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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 26 April 2023


Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 26 April 2023


Contents

  1. Setting International Statistical Standards Requires India
  2. Northeastern India to Get a New Triad

Setting International Statistical Standards Requires India


Context

  • After a two-decade absence, India was recently unanimously elected to the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC).The term of membership is four years, starting in January 2024.
  • India could also serve as the commission’s chair during this time.

Relevance:

GS Paper-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Mains Question

Examine the impact of India’s appointment to the UNSC (UN Statistical Commission). What possible advantages might India’s presidency of the Commission have? (250 Words)


United Nations Statistical Commission information:

  • Function: The UNSC is in charge of establishing global standards for statistics, promoting their application, and coordinating statistical initiatives among UN agencies and member states.
  • Membership: The UNSC is made up of 24 member nations that were chosen by the Economic and Social Council based on a fair geographic distribution. Four years are allotted to each member’s term.
  • Meetings: The UNSC convenes yearly in New York to review, approve, and discuss new statistical methods and standards as well as current global statistics issues.
  • Work Programme: The UNSC’s work programme entails creating statistical techniques, enhancing data coverage and quality, encouraging the use of statistics in policymaking, and keeping track of advancements made in the direction of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Contributions to International Development: By providing precise and timely data to inform policy making and assess progress towards development goals, the UNSC’s work is essential to achieving the UN’s mission of promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty.
  • Cooperation: To ensure that statistical standards are unified and consistent across various development fields, the UNSC collaborates closely with other UN organisations, such as the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
  • Publications: Since its founding in 1947, the UNSC has released a variety of reports and books, such as the Handbook of Statistical Organisation, the System of National Accounts, and the Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses.
  • Various indicators, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross Value Addition (GVA), and other measures that emerge from various statistical processes, such as household survey data, employment-unemployment statistics, price statistics, health accounts, tourism accounts, environment accounts, etc., enable comparisons across countries. It also brings together the chief statisticians of member states from around the world.

India’s relationship with the UNSC dates back 76 years.

  • During that time, two of our esteemed statisticians have served as chairmen of the Commission.
  • P.C. Mahalanobis was the first Indian to preside over it (for the eighth and ninth sessions, which were held in 1954 and 1956, respectively), and V.R. Rao presided over the 19th session in 1976.
  • During the UNSC’s early years, Mahalanobis made ground-breaking contributions.
  • He established a statistical sampling sub-commission, which paved the way for the use of sample surveys in various official statistics fields.
  • Rao improved the statistical agencies of numerous developing nations across numerous regions, particularly for conducting household sample surveys.
  • He is also credited with serving as the chair of the UNSC’s sole meeting outside of a UN mission, which took place in New Delhi in 1976 at the invitation of the Indian government.

System of National Accounts (SNA)

  • The System of National Accounts (SNA) 2025, a framework adopted by UN members for the formulation of national accounts, was finalised and put into effect during India’s tenure.
  • Because some economic activities, like the unpaid work done by women, are not measured, developing economies like India and those in the global south are at a disadvantage.
  • Methods for measuring the value addition of unpaid work need to be reformulated and developed.
  • The shift from physical to online transactions as a result of changes in production, consumption, and spending patterns brought about by digitalization has also given rise to new types of economic activities outside the old SNA framework.
  • Compared to developed countries, where growth in the digital economy is estimated to be between 10-12%, India’s growth is estimated to be around 21%.

India’s Contribution to the SNA 2025 Revision:

  • India should play a significant role in the upcoming revision of the Commission’s SNA in order to reach an agreement on adding more digital industries and products and give nations the ability to precisely measure the impact of digitalization.
  • Other crucial concerns like the effects of climate change and how well-being is measured.
  • A $5 trillion economy with a $1 trillion digital economy can be attained with the help of incorporating economic activities into the revised SNA of 2025 and putting those plans into action.

Conclusion

India’s four-year membership in the Commission is timely, and we should take advantage of this chance to represent the global south in developing statistical standards and assisting in their implementation.


Northeastern India to Get a New Triad


Context

  • The Asian Confluence (ASCON) recently hosted the third India-Japan Intellectual Dialogue in Agartala (Tripura).
    • It was a great chance to evaluate how experts and policymakers were changing their minds.
  • The extensive network of connections between Bangladesh and northeastern India.
    • In addition, Japan has become a significant development partner for both Bangladesh and India.
    • It demonstrated that the northeast could undergo ground-breaking changes in the current decade, bringing the trio of Bangladesh, India, and Japan closer together.

Relevance:

GS Paper-2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests; North-eastern India

Mains Question

“North-eastern India is now moving towards economic development after overcoming numerous security and political obstacles.” Review the assertion. (250 Words).


Highlights

  • The eight northeastern Indian States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Sikkim) are located in a region that is undergoing dramatic change.
  • India’s Act East Policy has focused on fostering regional cooperation and economic ties with the Asia-Pacific using the Northeast as a medium. o It has overcome some (but not all) security challenges and undergone political challenges and is now moving towards economic development.

Vision and Opportunities:

  • Matarbari Deep Sea Port (DSP): The development of Matarbari Deep Sea Port (DSP) on Bangladesh’s southeast coast is one of the most significant projects.
  • It is being built with Japanese assistance, and operations are expected to begin in 2027.
  • According to a recent ASCON study, this port will “change the game.”
    • The port must serve Bangladesh and northeastern India in order to be financially viable.
    • The long-term goal is for Bangladesh and the northeast to develop into this region’s industrial hub and key corridor, serving a 220 million-person population.
    • While improved road and rail connectivity is crucial, it is insufficient without the development of regional industrial value chains.
    • Rapid industrialization therefore becomes important in the industries where the northeast has a competitive advantage.
    • This strategy is sound because it guarantees that the new connectivity links will be effectively utilised.
    • Employment opportunities, which can only come from new industrial enterprises founded with domestic and foreign investment, must go hand in hand with roads and ports.
    • Joint attention will likely be paid to Bangladesh and the northeast’s industrialization and complete connectivity.
  • The northeast is endowed with an abundance of natural resources.
  • For instance, Arunachal Pradesh has a forest cover covering about 82% of its area, and its elevation ranges from near sea level in the south to peaks over 7,000 metres in the north. The area is drained by several large rivers.
  • By sharing borders with Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, the north-east enjoys a strategic location advantage. It also serves as a conduit for connectivity as part of India’s Act East Policy, which aims to promote regional cooperation and trade with the Asia-Pacific region.
    • These multinational highways have the potential to account for bulk import and export, which can be further enhanced by development of rail lines. o These projects include the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway Project, the Rhi-Tiddim Road Project, and Border Haats. o Others include the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project, and Border Haats.

Future obstacles:

  • Some obstacles can be overcome by advancing policy convergence and involving people.
  • It is impossible for Japan to invest alone in the northeast.
  • Indian businesses must also invest.
    • India needs to loosen its restrictions on investment from Bangladesh.
    • The three governments ought to establish stronger connections for economic cooperation.
  • Dhaka and New Delhi have made progress towards “almost restoring” the pre-1965 infrastructure connectivity between India and Bangladesh.
  • However, Bangladesh, which has made a significant contribution to connectivity, now requires “reciprocity” from other nations (India) in order to strengthen its ties with its neighbours Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
  • India can aid Bangladesh in joining the Act East Policy by making it possible for it.
  • Two more things should be taken into account.
    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), which is self-defeating, appears to receive little attention when issues of regional cooperation and integration are discussed.
  • This needs to change if the group is to realise its goal of creating the Bay of Bengal Community (BOBC).
    • A skilled pilot is needed in order to connect a significant portion of South Asia with Southeast Asia.
  • The triumvirate of Bangladesh, India, and Japan (BIJ) can provide this leadership.
  • The northeast will support the idea of first launching a BIJ Forum at the level of foreign ministers.

Conclusion:

It is important to responsibly exploit the Northeastern State’s high potential in a variety of economic and strategic endeavours.


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