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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 NOVEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 NOVEMBER 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 – Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India, Social empowerment

1) Discuss the threats and challenges faced by the tribes such as Sentinelese in India and how they need to be protected?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

An American national was killed allegedly by the Sentinelese tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after he illegally entered the protected zone on November 16. This brings into question who are sentinelese and the threats and challenges faced overall by such tribes.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain who the Sentinelese are. Next we need to bring out the reasons why they are vulnerable, discuss the steps taken by the government to ensure their protection. Thereafter, we need to bring out the lacunae in the government policies and suggest steps which needs to be taken.

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion you need to bring out the reasons such tribes are vulnerable and then explain the steps that have been taken and the lacunae therein for their protection.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why this question is in news

Body

  • Explain who are the Sentinelese – The Sentinelese are a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans. The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities. Their numbers are believed to be less than 150 and as low as 40
  • Explain the reasons why they are vulnerable
    • they have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts
    • vulnerable to germs since they have not had contact with the outside world
    • Efforts to reach out to them has failed
  • Discuss the measures in place for their protection – The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves. It prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties.
  • Explain however that off late restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands. In a major step earlier this year, the Indian government excluded this island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit or RAP regime till 2022. The lifting of RAP means foreigners can go to the island without permission from the government

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion on the steps that government should take to tackle this situation.

Background:-

  • Sentinelese are one of about 100 uncontacted tribes left in the world, 
  • The Sentinelese, a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans, have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders. 
  • Sentinelese tribe is believed to be anything between 50-400 in number and they have been living on the island for more than 55,000 years.

Threats and challenges faced by tribes like sentinelese in India :-

  • They have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts
  • Health:-
    • They are vulnerable to germs since they have not had contact with the outside world
    • The Sentinelese are a highly endogamous group. Because they are endogamous, there is an accumulation of recessive mutations in them.
    • Infections and infant mortality:-
      • There are historical records of these tribes falling prey to malaria and recently measles.
  • Isolated:-
    • Efforts to reach out to them has failed.
  • Natural disasters and loss of food

Measures taken:-

  • The Government of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation.
  • Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties.
  • However that off late restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands.
  • The Indian government excluded this island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit or RAP regime till 2022. The lifting of RAP means foreigners can go to the island without permission from the government.
  • Also tried to mainstream them into the outside world so that they enjoy the fruits of the development.

How they need to be protected :-

 

  • Currently, there is a one-size-fits-all policy. For instance, the Sentinelese should be left alone.
  • The rights and the desires of the Sentinelese need to be respected and nothing is to be achieved by escalating the conflict and tension.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

2) High Growth Firms have a beneficial spillover effect on MSMEs. Analyze in the context of Indian economy.(250 words)

Livemint

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 write in detail about the importance of HGFs in India and their relationship with MSMEs; how the latter benefit from the former; and factors affect this relationship.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  HGFs. E.g The OECD defines high-growth firms (HGFs) as those that employ more than 10 workers, with employment growing at an average annual rate of 20% or more over at least three consecutive years

Body-

  1. Discuss the importance of HGFs for an economy.. E.g HGFs affect upstream and downstream enterprises positively i.e when small, informal enterprises and large, formal enterprises are able to integrate effectively in supply chains, the barriers that the former face in achieving high productivity growth are lowered.
  2. Discuss the inadequacies of such relationship vis a vis India. E.g Given their smaller balance sheets and less scope for accessing credit, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) depend to a large extent on timely cash payments from the large companies they supply to in order to function effectively. It often doesn’t work out this way. Given their poorer bargaining power and the costs of using the legislation for tackling delayed payments—the MSME Development Act, 2006—micro and small enterprises frequently face inordinate delays in receiving payments. And goods and services tax kinks related to input tax credit are further complicating the picture etc.

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

Background :-

  • The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development defines high-growth firms (HGFs) as those that employ more than 10 workers, with employment growing at an average annual rate of 20% or more over at least three consecutive years.
  • The World bank report finds that for the emerging economies it examines, HGFs account for 8-22% of the total number of firms. India falls somewhere near the middle with 14.3%. 

High growth firms impact on MSME:-

  • They affect upstream and downstream enterprises positively. 
    • Upstream industries can utilise their products for quicker completion of projects. Downstream industries can utilise their technological advancements for better delivery of services or manufacturing of supreme quality goods.
  • When small, informal enterprises and large, formal enterprises are able to integrate effectively in supply chains, the barriers that the former face in achieving high productivity growth are lowered.
  • Small group of high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises (HGSMEs) make important contributions to job creation and productivity growth.
  • MSME often provide or buy raw materials from large industries, So if HGF improve, MSME will definitely improve.

Negatives:-

  • Micro and small enterprises frequently face inordinate delays in receiving payments.
  • Market failures in capital markets can make it more difficult to obtain financing than is justified by the potential of start-up and small firms.
  • Difficulties in recruiting qualified staff and skilled workers are also considered a major barrier to the fast growth of small business.
  • It enables crony capitalism and political subsidies, allowing inefficient firms to rise to the top of the pile.
  • Potentially productive firms in Indian manufacturing are unable to obtain financing because of misallocation in land markets, which is the principal form of collateral in business loans.
  • HGFs also account for more than 50 per cent of job creation in France, nearly 65 per cent in the Netherlands and close to 90 per cent in Spain. Lack of employment data in India meant that job creation figures are absent
  • Collateral: 
    • Additionally, to avail loans, one needs to offer collateral – a personal property or manufacturing plant or even machinery. Most the SMEs do have much to offer as collateral; hence lending firms view them as high-risk requests.
  • More than 90% of MSMEs operate in the informal sector. These firms largely depend on informal sources of credit at higher interest rates.
  • Due to demonetization drive, MSMEs were among the worst hit sector as their businesses were cash based. The response was not just limited to demonetization but also during the GST.
  • MSMEs are exposed to market-linked volatility thus the credit risk is high.
  • Other challenges like Impact on MSME due to GST:-
    • Costs :-
      • India’s paradigm shift to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will increase their compliance costs and snare a majority of them into the indirect tax net for the first time.
      • GST will have a marginally negative impact because of higher tax rates
    • Input Tax Credit :-
      • Along with the initial confusion and infrastructure glitches that took some time to stabilize, there were reports of delays in receiving Input Tax Credit (ITC), which directly affected the MSME industry.
    • In addition, with most MSMEs not being listed entities, their monthly or quarterly business performance filings are also largely unavailable.
    • The transition to the GST regime affected the MSME sector more than any other, since its players lack compliance infrastructure.

Way forward :-

  • There is a need to provide timely payment to the MSMEs, reducing factor market distortions such as in land allocation and more spending on research and development

Topic – Indian economy : Issues related to employment.

3) What do you think are the major challenges related to employment in India? Analyze the reforms brought by the government to address the issue of informalization of workforce ?(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article discusses the major challenges with respect to employment of people and principles through which the government has tried to deal with this situation. Since employment is such a burning issue, this article will help us become aware of the major areas where work is needed going forward especially when it comes to informalization of workforce.

Key demand of the question

The question expects to us to first give a general picture of the status quo with respect to employment. Post that, we need to discuss the major challenges with respect to employment. Once we bring out the challenges, we need to explain the steps taken by the government to address the issue of informalization of workforce and bring out the pros and cons of the impact it has had.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain with the help of data etc that employment is a major challenge facing India.

Body

  • Bring out the various challenges with respect to employment – the sheer number of the jobs that have to be created; issues of job security and social security; informalization of workforce etc
  • Explain the steps taken by the government to address the situation – efforts have been taken to promote formalisation and also the provision of social security to those remaining in the informal sector through steps such as fixed term contract employment , reducing the compliance cost for companies etc
  • Bring out the impact that such steps have had and what more needs to be done

Conclusion – give your view on how effective these steps have been and the way forward.

 

Background:-

  • India’s sustained average growth rate of 7% over the last decade has not been accompanied by sufficient growth in employment. While half of India’s population is below the age of 26, the increasing demand for jobs is not being met by the creation of sufficient new economic opportunities.

Challenges related to employment in India :-

  • Disproportionate share of microenterprises, with 98% of companies employing fewer than 10 workers
  • High rate of informality, with 90% of employment generated in the informal sector. 
    • Roughly nine out of 10 workers are informally employed and lack any social protection. 
    • Trade unions have focused their attention on only protecting the rights of workers in the organised sector.
  • Issues with the latest Budget proposals:-
    • To create quick jobs, the budget mentioned that the government is rolling out fixed-term contractual jobs across industry segments. Some experts say this will fuel the so-called hire-and-fire system.
    • Reducing the EPF contribution should not have been done.This is a compulsory saving that is a very good support in the long run as it has an EEE (exempt , exempt, exempt) tax treatment.
    • An industrial and trade policy is needed.For 20 years after economic reforms began in 1991 there was no National Manufacturing Policy, and the Policy, when it came in 2011, was not even implemented.
  • Much of India’s low-paying job problems can be attributed to lack of enough well-paying jobs.
  • Most workers lack adequate education or skills: less than 30% of the workforce has completed secondary education, and less than a tenth has had any vocational training. The educated youth faces high unemployment rates.
  • Caste is a big determinant of access to quality jobs.
  • The sheer number of the jobs that have to be created is huge due to the growth in population.
    • Indian economy needs to generate employment for about 5-7 million people that enter the labour force annually.

Government efforts to reduce informalisation:-

  • Government has tried to address the problems of the informal sector through a focused approach which rests on two legs.
  • The first is to promote formalisation and the second is the provision of social security to those remaining in the informal sector.
  • Introduction of “fixed term contract” employment
    • Fixed contract workers must be employed under the same working conditions (such as wages, working hours, allowances and other benefits) as permanent workers.
    • Fixed-term workers are also eligible for all statutory benefits available to a permanent workman proportionately, according to the period of service rendered by him/her.
    • Allowing fixed-term employment would help employers to respond to the fluctuating demand and seasonality in their businesses and facilitate the direct employment of workers.
  • Formal employment is also sought to be promoted by reducing the compliance cost for companies.
    • Under the Ease of Compliance rules, the government has pruned the number of registers mandatory for all establishments to be maintained under nine central Acts to just five from 56, and the relevant data fields to 144 from 933.
  • The government has also taken numerous technology-enabled transformative initiatives such as the Shram Suvidha Portal, universal account number (UAN) and national career service portal in order to reduce the complexity burden and ensure better accountability.
  • In order to reduce the labour law compliance cost for start-ups, the central government has also managed to persuade state governments and Union Territories (UT) to allow self-certification and regulate inspection under six labour laws wherever applicable.
  • The Employees’ Enrolment Campaign (EEC) was launched by the government in January 2017 to enrol employees left out of the EPF and provided incentives to employers in the form of a waiver of administrative charges, nominal damages at the rate of Re 1 per annum and waiver of employees share, if not deducted.
  • The most important reform for construction sector is the introduction of Universal Access Number (UAN). If a construction worker migrates from one state to another (which is common), the benefit of registration will not be lost due to the portability of the UAN. 
  • Government is also in the process of finalising Labour Code on Social Security. 

Government efforts failed:-

  • The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and automation poses even more dangers to present formal sector jobs since workers with current skills will be rendered obsolete unless they undergo skill reorientation.
  • People-pleasing policies, such as pay hikes through successive pay commissions, have made recruitment an expensive affair for the government itself, particularly for the state governments, who find it difficult to match up to the central government pay-packages with their limited resources. Permanent posts lie vacant.
  • Restrictive labour laws which promote contract hiring in order to circumvent rigid hiring and firing provisions.
  • Absence of thrust on manufacturing can lead to creation of formal employment for millions looking to move away from agriculture.
  • Market-mechanisms and competition led to closure of obsolete industries such as textile mills, reducing formal jobs. The newer industries were capital intensive rather than labour intensive, thus absorbing lesser workforce than what they laid to retrenchment of.
  • Lack of an exit mechanism such as insolvency and bankruptcy laws has led to firms remaining small, barely breaking even, and not scaling up. Such small firms can circumvent formal sector laws such as mandatory registrations with the EPFO etc. rendering them informal.

Way forward:-

  • In order to help workers adapt to changing demand, India must develop an enhanced skills development framework. Such a framework should be accessible, driven by demand, linked to employment opportunities and enable individuals to quickly up-skill and re-skill.
  • The quality of Indian education should be improved. The current education system is not upto the level.
  • Today’s youth should join the institute or select the course where proper training is given and the course is as per the current industries requirements.
  • Government should encourage and develop the agriculture based industries in rural areas so that the rural candidates don’t migrate to the urban areas.
  • Special packages are needed for labour-intensive industries to create jobs.
  • There should be cluster development to support job creation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • More focus on women participation
    • Girls are losing out in jobs, or those with increasing education can’t find them, despite having gotten higher levels of education.

Topic – economics of animal-rearing.

4) Blue Revolution aims at doubling the income of farmers in India but it faces several challenges. DIscuss. Also Discuss the steps taken by the government in this direction in recent years.(250 words)

PIB

Reference

Pib

Pib

Why this question

The Blue Revolution envisages transformation of the fisheries sector with increased investment, better training and development of infrastructure. It is an important part of the efforts of the govt. To double the farmers’ income by 2022. It is important to discuss the efforts of the govt in this regard and the challenges faced thereto.

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 about the challenges in the way of realizing a blue revolution in India. It also wants us to write in detail about the steps taken by the government in this direction in recent years.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the size and potential of India’s aquaculture industry. E.g India has large natural resources, and water bodies such as reservoirs, lakes and ponds, in addition to an 8,118km-long coastline. So it is well positioned to have a Blue Revolution. Blue Revolution will focus on construction of new fishing harbours, modernization of fishing boats, imparting training to fishermen, and above all promote fishing as a self-employment activity.

Body-

  1. Discuss the challenges faced by the sector. E.gresource quality issues; socio-economic issues around the resources; and techno-managerial issues connected with the production of fish; The resource quality issues pertain mainly to the length of time for which adequate water would be standing in a waterbody, alternate demands on the same waterbody and water quality problems resulting from these alternate demands; Socio-economic issues pertain to usufruct rights over the waterbodies; security and length of tenancy when these are leased; and poaching of fish; Techno-managerial issues pertain to the availability of spawn, seedlings and fingerlings on time, availability of necessary feed and medicines, access to markets and working capital etc

 

  1. Discuss the steps taken by the govt. E.g Realizing the immense scope for development of fisheries and aquaculture, the Government of India has restructured the Central Plan Scheme under an umbrella of Blue Revolution. The restructured Central Sector Scheme on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries (CSS) approved by the Government provides for a focused development and management of the fisheries sector to increase both fish production and fish productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources of the inland and marine fisheries sector including deep sea fishing;  To give boost to the sector in recent years. E.g the present government released Rs. 64.32 crore during 2014-15 to 2018-19 as compared to Rs. 4.95 crore given during 2009-10 to 2013-14. Apart from this, as part of Prime Minister special package to Bihar, the fisheries sector was sanctioned Rs 279.55 crore under which the first installment of Centre’s share of Rs. 40.79 crore has been released.iit has been targeted to enhance the fish production from 107.95 lakh tonnes in 2015-16 to about 150 lakh tonnes by the end of the financial year 2019-20. It is also expected to augment the export earnings with a focus on increased benefit flow to the fishers and fish farmers to attain the target of doubling their income.

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

Background :-

  • India is the second largest fish producing country in the world with production of 11.41 million metric tonnes in 2016-17.Indian fisheries  is one of the most comprehensive and representative fisheries globally, with  both marine and inland fisheries, warm and cold water fisheries. It significantly contributes to the socio-economic growth of the country.

Blue revolution :-

  • Blue Revolution envisages transformation of the fisheries sector with increased investment, better training and development of infrastructure. 
  • Blue Revolution will focus on construction of new fishing harbours, modernization of fishing boats, imparting training to fishermen, and above all promote fishing as a self-employment activity. 
  • The Government of India has restructured the Central Plan Scheme under an umbrella of Blue Revolution.
  • The restructured Central Sector Scheme on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries (CSS) approved by the Government provides for a focused development and management of the fisheries sector to increase both fish production and fish productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources of the inland and marine fisheries sector including deep sea fishing.
  • The scheme has the following components:
    • National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and its activities.
    • Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture.
    • Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Operations.
    • Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector.
    • Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector.
    • Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based Interventions.
    • National Scheme on Welfare of Fishermen.
  • Blue Revolution is being implemented to achieve economic prosperity of fishermen and fish farmers and to contribute towards food and nutritional security through optimum utilization of water resources for fisheries development in a sustainable manner, keeping in view the bio-security and environmental concerns. 

Challenges faced by blue revolution :-

  • Resource quality issues
    • The resource quality issues pertain mainly to the length of time for which adequate water would be standing in a waterbody, alternate demands on the same waterbody and water quality problems resulting from these alternate demands.
    • Stagnation of production of marine fisheries.
    • Multiple-use waterbodies are unreliable for fish production unless managed well. 
    • Lack of cold storage facilities thus fish need to be stored using formalin causing health problems
    • Lack of motorized boats.
  • Socio-economic issues around the resources
    • Deep sea fishing would require large investments
    • Socioeconomic issues pertain to usufruct rights over the waterbodies
    • Security and length of tenancy when these are leased
    • Poaching of fish.
    • Guidelines in most states require these governing bodies to allot the fishing rights to the dead or fictitious co-operatives of the fishermen communities. In most places, such co-operatives are poorly managed. 
  • Techno-managerial issues connected with the production of fish.
    • Techno-managerial issues pertain to the availability of spawn, seedlings and fingerlings on time, availability of necessary feed and medicines, access to markets and working capital. 
  • There is an imbalance between the number of hatcheries capable of giving quality seedlings and the area in which these may be grown.
  • Like most other forms of farm activities people are used to treating fisheries too as near zero input enterprises. As such, efficient markets for the supply of inputs such as feed have not come up.

Steps taken by government :-

  • National Fisheries Action Plan-2020(NFAP) for the next 5 years with an aim of enhancing fish production and productivity and to achieve the concept of Blue Revolution. 
  • Government has approved Rs 7522 crore Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF).
    • This fund will create employment opportunities to over 9.40 lakhs fishers/ fishermen/ fisher folks and other entrepreneurs in fishing and allied activities and attract private investment in creation and management of fisheries infrastructure facilities.
  • Gujarat shifted from an insistence on cooperatives as lessees of ponds and tanks to a public auction and changed the tenure of lease from a single year to several years.
    • This created a huge incentive to the entrepreneurs. This alone increased the production manifold since private entrepreneurs found a way to strengthen the ponds, to replenish water when it started drying up, to manage the demands for alternate uses by making suitable arrangements that would not damage fish, and to spend money for protection against poachers.
  • As part of Prime Minister special package to Bihar, the fisheries sector was sanctioned Rs 279.55 crore under which the first installment of Centre’s share of Rs. 40.79 crore has been released
  • PPP:-
    • With a view to realize the full potentials of Indian fisheries through coordination of different agencies  and public-private partnerships and thereby tap the untapped potential in fisheries and aquaculture, and for improving the nutritional security, livelihoods as also women empowerment, the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) launched the Web Portal Mera Matsya Dhan (MMD)..
    • The Mera Matsya Dhan Web Portal is user friendly and can be accessed to submit on-line proposal for financial assistance by individuals, fishermen societies, fisherwomen SHGs, NGOs, etc., from anywhere in the country through the District Fisheries Officer of the respective State Govt. 

Conclusion:-

  • The onus is not only on the supply side, but also demand, where the consumers too should be accountable for the fish they purchase and know how it is sourced. 
  • Information dissemination and knowledge transfer is key to move towards a sustainable fishing industry and for conservation of aquatic life. 

Topic– Indian Agriculture : Issues

5) The agriculture sector is changing rapidly and requires proactive policy management to be able to  maximize benefits for all stakeholders. Discuss.(250 words)

livemint

Why this question

Agricultural sector is under stresses of various kinds both due to natural reasons as well as due to policy issues. This article gives a general sense of the major policy challenges before the agriculture sector and the need for proactive policies to ensure overall benefit for such a critical sector of the economy. This question would help you revise your general concepts with respect to the contemporary issues facing agricultural sector.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the challenges facing agricultural sector and explain why the age old policy approach in agricultural sector needs some changes. We need to explain the nature of policy changes required and why they would be beneficial.

Directive word

Discuss – here your discussion should bring out the challenges facing agricultural sector and debate the nature or policy changes that are required.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain how significant agriculture sector is for the economy and the status quo of the sector.

Body

  • Explain the challenges facing the sector – natural issues caused droughts etc, and issues related to such as the problems facing marketing of agricultural produce, price discovery of agricultural produce, issues due to MSP, the supply demand mismatch such as in the case of pulses etc
  • Thereafter, we need to explain the current efforts that are being taken such as restricting exports, e-NAM etc.
  • Explain the reasons why such reforms are unable to address the issues and what more needs to be done

Conclusion – Explain how crucial the sector is for India and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58 per cent of India’s population. Gross Value Added by agriculture, forestry and fishing is estimated at Rs 17.67 trillion. Yet Indian agriculture faces multiple issues.

Agriculture sector is changing rapidly :-

 

  • Aggressive cultivation led to plunge in demand:-
    • Once prices have increased farmers cultivated the crop aggressively leading to plunging of prices.
    • Two years ago, garlic fetched an average Rs 60 per kg rate in Rajasthan’s Kota mandi. Enthused by it, farmers in the Hadoti region planted more area, only to see prices halve last May.
    • Similar was the case for other vegetables.
  • Farmers income remained low:-
    • India had record food production in 2017-18, but farmers income remained low and stagnant.
  • Issues with MSP:-
    • Imposition of MSP beyond some point is market distortingas it severs the link between prices and demand-supply. This can also be inflationary and out of sync with the physical market dynamics.
      • Support price does not come with a commitment to buy whatever farmers offer. Actual procurement will be limited by the fiscal room available, especially at a time when a significantly higher fiscal deficit could lead to further pressure on the rupee
    • Input costs:-
      • The cost of cultivation varies across states while MSP’s are based on a weighted all India average so farmers don’t get guaranteed profits.
      • MSP’s have failed to keep pace with input costs.
    • Only a selected few states such as Punjab, MP, Haryana etc have well developed procurement infrastructure
  • Consumer bias:-
    • In most years, for the majority of agri-products, the policymakers used restrictive export policies to keep domestic prices low. This showed the pro-consumer bias in the policy complex.
  • Lack of adequate storage facilities lead to wastage. For instance farmers dump truckloads of vegetables on road.
  • Land degradation has become a major challenge and cost of farming is constantly rising with usage of fertilizer, pesticides, expensive seed varieties, machinery, labour cost, rise in fuel prices, vagaries of monsoon. This further complicates the livelihood of farmers
  • The challenges posed by present day APMCs :-
    • Fragmentation of Stateinto multiple market areas, each administered by separate APM
    • Separate licensesfor each mandi are required for trading in different market areas within a state. This means that there is  limited first point of sale for the farmer.
    • Licensing barriers leading to conditions of monopoly
    • Opaque process for price discovery
    • An overwhelming majority of farmers still rely on the same broken system of markets under APMC, which is monopolistic and rent-seeking, with high commissions, especially for perishables.
  • Small and fragmented landholdings.

Proper policy management is necessary :-

  • Recently NITI Aayog has suggested ‘Price Deficiency Payment’ system to address the gaps in Minimum Support Price (MSP) based procurement of crops.
  • Single national agriculture market (NAM) was launched in 2016 in the country, with a view to enable farmers to get a better price and for consumers to pay a lower price for agri-produce, a win-win situation at both ends of agri-value chains.
  • The government continues to use old draconian measures, including stocking restrictions and bans on exports and futures trading, to even small increase in food prices. Such steps may bring temporary relief to consumers, but end up hurting farmers.
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bhima Yojana for insurance protection of farmers.

Measures needed:-

  • Government needs to allow agro trading companies to buy more in the Indian market, especially given the limitations of the Food Corporation of India.
  • Procurement system of the government needs to be streamlined.
    • There need to be reforms in APMC acts to ensure farmer selling directly to farmers
  • Based on Telangana experience it is time to consider a transparent ,crop neutral and easier to implement income support programme.
    • The state government gives a payment of Rs.10000 per hectare of cultivable land to all farmers irrespective of the crops they raise.
  • The ambitious projects like e-NAM, doubling farmer’s income by 2022, price stabilisation fund, implementation of Swaminathan and Shanta Kumar committee is required.
  • Following steps need to be taken in a concerted manner :-
    • Unyielding focus on agri-market reforms starting with basics of assaying, sorting, and grading facilities for primary produce as per nationally recognised and accepted standards
    • Creating suitable infrastructure at mandi-level (like godowns, cold storages, and driers) to maintain those standards
    • Bringing uniformity in commissions and fee structures that together do not go beyond, say 2%, of the value of produce
    • Evolving a national integrated dispute resolution mechanism to tackle cases where the quality of goods delivered varies from what is shown and bid for on the electronic platform. This would require significant investments, and changes in state APMC Acts. 
  • Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai, in its draft report, justifies the recommendation saying marketing has no boundaries. This necessitates a pan-India operation to meet the demand across the country.
    • Besides, the committee has also recommended rolling out the model Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act 2017 which would facilitate single-point levy of taxes, promote direct interface between farmers and end-users, and give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices
  • Creation of accreditation agency to ensure quality assurance .
  • The Economic Survey suggests incremental steps as possible solutions for setting up a national market. 
    • State governments may be specifically persuaded to provide policy support for alternative or special markets in private sector. 
    • In view of the difficulties in attracting domestic capital for the setting-up marketing infrastructure, liberalization in FDI in retail could create possibilities for filling in the massive investment and infrastructure deficit in supply chain inefficiencies. 
  • Roping in the private sector for investments would create jobs and promote efficient agri-value chains.
  • Buying the produce from farmers below the MSP should be made illegal. The ‘model price’ that these markets offer should therefore be replaced with MSP.  
  • Agricultural extension services need strengthening, to impart new scientific knowledge to farmers. This should be facilitated through noted NGOs and companies in agro-business.
  • Further, each district should have 2-3 centres where farmers can meet and exchange knowledge on matters of crop insurance, banking and supply of inputs etc. These centres should assist them to integrate with eNAM for getting better price of their produce.
  • India needs to create centres of excellence in our agricultural universities for preparing region-wise strategies to raise crop yield.

Topic – Disaster management

6) The problems related to droughts are more a cause of lack of policies and mechanisms to drought-proof susceptible areas. Examine.(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article highlights the drought like conditions in parts of Maharashtra. Year after year we see the problem of drought recurring and we react to the situation rather than proactively dealing with it. With climate change, such threats are bound to increase and we need to analyze how we respond to droughts.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the causes of drought, whether lack of rainfall is the only reason that leads to droughts  or whether the fault lies in poor planning. Thereafter, we have to highlight the lacunae in governmental policy to tackle drought. We should briefly highlight the seriousness of the problem and end with a 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 – Bring out the fact through relevant data that drought is a recurring problem for India and needs deeper analysis.

Body – Examine the reasons of drought to evaluate whether lack of rainfall is the sole reason and how far mismanagement of drought by government is responsible for the current state. Delve deeper into the lacunae in governmental policies to prevent drought as well as in capacity building to withstand drought. Analyze whether we have been successful in creating natural assets, utilize our traditional water harvesting systems, our agricultural policies which have induced drought like situations in certain parts, our mismanagement of groundwater reserves etc. Discuss the impact of these gaps by emphasizing on how serious the situation has become.

Conclusion – Highlight the importance of urgently tackling this issue and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Officially, drought is a permanent disaster that strikes, on an average, 50 million Indians every year; 33 per cent of the country is chronically drought-affected while close to 68 per cent areas are drought-prone.
  • India has more than 150 years of experience in drought management. Despite this, every time the country faces a deficit monsoon, we plunge into a crisis.

Main cause of drought is due to lack of rainfall:-

  • The existing problems of rainfed regions, if not addressed in time, will get more acute in the coming years due to global warming and climate change. There would be a downward trend in the number of wet days in a year; in a country which gets rain only for less than 100 hours in a year (a year has 8,760 hours), this would be disastrous.
  • Deficient and uneven rainfall in the last two agricultural years adversely affected overall agricultural production

Measures taken:-

  • In the last six decades India has spent more than Rs 3.5 lakh crore on water conservation and drought-proofing.
  • Particularly, in the last one decade, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has helped create, on an average, 21 water bodies in every village. Some 12.3 million water harvesting structures have been built.
  • India has a better monsoon forecasting system than India  had before and  crisis response management has improved. 

However policy mechanisms are to be blamed more:-

  • Centre-state non cooperation:-
    • Earlier, the states could approach the Centre for drought relief without restrictions of the category of drought, and ask for monetary help under the Calamity Relief Fund and the National Calamity Contingency Fund.
    • However new “Manual for Drought Management” says that the states can ask for Centre’s help only if the drought is “severe”. Also the parameters that make a drought “severe” are extremely stringent.
  • Maharashtra launched Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyaan to make the state drought-free by 2019 by carrying out decentralised soil and water conservation works. But the situation on the ground remains worrisome. 
  • Other  contributing factors such as rapid population growth, depletion of groundwater resources, poor water management, chronic lack of investment in storage systems, greater urbanization, consequent large-scale deforestation and leveling of water bodies like large ponds and lakes for legal or illegal constructions have added to the water problems.
  • Water intensive crops:-
    • Government policies such as subsidies for particularly water-intensive crops as well as heavy irrigation methods for having contributed to the problem.
    • There is a political reluctance to control water-hungry crops in low-rainfall regions, such as sugarcane in Maharashtra and paddy in Punjab.
  • Successive Indian governments have for many decades failed to invest in rural infrastructure, particularly water storage and irrigation infrastructure, which has been a major contributor to the drought problems of India
  • The policy approach to agriculture since the 90s has been to secure increased production by subsidising inputs such as power, water and fertiliser; and by increasing the minimum support price, rather than by building new capital assets in surface irrigation, rainwater harvesting, improving credit for smallholders and evolving new drought-resistant technologies.
    • This has shifted the production base from low-cost regions to high-cost ones, causing an increase in the cost of production, regional imbalance and an increase in the burden of storage and transport of produce.
  • Exploitation of groundwater:-
    • Policies have resulted in excessive use of capital on farms, such as too many tubewells in water-scarce regions.
    • Groundwater, as opposed to surface and sub-soil water, has become the main source of irrigation, leading to more than 30% of the blocks in the country getting classified as semi-critical, critical or overexploited.
    • As there is no effective control over the digging of tubewells in water-scarce regions, farmers are borrowing money from informal sources at high interest rates to dig tubewells, but many such borings fail, leading to indebtedness and even suicides.
  • Lack of participation:-
    • The government of India has announced several programmes in soil and water conservation but, when undertaken by the agriculture department, these remain departmental in approach with no involvement of people. Maintenance of the created assets suffers, as beneficiaries are not motivated to assume responsibility for maintenance.
    • Watershed development programmes cannot succeed without full participation of project beneficiaries and careful attention to issues of social organisation. Despite the fact that MGNREGA mandates that 80% of work must be related to local water conservation and drought-proofing, the sustainability and productivity of assets created is never monitored.

Impact:-

  • Impact of drought is felt directly by farmers, due to poor crop yields or crop failures, which results in reduced farm incomes, and this has wider transmission effects throughout rural communities due to lower consumer spending by agricultural households.
  • Many farmers in India are also deeply indebted and need good harvests to allow them to recoup financial losses and repay loans.
  • Drought is a major factor in the thousands of farmer suicides afflicting India over the last few decades.

Way forward:-

  • A large-scale national water infrastructure development program that will not only use Indian public funds but also leverage international aid assistance and other forms of development finance to rapidly build up national water storage capacity is needed.
  • India need to build a much larger network of big water reservoirs as well as regional and local water storage systems.
  • In parallel, advanced agricultural irrigation systems should be integrated into low rainfall areas of India, utilizing advanced technology that is used in arid areas of countries such as the US, Australia and Israel
  • Modernization of urban waterworks is also very important in order to prevent large-scale loss of water through leaking and damaged pipes.
  • In the short term, however, the Indian government can take certain preemptive and proactive steps to lessen the vulnerability of people to drought.
    • This should entail providing more financial support to farmers; staging awareness raising campaigns that teach people how to conserve water and use it more judiciously; and essentially giving people incentives to use water cautiously.
    • Need to reduce unrestricted mining of groundwater and ensure stricter implementation of environmentally sound cropping patterns.
    • Drip irrigation and a water sprinkler approach, mulching and bed plantation, and construction of tanks and check dams should be promoted for water harvesting and conservation.
  • Build efficient irrigation systems and water conservation strategies in rainfed regions, through conjunctive use of surface and groundwater. Agriculture in semi-arid regions has to move from traditional, crop-centric farming to agri-pastoral-farm-forestry systems (fruit trees, shrubs, perennial grasses and small ruminants).
  • MS Swaminathan , as a long-term solution to drought and financial support to farmers, advocated the implementation of the Minimum Support Price. He recommended pricing and procurement based on total cost of production plus 50 percent principal.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic–   Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7) What are the functions performed by our attitudes, as outlined by Katz. Discuss.(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 about the functions performed by our attitudes, as outlined by Daniel Katz in 1960.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the meaning of attitude. E.g “it is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor”

Body-

Discuss the functions performed by an attitude, as outlined by Katz-Knowledge, Expressive, Adaptive and Ego-defensive functions. e.g

  1. Attitudes provide meaning (knowledge) for life.  The knowledge function refers to our need for a world which is consistent and relatively stable.
  2. The attitudes we express (1) help communicate who we are and (2) may make us feel good because we have asserted our identity.Therefore, our attitudes are part of our identify, and help us to be aware through the expression of our feelings, beliefs and values.
  3. Attitudes then, are to do with being apart of a social group and the adaptive functions helps us fit in with a social group. People seek out others who share their attitudes, and develop similar attitudes to those they like.
  4. The ego-defensive function refers to holding attitudes that protect our self-esteem or that justify actions that make us feel guilty.  For example, one way children might defend themselves against the feelings of humiliation they have experienced in P.E. lessons is to adopt a strongly negative attitude to all sports.

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

Answer:-

Attitude is a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols. It is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour.

Functions of attitude as outlined by Katz:-

  • Daniel Katz proposed a functionalist theory of attitudes. He takes the view that attitudes are determined by the functions they serve for us. People hold given attitudes because these attitudes help them achieve their basic goals. Katz distinguishes four types of psychological functions that attitudes meet.
    • Instrumental :-
      • We develop favourable attitudes towards things that aid or reward us. We want to maximize rewards and minimize penalties. Katz says we develop attitudes that help us meet this goal. We are more likely to change our attitudes if doing so allows us to fulfill our goals or avoid undesirable consequences.
    • Knowledge 
      • Attitudes provide meaningful, structured environment. In life we seek some degree of order, clarity, and stability in our personal frame of reference.
      • Attitudes help supply us with standards of evaluation. Via such attitudes as stereotypes, we can bring order and clarity to the complexities of human life.
    • Value-expressive 
      • Express basic values, reinforce self-image.
      • For instance if you view yourself as a Catholic, you can reinforce that image by adopting Catholic beliefs and values.
    • Ego-defensive 
      • Some attitudes serve to protect us from acknowledging basic truths about ourselves or the harsh realities of life. They serve as defense mechanisms.
      • For instance those with feelings of inferiority may develop attitude of superiority.

Katz’s functionalist theory also offers an explanation as to why attitudes change. According to Katz, an attitude changes when it no longer serves its function and the individual feels blocked or frustrated. That is, according to Katz, attitude change is achieved not so much by changing a person’s information or perception about an object, but rather by changing the person’s underlying motivational and personality needs.


Topic-    Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

8) Discuss the spectrum of political attitudes which are prevalent in today’s societies. (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 about the spectrum of political attitudes prevalent in today’s societies across the world. We have to discuss briefly about each of the political attitude in the spectrum.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a simple definition of a political attitude.People at each point on the political spectrum have an attitude about changing the existing political system (the status quo) by adopting certain policies or by pursuing certain courses of action.

Body-

Discuss in points about the spectrum of political attitudes and briefly discuss each attitude in the spectrum. E.g

Radical- In general terms, a radical may be defined as a person who is extremely dissatisfied with the society as it is and therefore is impatient with less than extreme proposals for changing it. Hence, all radicals favor an immediate and fundamental change in the society.

Liberal- Liberals are placed closer than radicals to the status quo point on the continuum because they are less dissatisfied with the fundamentals of society. Indeed, the liberal supports the basic features of that society.

Moderate- Moderates are fundamentally satisfied with the society, although they agree that there is room for improvement and recognize several specific areas in need of modification. However, they insist that changes in the system should be made gradually and that no change should be so extreme as to disrupt the society

Conservative- Conservatives are the most supportive of the status quo and therefore are reluctant to see it changed. Conservatives are often accused of lacking vision, but this charge is unfair.The primary reason conservatives are suspicious about the prospects of improving society through deliberate political policy is that they do not believe human reason is powerful enough to even completely understand, let alone solve, society’s problems.

Reactionary- only the reactionary proposes retrogressive change; that is, reactionaries favor a policy that would return society to a previous condition or even a former value system. All reactionaries reject claims to human equality and favor distributing wealth and power unequally on the basis of race, social class, intelligence, or some other criterion.

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

 

Background:-

  • Political attitudes define the attitude of a person towards politicians, political parties or political ideologies. The political attitude may be different of an apolitical person from political person. Political Attitude is the way of thinking in terms of political gains and losses.
  • It is belief and action system that decides an action fruitfulness based on electoral gains.
  • Political attitude on positive side can lead to showing zero tolerance toward corruption, pro-poor, welfare for weaker sections, listening to public grievances, but on negative side political attitude can take shape of regionalism, communalising public to polarise them during election.

Political attitudes prevalent in Today’s societies:

  • Radical:-
    • In general terms, a radical may be defined as a person who is extremely dissatisfied with the society as it is and therefore is impatient with less than extreme proposals for changing it. Hence, all radicals favor an immediate and fundamental change in the society.
  • Liberal:-
    • Considerably less dissatisfied, but still wishing to change the system significantly, are the liberals. All liberals share a belief in the equality, intelligence, and competence of people
  • Moderate:-
    • Moderates are fundamentally satisfied with the society, although they agree that there is room for improvement and recognize several specific areas in need of modification.
    • However, they insist that changes in the system should be made gradually and that no change should be so extreme as to disrupt the society
    • Moderates find little wrong with the existing society, and their reluctance to change it is exceeded only by the conservatives.
  • Conservative:-
    • Conservatives are the most supportive of the status quo and therefore are reluctant to see it changed. Conservatives are often accused of lacking vision, but this charge is unfair.
    • The primary reason conservatives are suspicious about the prospects of improving society through deliberate political policy is that they do not believe human reason is powerful enough to even completely understand, let alone solve, society’s problems.
    • Differing from liberals in most respects, conservatives are dubious about bold efforts to improve the world for fear that incompetent meddling might, indeed, make things worse
  • Reactionary:-
    • Only the reactionary proposes retrogressive change. Only the reactionaries reject current institutions and modern values. They would see society retrace its steps and adopt former political norms and policies.
    • Reactionaries favour a policy that would return society to a previous condition or even a former value system. All reactionaries reject claims to human equality and favor distributing wealth and power unequally on the basis of race, social class, intelligence, or some other criterion.