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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 MAY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 MAY 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 features of Indian Society.

1) Analyse in detail the role of the family in tackling crimes against women. (250 words)

The Big Picture – Tackling Crime Against Women

Reference

Why this question:

The International Family Day was celebrated on 15th May, it highlights the importance of families as a basic unit of society. It provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them. It inspires a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days. In many countries, this day highlights different areas of interest and importance to families. Thus, on such an occasion its imperative to discuss role of the family in tackling crimes against women.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must briefly discuss the role of the family in tackling crimes against women.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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

In a few introductory lines explain the context – International Family Day highlights the importance of families as a basic unit of society. May 15 was decided to be celebrated as International Family Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

Body

The body of the answer has to capture the following aspects:

  • Explain that the crimes against women have been in focus over the past few weeks, with several heinous ones being reported across the country.
  • Quote the recent examples – Kashmir incident, Rajasthan Dalit women rape case and others.
  • The focus of the answer should be to justify the crucial role that a family has to play to address the crimes against women; explain how Family relationships can either encourage or constrain a girl’s or a woman’s ability to take advantage of opportunities that are provided

through local, national or international initiatives.

  • Infer how the family can act as a foundation for promoting gender equality and empowerment.

Conclusion

Conclude that It is thus, critical that gender targets and benchmarks also acknowledge the fundamental family dimensions that either constrain or

advance gender equality and empowerment.

Introduction:

Indian Society has always revered women. The home is often equated with a sanctuary, a place where individuals seek love, safety, security and shelter. For some women, the home is a place that imperils lives and breeds some of the most drastic forms of violence perpetrated against girls and women. Crimes against women have been in focus over the past few weeks, with several heinous ones being reported across the country.

Body:

Role of family in tackling crimes against women:

  • Families remain the intrinsic unit within which to effect change, and protect and empower girls and women.
  • Families remain at the center of social life and continue to be the primary mechanism for coping with social, economic and political adversity and the socialization and education of children.
  • Family relationships can either encourage or constrain a girl’s or a woman’s ability to take advantage of opportunities that are provided through local, national or international initiatives.
  • In many societal contexts around the world, fathers, brothers and husbands determine the life choices that girls and women are allowed to make.
  • In many societies and among various ethnic and cultural groups, families function as a crucial protective mechanism for girls and women.
  • The family group shields girls and women from the discrimination, oppression, and violence they may face in the larger society
  • International Family Day highlights the importance of families as a basic unit of society. May 15 was decided to be celebrated as International Family Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

Causes for violence against women in families:

  • The last decade has seen an erosion of family values, because these days, the world has shifted to a materialistic world. It is because of this materialism that the family value system is coming down.
  • People don’t have time to sit with their family members. This results in a lack of connection with their family members. Earlier we used to have the joint-family system where even if a child’s parents were away, their grandparents were there to guide them. However, nowadays in the nuclear families, both parents are working, and the first schooling which a child gets is from the family; the child learns either consciously or unconsciously from the family. When children see how their father is behaving with their mother’s, or with other family members, unconsciously the child learns from that behaviour.
  • When parents do not have time for their children, they provide gadgets to them. These gadgets can either be computers, or smart phones, etc. However, they don’t teach their children as to what to watch and what to avoid on these gadgets.
  • There has been an increase in the number of crimes on the minors by minors. Juveniles are indulging in crimes against minors and somewhere, parental guidance is lacking. This is in spite of the fact that technology is spread all over but the children don’t know as to how to use this technology.
  • The lack of gender equality makes girls and women vulnerable to increased discrimination, violence, trafficking and other harmful practices.
  • Girls and women’s lack of power to make decisions about their own lives, coupled with limited economic resources, makes their position in the global economy perilous at best.
  • In many parts of the world, particularly low-income girls and women are overburdened with domestic chores, not given equal access to education, nutrition, health care and technology, and lack the self-confidence to speak up around boys and men
  • Regular consumption of alcohol by the husband has been strongly associated with poor mental health of women.
  • Patriarchy has been cited as the main cause of violence against women. Women engaged in small business and farming were more likely to be abused than women who were housewives or who had occupational status equal to that of husbands.
  • Exposure to harsh physical discipline during childhood and witnessing the father beating the mother during childhood is a predictor of victimization and perpetration of violence against his wife in adulthood.
  • Traditional and cultural practices perpetuating violence against women like Female Genital Mutilation, Killing in the name of family honour, early marriages, Devadasi system etc.

Way forward:

  • We need to provide children with greater parental guidance.
  • In families, there should also be a relationship of authority and respect between parents and their children.
  • Women should be respected at home. When women are respected at home, then children also learn about the importance of respecting women. Parents cannot treat their sons and daughters differently.
  • It is important to note that when people become isolated from the society, their minds turn to criminal activities.
  • The state has to work towards making people aware of laws like POCSO Act, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act etc. The state should also make the penalties of not abiding by these laws clear to the public.
  • Gender-sensitization programmes should also be started for males of family, police personnel, medical fraternity etc. Police apathy, especially when a woman approaches the police should be worked upon.
  • Encourage and adopt family focused practices that promote equal access for both girls and boys to high quality education, and ensure opportunities to successfully complete schooling, and to making educational choices
  • Students should be taught to engage in community activities so that they understand realities and also understand how to cope up with realities. Community get-togethers should also be encouraged so that people get to know each other. Neighbours should also get to know their neighbours. Community activities should be encouraged.
  • The misuse of technology has resulted in many crimes. The right use of technology needs to be emphasized.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive.

2) “While a stable government has its own benefits, less stable governments are neither a threat to democracy”. Elucidate upon the statement with respect to prevalence of coalition politics in the country. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article captures a detailed discussion of whether multiparty rule is good or bad for India depending on the prevalent political circumstances amidst the upcoming election results.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the role of coalition politics in relevance to Indian democracy.one has to provide for arguments weighing the benefits of majority stable government vs coalition unstable government.

Directive word:

ElucidateGive a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with what you understand by stable and unstable government in a democracy.

Body:

Discussion should include the following aspects –

  • Narrate a background for the question discussing the current situations of elections in India.
  • Explain what is coalition government India? – A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which multiple political parties cooperate, reducing the dominance of any one party within that coalition.
  • Discuss its impact on Indian politics? – In a Parliamentary democracy, coalitions arise mainly as a result of political compulsion. conflicts. It may also be formed due to emergency. The policies that are adopted by the coalition government are made by the coalescing parties and merely finalized by the leader of the coalition.
  • Then move on to discuss how many a times coalition politics helps overcome the tyranny of the majoritarian politics and acts as a perfect check and balance mechanism.
  • Take cues from the article for more points.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward signifying importance of Democracy.

Introduction:

The classical paradigm of parliamentary democracy consists of an elected representative parliament which is supreme, a cabinet collectively responsible to parliament, a prime minister who is supreme within the cabinet and an organized opposition within the Parliament. It was assumed that the, majority would form a government and the minority the opposition. Problems arise when no single party could secure enough majorities to form a single party government, and in such situation the alternative was the multi-party system or coalition government.

Body:

A coalition is an alliance of parties formed for the purpose of contesting elections jointly and/or forming a government and managing the governance by a process of sharing process. So coalition implies co-operation between political parties and this co-operation may take place may take place at Electoral, Parliamentary and Governmental levels.

Benefits of less stable or coalition governments:

  • The coalition government addresses the regional disparity more than the single party rule.
  • Coalition government is more democratic, and hence fairer, because it represents a much broader spectrum of public opinion than government by one party alone. In almost all coalitions, a majority of citizens voted for the parties which form the government and so their views and interests are represented in political decision making.
  • Coalition government creates a more honest and dynamic political system, allowing voters a clearer choice at election time. It is also easier for parties to split, or new ones to be formed, as new political issues divide opinion, because new parties still have a chance of a share in political power. The Desai government (1977-1979), for example, undid regressive laws enacted by the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency.
  • Coalitions provide good government because their decisions are made in the interests of a majority of the people. A coalition government better reflects the popular opinion of the electorate within a country.
  • Coalition government provides more continuity in administration. Amore consensual style of politics also allows for a more gradual and constructive shift of policy between administrations.
  • Such government functions on principle of politics of consensus. Besides, states are given more powers, and the base of concept of federalism is strengthened.
  • Government will be more consensus based: resulting policies will be broadly approved of for the benefit of the nation. Eg: The coalition governments could take pluralistic opinions and could address issues such as lynching or sedition laws, these would be crucial interventions in India’s governance, especially consequential for citizens ranged against the perpetuation of majoritarianism.
  • Better representation of the electorate’s wishes. Better quality of policy: enhanced scrutiny and increased attention paid to each policy
  • Increased continuity: election does not lead to dramatic overhaul which can produce fragmented rule
  • Yet instability apart, coalition governments have been effective in enhancing democratic legitimacy, representativeness, and national unity.
  • Critics of one-party majority governments often cite the excessive abuse of President’s Rule during Indira Gandhi’s time as one of its shortcomings, a practice that the coalition era has effectively ended.

Conclusion:

In short, India’s experience does not support the thesis that coalition governments are innately bad. Since India is a diverse country with different ethnic, linguistic, and religious communities, it also has diverse ideologies. Due to this, the benefit that a coalition has is that it leads to more consensus based politics and reflects the popular opinion of the electorate. It is the competency of the government and not whether it is a coalition or an individual party, that plays an important role in impacting the welfare of the people. Whether the right decisions come from a coalition or an individual ruling party, they will always be appreciated and rewarded by the public.


TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3) Apprenticeships could be the real key to Skill India’s success as they could help business firms raise productivity in several ways. Discuss.(250 words)

livemint

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the role played by Apprenticeships in the growth and development of the business firms in India.

Demand of the question:

The question is about discussing the significance of Apprenticeships in harnessing the success of Skill India mission and in  what way it could help various business firms raise productivity.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start with brief introduction of what you understand by apprenticeships.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Highlight the necessity of training youth – by 2022, or just seven years from now, it is estimated that there will be nearly 600 million people in India between the ages of 15 and 59.
  • Comment on how India would soon have the world’s largest workforce. And then discuss the odds – India’s workforce is among the world’s least skilled — only 3.5% of India’s workforce has skills of any sort, while the comparable number for China is 47%, Germany 74%, Japan 80% and South Korea a stupendous 96%.
  • Discuss what is apprenticeship? What is its significance.
  • Role of Apprenticeship (Amendment) Bill, 2014 in India.
  • Explain – Apprenticeships are an effective way for young adults to transit from school to work life while improving links between industry and training institutions. Apprenticeships are successful because they facilitate ‘learning by earning’ and ‘learning by doing’, combining formal education with hands-on experience.
  • Conclude by listing governments efforts in this direction.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

An apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job training and often some accompanying study (classroom work and reading).  Apprenticeships are an effective way for young adults to transit from school to work life while improving links between industry and training institutions. Apprenticeships are successful because they facilitate ‘learning by earning’ and ‘learning by doing’, combining formal education with hands-on experience.

Body:

Situation of Apprenticeship in India:

  • India has a highly underutilized and mostly unknown formal apprenticeship system that began in 1961.
  • Our roughly 700,000 formal apprentices are less than 0.01% of our labour force (Germany has 2.7%).
  • We have only about 35,000 employers appointing apprentices (UK has 200,000).
  • The low penetration reflects the “regulatory cholesterol” for employers that thought of apprenticeships as a job rather than a classroom.
  • The Apprentices Act has been amended four times, but the 2015 amendment laid the foundation for reaching an ambitious goal of 10 million apprentices.
  • Two important changes are pending: more employers and linking apprentices to higher education.
  • A compliance mindset has sabotaged employer adoption, but apprentices deliver three outcomes; lower people supply chain costs, lower attrition and higher productivity.

Significance of apprenticeship:

  • Apprenticeships and other hands-on post-secondary programs provide an optimum balance between theory and hands-on experience.
  • However, many traditional programs often fail to teach the specific skills and techniques required on the job.
  • Employers provide about 90% of apprenticeship training in the workplace. This is complemented with classroom instruction on theory. This combination of training creates a highly skilled workforce
  • The natural learning-by-doing and learning-while-earning make apprenticeship more sustainable, scalable and self healing than other skill programmes.
  • Apprentices can make the system self-healing – the global experience in this regard is positive. Germany has Europe’s lowest unemployment rate because of apprenticeships and UK has found that employers gain 26 times their investments on apprenticeship stipends.
  • With rising tuition in colleges and universities, the concept of hands-on learning and “earning while learning” is very attractive to many young people.
  • apprentices can cut hiring costs by more than 50% because aggregation costs are shared by educational institutions, the government, parents, and non-profit foundations
  • There are three upsides of well-structured apprenticeship programmes: soft skills are becoming more valuable than hard skills and are best learnt on the job; apprenticeship programmes are the shortest corridor to jobs; and increasing higher education connectivity means kids get the social signalling value of degrees almost free if they complete their apprenticeship period.
  • Apprenticeship programmes can cut attrition by 25-50% because their structure of learning-while-earning and learning-by-doing allow employers to take employees for a test drive, and employees to understand the organization, job and colleagues while creating additional incentives for completion of the apprenticeship period.
  • Employee productivity is a complex cocktail of hard and soft factors like motivation, tools, process, skills, culture, industry, location and much else.
  • The productivity impact of industry and functional skills rises considerably when combined with the firm-specific skills that are often embedded in company work cultures.
  • The practice of apprenticeships before employment nurtures social, intellectual and knowledge capital, and makes people productive 25-50% faster than direct hires.

Measures needed:

  • Recent amendments to the Apprenticeship Act of 1961 create the space for innovation, scale and higher education linkages for state governments.
  • Fixing schools is an important skill agenda.
  • Second, exploding the number of employers offering apprenticeships -today, India has only 25,000 versus more than 200,000 for Germany – will ensure skills keep up with work.
  • More focus on job creation and skill development because there is no such thing as India’s labour market. Active state government apprenticeship programmes could take India’s numbers to the same proportion of the labour force as Germany’s (this would take India’s current 300,000 apprentices to 15 million).
  • Each state set up a State Apprenticeship Corporation (SAC) as a public-private partnership co-chaired by the chief secretary and the chairman of one of the state’s largest private employer.
  • SACs will anchor programmes on state strengths such as tourism in Rajasthan, information technology in
  • Karnataka and manufacturing in Tamil Nadu; target employers with different strategies for companies headquartered and those operating in the state
  • The best form of corporate social responsibility is a well-run apprenticeship programme that readies candidates for in-house absorption, in addition to supplying job-ready candidates to other industry players and the economy.

Government of India has taken up many schemes for apprenticeship development:

  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme under Ministry of Skill Development where Union Government will provide financial incentives to the employers to engage apprentices and will directly share 25% of the total stipend payable to an apprentice with employer.
  • SHREYAS under Ministry of Human Resources and Development to provide industry apprenticeship opportunities to the general graduates exiting in April 2019 through the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). It aims to enhance the employability of Indian youth by providing ‘on the job work exposure’ and earning of stipend.
  • The National Apprenticeship Training Scheme under MHRD is a one year programme equipping technically qualified youth with practical knowledge and skills required in their field of work. The Apprentices are imparted training by the organizations at their place of work.

Conclusion:

Apprenticeship Training is considered to be one of the most efficient ways to develop skilled manpower for the country. It provides for an industry led, practice oriented, effective and efficient mode of formal training.


TopicIssues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4) Do you agree there is a dire need for revolutionary changes in the India’s education system? analyse the education agenda for a new and changing India. (250 words)

Reference

The Big Picture – Education agenda for new India

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing the education agenda of the country.

Demand of the question:

The answer must explain the issues currently facing the education system in India and why there is a need for overhaul in the system and what needs to be done to overcome it.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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:

The answer to the question is direct, one must explain the issues concerning the education system, explain why it requires a revolutionary change? What are the issues that need urgent attention? What should be the new education agenda? Discuss and analyse the failures of policies in the past , explain how these issues can be explained with a robust education agenda which is reformative and addresses the loopholes of the current education system.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

 

Introduction:

There is a dire need for revolutionary changes in India’s education system, there is no doubt about that. The cut-offs at some of the top universities is over 99% if not 100%. Students are pushed to the brink to try and further their educational ambitions. Several aspects need to be addressed if we have to achieve the desired results and head in the right direction. India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe, and 49 in Japan. But for us to reap the benefit of this demographic dividend we need to ensure that we see an overhaul in our education system.

Body:

Issues in Indian Education system:

  • The Indian education and social arrangements are very inflexible on kids and completely ignore their feelings, thoughts and ambitions. Kids are pressed to study from the age of 3. Non-performers are treated as dunces and detested by parents and society.
  • As per UNESCO data, India has one of the lowest public expenditure rates on education per student, especially compared to other Asian countries like China.
  • Education in most schools is one dimensional, with an obsessive focus on marks. Added to this is the lack of availability of trained teachers at all levels. Quality teachers are the missing link in the Indian education system. Although pockets of excellence exist, the quality of teaching, especially in government schools, does not meet the standards.
  • With a literacy rate of 77 percent, India lags behind other BRICS nations, which have literacy rates above 90 percent. All these countries have better student-teacher ratios. So not only does India grapple with poor quality teachers, it also has fewer total teachers in comparison with other countries that do a better job at education.
  • Data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development show that only half of all students who enter primary school make it to the upper primary level and less than half that get into the 9-12 class cycle.
  • Only 58 percent of children enrolled in classes three to five could read a class one text.
  • Less than half (47 percent) were able to do simple two-digit subtraction.
  • Only half of the children in classes five to eight could use a calendar.
  • They were not found proficient in even basic skills; about two-thirds of the students in class four could not master the measurement of the length of the pencil with a ruler.
  • Study after study has shown that the true indicator of economic development in a country is the education and wellbeing of its people. Although, India has made rapid economic progress over the last three decades, one area that has not received enough attention is the quality of primary education.
  • Lack of good secondary and higher secondary schools: The number of secondary schools is less than 150,000 for a country of 1.3 billion, and even this comes down to just 100,000 at the higher secondary level. While there are around five million primary school teachers, at the secondary level the number is just 1.5 million. India has persisted with a schooling system that has long failed its young.
  • The inevitable shift to private school education along with the Right to Education Act represents a failure of the public-school system.

Education agenda for a New and Changing India:

  • Technology has to be a primary part of the process. Technology allows us to adapt to teaching and assessment of entirely new skills that are very significant for the present century and that you cannot progress in a kind of traditional setting.
  • This necessitates refined public policy, a long-term commitment, and a systematic approach.
  • Our education must be all round developer. It must be based on creative rather than memorizing. Practical or Visualize education must be promoted.
  • It is time that India began viewing school education as a critical strategic investment and gave it the status of a vital infrastructure project. As all in-country efforts have failed, we should go in for a radical overhaul of our educational infrastructure with the help of countries that have an amazing record in providing quality school education — Finland, for instance. We can surely afford to pay for that.
  • Providing universal quality education depends not on the performance of teachers alone but is the shared responsibility of several stakeholders: governments, schools, teachers, parents, the media and civil society, international organisations, and the private sector.
  • A complete paradigm shift is needed as far as our education system is concerned. However, one has reason to believe that there are some positive signs too. For example, in schools itself, we are talking about Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA)- these are definitely encouraging signs.
  • Skilling has to improve across higher education sectors and it has to be diverse. Let’s not forget that only about 5% of the Indian workforce is trained in any sort of skills today; we are staring in the face of a demographic disaster if skill development is not undertaken.

Conclusion:

India continues to have the largest number of young people anywhere. By ensuring they get a world-class education over the next few decades, India will be well on its way towards becoming a developed nation sooner than expected.


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

5) Looking at agriculture from the social safety net lens is perhaps the reason behind agriculture not being treated as an income generator, and this itself has most of the time contributed to farm distress. Critically analyse the statement with respect to various competitive support offers made through different income security schemes for the farmers.(250 words)

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Why this question:

The article discusses in detail how the discourse on Indian agriculture has been dominated by farm distress leading to politics of competitive support offers.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must debate about the interrelationship that is witnessed between the farm distress and the social security aspects provided through various schemes and policies.

Directive word:

Critically analyzeWhen 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, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines explain the context of the question.

Body:

  • Highlight the current scenario of agrarian distress looming the Indian scenario.
  • Discuss how often the political discourse on agriculture has focused on support to farmers, notwithstanding that what has most failed the Indian agriculture is markets for outputs.
  • Explain the flaws associated with the schemes that aim to provide social security net, as to why they lead to farm distress eventually.
  • Discuss that Social protection programmes often aim to address the underlying market failures that may have contributed to the persistent state of poverty but however they end up leading to farm distress.
  • Discuss what needs to be done? – change in policy directions, focus shift to markets etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

The discourse on Indian agriculture has been dominated by farm distress leading to politics of competitive support offers. Several schemes have been pitched, such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana or the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) of Odisha. The unifying principle of these schemes is income or livelihood support for the farmers or poor households.

Body:

Cash transfer support schemes:

  • Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh was sought to provide relief to farmers by providing the differential between MSPs and market prices.
  • The Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana government provides ₹4,000 per acre for every season to all the farmers of the state. Similar initiatives have also been framed in Jharkhand and Odisha.
  • In December 2018, Odisha launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA).
  • Unlike RBS, KALIA is more complicated in design and implementation. It commits to give Rs 5,000 per SMF, twice a year, that is Rs 10,000 a year. It has already made payments to 1.2 million SMFs in January 2019.
  • Recently the 2019 budget announced a scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support of ₹6,000 a year.

Pros of support schemes:

  • Past experiences:
    • Success of cash transfers for cooking gas, food and the rural jobs scheme also seem to have convinced the government on adopting the mechanism for agriculture.
  • Poverty reduction:
    • Cash transfer programmes have become an important tool of social protection and poverty reduction
    • It has immediate impact on reducing hunger and rural poverty.
    • They can help households to overcome credit constraints and manage risk.
  • Better use:
    • This can increase productive investment, increase access to markets and stimulate local economies.
    • Income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.
    • It can increase investment in agricultural inputs, including farm implements and livestock
  • Rural development:
    • It can serve as an important complement to a broader rural development agenda, including a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on agriculture.

Negatives of support schemes:

  • According to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’s All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey (Nafis) small and marginal farmers earned Rs 79,802-1,19,878 in 2015-16.
  • This means that the Rs 6,000 annual direct income transfer under PM-KISAN would be only about 5-8% of their existing income levels.
  • This may not be much, particularly when compared with other direct income transfer (DIT) schemes rolled out in Telangana and Odisha.
  • A Direct income transfer to landless labourers covered under KALIA’s livelihood component is missing under PM-KISAN.
  • Cash transfers are not greatly superior in terms of leakages compared to other schemes of in-kind transfer such as the public distribution system (PDS). Uncertainties in receiving uniform and periodic cash payment would reduce the validity of the scheme as income. Targeting errors are also likely.
  • The real issue with the approach of a targeted cash transfer scheme is that it envisions the role of the state to only providing cash income to the poor. This kind of approach seeks to absolve the state of its responsibility in providing basic services such as health, education, nutrition and livelihood.
  • Does not eradicate poverty:
    • It may address certain aspects of inequality by ensuring a basic income, they will not eradicate poverty. Poverty is measured as deficits in income or consumption, but the underlying causes of these shortages are linked to human capabilities and access to resources.
  • Cash transfer scheme such as PMKSN cannot be substituted for subsidies and other institutional support systems such as the National Food Security Act-powered public distribution system. In fact, such cash transfer schemes could be counterproductive and may lead to more distress.
  • Cash transfers do not solve the following problems which are the reasons for the current agrarian crisis
    • The Agrarian crisis is not just of low incomes in agriculture. The genesis of the current crisis lies in the faulty and ad hoc export-import policy, lack of infrastructure and cartelisation and collusion in agricultural markets, which have prevented farmers from realizing the market prices for agricultural produce.
    • Cash transfers do nothing to resolve any of these, nor are they any guarantee of protection against unforeseen events, whether natural or policy induced.
    • Cash transfer is neither a substitute for the structural reforms needed in agriculture, nor does it adequately compensate the farmer for the risks and uncertainty of crop cultivation.
  • Regressive:
    • Except for the KALIA scheme, which offers some relief to the sharecroppers and landless labourers most other schemes are regressive with amount of transfer proportional to the land owned.
  • Identifying beneficiaries is tough:
    • In sugarcane and cotton, much of the ground-level work is organised and in the hands of cooperatives, where the person who has the operational holding of land is well identified. But in crops where the ownership holding is different from the operational holding, it might be
  • In the absence of proper tenancy records, it will also benefit the absentee landlords.
  • It is no substitute for the lack of investment in agriculture, which has declined at 2.3% per annum in real terms
  • By taking away precious fiscal resources, it makes the farmer more vulnerable to both market as well as non-market induced risks.
  • Fiscal constraints to states:
    • The income transfer scheme will further erode the fiscal capacity of states.

Way forward:

  • Policy focus should be rather on investment — in efficient water management and irrigation, plant breeding and genetics, crop husbandry, market linkages and in breaking the middleman’s hold over the farm-to-consumer value chain, replacing it with farmer-led enterprises, whether cooperatives or producer companies, that allow farmers to capture a share of the value added to their produce along its journey to the factory or home.
  • For a long-term solution, the government should first implement existing schemes, like it should give assured procurement and marketing of all commodities having MSP.
  • The Swaminathan Committee in 2004 had recommended farmers be allowed to fix the price for their produce on their own (cost of production plus 50% as profit), keeping local factors in mind.
  • Greater focus is required on enhancing farmer loan repayment capacity via smooth supply and value chains, and better price realisations.

Topic : Issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth.

6) Do you think growth of electric vehicles can be seen as an opportunity to create more livable cities? Account for pros and cons of electric vehicles in justifying sustainable mobility the heartbeat of more livable cities in India. (250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

The article explains how Growth in EVs in India is not just a question of pushing one technology over another, it analyses in detail the relationship of mobility vehicles and sustainable and livable cities.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the pros and cons associated with growth of electric vehicles in India and their contribution towards sustainable and livable cities.

Directive word:

Account for  – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines on electric mobility of vehicles.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • What do you understand by sustainable mobility? Role of electric vehicles in achieving the same.
  • How can we achieve sustainable mobility to make India’s cities more livable? – Explain how as India builds technology-filled “smart” cities, policymakers have an important opportunity to use sustainable mobility strategies to design cities around people, not cars.
  • Comment on Urban mobility in India.
  • Discuss in detail role played by electric vehicles, have a discussion on government’s efforts in this direction lie FAME II etc.

Conclusion –

Conclude that there is a need for models that marry efficiency and speed, cost, mobility and employment. At the core, initiatives must address the need to move people rather than traffic.

Introduction:

Electric vehicles (EVs) are automobiles that run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. Electric vehicles are cleaner than petroleum-fuelled vehicles and are seen as a promising solution to global warming.

Body:

Electric vehicles and sustainable mobility:

  • In India, the automobile industry is one of the key sectors driving economic growth.
  • It is anticipated that the 2020s will be the decade of the electric car and a step forward towards a clean environment for the next generation.
  • Electric vehicles are cleaner than petroleum-fuelled vehicles and are seen as a promising solution to global warming.
  • Adoption of electric and shared vehicles could help country save $60 billion in diesel and petrol along with cutting down as much as 1 gigatonne (GT) of carbon emissions by 2030.It will help in achieving the target of “Paris climate agreement”.
  • Electric vehicles operating cost per kilometre driven is lower and it contributes to cutting city pollution.
  • According to a research, 90 per cent of India’s car owners would willingly switch to electric cars, with proper infrastructural support.
  • The government aims for 30 per cent electric mobility by 2030

Pros of Electric Vehicles:

  • No Fuel Required
    • Electric cars are entirely charged by the electricity, meaning there is no need to buy any fuel ever again.
    • Though electricity isn’t free, an electric car is far cheaper to run.
  • No Emissions
    • Electric cars are 100 percent eco-friendly as they run on electrically powered engines
    • It does not emit toxic gases or smoke in the environment as it runs on clean energy source
    • Reducing the carbon footprint and positively affecting the economy
  • Reduced Noise Pollution
    • Electric cars put curb on noise pollution as they are much quieter
    • Electric motors are capable of providing smooth drive with higher acceleration over longer distances
  • Cost Effective
    • with more technological advancements, both cost and maintenance have gone down making it cost effective
  • Low Maintenance
    • Electric cars run on electrically powered engines and hence there is no need to lubricate the engines
    • Therefore, the maintenance cost of these cars has come down.

Cons of Electric Vehicles:

  • Short Driving Range and Speed
    • Most of these cars have range about 50-100 miles and need to be recharged again.
  • Battery Recharge Issues
    • Lack of attention on building charging infrastructure.
    • An electric car takes about 4-6 hours to get fully charged. Therefore there is a need for dedicated power stations as the time taken to recharge them is quite long.
  • Silence as Disadvantage
    • Silence can be a bit disadvantage as people like to hear noise if they are coming from behind them
    • An electric car is however silent and can lead to accidents in some cases.
  • Limited seating capacity
    • They are not meant for entire family and a third person can make journey for other two passengers bit uncomfortable.
  • Not Suitable for Cities Facing Shortage of Power
    • Cities already facing acute power shortage are not suitable for electric cars.
    • The consumption of more power would hamper their daily power needs.
  • High cost
    • The primary reason for the current high prices of EVs is the expensive battery

Way forward:

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  • Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  • A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking
  • Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  • Private investment in battery manufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  • India is highly dependent on thermal sources, which account for about 65% of current capacity. As EV adoption increases, so should the contribution of renewables.
  • Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehicles so that investments can be planned.
  • Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spaces for EVs.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

7) What are microplastics? Discuss the concerns posed by it. What should be the desired plan of action to overcome the threats posed by the same?(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail A recently conducted study of microplastics in three coastal cities in the country that has found that the population size has a direct impact on the abundance and nature of microplastics on their seashore. It has also been found that fibrous microplastic is more prevalent than granular microplastics on Indian shores.

Key demand of the question:

Answer is straightforward and is about discussing the concept of microplastics and the issues associated with it along with suggestions of what needs to be done to overcome the menace.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines highlight the context of the question.

Body:

  • In brief discuss what you understand by microplastics? – Microplastics are tiny particles which are present in many sources, including carry bags and pet bottles. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the water bodies, posing a potential threat to aquatic life. Microbeads, a kind of microplastic, are used as exfoliates in some cleansers and toothpastes. Even though banned in US and Canada, microbeads are still used in India.
  • How harmful is it? – Microplastics can migrate through the intestinal wall and travel to lymph nodes and other bodily organs, shows the Orb report. Microplastics have also been shown to absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses, and then release them when consumed by fish and mammals. So if plastic fibers are in your water, experts say they’re surely in your food.
  • What are the concerns? – It holds the potential for both bioaccumulation and biomagnification.
  • What needs to be done?
  • Regulations on use of plastics in general and microplastics in particular should be put in place by the government.
  • Alternatives should be found to tackle with rising consumerism and the increasing use of plastic in everyday life.
  • Invention of new, more readily degradable bio-based materials for the plastics could be a way.
  • The entire flow chain from manufacturer to the user to the waste collector and the recycling authority should be made aware of the risks.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Microplastics are small plastic particles in the environment that are generally smaller than 1mm down to the micrometer range. Microplastics can be formed by fragmentation of large plastic waste material. Microfibres from washing of textiles, microbeads used in cosmetics and even paint from land run-offs can dump microplastics in the ocean. According to a 2017 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, microplastics are estimated to constitute up to 30% of marine litter polluting the oceans.

Body:

Concerns posed by Microplastics:

  • Microplastics escape the filtration and treatment processes for waste water and end up in sites of nature.
  • This is resulting in significant global impacts on wildlife from marine environment pollution.
  • Microplastics are killing the fish before they reach reproductive age, stunted growth and altering the behaviour in some fishes.
  • Microplastics are found in the viscera of dead sea birds, reptiles like turtles, whales etc.
  • World’s coastal countries currently do not have the concerned recycling policies nor the technical capabilities, and so large quantities of plastic are not recycled and enter landfill.
  • The durable properties of plastics make them persistent and slow to degrade in the environment entering the food chains.
  • It holds the potential for both bioaccumulation and biomagnification.
  • Once the microplastics enter foodchain, they carry synthetic chemical compounds such as PCBs and PAHs, which are carcinogenic.
  • Unlike POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) or chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Plastic pollution has received little attention in terms of international agreements.
  • Microplastics make up 94 percent of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch. But that only amounts to eight percent of the total tonnage

Measures needed:

  • Local actions are required for mitigating plastic pollution, using mechanisms such as bans on plastic bags, maximum daily limits for emissions into watersheds, and incentives for fishing gear retrieval.
  • Microbeads in cosmetics, daily use items must be banned globally.
  • Countries should come together to establish measurable reduction targets for plastic waste. A meaningful international agreement—one with clearly defined waste reduction targets is the need of the hour.
  • Effective policies must take into account all stages of the lifecycle of plastic—connecting producers to users and ultimately to waste managers.
  • Nonprofits like 5 Gyres are now pushing an agenda toward public awareness, corporate responsibility and the idea of a circular economy — an economy that focuses on keeping waste to a minimum while maximizing materials’ use.
  • Fossil fuel subsidies incentivise the plastic market. Hence, Countries should end fossil fuel subsidies. Annually, 4–8% of oil is used to produce raw plastic.
  • India has a major problem dealing with plastics, particularly single-use shopping bags that reach dumping sites, rivers and wetlands along with other waste.
  • The most efficient way to deal with the pollution is to control the production and distribution of plastics.
  • Banning single-use bags and making consumers pay a significant amount for the more durable ones is a feasible solution.
  • Enforcing segregation of waste will retrieve materials and greatly reduce the burden on the environment.
  • Waste separation can be achieved in partnership with the community, and presents a major employment opportunity.
  • Eco-friendly substitutes (cloth/paper/jute bags, leaves/areca leaf plates, paper straws) should be developed. For this, scientific and financial support (soft loans and subsidies) is required.

Conclusion:

Marine plastic pollution is a “planetary crisis,” and we should hope for a “Paris-style” global treaty aimed at tackling it. We cannot transform our world into a ‘plastic planet’. What is needed is collective public effort to stop plastic pollution and safeguard our ecosystem/biodiversity.