Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 JANUARY 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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:   Changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes. 

1) What causes acidification of oceans and freshwater bodies? What are the consequences of the same? Examine. (250 Words)

Down to Earth

Ocean acidification:-

  • Ocean acidification refers to a reduction in the pH of the oceanover an extended period of time, caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

Reasons for ocean acidification are:-

  • High concentration of carbon dioxide :-
    • The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of the CO2that is released in the atmosphere, and as levels of atmospheric CO2 increase, so do the levels in the ocean.
  • Improper land management
    • Agriculture may also contribute to the problem of ocean acidity. It may happen especially when the methods that are employed by the farmers are not suitable
  • The industrial revolution
  • Burning of fossil fuels
  • Cement manufacturing
  • Chemical reactions causing high concentration of hydrogen ions
  • Decrease in carbonate ions
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Production alterations of biogas
  • Lack of environmentally friendly laws and regulations

Consequences of ocean acidification:-

  • Food shortage
    • Ocean acidification contributes to the problem of food shortage in many ways.  When fish die, humans who depend on them or food and livelihood are hit by the socio-economic problems.
    • Acidic waters will have more devastating effect on the agricultural production. Acidic water results in the increase in the soil acidity.
  • Food web interference
    • Ocean acidification leads to the death and disappearance of some plants and animals in the sea. When some organisms become extinct, their dependents are also threatened because they have nothing to feed on.
    • Certain fish’s ability to detect predators is decreased in more acidic waters. When these organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk.
  • Impact on human health
    • When the ocean water acidity gets higher, the consumers or the users of such water are living in perilous situation. Diseases such as cancers can easily be transmitted to humans when they consume fish intoxicated with higher sulfur concentrations.
  • Impact on the reefs
    • The problem with acidification is that marine organisms possessing shells (corals, crustaceans, mollusks, etc) need the carbonate ions to make calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. Thus, the more dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean, the less free carbonate ions accessible for forming calcium carbonate shells/skeletons
  • Economical concerns:
    • Ocean acidification is affecting the entire world’s oceans, including coastal estuaries and waterways. Many economies are dependent on fish and shellfish and people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein.
    • Tourism will decline when coastal communities are tainted and species relative to the oceans will become extinct.

 

Acidification of freshwater bodies:-

  • Freshwater ecosystems are becoming more acidic as atmospheric CO2 levels rose.

  • In fact, acidity in freshwater bodies had increased too and the pH by 0.3 units in the 35 years. This rate is about 10 times faster than oceans in which pH has fallen by just about 0.1 units in the last 100 years

Causes of freshwater bodies acidification are:-

  • Acid rain. 
  • Buffer solution:-
    • The soil usually has substances that ensure that the pH is neutral and that the acid will be removed: The Buffer solution.
    • If the buffer solution is finished then the soil will become acid. This may cause toxic chemicals or nitrate to be released.
    • The rain will cause the nitrate or the toxic chemicals to rinse out the surface water or ground water, causing them to contaminate water.
  • Land-use changes:
    • Livestock introduction into the catchment. 
    • Use of nitrogen fertiliser. 
    • Increased efficiency of drainage. 
    • Dry deposition of air pollutants. 
    • Wet deposition of sulphuric and nitric acids.
  • It will be a combination of the above factors that will lead to freshwater acidification.

 

Consequences of Freshwater bodies acidification:-

  • Significant implications for several other standing freshwater bodies, especially around cities and urban spaces where local levels of CO2 and other water-soluble pollutants are very high.
  • Increasing CO2 levels hampered the ability of individuals in the water bodies to produce the protective features like Daphnia in freshwater bodies.
  • Fish and other aquatic animals will die in water with low pH. 
  • Acidified water cannot be used for drinking.
  • Acidic water is damaging health and could possibly cause kidney

Measures needed are:-

  • Some countries try de-acidification of the lakes by adding a suspension of calcium carbonate. It is also possible to stop the environmental acidification by reducing the use of SO2 (Sulfur dioxide), NOx and NH3 (Ammonia).
    • Lowering the use of these substances is done by using low-Sulphur fuel, or flue gas desulphurization.
  • Ratification of legislations that can ensure that the waste handling, among other pollution-risk activities are controlled. Such regulations would spread to the fisheries department to ensure that safety is maintained in food consumption.
  • Civil Education
    • Governments and international organizations can come up with some platforms where they educate or sensitize the common citizens on the risks posed by the climate change and ocean acidification. Such initiatives can instill some self-triggered discipline that acts as guidance for the quest to environmental conservation.

Topic:   Changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2) What is geothermal heat flux (GHF)? How does it affect earth’s surface? (150 Words)

Down to Earth

Background :-

  • The GHF is the amount of heat moving steadily outward from the interior of the Earth through a unit area in unit time. The geothermal gradient varies with location.
  • It is primarily caused by molten matter in core of Earth and radio active decay in Earth.

Effects :-

  • Geothermal heat flux is a critical thermal boundary condition that influences the melting, flow, and mass balance of ice sheets.
  • High heat flow below the West Antarctic ice sheet may also help explain the presence of lakes beneath it and why parts of the ice sheet flow rapidly as ice streams.
  • Warm geothermal conditions may help to make sub glacial habitats more supportive of microbial life, and could also drive fluid flow that delivers heat, carbon, and nutrients to these communities.
  • Warming of oceans and water bodies can take place leading to death of many aquatic fora.
  • There has been a notable increase in the loss of the Greenland ice sheet (GIS) due to its seaward slide. A new research holds higher-than-expected geothermal heat flux (GHF) from the Earth’s interior responsible for the sliding of glaciers towards the sea and hence, acceleration of the surface melting.  
  • Creates lubrication and accelerates glacial descent leading to sea level rise which might lead to coastal areas inundation.
  • It makes water bodies as Geysers and hot springs which can be invested on for their tourist potential.
  • It may have potential to be used for power generation as well.
  • Now the underwater organisms can get food and minerals.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic:   Functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. 

3) Analyse the evolution of the Election Commission of India and its effectiveness in ensuring inclusiveness, rule of law, efficiency, and accountability of the election process. (250 Words)

EPW

Background :-

  • Election Commission of India (ECI) is one of the most popular and effective public institutions in India.
  • The ECI is situated within a particular legal framework and a socio-political context that has changed over time. In this changing context, the institutional characteristics of the ECI (role, powers, independence, structure, and functioning) have allowed it to ensure free and fair elections with varying success.

Evolution of EC :-

  • The constituent assembly provided for the ECI in the Constitution because of its commitment to free and fair elections, and its concern that citizens should exercise their franchise without discrimination. This led to its formation in 1950.
  • Evolution took place in five phases :-
    • Phase 1 (1950–67) :- Establishing Institutional Credibility :-
      • Despite the challenges of mammoth population about to vote in the first election, lack of sufficient infrastructure of governance systems, lack of literacy, the ECI was able to translate the spirit of democracy into the free and fair conduct of elections by developing processes that were people friendly and transparent.
      • EC introduced the “marking system” i.e.., the ballot paper bore names, party affiliations, and candidates symbols which made it easy for the voters to vote.
      • Although in 1956 the reorganisation of states and the delimitation of constituencies made it very difficult to hold the second general elections on time ,the ECI wanted to avoid the precedent of extending the lives of Parliament and legislative assemblies at all costs, and lobbied to prevent the postponement of elections.
      • autonomy enabled the ECI to embed impartiality and transparency into its processes, and to take quick decisions and innova
      • Because of its narrow subject area, the ECI became a highly expert organisation, and consequently, very effi cient. The ECI’s effi ciency was enhanced further as it could simultaneously make rules, implement them, and review them as required.
      • ECI could issue detailed administrative directions to the states regarding the design of ballot boxes and papers, location of polling stations, and so on, and the states benefitted from the ECI’s growing expertise
      • Election Petitions before Courts Another significant development was that courts decided to hear election petitions, though there was no such provision in the Constitution
    • Phase 2 (1967–75): Emerging Limitations
      • In the second phase, the ECI was tested, as the single-party domination of the polity began to decline and political competition increased.
      • There were law and order issues in the form of group clashes ,election meetings were disturbed ,instances of assault, kidnapping, murder, personation, looting, arson, rioting etc were also reported.
      • While the rule of law in elections declined, the ECI was still able to administer elections efficiently .The ECI’s skills were tested in a new way in the fifth general elections, as for the first time, the ECI had to conduct all-India elections before these were due.
      • At this time, as several political parties split, the ECI began to decide which group within a split party would keep the original symbol.
      • By the end of the second phase, with the declaration of the Emergency, democracy was threatened and elections due in March 1976 were cancelled. Significant changes were made to the election law.

 

  • Phase 3 (1977–90): The Deepening Crisis :-
    • In the third phase, key shortcomings in the ECI’s institutional design that became apparent was that it had inadequate control over the state election machinery that actually conducted the elections, and could not stop politicians from fl outing the law.
    • In the face of declining political support for free and fair elections, this impacted the ECI’s capacity to enforce the rule of law in elections, which made them less inclusive.
  • Phase 4 (1991–2002): Fight back and Consolidation:-
    • The ECI waged a continuous, acrimonious, and public battle with the political establishment and the central and state governments to restore the rule of law in elections. This time, it was successful.
    • The CEC’s leadership was decisive and effective. The ECI also stated that unless electoral photo identity cards were provided to all eligible voters, no polling would take place.
    • The ECI became proactive in ensuring that the MCC was followed, and expressed open displeasure when it was violated.
    • It banned the transfer of officials on election duty without its prior permission
    • It monitored the election process more closely, by enhancing the role of election observers and monitoring officials.
    • In 1993, the government promulgated an ordinance for the appointment of two election commissioners. Since then, the ECI has been a three-member body.
    • The success of EC role in Gujarat in 2002 added to its autonomy, impartiality, and internal accountability, without taking away from quick decision-making.
  • Phase 5 (2002–Present): Deeper Problems
    • It had stemmed electoral violence and large-scale voter intimidation, voter personation, and booth-capturing. In ensuring the rule of law in elections
    • It made the election process more inclusive, enabling marginalised communities to exercise their franchise.
    • In the current context, political actors and officials do not flout the ECI’s directions easily. Attacks on the ECI by political actors are now usually restrained, largely because of the public and media support for the ECI.
    • With the introduction of EVMs in 1998, which were used across the country in 2004, the polling and counting processes became smoother.

 

Inclusiveness :-

  • Concerns about inclusiveness led to an innovation, the use of large pictorial symbols, by which illiterate voters could identify their preferred candidate.
  • The press was taken into confidence, and their cooperation for generating awareness was sought .
  • The ECI’s rigorous approach is illustrated by its handling of women who were unwilling to provide their names to register as voters. It used persuasion and made women as voters.

Rule of law:-

  • Although the model code was originally based on political consensus and does not still enjoy statutory sanction, it served as a handy tool for placing curbs on the abuse of the official machinery for campaigning.
  • The EC regularly instructs police stations in each constituency to initiate preventive measures and take action against those who were involved in electoral offences in the past and against habitual offenders and anti-social elements.
  • According to data from EC website, during the 2014 general election a staggering number of people (2,50,892) were identified as “possible intimidators” and action was taken against 2,18,227 of them.

 

Efficiency:-

  • The ECI constantly reviewed and improved its processes, making them more efficient.
  • EVM is introduced to make elections more effective.
  • Most elections in recent times have been peaceful with high voter turnout due to election commission
  • To prevent personation in voting, the ECI made another innovation, of marking each voter’s finger with indelible ink.

Accountability:

  • The ECI took several measures to quash rumours and suspicions regarding the elections and consulted political actors often even since the start.
  • After the Election Commission was made a three-member body, its functioning became more institutionalised and more transparent with little room for the caprices of an overbearing personality.
  • The ECI enhanced public accountability in various processes requiring a list of polling stations be published for objections, refining the process of hearing objections to the voter list, and so on in the first phase itself.

 

Challenges remain though:

  • The lacunae in the process of appointing the CEC and the election commissioners were evident again in 2008. The ugly spat in 2009 between the election commissioners for instance.
  • The increasing role of money power in the form of voter bribery and funding of political parties
  • political parties continue to put up criminals as candidates
  • The manipulation of the media through paid news and other means.
  • The ECI has attempted to address these issues by appointing expenditure observers, countermanding elections for voter bribery, and monitoring paid news. But, for now, these problems remain.

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

4) Comment on the existing financial resolution regime in India and the reforms needed to strengthen it. (250 Words)

EPW

Existing financial resolution regime in India :-

  • Bank nationalisation was initiated in the late 1960s to address the problem of frequent bank failures. Not a single PSB has failed in India since then.
  • Bank failures in the post-liberalisation period have all been of private sector banks, which were compulsorily amalgamated with PSBs to protect the interests of the depositors.
  • The bigger banks as well as the broader financial system in India have been stable over the decades, remaining largely unscathed even during and after the global financial crisis of 2007–08.
  • Unlike many developed countries, it is the public sector that dominates the financial sector in India. None of the Indian banks appear in the list of 30 Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs), identified by the FSB, which need to maintain higher capital buffers and meet other stringent regulatory benchmarks compared to other banks.
    • Therefore, there is no case for a wholesale emulation of the financial resolution methods and tools of the advanced economy financial systems in India which are being proposed through the FRDI bill
  • The financial resolution of India shows that public ownership of banks has made a big difference, not only in preventing frequent bank failures but also protecting the depositors from failing private banks, through amalgamation/merger with PSBs.
  • The RBI has noted that the private sector banks do not enjoy such consumer confidence and during the global financial crisis, deposits migrated from the private sector banks to PSBs. This led the RBI to conclude that, the predominance of government owned banks in India has contributed to financial stability in the country.
  • Even the outreach of public sector is very much visible in rural areas with a larger commitment towards financial inclusion(Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana) than private banks priority to their profitability focus on urban areas.
  • Over the period of time the following reforms like SARFESI act, ADR, Insolvency and bankruptcy code in India etc were also implemented.
  • If the sovereign guarantee for insulating PSBs and other public financial institutions from failures is diluted and the powers to resolve them divested from the government, it will adversely affect the trust and confidence of the depositors in the PSBs and weaken the entire financial system.
  • In the FRDI bill, the controversial bail-in provision also needs to be seen in this context. The RBI working group on the resolution regime, while not rejecting the bail-in mechanism per se, had recommended that deposit liabilities, inter-bank liabilities, and short-term debt be entirely excluded from its purview, because these liabilities if subjected to bail-in can induce financial instability.

Way forward:

  • In order to build a more effective financial resolution regime in India, not only should these potentially destabilising provisions of the FRDI Bill be abandoned, but the deposit insurance cover limit also needs to be enhanced substantially.
  • The desirability of an omnibus Resolution Corporation requires further debate, in the context of relevant experiences of other emerging and developing economies.

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

5) The issue of alcoholism is complex and India requires the framing of a comprehensive liquor policy that regulates, rehabilitates, and refocuses on the importance of awareness creation. Analyse. (250 Words)

EPW

Background:

  • The past few years have seen the resurgence of the spectre of prohibition and alcoholism in not only the political sphere but also the judicial one.
  • Prohibition was the major electoral issue that dominated the many state assembly elections. This was followed by the historic 2016 Supreme Court judgment banning the sale of all liquor within 500 metres of highways to counter drunken driving.

Why there is a need for a comprehensive liquor policy and why prohibition alone will not work?

  • Historical evidence strongly points to the fact that prohibition is ineffective in both controlling and/or preventing alcohol consumption, often with deleterious effects.
  • So neither the imposition of prohibition nor the ban on the sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways is likely to have a serious impact on problems associated with alcoholism and drunken driving.
  • Instances from world over on Prohibition show that the yearly expenditure on alcohol actually increased during prohibition compared to that in the previous period as illicit brewing and marketing continued unabated.
  • Potency of the prohibited substance tends to rise with the strength of enforcement of the law. Not only does the potency increase, but it also varies due to adulteration with hazardous substances.
  • Bihar example:-
    • The objective of tackling domestic violence by enforcing prohibition is not backed by evidence in Bihar as well.
    • Access to liquor through smuggling and bootlegging or even a walk across the border, as long as the neighbouring states do not follow a similar policy would continue unabated, as is currently being witnessed in Bihar 
  • Revenue from excise has allowed governments to extend its welfare schemes to vulnerable sections, and hence an overnight imposition of prohibition will not only imply a loss of this significant proportion of revenue but also additional expenditure in terms of investment in the personnel required towards enforcement
  • There is also higher incidence of law and order situations arising from deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor, particularly that laced with methanol.
  • Under prohibition, state governments will also have to be prepared to deal rapidly with the management of man-made disasters such as liquor tragedies
  • The gender dimension of the liquor problem is another aspect that needs to be considered while framing a comprehensive liquor policy. 

Way forward:-

  • The issue of public health is another dimension that needs to be explicitly addressed while framing a comprehensive liquor policy. This requires a two-pronged approach, one aimed at addressing alcohol-related illnesses and addictions and another aimed at putting preventive measures in place. 
  • The aura of shame attached to drinking and the moral condemnation of drinkers, especially by medical and social service personnel, needs to be addressed as it can be a major deterrent to seeking help.
  • The medical fraternity needs to be educated in rapidly responding to and treating victims of liquor tragedies
  • Governments contemplating prohibition
    • Must invest in mobile forensic laboratories that are trained to rapidly analyse the contents of the illicit brews in coordination with medical teams that are trained to handle the impact of the various types of chemicals found in spurious liquor.
    • Must also ensure that methanol is not made available easily. 
    • Consider linking de-addiction centres with primary health centres in rural areas.
    • Undertake a series of measures to ensure that the availability of alcohol is strictly regulated
    • First invest in creating better awareness among citizens about the negative impact of alcohol consumption. This investment in education and awareness should start at the school level.
    • Need to go beyond their comfort zones and document good practices tried and tested by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other institutions for managing alcohol problems not only within the country but also outside the country
  • A comprehensive liquor policy should first come out with a stronger rule to monitor the use of methanol and frame policies that award a severe penalty for its diversion towards uses other than those for which it was acquired.
  • International case studies:-
    • In Australia, a social media campaign is successfully being used to change the perception of binge drinking.
    • France has strict laws against advertising for alcoholic beverages. Use of minimum pricing has also been successfully tried in Canada, where an increase in the minimum price has shown a clear decline in consumption of both beer and wine in some provinces
  • A community-based approach will also help identify repeat offenders and devise more intense programmes for them.

Conclusion:-

 

  • Research shows that a “multiple-component approach” works best to tackle alcohol-related problems than a single-component or “stand-alone” intervention .Thus, prohibition is not the first step of a comprehensive liquor policy but the last in a series of measures that is spread over a relatively long period of time as such changes take time to show impact.

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

6) Over the years, India has earned the sobriquet of the ‘pharmacy of the world’ for being a leading supplier of affordable drugs to many countries.  But experts argue that India could soon lose this tag. Examine why. (250 Words)

Down to Earth

Background:-

  • India exports drugs worth $16.5 billion to the US annually. Assocham expects this figure to rise to $20 billion by 2020 a compounded annual growth rate of 30%.This shows aptly that India is the pharmacy capital of the world but many challenges are arising.

India could  lose the tag because of the following reasons :-

  • The Indian drug industry is increasingly becoming dependent on China for the supply of bulk drugs and intermediaries, 
    • In the past decade, India’s import of Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients (APIs) and advanced intermediates which are used for manufacturing formulations – has grown rapidly.
    • India now depends on China fully for these ingredients to make not only advanced drugs but also essential medicines and range of antibiotics.
    • For several categories of drugs, almost all raw materials comes from China.
  • Road taken by the pharma companies is hampering the productive and competitive thrust of domestic firms.
  • India focused too much on cost advantage while neglecting other aspects of competitiveness.
  • While China’s growth is led by state-owned enterprises and very strong R&D-industry interaction, India has neglected its public sector drug manufacturers which have all closed down.
    • The fall of the hub and spoke model with neither large pharma nor CSIR labs or universities focused to develop technologies for small and medium scale enterprises, leading manufacturers have moved into formulation manufacturing, patent litigation etc.
    • The focus on core complex chemistry has weakened due to long gestation period and high capital costs.
  • Compulsory licensing and other patent issues.
  • RCEP negotiations:-
    • Japan and South Korea are also demanding a ‘data exclusivity’ period of “no less than five years.” Data exclusivity creates a barrier to entry for generic producers, even when patents no longer apply or exist. 
    • Japan and South Korea threaten to undermine access to medicines in a number of ways.For example, Japan’s proposal for ‘patent-term extensions’ may mean that people have to wait another five years after the expiry of the mandatory 20-year patent monopoly before cheaper versions of new lifesaving medicines can be produced. This delay will necessarily affect the most vulnerable people who are in urgent need of reasonably-priced medicines
  • US:-
    • There is going to be expedited approvals coming in from FDA and that would actually mean the intensity of competition is also going to be little more rampant.
    • For leading Indian drugmakers, profits have come under pressure not just because of competition but also from  wholesale and retail suppliers teaming up to procure generic medicines, bringing down prices.
    • Various estimates project a fall of at least 10% in generic drug prices in the US in the next couple of years. This affects Indian companies’ ability to price their products higher.

No that might not be the case:-

  • Cost effective production economics & competency increases company operations.
  • Several companies have launched patented drugs after the introduction of product patents.
  • Increased expenditure towards entering rural markets have opened new opportunities.
  • There is huge scope as the generics market which accounted for 70% of the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry. However, as the income of family rises, people may shift to bigger brands which market aggressively.
  • With the government’s plans of urbanizing the rural sides of the country which will lead to increased penetration of chemists and hospitals, there will be more demand of OTC drugs.
  • R&D & Clinical Trials:
    • Indian Pharma companies spend 8-11% of their turnover on R&D.
    • The privatisation and globalisation policy of the government of India in the mid-1990s provided incentives to R&D in the pharma sphere.
  • Joint Ventures and M&A:
    • Indian companies try to expand into new markets, deepen their presence in existing ones, get access to manufacturing assets and fill their portfolio and technology gaps.
  • MNCs are collaborating with companies to form new drugs.
    • For example, Cipla formed an exclusive partnership with Serum Institute of India to sell vaccines in South Africa.
  • Other markets:-
    • Indian generic companies continue to expand in 2017 in geographies like Europe and Japan.

 

Measures needed:-

  • There is a need to explore new processes of upgrading of pharmaceutical manufacturing with all relevant stakeholders – government, industry, regulators and civil society.
  • If India wants to ensure health security of Indian people, revival of R&D and public sector API manufacturers is necessary.
  • The government should facilitate industry to work with CSIR labs for process and yield improvement. 
  • The tax benefits of carry-forward of losses and unabsorbed depreciation for companies undergoing amalgamation are currently restricted to certain sectors (e.g. computer software, electricity, power, telecom etc.). This benefit should be extended to pharma companies engaged in R&D as well.
  • Indian pharmaceutical sector has the potential to grow exponentially to the size of $300 billion by 2030. However, for achieving this, emphasis must be given to quality and R&D.
  • India needs four pillars for strengthening the innovation environmentin the biopharmaceutical industry
    • human resources
    • Finances
    • Infrastructure
    • legal and regulatory framework
    • Each of these pillarsneeds a concerted focus and a long-term commitment from industry as well as the government
  • The environmentto support the development of these verticals could emerge through various government-led initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, Atal Innovation Mission, etc.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:    Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 

7) Examine the evolving patterns in funding and gender participation in research and development(R&D) landscape in India. (150 Words)

Down to Earth

Evolving patterns of funding in R&D:-

  • A national survey on the status of research and development in the country has shown that the gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) has more than tripled.
  • The Survey conducted under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has also shown that the per capita R&D expenditure has increased and that GERD was mainly driven by the government sector with central government accounting for around 44%. The private industry accounted for the balance 38.1%.
  • The study has revealed that public sector R&D was led by defense related industries and fuel industry, while the private sector R&D was dominated by drug and pharmaceuticals and transportation.
  • The composition of R&D expenditure in India contrasted sharply when compared with select developed and emerging economies.
  • India is dismal in terms of participation of institutions of higher education.
    • The share of institutions of higher education in R&D in the other countries varied from seven per cent in China to 40 % in Canada, as compared to India’s a mere four per cent.
  • As much as 81.3% of R&D expenditures incurred by central government sources came from just eight major scientific agencies like DRDO, Department of space etc.
  • India occupied the third rank in terms of PhDs awarded in S&T
  • The number of researchers per million population in India has more than doubled in India from 2000-15.
  • India’s R&D expenditure per researcher was as much as 1,78,000 in terms of purchase parity price on dollar basis. This was higher than that of Russia, Canada, Israel, Hungary, Spain and UK.
  • It has also highlighted that India’s scientific publication output has shown a rising trend during the past decade with the database of SCOPUS showing that research output from India has increased by 68 per cent
  • SCOPUS has put the growth rate of scientific publications at 13.9 % for the period from 2009-13, as against the world average of 4.4% respectively.
  • SCOPUS database ranked India sixth in the world in scientific publications ahead of France, Spain and Italy during 2013.
  • As per WIPO report 2016, India is ranked 10th in terms of resident patent filing activity.

Concerns:-

  • With the University Grants Commission insisting on Academic Performance Indicators for better promotional avenues, many teachers are opting for short cuts to get as many research papers published without emphasising either on the quality of the paper or the publication.
  • Plagiarism has become a bane and some so-called international peer reviewed journals are making a fast buck catering to the requirements of these PhD aspirants and teachers.
  • Late arrival of funds and undue delay in filling up of vacancies are other major areas of concern for the scientific community.
  • Although some companies have collaborated with IITs to fund 25 per cent costs of innovative projects, industry participation is lacking

Gender participation in research and development(R&D) :-

  • Women’s participation in extra mural R&D projects has increased significantly from a mere 13% in 2000-01 to 29 % in 2014-15.
  • In terms of personnel directly engaged in R&D activities, there were around 40000 women out of the total 282,000 personnel in 2015.

Way forward :-

  • In fact, a country the size of India must invest about 2 per cent of its GDP on R&D, instead of the present 0.8 per cent. This is the case with other countries such as Turkey, Korea, Iran and Israel which have a higher proportion of R&D investment than India when compared to their GDP.
  • Private funding can play an important role bridging this gap and boost the R&D capabilities of India. Lessons can be learnt from Taiwan, where private funding helped it to become a dominant player in global semi-conductor industry.
  • The recent provision of grants worth of Rs 56 crore to create faculty chairs in leading academic institutions across the country by Infosys Foundation is a move in the right direction. More initiatives in this way needs to be promoted.
  • A public-private initiative to launch faculty development programmes in leading universities in India and focus on more outcome-based research is needed.
  • Industry should participate in developing the entrepreneurial culture in India by setting up incubation centres and research parks for innovative research.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic:  Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

Background :-

  • The Delhi government’s decision to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in all state government school classrooms has apparently been triggered by some recent incidents of violence against children in school premises in and around Delhi

Rationale of the government :-

  • This will make the whole system transparent and accountable.
  • Safety aspect appears to have been the deciding factor behind this exercise,
  • The government felt it would improve discipline in schools.
  • They promise hard evidence when things are wrong. In an age of daily outrage of one kind or another, they promise truth and justice.
  • Advocates of CCTVs feel that they improve the quality of teaching. This hope is based on the premise that you put in greater effort in your work when you know that someone with more authority and power is watching you.

Ethical issues:-

  • Freedom is violated:
    • Teaching is a professional activity best pursued when there is freedom and trust.
  • Violation of teacher’s autonomy
  • Psychological impact on teachers:-
    • Constant monitoring can turn teachers into nervous wrecks.
  • A real time video tracker in schools will lead to policing of children not only to prevent crimes but their moral choices and behaviour. It will condition children into fearful clients not full individuals.
  • Violates right to privacy of child.
  • This shows lack of trust on teachers and students 
  • Victimization of teachers would take place.

 

 

 

Copyright © Insights Active Learning