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Indian Express

26-September-2023

The Indian Express, CSE candidates can stay informed about current events and developments in India and around the world.

1) Different ways by which the government is pushing for women’s empowerment in India.

Context:

  • With the recent passage of the historic women’s reservation bill also known as The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, the government has set a new benchmark with respect to women empowerment.
  • This article will discuss various other initiatives taken by the government to boost women’s empowerment in India.

Various other initiatives which could be listed are:

Abrogation of article 370:

  • One of the arguments in favor of abrogating Article 370 is that it removed certain provisions that were seen as discriminatory, including the fact that women who married non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir lost their state subject status.
  • This meant they were denied certain rights and privileges, such as property rights, if they married someone from outside the state. The abrogation of Article 370 was seen by some as a step towards gender equality by granting women in Jammu and Kashmir the same rights as men in this regard.

Triple Talaq:

  • Abolishment of Triple Talaq has contributed to women’s empowerment and has given them dignity in society.
  • The Act will improve the existing conditions of Muslim women and will help them to come out of domestic violence and discrimination they are facing in society.
  • It strengthened the “self-reliance, self-respect and self-confidence” of the Muslim women and protected their constitutional, fundamental and democratic rights.

Ujjwala Yojna

  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has had a positive impact on women’s empowerment in India by improving their health, saving them time and effort, enhancing their safety, and indirectly contributing to their economic and social empowerment.
  • It represents a significant step toward addressing gender disparities related to cooking practices and household energy consumption in the country.

Swachhata Abhiyan

  • The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has contributed to women’s empowerment in India by improving their health, safety, dignity, education, economic opportunities, leadership roles, and social status.
  • It has encouraged women to play a more active role in promoting cleanliness and sanitation practices in their communities, thereby contributing to their overall empowerment.

Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao

  • The “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” initiative contributed to women’s empowerment by addressing gender discrimination, promoting education, improving health and well-being, and changing societal attitudes.
  • While it primarily focuses on girls, the long-term impact of the program is expected to benefit women as they grow into empowered individuals who can actively participate in society and make informed choices about their lives.

Mudra Yojana

  • The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana contributed to women’s empowerment by providing them with the financial means to start and expand their businesses.
  • It enhanced their economic independence, offered opportunities for skill development, and encouraged entrepreneurship, ultimately improving the social and economic status of women in India.

Increasing Maternity Leave

  • Increasing maternity leave can empower women by prioritizing their health, well-being, and family needs, allowing them to make choices that align with their goals, and promoting a more inclusive and supportive work environment.
  • Longer maternity leave policies can contribute to a more equitable and gender-balanced society.

Permanent Commission in Armed Forces

  • Granting permanent commission to women in the armed forces is a crucial step in women’s empowerment as it promotes gender equality, financial independence, professional growth, and leadership opportunities.
  • It also helps challenge societal norms and stereotypes while contributing to national security and gender diversity within the military.

The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam

  • It is a historic legislation, which will further boost women’s empowerment and enable even greater participation of women in our political and governance processes.

Notable Results of various initiatives taken by government:

  • Increased representation of female police personnel,
  • Accolades secured by our sports women on international platforms, and
  • The rising enrolment of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Remarkably, nearly 43 per cent of STEM graduates in India are women.
  • Since 2014, female participation in technical education, especially in the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), has doubled.
  • About a quarter of space scientists in India are women whose dedication and hard work have been instrumental in the nation’s flagship space missions, including Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan, and Mission Mars.
  • Today, more women are enrolling in higher education than men in India.
  • We also have one of the highest numbers of women pilots in civil aviation.
  • Female pilots in the Indian Air Force are now flying fighter aircraft.
  • Reservation of posts for women in the CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces) and the admission of girls in the premier National Defence Academy (NDA) and Sainik Schools has resulted in Women fighters who now stand to serve as “Amrit Rakshaks” in the “AmritKaal”.

Way Forward:

  • The essence of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam and similar initiatives signifies hope, progress, and a promise of a brighter future for all.
  • It’s a blaring call for the entire nation to rally together and ensure that the winds of change, set in motion, continue for generations to come.

2) A TO Z OF GDP: The need to revise the base year for accurate GDP measurement

Context:

  • As per the current GDP estimates India stands as the fifth-largest economy in the world and intends to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025 which seems unachievable at this point of time due to covid disruptions.
  • This article will discuss the various measures that need to be taken in order to change the way the GDP is measured.

What is base year?

  • A base year is a reference year used in economic and statistical analysis as a benchmark against which economic data and other metrics are measured and compared.
  • It serves as the starting point or reference point for constructing various economic indicators and price indices.
  • The base year is typically chosen for a specific set of economic statistics, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Price Index (CPI), and Producer Price Index (PPI), among others.

Details:

  • According to estimates, India is on the path to becoming the third-largest economy by around 2027.
  • Also PM Modi has asserted that India would be the third-largest economy in his third term.
  • However, all actions towards this goal will be futile unless growth is captured fully and accurately.
  • As the primary responsibility for the measurement of GDP is with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), it needs to develop proper systems to execute this task.

What steps need to be taken?

Revision of Base year

  • One of the most important tasks to measure GDP accurately is the immediate revision of the base year of the national accounts statistics, which has been delayed considerably due to various reasons, including the pandemic.
  • The country’s GDP is presently computed with the base year of 2011-12, which is now more than 10 years old.
  • Under normal circumstances, the base should have been revised after five years in 2016-17, with the readiness for another revision for 2021-22 as GDP estimates based on an outdated base would not adequately capture the new activities in the economy.

How would revision of base year help?

  • It is expected that revision of the base would result in capturing new activities due to both efforts of the present government and through private initiatives.
  • The large investments made in the past 10 years in the infrastructure sector would have resulted in the augmentation of additional and diversified production capacities which would have led to an increase in the production of goods and services.
  • With the improving image of the country globally and greater ease of doing business, a large inflow of foreign investment has also contributed towards improved capital investment and hence, increased value addition due to diversification, adoption of efficient technologies and increased capacity.

Why revision of base year is challenging?

  • The compilation of GDP is a complex exercise and the revision of the base year is more challenging as it requires a complete assessment of various data sources presently used for compilation and an examination of the feasibility of using new sources of data, which have come into existence during the intervening period.
  • Such new data sets should be used with caution and must be in accordance with the global guidelines provided in System of National Accounts 2008.
  • Considering the time required to undertake such an exercise, MoSPI and the National Statistical Commission should initiate the process at the earliest.

The compilation of GDP also needs to be improved:

  • The compilation of GDP also needs to be improved.
  • During the last base revision, an effort was made to introduce Supply Use Tables (SUTs), which are critical for the validation of national account statistics.
  • Due to a lack of experience in preparing SUTs in India, the procedure could not be adopted for validation before the GDP is released either annually or quarterly.
  • Now, India has comprehensive experience in preparing SUTs and their validation should be carried out before the release of estimates.
  • This would also take care of confusion faced by some of the followers of national account statistics in understanding the “discrepancies”.

What are Supply Use Tables?

  • Supply and Use Tables are essential tools for understanding the structure of an economy, tracking production and consumption patterns, and conducting economic analysis.
  • They provide a comprehensive overview of how goods and services flow through an economy, making them valuable for economic planning, policy formulation, and decision-making.

Other Important factors:

  • MoSPI needs to come out with the results of surveys like the consumer expenditure survey and the annual survey on unincorporated enterprises, which are crucial for the base revision exercise.
  • The exercise to examine other available databases, especially the newly created databases from GST and digital payments, should commence immediately. 

Way Forward:

  • MoSPI should initiate the processs by constituting an advisory committee on National Accounts Statistics with experts and set up working groups for the revision of the base year.
  • A decision on the new base year should be taken at the highest level after due consideration of data availability and an assessment of whether the year has been normal.
  • Steps should also be taken to change the base for all relevant price and production indices.

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