There are two aspects to the news- knowing the headline and understanding the intricacies of it. We at The Connectere focus on both. While The First Forum edition gives a brief about the headlines, The Weekly Analysis Edition is meant to educate the reader on what do various news mean and what are their intricacies. This initiative is meant to educate the reader on how to understand the important news. In the Twenty First Edition we are covering the following news:
- Why is People’s Liberation Army the world’s largest armed force but still weak?
- Myanmar election dilemma
- India shifting from burden of schoolbags to boon of learning: New Education Policy 2020
- Rafale Deal: From the beginning to Rafale in India
The People’s Liberation Army was formed as an armed wing to counter the Kuomintang’s anti-communist purges during the Chinese civil wars. It is now the world’s largest armed force. It has seen the technological advances and growing military might but it has key.
Firstly, PLA is accused of being infected by the peace disease (Hépíng bìng), peacetime habits (Hépíng jixí) and peace problems (Hépíng jibì), as it has not participated in any war since 1979 – a condition where a soldier’s casual peacetime approach while training could impact wartime combat readiness. It’s lack of understanding of the intensity of modern combat is concerning. According to research, the number of PLA’s bilateral-trilateral military exercises with the foreign armies has increased since 2014 to compensate for the lack of combat experience but its impact can’t be verified unless China goes to war.
Next, they have been modernizing for the last two decades but it is not in proportion with the quality of personnel employed, especially in the technology-centric services such as the navy, air force, rocket force and the strategic support force. Although, better-qualified students from specialised and technical universities are being recrited cknowledging these gaps, recent reports suggest that the gap still exists.
Third, graft or unscrupulous use of political power for personal gain, in the armed forces undermines its ability on the battlefield, impacts the military’s image and hinders the development of the national defence. Corruption in PLA became widespread when it branched out into business in the 1980s. Xi Jinping, after becoming CCP general secretary in 2012, expanded the fight against corruption, resulting in more than 4,000 anti-graft investigations which resulted in the sacking of high-level officers. Xi’s initial reforms led to internal revolts within the forces. Presently, the resistance has subsided but the effectiveness of the reforms, which were meant to reduce corruption, can be questioned. Fourth is the expenditure. Of its total defence spending, China’s capital expenditure, used for military modernisation, has increased every year since 2012. Factors that come under consideration for revenue bills are PLA veterans, demanding post-retirement benefits and better retirement deals and maintenance of existing weaponry. These rising revenue bills will certainly impact capital expenditure in the near future. The twin factors will slow down China’s military modernisation drive.
Besides these four major problems, there are other operational gaps such as limited strategic airlift and open-sea refuelling capabilities, limited overseas military bases etc all of which could strategically ruin China’s military ambitions.
Myanmar will vote for representatives to the two houses of parliament five years after their last general election. This will be a test of the transition away from direct military rule, but preparations have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and escalating ethnic conflict. The official election date has been set for November 8 but Myanmar will postpone elections in parts of war-torn Rakhine state if the military declares them unsafe. The army-controlled ministries of defence and home affairs would soon determine whether the region was stable.
While long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Suu Kyi remains wildly popular among the country’s majority Bamar Buddhist population, support for her party has waned among minority communities. The Rakhine ethnic party, Arakan National Party (ANP), had a strong showing in the 2015 polls but was denied major roles in the local administration. Rakhine region has since been engulfed by war between government troops and ethnic Rakhine rebels seeking greater autonomy.
The minority Rohingya population was stripped of voting rights ahead of the 2015 election after the temporary documents many held were nullified. Since the polls cancelled in 2015 in several areas affected by ethnic conflict were never held again, postponing the elections this time with the excuse of security could lead to people losing trust in the whole democratic system.
Now is the day of celebration as the Indian Education System has been changed to a positive better after a long time as the government has introduced New Education Policy 2020. The NEP addresses almost all the points of practical criticism that Indian education faced and this will bring a revolutionary change in the system.
Let’s begin by understanding the positive impacts of NEP:-
- Flexible Subject Options:- Our education system tried to fit the students of senior secondary into three categories namely Commerce, Science and Humanities. Now, this has been removed and there is freedom to choose different subjects from all the subjects available as per one’s own need and preferences. This fosters learning spirit in children and also ensures that they’re not forced into a rigid stream rule.
- Change of academic structure : – A second major change by the government is that they have replaced the existing 10+2 academic structure with the 5+3+3+4 system. Now, it has become more similar to the education system of the western developed countries. In the prior system education started from the age of 6 years but now it will start from 3 years of age. Structure consists of Foundational stage (5 years) + Preparatory Stage (3 years) + Middle stage (3 years) + Secondary Stage (4 years).
- Self- assessment by students : – Report cards will include self-assessment by students in addition to existing teachers’ evaluation sheet. PARAKH( Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) – a new National Assessment Centre will be set up as a standard setting body.
This plays a very major role in developing critical thinking of an individual and also helps him to self-evaluate at later stages of life.
- Increased expenditure on education : –The government has decided that atleast 6% of the GDP will now be spent on education which is 3% as of now. 6% is a great target but depends on the implementation largely now.
- Eliminating rote learning : – In the education system, most of the exams are designed in a way that we need to memorize things and all that we learnt, evaporates in a few months because we gave exams by rote learning. Now, the NEP changes this and exams would be designed in a way that would not require much memorization or rote learning
Multiple Entry-Exit Programme-
Talking about education after class 12th, there will be a multiple entry and exit programme. It simply means that if you start a degree and in anytime between you feel to change it or discontinue it for now due to any factor, then you’ll be issued credits for that one year and you can continue in second year anytime showing that credit certificate. Similarly if you discontinue after 2nd year, you’ll get Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme after 4 years.
Also, top 100 foreign institutes have been given permission to set up their campuses within India.
Negative/controversial points of NEP:-
- Language : –The new policy has been criticized the most on the point of language. Inclusion of regional language in junior classes exposes those students who transfer to different state in their study period and then will face difficulty in understanding the new regional level. There should be standard one or two languages in which they are taught along with inclusion of their regional level as well. English in today’s date has become the global language of communication and is very important to do anything at an international level.
- Anti-democratic policy : –Several student and teachers’ body have criticized this policy of being anti-democratic. Some parties like CPI(M) has put forward the most criticism that the states were not consulted before making this policy, since education is a concurrent subject that comes under both the centre as well as state list.
- Theoretical policy : – And finally, some raised criticism that this policy is very theoretical, it does change things theoretically, but to implement them practically in real life is going to be a very long drawn and difficult process.
It is a moment of proud for us all as Indians that Rafale touched our MotherIndia this week.
Let’s dig deep into the deal and learn from where it all started.
The story starts on 28th August 2007, when the Defence Ministry of India approved the deal to buy 126 MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) fighter jets. There was a need to buy fighter combat jets and different bids were called and evaluated and in may 2011, two aircrafts were shortlisted that were Eurofighter Tycoon and Dassault Rafale.
Negotiations started in January 2012, with Dassault Aviation for Rafale aircrafts because the bid amount was the least. The deal being negotiated was for 126 fighter jets of which 18 fighter jets were supposed to be “Off The Shelf” and remaining 108 fighter jets were supposed to be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL).
Dassault Aviation, the French company was to transfer its technology to HAL. This transfer of technology aspect was very important for the deal as India would get to discover the technology forever and could be used in making our new fighter jets also.
On 3rd March 2014, a work share agreement was discussed between Dassault Aviation and HAL in which it was stated that 70% of the work will be done by HAL and 30% will be done by Dassault. These negotiations kept on going on till late and in the mean while our central government changed from UPA to NDA.
In continuation to this, our Prime Minister visited France on 10th April 2015 and a joint statement was issued by Government of India and Government of France to purchase 36 Rafale aircrafts in fly away condition from France. The opposition raised criticism here that without cabinet approval or parliament’s approval how this deal was finalised on spot and what about the previous deal.
There was also a offset clause in this deal that Dassault Aviation will invest 50% of the deal amount in India in any company of its choice. In 2017, there was news that this 50% that amounts to nearly 30,000 crores will be invested in Reliance and hence people said it government’s favouritism towards Reliance. But then clarifying statements were issued that only 8,000 crores will be invested in Reliance and rest amount Dassault plans to invest in 100 companies in India.
There are also major concerns regarding to the cost of Rafale which was 526 crores when UPA did the deal and this finally closed to 1600 crores when NDA bought the jets. This case was also heard in Supreme Court but was finally closed on the parameters that sensitive matters of National Security and related costs can’t be disclosed to the people. The opposition still raises the question to investigate the deal and disclose costing of the Rafale jets. But finally, we have got our 5 Rafale jets which is one of most powerful combat jet in the world and now China and Pakistan will take India’s Air Force more seriously.