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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 JANUARY 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 JANUARY 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Social empowerment; Social issues

1) What do you understand by social innovation? Examine how digital technologies are redefining social innovation in India. (250 Words)

Livemint

 

 

Social innovation:-

 

  • Social innovation is defined as the process of inventing, securing support for, and implementing novel solutions to social needs and problems.
  • It is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.
  • Social innovation is the best construct for understanding and producing lasting social change.

 

Digital technologies and social innovation:-

  • Digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. 
  • Aadhar:
    • A digital identification system such as Aadhaar helps willing governments to promote the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.
    • Aadhaar holds tremendous potential for unlocking the Indian economy by providing a common platform which can be integrated with a multitude of government programs such as financial and social inclusion programs, and a Public Distribution System monitoring, to name a few.
    • Introduction of Aadhaar can help plug duplicate and fake identities and generate huge fiscal savings for the government
  • Digital India is an ambitious project centred around digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, and governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens.
    • E-Sign, a facility that enables citizens to digitally sign documents and open bank accounts remotely
    • Digital Locker, which allows for authenticated storage and access of citizens’ government records securely over the cloud.
    • Focus on cashless economy
  • E -governance solutions are a great approach to ensure quick and hassle-free services for essential requirements.
    • For instance Punjab’s E-sewa Kendra project. It has also generated jobs for around 130 people in Punjab. It is among one of the largest executions in terms of scale in the state of Punjab by any IT company in India.
  • The government has announced a slew of new initiatives: Make in India; Start-up India, JAM trinity and Digital Lockers.
  • Jan-Dhan Yojana: a program of financial inclusion through which 170 million bank accounts have been opened in a span of 100 days.
  • Mobile: a program to leverage the nearly billion mobile phone connections through the creation of mobile IDs and mobile-based service delivery.
  • With respect to women empowerment, education, health ,information seeking due to digital technology many apps are available for awareness.
    • E-way bill system for faster movement of goods.
    • E-NAM to make agriculture marketing easier
  • Private sector contribution to digital innovation in India:-
    • In India, Hitachi is playing a significant role in aiding the government in its Digital India drive, which aims to digitalise government services so they can reach everyone seamlessly
    • Currently, for example, the state of Punjab is leveraging Hitachi’s IT solutions and technology for several of its e-governance functions.
    • Hitachi is using its expertise in agricultural information management systems to help farmers by aiding in crop damage assessments by using advance remote sensing and geospatial technology, services to farm management and planning, agricultural crop insurance, assessment of claims and management etc

Concerns of social innovation through digital technology are in India:-

  • For digital technologies to confer their full benefit on society, it is vital to close the digital divide, especially in Internet access.
  • The digital divide across age, gender, geography and income within India is significantly higher than in China. 
  • India ranked 156th in the world in terms of broadband penetration (at over 19%) as per the UN Broadband Commission report released in 2015.
  • Roughly nine out of 10 workers are informally employed and lack social protection. Most workers lack adequate education or skills and the educated youth faces high unemployment rates
  • low pace of improvement of the quality of basic infrastructure expressways, logistics, storage, postal delivery system and reliable supply of electricity have also hampered the growth of e-commerce in India. 
  • A vast majority of its population still lacks the skills to meaningfully participate in the digital economy.

Way forward:

  • Making the Internet accessible, open and safe for all Indians is an urgent priority.
  • Supportive policy environment involving smart spectrum management, public-private partnerships, and intelligent regulations of Internet markets is needed.
  • Zero-rated services for mobile data access could be an intermediate step to fully open and affordable Internet access for the poorest, provided that the choice of selecting services is transparent and inclusive.

Conclusion:-

  • Social innovation is becoming a global phenomenon that concerns all countries. From Europe to the United States this new process has recruited politicians, entrepreneurs, civil talent and intellectuals.
  • Social innovation, already an essential social movement in developed countries, is now gaining more attention in developing countries.

Topic: Political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society

2) The latest asset price bubble of Bitcoin is another symptom of capitalism’s inconsiderate pursuit of private wealth. Comment. (150 Words)

EPW

 

 

 

 

Background:-

  • It is the very monetary policy of quantitative easing followed by central banks since the great financial crisis that has provided the unprecedented liquidity. This has been routed into speculative investment in the asset markets .This led to creation of Bitcoin.
  • Bitcoin was created in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis to operate outside of central governments, banks and financial institutions. Bitcoin appears to be in bubble territory not only because of its price run-up but also given the speculation, volatility, and new players in the space.

It is another symptom of capitalism because :-

  • With quantitative easing leading to easy liquidity, and with stagnation in the “real” parts of the developed capitalist economies, the competitive race to grab the hindmost of the impending capital gains naturally resumed. 
  • The idea that people invest in something not because of its value but instead because they assume they’ll later be able to sell it to someone who is willing to pay a higher price.
  • The futures markets are expected to draw more institutional investors into the Bitcoin space because it lets them hedge their exposuresto protect themselves against Bitcoin’s wild price swings
  • Despite concerns about price volatility at one point bitcoin touched the $20,000 mark in the third week of December from $1,000 in January 2017.Prices rise when demand exceeds supply, and more people wanting to buy Bitcoin explains its meteoric price rise.
  • That means you invest at your own risk, including and perhaps especially when it comes to Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. 
  • Bitcoin economy finds itself five years into this social experiment, with no central authority or backing, but nonetheless a growing global community guided by nothing but the collective belief that there is a better way for the world to go about the ordinary business of life. This is similar to capitalist where there is private control rather than the state.
  • With bitcoin prices soaring, the large institutional investors have the opportunity of raking in huge capital gains.

 

However  what Ethereum, Bitcoin and other experimental currencies want to prove is that money can become code, defined no longer by its financial value but by a kind of computational value. The deepest level of validation for Bitcoin and Ethereum transactions is not volume or exchange rates but the processor cycles required to compute the next bit of the block chain. So Crypto currencies like Bitcoin pose a fundamental challenge to the notion of money itself and in extension to capitalism as well..


Topic:  Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3) The growing urban population creates deficiencies on the limited urban infrastructure. Critically examine how new migrants who are poor and belong to socially marginalised groups are affected vis a vis availability of urban basic services. (250 Words)

EPW

Background:-

  • The pressure of population growth on urbanisation is visible from the data of Census 2011.
    • About 17.4% of India’s urban population lives in slums where housing conditions are inhuman, 5.49 million urban households in India do not have access to safe drinking water,13% of the households have no bathing facilities within the home, and 2.9% of urban houses are in a dilapidated condition according to Census 2011.

Situation of migrants who are poor and belong to socially marginalised groups with respect to catering of urban basic services:-

  • By 2030, India’s urban population is set to reach 590 million, an addition of approximately 300 million to India’s current urban population. Much of this growth will be due to rural-urban migration.
  • While most migrants would qualify as lawful citizens of the land, in urban India, the rights of citizens get operationalised through a host of official documents, such as property lease or ownership papers, PAN cards, bank statements, bills, and voter IDs. Bereft of these, the paperless migrant accesses basic goods and services at a premium in the black market economy
  • Issues with access to food entitlement under NFSA and PDS
  • Education and health benefits by government schemes are not implemented effectively for the migrants and with out of pocket expenditures for health services they stay poor.
  • In addition, several structural issues, such as the high gestation period of housing projects, limited and expensive capital, spiralling land and construction costs, high fees and taxes as well as unfavourable development norms are bottlenecks restricting the desired growth in housing stock in India.
  • Disparities in access to basic amenities are also noted by caste and class affiliation of urban dwellers and across migrant and non-migrant households.
  • Ration cards, insurance and pension schemes and education are luxuries they can only dream of.
  • With globalisation, cities are less affordable for the poor. The processes of slum clearance and beautification of cities, and the development of infrastructural facilities under ongoing programmes have marginalised the poor, especially the migrants
  • Poverty led migration has induced poor quality of urbanisation led by misery, poverty, unemployment, exploitation and the rapid growth of slums and inequalities. More 
    often, the poor migrants live in deplorable conditions, without any provision of basic services .
  • With enrolment of aadhar compulsory ,access to basic services is getting even more difficult for migrants.
  • The socially marginalised group migrant households also reveal a gloomy picture, yet they are much better off in many respects as compared to the poor migrant households. Thus, it can be argued that poverty largely determines the accessibility of basic indicators rather than marginalised-group and caste affiliations.
  • Based on the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data:-
    • The SCs, STs and OBCs report much lower figures for households having toilets for exclusive use .
    • SC ,ST have higher poverty head count ration than average of entire urban population.
    • Most of the ST, SC and OBC houses do not have access to safe drinking water as compared to overall urban households
    • More than half of the BPL households have no access to toilets as compared to urban India .This shows that economic and social stratification exists in the access to basic amenities.
    • The poor migrant households, followed by marginalised group migrant households, have the lowest coverage of pucca houses suggesting that poverty and marginalised-group and caste affiliations definitely influence the quality of housing.
    • The provision of basic services like access to tap/standpipe water is influenced by the caste and class affiliation of households. Data reveals that non-migrant, upper-caste and non-poor households have higher access as compared to those of migrant, marginalised-group and poor households
    • Possession of own house is lowest among the migrant households as compared to any other categories.

However the situation is undergoing change with government trying to streamline the households and make basic amenities access to all urban poor:-

  • Also, the government interventions in the past decade provided ownership housing to the poor.
  • Kerala is the first State in the country to enact a social security scheme for the migrant workers. The scheme provides a registered migrant four benefits:
    • Accident/ medical care for up to ₹25,000
    • In case of death, ₹1 lakh to the family
    • Children’s education allowance
    • Termination benefits of ₹25,000 after five years of work.
    • When a worker dies, the welfare fund provides for the embalming of the body and air transportation. Such schemes need emphasis.
  • Schemes like Housing for all, Smart cities, Swachh Bharat focus on inclusive development and would help in uplifting of migrant and socially backward population as well.

Way forward:-

  • A Government appointed Panel has recommended necessary legal and policy framework to protect the interests of the migrants in the country, stating that the migrant population makes substantial contribution to economic growth and their Constitutional rights need to be secured. Government needs to implement this.
  • Caste based enumeration of migrants, access to PDS anywhere, low cost money transfer, anti-discriminatory measures need to be implemented.
  • States need to work together to provide portability of identity proof and entitlements, as well as build support systems for families left behind.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:   Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States

4) The legal profession is one of the very few professions mentioned in the Constitution. Analyse why its reformation is necessary and how it needs to be done. (250 Words)

EPW

 

Background :-

  • The role of the legal profession in society is manifold as its members are flag-bearers of the rule of law and defend fundamental rights.
  • Members of the legal profession have been conferred significant power and privileges as officers of the court.
  • Advocates enrolled in bar councils enjoy exclusive monopoly over the right to practise law in all courts, tribunals, and other authorities in India.

Reformation is necessary :-

  • Problems with Bar council:-
    • Bar councils have failed to perform their statutory duties satisfactorily
    • Their enjoyment of unregulated monopoly power and absolute functional autonomy had created an atmosphere of total unaccountability among many members of the legal profession.
  • The functional failure of the bar councils has been acknowledged in several judgments of the Supreme Court and various committee reports.
  • The falling standards of legal education
  • The low standards of legal professionals
  • A  lack of discipline and ethical standards among advocates
  • Growing incidents of criminalisation, boycotts, and strikes
  • lawyers giving improper legal advice and promoting touting
  • All these factors have created feelings of distrust in the legal profession, compelling the Supreme Court to express dissatisfaction about the regulatory mechanism governing the legal profession .
  • Concerns with Law commission report:-
    • The lack of discussion on improving the Rules on Professional Standards, which act as the canon for professional conduct
    • It fails to suggest infrastructural development in rural areas, such as the creation of computer labs and libraries and providing access to electronic databases, which are essential for the growth of young lawyers.
    • The commission has not addressed the critical issue of establishing welfare schemes for old, indigent, and disabled lawyers.

How to do it :-

  • Bar councils and bar associations should establish internal grievance redressal mechanisms to deal with advocates’ complaints, including those about the behaviour of judges, so that most court-related issues can be easily resolved without resorting to strikes and boycotts.
  • In order to maintain the balance between autonomy and accountability, a provision should be made wherein the BCI is required to submit an annual report to the central government, which should be presented to Parliament.
  • Bar councils must take strict action against the browbeating of judges and other contemptuous acts by removing the names of perpetrators from the state roll under Section 26A
  • The State bar council should constitute separate bodies such as client fora and legal ombudsmen to deal with the grievances of clients and protect their interests.
  • In addition, the BCI should be more responsive in protecting litigants from fake lawyers and should maintain an online database of all enrolled advocates linked to Aadhaar information to prevent impersonation.
  • Recent controversial issues relating to the entry of foreign lawyers and inclusion of law firms within the provisions of the Advocates Act have not been examined by the commission. In an era of globalised legal practice, these issues are matters of crucial significance and demand conscious deliberation.

Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

5) A sharper geopolitical competition in the South Asian region adversely impacts the overall sub-systemic stability in the region. In the light of recent ‘recalibration’ of ties between the US and Pakistan, critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

 

Background :-

  • In the light of the recent statement by US president on misuse of US aid by Pakistan , the S. appears to be radically resetting its administration’s Pakistan policy with implications for the rest of South Asia. 

How US –Pakistan ties changes the geopolitical competition in South Asian region and its stability:-

  • Southern Asia’s regional geopolitics would be reshaped along several disconcerting fault-lines. The emerging China-Pakistan-Russia axis is set to play a dominant role in the regional geopolitical order
  • Counter powers can be led by US along with Japan and India might be dragged into it.
  • As Saudi Arabia has good relations with both Pakistan and India , America might use Saudi Arabia to influence Pakistan. This has implications to the region too.
  • This will mean the end of the indirect influence (through the U.S.) that India has traditionally managed to exert on Pakistan, especially on terror-related issues.
  • American absence would embolden Chinese manoeuvres against India.
  • China’s dominance:
    • Pakistan’s confidence that it has an alternative in China has grown, with Beijing’s pledge of more than $100 billion in loans for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor infrastructure, power projects, and so on.
  • America concerned about only its interests:-
    • All  American statements focus on Pakistan’s support to terror groups that threaten the U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Therefore, action against the groups that threaten India is unlikely to be an immediate priority.
    • America continues to prioritize the elimination of anti-Afghanistan militants over the anti-India ones. The U.S. government delinked Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) but not the Haqqani Network or any other Afghanistan-focused terror group  from aid certification requirements
  • With the US move benefiting India, Islamabad may further escalate its proxy war against India in Kashmir valley.
  • In the past US has played a significant role in keeping extremist tendencies in Pakistanunder control .As their relation fractures India’s regional security is affected.
  • The rise of Hafeez Saeed in Pakistan :-
    • Saeed’s recent release from house arrest and the emergence of the LeT-linked Milli Muslim League political party are a concern for India.
  • Afghanistan:
    • With the U.S.-Pakistan relationship on the rocks, Pakistan could in due course loosen its grip on that leash, thereby enabling the group to do more damage in Afghanistan. And that should be an alarming thought for the United States and India

 

The US-Pakistan ties will not change much in the region:-

 

  • The proposed cut for 2018 is $350 million. The withheld amount stays in an escrow account, but Pakistan can technically claim the money within two years.
  • Also this is not the first time that US would cut funding. Cutting of aid has not translated into strict sanctions like the one imposed on North Korea
  • It gives credibility to Indian stand that Pakistan has been involving instate sponsored terrorism at the international level

 What needs to be done?

  • India needs to diplomatically its relations with China and America both.
  • US and Pakistan are mutually dependent but fractured relationship can cause disturbance:
    • There’s a need for continued access to Pakistan-based NATO supply routes that serve U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
    • America also continues to greatly value Pakistani intelligence support to help target al-Qaeda and ISIS in the region.
    • For Islamabad, military assistance and the prestige of maintaining a partnership with a great power are major perks that are tough to relinquish.
  • Strengthening India’s border management:
    • LOC do not have even proper fences.
    • Israeli border protection system has a state of the art long-range day cameras with night observation systems, third generation thermal imagers, long-range detection radars, electronic touch and motion sensors on the fence as well as underground sensors to detect any attempt of digging tunnels.
    • US border -The entire length of border could be seen online by the ordinary citizens who could alert the border guarding agency of any suspicious movement
  • India need to balance regional development and create employment opportunities for the youth to stop linkages with organized crime across the countries in the region.

 

Way ahead:

  • India needs to engage and develop relationships with countries from important organizations like SCO,BRICS and try to enable solutions for the issue of cross border terrorism.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, 

6) Do you think the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 will be able to provide a dynamic new thrust to medical care in India? Critically comment. (250 Words)

The Hindu

 

Background:-

  • The national medical commission bill is the product of the NITI Aayog and was drafted following a scathing standing committee report in 2016 on the corrupt functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) 
  • The bill if passed would repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956

It provides a new thrust to medical care:-

  • The Bill seeks to regulate medical education and practice in India. 
  • The Bill attempts to tackle two main things on quality and quantity: Corruption in medical education and shortage of medical professionals.
  • The Bill aims to overhaul the corrupt and inefficient Medical Council of India, which regulates medical education and practice and replace with National medical commission.
  • The National Medical Commission would be an umbrella body for supervision of medical education and oversight of medical practice. 
  • Entry test:
    • It replaces multiple MBBS entrance exams conducted by state universities, thus providing a level playing field to aspirants across the board irrespective of educational or social background.
    • There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate medical education in all medical institutions governed by the Bill. 
  • Exit test:-
    • In the light of management quota seats in private medical colleges and quality of medical professionals deteriorating there will be a National Licentiate Examination for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice. 
    • This Examination will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions.
  • There will also be a medical assessment and rating boardwhich will grant permissions for new colleges and penalise institutions which don’t follow the prescribed standards.
  • It replaces multiple MBBS entrance exams conducted by state universities, thus providing a level playing field to aspirants across the board irrespective of educational or social background.
  • It mainly focuses on outcome based monitoring which was neglected before.

Concerns :-

  • One of its goals is to rein in corruption in the MCI through greater distribution of powers. This is to be accomplished through an independent Medical Advisory Council to oversee the National Medical Commission which is the proposed successor of the MCI. But all members of the NMC are members of the Council, undermining the latter’s independence. 
  • A bridge course allowing alternative-medicine practitioners to prescribe modern drugs   is mentioned in the bill.
    • Unscientific mixing of systems and empowering of other practitioners through bridge courses will only pave the way for substandard doctors and substandard medical practice. This will seriously impact patient care and patient safety
  • Indian Medical Association (IMA)opposed the bill that it will cripple the functioning of medical professionalsby making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.
    • NMC will become subservient to the health ministry, given that the representation of the medical profession in the new regulatory framework is minimal.
  • The bill allows private medical colleges to charge at will, nullifying whatever solace the NEET brought.
    • The private medical colleges will be allowed to decide the fee for 60 per cent of their seats, while previously it was 15 per cent.
    • This will increase the cost of medical education
  • The proposed NMC Bill discreetly intends to equate the post-graduate degrees given by MCI or proposed NMC and the National Board of Examination (NBE), which is unjustified too
  • The fundamental flaw in the proposed Medical Commission is the lack of clarity on its function.
  • The Commission as a regulatory body can be expected to monitor and regulate the training of health-care personnel and maintain professional standards and not to formulate policy .
  • It is unhealthy to have an almost entirely nominated commission as the present Bill recommends.
  • The proposed NMC has no mechanism to prevent the situation when medical colleges recognition is withdrawn and students future is hanging in balance.
  • It would replace an elected body (Medical Council of India, MCI) with one where representatives  are nominated.
  • The nexus between the unqualified practitioners or RMPs (Rural not-Registered medical practitioner) is apparent but bill neglects this.
  • There are apprehensions whether allopathic or AYUSH doctors will be willing to work in villages
  • The NMC Bill misses an opportunity to plan for India’s rural health- care needs in the coming decades.
  • It eases regulations to set up private medical colleges, a move that will hopefully produce more doctors, this measure isn’t enough as there is severe shortage of doctors and most of them are concentrated in urban regions while close to 70% of Indians live in rural provinces.
  • Due to this rural people rely on informal health care providers
  • Training non-doctors:-
    • The focus is still largely on MBBS doctors as the best means of health-care delivery in isolated parts of rural India ignoring the evidence from countries like Mozambique and Thailand which show that training non doctors can be a safe, effective and cheap way to provide life-saving health care when no doctors are available.
  • It will cripple the functioning of medical professionals by making them completely answerable to the bureaucracy and non-medical administrators.

 

Suggestions:-

  • To bolster healthcare delivery there can be a three-year diploma for rural medical-care providers, along the lines of the Licentiate Medical Practitioners who practised in India before 1946. 
  • NMC shouldn’t open gates to overseas doctors to regularly practice medicine or perform surgery without qualifying the National Licentiate Examination or induct Ayush colleagues without clearing NEXT.
  • Also, the accreditation and rating function of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB) should be out of the ambit of NMC. This was also the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee report in March 2016.
  • Clear guidelines are required indicating the circumstances and diseases where traditional practitioners can prescribe allopathic medicines.
  • Community-level accredited practitioners  after training should be equipped to provide the first line of care for acute conditions and to make referrals to a regular doctor within a GPS-supervised system.
  • A new system of community-based trained health workers (not government employees) who are enrolled on the state medical register is needed. This can only be done if the medical education law provides for it.
  • The new Bill should promote integrative medicine enabling people to access multiple choices but available under one roof, particularly for chronic conditions. 
  • The bill does not address how India would produce enough competent doctors to meet its evolving health-care challenges and how can it minimise opportunities for rent-seeking in medical education and practice.
  • There is a need for more elected members in the commission, but with limited terms of office, so that corrupt members aren’t re-elected.
  • International example:-
    • There is a need to keep the NMC free from political influence is for an independent body like the Union Public Service Commission to select its members.
    • Such a model is followed in the U.K where the Professional Standards Authority oversees the selection of members to the General Medical Council.

Conclusion:-

  • The Bill needs to confront reality and address it, keeping consumer interest paramount otherwise the new law will make little difference to people’s lives. 

 


General Studies – 3


Topic:  Infrastructure

7) Owing to its scope, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission is an excellent window for understanding the evolution of urban governance in India, despite its closing in 2014. Analyse. (250 Words)

EPW

 

Background:-

  • Over the past decade, the government has devoted a great deal of effort to establish programmes in order to steer urban infrastructure development.
  • Unveiled in 2005, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was an ambitious and landmark manifestation of this interest. Under the JNNURM, the government committed 50,000 crore over 2005–14.

How it transformed urban governance:-

  • It focused on physical manifestationse.., infrastructure across urban India such as provision of buses, flyovers and also focused on technologies of governance.
  • Thus, the JNNURM’s enormous scope and flagship status, in terms of not only its implementation dimensions but also its reform proclivities, have exerted powerful influences on the governance architecture in Indian cities.
  • JNNURM has emerged as a template for national-level urban initiatives post 2014, such as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission (SCM).
  • For making cities equitable, the JNNURM established two channels for intervention.
    • Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG) which funded city-wide infrastructure such as water supply, sewerage, urban transport, and solid waste management and
    • Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) which targeted housing, water supply, and sanitation for the poor.
  • The JNNURM intervened by requiring state governments to comply with the provisions of the 74th Amendment Act, and by making the full involvement of city authorities in operational decisions a key organising principle of the programme which transformed urban governance.
  • The JNNURM’s role in urban decision-making was heightened by its multilevel architecture that tied together city, state, and national governments for the approval, funding, and monitoring of project development and implementation.

Concerns with JNNURM which needed change with respect to urban governance :-

  • Vital sectors such as health, education, and social services, fell outside its scope.
  • Despite the stated objective of promoting decentralised planning and governance, and the devolution of operational and fiscal powers to cities, the JNNURM ironically furthered
    centralised decision-making. 
  • The JNNURM’s implementation has resolutely promoted uneven development both across and within cities as major cities captured a major share of the funding.
    • Smaller towns received only about 20% of the funds got by the larger and more global mission cities.
  • Due to the lack of local capacity, there was more reliance on consultants and this exacerbated intercity and inter-state inequalities.
  • Despite the stated objective of poverty alleviation, the JNNURM prioritised market- oriented policies focused on efficient land markets and cost recovery in the provision of public services
  • JNNURM caused local bureaucracies to expend their limited energies on forging partnerships with domestic and international markets rather than on providing infrastructure that addressed people’s needs.
    • The repeal of urban land ceiling regulations and the displacement of the urban poor due to infrastructure projects could make their lives and livelihoods more precarious.
  • Although the objective of the JNNURM was citizen inclusion and transparency, unelected and unaccountable actors representing urban NGOs, international funding agencies and consultancies drove policymaking.

Evolution of new schemes post JNNURM

  • With AMRUT and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY),  there appears to be greater 
    scope for decision-making and for variations in programme design and implementation at the state and local levels
  • The states, and not the central ministry unlike in the JNNURM, are responsible for the evaluation and approval of specific projects, which are proposed by municipalities
  • Citizen participation in urban planningand project prioritisation are now made mandatory. About one crore citizens contributed to the making of ‘smart city’ plans. Urban planning is now made ‘bottom up’ and the results are showing.
  • Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities Mission meant for improving urban infrastructure, there shall be a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure deficit before drawing up city-level action plans. Cities have been empowered to add to their technical capabilities. 
  • The focus has shifted from a project-based approach to area-based outcomes.

 

Conclusion:-

  • The early shoots of urban renaissance are quite visible with a new churning among cities that are thinking and acting differently. Making a perfect urban future is a daunting task but a definite beginning has been made.

 


 General Studies – 4


Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems
General

Background:-

  • Integrity is one of the fundamental values highlighted in the constitution as it imbibes values of justice, equality ,liberty ,unity etc

Why integrity is necessary in the current scenario of Indian polity:-

  • There is an increase use of muscle power and money power in politics leading to marred elected representatives .It is necessary that integrity is primary for the leaders to act in public interest.
  • There have been incidents of growing intolerance towards other communities, hate speeches even by public servants. Leaders with integrity would respect the tenets of the constitution and uphold fundamental rights of the citizens.
  • Black money, corruption and nepotism are on rise .People who demonstrate integrity draw others to them because they are trustworthy and dependable. They are principled and can be counted on to behave in honourable ways .
  • There is a nexus between criminals and politicians with bureaucracy. Integrity reminds bureaucrats to be politically neutral ,be accountable and work for the needs of the public.
  • Working with integrity creates a positive work environment by building trust among co-workers and doing away with insecurities and the need for micromanagement.
  • The recent press conference by the Supreme court judges regarding the behaviour of Chief justice of India brings to the forefront the issue of failure of integrity, impartisan which needs revamping.

What is needed to ensure integrity in the system?

  • An educated and vigilant public and openness in government
  • Ombudsmen, independent police forces and neutral civil servants are vital needs. 
  • Inculcation of values from childhood by family, formal education etc.

Conclusion:-

  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan sounded the alarm bells when he warned that when ambition and power outstrip a country’s abilities and sense of values, catastrophe is the surest end. Accountability is the essence of a democratic structure.