gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 23.9% for the April to June period comes as an expectation given that the economy was under a strict lockdown for most of the time to contain the pandemic.
  • The quarterly GDP growth numbers had been falling for the last nine quarters, barring Q4 of 2018-19.

Four key indicators

Gross Fixed Capital Formation

The Gross Fixed Capital Formation (as % of GDP) had been on a constant decline (except in 2018) between 2014 and 2019, falling from 30.1% to 27.4%. Developing countries generally invest heavily in fixed assets to increase aggregate demand and prepare capacities to meet future demands.

Consumer demand in urban

In 2019, domestic car sales were on a steady decline for nine consecutive months and even commercial vehicle sales were down by 39% indicating a fall in industrial activity.

Weak FMCG demand

Data from India Ratings indicated that average real rural wage growth dropped from 11.18 % in FY13-FY15 to just 0.45 % in FY16-FY18.

Hence, consumer confidence was badly hit, leading to sluggish demand.

Growth of Core Sectors

The eight core sectors registered a growth of -0.2% in August 2019, indicating that there was not only an issue with the demand but also with our preparedness for supply.

Where we stand at the moment?

  • The investment appetite of urban households is low, urban consumption is low.
  • There is contraction in the eight core sectors indicating that even if demand picks up, we are not well placed to meet those demands.
  • The only positive is that – Rural demand has been better than urban demand thanks to a surplus monsoon and a higher disposable income through MGNREGA wages.

The way forward

Policymaking and implementation around three things need to be given a long, hard thought.

The urban economy has to get running: Investments need to go up and this has to be driven by private and household investments since the contribution in capital formation by the government and the public sector is only 24%. So, government spending alone won’t help. Creating more jobs is the need of the hour.

The rural growth model needs to be sustainable: Increasing disposable income may work in the short term but it would be more sustainable to increase job opportunities at the rural level and strengthen MGNREGA.

There needs to be a massive push on infrastructural spending: There needs to be a massive push on infrastructural spending to boost the core sector demand and generate jobs. Extending MGNREGA to cities and towns will also attract migrant workers to move to the cities again. The eight core sectors that have shown contraction would need structural reforms to bring them back on track.

-Source: The Hindu


SCRAMJET VEHICLE: EXPLAINED

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday successfully flight tested the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) – an unmanned scramjet vehicle with a capability to travel at six times the speed of sound.

Positive and Negative

  • The indegenous development of the technology will also boost the development of the systems built with hypersonic vehicles at its core, including both offensive and defensive hypersonic cruise missile systems and also in the space sector.
  • While the technology helps achieve hypersonic speeds, it comes with its set of disadvantages, and the obvious one being its very high cost and high thrust-to-weight ratio.

The hypersonic vehicle and its scramjet engine

  • The scramjets are a variant of a category of jet engines called the air breathing engines.
  • The ability of engines to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of speed of sound, gives it a capability of operating at those speeds.
  • Hypersonic speeds are those which are five times or more than the speed of sound.
  • The unit tested by the DRDO can achieve upto six times the speed of sound or Mach 6, which is well over 7000 kilometers per hour or around two kilometers per second.

-Source: Indian Express


‘GREEN-BLUE’ POLICY: DELHI MASTER PLAN 2041

Focus: GS-III Industry and Infrastructure

Introduction

  • The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is holding public consultations for the preparation of the Master Plan for Delhi 2041, a vision document for the city’s development over the next two decades.
  • There are several features in the draft policy but the focus on water bodies and the land around it, which is referred to as the “Green-Blue policy”, promises to give the city a new shape.

What is Green-Blue infrastructure?

  • ‘Blue’ infrastructure refers to water bodies like rivers, canals, ponds, wetlands, floodplains, and water treatment facilities; while ‘Green’ stands for trees, lawns, hedgerows, parks, fields, and forests.
  • The concept refers to urban planning where water bodies and land are interdependent, and grow with the help of each other while offering environmental and social benefits.

How does DDA plan to go ahead with it?

  • DDA wants first map out the issues of jurisdiction, work being done by different agencies on drains, and the areas around them.
  • Thereafter, a comprehensive policy will be drawn up, which would then act as the common direction for all agencies.
  • DDA, along with other agencies, will integrate them and remove all sources of pollution by checking the outfall of untreated wastewater as well as removal of existing pollutants.
  • A mix of mechanised and natural systems may be adopted, and dumping of solid wastes in any of these sites will be strictly prohibited by local bodies, through the imposition of penalties.

What will the areas look like after redevelopment?

  • Land around these drains, carrying stormwater, will be declared as special buffer projects.
  • A network of connected green spaces would be developed in the form of green mobility circuits of pedestrian and cycling paths.
  • There is also a plan to develop spaces for yoga, active sports (without formal seating), open air exhibitions, museums and information centres, open air theatres, cycling and walking facilities, arboretums, greenhouses, community vegetable gardens, facilities for boating, restaurants, and other low impact public uses that may be encouraged as part of special projects.

What are the challenges?

  • DDA wants to bring together different agencies like Delhi Jal Board, Flood and Irrigation Department, and municipal corporations as stakeholders in the project.
  • In a city where even waterlogging turns into a blame game between different warring agencies, this will be a tough task, especially as DDA has no supervisory power over these bodies.

-Source: Indian Express

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