Indian Space Programme UPSC NOTE

 History of India’s space programme

  • The history of India's space program dates back to the early 1960s.

  • The Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was formed to coordinate the country's space activities. 

  • In 1969, INCOSPAR was replaced by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), 

  • ISRO has been responsible for India's remarkable achievements in space exploration

  • On November 21, 1963, a 715-kg Nike Apache rocket soared from a small launch pad on the beachhead at Thumba, a fishing village on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram

Special Category Status of States

What is a special category status?

  • It is a classification granted by the Centre to assist the development of States that face geographical or socio-economic disadvantages.

  • The SCS was introduced in 1969 on the recommendation of the fifth Finance Commission (FC). 

Five factors such as 

  1. (i) hilly and difficult terrain 

  2. (ii) low population density and/or sizeable share of tribal population 

  3. (iii) strategic location along international borders

  4. (iv) economic and infrastructural backwardness

  5. (v) non-viable nature of state finances, are considered before granting SCS. 

  • In 1969, three States  Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland were granted the SCS.

  • 8 more States including Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand were given the SCS by the erstwhile National Development Council.

What are the benefits attached?

  • The SCS States used to receive grants based on the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula.

  •  This earmarked nearly 30% of the total central assistance for States to the SCS States

  • However, after the abolition of the Planning Commission and the recommendations of the 14th and 15th FC, this assistance to SCS States has been subsumed in an increased devolution of the divisible pool funds for all States (increased to 41% in the 15th FC from 32%).

  • In the SCS States, the Centre-State funding of centrally sponsored schemes is divided in the ratio of 90:10.

  • Its more favourable than the 60:40 or 80:20 splits for the general category States

  • There are several other incentives available to the SCS States in the form of concession in customs and excise duties, income tax rates and corporate tax rates to attract investments.

Why is Bihar demanding the SCS?

  • The demand for SCS for Bihar has been made by various political parties of the State time and again. 

  • The poverty and backwardness of the State are argued to be because of the lack of natural resources, continuous supply of water for irrigation, regular floods in the northern region and severe droughts in the southern part of the State. 

  • Simultaneously, the bifurcation of the State led to the shifting of industries to Jharkhand and created a dearth of employment and investment opportunities. 

  • With a per-capita GDP of around ₹54,000, Bihar has consistently been one of the poorest States.

  • Highlighting the same in his fresh demand for SCS, CM Nitish Kumar, said that the State is home to around 94 lakh poor families and the granting of SCS will help the government get about ₹2.5 lakh crore required to fund various welfare measures over the next five years.

Do other States also want SCS?

  • Since its bifurcation in 2014, Andhra Pradesh has asked for a grant of SCS on the grounds of revenue loss due to Hyderabad going to Telangana. 

  • Odisha has also been requesting for the SCS, highlighting its vulnerability to natural calamities such as cyclones and a large tribal population (nearly 22%). 

  • However, the Central government citing the 14th FC report, which made a recommendation to the Centre that no State be accorded the SCS, has repeatedly denied their demands.

Is Bihar’s demand justified?

  • Although Bihar meets most of the criteria for the grant of SCS.

  • It does not fulfil the requirement of hilly terrain and geographically difficult areas.

  • Which is considered to be the primary reason for difficulty in infrastructural development. 

  • In 2013, the Raghuram Rajan Committee set up by the Centre, placed Bihar in the “least developed category” and suggested a new methodology based on a ‘multi -dimensional index’ for devolving funds instead of a SCS, which can be revisited to address the State’s backwardness.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Indian Space Programme UPSC NOTE
Indian Space Programme UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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