GS 1: Art and Culture
Kalamandalam Mahendran has trained over a hundred students in Ottanthullal over the years and has helped them perform at various school arts fetes.
About Ottanthullal Art
Ottanthullal (or Thullal, in short) is a recite-and-dance art form of Kerala that is famous for its humour and social satire.
It is marked by its simplicity as opposed to more complex dance forms like Kathakali and Koodiyattam.
It was introduced in the 18th century by the famous Malayalam poet Kunchan Nambiar.
A legendary satirist himself, his presentation and style resonated deeply with the common man.
Recently, the 192nd birth anniversary of Fatima Sheikh was observed.
About Fatima Sheikh
She was a pioneering teacher, anti-caste activist, a proponent of girls’ education, and a social reformer in 19th-century Maharashtra.
She was born on 9 January 1831 in Pune.
She was considered to be a feminist icon, and in pre-independent India, she had to fight social ostracism and discrimination to bring about a change in the country.
She was a colleague of Jyotiba Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule, who also worked relentlessly with Sheikh to focus on issues of caste, Sati, female empowerment, widow remarriage, inter-caste marriage and education.
In 1848, Savitribai, Fatima and Jyotiba opened the first school for girls inside the premises of Fatima’s home in Pune in spite of loud, threatening opposition.
Other schools for Dalits and women followed, with Fatima and Savitribai going to individual families across the town in attempts to persuade them into enrolling their children.
Recognition: In 2022, Fatima Shaikh was honoured with a Google Doodle on her birthday.
Today, some state governments have included her mention in their history or political science syllabi.
In 2014, Sheikh’s achievements were featured by the government in the form of a profile in Urdu textbooks, along with other exemplary and resolute educators of her time.
GS 2: Polity and Governance
Obscenity Laws in India
Recently, the Advocate submitted a complaint to the police against Urfi Javed for roaming the streets of Mumbai and exhibiting her body.
The obscenity Laws in India
Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Sections 292, 293 and 294 deal with the offence of obscenity.
Section 292 says that any content shall be deemed to be obscene if it is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest, or if its effect tends to deprave and corrupt persons likely to read, see or hear the content.
This section prohibits the sale or publication of any obscene pamphlet, book, paper, painting, and other such materials.
Section 293 criminalises the sale or distribution of obscene objects to anyone who is under the age of 20, or an attempt to do so.
Although it is a bailable offence, the maximum punishment for the first conviction is three years of imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 2,000, and for the second conviction seven years with a fine up to Rs 5,000.
Section 294 prohibits obscene acts and songs in public spaces.
The maximum punishment for the person convicted under this charge is three-month jail and a fine.
With the advent of the digital age, laws were made to criminalise obscene conduct on the internet also.
Sections 67A of the IT Act deal with material containing a sexually explicit act etc in electronic form.
The punishment is five years and Rs 10 lakh (first conviction) or seven years and Rs 10 lakh (second conviction).
In 2014, the judiciary used the Hicklin test to determine if something is obscene or not.
The Hicklin Test was established in English Law after the case of Regina vs Hicklin (1868).
According to it, a work can be considered obscene if any portion of it is found to “deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such influences”.
The test was most famously used by the Supreme Court to ban DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the case of Ranjit D Udeshi vs State Of Maharashtra (1964).
However, in 2014, the apex court did away with the Hicklin Test while hearing the case of Aveek Sarkar & Anr vs State Of West Bengal and Anr, which was regarding the publication of a semi-nude picture of Boris Becker and his fiancee.
In its judgment, the court said “while judging as to whether a particular photograph, an article or book is obscene, regard must be had to the contemporary mores and national standards and not the standard of a group of susceptible or sensitive persons”.
It added that the photograph must be “taken as a whole” and seen with the context of what it wants to convey.
GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions
Aspirational Block Programme (ABP)
The Prime Minister recently launched the government’s Aspirational Block Programme (ABP).
The Programme aimed at improving performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters.
It was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23.
It will initially cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories, with over half of these blocks located in six states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
The ABP is based on the Aspirational District Programme (ADP).
Aspirational District Programme (ADP)
The Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) was launched in 2018 which aims to quickly and effectively transform 112 most under-developed districts across the country.
The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level Nodal Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts through monthly delta ranking; all driven by a mass movement.
With States as the main drivers, this program focuses on the strength of each district, identifying low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement and measuring progress by ranking districts on a monthly basis.
The ranking is based on the incremental progress made across 49 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) under 5 broad socio-economic themes – Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development and Infrastructure.
The Government is committed to raising the living standards of its citizens and ensuring inclusive growth for all – “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas”.
GS 2: Effect of Policies & Politics of Developed & Developing Countries on India’s Interests
Recently, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention.
To mark this day, the tradition of celebrating Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) started in 2003.
1st PBD Convention was organized on 9 January 2003 to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.
Since 2015, under a revised format, PBD Convention has been organized once every 2 years (biennial).
9 January commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India in 1915.
It is celebrated grandly to strengthen the engagement of the Government of India with the overseas Indian community.
Concerns with Celebrations:
Low/semi-skilled and blue collar workers may not find a place or feel comfortable to participate in the said celebration as the general profile of participants is seen to be of very high level.
The participation and involvement should be more broad-based, accommodating the vulnerable sections of the diaspora community too.
17th PBD- “Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s Progress in Amrit Kaal”.
16th PBD- “Contributing to Atma Nirbhar Bharat ”.
The term diaspora traces its roots to the Greek diaspeiro, which means dispersion.
The Indian diaspora has grown manifold since the first batch of Indians were taken to counties in the east pacific and the Caribbean islands under the ‘Girmitiya’ arrangement as indentured labourers.
The 19th and early 20th centuries saw thousands of Indians shipped to those countries to work on plantations in British colonies, which were reeling under a labour crisis due to the abolition of slavery in 1833-34.
2023 marks the 150th year of the first such journey of Indians to Suriname.
As part of the second wave of migration, nearly 20 lakh Indians went to Singapore and Malaysia to work in farms.
The third and fourth wave saw professionals heading to western countries and workers going to the Gulf and west Asian countries in the wake of the oil boom.
Non-Resident Indians (NRI):
NRIs are Indians who are residents of foreign countries.
To qualify as a resident Indian, an individual should have spent 182 days or more of a financial year in India, or stayed in India for 60 days or more in the year and for a period of 365 days or more in the 4 years preceding the relevant financial year
Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs):
The PIO category was abolished in 2015 and merged with the OCI category.
However, existing PIO cards are valid till December 31, 2023, by which the holders of these cards have to obtain OCI cards.
PIO refers to a foreign citizen (except a national of Pakistan, Afghanistan Bangladesh, China, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal) who at any time held an Indian passport, or who or either of their parents/ grandparents/great grandparents was born and permanently resided in India as defined in Government of India Act, 1935, or who is a spouse of a citizen of India or a PIO.
Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs):
A separate category of OCI was carved out in 2006.
An OCI card was given to a foreign national who was eligible to be a citizen of India on January 26, 1950, was a citizen of India on or at any time after January 26, 1950, or belonged to a territory that became part of India after August 15, 1947.
Minor children of such individuals, except those who were a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, were also eligible for OCI cards.
As on December 31, 2021, there were 4.7 crore Indians living overseas.
The number includes NRIs, PIOs, OCIs, and students. Excluding students, the number stands at 3.22 crore, including 1.87 crore PIOs and 1.35 crore NRIs.
According to the World Migration Report, prepared by the International Organisation for Migration under the United Nations, India has the largest emigrant population in the world, making it the top origin country globally, followed by Mexico, Russian and China.
The geographical spread of the Indian diaspora is vast.
The countries with over 10 lakh overseas Indians include United States of America (44 lakh), United Kingdom (17.6 lakh), United Arab Emirates (34 lakh), Sri Lanka (16 lakh), South Africa (15.6 lakh), Saudi Arabia (26 lakh), Myanmar (20 lakh), Malaysia (29.8 lakh), Kuwait (10.2 lakh) and Canada (16.8 lakh).
As per the latest World Bank Migration and Development Brief 2022, “For the first time a single country, India, is on track to receive more than $100 billion in yearly remittances.”
The World Migration Report notes that India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt are (in descending order) among the top five remittance recipient countries, “although India and China were well above the rest”.
Involvement in politics:
The vocal political positions taken by a section of the Indian diaspora, particularly in the US and the UK, is a fairly recent phenomenon.
For instance, the Hindu American Foundation, a Hindu advocacy group based in the US, was set up in 2003, the same year the Pravasi Bharatiya Convention was launched.
Many prominent overseas Indians play an active role in organising global meetings.
Indians living overseas are “brand ambassadors” of the country on foreign soil.
Overseas Indians can project the truth about India to the world in a credible and effective manner and counter “propaganda”.
GS 3: Agreements Involving India &/or Affecting India’s Interests
India Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAusECTA)
Recently, the IndAusECTA Agreement, which was signed last year, has come into force after Ratification and Exchange of Written Instruments.
Major Areas of IndAusECTA
Trade in Goods
Trade in Services
Rules of Origin
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures
Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation
Legal & institutional Issues
Movement of Natural Persons
Current Trade trends between India and Australia
India’s imports from Australia amount to 17 US $ billion India’s imports from Australia are primarily (96%) raw materials & intermediate goods.
They are highly concentrated in Coal (74% of Australia’s exports to India) out of which 71.4% is coking coal.
India’s exports to Australia amount to 10.5 US $ billion.
India’s exports to Australia are broad-based and dominated by finished products (consumer goods).
India also spends $ 4 bn approx. each year on education of students in Australia.
Benefits for India
Benefits under Trade in Goods:
Indian goods on all tariff lines to get access to the Australian market with zero customs duty (currently subjected to 5% import duty by Australia).
Immediate duty-free access covers all labour-intensive sectors such as Textiles and Apparel, Agricultural and Fish products, Leather, Footwear, Furniture, many Engineering Products, Jewelry and select Pharmaceuticals.
Cheaper Raw Materials, Faster Approval for Medicines
Immediate Duty-Free Access is projected to potentially create 10 lakh jobs in India and additional exports of $ 10 bn from India to Australia in the next five years.
India has offered concessions on Tariff lines of export interest to Australia like Coking coal and Thermal coal, Wines, Agricultural products – 7 of them with TRQ (Cotton, Almonds shelled and in shell, Mandarin, Oranges, Lentils, Pear), Metals (Aluminium, Copper, Nickel, Iron & Steel) and Minerals (Manganese Ore, Calcined Alumina).
Exceptions: Many sensitive products such as milk and other dairy products, wheat, sugar, iron ore, apple, walnuts and others, have been kept in India’s Exclusion list.
Benefits under Trade in Services:
Australia has committed its schedule in the negative list and has also made wide-ranging commitments in around 135 sub-sectors with Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status in around 120 sub-sectors.
India has for the first time agreed to Negative listing after 5 years of coming into force of the Agreement.
India is also making a commitment to Australia in around 103 Service Sub-Sectors with Most Favoured Nation status in around 31 Service Sub-sectors for the first time.
The Agreement opens avenues for investment in computer related services, telecom, construction, health & environmental services.
More than 1 lakh Indian students in Australia will benefit from post-study work visas (18 months – 4 years).
The Agreement provides for an Annual Quota of 1,800 for Yoga teachers and Indian Chefs.
It makes an arrangement for Work and Holiday Visas for young professionals.
Commitments have also been made to pursue Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) in professional services in 12 Months.
Protective Features to guard against Unintended Consequences:
The #IndAusECTA also has certain ‘protective features’ aimed at guarding both countries against unintended consequences on trade.
Stringent Rules of Origin –
Value Addition of 35% + Change in Tariff Subheading (CTSH)
In calculation of Value Addition, 2 different values agreed to (35% or 45%) depending on method of calculation (based on whether profit is excluded or included)
Product Specific Rules negotiated for 807 products
Requirement of ‘melt and pour’ for iron & steel products included in the Product Specific Rules for these products.
Strict Operational Customs Procedures
A specific clause included to ensure only items made in Australia count for value addition, no other country products
A Bilateral Safeguard Mechanism will be available for 14 years in case of surge in imports:
A special clause on Review has been agreed upon to enable either country to request a Review for parts of the Agreement which may be a cause of concern, after 15 years
Review compulsory if requested (it shall happen)
Must be completed in 6 months
End to Double Taxation:
A provision in the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) was used to tax this remittance.
However, the Agreement has removed the discrepancies with regard to use of DTAA for taxation of Indian firm royalties, fees and charges.
Australia has no domestic provision for charging tax on royalties, fees and charges by firms sending these to parent companies.
Boost to Economy:
Exports are expected to increase by 10 billion by 2026-27 with a creation of approximately 10 lakh jobs.
The total bilateral trade is expected to cross US $ 45-50 billion by 2035.
The coming into force of the India Australia ECTA is expected to consolidate and help in the growth of market share of Indian products and services.
There is a lot of potential for exporting finished goods to Australia, since they hardly manufacture anything, they are largely a raw material and intermediate producing country.
India can get cheaper raw materials which will not only make India more competitive globally but also enable it to serve Indian consumers better; enabling it to provide more quality goods at more affordable prices
Ind – Aus ECTA brings together two major economies of the world, – India the 5th largest economy and Australia the 14th largest economy.
The trade between the two countries is hugely complementary, this offers opportunities on both sides and will pave the way for a win-win solution for both India and Australia.
GS 2: Government Policies & Interventions
Report on Municipal Finances
Recently, the study titled “Report on municipal finances” was published by the RBI.
Budgetary allocations & fund transfers:
The combined budget of all the municipal corporations in India is much smaller than that of the Central and State governments.
The report reveals how municipal bodies are increasingly dependent on fund transfers from the State and the Centre, while their revenue earning capacity is limited.
Revenue raising of municipal corporations:
Their revenue raising powers are curtailed according to the study.
The municipal corporations don’t borrow much, leaving them gasping for funds.
The share of own revenue (both tax and non-tax) in the total revenue of urban local bodies in India has declined, while that of government transfers has increased.
About 70% of it gets spent on salaries, pensions and administrative expenses with the rest left for capital expenditure.
Tax earnings of municipal corporations:
Taxes earned by municipal corporations in India are grossly inadequate to meet their expenditure needs.
In India, the own tax revenue of municipal corporations, comprising property tax, water tax, toll tax and other local taxes, formed 31-34% of the total revenue in the FY18-FY20 period.
This share was low compared to many other countries and it also declined over time.
Large variations can be observed if the municipal corporations’ own tax revenue is sliced State-wise.
The own tax revenue of municipal corporations as a share of the State’s GDP in 2017-18 crossed the 1% mark in Delhi, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, while it was 0.1% or less in Karnataka, Goa, Assam and Sikkim.
Dependence on property taxes:
Another major issue with the municipal corporations’ revenue raising capabilities was their dependence on property taxes.
In 2017-18, the property taxes formed over 40% of the municipal corporations’ own tax revenue.
Despite such dominance, property tax collection in India was much lower compared to OECD countries due to undervaluation, and poor administration, the report argues.
About Urban local bodies (ULBs) in India
Establishment of ULBs in India:
The 74th Constitution Amendment Act was passed in 1992 mandating the setting up and devolution of powers to urban local bodies (ULBs) as the lowest unit of governance in cities and towns.
Types of ULBs:
There are several types of Urban Local bodies in India such as Municipal Corporation, Municipality, Notified Area Committee, Town Area Committee, Special Purpose Agency, Township, Port Trust, Cantonment Board etc.
These local bodies are entrusted with functions related to welfare, public health and safety, infrastructural works, and other activities related to city development.
Constitutional provisions were made for ULBs’ fiscal empowerment.
The ULBs’ key revenue sources are taxes, fees, fines and charges, and transfers from Central and State governments, which are known as inter-governmental transfers (IGTs).
The share of own revenue (including revenue from taxes on property and advertisements, and non-tax revenue from user charges and fees from building permissions and trade licensing) to total revenue is an important indicator of ULBs’ fiscal health and autonomy.
Challenges faced by ULBs
Three decades since, growing fiscal deficits, constraints in tax base expansion, and weakening of institutional mechanisms that enable resource mobilisation remain challenges.
Revenue losses after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the pandemic have exacerbated the situation.
Lack of finances:
The transfer of duties from the national and subnational governments to local governments has not always been accompanied by a corresponding transfer of financial authority.
The generated funds are mostly spent on revenue expenditure, leaving a much smaller pie for capacity building.
Over-reliance on property taxes:
Over-reliance on property taxes has prevented local governments from fully utilising other revenue streams such as trade permits, entertainment taxes, mobile tower taxes, solid waste user fees, water fees, and value capture finance.
Property taxes are also not efficiently collected.
ULBs across the country lack autonomy in city management and several city-level functions are managed by parastatals (managed by and accountable to the state).
Municipal administration in India suffers from staffing issues which leads to a failure in delivering basic urban services.
Other concerns include
Overstaffing of untrained manpower,
Shortage of qualified technical staff and managerial supervisors, and
Unwillingness to innovate in methods for service delivery.
Suggestions & Way forward
The scale of municipal finances in India is undoubtedly inadequate. A ULB’s own revenue resources are far below the estimated potential.
As noted in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, an effective city government is essential for sustainable development.
Tapping into property taxes, other land-based resources and user charges are all ways to improve the revenue of a ULB.
inter-governmental transfers (IGTs) assume significance in the fiscal composition of ULBs, and a stable support from Central and State governments is crucial till ULBs improve their own revenues.
Measures need to be made to also cover operations and maintenance expenses of a ULB for better infrastructure and service.
GS 3: Disaster Management
Joshimath Land Subsidence
The administration of the State has received a severe warning as a result of the subsidence (ground sinking) in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, which is located at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet.
Regarding the Joshimath Sinking:
In the wake of a flood in the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in 2021, Joshimath was impacted.
According to experts, this incident is what most likely led to the current “sinking and cracking.”
Later that year, Joshimath saw a torrential 190 mm downpour.
After the rains, locals noticed movement in the cracks and, more concerningly, new fissures, some of which appeared within homes. Impacts: 561 homes have reported cracks, and at least 66 families have left the community.
According to a government official, more than 3000 people have been impacted thus far.
Subsidence of Land
Subsidence, as defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the term used to describe the earth sinking as a result of subterranean material movement.
Numerous factors, both natural and man-made, including mining operations and the loss of water, oil, or other natural resources, can cause it.
Subsidence has many well-known causes, including earthquakes, soil erosion, and soil compaction.
This phenomena can “happen over extremely huge areas like whole states or provinces, or very small areas like the corner of your yard,” according to the NOAA.
What Caused Joshimath’s Land to Slide?
Ecology is incredibly fragile.
Joshimath city was constructed on an old landslide material, which means that it is supported by a deposit of sand and stone rather than rock, which has a low load-bearing capability.
Because of this, the region is very vulnerable to population growth and infrastructural expansion.
Blatant Ignorance: Ignorance and apathy are both factors contributing to the current situation in Joshimath.
Unplanned urbanisation: Because to unauthorised and unplanned building, the natural flow of water has been obstructed, which frequently causes landslides.
Natural disasters: Because the region is in a seismic zone, earthquakes frequently occur there.
Additionally, the area frequently experiences natural disasters including landslides and flash floods.
Disregarded the 1976 Mishra Committee Report’s recommendations:
The Committee had come to the conclusion in its report that the area on which the town is built is actually a sand and stone deposit, the remains of a long-ago landslide.
The “main rock” of the mountain is not where the town is actually situated.
The survey also noted that the Alaknanda river’s undercutting renders the region considerably more vulnerable to calamities.
Hydel Projects: More than anything else, the building of the 520 MW NTPC Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Plant has probably weakened Joshimath’s foundation.
In order to complete the project on the Dhauliganga river, a tunnel had to be dug that went straight through the mountain Joshimath is situated on.
Land Erosion: Other factors contributing to the fate of the city include sliding along natural streams and rushing streams from Vishnuprayag.
Poor Drainage System: The area’s sinking may have also been caused by a poor drainage system.
Geographic fault: The Indian Plate may have pushed under the Eurasian Plate in the Himalayas, reactivating a geographic fault that is defined as a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock.
Major Constructions are Prohibited: Experts advise that all construction and hydroelectric projects in the area be stopped immediately.
The NTPC Hydro Power Project and the Helang Bypass are not being built till further notice.
Replanting rigorously has also been recommended by experts as a way to preserve soil capacity in the area, particularly at sensitive places.
Redevelopment of Drainage System: One of the most important aspects that need research and development is drainage planning.
A new drainage system plan needs to be developed by the state government after an investigation into the problem.
People’s Evacuation: To assist the Joshimath inhabitants, the authorities must order the evacuation of 4,000 prefabricated homes.
The government must strengthen early warning systems, enhance construction quality, and other measures in sensitive areas to increase resilience.
Organizational Coordination: In order to save Joshimath, there needs to be a coordinated effort by the government and civil organisations.
Studies by Technical Resources: In order to discover a solution, Joshimath has to be contacted by technical resources from the area.
The state administration also has to be more serious about scientific investigations that clearly explain the causes of the current problem.
GS 3: Indian Economy & Related Issues
India-UK – Young Professionals Scheme
The Young Professionals Scheme was recently launched by the governments of India and the United Kingdom to commemorate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9, 2023.
Details about the news
The Young Professionals Scheme was developed as part of an India-UK exchange programme. At the G20 summit in Bali in November, the agreement on migration and mobility, which was reached in May 2021, was made public.
Important features of the plan:
Under the programme, degree-holding nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 will be allowed to reside and work in each other’s nations for a duration of two years.
For two years, they might choose to work, study, or travel.
The initial duration of the programme is three years.
Up to 3,000 people may receive exchange visas each year under the plan.
Even having a job in mind at the time of the visa application is not required.
Therefore, once they had arrived in their host nation, the chosen applicants might hunt for employment, educational opportunities, or cultural experiences. They may also just come over.
The signature of the agreement conceals more difficult problems including cross-border human mobility.
The return of illegal immigrants to their home countries is one of the issues that the Migration and Mobility Agreement of 2021 aims to address.
Agreement on Migration and Mobility for 2021
On May 4, 2021, the UK and India signed a deal known as the “Migration and Mobility Partnership.”
Young, professional Indian and British nationals between the ages of 18 and 30 will be permitted to live and work in both countries for a maximum of two years as a result of this agreement.
One of the goals of this agreement is to give UK and Indian nationals the opportunity to develop their skills so they can use them in their own countries.
By expediting the removal of immigrants who do not have the legal right to be here, it also seeks to address the problems of illegal immigration from India to the UK.
Relevance: Immigration and homeland security are major concerns for both nations.
As a result of this agreement, the two governments will be in frequent contact, enabling them to stay abreast of these challenges.
India’s colonial past with the British and the ties the two nations shared even after India’s independence are the foundation of the UK-India relationship.
In 2004, the two parties upgraded their relationship to a strategic alliance.
Political: They collaborate in a contemporary relationship that was transformed into a strategic alliance in 2004.
The UK backs India’s request for permanent membership in the UNSC and serves as a crucial point of contact for India on international fora.
Trade: According to MoC&I trade figures, India’s trade with the UK was US $14.497 billion in the years 2017–2018. The UK is one of India’s main trading partners.
With a total equity investment of US $26.09 billion (April 2000–June 2018), or around 7% of all foreign direct investment into India, the UK is the fourth largest inbound investor in India, behind Mauritius, Singapore, and Japan. India remained the third-largest investor in the UK and over 110,000 jobs were created in the country by Indian businesses, making India the second-largest international employment creator.
In 2015, the two nations decided to strengthen their defence cooperation by forming capabilities alliances in key fields.
Each year, the Defence Secretary participates in the Defense Consultative Group Meeting, an established forum for talking on defence cooperation.
Three joint exercises take place between India and the UK: Ajeya Warrior (biannual army-to-army exercise), Konakan (annual joint navy-to-navy exercise), and Indradhanush (annual joint air-to-air exercise).
With the development of bilateral mechanisms like the Newton-Bhabha Fund, UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), Joint Working Group on Education, and Scholarship programmes over the past ten years, the relationship has significantly improved in the area of education.
Science and technology:
From less than £1 million in 2008 to over £200 million, joint UK-Indian research investment has increased.
A joint R&D programme in energy efficient building materials as well as an India-UK Clean Energy R&D Center with an emphasis on solar energy storage were announced.
There have also been established new research partnerships worth £80 million, such as a new Shared Strategic group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) with a joint commitment of up to £13 million.
Due to their common history, India and the UK have strong and wide-ranging cultural connections.
Indian cuisine, movies, languages, religion, philosophy, performing arts, and other aspects of Indian culture have all gradually found their way into mainstream society.
In order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, 2017 was dubbed the India-UK Year of Culture.
One of the biggest ethnic minority groups in the UK is the Indian Diaspora.
According to the 2011 census, there are over 1.5 million British citizens of Indian ancestry, or almost 1.8 percent of the total population, who make up 6% of the GDP.
During the India-UK Virtual Summit, the “Roadmap 2030” for future relations between the two countries was unveiled. It calls for:
Revitalized and dynamic linkages between individuals;
renewed trade, investment, and technical cooperation that enhances citizens’ quality of life;
improved defence and security cooperation that contributes to a more secure Indian Ocean Region, Indo-Pacific, and India-UK leadership in the areas of health, clean energy, and the environment that has a positive impact on the world.