The HINDU Notes – 12th June 2019 - VISION

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 12th June 2019

📰 GDP growth overestimated during 2011-17, says former CEA Arvind Subramanian

In a research paper, Arvind Subramanian attributes the overestimation to a change in methodology for calculating the Gross Domestic Product

•Former Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has said India’s GDP growth in the period 2011-12 to 2016-17 is likely to have been over-estimated, and the tag of fastest-growing major economy may not hold.

•In a research paper, ‘India’s GDP Mis-estimation: Likelihood, Magnitudes, Mechanisms, and Implications’, published by Harvard University, Mr. Subramanian has argued that GDP growth during that period was actually 4.5% rather than the 7% presented by the official data.

•“India changed its data sources and methodology for estimating real gross domestic product (GDP) for the period since 2011-12,” he writes in his paper, ‘India’s GDP Mis-estimation: Likelihood, Magnitudes, Mechanisms, and Implications’, published by the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

•“This paper shows that this change has led to a significant overestimation of growth,” the paper adds. “Official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at 7%. We estimate that actual growth may have been about 4.5%, with a 95% confidence interval of 3.5-5.5%.”

•Responding to Mr Subramanian's paper, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation late on Tuesday evening reiterated its stance that the methodology adopted was in line with international standards as set by the United Nations and was as such robust.

17 indicators

•Mr Subramanian, whose term as CEA from October 2014 to June 2018 coincided in part with this period of "overestimation", stressed that his paper deals with the technical origins of the GDP overestimation and not the political aspects of it.

•He argued that one of the problems with the new methodology for calculating GDP growth since 2011 was that the growth numbers no longer correlated with other indicators of economic growth such as electricity consumption, two-wheeler sales, airline passenger traffic, index of industrial production, and export figures, to name a few.

•One of the problems highlighted by the former CEA was that growth numbers no longer correlated with other indicators of economic growth such as electricity consumption, two-wheeler sales, airline passenger traffic, index of industrial production, and export figures, to name a few.

•In total, Mr Subramanian looked at 17 such indicators and found that “the correlations between most indicators and GDP growth broke down in the post-2011 period”.

Methodological issues

•Former Chief Statistician of India and expert on India’s GDP calculations Pronab Sen countered Mr. Subramanian’s thesis, arguing that it is the result largely of the methodology.

•“If you think about GDP growth, it can come from three distinct factors,” Dr. Sen explained. “One is growth in volumes, the amount that is produced. The second is growth in productivity, and the third is improvement in product quality. What Arvind has done is that the indicators he has used are all volume indicators, and having done that, he has said they were very strongly correlated prior to 2011 but not after that period.”

•The reason for this breakdown in correlation, Dr. Sen explained, is precisely because the shift in methodology in 2011 meant that the value of goods and services were now considered to estimate growth and not their volume.

•“In estimating the growth of the high-frequency indicators pre-2011, he has in a sense replicated the method in which the GDP growth was calculated during that period, and then said that there is a correlation between these indicators and GDP growth,” Dr. Sen said. “Post 2011, when we moved to value indicators from volume indicators, the relationship is weaker because the other two drivers would start getting picked up by the values.”

•“If he had made the statement that in the post-2011 growth, only 4.5% came from volumes and the remaining 2.5% came from other factors which we don’t know, then that would have been correct,” Dr Sen added.

Impact of prices

•Mr Subramanian also argued that the shift in 2011 to using values rather than volumes meant that price changes, especially in important inputs such as oil, would have started to have a big impact on the final growth number.

•“Under the old, establishment-based GDP estimates, price changes mattered less because real growth numbers were largely based on volumes not values,” Mr. Subramanian says. “Under the new system, however, values had to be deflated by prices to get real magnitudes. And this mattered crucially for the manufacturing sector where the often-dramatic changes in oil prices can heavily influence input costs”

•Dr Sen also acknowledged that this problem with the new methodology should be addressed. However, he pointed out that while price changes did have an effect now, the direction of that impact was not evident. So, to say that there was only an over-estimation of GDP growth would not be correct. Gauging the effect of price changes on GDP growth using the new methodology would be a different exercise, separate from the one Mr Subramanian has conducted, Dr Sen said.

•“Earlier, prices didn’t matter, as he said,” Dr. Sen said. “But it’s not obvious that the direction of error is constant. When oil prices are falling, then you would be over-stating GDP, but when they are rising, you would be under-stating GDP.”

•Mr Subramanian’s paper also points towards the fact that the way the informal sector in India was measured was using formal sector proxies, which was an increasingly inaccurate approach. This, too, is a correct assessment, according to Dr Sen, who said this problem has become even more acute post-demonetisation, when the informal sector’s growth fell away.

•“But remember that the period Arvind is talking about is pre-demonetisation, so this argument I don’t think applies with as much force then,” Dr. Sen said.

•Mr. Subramanian derives several implications from the findings of his paper. The first is that growth needed to be restored to high levels. The second that the quality and integrity of data in India needs to be improved, something called for by several other economists. And the third is that “India must restore the reputational damage suffered to data generation in India across the board”.

•He also called for the creation of a taskforce to revisit the entire methodology and implementation of GDP estimation.

📰 Quad one way to fix regional issues: Australian envoy

Stresses need for all forms of dialogue

•There is need for flexibility, agility and speed in solving regional problems and the Quad is “one of many such small groupings” in solving them, asserted Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s High Commissioner in India. Ms. Sidhu also identified strengthening of the economic order in the Indo-Pacific as a focus area for future cooperation.

•“Quad is developing into a substantive forum for discussing a wide range of issues,” Ms. Sidhu observed at a talk organised by the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents on Tuesday. “It is now accepted as one part of a strategic landscape that involves many different forms of dialogues. This is what it should be. Quad should be important but not particularly remarkable as part of that landscape,” she added.

‘Pursue substance’

•Stating that she was very positive about the Quad, Ms. Sidhu said individual statements were being issued by member states as a “practical measure” instead of a joint statement. “I would keep the Quad at an official level and pursue substance and genuine working level cooperation… may be raised to ministerial level at some point. I am not sure we are at that point yet,” she added.

•The quadrilateral grouping comprising India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. was revived in 2017 but the grouping has so far shied away from adding a military aspect to it. The latest meeting was held last month in Bangkok.

‘RCEP is vital’

•On trade and investment in the region, Ms. Sidhu stressed the importance of concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN and six Asia-Pacific countries. A successful conclusion to negotiations on RCEP would help shape the “regional rules and norms governing trade, investment and the broader economy,” she said, adding “very importantly, it deals India into regional economic integration.”

•While India has not responded positively to Australia’s request to join the Malabar exercises, the two countries have expanded bilateral military cooperation over the last few years. The latest edition of the bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX in April saw the largest deployment of Australian military assets to India in peacetime, Ms. Sidhu noted. There had been a fourfold increase in defence engagement from 2014.

📰 BJP MP Virendra Kumar to be Pro-tem speaker of Lok Sabha

•BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh Virendra Kumar will be the Pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha, official sources said on Tuesday.

•The first all-party meeting will be convened on June 16, before the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha to be held from June 17 to 26.

•Mr. Kumar, 65, is a seven-term member of Parliament. He won the Lok Sabha election from Tikamgarh. As Pro-tem Speaker, he will preside over the first sitting of the Lok Sabha, administer the oath of office to the newly elected MPs, and oversee the election of the Speaker. He was a Minister of State in the previous Narendra Modi government.

•In the first week of the session, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker will be elected.

•While the government has convened the all-party meeting, the Opposition parties have not called a meeting yet to discuss their floor strategy. A meeting of the Opposition parties was scheduled on May 31, but it was cancelled as most of the leaders were busy analysing the Lok Sabha election results.

•“Since May 31, the Opposition’s position has radically changed,” a senior leader of the Opposition said. BSP leader Mayawati parted ways with the Samajwadi Party and announced that the BSP would contest the Assembly by-elections on its own. With violence increasing in West Bengal, the Trinamool is busy containing the situation instead of working for unity among the Opposition parties.

📰 Free speech cannot be choked by arrest: SC

Release of journalist no endorsement of his views, clarifies order

•Ordering the immediate release on bail of arrested journalist Prashant Kanojia, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said, “We are not appreciative of the manner of his tweets, but we are bothered about his arrest and incarceration...”

•Addressing Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, Justice Indira Banerjee said, “We live in a country where there is a Constitution. Proceed against him in accordance with law, but should he be behind bars?”

‘Not absolute right’

•Mr. Banerjee countered that free speech is not “absolute” and another’s right cannot be trampled upon. “With great liberty comes great responsibility,” he said.

•To this, Justice Banerjee said free speech and criticism on social media cannot be choked by incarceration. “Even we take in a lot from social media, but does that mean incarceration? Show your magnanimity,” she told the State.

•To this, the ASG said, “This order of release should not be seen as a endorsement of his tweets.”

•Justice Banerjee responded, “It is very wrong to think whatever uploaded will be swallowed by the public. People are educated.”

•However, the court later clarified in its order that the journalist’s release should not be construed as an “endorsement” of his tweets, but as a firm stand taken by the highest court to protect personal liberty.

•The court said fundamental rights of free speech and personal liberty were “non-negotiable.”

•“We need not comment on the nature of the posts/tweets for which the action has been taken. The question is whether Prashant Kanojia ought to have been deprived of his liberty for the offence alleged. The answer to that question isprima facie in the negative,” it recorded in the order.

•The court said the State would follow procedure as per law in Kanojia’s case. “We direct that the petitioner’s husband [Kanojia] be immediately released on bail on conditions to the satisfaction of the jurisdictional Chief Judicial Magistrate ,” it said.

•The U.P. government then referred to how the court, in another case on May 14, asked BJP Yuva Morcha leader Priyanka Sharma to apologise on her release from custody for posting a morphed image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on social media.

•Justice Banerjee was heading that Bench too.

•“That was on entirely different facts. It was a photo,” Justice Banerjee replied.

•The hearing on Tuesday was based on habeas corpus petition moved by Mr. Kanojia’s wife, Jagisha Arora, under Article 32 of the Constitution to know the whereabouts of her 26-year-old husband.

📰 ‘China getting decimated by tariff war’

President Trump vows to slap more tariffs on Beijing if it does not accede to America’s trade demands

•President Donald Trump has concluded that his tariff threat worked and forced Mexico to stop the flow of migrants. On Monday, he pivoted back to his trade fight with China and vowed to hit Beijing with more tariffs if it did not accede to America’s trade demands.

•“The China deal’s going to work out,” Mr. Trump said in an interview on CNBC. “You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now, China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own, because they don’t want to pay the tariffs.”

•The President has long favoured tariffs as an immediate and unilateral policy tool. But his increasing confidence that the levies have helped accomplish his goals without harming the U.S. sets up an even more tumultuous period ahead for businesses, consumers and foreign countries.

•Mr. Trump on Monday continued to attack the Federal Reserve for raising rates last year, saying it had put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage to China, which has a fairly subservient central bank. “They devalue their currency. They have for years,” he said. “It’s put them at a tremendous competitive advantage, and we don’t have that advantage because we have a Fed that doesn’t lower interest rates.”

•The President insisted his tariffs were having their intended effect — pressuring other countries to make deals, prompting companies to move factories back to the U.S. and generating an enormous amount of money, all without costing American consumers.

Immediate threat

•He said he was prepared to place 25% tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and would do so immediately if a planned meeting with President Xi Jinping of China did not happen this month during the G-20 summit in Japan.

•“We are scheduled to talk and meet,” Mr. Trump said during remarks to reporters at the White House. “We always have the option to raise it another $300 billion to 25%.”

•Mr. Trump has blamed China for “reneging” on a trade deal with the U.S., and last month he raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods as punishment. China has retaliated by raising tariffs on about $60 billion worth of American products.

•Mr. Trump said Monday that he saw no downside to taxing nearly everything China sends into the U.S. “We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China. Now we’re getting a lot of money from China, and I think that’s one of the reasons the GDP was so high in the first quarter because of the tariffs that we’re taking in from China,” he said, referring to the gross domestic product, which grew about 3.1% in the first three months of the year.

📰 The importance of being neighbourly

India is subtly adding four new elements in the policy matrix

•The Modi government has acted swiftly to pursue its foreign policy priorities. Focused on strengthening India’s place in the world, it has begun by shoring up the country’s position in the immediate neighbourhood. This message emanated from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to the Maldives and Sri Lanka, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s trip to Bhutan.

•Ties with South Asian neighbours were a priority even earlier, as seen in the invitation extended to SAARC leaders to attend Mr. Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014. After that there were some difficulties. India’s relations with Pakistan soured, while China continued to expand its footprint in Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. However, India’s cooperation with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Myanmar showed tangible progress. As a result, attention was consciously shifted from SAARC to BIMSTEC, thereby giving an eastward shift to India’s neighbourhood policy. In 2016, BIMSTEC leaders were invited to the BRICS summit in Goa. BIMSTEC leaders also attended Mr. Modi’s swearing-in last month.

Three visits

•A week thereafter, Mr. Jaishankar was in Bhutan holding comprehensive discussions with his counterpart and the Prime Minister. He also met King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The visit was perhaps meant to assess the current thinking in Thimphu about Chinese overtures to open diplomatic relations and the border issue before Mr. Modi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.

•Mr. Modi’s visit to the Maldives was astutely designed to showcase that a dramatic turnaround has taken place in India-Maldives relations. Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen gave a blatantly pro-China tilt to his foreign policy. The result was that Mr. Modi had to wait until Mr. Yameen’s ouster before he could visit the Maldives in November 2018. Working in concert, the two governments have succeeded in deepening mutual understanding. While visiting India in December 2018, President Ibrahim Solih was still somewhat cautious as he spoke of balancing friends, old and new. But by the time Mr. Modi landed in the Maldives last week, Male had become more receptive. The President and the Majlis speaker reiterated the Maldives’ commitment to its ‘India first policy’. The Majlis invited Mr. Modi to deliver a special address. The President conferred the nation’s highest honour on Mr. Modi.

•This visit demonstrated how India has begun to implement recent decisions to extend ample financial assistance, move ahead with projects to be funded through a new $800 million Line of Credit, and focus on people-centric welfare measures in accordance with the priorities of the Maldives. This is in sharp contrast with China’s approach of extending massive loans for mega infrastructure projects that end up in debt traps. Mr. Modi hit all the right buttons, highlighting India’s resolve to assist the Maldives in every possible manner. He identified countering terrorism, addressing climate change, and promoting an integrated and balanced Indo-Pacific as the key challenges for the region.

•Mr. Modi’s visit to Colombo was prudent. It conveyed India’s solidarity with Sri Lanka as the latter struggles to overcome the overwhelming effects of the Easter Sunday attacks. Mr. Modi held discussions with all the main actors: the President, the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition, and Tamil leaders. President Maithripala Sirisena reflected the nation’s view as he publicly thanked Mr. Modi for a productive visit.

Policy essence

•New Delhi has clearly indicated that the neighbourhood will continue to be a priority, but four subtle elements are being introduced in the policy matrix. First, without always insisting on reciprocity, India may get into a proactive mode and adopt measures “to incentivise cooperation in the neighbourhood”, as Mr. Jaishankar put it. Second, India will prefer to work on quick impact projects that bring socio-economic benefits to the people. Third, recognising its “limited capabilities”, as Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale disclosed, New Delhi would have no objection in forging a trilateral development partnership, involving India and Japan in a neighbouring country. Fourth, SAARC’s drawbacks have caused India’s conscious shift to BIMSTEC. Mr. Jaishankar explained that India sees a mix of “energy, mindset and possibility” in the latter grouping. The government is moving in the right direction. It could also consider bringing the Maldives into BIMSTEC, at least as an observer. Finally, Mr. Jaishankar should visit other neighbours soon, particularly Bangladesh and Myanmar.

📰 Truth, technology and the teacher

Remembering Vijaya Mulay means admitting how wrong India has gone on the issue of technology

•Vijaya Mulay, who died last month at the age of 98, was an icon of educational technology. She was a pioneer of animated films for children. Her short film, ‘Ek, Anek Aur Ekta’ , continues to be an Internet hit many decades after it was made in National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT)’s newly set up unit on educational technology, which she led for many years. She chaired the National Focus Group which drafted the policy on technology included in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005.

•Some members were unhappy that a filmmaker was leading a group that covered the use of computers in education. Mulay’s own vision of educational technology offered no exception to the general rule that technology must promote plurality of use and creative endeavour. That is not the direction that educational technology took in India. She often warned against schools and colleges becoming graveyards of equipment. In an age when schools are perceived as hostage markets, remembering Mulay means admitting how terribly and expensively wrong our system has gone on the issue of technology — and not just technology.

Teachers at the margins

•That admission, however, is hardly a tribute to her. Nor is it a tribute to the India that she, like many others of her generation, symbolised. India was an ongoing invention, and you were part of it. The India she signified and carried with her everywhere told you to find new ways to relate to old problems. Togetherness meant that you will not dominate, no matter how much you know. Technology was supposed to enable people to solve their own problems and feel that they could manage the machine on their own. For Mulay, the danger of educational technology leading to centralised decision-making was as great as the attraction that it would bring life into classrooms. How to avoid the risk of making the teacher feel marginal and dependent was the key challenge for policy.

•The fight between the machine and the teacher is an unequal one. Instead of being together, they have been placed in a state of conflict. At the moment, teachers are at the losing end. They are told to use a range of new gadgets and material to improve teaching. Smart classes are equipped with industrially manufactured lessons and tests. All that the teacher has to do is to facilitate the delivery of these pre-planned lessons. To add to this loss of intellectual autonomy and dignity, surveillance gadgetry is being applied to monitor teachers, to assess what they are doing in the classroom.

•From the other end too, namely that of children and their parents, the teacher faces impossible challenges on a daily basis. At a recent conference I met several teachers discussing the difficulties they face when children bring information they have accessed through the Internet or through an app. A teacher from Haryana talked about a child bringing an image with a well-written description of a nuclear test India conducted 3,000 years ago. The teacher asked, how should I explain to this Class VI child that this information cannot be true? She was aware, she said, that information of this kind has political value as it conveys, and also enhances, a certain kind of patriotism. She said many children in her class were convinced that the information was correct. Moreover, they believed that many of the things she told them during her lessons were doubtful although they were aware that for passing the monthly tests, they should write whatever the teacher had told them. At a young age, these children had developed the capacity to maintain two separate repertoires of knowledge: one for personal conviction and the other for doing well at school.

A double-edged sword

•In this new technological environment, it is easy to forget everything Mulay said and ignore her warnings. The dominant tendency today is to perceive technology as a source of all solutions, not as an aid. The biggest hurdle to reforms in education today is the marginalisation of teachers. They have been at the receiving end of one move after another. They had no choice but to follow whatever they were told to do. Regimented and compliant they always were; being repeatedly told to shift gears has made them cynical. This is a far cry from how Mulay defined the purpose of using educational technology. The National Focus Group paper written under her leadership explained how the latest communication technology was a double-edged sword. While it had the potential to enable common causes to create new communities, it also enabled globally dominant corporate power to discourage intellectual autonomy. To survive with sanity in the new technological environment, our children “must know that nothing is value-free (not even Donald Duck).” Learning at school must promote “a sense of discernment”, and this is no easy aim to pursue in the prevailing technological environment.

•Mulay lived for nearly a century, yet her passing away makes one feel as if we have lost a robust, young voice we urgently need. To keep her memory alive, we must ask why our system of education has failed to benefit from new technologies of storage and communication of knowledge. Many people may not agree with my assessment and insist that our record of using technology — radio, television, computer, Internet — for improving education is not bad. I might have agreed if I were not a frequent listener of Gyan Vani. The programmes it offers to students enrolled in distance education courses are mostly just as wooden as the lectures they would have heard at a college or university. Mulay had warned against precisely this tendency of using technology for replicating and magnifying entrenched systemic weaknesses.

What knowledge means

•Mulay was neither revolutionary nor radical. She worked inside systems and softened people committed to hard lines and tough remedies. One of her extraordinary attempts at persuasion was to join French film director Louis Malle in writing to Indira Gandhi to convince her that she must watch his films. They were banned in India because they were critical and hurt national pride.

•As a bridge between the world of films and education, Mulay set a silent example of persistence in her belief that schools could be softened. Had she been directly asked how, she would have said, by working with teachers, giving them status and the experience of taking decisions. Few people today might agree with her. Contempt for school teachers and suspicion in their competence are widespread, and not merely in the bureaucracy. The so-called aspirational middle class has little patience for the teacher. Its demands from children are as ruthless as the parents’ determination to hound the principal and her staff. They perceive themselves as consumers, and they will go to any length to get the best value. They trust the drill master at the coaching institute because he delivers what he promises. Knowledge brought to life through technology is irrelevant in this scenario. So is its value as truth. What matters is its instrumental value, to let you get on to the next stage of the entrance process.

📰 Gujarat on alert as cyclonic storm Vayu inches towards coast

Heavy rain forecast in coastal areas of Saurashtra region in next few days.

•Cyclonic storm “Vayu” has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, forcing authorities to put Gujarat on high alert. The State authorities have swung into action, ordering closure of schools for three days in coastal districts and deploying teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and asking fishermen to return to the coast from high seas.

Speed increases

•The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday said the speed of “Vayu” had increased to 17 km per hour and was located in the Arabian Sea, about 350 km west-northwest of Goa, 410 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 530 km nearly south of Veraval (Gujarat).

•“It is very likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and the Diu region as a severe cyclonic storm, with a wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph during early morning of June 13,” the IMD said.

•The cyclone will make a landfall near Veraval in Gir Somnath district on June 13 but it will be preceded by heavy rainfall in isolated places.

Shifting of people

•“June 13 and 14 are crucial for us. We have roped in the Army, the NDRF, the Coast Guard and other agencies for rescue and relief work. We will start shifting people living in coastal areas to safer locations,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told media persons on Tuesday.

•After a review meet with District Collectors and officials, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar said schools, colleges and anganwadis in coastal districts would remain shut on June 12 and 13.

•“In all, 36 NDRF teams will be deployed for rescue operations. We have also roped in Army, Navy, Coast Guard and BSF units. If needed, we will also take the help of the Air Force. We have ordered schools, colleges and anganwadis in the districts which are likely to be hit by the cyclone to remain shut on June 12 and 13,” Mr. Kumar said.

Enrolment postponed

•The government has postponed the State-wide school enrolment drive scheduled for June 13-14 during which all Ministers, legislators and top bureaucrats would visit schools in their areas to enrol children.

•According to the State government, around three lakh people from coastal villages will be shifted from low lying areas in Saurashtra and the Union Territory of Diu.

•According to the IMD, heavy rains with winds blowing at the speed of over 110 km on are likely on June 13 and 14 in coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch.

•The government has advised fishermen against venturing into the sea in the next few days while ports have been directed to flag a danger signal.

•“A heavy rain warning has been issued for Saurashtra and Kutch on June 13 and 14 due to the depression in the Arabian Sea which will turn into a severe cyclonic storm,” State meteorological department director Jayanta Sarkar told reporters.

•The government has decided to deploy 30 teams of the NDRF in the coastal districts.

📰 New agency to develop space warfare weapon systems

It will work in close coordination with the tri-services

•To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.

•“The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the setting up of the Defence Space Research Agency (DSRO) which has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies,” sources in the Defence Ministry told ANI.

•The decision was taken at the topmost level some time ago and the agency has started taking shape under a Joint Secretary-level scientist.

•The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.

•It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services. The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.

•In March, India had carried out the Anti Satellite Test (ASAT) which demonstrated its capability to shoot down satellites and joined an elite club of four nations with similar capability. The test also helped the country develop deterrence capability against adversaries who may want to attack Indian satellites to cripple systems in times of war.

•The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.

📰 CO2 emissions rose by 2% in 2018: study

•Global carbon emissions grew by 2.0% last year, the highest rate since 2010-2011, a review by energy giant BP said on Tuesday, calling the trend “unsustainable”.

•“There is a growing mismatch between societal demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress,” said BP chief executive Bob Dudley.

•The BP Statistical Review of World Energy is viewed as an energy industry standard. It also found that global energy demand grew by 2.9%.