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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 06 July 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 06 July 2023


Contents

  1. Strategic Autonomy and the ‘NATO Plus’ Framework
  2. 6 Years of GST in India: Successes and Challenges

Strategic Autonomy and the ‘NATO Plus’ Framework


Context

  • Discussions and arguments have been spurred by the possibility of India joining the ‘NATO Plus’ framework, an expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) designed to oppose Chinese influence.
  • While some contend that greater security cooperation and access to cutting-edge military technologies would be advantageous for India, others warn against sacrificing India’s long-standing policy of strategic autonomy.
  • According to a recent report from a US Congressional Committee, the ‘NATO Plus’ structure may be strengthened by integrating India among its five members.

Relevance: 

GS Paper 2:  International Relations

Mains Question

If India decides to join the ‘NATO Plus’ framework, discuss the possible repercussions for its strategic independence. How may joining an alliance system headed by the United States affect India’s autonomous stance towards China and its relations with its neighbours? ( 150 words)


NATO Plus:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and five nations—Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea—have joined forces to create NATO Plus.Increasing international defence cooperation is the main goal.

NATO

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a group of 31 European and North American nations united by shared values. Finland was recently admitted as a member.
  • On April 4, 1949, it was founded by the North Atlantic Treaty, often known as the Washington Treaty.
  • The main objective of NATO is to maintain peace and guarantee the territorial integrity, political independence, and security of member states. According to Article 5 of the treaty, an armed attack against one member is considered an attack against all, necessitating the assistance of other members, including the use of force if necessary. NATO’s headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.

India’s Particular Regional Challenges:

  • Conflicts, border disputes, and other regional dynamics present unique challenges for India. Joining NATO might divert resources and attention away from these urgent issues, which demand a specific approach.
  • While NATO has the necessary skills, its larger geopolitical objectives, which encompass Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific, could not be compatible with India’s current ambitions.

Alignment vs. Strategic Autonomy:

  • India has historically adopted a policy of strategic autonomy, enabling it to interact with diverse countries and blocs in accordance with its own interests.
  • India’s independence may be jeopardised by joining NATO because doing so would require India to align its defence and security policies with the alliance’s goals and strategies. This change may also cause tension with other regional nations and organisations that respect India’s independence.

Relationship Implications:

  • India’s relationship with Russia, a key ally in addressing security issues in the region and taming China’s posture, may be jeopardised by joining NATO. It would be difficult for India to manage these relationships while managing potential geopolitical repercussions.
  • In addition, joining the U.S.’s Taiwan strategy under NATO Plus could complicate India’s security and result in further military build-up along the India-China border.

Considering the China Factor:

  • India’s participation could have broad ramifications given that NATO Plus is largely focused on controlling China.
  • While India has its own bilateral issues with China and an Indo-Pacific strategy, joining a U.S.-led alliance system may restrict India’s freedom of action and make it more difficult for India to pursue an independent stance towards China. In addition, it may give China justification for escalating military build-up and frequent intrusions.

Assessing the Potential Benefits:

  • Supporters claim that joining NATO Plus will give India access to cutting-edge military technology, platforms for intelligence exchange, and interoperability with other members.
  • These elements could improve India’s defence capability and modernization initiatives. The importance of evaluating these advantages within the broader framework of India’s strategic autonomy and regional interests cannot be overstated, though.

Conclusion

India must carefully consider the potential consequences of entering the ‘NATO Plus’ framework, despite the allure of greater security cooperation and access to cutting-edge military technologies. India’s decision-making process should be influenced by maintaining its policy of strategic autonomy, solving distinctive regional difficulties, and maintaining important alliances. Initiatives like the Quad offer promise opportunities for collaboration as India navigates its strategic course, yet the challenge posed by China still needs to be taken into account.


6 Years of GST in India: Successes and Challenges


Context

On July 1, 2017, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented, marking a critical turning point in India’s indirect taxation structure. The main features of GST are discussed in this article, along with its goals, successes, and remaining difficulties.

Relevance

GS Paper 3 – Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources

Mains Question

Analyse the significance of the GST Council in the context of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India and its function in suggesting changes, reconciliations, and exclusions pertaining to GST. Discuss the issues that need to be resolved for the GST system to continue to be improved, such as the rationalisation of tax rates, the addition of new taxable goods, and the clarification of the taxing of modern activities. (250 Words)


Goods and Services Tax (GST) Overview

The 101st Amendment to the Indian Constitution introduced the GST, an indirect tax. Manufacturers, retailers, and service providers are all affected. There are five different tax slabs: 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%.

The GST Council is the ultimate committee in charge of suggesting changes, reconciliations, and exemptions pertaining to GST. It was constituted under Article 279A of the Indian Constitution. It is essential to the development of GST legislation and rules.

Need for GST:

India’s previous tax system was complicated and fragmented because it incorporated several indirect taxes at various points in the supply chain. Cascading taxes and a higher tax burden on goods and services were the results of this. By replacing many indirect taxes with a single, consistent tax system, GST seeks to simplify the tax structure.

GST’s successes include:

1. Revenue Collection: From 2018–19 to 2022–23, gross GST revenue increased by an average 3% per year, exceeding the nominal GDP growth rate of 9.8% despite indirect taxes’ weaker buoyancy. Since the implementation of the GST, monthly collections have continuously exceeded 1.6 lakh crore.

2. Seamless National Market and Digitised Compliance: The GST has made it possible to create a seamless national market, which has changed India’s tax system and stimulated economic growth. Businesses can now comply with regulations more easily, and other indirect tax improvements have been made possible by the automation of procedures from registration to return filing.

3. Supporting the production Sector: The GST has greatly cut production costs and supported the expansion of the manufacturing sector by doing away with tax cascading.

Persistent difficulties

1. Complicated tax rates and return forms: Disputes and uncertainty continue to be caused by ambiguities in return forms and the classification of some commodities and services.

2. Combating Tax Fraud: Although steps have been taken to ensure compliance and stop fraudulent activity, tax fraud continues to be a problem that needs constant attention.

Attention-Deserving Areas:

1. Inclusion of Additional Taxable Commodities: Alcohol intended for human use as well as petroleum crude, high-speed diesel, petrol and natural gas should be included in the scope of the GST.

2. Including Other Levies: The GST framework should take other levies like energy duty and stamp duty into account.

3. Defining Taxation of New-Age Activities: Online gaming and cryptocurrency transactions must be taxed according to clear regulations.

4. Rationalisation of Tax Rates: In order to streamline the process and improve compliance, it is necessary to review and maybe alter the tax rate slabs.

Conclusion:

The introduction of GST has greatly improved the economy of India, encouraged digitisation, and streamlined the tax system. To fully realise the promise of the GST in the years to come, however, problems still exist and more changes and clarifications are needed.


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