CAO Daily Editorial analysis for UPSC IAS 23rd-January, 2018

Current Affairs Only Daily Editorial Analysis for Competitive Exams


23rd Jan, 2018

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The perilous march of Hindistan {Culture}

(The Hindu)


Context

This article talks about replacing English with Hindi and other Indian languages

Why in news?

Recently congress leader Shashi Tharoor recently questioned in Lok Sabha the purpose of making Hindi an official language at the United Nations.

Language conflict in India

Major groups of Indian languages

  • Indo-Aryan: Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Kashmiri, Nepali, Konkani, Punjabi and Urdu.
  • Dravidian: Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Tulu.
  • Mongoloid: Manipuri, Tripura, Garo, and Bodo.
  • Tribal Language and Dialects: Gond, Oraon, Santal, Mundari, etc.

When the Indian Constitution was being framed in the Constituent Assembly, the question of choosing one language as the official language arose in the minds of the Constitution makers. The official language of the Central government was the single most divisive official issue in the Indian Constituent Assembly

 There were two problems regarding Hindi being the official language

  1. The dialect of Hindi;
  2. the other languages existing in India.

Hindi is spoken in around 13 different dialects. This is so because India was called Hind in ancient times. So every language spoken in Hind was referred to as Hindi.

Gradually, Indians also started calling their languages Hindi which eventually led to the development of various dialects of Hindi.

So debate arose as to which of the dialect was to be chosen as the official Hindi dialect. Later, Hindi dialect that was adopted was the one spoken in Delhi-Agra region with Sanskrit vocabulary.

The key issue which was to be tackled with before this was which language was to be chosen as the official language of the country.

Constitution related to Indian language

  • 1952: Through this order, Hindi was authorized to be used in addition to English for the purpose of issuing warrants of appointment of Governor of a state and judges of Supreme Court and High Court.
  • 1955:Order was issued for the use of Hindi in addition to English for the purpose of “correspondence with the public, preparation of reports of administration, office journals and reports to parliament, government resolutions, recommendations and legislative enactments, correspondence with state governments that have adopted Hindi as official language, treaties and agreements, correspondence with foreign officials and envoys and consular representatives and Indian representatives to international organizations.”
  • 1960: The order provided for the usage of Hindi language in the training of administrative personnel.

The three-language policy

In the sixties, when the language policy ran into rough weather, the three-language formula was conceptualised as a modus vivendi (an acceptable solution). Parliament passed the Official Language Resolution in 1968, stipulating that a “modern Indian language, preferably one of the southern languages”, be studied in Hindi-speaking areas (along with Hindi and English) and that Hindi be studied in areas where it is not spoken (along with the regional languages and English).

Issue

Non-Hindi-speaking States (except Tamil Nadu) adhered to the three-language policy, Hindi-speaking States took a U-turn: they not only gave up on teaching a non-Hindi language in their schools but effectively delegitimised English.

Recommendations

Committee of Parliament on Official Language (CPOL) was created in 1976 “to review the progress made in the use of Hindi for the official purposes… of the Union” and make recommendations on the same, its current mandate is much more. In fact, the Committee operates not only to promote Hindi everywhere but also banish English from the land. It appears to believe that Hindi cannot thrive as long as English survives.


Potato portents {Agriculture Policy}

(Indian Express)


 Context

This article deals with import and export of potatoes, duties involved in it.

Why in news?

Genesis of the potato crises in Lucknow, the loss incurred by a farmer in just two crop seasons is more than the debt waiver announced by the government of Uttar Pradesh.

Few action regarding import and export of potatoes

In June 2014, soon after the BJP won a stunning mandate in the general elections, one of the first acts of the Union government was to rein in the price of potatoes by imposing a minimum export price (MEP), which was followed by bringing potatoes under the essential commodities Act (ECA) and permitting duty-free imports even though imports carried the risk of new diseases. Farmers were harassed and cold stores raided.

Consequence

Farmers took home meagre profits, substantially less than they could have easily made.

Profits from the previous harvest usually determine the acreage under sowing for the next season. Consequently, in the following year, India had a bumper crop of 48 million tonnes of potato in 2015 and prices crashed to Rs 2.75/kg.

The government ignored the plight of farmers who subsequently failed to even recover the cost of sowing.

Last season scenario

In 2017, due to the relatively firmer prices of 2016 and boosted by good weather, farmers produced 48 million tonnes of potato and prices literally crashed through the basement. When, even after 10 months of storage, prices were hovering between 50 paisa to Rs 2/kg, farmers completely lost hope. The cost of growing potatoes being Rs 6.50/kg and the additional cost of storage is Rs 2.50/kg, it became infeasible to even reclaim stocks from cold storages and potatoes were strewn in Lucknow and elsewhere.

Minimum export price (MEP)

It is the price below which an exporter is not allowed to export the commodity from India. MEP is imposed in view of the rising domestic retail / wholesale price or production disruptions in the country. MEP is a kind of quantitative restriction to trade.

Government fixes MEP for the selected commodities with a view to arrest domestic price rise and augment domestic supply. This is intended to be imposed for short durations and is removed when situations change. The removal of MEP helps farmers / exporters in realising better and remunerative prices and would also help in earning valuable foreign exchange for the country.

Essential Commodities Act (ECA) 

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. The Act provides for the regulation and control of production, distribution and pricing of commodities which are declared as essential. The Act aims at maintaining/increasing supplies/securing equitable distribution and availability of these commodities at fair prices.


 

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