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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 08, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 08, 2016

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This is a new feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website. 

You must write answers on your own and compare them with these synopses. If you depend on these synopses blindly, be sure of facing disaster in Mains. Until and unless you practice answer writing on your own, you will not improve in speed, content and writing skills. Keep separate notebooks for all GS papers and write your answers in them regularly. Now and then keep posting your answer on website too (Optional).  Some people have the tendency of copying content from others answers and pasting them in a document for each and every question. This might help in revision, but if you do not write on your own,  you can’t write a good answer in real exam. This is our experience at offline classes. We have seen many students who think they were regularly following Secure, yet fail to clear Mains. So, never give up writing. 

Also never give up reviewing others answers. You should review others answers to know different perspectives put forth by them, especially to opinion based questions. This effort by us should not lead to dependency on these synopses. This effort should be treated as complimentary to your ongoing writing practice and answer reviewing process. 

These synopses will be exhaustive – covering all the points demanded by question. We will not stick to word limit. You need to identify most important points and make sure these points are covered in your answer. Please remember that these are not ‘Model Answers’. These are just pointers for you to add extra points and to stick to demand of the question – which you might have missed while answering. 

As you might be aware of, this exercise requires lots of time and energy (10 Hours), that to do it on daily basis! Your cooperation is needed to sustain this feature.

Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section to improve and sustain this initiative successfully. 


General Studies – 1;


 

TopicRole of women; Social empowerment

1) The Constitution (108th) Amendment Bill to reserve for women one-third of seats in Parliament and the State legislatures is still pending in Lok Sabha. Why is there opposition to passing this Bill? Why is it important to pass this Bill? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

The Indian Express

The Indian Express

Why opposition to the bill

Opposition due to difference of opinion

  1. Reservation is not the solution – If granted (at present SC, ST, OBC, PH) other sections may also demand the same on other pretext. Finally, leading to fragmentation of political platforms, jobs with conflicting ideologies — Unity is difficult to achieve.
  2. Misused by Politicians to fill the reserved seats with their acquaintances (Daughter, Wife, Daughter in law) as namesake leaders
  3. Reservation do not lead to empowerment – Only women from rich, powerful and business families contest elections, leaving behind oppressed, underpowered women from poor families and villages
  4. No equality of opportunity – 33% reservation for women, denies the opportunity to contest from those seats for men
  5. Reduced incentive for an MP or MLA to perform – With rotation of reserved constituencies

Vested interest

  1. Patriarchal society (Male dominated), do not wish to see women on equal footing.
  2. Political pressure groups – Khap panchayaths, Orthodox groups with traditional mindset will turn upset —— Loss of votebank and electoral calculations
  3. False prejudice that they cannot win election even if they are granted tickets.

Why it is important to pass the bill

  1. Need inclusive growth – Women representation in parliament is only 12% (Global average 22%) that means 48% of the population has only 12% representation.
  2. Empowerment – Women, compulsorily gets the reserved seats, fair representation in the parliament and state legislatures —– with Empathy and emotional commitment women legislators protect the interests of the women in both parliament and within the government.
  3. Protection from pressure groups – with reservation in place, all political parties invariably have to issue tickets for reserved seats —– Protection against pressure groups (like Khap panchayat leaders, Religious fundamentalist groups)
  4. Empathy, better representation of women, more activism – A woman can empathize the problems of women greatly than a man. With sufficient number in place, we can witness greater activism, association and involvement by them in issues related to women. We can find seriousness in issues related to women
  5. Augmentation in soft power – Can project Indian as Gender friendly nations, may become a model for African and Asian countries. Increases soft power and international diplomacy —— Strengthens lobby for Permanent seat in UNSC
  6. To reap the demographic dividend – With women as stakeholders in the parliament in large numbers (assured 33% ), resulting in women friendly policies — Women empowerment – Increased share of women in employment – Demographic dividend
  7. Help to implement the aspirations of DPSP – Gender equality
  8. Adds different perspective to the deliberation process in parliament: Women with better social and soft skills, infuses dignity, empathy and new thinking in the parliament there by enriches the process

 

Topic: Role of women; Social empowerment

2) Society as well as the police leadership have accepted that women in the police have a significant role. What are the common problems faced by women in uniform in India? How can government make police force more gender-friendly? Why is it necessary? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Hindu

(Only for reference – Out of 1,722,786 Police Officers –  only 105,325 are women across all ranks. (6.1 p.c)

with Chandigarh having the highest (14.6%), followed by Tamil Nadu (12.4%) and Andaman & Nicobar (11.2%). Lowest among the states are Meghalaya (2.8%), Nagaland (1%) and Assam (0.9%) )

Common problems faced by women in uniform

Study undertaken by Centre for policy research shows that, women in police do not find the police department to be gender-friendly.

Problems related to work environment, gender respect, gender equality, and cooperation are major.

Gender insensitive work environment like,

lack of basic facilities like toilets, changing rooms and restrooms in police stations.

Lack of respect from male colleagues (One of the strong demotivator) .

Gender discrimination

  1. Assigned only specific duties with limited scope – Hindered their professional growth.

( “soft” postings and routine tasks like reception desks, wireless or computer duties)

  1. Discrimination starts from recruitment process itself

Many states – Separate cadre for men and women at entry levels, means, very few vacancies at a particular rank reserved for women —- Affects the career growth upward

(Common cadre for recruitment is recommended)

How to make police force more gender friendly

  1. Recruitment drives to increase the representation of women in police force
  2. Increase the women police strength to 33% percent (II ARC recommendations)
  3. Both the physical and the cultural atmosphere of a police station need a drastic overhaul.
  4. Increase in number of women police officers
  5. Leadership skills in women need to be developed – Career growth
  6. Common cadre for men and women – Facilitates faster promotion for women officers
  7. Need to earmark a separate budget for basic infrastructure for women in the police.
  8. Work shifts need to be 8 hours instead of 12 for women (To attract women to recruitment process and to encourage the family members to send women to police force)
  9. Maternity leave should at 6 months (To address the family and biological needs)
  10. Two-year childcare leave once in a career, special uniform during pregnancy, restrictions on night duties, provision of housing near the place of posting when children are young
  11. Grievance redressal mechanism for women officers related to harassment, political pressure, gender discrimination

Why it is necessary

  1. Constitutional guarantee – Gender equality is enshrined in the constitution itself
  2. Encouraging women victims (Rape, sexual harassment, Dowry, Domestic abuse) – to report to police station without fear and apprehension
  3. To attract more women into Police force – Fair representation, less prejudice and less crime
  4. To increase confidence in women, children and depressed classes – Women officers are more approachable, empathetic, removes the fear and apprehension attached with police force —- Helps to transform it into as humane as possible.
  5. Women police officers are source of inspiration to Girl children, they serve as a motivation to study hard amidst all the short comings (especially in rural areas)
  6. Grace, dignity and honesty of women officers – put break to anomalies in police administration like fake encounters, lock-up deaths, criminal police nexus, police-politician nexus, communalization of police administration to certain extent

 

Topic: Effect of globalisation on Indian society; Population and related issues

3) Diabetes has emerged as a serious disease burden for India over the past two decades. What are its health, economic and social implications. (200 Words)

The Hindu

 While diabetes rate has increased by around 45 per cent globally, it jumped 123 per cent in India between 1990 and 2013. A recent study suspects a link between diabetes — a condition characterised by the hormone insulin failing to regulate blood sugar in the body — and impaired lung function that makes Indians particularly vulnerable to respiratory diseases. 

Health implications of Diabetes

Diabetes can adversely affect and cause complication in  heart, eyes, kidney and other parts of the body.

People with diabetes may have these complications and risks if proper precautions are not taken,

  1. Heart Disease– Higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
  2. Eye Complications–Higher risk of blindness and other vision problems.
  3. Kidney Disease– Damages kidney and may lead to kidney failure
  4. Nerve Damage(neuropathy) – Diabetes can cause nerve damage
  5. Foot Problems– Nerve damage, infections of the feet,
  6. Skin Complications– Skin problems like infections, sores, and itching.
  7. Dental Disease– Diabetes can lead to problems with teeth and gums, called gingivitis and periodontitis.
  8. Mental health problems – Stress, anxiety and depression
  9. Increased risk of thyroid disease : Both overactive and under active diseases
  10. Damages the lung structure

Economic implications of Diabetes.

Hospital expenses (which most of the time, an out of pocket expenditure for an average Indian) include,

  1. hospital inpatient care
  2. prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes mentioned above
  3. anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies
  4. physician office visits

Indirect costs include:

  1. increased absenteeism and reduced productivity at work
  2. reduced productivity,
  3. inability to work as a result of disease-related disability
  4. Loss of productive capacity due to early Mortality.

Sometimes hospital expenses if not insured, may push APL family into BPL category due to heavy out of pocket expenditure

Social implications of Diabetes

  1. Not possible to take part in normal dietary practices (food rich in carbohydrates). Stigma attached (Especially in public functions, community gatherings)
  2. Health complications associated with Diabetes —- Less productive work —- Unable to support family, inability to educate children —- Resource scarcity —- Girl child is discriminated
  3. More out of pocket expenditure leads to reduced investment in quality education to children, nutritious food and basic amenities to family – Malnutrition, Stunted growth of children, illiteracy, unemployment later —- Sets in vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation
  4. Health effects associated with diabetes like, depression, anxiety, angriness, irrationality puts the patient and family members in emotionally weak position

General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

4) Recently, the President of India said that the IPC, 1860, requires a thorough revision to meet the needs of the 21st century. On contemporary relevance or modernity, what substantial changes does the IPC need? Critically examine. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

Substantial changes that are needed in IPC

  1. Section 124 A – Sedition law inserted in 1898 needs amendment, since it is a colonial tool to suppress freedom movement. Today, it is used to suppress dissent, to silence opponents

(In a globalized world with continued threats from terrorist groups, separatist actors, social media activism to infuse secessionist tendencies and activism to sow the seeds of religious fundamentalism and communalism — Sedition law must continue to protect nation’s integrity, but with amendments to protect misuse of the provision)

  1. Section 295 A on criminalization of blasphemy (attempt or action to insult one’s religion) – Needs removal, since we are in a civilized and liberalized world with freedom to express rational thinking.

(Deterrent must be there to prevent insult religious practices since it is a sensitive issue and could touch the emotional cord of the masses. Here, freedom of speech and expression and right to religion must be balanced)

  1. Sections 120 A on criminal conspiracy – Prosecuted just for acting as party to the conspiracy, even when they have not committed the crime.

(Any leniency towards criminal conspirators, result in misuse of loopholes, emboldening their actions with out any deterrence)

  1. Section 377 – Criminalized sex against nature (mainly goes against the interest of LGBT community) – Right to live with dignity, Right to equality are denied. It must be repealed in order to provide freedom in this respect.
  1. Section 509 – criminalizes the insult on modesty of a woman (Gesture or acts) – Full of ambiguities, definition unclear

(But, strict punishment and broad meaning is essential to protect women from sexual harassment)

  1. Capital punishment – Need to be amended, since, civilized society believes in reformative justice, not retributive justice and chance must be given to the culprit to reform

(Certain heinous crimes and criminals like Habitual rape, Gang rape with murder, waging war against the country, terrorist activates in mass killings demands capital punishment. Hence, must be applicable in rarest of the rare cases)

  1. Section 309 – punishes unsuccessful suicides (recently scrapped by government) – Repealed since, emotionally depressed person needs proper counselling, not punishment from court

 

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

5) Is Aadhaar legislation needed? Substantiate. (200 Words)

Livemint

The need for Aadhar legislation is imperative in India given the coverage it has in the country.As of now, around 98 crore Aadhaar numbers have been generated 

Why is Aadhar legislation needed?

  • Compliance with Art 21 – Art 21 states that Right to Life and Liberty cannot be infringed upon except if provided by law. Since Right to Privacy has been accepted as a FR under Art 21 (Kharak Singh vs State of UP), it will provide statutory backing to collection of individual data
  • Introduction of new Schemes – After the 2015 SC ruling that Aadhar can only be used in DBT and LPG schemes, several initiatives such as Digi-Locker, Jeevan Praman etc. were set aside
  • Massive amounts of sensitive personal information has been collected. These apprehensions are exacerbated by the casual and porous approach that the government has to inter-departmental data transfer—a fear that was brought into sharp focus when it took the full might of the Supreme Court to stop the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from accessing the Aadhaar fingerprint database.
  • to establish boundaries within which the identity database  and clearly cordon it off from government over-reach. In many ways, it is far more important to have a legislation today, as the project enters the implementation phase, than when the project was conceived.

New Bill Provides the following Benefits:

  • Aadhaar Bill, if it passes in its current form, will impose some of the strongest fetters on government over-reach, of any legislation in the country.For instance Under Section 29, core biometric information cannot be used for any purpose other than the generation of Aadhaar numbers and authentication of Aadhaar number holders
  • Section 8, which deals with authentication, states that the response to an authentication query must exclude core biometric information. Perhaps the most extreme manifestation of this is in the proviso to Section 28 (5), which prevents the Aadhaar number holder from accessing his own core biometric information in the Central Identities Data Repository (CIDR).
  • Besides UIDAI, the Central Identities Data Repository, which functions under the authority as a service provider storing information, has also been given the statutory status.
  • Enrollment officers have to inform individuals seeking enrollment how their information will be used, who it will be shared with and what access rights they have. Requesting entities must obtain consent before collecting information for authentication and provide details of the information that will be shared and the alternatives available if the individual doesn’t want to submit identity information.
  • The move will help streamline delivery of government subsidies to the poor and the government plans to bring all the benefits and subsidies funded from the Consolidated Fund of India on the Aadhaar platform.
  • a critical component of minimum government and maximum governance is to ensure targeted disbursement of government subsidies to actual beneficiaries.
  • the Bill could propose imprisonment of up to three years and fine of Rs 10,000, which will be Rs 1 lakh in the case of a company, for disclosing or sharing of the core biometric information
  • .UIDAI hired agencies/consultants to also implement technical measures to ensure privacy.
  • Oversight committee, headed by the Cabinet secretary, to review each decision before the information is disclosed

Shortcomings:

  • Information other than core biometrics may be allowed to be shared under the rules – that are yet to be framed.
  • Section 33 allows for judicial and executive exceptions to the absolute prohibition against disclosure of information. It states that the protections of Sections 28 and 29 will not apply against the order of a district judge (or higher). Similarly, the protections under Sections 28 and 29 can be over-ridden by directions issued by an officer above the rank of joint secretary, in the interests of national security.this can be misused.
  • the provision for Identity Review Committee has been skipped in the new Bill.
  • One particularly disappointing provision is Section 29(4), which seems to allow core biometric information to be made public for purposes specified in the regulations—contrary to the manner in which it has otherwise been ring-fenced.
  • critics of the Bill pointed out that it did not seek to answer why the Aadhaar was necessary for providing “any kind of service” even where such services are provided by the private or social sector.This makes Aadhaar much more than a mere ‘good governance measure’ that empowers not only the state but also non-state actors who are service providers in the name of ‘efficiency’
  • there was a lack of uniformity of purpose of the Aadhaar. It points that the objective of “good governance measure is contradicted by Clause 57 placed at the very end of the Bill which says nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of the Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether or not by the state or anybody corporate or person, pursuant to any law, for the time being in force, or any contract to this effect

Therefore this bill pave for a new way of availing government services with the help of unique number by incorporating efficiency and effectiveness and curbing corruption on lines with other developed countries social security schemes

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Economic growth; Employment

6) How will equal economic opportunities for women help economic growth? Analyse, especially in the context of South Asian countries with special reference to India. (200 Words)

Livemint

The gaps in opportunity between men and women are the product of pervasive and stubborn social norms that privilege men’s and boys’ access to opportunities and resources over women’s and girls’.No country can reach its full economic potential and achieve widespread prosperity if half its population cannot participate fully in the economy.This reiterates the need for equal opportunities for women vis a vis men.

Providing women equal opportunities leads to economic growth in the following ways:

  • When women earn more, public finances will improve and commercial profits increase because of increased demand and productivity.because of equal pay for equal work, whole economy and society stands benefit because better educated mothers produce healthier children and women who earn more invest in the next generation.
  • Where women’s participation in the labor force grew fastest, the economy experienced the largest reduction in poverty rates.In Bangladesh, for example, women account for most of the unpaid work, and are over-represented in the low-productivity informal sector and among the poor. Raising the female employment rate could contribute significantly to Bangladesh achieving its goal in 2021 of becoming a middle-income country
  • greater control over household resources by women, either through their own earnings or cash transfers, can enhance countries’ growth prospects by changing spending in ways that benefit children. Evidence from countries as varied as Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom shows that when women control more household income—either through their own earnings or through cash transfers—children benefit as a result of more spending on food and education.For example: Beti bachao Beti bachao campaign.
  • More income will mean better access to health, nutrition and sanitation facilities. This means reduced IMR and MMR thus increasing the productivity of women.
  • empowering women as economic, political, and social actors can change policy choices and make institutions more representative of a range of voices. In India, giving power to women at the local level led to greater provision of public goods, such as water and sanitation, which mattered more to women
  • Much can be achieved by encouraging the creation of a large number of jobs that are seen as suitable and safe for women. In Bangladesh, for example, the readymade garment industry has brought into the labour market large numbers of young women. Studies have shown that this has also resulted in delayed marriage and lower fertility rates among girls.
  • In Nepal, for instance, road repair and maintenance after last year’s devastating earthquake has been done by female and male work crews. The cleaning of drains, filling pits, clearing minor blockades and planting trees has provided a steady income to the employed women, who have gained greater respect in their families and communities, giving them more voice in decision-making.
  • First, with women now representing 40 percent of the global labor force and more than half the world’s university students, overall productivity will increase if their skills and talents are used more fully. For example, if women farmers have the same access as men to productive resources such as land and fertilizers, agricultural output in developing countries could increase by as much as 2.5 to 4 percent (FAO, 2011). When women farmers can access the resources they need, their production increases, making it less likely that their families are hungry and malnourished.
  • Elimination of barriers against women working in certain sectors or occupations could increase output by raising women’s participation and labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries through better allocation of their skills and talent 
  • Perception of women as ‘good with money,’ including being better at paying back loans, has led them to be targeted in microfinance programmes.ex:self help groups in India.
  • Recognition of women as more efficient distributors of goods and services within the household has led to them being targeted with resources aimed at alleviating poverty, such as cash transfer programmes
  • When women have access to time-saving technologies – such as a foot-pedaled water pump or a motorized scooter – economic benefits can follow. ICRW research has found that technology helps women increase their productivity as well as launch income-generating pursuits and entrepreneurial ventures. Those kind of outcomes empower women to become stronger leaders and to more effectively contribute financially to their families, communities and countries
  • Women’s economic equality is good for business. Companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness. It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness
  • Women’s participation in economic sphere will help to reduce social stigma and prejudices, and help the society to come out from ritualistic clutches which hinders economic growth. On the other hand greater participation will ensure greater security for women.

what needs to be done:

  • A first step would be to improve the access for girls to education to reduce the in-built disadvantages that they have from birth onwards. This is recognized by many across South Asia and there has been a lot of progress, with initiatives such as Educate Girls in India, tackling the root causes of gender inequality in education. 
  • second step would be to address market and institutional failures that lock women into low-return, highly vulnerable forms of employment and of self-employment.
  • A third step will be to address the violence against women and girls in South Asia. This received worldwide attention recently with Sharmeen Obaid winning an Academy Award for her documentary on the murder of women in Pakistan.
  • many laws are not enforced, the public and law enforcement are largely unaware of them, and structural weaknesses in police and judicial systems deny women access to justice and render laws ineffective.This has to be rectified.
  • Solutions include freeing up women’s time so they can work outside the home—for example, through subsidized child care, as in Colombia; improving women’s access to credit, as in Bangladesh; and ensuring access to productive resources—especially land—as in Ethiopia, where joint land titles are now granted to wives and husbands. 
  • Addressing lack of information about women’s productivity in the workplace and eliminating institutional biases against women, for example by introducing quotas that favor women or job placement programs as in Jordan, will also open up economic opportunity to women.
  • strict adherence to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women need to be checked. Yet, in many countries, women (especially poor women) have less say than men when it comes to decisions and resources in their households. 

 It is important to note that while gender equality will help bring economic growth, economic growth will not necessarily bring gender equality. Advancing gender equality requires strengthening different dimensions of women’s autonomy: economic and political autonomy, full citizenship and freedom from all forms of violence, and sexual and reproductive autonomy .This will move the country forward.


 

 

TopicResource mobilization

7) The decision to make a proportion of employee provident fund (EPF) withdrawals taxable in the recent Union budget is hailed as forward looking. Examine the merits and demerits of this decision. (200 Words)

Business Standard

One of the  provisions in the Union Budget for 2016-17, is the decision to make a proportion of employee provident fund (EPF) withdrawals taxable.At the time of withdrawal, 60 per cent of any money deposited in an EPF account after April 1 was to be made subject to tax, unless it was re-invested in a pension product like an annuity. .

MERITS OF THIS MOVE:-

  • As EPF provides a comfortable, tax-free return that is guaranteed and subsidised by the government,its not logical to encourage with tax incentives any further. In addition, the tax-exempt nature of the EPF meant that the government’s alternative , the National Pension System or NPS, was suffering in comparison and had not taken off to the degree that it should have.
  • The expectation was that the NPSscheme will be brought under the EEE regime, in line with the EPF and PF schemes. This move might help boost investment in NPS
  • The idea that investing in annuities must be encouraged, by permitting the taxable proportion withdrawn to remain tax-exempt if invested in annuities, should have been preceded by necessary steps to create a large enough market for annuities to help savers enjoy a wider choice.
  • The Economic Survey provided a detailed accounting of these kind of subsidies and showed that they accounted for Rs 1 lakh crore a year, or 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product. Clearly there was both an economic rationale for cutting down on such government support for the rich and also a political understanding of the need to do so.
  • Promotes increased investments in equity which in turn promotes growth of economy.
  • It will lead to increased demand for alternate investment avenues like mutual funds, equities, etc.

DEMERITS:

  • some experts tell it is amorally wrong tax.First of all the EPF barely earns enough money to beat inflation. They mostly invest in government securities, which give one of the worst yields in the market. So by the time an employee retires, the money he has in hand has roughly the same purchasing power at the time of saving
  • .Nearlysix crore people are expected to be affected by this tax.Rather than appreciating his effort in nation building and giving him his rightful due, the government now wants to tax him even on his way to his golden years.
  • if the rest 60 per cent of the corpus is not withdrawn and put in an annuity plan, it will not be taxed. But since the annuity income will be taxed anyway, it takes away the choice from an individual to invest in instruments that they are more comfortable with.
  • The uproar from the salaried class was loud and along predictable lines. This was in spite of the fact that the proposal would apply to those drawing wages over Rs 15,000 a month – a minuscule proportion of the total number of EPF account-holders, and an even smaller proportion of the general proportion.the government seems close to bowing to pressure from this limited section of the public as this initiative has been put on hold for now.
  • Finally government should have taken alesson from the failure of National Pension Scheme to attract fund Presently in NPS out of the total corpus, the person needs to buy an annuity plan with the 40 per cent and of the remaining amount 60 per cent will be taxable. Despite being offered an additional deduction of Rs 50,000  few have selected the NPS option.EPF might face similar fate.

SUGGESTIONS:

  • If the government wants to tax the EPF, it should allow employees to choose better higher yielding instruments which are tax efficient.
  • The government should have gone further if it was keen to rationalise the entire suite of retirement products. Incentives, product design, taxation and regulation on retirement products leave savers confused and often lead them to make the wrong choices.There is no single taxation principle that unifies them. There is a need to rationalise the products sold by multiple agencies.

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in S&T; Indigenisation of technology

8) In recent months, few states in India have announced new start-up and incubation policies. Examine the objectives, design and benefits  of these policies. (200 Words)

Business Standard

In November 2015, karnataka became the first State in the country to have its own startup policy, according to which incubators will be set up in selected colleges and collaborations will be established between R & D institutions.

Objectives and design of its policy:

1.To create a world class startup hub:Stimulate growth of 20,000 technology startups.

  • New Age Incubation Network (NAIN):50 academic institutions will be covered under the programme to encourage student projects through mentoring and Rs 3 lakh support per project.
  • These students will be picked to go to international startup destinations.These institutions will become centres of entrepreneurship for each district.
  • Encouraging R&D
  • The State government will support Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) in institutions of higher learning for a period of three years.To commercialise new age technologies like IoT, Robotics and 3D printing
  • Idea stage funding
  • Startups will have to apply through a portal which will be launched by the State government.
  • Incubation infrastructure to be created through public-private partnership
  • Fund of Funds:Money will be mobilised to invest in venture funds.This will also be used for angel stage funding.
  • Startups to be supported with incentives:Support will be given by the government’s startup cell.

Benefits:

·  More than a third of the startups in this country come from Karnataka. the marketing costs, up to 30 percent, will be reimbursed under a yearly basis; provided the startup is registered to a recognised incubator under the new policy.Similarly even service tax benefits will be reimbursed only for startups sitting in a GoK recognised incubator. 

·  The good news is that In those incubators there are some sweeteners like patent filing costs, up to Rs 2 lakh or Rs 10 lakh, being reimbursed when a patent is being granted. The government will also provide 10 percent of the seats, in its incubators, to promote entrepreneurship among women.

·  The intention of the policy is to create six lakh direct jobs in the State and around 1.2 million indirect jobs.

In order to promote start up culture in India recently Delhi government announced an incubation policy on the basis of Yogesh singh committee recommendations and distributed Rs 1.5 crore each to six higher educational institutions for promoting entrepreneurship.

Kerala government’s startup policy—Kerala IT Mission—was announced in 2014, aiming to attract Rs 5,000 crore in investments for the State’s startup ecosystem.According to the policy, one per cent of the annual State Budget will be deducted for ‘youth entrepreneurship activities’ till 2019.  Besides encouraging banks and financial institutions to extend lending to the startups on convenient terms, the government may participate in SEBI-approved early-stage venture capital funds, up to 25 per cent as limited partner. Additionally, the State will match the funding raised by its incubator from Central government on a 1:1 basis as matching grants.

Telangana also came forward, providing ‘Telangana Academy for Skill & Knowledge’ (TASK) for entrepreneurial training.  it launched the largest incubation centre in India, named ‘T-Hub’, a year ago.

Andhra Pradesh provided a 17,000-sq.ft. lab—Technological Research and Innovation Park—as well as an ‘Initial Innovation Fund’ of Rs.100 crore for entrepreneurs. It shall participate in the capital of SEBI-approved VC funds, up to 15 per cent as limited partner. A ‘Single Window Clearance Unit’ will be created for granting approvals, and another for tax and registrations.

 Madhya Pradesh’s government collaborated with the Small Industrial Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to set up Rs 200 crore as VC fund, with Rs 75 crore provided by the government. West Bengal unveiled its startup policy promising to create an Entrepreneurship Development Centre Network (EDCN) with higher education institutes for inspiring entrepreneurship among youngsters. The State will provide funds of up to Rs10 lakh to universities for this. The State government will also facilitate setting up incubators.

 Rajasthan launched its elaborate startup policy recently with the launch of ‘Start-up Oasis’.The State policy has promised a sustenance allowance of Rs 10,000 per month for a year to idea-stage startups, post approval by the nodal institution. It also facilitated free mentoring and access to facilities at the incubator, and, for selected startups, free access to State universities. Pilot-stage startups have been offered marketing assistance of up to Rs 10 lakh.

Gujarat, despite being famous for its entrepreneurial spirit, has failed to give a boost to startup policies. Most of the State policies in this regard have focussed on the manufacturing sector. However, Bihar government, has allocated Rs 500 crore as venture capital fund, amply backed by the Bihar Entrepreneurs Association (BEA) which gave Rs 50 crore as angel investment fund.

Tamil Nadu has set up a State level warehouse at Tidel Park in its mission to set aside dedicated areas for start-ups to function – 

Only Gujarat and Karnataka have had successful stints with startups. Karnataka’s fund, in the form of the Karnataka Information Technology Fund (KITVEN), and Gujarat’s Venture Finance Limited survived for several years.

Benefits of theses policies:

  • Helps in E-governance and various Infrastructure development needed for DBT,Financial inclusion scheme.
  • Provide employment to high Demographic dividend.make our graduates more employable and they will be interfaces through more practical ideeas though incubation centresGood opportunity to include Transgender,Tribal people by providing employment to them.
  • Impart scientific temper,Technlogy acceptance among rural people hence helpful in implementation of Fundamental duties.
  • great boost to SME which are ‘engines of growth’.more startups leads to more products whcih will provide competitive prices that will give more choice to consumers
  • It develops the local markets by innovations and creates self sufficienty to reduce imports.
  • Backward states would be pushed to bring in reforms like Bihar did  to match with their better performing counterparts. Thereby, reducing regional inequalities

Shortcomings of the policies:-

  • The absence of specific start up laws and a lack of exit options
  • However there was no mention of the size of the fund-of-funds, which will be channeled into Venture capital funds for investment.
  • Tough compliance laws that were framed keeping in mind the traditional businesses have to be done away with in the case of startups and the new laws have to be framed keeping in mind new age businesses and its rapidly evolving technology.
  • Startup funding is based on risk taking and ability to understand the application and commercial potential of the proposed business.Lack of dedicated start up capital fundingwithout gaurantors or collateral is a major hurdle today.lack of risk taking from the public sector banks is mainly on account of restrictions based on current laws.
  • Most start ups fail either due to the lack of market acceptance ,market entry timing,lack of suitable monitoring or simply lack of adequate funding.when startups fail they are penalised for failing and discouraged.
  • Government sponsored physical incubators donot have the latest technology.mentors and experts are not provided to help first time enterpreneurs.
  • A lot of talent exists in smaller towns and villages for basic need based innovation as well as social innovation.At present there is a complete lack of eco system outside the larger metros.this is substantiated by  the government officials at the district and block levels still dont know the basic usage of technology.
  • the Companies Act is too complicated, and demands too many certificates and approvals.There is no advisory on the tax laws or monetary benefits. 
  • In 2015 alone, the total funding received by 850 Indian startups via 1,005 deals was a whopping $9 billion.  Yet, according to World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016, India has the 42ndposition in terms of ease of accessing credit, which proves the difficulties in getting loans in India, especially for startups.
  • lack of internet connectivity in the country is also a problem .

Need for improvement:

  • For the environment to be conducive for more people to start up, entrepreneurs as well as investors recommend incentives for angel investors and tax discounts for startups. Also, nurturing competition is to be taken seriously for gaining the best of talent.
  • need for a change in operational difficulties, which can be driven by clarity in policy. for instance:startup voonik- Some policies positively hurt the business and the consumers. For example, voonik is not  permitted to export to Kerala even though the market is huge
  • The entrepreneurs are facing tough times due to lack of organisation and time limits.  red tape is a pain not only for starting up but also if the effort fails and the startup has to shut down. bureaucratic processes need to  be made simpler and Single-window system might be really helpful,
  • Challenges in funding for early-stage startups is another area of concern if entrepreneurs can get Rs 10 to 20 lakh from banks for starting up.  it is suggested that government gives initial seed capital for youngsters starting up.
  • Digitisation and automation of approval processes will expedite the whole process, and entrepreneurs would not seek shortcuts leading to corruption
  • Encouraging startups is essential in a country where 80 per cent of the population is under the age of 40, and unemployment is rising along with population. Taking a leaf out of other countries’ policies, India could become friendlier towards its entrepreneurs and investors; think of Singapore which incentivised its investors, or Israel which invested 4.3 per cent of its GDP in R&D. 

Progress is when all stakeholders work together – India has the right talent, and entrepreneurs have shown their dedication. Now the ball is in the State’s court. With a clear mandate and efficient agencies to ensure that its effect trickles down to the lowest levels, India could soon beat the US and the UK to reach the top spot.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic: Ethical issues in international relations and funding;

9) Recently,  the U.S. government has proposed a financial assistance package of $859.8 million for Pakistan, including $265 million for military hardware. What are the ethical issues arising out of this financial assistance to Pakistan, especially from India’s perspective? Critically examine. (150 Words)

The Hindu

The concept of foreign aid is rooted in western moral philosophy. Donating aid to poorer nations is looked upon as moral duty to help fellow humanity that’s in need of assistance. Values such as solidarity, fairness and equality are said to be ethical basis for donating aid.

However, in the case of Pakistan, the financial and military assistance given by US is a means to further its own national interest in the region. This form of assistance in unethical as it lacks transparency, accountability and fairness. Moreover, it is given to fulfil selfish agenda.

From India’s perspective, it is more so unethical as US is exhibiting double standard in treating two neighbours whose contribution to world peace is diametrically opposite.  Equipping Pakistan militarily which is waging war on many fronts both covertly and overtly on India is disrespectful and dangerous.

It is known in the past that the financial and military assistance given to Pakistan is misused to train terrorists to wage war on India and Afghanistan. It is known fact that the powerful military in Pakistan, to which most of the aid goes, considers India as its existential threat and constantly wages war on it.

It is also unethical from India’s point of view because it breaks the trust India has on US.

This aid might be ethical from Pakistan’s perspective as it’s grappling with many problems internally and externally, but past instances make it clear that unless the aid is used to address poverty and developmental issues, the money will end up in the hands of people who want to destabilize and destroy India.