• Current Affairs, 25 May 2020



    The India-China border flare-up

    Context: The India-China border has been witnessed tensions during April-May 2020, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

    Where have the incidents (army clashes) happened?

    • The Pangong lake in Ladakh
    • Naku La in Sikkim
    • Galwan valley and Demchok in Ladakh

    Why do face-offs occur?

    • Non-Demarcation of LAC:LAC that has never been demarcated. As a result, India and China have overlapping claim lines along LAC which leads to such clashes
    • Non-implementation of protocols: Additionally, the Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013 regarding rules of engagement to prevent such incidents, have not always been adhered to.

    What is behind the latest tensions?

    • The northern bank of Pangong lakehas always been a point of contention where there are differing perceptions of the LAC.
    • The stand-off in Galwan valley(not many incidents in past as LAC was thought to be settled here) was triggered by China moving in troops & equipment to stop construction activity by India
    • Delhi says that construction was well within India’s side of the LAC, but China thinks otherwise.
    • The broader context for the unexpected tensions in Sikkimappears to be a changing dynamic along the LAC, as India plays catch-up in improving infrastructure there.
    • China has enjoyed an advantage in infrastructureas well as terrain that is more favourable to mobilisation in Sikkim area and likes to maintain status-quo.

    Why has not the LAC been clarified?

    • India has long proposed an exerciseto clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent such incidents.
    • The exercise could pave the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute.
    • Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest.
    • China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.

    What is the state of boundary negotiations?

    • In 2005, an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles completed the first of three stages of the talks.
    • The 2005 agreement said both sides “shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in border areas”.
    • The current, and most difficult, stage involves agreeing a framework to resolve the dispute in all sectors.
    • The final step will involve delineating and demarcating the boundary in maps and on the ground.

    What are the prospects of a settlement?

    • The likelihood appears remote.
    • The main differences are in the Western and Eastern sectors.
    • India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq km in Aksai Chin.In the east, China claims as much as 90,000 sq km, extending all across Arunachal Pradesh. 
    • One particular sticking point appears to involve China’s claims to Tawangin Arunachal Pradesh, which has been increasingly raised by China in recent years
    • A swap was hinted at by China in 1960 and in the early 1980s, which would have essentially formalised the status quo.
    • Both sides have now ruled out the status quo as a settlement, agreeing to meaningful and mutual adjustments.
    • At the same time, the most realistic solution will involve only minor adjustments along the LAC, considering neither side will be willing to part with territory already held.

    What is the Strategic Calculation behind boundary dispute?

    • India insists that its relations with China won’t improve fundamentally until the border dispute is resolved
    • China appears to view an unsettled border as holding some leverage with India, one of the many pressure points it could use to keep India off-guard


    • Until the strategic calculus — and China’s broader view of its relations with India — changes, the stalemate will likely continue

    Connecting the dots:

    • China’s Belt and Road Initiative & India’s Neighbourhood First Policy
    • Panchsheel agreement between India & China in 1954





    Income Transfer Schemes for farmers

    Context: Chhattisgarh government has recently launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana (RGKNY), an income transfer scheme for farmers

    About RGKNY

    • It aims to supplement the income of the Chhattisgarh State’s 18 lakh rice, maize and sugarcane farmers through direct cash transfers
    • RGKNY provides 10,000/acre for paddy farmers and Rs 13,000/acre for sugarcane farmers.
    • The scheme will be extended to farmers of other crops — in fact, to landless labourers as well
    • This is in addition to the Centre’s PM-KISAN schemethat provides ₹6,000 to farm families owning less than five acres of land

    Did You Know about similar income transfer schemes by State governments?

    • TelanganaRytha Bandu Scheme offers cash transfer scheme of Rs 5,000/acre, per season
    • Odishagovernment launched the KALIA scheme (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation)
    • West Bengal has Krishak Bandhu scheme
    • Jharkhandhas Mukhya Mantri Krishi Aashirwad Yojana

    What are the Challenges of income transfer scheme?

    1. Targeting the Real Beneficiary:
      • Ideally, the money should go to the real tiller. But in large parts of the country, there is no record of tenancy.
      • The government data shows only 10% tenancy in the country while several micro-level studies indicate that it could be anywhere between 25-30%.
    1. Identification issues:
      • The other issue is identifying the landless labourers working on farms as majority of them are temporary and seasonal workers.
      • This leaves the task of identification to panchayats which can open doors for large leakages and corruption
    1. Short-term solution:
      • Income transfers are only palliative and cannot address the underlying problem, which is the non-remunerative nature of farming.
      • Transfer of income can lead to conspicuous consumption diverting money away from productive investments

    Why is there a low record of tenancy in India?

    • The current law, favouring “land to the tiller”, is loaded against the owner.
    • As a result, much of tenancy in the country remains oral.
    • Hence, there is a need to change the tenancy laws, and open up land lease markets, ensuring that the owner of the land has full rights to take his land back after the expiry of the lease period

    Way Forward

    1. Information and persuasion campaigns: 
      • Fully inform the tiller that the owner has got income support and then appeal to the owner to pass on this benefit to the tiller or adjust the rent accordingly
      • This would increase the chances of the benefits being passed on to the real tillers — or at least help the tenants to bargain on the terms of tenancy.
    1. Creation of Umbrella Scheme by merging of Various Schemes: 
      • Merging income support schemes,including the PM KISAN and state-level schemes, with the MGNREGA and price-subsidy schemes (food & fertilizer) to start a basic income cover for poor households
      • This approach can cover landless labourers, farmers, and poor consumers
    1. Structural Changes to Agriculture: This includes the following
      • Rectifying messy land records
      • Getting rid of unscientific and unsustainable crop patterns,
      • Correcting market linkages that make the farmers vulnerable to exploitation by officials and middlemen
      • Ensuring adequate irrigation
      • Adoption of technology
      • Resolving conflict with wildlife, and
      • Adapting agriculture to changing weather and climate patterns.


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