GST impact on the Infrastructure sector | Livemint

GST impact on the Infrastructure sector

The infrastructure sector is the backbone of the Indian economy. The government has been making efforts to boost the sector through various schemes and incentives.According to the government, total infrastructure spending is expected to be about 10% of GDP (gross domestic product) during the 12th Five-year Plan (2012–17), up from 7.6% during the previous Plan.

GST impact | Background

  • In the pre-GST era, there was dichotomy in the applicable indirect tax regime relevant to infrastructure. While Central laws provided exemptions and concessions, state VAT (value-added tax) and entry tax laws were applicable to goods procured.
  • In addition, the cascading effect of Central and state indirect taxes was a concern, due to a high base for levy of respective taxes and a restrictive credit mechanism.
  • There was also litigation at the Central and state levels on classification of contracts, valuation, jurisdiction of state on inter-state works contracts and other issues.

GST impact | Analysis

GST being a concurrent tax on supply of goods and services is expected to bring in predictability for infrastructure projects.

  • There are some changes that would have an impact on indirect taxation—taxability of works contracts being one. As works contracts are limited to only immovable properties, turnkey contracts which do not result in immovable property would now be treated as composite supplies.
  • Works contracts would be regarded as supply of services, so the valuation of goods and services in works contracts that sparked differences earlier would be put to rest.
  • Other contracts which do not result in immovable property could be regarded as composite supplies, and depending on the principal supply, tax liability would arise either as a supply of goods or services.
  • While there is apprehension that a flat GST rate of 18% would lead to increased incidence on infra projects, availability of input tax credits would neutralize such concerns.
  • Exemptions and concessions to infrastructure have been completely withdrawn. This could also lead to increased working capital requirements. Project cost could rise due to increased burden of indirect taxes.
  • Electricity being outside the purview of GST, power generation companies would continue to have indirect taxes as a significant cost factor
  • Withdrawal of exemptions for road, water supply and sewerage projects sponsored by government and local authorities is expected to increase government spend.

GST impact | Conclusion

Therefore, the introduction of GST seems to be a mixed bag for the infra sector—predictability and efficiency being the key advantages, while non-inclusion of sub-sectors, higher rate and certain restrictions are negatives.

Vibrant Democracy, Dormant Parliament | Livemint

As an institution, Parliament is central to the very idea of democracy and was assigned a pivotal role in our Constitution by the founding fathers of the republic. Yet, so many decades later, it has neither evolved nor matured as it could, might or should have. If anything, slowly but surely, it has diminished in stature and significance

Role of Parliament

There are three designated roles for Parliament in a democracy

  1. It is responsible for legislation—laws of the land—by which people govern themselves.
  2. It must ensure accountability of governments—on policies or actions—to the people.
  3. t should engage in discourse and debate on issues that concern the nation and the citizens.

Qualitative decline in Parliament’s performance in recent times

  • The process of legislation is slow and lagged.
  • There are times when it extends from one Parliament to the next.
  • Laws are often passed in a rush through loud voices or large numbers.
  • There is little scrutiny of draft legislation.
  • There is almost no follow-up on rules when laws are put in place.

Reasons for decline

There are two reasons for this decline –

  1. Parliament does not meet or work long enough – The duration for which Parliament meets in India, compared with other democracies, is short. In the UK, both the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet for more than 150 days per year. In the US, both the House of Representatives and the Senate meet for 133 days per year. In Japan, as a norm, the Diet meets for 150 days per year and this is often extended.
  2. Institutional constraints 
  • The allocation of time for MPs to speak is proportional to the strength of their political party in the house and its leadership decides who gets to speak and for how long. The only other opportunities for MPs are during question hour or zero hour. Answers to unstarred questions are simply laid on the table of the house. Starred questions are too many. Only a few come up for discussion. And these are just not taken up if the concerned MP is not present at the time. In zero hour, the speaker or the chairman have the discretion to invite an MP to speak, but time is too little and speeches are often drowned out in pandemonium.
  • It is not only time. MPs do not quite have the freedom to speak in our Parliament as in other democracies. For one, they are afraid of what the party leadership might think, which could affect their future. For another, party whips, of three types, are a problem. A one-line whip is non-binding, informing members of the vote. A two-line whip requires attendance in the house for the vote. A three-line whip is a clear-cut directive to be present in the house during the vote and cast their vote in accordance with the party line. Any violation of this whip could lead to an MP’s expulsion from the house.
  • In India, the anti-defection law stipulates that a three-line whip can be violated only if more than one-third of a party’s MPs do so. This is the unintended consequence of a law that might have mitigated one problem but created another, which is emasculating our Parliament as an institution. 
  • The standing committees and select committees can be diligent and are often not partisan. Alas, these committees are often used in form than substance. Moreover, their recommendations are not binding. 

Way forward

The answers lie, inter alia –

  • in electoral reform through public funding of elections,
  • political reform that mandates disclosure on the sources of financing for political parties, and
  • set rules for elections within political parties to foster intra-party democracy that has been stifled not only by dynasties but also by oligarchies.

Conclusion

Almost 70 years after we began life as a republic, there is a clear and present danger that we could be the world’s most vibrant democracy with the world’s least effective, and perhaps most dormant, Parliament. It is time for MPs in India to reclaim their rights in Parliament as representatives of the people.

India's increasing green growth | Live Mint

India is the fastest growing economy in the world. But how has it performed on green growth and energy efficiency? Electricity usage is an important indicator of energy efficiency, and, all else being equal, using less electricity to achieve a given level of output is more efficient.

Green Growth | Achievements

  • India’s energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) has declined from 1.09 kg unit of oil equivalent (KOE) in the 1980s to 0.66 in recent times. China’s energy intensity is roughly 1.5 times that of India.
  • Energy efficiency has improved in urban areas as urban settings have reduced the cost of electricity use per output level.
  • The energy-intensive industries (e.g. iron and steel, fertilizer, petroleum refining, cement, aluminium, and pulp and paper) account for the bulk of the energy consumed. They have recorded greater energy efficiency improvement.

Green Growth | Grey areas that need attention

  • Large urban manufacturing enterprises are now de-urbanizing and moving into rural areas in search of lower land costs. These enterprises are locating in rural sites along major transport corridors, like the Golden Quadrilateral transport highway network.
  • Energy efficiency has not improved in rural regions when compared with urban regions. This would suggest that urbanization as a potential driver of green growth may have a limited role to play.
  • Spatial disparities in terms of usage of electricity per unit output is remarkably high in states such as Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. By contrast, states like Delhi and Haryana display electricity consumption levels that are consistently lower than the national average.
  • There remains huge heterogeneity in energy usage across industries. Textiles, paper and paper products, basic metals, and non-metallic mineral products display the largest consumption of energy per unit output. Industries that display lowest usage include tobacco products and office, accounting and computing machinery.

Green Growth | What can India do?

  • The green growth agenda may need to extend beyond urban areas and also include rural areas. Lack of access to energy and unreliable energy supply forces firms to invest in self-generation capacity at the expense of more productive capital, outsource part of the production process, or expand firm size.
  • Although the installed capacity of India’s power system is the fifth-largest system in the world (after China, the US, Japan, and Russia), it is still insufficient to meet India’s rapidly increasing demand. Policymakers need to review the incentives and regulations that govern self-production of electricity, when unreliable energy supply forces firms to invest in self-generation capacity at the expense of more productive capital, outsource part of the production process, or expand firm size.

Green Growth | Way forward

Policymakers need to move on three fronts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions –

  • First, increase energy efficiency.
  • Second, improve access to technology.
  • Third, promote renewable fuel.

Green Growth | Conclusion

India has forwarded an ambitious green growth agenda in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. To materialise the ambitious agenda into reality, India needs to perform consistently above the previous benchmarks set out by itself by incorporating a clean energy agenda in flagship schemes like UDAY and DDUGJY. Electricity production standards and pollution emissions are homogeneous, performance on energy efficiency (positive and negative) can be mostly translated into green growth.

Towards a Clean Energy Workforce | Business Standard

The current median age in India is 27.6 years. Over the next 20-25 years, about 600 million additional people will join the workforce. Automation is going to hit annual job growth in almost all existing industries, whether agriculture, construction, textiles or IT. India needs new Clean Energy sources and new types of jobs. Whereas, renewable energy is on a rapid growth trajectory in India.

Job potential in Clean Energy

  • Solar capacity increased from less than 20 megawatts (Mw) in 2010 to above 12,000 Mw (March 2017). In fact, in the last three years, investments in the power sector have been primarily in renewables, accompanied by sharp falls in solar and wind tariffs and increasing investor confidence. Yet, little attention is given to the employment potential in renewable energy.
  • In February 2015, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) had projected that India’s 160,000 Mw of solar and wind targets would generate about 1.3 million full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs. These jobs are segmented into technical, financial, legal and regulatory due diligence for business development, preparing engineering designs in the design phase, erecting mounting structures, wind towers, etc. during the construction phase, and regular O&M activities.
  • The seven times greater potential in rooftop projects means that 238,000 people could be employed in this segment. Another 58,000 workers will find jobs in utility-scale solar and 34,000 in wind energy.
  • Decentralised energy also increases the potential for creating jobs locally, giving opportunities to local entrepreneurs or for recruiting workers from near project sites.
  • In addition, new jobs could be created to manufacture solar photovoltaic modules, solar PV installation structures, wind turbines, towers, wind blades, etc.
  • Existing manufacturing industries, which supply balance of plant equipment (transformers, inverters, cables and wires) for solar and wind plants will also provide employment to cater to the growing renewables sector.

Concerns | Clean Energy

  • There is a difference between FTE jobs and a permanent workforce. This is because not all activities require a person to be employed throughout the year. Many jobs are one-time, especially during the initial three phases of the project deployment cycle where employees move from one project to another, as each phase lasts for less than a year. O&M, by contrast, provides full-time jobs through the year.
  • Even though every state has potential for jobs in solar (maximum in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Gujarat), wind sector employment is concentrated in seven states (Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh).

Conclusion | Clean Energy

As the sector expands, new employment segments will emerge, such as renewable energy scheduling and forecasting, grid integration and balancing, energy storage, and re-powering and recycling of existing plants. Renewable energy could be at the forefront of new forms of job creation in India. It will need greater attention to decentralised service provision, continuing skilling, and increasing ambitions for clean energy — nationwide and within each state.

Using AI for Development Goals | Live Mint

A recent United Nations (UN) supported summit in Geneva, “AI for Good”, focused on the potential of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Essentially, any sector, which is data-driven (be it conventional, digital or geo-spatial), is open to the use of AI. In some areas, AI applications are relatively well-developed, while in others, they are in initial stages.

Development Goals | Health and nutrition

  • AI-based systems can sift through the collected data about malnourished children and track the progress of an individual child at various Anganwadi centres in terms of their cognitive development and health. 
  • Image-recognition techniques can help in early identification of stunted growth, epidemics and other health issues. This information can then be used by the programme officers to recommend corrective solutions.
  • Integrating information from other sources, the AI systems can assist in the diagnosis of problems being faced—from drought to poor sanitation and inadequate supplies.

Development Goals | Agriculture

  • Several start-ups in the US have used AI to develop “precision farming” practices, which lead to a more efficient use of inputs and higher yields.
  • Sensors gather information about the condition and colour of foliage and soil moisture content. This information is fed to the system, which determines the amount of water, and fertilizer to be provided.
  • It also specifies which part of the plant needs to be provided with these inputs.
  • These systems have reported higher yields and reduction in agricultural inputs.
  • The use of such technologies in Indian conditions will need to consider much smaller land-holding sizes and the socioeconomic conditions of farmers.

Development Goals | Education

  • AI-based systems can assist students with their learning experience, especially in changing the form and nature of content to suit the student.
  • “Smart content” is generated with text summaries, supported with related videos and simulations.
  • They can also help connect with students who are working on similar problems worldwide.
  • The systems can ensure that learning takes place through frequent testing which can be used as feedback to alter the course content and trajectory. 
  • Intelligent tutor systems like “personal robots” can work and interact with humans as peers. Some of them are even capable of identifying and correcting misconceptions of a student as they learn the material.
  • AI cannot entirely replace the human teacher, but an AI system can play an intermediate role by providing timely feedback to students and teachers. 

Development Goals | Concerns

Many of these interventions appear to be far-fetched today. But we said the same about language processing, self-driving cars and Google directions. AI is no magic bullet. It is a set of computational tools that can be used to improve decision-making. Some of the available AI technologies are expensive today. There are also ethical issues of privacy of data, equity and liability of actions. 

Conclusion

There is no denying that AI is in the middle of exponential growth and it has the potential to make game-changing transformations. The developmental challenges faced by India are also too big to be solved by the conventional linear approach. AI provides an opportunity for transformative solutions and India’s scale provides the possibility of rapid cost reduction of these technologies.

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Cities – Our Policy Orphans | Editorial Simplified

RESOLVING INDIA’S URBAN GOVERNANCE CONUNDRUM 

  1. the only way to help farmers is to have less of them,
  2. our farm to non-farm transition is being murdered by the lack of good urbanisation,
  3. bad urbanisation is a child of city leadership that is either impotent or unelected.

Having Fewer Farmers : 

India has too many farmers (250 million) and too many poor farmers (they are about 50 percent of the labour force but only produce 12 percent of gross domestic product). Farmers have a productivity problem just like India does not have a jobs problem but a wages problem. India’s wages will only rise sustainably when we cross the “Lewisian” turning point which states that wages rise only after critical mass is reached in the farm to non-farm transition. Hence, the only sustainable way to help farmers is to have less of them.

Lack of Good Urbanisation

The unstoppable migration of people to our 50 cities, with more than a million people, is being retarded by bad urbanisation that has created a divergence between real wages (what employees care about) and nominal wages (what employers care about). Urbanisation is inevitable but the mispricing of land, patchy public transport, and poor suburb connectivity mean that India is not realising the true upside of cities by making them magnets for evacuating farmers seeking decent wages.

City Leadership

Cities are complicated organisations all over the world but Indian cities suffer the friendly fire of being policy orphans for three reasons

  • Firstly, state chief ministers are unwilling to cut the tree they are sitting on (Bengaluru contributes may be 60 per cent to Karnataka’s GDP).
  • Secondly, cities don’t have the plumbing or mandate to generate their own resources e.g. reasonable property taxes.
  • Finally, and probably most importantly, city leadership is either unelected (bureaucrats serving as development authority or municipality heads) or impotent (city politicians who win elections but don’t wield power).

WAY FORWARD

Getting power from State Governments would need state politicians to sacrifice self-interest. Politicians in states and the Centre face two important human capital decisions over the next decade – Civil service reform and the creation of elected and empowered city leadership.

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Indo-China Border Skirmishes | Recent Updates

The territorial and boundary dispute between Indo-China is a complex, historical, multi-layered wrangle across a sprawling 3,500-kilometre-long border.

What is the current Indo-China issue?

  • At issue is sovereignty over a scenic, 4,000-metrehigh pasture called Doklam — less than 100 square kilometres in spread.
  • India claims that the Chumbi Valley, a dagger shaped wedge of Chinese territory protruding southward from the Tibetan plateau, ends north of Doklam at the Batang La pass.
  • China asserts ownership of Doklam, too, claiming the boundary runs south of the pasture, along the dominating Gyemo Chen mountain, which China calls Mount Gipmochi.
  • Complicating this otherwise straightforward dispute is Bhutan, since the tri-junction of the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan boundary falls here. Bhutan’s claims are supportive of India’s.

History of border disputes between Indo-China

  • The 1962 war was sparked off near Ziminthang by disagreement over whether the boundary ran along the Thagla Ridge, as India claimed, or along the Hathungla ridgeline to its south, as China contended.
  • The 1986 Sumdorong Chu confrontation, which saw India moving tens of thousands of troops to the trouble spot, was over the tiny Thangdrong grazing ground near Tawang, with India claiming the watershed ran north of that meadow, and China claiming it was to the south.
  • At Walong, too, at the eastern end of the Indo-China boundary, disagreement centres on which ridgeline constitutes the watershed.

Concerns of India

  • Many of the 14 sub-disputes on the LAC are over relatively inconsequential grazing grounds and meadows. However, the on-going standoff at tri-junction, at the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley, is over territory that both Beijing and New Delhi regard as strategically important.
  • Indian military planners worry that letting Beijing extend the boundary southwards to Mount Gipmochi would bring China closer to the Siliguri corridor.
  • Assuming that China obtained control over the Siliguri corridor, India could simply bypass the corridor, moving through Nepal or Bangladesh.

Chumbi Valley – China’s vulnerability

  • Of all China’s border vulnerabilities, the Chumbi Valley is perhaps the greatest. It is a narrow salient overlooked by Indian defences, which can cut off the valley from Tibet by wheeling east from north Sikkim.
  • Strategists regard the capture of the Chumbi Valley as an obvious wartime target for India’s “mountain strike corps” when it is operational. By extending the Chumbi Valley southwards, therefore, China would only be expanding a key vulnerability.

Chinese argument over Doklam plateau

  • China’s foreign ministry spokesperson spelt out in tedious detail last week, the 1890 Anglo-Chinese Convention Relating to Sikkim and Tibet specifically mentioned Mount Gipmochi as tri-junction of China, India and Bhutan. True, Beijing rejects as “colonial impositions” other British era agreements, like the 1914 Simla Convention that birthed the McMahon Line. But, there is a difference — China actually signed the 1890 agreement, and not the 1914 one.
  • Beijing also argues that Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 agreement in a 1959 letter to Zhou Enlai.
  • Beijing also cites a pastureland claim over Doklam, arguing that the yak graziers of Yadong have long held grazing rights over Doklam, and that graziers from Bhutan paid a “grass tax” to Yadong graziers if they wanted to herd there.
  • China’s foreign ministry claims the Tibet Archives still possess “grass tax” receipts from earlier times. The grazier argument is a powerful one in border lands peopled by nomadic herders. Both China and India use it to back their territorial claims in other disputed sectors.

Current position of India

  • Although Beijing has made Indian withdrawal a precondition for de-escalating the Doklam faceoff, Indian forces are showing no sign of blinking.
  • Over the preceding decade, India’s defensive posture has been greatly stiffened by raising two new divisions in the Northeast; an armoured brigade each for Ladakh and the Northeast; a mountain strike corps currently being raised and major improvements in India’s air defence and air strike capabilities.
  • Whereas once, China bullied India on the LAC and — as it is attempting in Doklam — built roads, tracks and bunkers as “facts on the ground” to consolidate its position in any future negotiation; today the Indian Army is rightly willing to, and capable of, physically blocking such attempts.

Conclusion Indo-China

There has been no shooting on the Indo-China LAC since 1975, a peace bolstered by the successful “Peace and Tranquillity Agreement” that New Delhi and Beijing signed in 1993. Paradoxically, India’s pro-active Indo-China LAC stance is creating incentives in Beijing for a LAC settlement. Yet, calibrating the aggression and managing each patrol confrontation remain tricky balancing acts. Until a Indo-China LAC agreement comes about, New Delhi must develop the instruments and expertise needed for managing such crises.

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03rd May 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 03rd May 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu 

Editorial : Powering up food 

Context:

FSSAI has brought guidelines with respect to food fortification to address the micro-nutrient deficiency in India

Important Points:

  • As per WHO estimates, deficiency of key micronutrients such as iron, vitamin A and iodine together affects a third of the world’s population; in general, there is insufficient consumption of vitamins and minerals
  • Since a diversified diet that meets all nutritional requirements is difficult to provide, many countries rely on food fortification to prevent malnutrition
  • In India, processed foods with standards-based fortification can help advance overall health goals, starting with maternal health.
  • Firstly, iron-fortified food should be made widely available, since iron deficiency contributes to 20% of maternal deaths and is associated with nearly half of all maternal deaths. 
  • Malnutrition extends to the children that anaemic women give birth to, characterised by low birth weight, poor development and lower cognitive abilities, and such children are generally born pre-term.
  • Low intake of vitamins, zinc and folate also causes a variety of health issues, particularly when growing children are deprived.
  • Fortification, along with a focus on adequate intake of oils and fats, which are necessary for the absorption of micronutrients, can lead to maximum benefits.
  • FSSAI has introduced fortification standards but now must enforce them. The FSSAI plans to get local flour mills to add premixed nutrients
  • Making affordable, good quality fortified foods, through standardised processes, and distributing them through a well-functioning public distribution system is the best channel to target those most in need.
  • This will provide near to medium-term gains. In the long term, public health goals on prevention and elimination of nutritional deficiencies should aim at encouraging people to adopt a diversified and wholesome diet.
  • Recent studies show that, in case of children, adding zinc to food during the six months to 12 years growth period reduced the risk of death from infectious diseases and all causes put together.
  • Children, including those in school, should get a wholesome cooked meal that is naturally rich, and augmented with vegetables, fruits, and dairy.
  • However, it is important that food regulation views the issue of affordability as a central concern, because unaffordable fortified food would defeat the very purpose of fortification.

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02nd May 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 02nd May 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu 

Editorial : Lokpal and the law

Context:

The Supreme Court has ruled that the existing Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 is workable and the selection committee shall go ahead and appoint a Lokpal

Important Points:

  • The government has delayed setting up a Lokpal citing inadequacies in the law, stating that a parliamentary standing committee’s report on proposed amendments to the Lokpal law is still under consideration
  • The main amendment that is needed, as argued by the government, is that of considering the leader of the largest party in opposition as the Leader of Opposition for the sake of participation in the selection panel of the Lokpal
  • The Supreme Court has refuted the Centre’s stand stating that the existing Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 is good to go arguing that the fact that some amendments have been proposed and a parliamentary panel has submitted a report do not constitute a legal bar on enforcing the existing law
  • The court has noted that the Act provides for the selection committee to make appointments even in situations of a vacancy in the committee.
  • An amendment is pending since 2014 that would allow considering the leader of the largest opposition party as the Leader of Opposition for selection of a Lokpal, despite provisions relating to the selection of the Chief Information Commissioner and the Central Bureau of Investigation Director having been amended to the same effect.
  • A simple way of resolving the impasse was to recognise the Congress party leader in the Lok Sabha as the Leader of the Opposition.
  • A 1977 Act on the salary of the Opposition Leader defines the position as the leader of the largest party in the opposition and recognised as such by the Speaker. 
  • In the face of this simple procedure, such a delay is inexplicable.
  • What this essentially implies is that the country does not have an anti-corruption ombudsman, not due to any legal hurdle but due to the absence of political will.

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26th April 2017 | Editorial Simplified

Editorial Simplified : 26th Day of April 2017

This Series of posts covers the essential Editorial from prominent newspapers. The Editorial from the newspapers are compiled by the Subject Teachers form the Academy and provided in notes format so that the aspirants does not waste their precious time in sifting through the newspapers.

The Hindu 

Editorial : Murder at noon

Context:

A Central Reserve Police Force battalion was ambushed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district leading to the death of 25 personnel, the worst such attack in 7 years

Important Points:

  • At least 25 CRPF personnel were killed near the Burkapal camp in south Sukma while out on duty to provide protection for road construction on the Dornapal-Jagargunda belt when the Maoists struck.
  • Around 300 armed insurgents swooped down on the battalion around 1 p.m., when the soldiers were taking a break for lunch and their guard was presumed to have been down. 
  • The Maoists used automatic weapons that they had stolen a month ago when they ambushed and killed a dozen CRPF men not very far from this encounter site.
  • This shocking attack points to a few things,
  • It is a tragic reminder of the failure of the Indian state to effectively address the security challenge the Maoists
  • The recent spate of attacks and ambushes indicates a breakdown in intelligence-gathering, possibly on account of a lack of effective coordination between the State police and paramilitary forces.
  • The State police forces in Maoist-affected areas have more or less abdicated their duties of law and order, leaving the job almost entirely to the paramilitary forces.
  • It is consistent with the Maoist strategy of blowing up infrastructure that enables connectivity, such as roads and bridges, or establishes the presence of the state, such as schools. The road being built would’ve provided easy access to the backward region of the State, where Maoists have for long held sway.
  • The post of the Director General of the CRPF continues to be vacant and that is a major administrative inadequacy and the fault lies at the door of the Central government.
  • It also raises questions about the Standard Operating Procedures and precautions adopted by the CRPF.
  • What shall be the response?
  • The response must be to double down to extend the presence of the administration in Bastar, to break the isolation and reach social services to the people.
  • The Centre needs to put in place measures to strengthen, expand and arm the State police, most of all in Chhattisgarh.
  • This needs the State governments to show far more political will to persuade local communities than they currently do. 
  • There is also the need to boost the morale of the security and police forces.

The Maoists long ago lost the argument when they resorted to violence but the state is yet to win that argument by addressing the people’s security and welfare needs.

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