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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 22, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 22, 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;


 

TopicPopulation and associated issues; Urbanization – problems and remedies; 

1) Recent violent protests in Bangalore over a Provident Fund rule is said to be a warning that growing disparities must be addressed urgently in major industrial centres. Do you agree? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Once the state has ensured increase in the growth rate, it should also ensure that increased growth trickles down and evenly distributed.

Why are there disparities?

ECONOMIC:

1) Disparities due to growth factor:

  • The earnings of different groups rise differently. The incomes of the upper-income and middle-income groups rise more rapidly than those of the poor. have seen the slowest increase in incomes.

2) Differential Regional Growth:

  • Great proportion of the poor live in the backward states regions, and most of the few at the top live in the high- income states regions.
  • More focus on service sector especially in metropolitan cities.

3)Difference in working condition:

  • Working conditions are below universally recognized standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO), and that the wages these workers are paid cannot be termed as a ‘living wage’.
  • To illustrate Ludhiana, known for its hosiery, knitwear and industry, is witnessing the closure and shifting of units due to heavy taxation making the survival of industry unfavourable.

4)Inadequate employment generation:

  • Mismatch in the increase in employment opportunities and rise in labour force.

SOCIAL:

  • Inadequate access to public goods such as education, judicial system, housing etc.
  • Low penetration of social security and insurance schemes.
  • Poor quality of standard of living leading to stress, lack of opportunity and life choices. This makes mobility of this class difficult.

Others:

  • High food inflation and cost of living.
  • Decline in agricultural income due to drought, crop failures, inadequate irrigation facilities.
  • Population increase led to high competition for jobs leading to frustration among graduates.
  • Tax system not helping employees much as they already pay 30% for income tax +30% for indirect like customs ,excise etc .
  • Globalization has led to weakening of collective bargaining power of workers in manufacturing sector leading to building of deep mistrust in the system.

What has government done so far?

  • Directive policies already show that social security for the employees is necessary
  • With Smart cities , amrut, aadhar, LPG subsidy government tried to improve the quality of lives of the people.
  • Social security mechanisms like rashtriya swasthya bhima yojana, atal pension yojana ,pradhan mantri jeevan jyoti yojana, Prashanth mantri swasthya bhima yojana, NPA like social security act have been implemented.
  • Fixing minimum wage with minimum standard of living by passage of minimum wage Act of 1948.This helps to level up income.

What needs to be done?

  • Promoting msme, agricultural sector.
  • Skill training to cater to the needs of make in India  and manufacturing sector.
  • Develop City outgrowths to avoid congestion.
  • Labour reforms so that proper structure is set in place
  • Direct tax taxation and GST to lessen the burden of taxation on the people.
  • Promote Startups for self employment so that these people can be employers rather than an employee.

Building systems and policies offers a large stake in economic and social progress.


General Studies – 2


TopicGovernment policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) Is Delhi government’s decision to stop surge pricing by app-based taxi companies a good decision? Justify. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Business Standard

No it’s not a good decision :

  • The Delhi governments decision to stop surge pricing by app based companies like Uber and ola ignored the basic principles of economics to appease a section of the vote bank.
  • With the second phase of road-space rationing (odd-even) being conducted in the city, a steady supply of transport vehicles to allay any disruption to lives and livelihoods is necessary.
  • Cancelling or capping surge pricing will lead to disruption in cab services in the city.
  • It is also poised to meddle with livelihoods that are dependent on these transportation services.
  • What makes Uber and Ola what they are is the development of this algorithm and building a platform around it. The fares set by these apps are based on pure-play demand and supply. 
  • By demanding the cancellation of dynamic pricing, the signal the Delhi government has sent is that if the private sector wishes to operate in Delhi, it is subject to government interference and control.
  • It has consequences for drivers operating, and commuters living and working on Delhi’s periphery. Without dynamic pricing, which allows drivers from outside the city to compensate for the long distances, the number of taxi operators coming into the city from these areas would be limited; it would also push existing supplies towards areas where no such laws exist.
  • In the short run, the collapse of private companies like Uber and Ola will give these auto and taxi unions the opportunity to regain monopolistic tendencies.
  • In the long run, by clamping down on app-based taxi matching services, it forces the public to accept the proposed fare hikes for auto-rickshaws in the event of the odd-even formula becoming permanent.
  • Ultimately, the public will have few options – if Uber or Ola fails – but to rely on the uncertain auto- and taxi-wallahs of Delhi. 
  • The rapid growth and popularity of taxis managed by aggregators across India is a testimony to the fact that public transport and transit facilities remain hopelessly inadequate.
  • The companies like Ola and Uber are disruptive technologies that raised the choice, convenience of the customer. An obtrusive regulation can lead to a wrong signal to the entrepreneurship, investment and innovation.

Yes it’s a good solution :

  • The surge pricing of the app based taxis charge excessively which is beyond the affordability of the common man and is increasingly exploitative.
  • It provides a blink of hope to the auto and taxi unions to lead their life as they were very secured with the rise of these app based aggregators.
  • Defended the mechanism saying it is used to lure more cab drivers to offer services during high demand.
  • Base fare of Ola and Uber starts from Rs 40 for first two km. They also charge Rs 1 per minute which is illegal and is in violation of delhi taxi rules.
  • Even Karnataka has capped surge pricing and regulates it.

Regulating the cab companies is not a long term solution in this case. It points towards the need for massive sustainable development of public transport infrastructure.


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

3) Countries that have had the most success in reducing the number of road crash deaths have achieved this by improving legislation, enforcement, and making roads and vehicles safer. Critically examine why has India failed in this regard. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Why did India fail ?

1.Too much emphasis on driver:

  • An analysis of road accident records of the Mumbai Police in 2013 showed that in 99% of all fatal accidents, the police concluded that the sole factor that caused the accident was driver error.
  • Erroneous government data that proclaims 70 per cent of road crashes are caused by “driver error”.

2.Lack of infrastructure:

  • In India, much of our road infrastructure is completely devoid of even the most basic safety standards, which is further aggravated by hazardous road conditions, such as potholes, loose debris and missing footpaths. 
  • No proper markings at the turns cause deaths.

3.No basic road safety standards:

  • India has one of the worst road safety records as large number of people mostly in age group of 15-45 years, have lost their lives on road.
  • The number of road-accident deaths in India have increased from about 130,000 in 2010, to almost 150,000 today.
  • In India, roads are constructed as per the guidelines of the Indian Roads congress, which are not mandatory. The lack of accountability of road contractors results in frequent crashes at the same spot.

4.Road design not in sync with current trends:

  • Unfortunately, new roads that are being developed within our cities follow archaic highway standards that are not in sync of context for a modern city.
  • By adopting an automobile-centric design approach, these developments completely ignore the fact that over 50% of all road fatalities in our cities are of pedestrians.

5.No focus on vulnerable groups:

  • Vulnerable road user groups, that is pedestrians, motorcyclists and non-motorised transport users are the ones who suffer the most.
  • In most major cities in India, these groups make up more than 75% of all road fatalities, pedestrians generally accounting for more than half that number.
  • In Mumbai, motorcyclists are banned from using many newly constructed roads, such as the Eastern Freeway, JJ Flyover and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.
  • In Kolkata, bicyclists were recently disallowed on many important roads.
  • In Delhi, guardrails are erected along major roads to prevent pedestrians from crossing them.
  • These road users groups together constitute more than 75% of the mode share in our cities, to whom we are denying basic access, without providing viable alternatives.
  • Thus, such measures actually end up punishing the victim

6.Failure of the legal provisions:

  • Between 2012-14, there were 60,000 cases of accidents caused by underage drivers. The legal provision to deal with this is weak.
  • Under the existing Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the fine for allowing an “unauthorised person” (the provision does not mention a minor) to drive a vehicle is Rs 1,000 or three months of imprisonment or both.
  • The fact that in the recent Sharma’s case, the alleged juvenile driver was reportedly a repeat offender highlights the significance of the provisions of the draft bill.

7.Others:

  • Traffic violations, faulty road safety reports, corruption at traffic police level, inadequate road safety education.

No it hasn’t failed completely ?

  • Since 2010, a plethora of strategies have been adopted by various government agencies. Much of the focus has been on addressing road-user behaviour, be it of drivers, motorcyclists or pedestrians. This is understandable, given the uncertain traffic discipline in our country. There have been some successes in this regard, notable being the efforts undertaken by the Mumbai Police to curb drunken driving.
  • In India, over 1,40,000 people die and more than 5,00,000 suffer serious injuries every year in road crashes.

Measures taken by the state:

Road safety and transportation bill:

  • Provide framework for safety of all road users including vulnerable road users.
  • Ensure sustainable, efficient, secure, cost effective and inclusive transport system for the movement of passenger.
  • To tackle the issue systematically and comprehensively.
  • Under the proposed bill, there are penalties for failing to comply with standards for road design, construction and maintenance.

Identifying black spot in road safety:

  • A Website is being launched to identify black spots where accidents takes place more frequently.

Setting up of road safety regulators:

  • To set up airbags in economy cars.
  • Ensure effective management and maintenance of the roads,road safety norms.
  • Conduct safety audit on district roads and state highways

Suggestions:

1.Lessons from Sweden vision zero approach:

  • Vision Zero places special focus on the safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, and adheres to the basic principle that if roads are designed to be safe for the most vulnerable user, then they will be safe for all.
  • Since adopting this policy in 1997, Sweden has managed to reduce the number of road accident deaths in the country by half.
  • For any new road or road improvement project, Sweden places paramount importance on safety, followed by any other parameter of speed, carrying capacity or cost.

2.Measures to address driver behaviour must also be tied in with parallel initiatives:

  • To improve road infrastructure.
  • Regulate vehicle specifications.
  • Address the larger mobility patterns in the city.
  • Understanding the diversity of the road safety problem and adoption of measures which are apart from the driver-centric approach.

3.Forgiving roads:

  • Realising that poor infrastructure is a major cause of road crashes, other countries have adopted the concept of “forgiving roads” and a “safe system approach” to cushion the effect of human error.
  • For instance, on high-speed roads, speed-calming measures could mandatorily be incorporated at vulnerable spots.
  • To set up airbags in economy cars.
  • Ensure effective management and maintenance of the roads,road safety norms.
  • Conduct safety audit on district roads and state highways.

General Studies – 3


Topic: Economic growth & development

4) Recently, the Union government released an action plan to transform India. Analyse the objectives and the means it strives to adopt to transform India. (200 Words)

Business Standard

Transform India is an ambitious action plan with a slew of reforms to be implemented by ministries and departments if India has to grow by 10 per cent per annum until 2032. This, according to the action plan, will totally eradicate poverty from India in the next 16 years and also create 175 million new jobs.

Objectives of the plan:-

  • The objective of the action plan was to foster development but with inclusive growth and efficiency. 
  • Seeding of Aadhaar number in 90% ration cards by March 2017.
  • Increase rural teledensity to 100% by 2020.
  • 175 million broadband connections by 2017.
  • Deregulation of genetically engineered (Bt) insect-resistant pulses by March 2018.
  • WTO-compatible procurement norms by March 2018.
  • Third-party scrutiny of road project execution agencies by end of 2016.
  • VC funds for start-ups by end of 2016.
  • PAN mandatory for all businesses – to serve as unique business identifier by March 2017.

What are the means for transforming India ?

1.Accelerating growth with inclusion and equity:

  • Employment opportunities with make in India, skill India, start up India .
  • Financial inclusion by increase in mobile banking through unified payment interface, Jan Dhan yojana.

2.Employment generation strategies:

3.Universal access to quality health and education:

  • Universal immunisation and effective implementation of mission indradhanush along with strengthening public health structure.
  • Eradicate malnutrition and hunger by adhering to sustainable development goals.
  • Providing secondary and higher education which stay in tune with the market needs.

4.Good governance:

  • Digitising Indiain order to ensure transparency and accountability.

5.Farmer-centric Issues in agriculture and allied sectors:

  • Promoting contract farming, land reforms with modernisation of land records, Pradhan mantri fasal Bhima Yojana,Pradhan mantri krishi Vikas Yojana ,pradhan mantri krishi sinchai yojana, successful implementation of NAM, promoting food processing industries.

6.Swach Bharat and Ganga Rejuvenation:

  • Promoting sanitation, promoting sustainable development by cleaning rivers , smart cities , AMRUT.

7.Energy conservation and efficiency:

  • Reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and exploring renewable energies.
  • Providing 100% electricity to all homes implementing Deen Dayal upadhyay gram jyoti yojana.

8.Innovative budgeting and effective implementation:

  • Tax base has to be increased so that people do not find alternatives to evade tax and invest in tax havens.
  • Giving local bodies power to implement programmes effectively with democratic decentralisation.
  • Goods and services tax to be implemented soon.

Concern with the plan:

  • Experts did not agree with India achieving 10 per cent growth for the next 16 years.
  • While desirable, 10 per cent growth is wishful thinking when India is struggling to maintain even 7.5 per cent increase in gross domestic product per annum.

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

5) Should government introduce Direct benefit transfer (DBT) in the Minimum Support Prices operations? Discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Indian Express

Reasons for linking DBT with minimum support prices operations:

  • In Punjab government agencies have so far procured over 6.5 million tonnes of wheat on the marketing season but the farmers have not received payments worth 9900 crore at minimum support price.
  • Also the physical procurement, sticking and distribution of grain cost is 23/ kg are sold at 2/ kg that makes the system inherently leaky and prone to missing stocks.
  • So all these strengthen the case of direct benefit transfer on minimum support prices as money is directly credited to the bank accounts and farmers would not suffer.
  • Also DBT can save as much as 25000 crore or 20% on food subsidy expenditure in 2015-16 if two thirds of country’s population is targeted.
  • DBT would better target the intended beneficiaries offer them more choices to use the subsidy amount and boost discretionary spending.
  • In December 2015 in a pilot project in Maharashtra centre has begun DBT for cotton instead of direct procurement from wholesale markets in a direct payment deficiency system
  • DBT would bring in efficiency and transparency in MSP operations also it will save whole lot of expenses incurred by the government.

Concerns with just concentrating on DBT:

  • Critics argue that DBT deals with how to deliver, but whom to deliver to cannot be addressed by DBT because it cannot solve the problem with identification of beneficiaries and hence the problem of exclusion errors.
  • Cash transfers cannot insulate poor from periodic price fluctuations.
  • Digitisation of existing government databases is not yet done and connectivity problem in rural areas.
  • Lack of coordination among centre,state,banks,district officials for the success of DBT aadhar linkage and last mile connectivity issues.
  • Inadequate financial inclusion.
  • In Uttar Pradesh the DBT for certified seeds launched last year has shown large scale exclusions.

Topic: Resource mobilization;

6) What are the objectives of Priority Sector Lending (PSL)? Recently, RBI permitted the issue and trading of PSL certificates. Discuss the significance of this initiative for PSL. (200 Words)

Livemint

Priority sector refers to those sectors of the economy which may not get timely and adequate credit in the absence of this special dispensation. Typically, these are small value loans to farmers for agriculture and allied activities, micro and small enterprises, poor people for housing, students for education and other low income groups and weaker sections.

The overall objective of priority sector lending program is to ensure that adequate institutional credit flows into some of the vulnerable sectors of the economy, which may not be attractive for the banks from the point of view of profitability.

 All banks in India have to lend upto 40% of their total loan book on eight defined priority sector categories with a quota for each category and sub category.

Public sector lending certificate:

  • If a bank has a comparative advantage in one category say bee farming and is required to lend say 50 crore as per it’s PSL guidelines it can now lend 100 crore to bee farmers.
  • It can sell the extra 50 crore as PSL certificate to banks B and C that have to meet their quota of such land but don’t have skills to do so.
  • B and C will not be responsible for a sudden downturn in honey demand in the country that will impact the recovery of these loans. That is entirely A’s responsibility.so the buyer does not carry the risk of the loan not its capital blocked for the loan amount .
  • RBi has allowed margin trading as well I.e.., bank A can now sell bee farming certificate to other banks even without actually making these loans upto a certain limit .

Significance :

  • Larger social objective of loans to priority sector and weaker sections of society will be met without burdening each bank with the specific responsibility of doing so.
  • Likelihood of adverse selection with risk loaded on the seller and virtually riskless for the buyer.
  • In order to maximise banks fee income by selling the extra loan certificates and using its unique skill set for one category, they have a perverse incentive to dole out far greater such loans than is prudent.
  • Margin trading promotes liquidity in PSL certificate market.
  • No permission for secondary trading of PSL certificates will put bankers under control.
  • The quarterly and the annual review will certainly serve as a early warning signals for any PSL certificate market malfunction.
  • It has potential to usher in large efficiencies for the banking system without sacrificing on any of the larger inclusion and equity goals.
  • Particularly will benefit the private banking sector which with their limited rural network were so far struggling to make up their agriculture sector target and can now lend to sectors that are commercially viable.
  • PSL loans to micro, small, medium enterprises will continue to be classified as priority for 3 years which gives the companies enough leeway even if they grow bigger.

Concerns:

  • Similar initiative in currency derivative in 2008 did not yield much benefit so strict monitoring is needed.
  • New norms suggest that foreign banks with less than 20 branches who have to achieve 40 % PSL like all the other banks and up in a phased manner till the year 2020.These banks had a lower target of 32% target so far.
  • Micro classification of different sections could pose a problem for banks.

General Studies – 4


Topic: Work culture

7) According to the World Happiness Report which ranked 156 countries, India was at the 118th spot – one below last year’s ranking. How can government ensure that public servants stay happy in their workplace? If you are posted as District Collector, what measures will you take to ensure workers are happy? (200 Words)

Business Standard