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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 OCTOBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 OCTOBER 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– Part of static series under the heading – “Role of women and women’s organization”

1) Discuss how the role of women in Indian society has evolved over the ages?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss how the role played by women in Indian society has evolved over the ages and the kind of problems that have been faced by women in each of the period under discussion and how those issues have been resolved.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that the role of women in Indian society has evolved over the ages.

Body

  • Discuss has the role of women in early vedic age – Woman enjoyed good status and respect in the society. Worship of goddesses depict the respect woman had in societyWoman had overall freedom regarding- Could Select their partners (swayamvara), Live as spinsters, Widow could remarry, Women were Educated, No child marriage, No sati etc
  • Discuss role in later vedic age which witnessed decline of status and position of women in society. Explain how the role and status of women evolved through the medieval age to pre independence and then post independence India.
  • Discuss the rise of feminist movement in India in 1970s and how women have been empowered through legislations and societal changes.

Conclusion – give your view on the current status of women and give your view on what more needs to be done.

Background :-

The role of Indian women has evolved over different periods of time in the following ways.

Rig vedic period :-

  • Rig Vedic Women in India enjoyed high status in society and their condition was good.
  • Even the women were provided opportunity to attain high intellectual and spiritual standard.
  • There was no sati system or early marriage.
  • They enjoyed freedom and even they enjoyed freedom in selecting their male partner. 
  • Widows  were  permitted  to  remarry.
  • Women were given complete freedom in family matters.
  • They were given education at a equal footing to men.

Later vedic period:-

  • But from enjoying free and esteemed positions in the Rig-Vedic society, women started being discriminated against since the Later-Vedic period in education and other rights and facilities. Child marriage, widow burning, the purdah and polygamy further worsened the women’s position. 

Women in Buddhist period:-

  • The  status  of women  improved  a  little during  the  Buddhist  period  though  there  was no tremendous change. Some of the rigidities and restrictions imposed by the caste system were relaxed. 
  • Buddha  preached equality  and  he  tried to  improve the  cultural,  educational  andreligious statuses of women.
  • During the benevolent rule of the famous Buddhist kings such as Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Sri Harsha and others, women regained a part of their lost freedom and status due to the relatively broadminded Buddhist philosophy.
  • Women were not only confined to domestic work but also they could resort to an educational career if they so desired.
  • In the religious field women came to occupy a distinctly superior place. Women  were permitted  to become “Sanyasis”. Many  women took a leading  role in Buddhist  monastic-life,  women had  their  sangha called  the Bhikshuni Sangha,  which  was guided by the same rules and regulations as these of the monks.
  • Their political and economic status however remained unchanged.

Status of women in the Medieval India:

  • The  Medieval  period  proved  to  be  highly disappointing for the Indian women, for their status further deteriorated during this period.
  • When  foreign conquerors  invaded  India  they brought  with them  their  own culture. For them women were the sole property of her father, brother or husband and she does not have any will of her own. This type of thinking also crept into the minds of Indian people and they also began to treat their own women like this. 
  • They  were not  allowed to  move freely  and this lead  to  the  further deterioration of their status.
  • These problems related with women resulted in changed mindset of people. Now they began to consider a girl as misery and a burden, which has to be shielded rom the eyes of intruders and needs extra care.
  • All this gave rise to some new evils such as Child Marriage, Sati, Jauhar and restriction on girl education

Better status of women in Southern India comparatively Northen India

  • The status of women in Southern India was better than the North India. While in Northern India there were not many women administrators, in Southern India we can find some names that made women of that time proud.
  • Priyaketaladevi, queen of Chalukya Vikramaditya ruled three villages. Another woman named Jakkiabbe used to rule seventy villages. In South India women  had  representation  in  each  and  every  field.

Position of woman during east India Company: 

  • During the period of East India Company, many social reformers such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar chandara Vidyasagar and Jyotiba Phule had struggled for the improvement of status of woman in Indian society.
  • Peary Charan Sarkar had firstly started girl’s school in India in 1847 at Calcutta.
  • Under this period Raja Ram Mohan Roy with some support from British had succeeded to abolish sati system from India.
  • Women played significant role in freedom movement as well.

Independent India:-

 

  • Women in India now participate in all activities such as education, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology, etc.
  • The Constitution of India guarantees to all Indian women equality (Article 14), no discrimination by the State (Article15(1)), equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal pay for equal work (Article 39(d)). In addition, it allows special provisions to be made by the State in favour of women and children (Article 15(3)),renounces practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows for provisions to be made by the State for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief, (Article 42).

Modern Indian Women

  • The status of women in modern India is a sort of a paradox. If on one hand she is at the peak of ladder of success, on the other hand she is mutely suffering the violence afflicted on her by her own family members.
  • As compared with past women in modern times have achieved a lot but in reality they have to still travel a long way. The women have  left  the secured  domain  of  their home  and have become part of the corporate culture.
  • Position and status of today’s Woman in India is considerably changed in 
    modern Indian Society. Indian Laws are being made without discrimination against woman, as a result Indian woman are enjoying high position in our society.
  • But in India still the sex ratio of India shows that the Indian society is still prejudiced against female, sexual violence ,safety issues still concern them.

Topic – part of static series under the heading – “role of women and women’s organization”

2) Despite the importance of the sexual violence issue, women’s activism in India has not exclusively focused on this concern. Analyze.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Women activism in India has seen a sharp rise in the past few decades. However, it is not a recent phenomenon nor has been the activism restricted only to the issue of sexual violence. In this context it is important to analyze the breadth of women activism in India.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue of women activism in India, identify and deliberate upon its role in fight against sexual violence and also discuss other areas, issues where women activism has been significant.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  role of women in India’s freedom struggle and women related issues in the 19th century India.

Body

  1. Discuss some important cases of sexual violence which have historically elicited women activism. E.g
  2. Discuss some other issues which have been at the forefront of women activism in the past and contemporary India.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • The 19th century was the period that saw a majority of women’s issues come under the spotlight and reforms began to be made. Much of the early reforms for Indian women were conducted by men. However, by the late 19th century they were joined in their efforts by their wives, sisters, daughters, protegees and other individuals directly affected by campaigns such as those carried out for women’s education.
  • By the late 20th century, women gained greater autonomy through the formation of independent women’s own organisations. By the late thirties and forties a new narrative began to be constructed regarding “women’s activism”.
  • Sexual violence is a serious public health and human rights problem with both short- and long-term consequences on women’s physical, mental, and sexual and reproductive health. 
  • India’s National Crime Records Bureau reported 338,954 crimes against women including 38,947 rapes  in 2016.This shows the need to analyse the sexual violence issue in India.

Importance of sexual violence issue :-

  • India’s history of using mass mobilization as a means for raising issues of sexual violence and women’s rights was visible in the 1972 Mathura rape case, a watershed moment in raising the issue of violence against women in general, and custodial sexual assault specifically.
  • The intense media coverage of the 2012 protests did raise international awareness of the significant safety concerns of many Indian women. Due to these protests there have been amendments in the criminal procedure act for the safety of women.
  • To change the perception:-
    • India’s attitudes towards women reflect apathy and an acceptance of sexual harassment. 
    • Women in India are so often blamed for being raped or sexually assaulted. Despite perceptions that wealthier/more educated Indians are more egalitarian, sexual harassment is accepted or tolerated by about half of Indians across gender, income and most education groups.
    • Women who drink, smoke or go to pubs are widely seen in Indian society as morally loose and they have brought the violence on themselves.
  • To make women stronger and fight for their rights:-
    • Rape victims are often encouraged by village elders and clan councils to “compromise” with the family of accused and drop charges or even to  marry the attacker. 
  • It analyses the lower status of women in the society:-
    • Perhaps the biggest issue, though, is women’s overall lower status in Indian society. Throughout their lives, sons are fed better than their sisters, are more likely to be sent to school and have brighter career prospects.

Why women’s activism has not focussed on this issue :-

  • Lack of political representation:-
    • One of the reasons India has not been able to effectively address crimes against women is the lack of women in national political office. Women hold just under 12 percent of seats in the national legislature.
    • In New Zealand, where women hold 38 percent of parliamentary seats and the prime minister is a woman, lawmakers recently guaranteed paid leave for victims of domestic violence. That gives victims time to relocate, protecting themselves and their children from their abusers.
  • Initially focused on other issues:-
    • The mobilization of poor women and those from marginalized communities was initially intended to address the economic consequences of failed state-led development schemes rather than directly dealing with gender injustices.
    • Not all issues that initially spur women’s activism are motivated by gender discrimination, nor do they ignite the same responses across all women’s groups and movements. Ideology, class, caste, and religious differences cause women’s groups to focus upon different problems.
  • Mindset:-
    • Sexual violence is still not discussed as “sex” is considered to be in private domain. The recent Me too movement has brought the focus again to this particular issue.
    • These traditions and ways of Indian life have been in effect for so long that this type of lifestyle is what women have become accustomed to and expect. Indian women often do not take full advantage of their constitutional rights because they are not properly aware or informed of them. 
    • The support from the society has been abysmal.
  • Once motive was achieved in the form of law against sexual violence the movement faded .

Despite constraints there have been achievements by the women activists in bringing sexual violence topic to the forefront :

  • It was due to their efforts that child marriage was abolished and the marriageable age of women was raised .
  • Vishaka guidelines were framed and recently sexual harassment in workplace act has been framed

What needs to be done?

  • A better solution may be to target gender norms that lead to such behaviour in the first place.
    • Education can be powerful, in schools, families and society at large. Gender-sensitization efforts need to be expansive, targeting children and adults.
    • Engaging young boys and challenging assumptions about “what it means to be a man” is key. 
    • Preventing sexual violence requires dismantling gender constructs that sustain and normalize gender-based violence. Only then can we redefine social norms conducive to a more gender equitable and less violent society.
  • Enhance female police force:-
    • Studies show that women are more likely to report sex crimes if female police officers are available. India has historically had a much lower percentage of female police officers than other Asian countries. 
  • Better levels of social indicators, economic indicators, and legal institutions tend to be correlated with higher levels of reported crimes for most indicators indicative of the underreporting of sexual violence crimes in India. Stricter laws in the aftermath of the 2012 Nirbhaya case have led to higher levels of reporting but not necessarily to higher conviction rates or quicker investigations. Thus, what is required is an overhaul of the current legal infrastructure in place to deal with these cases in a quicker and more efficient manner, along with other remedies of social welfare, economic growth, awareness programmes, sex education etc.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Population and associated issues”

3) Critically examine India’s population policy of 1976 and explain the issues arising out of it?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the key features of India’s population policy and discuss the pros and cons as well as the impact of the policy.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that Government of India introduced first National Population Policy in 1976, which focussed on reducing birth rate, lowering infant mortality rate and improving standard of life.

Body

  • Discuss the contents of the policy such as the focus on
    • No coercion for family planning
    • Minimum marriage age 18 years for females and 21 years for males.
    • Emphasis on awareness through education and media
    • Mandatory registration of marriages
      Use of media for spreading the awareness about family planning among the rural masses.
    • Monetary compensation to those who opt for permanent measures of birth control (sterilisation and tubectomy).
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the policy and how effective it has been in controlling population growth and associated issues
  • Highlight the issues arising out of the population policy such as
    • Firstly, the NPP had a narrow perspective, give much importance to contraception and sterilisation.
    • The basic prerequisite of controlling population include poverty alleviation, improving the standards of living and the spread of education.
    • Secondly, on national scale the policy was not publicised and failed to generate mass support in favour of population control.
    • Thirdly, we have insufficient infrastructure owing to the lack of trained staff, lack of adequate aptitude among the staff and limited use or misuse of the equipment for population control resulted in failure of the policy
    • Lastly, the use of coercion during the Emergency (1976-77) caused a serious resentment among the masses. This made the very NPP itself very unpopular.

Conclusion – Give your view on how the policy dealt with population and associated issues and discuss changes required.

Background:-

  • Since the middle of the 20thcentury, developing countries like India have been facing the problem of unsustainable population growth that had placed a lot of pressure on their development pattern and prosperity. So the government came up with the national population policy 1976

National population policy 1976:-

  • Government of India introduced first National Population Policy in 1976, which focussed on reducing birth rate, lowering infant mortality rate and improving standard of life.
  • In 1976, the government of India came up with its first National Population policy. The policy came up with a number of measures to arrest the population growth.
  • Some of the measures are:
    • Increasing the minimum legal age of marriage for girls and boys to 18 and 21 respectively.
    • Monetary incentives for birth control.
    • Improving the literacy levels of females both through the formal and non-formal channels.
    • Population was made as a factor for sharing central resources with that of the states. Linking 8% of the central assistance to the State Plans by weighing the performance of the states in the family welfare programmes.
    • Popularise family welfare programmes by using all forms of media.
    • Inculcating population education into the formal education system.

Significance:-

  • The National Population Policy, 1976 was completely different from the earlier policies. It was earlier believed that development and education would themselves restrict the rate of population growth, while the government’s own programme was restricted to family planning, by way of motivating people to accept family planning and providing clinical facilities and other services to its acceptors. This thinking changed due to the policy 1976.
  • The 1976 policy noted that  to wait for education and economic development to bring out a drop in fertility is not a practical solution. The very increase in population makes economic development slow and more difficult to achieve. The time factor is so pressing, and the population growth so formidable, that we have to get out of the vicious circle through a direct assault upon this problem as a national commitment.
  • The erstwhile BIMARU states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, and Odisha together with Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam, comprising 261 districts and a little less than 50% of the country’s population received focused attention for the first time and their demographic indicators began to be monitored relentlessly.

Issues arising out of population policy:-

  • Population could not be controlled:-
    • India’s national population policies have failed to achieve their objectives as we remain world’s second largest populated country. The population of India in 1951 was 35 crore, but by 2011, it had increased to 121 crore.
  • NPP have a narrow perspective, give much importance to contraception and sterilisation. The basic prerequisite of meaningfully controlling population include poverty alleviation, improving the standards of living and the spread of education.
  • On national scale the policy was not publicized and failed to generate mass support in favour of population control.
  • India had insufficient infrastructure owing to the lack of trained staff, and limited use or misuse of the equipment for population control resulted in failure of the policy.
  • The use of coercion during the Emergency (1976-77) caused a serious resentment among the masses. This made the very NPP itself very unpopular.
  • The objectives of the policy were met with only limited success as infant mortality rate is still high.
  • The statement of the policy of 1976 was neither discussed nor adopted.

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for population policy to address the skewed female and child sex ratio which is spreading from urban into rural areas.
  • A new population policy must address issue of migration:-
    • The Census 2011 has given the picture of interstate and intrastate migration triggered by employment, business, education, marriage and other variables. Unplanned migration to the metros and large cities also puts pressure on the infrastructure, housing and water availability.
    • If this is factored into of the population policy, it would make for more foresight and greater coordination, and avoid the inevitable outcome of mushrooming slums and unplanned habitations.
  • Ageing factor :-
    • The growing population of the elderly and the increase in life expectancy accompanied by chronic diseases have the potential to deflect resources from the primary task of providing education, skill development and increasing employability.
    • The business opportunity to match the growing needs of this population cohort after factoring in their growing disability needs to be a part of the population policy.

Conclusion:-

A population policy that protects our demographic assets while preparing for difficult challenges that lie ahead will protect future generations from catastrophic consequences.


General Studies – 2


Topic– Role of civil services in a democracy.

4) In the present digital societies, the public servants handle a lot of personal information of the citizens and it is important to handle that information ethically. Discuss how it can be done.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail as to what should be the procedures, responsibilities, and requirements needed to ensure ethical management of public data handled by public servants today.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the vastness of public works and interaction between the public and the public servants.

Body-

Discuss how personal information of the public can be ensured to be handled ethically. E.g

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • With thewidespread usage of information and communication technologies rapidly and the increase in data storage and transformation electronically it is very important to provide personal data security and raising security awareness in public and public servants alike.
  • With the passage of the Aadhar bill, KYC norms etc now the public servants have repositories of information regarding the personal data of citizens.
  • India has already taken many measures to protect personal information through the following:-
    • IT act 2008, data protection bill 2018
    • Right to privacy judgment
    • Cyber security policy etc

 

Why personal data is under risk when public servants handle it?

  • Lack of technological awareness puts them at risk of mishandling the information. There have already been instances which show Indian websites have been hacked and India is one of the prime targets of cyber attacks.
  • Public servants might tend to misuse the information in to the hands of the third parties for personal gains.

How to ensure that the information is handled ethically:

  • A strong data protection law similar to GDPR of Europe is necessary in India as well. British govt. has enrolled a “Data Ethics Framework” for their civil servants. India can follow it as well.
  • Prior training of public servants regarding the sanctity of personal data needs to be held
  • Proactive public is the key where they question the authorities and keep track whether their information is being misused.
  • Indian cyber infrastructure need to be strengthened and India need to consider data localization and not depend of foreign companies for data storage.
  • For every department there needs to be responsibility on nodal officer who is responsible for the department’s handling of information.
  • Rewarding ethical public servants can inspire others to behave in the same way and protect personal data.
  • Public servants need to remember that right to privacy is a fundamental right in India and misusing information adheres to violation of fundamental right .

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

5) The policy suggestions in National Digital communications Policy are important for the telecommunications sector and for Digital India. Examine.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article discusses the changes suggested by National Digital Communications Policy and the impact it would have on telecommunications sector and Digital India. The policy would have wide ramifications on the telecom sector considering the fact that the issues under discussion in the policy are all contemporary issues being faced by the telecom sector. Hence this question would help in preparing the issues faced by the sector and understanding how the policy tackles it.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the changes suggested by the policy and discuss how it impacts telecommunications sector and Digital India. Thereafter, we need to examine the specific issue being faced by the telecom sector and how the policy resolves them and helps in achieving aims and objectives under Digital India. Finally, we need to provide a balanced opinion on the policy and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that National Digital Communications Policy is in public domain after months of wide-ranging as well as intensive consultations with all the stakeholders, and also after getting the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in the matter.

Body

  • Discuss the changes suggested by NDCP such as
    • Revenue maximization is not a priority and infrastructure creation is
    • The need for consistency in policy
    • Allowing benefits of convergence in areas such as IP-PSTN switching
    • Incentivise green energy
    • Fine tuning policy related to spectrum allocation
  • Discuss the impact of such policies and the reasons why they are introduced. Here you should bring out the issues faced by telecommunications sector in India and how the policy addresses the issue
  • Comment on how the policies would help in case of Digital India

Conclusion – Give your view on the policy and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • As the present world has entered the era of modern technological advancements in the Telecom Sector such as 5G, loT, M2M etc., a need was being felt to introduce a ‘customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ policy for the Indian Telecom Sector, which can form the main pillar of Digital India by addressing emerging opportunities for expanding not only the availability of telecom services but also telecom based services.
  • Accordingly, the new National Digital Communications Policy – 2018 has been formulated, in place of the existing National Telecom Policy-2012, to cater to the modern needs of the digital communications sector of India.

National digital communications policy:-

  • The key objectives of the policy are:
    • Broadband for all.
    • Creating four million additional jobs in the Digital Communications sector.
    • Enhancing the contribution of the Digital Communications sector to 8% of India’s GDP from ~ 6% in 2017.
    • Propelling India to the Top 50 Nations in the ICT Development Index of ITU from 134 in 2017.
    • Enhancing India’s contribution to Global Value Chains.
    • Ensuring Digital Sovereignty.
    • These objectives are to be achieved by 2022.
  • The policy aims to:
    • Provide universal broadband connectivity at 50 Mbps to every citizen.
    • Provide 1 Gbps connectivity to all Gram Panchayats by 2020 and 10 Gbps by 2022.
    • Ensure connectivity to all uncovered areas.
    • Attract investments of USD 100 billion in the Digital Communications Sector.
    • Train one million manpower for building New Age Skill.
    • Expand IoT ecosystem to 5 billion connected devices.
    • Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals.
    • Facilitate India’s effective participation in the global digital economy.
    • Enforce accountability through appropriate institutional mechanisms to assure citizens of safe.
    • Secure digital communications infrastructure and services.
  • The policy advocates:
    • Establishment of a National Digital Grid by creating a National Fibre Authority.
    • Establishing Common Service Ducts and utility corridors in all new city and highway road projects.
    • Creating a collaborative institutional mechanism between Centre, States and Local Bodies for Common Rights of Way, standardization of costs and timelines.
    • Removal of barriers to approvals.
    • Facilitating development of Open Access Next Generation Networks.

The new policy addresses the following issues of facing telecom sector :-

  • The industry is going through a financial crisis as a result of which as many as five operators have shut shop. Overall debt burden of the remaining players has burgeoned to alarming levels due to expensive spectrum auctions and huge reduction in cash flows.
  • Telecom consumers are no better today than they were two decades ago when it comes to quality of services. Call drops, unwanted telemarketing calls, patchy data networks and unfair practices to get users pay more are rampant. To make matters worse, consumers do not have access to a reliable and neutral complaint redressal mechanism.
  • Public sector companies in this sector continue to languish under high manpower costs and red tape.
  • There is a big worry over the huge imports of telecom equipment and devices at a time when India’s trade deficit is ballooning.

Benefits to telecommunication and digital India :-

  • Digital communications infrastructure :-
    • The NDCP-2018 envisions supporting India’s transition to a digitally empowered economy and society by fulfilling the information and communications needs of citizens and enterprises by establishment of a ubiquitous, resilient and affordable digital communications infrastructure and services.
  • The ‘Customer focused’ and ‘application driven’ NDCP-2018 shall lead to new ideas and innovations, after the launch of advanced technology such as 5G, IOT, M2M, etc. which shall govern the telecom sector of India.
  • The policy is completely new and transforming. This will hugely boost the centre’s New India and Digital India objectives. This is the first time, both the private sector and the government are working hand in hand.
  • The aim to developing the market for IoT/ M2M connectivity services in sectors including agriculture, smart cities, intelligent transport networks, multimodal logistics, smart electricity meter, consumer durables etc. by incorporating international best practices is a step in the right direction. For instance, the policy aims to expand the IoT ecosystem to 5 Bn connected devices. This will result in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.
  • National Digital communications Policy gives a holistic push to other technologies as well. Incentivising green technology, for sustainable development reducing carbon footprint as a commitment under Paris pact 2015 and Nationally determined contribution.
  • Revenue maximisation:-
    • Despite some of the well-intentioned policies of the past, successive governments faltered in going for revenue maximisation to bridge the fiscal deficit, at the cost of the real telecom needs of the economy and the common man.
    • This has been addressed in the finalised NDCP as the policy aims for Universal Coverage rather than revenue maximisation.
  • Importance for policy consistency:
    • Another criticism from players, in the past, has been the incidence of frequent policy flip-flops, which make well-laid business plans go awry. In the finalisation of the policy, this has been recognised .
  • Change of name for policy and the commission:
    • It is significant that the big change of policy and implementation perspective is brought out with abundant clarity by the following .The National Telecom Policy will hereinafter be referred to as National Digital Communications Policy’.
    • To ensure effective implementation and monitoring of the Policy, it is proposed to re-designate the Telecom Commission as the Digital Communications Commission to ensure that the high aspirations are achieved within stipulated time.
  • Connect India: Allowing benefits of convergence in areas such as IP-PSTN switching:
    • This is a specific addition to the list of strategies. It could possibly be aimed at providing convergence benefits to call centres, BPOs and internet telephony.
  • Incentivising green energy:
    • While the draft had already strategised the promoting and deployment of solar and green energy, the final policy goes further, and asks for incentivising. This is a critical requirement.
  • Spectrum:
    • Some extremely meaningful changes are noticed here. The word “auctioning” has been deleted in the context of spectrum assignment or allocation.
    • Instead, we now have introduction of ensure transparency in allocation and optimise availability and utilisation by developing a transparent, normative and fair policy for spectrum assignments and allocation.
    • This seems to imply that auctions need not be followed for spectrum allocation and that any reasonable, fair and transparent method of allocation might be followed. This is a much-needed change from the current status and could mean the real deliverance of the sector from its biggest problem.
  • Universal service:
    • Right from its inception, the utilisation of the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) has only been for rural citizens who are not connected. The shortcoming in this approach is that there are also large sections of economically and socially weaker communities that are unconnected and equally deserve universal service.
    • This aspect has been addressed in the final policy in the section dealing with the review of the scope and modalities of USOF.
  • Propel India:-
    • India is woefully inadequate in respect of fixed line connectivity and this is becoming a big handicap as far as digital communications is concerned. This is sought to be addressed through inclusion of a new strategic initiative of reviewing the rationalisation of license fees on fixed line revenues to incentivise digital communications. This, hopefully, should help propel the much-needed growth of fixed line communications in India

Concerns :-

  • But almost all the solutions offered find mention in earlier regulations and vision statements. Some of the major targets listed in the 2012 policy are still to be achieved. Instead of delving into why these targets were missed and how things can be improved, the National Digital Communications Policy 2018 lists out more and new targets.
  • Does not have any fresh ideas in terms of addressing the issues being faced by the telecom sector. While restating the Centre’s intent to address the problems, it neither spells out how it plans to achieve the stated objectives nor gives a specific timeframe to implement the various proposals. 

Conclusion:-

  • Achieving these goals would require that the key stakeholders– namely the Centre, the States, local governments, Telecom Service Providers, Internet Service Providers, handset and equipment manufacturers, the academic community, the innovators and start-ups come together to forge a coalition to deliver this national policy and missions.
  • It is hoped that this policy will facilitate the unleashing of the creative energies of citizens, enterprises and institutions in Indiaand play a seminal role in fulfilling the aspirations of all Indians for a better quality of life.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian economy – Issues

6) NBFCs play a huge role in Indian economy. Discuss. Also comment on whether India needs to implement the idea of wholesale banks in the situation NBFCs find themselves today.(250 words)

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Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the role played by NBFCs in Indian economy and then it wants us to express our justified opinion about the need for wholesale banks in present India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– define what is a NBFC and give some examples of such entities from India.

Body-

  1. Discuss in points the role played by NBFCs. E.g
  2. Define a wholesale bank and discuss its relevance for India. E.g

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) are establishments that provide financial services and banking facilities without meeting the legal definition of a Bank. They are covered under the Banking regulations laid down by the Reserve Bank of India and provide banking services like loans, credit facilities, TFCs, retirement planning, investing and stocking in money market.
  • However they are restricted from taking any form of deposits from the general public. Some of the examples of NBFC in India are Bajaj finance, Mahindra and Mahindra financial services etc.
  • Recently Indian non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), especially housing finance companies, have witnessed a fall in valuations and rising bond yields. Liquidity for NBFCs has also significantly contracted across the board.

Role of NBFC in Indian economy:-

  • Profitability :
    • NBFCs are more profitable than the banking sector because of lower costs. This helps them offer cheaper loans to customers. As a result, NBFCs’ credit growth is higher than that of the banking sector with more customers opting for NBFCs.
  • Infrastructure Lending :
    • NBFCs contribute largely to the economy by lending to infrastructure projects, which are very important to a developing country like India. Since they require large amount of funds, and earn profits only over a longer time-frame, these are riskier projects and deters banks from lending
  • Promoting inclusive growth :
    • NBFCs cater to a wide variety of customers  both in urban and rural areas. They finance projects of small-scale companies, which is important for the growth in rural areas. They also provide small-ticket loans for affordable housing projects. All these help promote inclusive growth in the country.
  • Variety of sectors:-
    • NBFCs are beginning to meet the consequent unmet demand for credit across a variety of sectors and ensuring continuing credit flows to the real economy.
  • NBFCs have been maintaining low net NPA ratios of 3.5% unlike their banking sector counterparts.
  • NBFCs have been found to be relatively more resilient to stress applied for credit risk as observed by the RBI in its financial stability reports of the past two years. NBFCs, even under severe stress conditions, continued to remain stable.
  • NBFCs have been able to complement the credit intermediation by banks by serving regions, sectors and customer segments that banks have either been unable or unwilling to serve profitably.
  • NBFCs often take lead role in providing innovative financial services to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) most suitable to their business requirements.
  • NBFCs do play a critical role in participating in the development of an economy by providing a fillip to transportation, employment generation, wealth creation, bank credit in rural segments and to support financially weaker sections of the society. Emergency services like financial assistance and guidance is also provided to the customers in the matters pertaining to insurance.

NBFC’s aid economic development in the following ways

  • Mobilization of Resources – It converts savings into investments
  • Capital Formation – Aids to increase capital stock of a company
  • Provision of Long-term Credit and specialised Credit
  • Aid in Employment Generation
  • Help in development of Financial Markets
  • Helps in Attracting Foreign Grants
  • Helps in Breaking Vicious Circle of Poverty by serving as government’s instrument

Wholesale banks:-

  • Wholesale bank licensing for India, an idea first floated by the the RBI Committee for Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households in 2014.
  • The committee envisaged these licensees to be like universal banks on their asset side with freedoms to originate a variety of assets, but with important differences for their liabilities side.
  • Wholesale banking involves providing banking services to other commercial banks, mortgage brokers, large corporate, mid-size companies, real estate developers, international trading businesses, institutional customers or other corporations.  The services which come under the net of wholesale banking involves wholesaling, underwriting, market making, consultancy, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, fund management etc.  The focus is on high-level clients and high-value transactions.

Why India needs to implement this idea:-

  • Transition to wholesale banks would ensure that NBFC’s now have a more permanent and stable way of dealing with their funding problems. With this, the RBI can get a better grip over potential contagion risks while supporting the banking system on its slow path to recovery.
  • India presents a strong case for the growth of wholesale banking due to continued globalisation of Indian companies, India being seen as a favourable investment destination, increase in infrastructure spending, stable government, robust markets, stable currency, low deficits, Wholesale banking thus comprises a major share of the banking revenues due to the above factors and also due to an increased inclination of government towards mid-segment companies which have increasing banking requirements. 
  • The major advantage in wholesale banking is that a client can have easy and one-place access to all its finances and their details. This makes internal stock transfers, fund transfers, allocations and distributions simpler.  
  • These would help take out pressures from existing commercial banks that are averse to fund long-term projects due to heavy bad debts in their books.
  • Also, niche banks can bring expertise to the banking system that could lead to enhanced efficiency in terms of reduced intermediation cost, better price and improved allocation of capital.
  • Commercial banks, including PSBs, have preferred to lend to the retail segment where the delinquency rates are low. Therefore, having banks which focus on only long-term lending will be very useful and add a new dimension to lending as banks continue to focus on short-term lending.
  • The demand for funds is high, given investment rate is quite low at 27% . If it has to be pushed up to 35%, alternative avenues need to be sourced as banks, ECBs and the debt market have their limitations. This new genre of banks will definitely add value.

Concerns :-

  • However, these banks increases the risk it poses to the clients as all their funds are parked in one institution and the businesses depend on the financial health of the bank for smooth run.  In cases of economic downturns, if the banks crash, all the dependent businesses come to a standstill instantly .
  • Skepticism on wholesale banks being viable comes from the fact that similar institutions dotted the landscape not long ago. They not only became unviable due to their structure, but also became a drag on the whole system for years.

Way forward:-

  • For Wholesale banks to succeed, several options need to be explored.
    • The first issue is how to lower the spreads for the WLTF bonds. Having bricks-and-mortar structures would add to costs and hence the option of being primarily an internet based bank can be considered
    • Second, the Wholesale banks can be made to apportion lending activity across both credit and debt markets. A 50-50 division will be useful as they can lend directly in the bond market for bonds which will be higher-rated. This will also be the preferred route for higher-rated companies. The balance lending should be based on collateral with insolvency laws in place. Also, RBI should focus simultaneously on credit enhancements to be provided by banks on such bonds which may be subscribed by the WLTFs.
    • Third, the Wholesale banks should be freed completely from CRR and SLR obligations. The CRR is a disincentive while SLR will make them gravitate towards G-Secs.
    • Fourth, RBI can set tenures for their lending, i.e., not less than five years or such a norm, but should give the freedom to lend to any sector. Bringing in priority-sector-like norms will impede their activity.

Topic –  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

7) Decentralised sludge management systems are vital to achieve clean water goals of India. Examine.(250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

The article discusses the situation of wastewater treatment in India and the dire need to ameliorate the situation by stressing upon decentralised sludge management systems in India.

Directive word

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to examine the reasons as to why decentralised sludge management system is vital to achieve India’s clean water goals.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  India’s clean water goals and mention India’s various rejuvenation programmes.

Body-

  1. Discuss the deficiencies in the present wastewater and sludge management. E.g  At the national scale, a United Nations report of 2015 estimates that 65,000 tonnes of untreated faeces is introduced into the environment in India annually. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan promised a major shift, but it has focussed more on the basic requirement of household and community toilets in rural and urban areas etc.
  2. Discuss the merits of decentralised sludge management. E.g Decentralization takes into account basic principles of design in nature.“Traditional” wastewater systems circumvent natural patterns, sacrificing resiliency and efficiency for speed and size. Decentralized wastewater treatment disperses the resource closer to its source and minimizes surface discharges etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • Water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people around the world, an alarming figure that is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures as a consequence of climate change.
  • Universal access to clean water and sanitation is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is one of the India’s clean water goals India is striving to achieve the goals through multiple river rejuvenation schemes like Namami ganga , Smart cities ,AMRUT, National Urban Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) Policy 

Decentralised sludge management:-

  • Decentralization takes into account basic principles of design in nature.
  • “Traditional” wastewater systems circumvent natural patterns, sacrificing resiliency and efficiency for speed and size.
  • Decentralized wastewater treatment disperses the resource closer to its source and minimizes surface discharges. Simply put, it is a way to “get back to nature” while using 21st century technologies and management.

Issues with traditional sewage management:-

  • Traditional centralized wastewater treatment systems are increasingly demonstrating  environmental, economic and social limitations that can’t continue to be ignored. These  energy-intensive and chemical-dependent systems are giving way to more sustainable approaches, with decentralization being a key component. 
  • Untreated sewage is dumped into rivers or lakes, thus polluting the environment even more.
  • The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan promised a major shift, but it has focussed more on the basic requirement of household and community toilets in rural and urban areas etc.
  • 87% of faecal sludge expelled from toilets in urban areas is untreated in Uttar Pradesh as per report of Centre for Science and Environment.
  • Dumping sewage without treatment, pose environmental risks
  • Diseases from untreated sludge spreading will pose a great risk

Why decentralised sludge management is necessary :-

  • Immediate investments in decentralised sludge management systems would bring twin benefits: of improving the environment and reducing the disease burden imposed by insanitary conditions. 
  • Decentralized water and wastewater infrastructure creates the following benefits: 
    • Lower costs for water supply:
      • Costly water supply enhancements can be avoided through onsite water use efficiencies, wastewater reuse, and rainwater harvesting. Impacts of droughts can be moderated. 
    • Lower costs of maintaining existing  infrastructure:
      • Flow rates in existing water and sewer systems can be reduced through decentralized efficiencies and reuse in office buildings and infill developments. 
    • Lower costs for new infrastructure:
      • New developments can be accommodated with targeted small- scale infrastructure that is cheaper than centralized infrastructure. 
    • Greater resilience:
      • Small-scale treatment units are more resilient than centralized systems in hurricanes and floods, and less vulnerable to accidents and terrorism. 
    • Ecological restoration:
      • Decentralized systems can reduce the discharge of pollutants and replenish aquifers, restore streamflows and habitats. 
    • Resource efficiencies:
      • Small-scale treatment units can save on energy costs and recycle nutrients into 
        landscaping and agriculture. 
    • Community benefits:
      • Green infrastructure has been shown to improve air quality, preserve open space, and create local jobs. 
    • Private financing:
      • Small-scale treatment units on individual properties can be financed privately, thereby saving money for municipalities.

Way forward :-

  • One immediate intervention needed is the creation of an inter-departmental task force to identify land to build small treatment systems for sludge, and to provide easily accessible solutions to houses that are currently discharging waste into open drains.
  • The business of emptying faecal material using tanker trucks needs to be professionalised and de-stigmatised.
  • It is untenable that manual scavengers continue to be employed in violation of the law to clean septic tanks in some places, and caste factors play out in the recruitment of workers even in the mechanised operations. This needs to change
  • All aspects of the business of sanitation need reform if India is to meet Goal Number 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals with egalitarian policies.