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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 JANUARY 2019


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.


Topic– Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Unsubstantiated claims about the achievements of India’s past do more harm than good for the future India. Comment.(250 words)

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Why this question

India has recently witnessed several high claims about Its past achievements in science and technology. In this context it is essential to understand whether such claims are helpful for India or not.

Directive word

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 express our opinion as to why/ why not unsubstantiated claims about India’s achievements in the past are helpful for India’s future.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about some of the claims made recently about India’s past achievements. E.g mention the claims about aeroplanes and in-vitro fertilization etc.

Body-

Discuss why such unsubstantiated claims are not good for India’s future. E.g

  • It is not that India has not had great achievements. But, as is the case with much of science, the great ideas derived through inductive studies have since been taken over by more deductive methods of European science that have scaled even greater heights.
  • Hence, there is really no need to invent false achievements of our ancestors. Equally interestingly, all such claims are post facto and none have predicted any future discovery.
  • They will invite ridicule and discredit even genuine studies of the work of our ancestors.
  • They distract India from its path forward, exploring science and technology using its limited resources.
  • They set bad precedents for our coming generations by giving respectability to irrational claims.
  • When subscription to such claims is considered a test of one’s loyalty to the ­nation, they become seriously poisonous and disruptive etc.

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

Introduction:

                The various statements by politicians, renowned academicians by linking our past with Scientific endeavours has raised many eyes. There were many unverified and unsubstantiated claims like discovery of genetic sciences, plastic surgery, claiming Darwin’s Evolutionary theory a farce, questioning the breakthroughs of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, development of aeroplane based on pushpakavimana. The Indian Scientific Congress Association expressed “serious concern” as the unorthodox remarks aired by prominent academics at its annual conference attracted condemnation and ridicule.

Body:

                The tall claims without any scientific basis has an impact on the scientific endeavours achieved by India till now and for future generations.

  • It is not that India has not had great achievements. Works like Charaka samhita by charaka, zero by Bhaskara have wide acceptance backed with records.
  • In the recent past India has seen great scholars like Srinivasa Ramanujam, space scientist Venkatraman Radhakrishnan, and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, co-winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics. Their efforts have helped to form the foundations of science.
  • But, as is the case with much of science, the great ideas derived through inductive studies have since been taken over by more deductive methods of European science that have scaled even greater heights.
  • They will invite ridicule and discredit even genuine studies of the work of our ancestors. Motivated claims not only tarnish the institution’s reputation but also take the focus away from the legitimate efforts of our scientists.
  • They set bad precedents for our coming generations by giving respectability to irrational claims.
  • It inturn leads to false prestige and they can distract India from its path forward, exploring science and technology using its limited resources.
  • When subscription to such claims is considered a test of one’s loyalty to the ­nation, they become seriously poisonous and disruptive.
  • It can polarize the society as coordinated efforts to popularize pseudoscientific theories in order to aggrandize the nation’s own scientific past will gain ground.
  • It also goes against “Promoting Scientific Temper” which is one of the fundamental duties mentioned in our Constitution.
  • The efforts by many rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar who tried to eradicate superstition will be turned futile.
  • There is really no need to invent false achievements of our ancestors and we must shed our false inferiority.

Way Forward:

  • The solution is not to shut our eyes to the past but to engage in careful historical inquiry.
  • An emphasis on primary sources, on learning the relevant languages and preparing critical editions of texts, on peer review, and on viewing the past on its own terms, avoiding the pitfalls
  • It involves working with the insights of archaeologists, epigraphists, Sanskritists, Persianists, and metallurgists.
  • It requires an open mind and a healthy scepticism.
  • Tighter screening to filter out unsubstantiated assertions at science conclaves.

Conclusion:

                Instead of revelling in the glory of assumed scientific achievements of the past, the government would do well to focus on the present and evolve a system that encourages scientific research and innovation by trained scientists. Millions of Indians are still battling for access to nutritious food, employment, health and education. Instead of investing in a misguided sense of nationalistic pride, the government should use the available science to ensure a better standard of living for its people.

             


Topic-   Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent)

2) What are the major regions in India that produce oilseeds? Examine the reasons for India’s dependence on imports of oilseeds and what measures should be taken in this regard?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first shed light on the oilseed production of India and thereafter examine whether India is depended on imports of oilseeds and the reasons for it. We need to provide suggestions on how to improve the situation wrt imports.

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 – Discuss the kind of region required for production of oilseeds and the major oilseed produced in India.

Body

  • Explain that At present, India’s largest oilseed producing state is Gujarat, thanks to its position as top groundnut producing state of India. Rajasthan is India’s top Rapeseed & Mustard producing state, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Almost half (48.12%) of Rapeseed and Mustard is produced by only Rajasthan. India’s top Soyabean producing state is Madhya Pradesh with a share of 44% in India’s total production of this protein rich crop. Among other oil crops, Karnataka is largest producer of Sunflower.
  • Highlight that huge demand-supply gap exists and India is number one edible oil importer of the world. The 60-65% import dependency worsens during the unfavorable monsoon years
  • Discuss the region for dependence on imports – domestic demand for vegetable oils and fats has been rising rapidly at the rate of 6% per year but domestic output has been increasing at just about 2 per cent per annum. In India, the average yields of most oilseeds are extremely low as compared to those other countries of the world. The cultivation of oilseeds in India is in high risk regions where there are uncertain returns on the investments.
  • Suggest way forward
    • Bringing additional oilseed areas under irrigation
      Promotion of modern crop technology and better dry farming etc

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

         India holds a significant share in world oil seed production. The oilseed accounts for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product and 10% value of all agricultural commodities. The diverse agro-ecological conditions in the country are favourable for growing 9 annual oilseed crops, which include 7 edible oilseeds (groundnut, rapeseed & mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower and niger) and two non-edible oilseeds (castor and linseed). Oilseeds cultivation is undertaken across the country in about 27 million hectares mainly on marginal lands, of which 72% is confined to rainfed farming.

Body:

                The major regions in India that produce Oilseeds are:

  • India’s largest oilseed producing state is Gujarat, thanks to its position as top groundnut producing state of India.
  • Rajasthan is India’s top Rapeseed & Mustard producing state, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Almost half (48.12%) of Rapeseed and Mustard is produced by only Rajasthan.
  • India’s top Soyabean producing state is Madhya Pradesh with a share of 44% in India’s total production of this protein rich crop.
  • Among other oil crops, Karnataka is largest producer of Sunflower.

Despite such huge production of oilseeds, India’s dependence on imports of oilseeds is increasing by the day. India’s vegetable oil imports crossed 14.5 million tonnes in 2016, worth around Rs 66,000 crores or around US $10 billion. About  60 per cent of the edible oil-related imports are of palmolein, with the remaining made up by soybean, sunflower and rapeseed. The reasons for the same are:

  • Demand-supply gap: Huge demand-supply gap exists and India is number one edible oil importer of the world. The 60-65% import dependency worsens during the unfavourable monsoon years.
  • Rising demand: Domestic demand for vegetable oils and fats has been rising rapidly at the rate of 6% per year but domestic output has been increasing at just about 2 per cent per annum.
  • Unhealthy dietary habits: The WHO recommended annual per capita oil consumption is 10.5 kgs, Indians consume 14.8 kgs. Not enough effort is being put to curb unhealthy dietary habits, or ensuring that those who consume lower than recommended levels, get their share of edible oil through the Public Distribution System at subsidised prices.
  • Poor Agricultural Planning: Mustard experts point out that on at least 2 million hectares of paddy land in India, which remains fallow after the monsoon season of paddy cultivation, relay cropping of mustard can be taken up which will use residual moisture, and could yield an additional 3.5 to 4 million tonnes of rapeseed-mustard. There is proof of concept in place already in non-conventional mustard-growing areas.
  • Low yield: In India, the average yields of most oilseeds are extremely low as compared to those other countries of the world.
  • Rain-fed cultivation: Most of oilseed production is rain-fed and high risk regions where there are uncertain returns on the investments.
  • Failure of Oilseed missions after 2007-08: The Oilseeds Mission in the 1980s and 1990s increased the area as well as yield of oilseeds impressively. As a result, up until 2007-08, India’s edible oil production exceeded its imports. Post that, the mission has poor direction with low output.
  • Non-adoption of GM crops: The lack of conclusive evidence from GEAC, fears of corporate monopoly and illiteracy of farmers are hindering the adoption of GM crops. The proven facts of higher yield are being missed.

The measures to increase our oilseed production and reduce import bills are:

  • Farm-level measures
    • Irrigation increases the yield. Example: groundnut oil production swings up and down on a wide basis with just 20-25 per cent of the crop under irrigation. Soybean oil, production of which nearly doubled between 2003-04 and 2013-14, has been able to contribute what it did with just less than 1% of the crop under irrigation cover (in contrast, rapeseed-mustard crops have 70-75 per cent irrigation cover).
    • Targeted focus based on the agro-climatic conditions and incentivisation of farmers to cultivate the suitable crop of region. Example: oil palm cultivation where India imports the maximum from South-east Asian countries.
    • Large scale adoption of agro-ecological methods like System of Crop Intensification, Relay Cropping is needed. This will not only increase productivity but also reduce use of water resources, and reduce cost of cultivation for farmers.
  • Institution-level measures
    • Better extension systems with downward accountability with the last mile extension gaps plugged as is happening with many agro-ecology centred programmes, productivity can be improved. The practising farmers become Community level Resource Persons (CRPs).
    • Community level planning processes and institutional frameworks have enabled better utilisation of scarce resources like groundwater for emergency irrigation for groundnut cultivation in states like Andhra Pradesh. These need to be replicated on a large scale.
  • Policy-level measures
    • Higher import duties for imported oil, Remunerative prices, Assured procurement, Domestic pricing will enthuse farmers by increasing their net returns.
    • Policies and missions like NMOOP, ISOPOM to incentivise the very cultivation of oilseeds on a per hectare basis.
    • Provide incentives to private sector participation in processing and value addition in oilseed crops. Also, constraints for low capacity utilization should be addressed.
  • Research and Development
    • There is a need to enlarge the scope of research, technology diffusion and institutional intervention to re-energize the oil sector.
    • This would include increase public research spending in oilseed crops for development of biotic and abiotic stress tolerant varieties.

Conclusion:

                With growing population and increasing disposable income, the demand for oil will increase. Public funds should be spent on lasting solutions for India’s edible oil crisis.

       


        

Topic –  Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

3) Examine why Pharmaceutical Industry is largely located on the Western Coast of India?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the location of pharmaceutical industries in India and thereafter, examine the reasons why they are mostly situated on the West coast of India.

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 – Explain that Pharmaceutical industry is a footloose industry (i.e it does not require specific local resources ) and hence it can occur wherever the industrial feasibility criteria are met.

Body

  • Explain the reasons why Pharma industry is largely situated on the west coast of India
    • Proximity to ports (Kandla, Bhavnagar etc.) which facilitates easy export to Africa, Europe etc. Africa for long has been an important market for India’s Generic Drug Industry. India exports cheap life saving drugs to African nations. The ports also help to import raw materials required for the manufacturing of drugs.
    • favorable State policy like ease of doing business, stable policies of state government (Gujarat, Maharashtra)
    • Proximity to petrochemical hubs near Gujarat Coast and Mumbai.
    • Easy availability of Capital ( The western part of India has traditionally been the hub of trade and Capital)
    • Historical factors include the spirit of entrepreneurship
  • Highlight that the above factors explain the emergence of Pharmaceutical industries in western region, many of the factors may be found at other places across the country (Bangalore, NCR region etc.). So the Pharma industry is not just located at west but scattered across the country wherever economic considerations allow.

Conclusion – conclude by summarising the points made above.

 

Introduction:

The pharmaceutical industry in India is among the most highly organized sectors. This industry plays an important role in promoting and sustaining development in the field of global medicine. It ranks 3rd in the world terms of volume and 14th in terms of value.

        Pharmaceutical Industry being a footloose industry, can be placed and located at any location without effect from factors of production such as Resources, Land, Labour, Capital and Enterprise. There is processing of products that are neither weight-gaining, nor weight-losing, and face significant transportation costs.                               

Body:

The preponderance of this industry in Western region may be explained due to a number of factors like

  • Government policies: opening up of the FDI upto 100% in pharma has attracted a lot of investments from foreign countries. The Indian Patents Act, 1970 and its strong protection of IP rights have helped the industries sustain by the loyalties. The Supreme Court verdicts on Evergreening (Sec 3(d)) (Novartis v. Union of India.) and Compulsory licensing (Sec 84) (Bayer Pharma vs UoI) has strengthened the confidence of Indian Pharma industries against the foreign conglomerates. The focus on Biotechnology in the last 25 years has grown leaps and bounds.
  • State Industrial Policies: Favourable State policy like stable policies of state government, provision of infrastructure, easy land availability, SEZs, power etc. help in ease of doing business.
  • Raw Materials: Proximity to petrochemical hubs which form the raw materials. Example: Jamnagar, Gujarat; Bombay high, Maharashtra.
  • Capital Availability: The western part of India has traditionally been the hub of trade and Capital.
  • Proximity to ports: It facilitates easy export to other nations in Africa, Europe etc. Example: Kandla, JNPT, Navasheva. The ports also help to import raw materials required for the manufacturing of drugs. Government initiatives like SagarMala is giving a fillip to port-led development of coastal areas.
  • Proximity to markets: The Indian domestic market is a huge market. Initiatives to promote generic medicines in India has further strengthened. In global markets, Africa for long has been an important market for India’s Generic Drug Industry. The setting up of Pharma industries on west coast reduces the cost of transportation to African and European nations.
  • Historical factors include the spirit of entrepreneurship, cheap labour, pre-existent infrastructure.

However, there are some concerns lingering

  • Overdependence: Indian pharma industries import about 80% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients(API) from China. The API forms the base of drugs. With trade-wars at global levels and wavering bilateral relations, there is a looming threat which can stall the Indian pharma industries.
  • Compliance issues and good manufacturing practices: Diversifying the global market has been a problem with countries China and USA imposing Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary(SPS) barriers of WTO against generic drugs. The selective targeting by US Food and Drug Administration and Chinese Drug regulators are a problem still.
  • Drug Price Control Order: The companies sight that the reforms of the Government for the essential medicines has caused them to lower the price of drugs. This has been done by the Government for the betterment of the public.
  • Stronger IP regulations: IP regulation has always been a thorn in the skin for the companies, especially the foreign companies. The companies strongly feel that the rules have to be amended and the so-called victim of the lax regulations have been the foreign entrants.

Way Forward:

  • Developing our R&D sector to reduce dependency on foreign countries for raw materials
  • Using multilateral organisation like WTO against the illegal trade practices.
  • Funding for the pharma companies might be a way to move forward.
  • IPR Think Tank formed by the Government to draft stronger national IP policies.

Conclusion:

Though the above factors explain the emergence of Pharmaceutical industries in western region, many of the factors may be found at other places across the country (Bangalore, NCR region etc.). So the Pharma industry is not just located at west but scattered across the country wherever economic considerations allow.


Topic-  Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)

4) Despite being rich in natural resources, Africa continent has widespread poverty and under-development. Examine. (250 words)

Livemint

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first shed light on how resource rich Africa is, the status quo of Africa in terms of industrial development and socio-economic development. Thereafter, we need to bring out the causes behind such poverty in Africa and discuss how to rectify the situation.

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 – Explain that Africa is a land of paradox because of its vast amount of natural resources ranging from agricultural land to minerals and despite that fact the country remains struck by poverty and hunger

Body

  • Highlight in brief the nature of natural resources found in Africa and also highlight the status quo regarding socio economic conditions.
  • Next explain the reasons for above such as
    • Inefficient investment.
    • Lack of transparent rules.
    • Corruption.
    • Governance issue.
    • Nature-based conflicts, including violent conflict, civil wars and secessionist movements, have been commonplace in Africa.
  • Discuss the impact of these factors on distribution of industries in Africa. Suggest measures through which the situation can be improved.

Conclusion – Therefore, to make the ‘Lost Continent’ a true ‘Land of opportunities’, there is the necessity of political stability, education and true leadership to take the front seat and drive the growth of Africa.

 

Introduction:

        Africa is blessed with a rich bounty of natural resources. The continent holds around 30% of the world’s known mineral reserves. These include cobalt, uranium, diamonds and gold, as well as significant oil and gas reserves. Yet it has not managed to capitalize on its wealth: its  infrastructure  is  underdeveloped,  its  economies  are  small  and  unsophisticated,  and  its  people  languish  in  poverty.

The  continent,  consisting  of  54  countries,  is  the  least  developed  continent  of  the  Third  World. Africa has almost 50% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day.

 

Body:

        The reasons for African continent to be in such a dismal state and its impacts is:

  • Civil Wars and Terrorism: Wars disorient people and leave them destitute. They also disconnect businesses from their clients. Moreover, roads and communication networks are destroyed or barred which further cripples these businesses. Industries collapse, people lose jobs and investors lose confidence in the affected country thus pushing the affected region down the economic slopes.
    • According to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, the cost of terrorism to the world was $52.9 billion in 2014. This is the highest number since 2011. 32,000 people died due to terrorism acts in the same year.
    • In Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency has led to over 100,000 deaths since it started its brutal operation six years ago.
    • Civil wars broke out in many countries like Nigeria, Rwanda etc. For instance in Congo/Zaire there were 150 different tribes .Holding them together even with administrative experience was a great task.
  • Unending Corruption: Dubbed ‘Kitu kidogo’ or ‘chai’ (loosely translated as ‘something small’ or ‘tea’) in Kenya, corruption has taken root in most African countries. A survey by the Transparency International(TI) indicated that most African governments are not able to meet their citizen’s expectations due to rampant corruption. The police were identified as the most corrupt group across the region.
  • Education and the knowledge gap: Even up to today, some African households cannot afford basic education for their children. Although some governments in the region have taken up the matter of basic education provision as a government project, many areas lack schools and even where schools are, they are sparsely located posing a challenge to the young children who would rather help at home than make the long walk to school.
    • Inadequate skills and knowledge cripples the economy as there is no skilled labour to drive the nation.
  • Health and poverty: Health and poverty are interconnected. When a continent is not able to create quality health infrastructure and system for its own people, it risks falling into a trap where the economy remains stagnated. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health. Poor living conditions increases the chances of poor health. In turn, poor health entraps communities in undying poverty.
    • WHO reports that approximately 1.2 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty-surviving on less than one dollar per day. HIV/AIDS, cancer among other diseases have also contributed to increased poverty levels in Africa
  • Geographically Disadvantaged: Being placed in a geographically disadvantaged location only calls for innovative ideas to utilize the available resources to advance lives.
    • A significant number of African countries suffer because they are landlocked- geographically unlucky.
    • On the other hand, most landlocked countries in Africa are surrounded by unstable and conflict-filled countries. Uganda, a landlocked country bordered by South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo stands as a good example.
  • International Aid: In the recent past African leaders have been heard arguing that International Aid has curtailed Africa’s growth efforts. Donor support should not be relied on forever but instead be used to build institutions and the economy.
    • The Kibera slum in Kenya is one good example. Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi and second largest urban slum in Africa is located just 5 kilometers (3.1miles) from the capital, Nairobi. The slum is filled with a sea of NGO’s which have not done so much for residents who continue to scavenge for a living in these tough economic times.
    • Conditional support at times are holding back the countries.
  • Unfair Trade Policies: Introducing fair trade policies for African countries to trade with nations abroad will grow Africa’s economy much faster than aid would. Unfair trade strategies have rubbished Africa’s growth exertions.
    • The US, the European Union are protecting key industries that Africa could compete with like agriculture, thus it has become more difficult to trade in this sector.
    • Neo-Colonialism attitude of developed countries and the MNCs are hindering the development of African countries.
    • China’s “Vulture Capitalism” has lead to many untoward incidents as in Zambia.
  • Political issues: Some countries suffered direct military intervention from countries which did not like their government.
    • For instance Angola was invaded by South Africa and Zaire because these countries disapproved of Angola’s Marxist-style government.
    • There was also a distinct lack of trained and experienced civil leadership.
    • Military coups as seen in Nigeria led to despotism which curbed the development.
  • Disasters: In 1980’s Africa reeled under severe drought which caused crop failures, famine, deaths of live stock and starvation.

Measures:

  • Promotion of Democracy to uphold the people’s will and sovereignty.
  • Governments, regional communities and private sector should develop effective strategies based on regional needs and partner with like-minded corporations local or foreign to drive Africa’s Development wheel forward.
  • International bilateral relations like Asia-Africa Growth Corridor should be promoted for mutual development.
  • Reduce disease-burden, provide education and skill development to reap the demographic dividend. (Example: Solar Mamas of Tanzania)

Conclusion:

Although Africa is rising, poverty is curtailing the continent’s growth efforts. As a region, Africa needs to address the negligence of sound economic policies. Corruption, selfish personal interests, thirsts for power, religious and ethnic differences are clogging the pipeline within which development would have flowed.

Therefore, to make the ‘Lost Continent’ a true ‘Land of opportunities’, there is the necessity of political stability, education and true leadership to take the front seat and drive the growth of Africa.


Topic–  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

5) The lack of alarm caused by the denial of local democracy reveals our collective bias regarding the place of local governments.. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Despite the constitutional amendments made to empower the local government in India, the progress has been tardy and the mechanism has not yet taken its due place. In this context it is important to discuss the status of local government in India.

Directive word

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 express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and express our opinion as to why the lack of alarm caused by the denial of local democracy reveals our collective bias regarding the place of local governments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the constitutional status of local bodies. E.g mention the aims of 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution.

Body-

Discuss the problems/ issues in devolving powers to the local governments in India. E.g

  • Prescribing various kinds of criteria like educational qualification, presence of a functional toilet at home etc.- It restricts a citizen’s right to contest elections and thereby challenges the basic premise of a republican democracy.
  • Though local governments now have a definite space within India’s constitutional structure, they are still seen as administrative vessels for implementing programmes of the Central and State governments.
  • Not holding elections to local governments.
  • In most States, tasks like delimitation of seats are still done by the State government instead of the SEC. It is often under the guise of delimitation of seats that local government elections are delayed, especially when the party in power fears losses etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        The 73rd, 74th constitutional amendment gave constitutional status to local self-governments. At present India has around 2.5 lakh institutions of local self-governance with 32 lakh representatives. They were created to realize the objectives of article 40 of the constitution to create a truly participatory democracy.

The act underscored the “duty on the Centre as well as the States to establish and nourish the village panchayats so as to make them effective-self-governing institutions.”

 

Body:

        However, even after 25 years of existence, they have failed to be effective instruments of governance for following reasons:

  • Systemic issues
    • State finance commissions are not as effective as central finance commission
    • State election commissions are alleged over issues like delimitation of constituencies.
    • Periodic elections are not held and dissolution of Panchayat before the tenure. Example: Elections to panchayats and municipalities in Tamil Nadu have not been held since 2011. In Visakhapatnam, elections to its Municipal Corporation were last held in 2007.
  • Issues related to funds, functions and functionaries
    • Devolution of powers as per eleventh schedule except in few states like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh is not satisfactory.
    • Although local governments now have a definite space within India’s constitutional structure, they are still seen as administrative vessels for implementing programmes of the Central and State governments.
    • The issue of “Token Representation” or “Panchayat-Pati” system would be marginalises the weaker sections.
  • Recent amendments in state acts like introduction of the Minimum Education Criteria in Haryana and Rajasthan; presence of a functional toilet at home. The constitutional validity of decision was subsequently upheld by Supreme Court in Rajbala vs. State of Haryana verdict. It restricts a citizen’s right to contest elections and thereby challenges the basic premise of a republican democracy.
  • Capacity building of both panchayats and urban local bodies is not proportional to the responsibilities they are assigned.
  • Departmentalization of development: a lot of government bodies have sidelined local bodies. For example, recently in Haryana, a rural development agency was created to sideline panchayats.
  • Mani Shankar Aiyyar committee observed that decentralization has led to decentralization of corruption.
  • There are criticisms that initiatives like smart city projects affect the autonomy of urban local bodies.
  • In urban areas, participation from people in elections as well as in governance is very limited.

 

All the above factors combinedly resulted in ineffectiveness of local self-governments.

 

However , there have been lots of positives too like improvement in women participation , building the foundation for participatory democracy , utilization of local resources, customization of projects to local needs etc.

 

Way Forward:

 

Following steps can be taken to improve the effectiveness of LSG to realize their true potential.

  • Devolution of powers as per eleventh schedule like in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Reservation for women should be increased from 33 % to 50 % like in Maharashtra and Bihar.
  • Capacity building of all elected representatives especially women.
  • Principle of subsidiarity to be upheld at all levels like recommended by second ARC.
  • Property taxation reforms to be introduced to make urban bodies self-sufficient financially.
  • Platforms like mahila gram sabha need to be encouraged to help women voice their needs and participate in decision making process.
  • To implement the ground reforms like adult education, right to free and compulsory education better before implementing laws like minimum education criteria.

 

Conclusion:

Local bodies need to be empowered to create greater inclusiveness, participation and women empowerment at the grassroots level. Integrating institutional reforms in local governance with economic reforms was Gandhiji’s far-sighted vision of ‘PoornaSwaraj’. The 73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution which seek to create an institutional framework for ushering in grass roots democracy through the medium of genuinely self-governing local bodies in both rural and urban areas of the country.


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

6) For Ayushman Bharat to succeed, the private sector will have to take greater ownership. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question

The success of Ayushman bharat is critical for improving the healthcare outcomes in the country and private sector has an important role to play in that. The article discusses these issues and needs to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to critically analyze the role of private sector in the success of Ayushman Bharat and bring out the pros and cons of involvement of private sector to conclude whether or not there should be greater involvement of private sector.

Directive word

Critically 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. 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 about Ayushman Bharat.

Body

  • Explain that India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The country spends an abysmal 1.3 per cent of its GDP on health, way less than the global average of 6 per cent. Over 70 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure is accounted for by the private sector. Given the country’s crumbling public healthcare infrastructure, most patients are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals. Health care bills are the single biggest cause of debt in India, with 39 million people being pushed to poverty every year.
  • Highlight the constraints with increasing government finances for improving health infrastructure
  • Discuss the capacity in which private sector can contribute towards the success of Ayushman Bharat and the constraints involved therein.

Conclusion – Give your view on how necessary private sector participation is for the success of Ayushman Bharat.

Introduction:

        Ayushman Bharat is a progression towards promotive, preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative aspects of Universal Healthcare through access of Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) at the primary level and provision of financial protection for accessing curative care at the secondary and tertiary levels through engagement with both public and private sector (PMJAY).

        PMJAY recently completed 100 days of its implementation. The scheme covers 1,350 medical conditions ranging from caesarean section to coronary stenting and joint replacement. For each procedure, package rates have been fixed for different levels of hospitals.

       

Body:

The program certainly has a good intent of giving the best of the medical services at lowest prices to the economically weaker, deprived sections of the society. The program is fraught with many challenges that can hinder its outcome. The participation of Private sector is vital because

  • Finance: At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. This is way less than the global average of 6 per cent. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme that could potentially cost Rs 5 lakh per person and benefit 53.7 crore out of India’s 121 crore citizenry, or roughly about 44% of the country’s population.
  • Doctor-Density Ratio: The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people as against one doctor for a population of 1,000.To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough.
  • Poor healthcare ranking: India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • Healthcare Expenditure: Over 70 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure is accounted for by the private sector.
  • Crumbling public health infrastructure: Given the country’s crumbling public healthcare infrastructure, most patients are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals. India falls woefully short of number of hospital beds compared to WHO standards. Secondary-level hospitals like district hospitals and medical colleges have poor infrastructure, especially the former.

However, the state and the people are wary of private healthcare sector being a part of PMJAY due to the following concerns:

  • High Out of Pocket Expenditure: Most consumers complain of rising costs. Hundred days into the PMJAY, it remains to be seen if private hospitals provide knee replacement at Rs 80,000 (current charges Rs 3.5 lakh) bypass surgery at Rs 1.7 lakh (against Rs 4 lakh).
  • Commercial motive: lack of transparency and unethical practices in the private sector.
  • Concentrated in Urban areas: Private hospitals don’t have adequate presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and there is a trend towards super specialisation in Tier-1 cities.
  • Better infrastructure needed: Under the PMJAY, the private hospitals have to get registered and fulfil the minimum requirements. They are also expected to expand their facilities and add hospital beds.
  • Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals: This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.
  • Additional incentives to the private players: The setting up hospitals in the underserved areas by private players can happen when there are incentives from the State. Lack of this would maintain status quo of last mile medical care which is in shackles.
  • Populist measures of the government: The idea of bringing the Above Poverty Line (APL) population in the unorganised sector under ambit of scheme has been a bone of contention. A sizeable part would remain uninsured—mostly lower-middle class and middle-class households whose income-earning members work in the unorganised sector. The high cost of insurance as compared to PMJAY would deter this section from being insured.

 

Way Forward:

  • The budgetary support being granted to public hospitals can be given as incentives to private players in underserved areas.
  • The National Health Authority set up as an independent authority should provide for less interference from the government, thereby encouraging private players to participate.
  • A binding policy commitment is imperative so as to reduce policy uncertainty and enable investments in hospital infrastructure by private players.
  • Focus on Public-Private Partnership to reap the maximum benefits to citizens.

Conclusion:

PM-JAY seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3). While the contribution of the private sector will be the key to its success, it’s the will and zeal of the government to implement it that will make or break the scheme.


Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

7) A 10% quota for the upper-caste poor will not necessarily translate into employment opportunities. Comment.(250 words)

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Why this question

Recently the central government has passed a bill which provides 10% reservation to economically poor but socially higher castes in India. The article explores the potential of such a measure over employability of the targeted group.

Directive word

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 express our knowledge and understanding of the recent measure of the central government to provide reservations to economically weaker upper caste people in India and express our opinion as to why/ why not this measure will translate into employability for them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent move of the central government to provide reservations to economically weaker upper caste persons in India.

Body-

Discuss the implications of such measure on employment in India. E.g

  • A recent report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that-
  • the situation in the Indian job market is bleak: first, unemployment is on the rise with the rate shooting up to 7.4% in December 2018, the highest ever seen in the past 15 months;
  • the incidence of joblessness is the highest among the (economically) vulnerable sectors and sections (for example, around 82% of the jobs lost are in the rural sector, already facing the agrarian crisis,
  • and almost 80% of the joblessness is borne by women.
  • Recruitment in the government sector is tardy, wherein a third of the backlog vacancies is already of the “reserved” category.
  • Simultaneously, the unorganised and informal sector that had been a source of employment, historically, is evidently reeling.
  • The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018 has classified almost four-fifths of the employment in India as “vulnerable,” with less than a fifth of the workers being regular salaried employees and another two-fifths perceiving themselves to be underpaid.
  • Bring out whether the 10% reservations will help Indian youth gain employment, based on your discussion.

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

Introduction:

         The President of India has given his assent to the bill providing 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. The legislation will be known as the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 and it shall come into force on such date as the Centre notifies.

Body:

The implications of such measure on employment in India are:

  • Increased pressure for job creation: A recent report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) reveals that the situation in the Indian job market is bleak: unemployment is on the rise with the rate shooting up to 7.4% in December 2018, the highest ever seen in the past 15 months. This shows that there will be an increased pressure to create more jobs to accommodate the increasing number of job aspirants.
  • Weaker sections made more vulnerable: The incidence of joblessness is the highest among the (economically) vulnerable sectors and sections (for example, around 82% of the jobs lost are in the rural sector, already facing the agrarian crisis, and almost 80% of the joblessness is borne by women.
  • Unfilled backlogs: Recruitment in the government sector is tardy, wherein a third of the backlog vacancies is already of the “reserved” category.
  • Job generators crippled: The unorganised and informal sector that had been a source of employment, historically, is evidently reeling from the “surgical strikes” of demonetisation and the goods and services tax. Further with the global economy in doldrums, the private spending has also reduced.
  • Underprivileged Job condition: The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018 has classified almost four-fifths of the employment in India as “vulnerable,” with less than a fifth of the workers being regular salaried employees and another two-fifths perceiving themselves to be underpaid.
  • Non-commensurate rise between labour-productivity and wages: there is an ever-widening divergence between labour productivity and wages. For instance, labour productivity in organised manufacturing is estimated to have increased by six times over the past three decades, whereas wages increased by only 1.5 times.
  • Reduced Entrepreneurial Spirit: Fresh Graduates are added up every year. Slowly but steadily, the number of persons with higher education entering India’s job market has been increasing. Reservation will only encourage them to be job seekers rather than job givers.

A disproportionately higher share of jobseekers are competing for less than half of the jobs left unreserved, and the beneficiaries of reservation can hardly gain from it.

Conclusion:

                Reservation to the weaker sections is an positive affirmative action needed for their welfare. The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act though is a beneficial move for the “forward poor”. Similar moves by previous governments have be judicially reviewed and struck down. It is prudent to look at other alternatives to alleviate the conditions of EWS.


Topic- Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

8) “The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” Comment(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

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 express our knowledge and understanding about solidarity in ethics. We have to express our opinion as to how and why a sense of solidarity is the first step in the evolution of ethics.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  solidarity. E.g Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity.

Body-

Discuss the importance of solidarity in ethics in detail. E.g

  • Solidarity must be seen above all in its value as a moral virtue that determines the order of institutions.
  • Solidarity is also an authentic moral virtue, not a “feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far.
  • On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. That is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all
  • Solidarity rises to the rank of fundamental social virtue since it places itself in the sphere of justice. It is a virtue directed par excellence to the common good.
  • The principle of solidarity requires that men and women of our day cultivate a greater awareness that they are debtors of the society of which they have become part.

Write some more lines about the vital role of solidarity and take the help of other related sources to frame your answer.

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

 

Introduction:

        Solidarity, in the social sense, can be described as a kind of voluntary union or fellowship amongst people (e.g. groups, classes, nations etc.) based on a community of feelings, purposes, responsibilities and/or interests, whereby in the spirit of cooperation, people are concerned about those who are less fortunate or vulnerable and strive for equity and justice for all.

Body:

The importance of solidarity in ethics are:

  • Interpersonal level: The first, ‘lowest’ tier applies to the level of individuals. At that level, solidarity comprises manifestations of the willingness to carry costs to assist others with whom a person recognises sameness or similarity in at least one relevant respect. This helps in developing empathy and sympathy.
  • Solidarity must be seen above all in its value as a moral virtue that determines the order of institutions.
  • Fraternity: Solidarity is also an authentic moral virtue, not a “feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. This helps in building brotherhood. Example: Feeling of oneness between members of different religion.
  • Social Justice: This may result in specific action to help people who are disadvantaged or vulnerable such as policies to counter social discrimination. Example: Ambedekar’s fight against the caste discrimination.
  • Responsibility: On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. That is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all. Example: INDCs of Paris summit shows the individual responsibility towards other nations.
  • Trusteeship: The principle of solidarity requires that men and women of our day cultivate a greater awareness that they are debtors of the society of which they have become part. Example: India’s help to Nepal in time of earthquake, upholding our duties to other countries of world.
  • Unity: Solidarity may be based on notions of interdependence which involves mutual and physical responsibility to others and the sharing of a common set of principles, which is often linked to devotion to one’s family or community.

However, the societal ills like Communalism, poverty, Regionalism, Caste discrimination, fixed resources have affected the solidarity. Example: tension between Karnataka and TN over Cauvery water.

Way forward:

  • Value – based education for children to teach about the human values
  • Proper implementation of our constitutional values to ensure socio-economic justice.
  • Increasing people to people contact across the globe.
  • Global bodies like UNO, WB should help in furthering international ties between people.

Conclusion:

        Solidarity with the fellow human-beings, thus, forms the basis of evolution of ethics.