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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 JUNE 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 JUNE 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: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1) Analyse the effect of Urban traffic congestion on economic growth and quality of life of the country. (250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

A recent study has ranked Mumbai as the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, and Delhi at fourth place. Thus its important for us to analyse the effects of congestion on economic growth and quality of life of the country.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the problems posed by traffic congestion in the Indian cities.

Directive word:

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

Start with brief introduction of the context of the question.

Body

One can start by stating the recent findings – Traffic Index 2018 published by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company that offers traffic solutions and has been publishing city rankings for eight years. The latest index ranks 403 cities across 56 countries. Mumbai is the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, and Delhi is ranked at fourth place. Bogota (Colombia) is ranked at second and Lima (Peru) is ranked third.

Mumbai’s 2018 congestion level of 65%, therefore, means that the extra travel time is 65% more than an average trip would take during uncongested conditions. For Delhi, by the same yardstick, the extra travel time is 58% more.

Then move on to explain the problems posed by traffic congestion.

Explain the link between traffic congestion and economic growth, quality of life, as to how it is a key determining factor etc.

Economic  Growth: A  good  transportation system  is an important selling  point to communities

that desire to attract development that provides for employment and growth of a city. If transport

costs due to congestion increase, goods and services produced within that city tend to increase in

costs  thus losing  competitiveness  in international  markets. Efficient  transportation access  is

therefore  a very important  consideration as it  has a direct impact on  sound and sustainable

economic growth and productivity. The cost of congestion in the Western Province of Sri  Lanka

is over Rs 20,000 million per year (around 2 percent of Regional GDP). This includes the cost of

productive time and wastage of fuel.   

Quality-of-Life: To some people, congested highways are a symptom of deteriorating quality-of-

life-in a community.  The amount of time that is spent on commuting to and from work is also in

reality, time that is taken away from social interactions or pursuit of activities that have a personal

value and satisfaction.

Conclusion

Conclude with solutions to the problem.

Introduction:

In recent years, traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and deterioration of the environment because of growing population, increasing urbanization, and increasing car ownership have become serious problems in the urban areas. Mumbai was ranked as the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, while Delhi was at fourth place as part of the Traffic Index 2018 published by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company.

Body:

Traffic congestion means there are more vehicles trying to use a given road facility than it can handle- without exceeding acceptable levels of delay or inconvenience. Congestion and the associated slow urban mobility can have a huge adverse impact on both the quality of life and the economy.

Effects of the Urban traffic congestion:

Economic impacts:

  • Since the 1990s the spur in economic growth has created a huge demand for transport infrastructure and services.
  • Despite increasing level of urban mobility in Indian cities, urban transportation is becoming increasingly difficult in terms of convenience, cost and time
  • It is concerned with the monetary value of the time spent sitting in traffic.
  • Congestion in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata costs the economy Rs 1.47 lakh crore annually, according to a study conducted by a global consultancy firm.
  • Traffic congestion in Bangalore alone costs the city approximately 5% of its economic output.
  • Unaffordability of private transport and lack of proper public transit option has become a major concern, especially for the urban poor.

Quality of Life:

  • Environmental concerns like Increasing air and noise pollution.
  • In 2016, a World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that fourteen of the twenty world’s most polluted cities belonged to India.
  • According to CPCB (Central Pollution Control board), around 180 Indian cities face severe pollution concentration. In Indore, transport contributes 30 percent of PM10 but 46 percent of PM 2.5, while in Chennai it is 20 percent of PM10 and 35 percent of PM2.5. Air pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in Indian cities
  • Road accidents: India experiences 120,000 deaths per year due to traffic fatalities, more than any other country.
  • Delhi has the highest accident rate in India and third-highest in the world.
  • Blocked traffic also interferes with the passage of emergency vehicles etc.
  • Safety or the lack thereof, is the single biggest factor constraining women’s mobility. According to Action Aid UK, 79% of women in major Indian cities reported being harassed on streets.

Measures needed:

  • Better Integrated Urban Planning: Currently, urban transport policies are regulated by city municipalities in the country. At the national level, the Government of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) mandated to transform urban areas,  particularly  urban  transport
  • Promotion and integration of Public Transport: The Working  Group  on  Urban  Transport  for  12th  Plan  period  recognizes  the  important  of  public    In India, metro rail transport is already in operation in cities like New Delhi and Bangalore. The same facilities are also underway in other major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Kolkata.
  • Intelligent signalization system: instead of  using  conventional  old  signalization  we  must  go  for  automated  signalization  in  the  mega cities. Intersections are the major sources of the congestion and this system could relief a much amount of congestion
  • Strict lane management: Different lanes for different types of vehicles should be marked on the roads and law i.e. financial penalty should be imposed to make the drivers maintain the lane discipline
  • Supply and demand: Congestion can be reduced by either increasing road capacity (supply) or by reducing traffic (demand) revealed that road capacity can be increased in a number of ways such as adding more capacity over the whole of a route or at  bottlenecks,  creating  new  routes,  and  improvements  for  traffic    Reduction  of  demand  can include,  parking  restriction,  park  and  ride,  congestion  pricing,  road  space  rationing,  incentives  to  use  public transport and introduction  of  e-education,  e-shopping  and  home-based  working  options  will  reduce  the  number  of  people travelling.
  • Effective Traffic Policies like Street usage capacity, Area licensing System, Electronic Road Pricing, Quota for new vehicle system, Weekend car system etc must be implemented.

Conclusion:

There is requirement of integrated urban transport policies to reduce the congestion on urban roads. Continuous vehicle purchasing due to high income in the mega cities also should be  addressed  and  there  should  be  birth  of  new  rules  and  regulations  for  registering  a  new  vehicle  the  major urban  congested  cities  like  Delhi, Mumbai etc  State  and  city  public  transport  undertaking  need  to  be strengthened  to  attract  the  public  to  use  the  public  transport.  Introducing a rapid and efficient public transport and promoting it to a national levels leads to some relief in the major congestion problems in the urban cities. In the mega cities there is a need of strict rules of parking and uniform charges of vehicles so that no one can park their vehicles on the busy roads.


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

2) In the backdrop of recently released revised prudential framework for resolution of stressed assets, “RBI’s debt resolution rules are a mixed bag”, Critically analyse. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis of RBI’s debt resolution strategies their pros and cons.

Key demands of the question:

Answer is to analyse  how the steps taken by RBI had both merits and demerits and what needs to be done to manage the current prevailing conditions of stressed assets.

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 role played by RBI.

Body

Discuss the role of RBI in providing for a prudential framework for resolution of stressed assets.

Discuss what are the approaches carried out by RBI in the recent past.

Explain how changes are both good and not so good – timely resolution of sticky assets through mounting punitive provisions etc. take hints from the article and list down the pros and cons.

Suggest your opinion and conclude with fair and balanced conclusion.

Conclusion

Reassert the importance of key role played by the RBI.

Introduction:

Reserve Bank of India has come out with an updated guideline about resolving stressed assets on 7th June 2019. The new guideline on resolution of stressed asset is called Prudential Framework for Resolution of Stressed Assets Directions 2019. The directions have been issued in terms of the provisions of Section 35AA of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, for initiation of insolvency proceedings against specific borrowers under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

Body:

The norms issued will replace all the earlier resolution plans such as

 

  • Framework for revitalising distressed assets,
  • Corporate debt restructuring scheme,
  • Flexible structuring of existing long-term project loans,
  • Strategic debt restructuring scheme (SDR),
  • Scheme for sustainable structuring of stressed assets (S4A), and
  • Joint lenders’ forum with immediate effect.

Key highlights of new framework:

  • The new framework for resolution of bad loans, offers a 30-day gap for stress recognition instead of the one-day default earlier.
  • Lenders will have complete discretion with regard to the design and implementation of resolution plans, subject to the specified timeline and independent credit evaluation.
  • Lenders may recognise incipient stress in loan accounts, immediately on default, by classifying such assets as special mention accounts (SMA).
  • For the purpose of restructuring, the definition of ‘financial difficulty’ to be aligned with the guidelines issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision; and,
  • If multiple lenders are involved, all the lenders must enter into an inter-creditor agreement (ICA) during the review period, to provide for ground rules for the resolution plan.

Pros:

  • RBI now allows banks up to 30 days after the default to consider the future path of action, and affords them more latitude in taking defaulters to insolvency courts
  • The key change here is RBI’s carrot-and-stick approach. Lenders effectively get 30 days to negotiate with defaulters before putting in motion a 180-day resolution plan with other lenders.
  • the process of kicking off a resolution plan has also been eased with assent required from only 75% of lenders by debt value, and 60% by number, unlike earlier where all lenders had to agree to the resolution plan
  • the new circular now includes other lending agents like term-lending financial institutions (such as Exim Bank or Small Industries Development Bank of India), non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and small finance banks, which somewhat evens out the misaligned regulatory plane.
  • The focus remains on timely resolution of sticky assets through mounting punitive provisions.

Cons:

  • By not resolving a default in effectively 210 days and by not dragging defaulters to insolvency courts, banks will have to make higher and penal provisions.
  • With close to 70% of assets in the state-owned banking system, where tenured bankers have little or nil incentive to pursue resolution, the likelihood of higher provisioning acting as a disincentive is suspect.
  • Two other important credit providers remain outside the regulatory ambit: mutual funds and private equity companies, which have become large credit dispensers and, in some cases, active participants in the evergreening of non-performing assets, without necessarily investing in the requisite credit appraisal skills.
  • Mutual funds, in particular, have been caught on the wrong foot after lending against the security of pledged shares and with exposures to dodgy NBFCs.

Way forward:

  • The onus then must shift to the government which has proclaimed the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) among its key achievements.
  • The government has to ensure that large corporates do not game the system, as some of the large corporate defaulters have successfully done so far by arbitraging the asymmetric legal framework.
  • Unlike RBI, the government has the legislative remit to construct a concrete track to insolvency courts for defaulters.

Conclusion:        

The slower-than-expected progress under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) remains the key hurdle to the timely resolution of stressed assets. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) revised framework for the resolution of stressed assets is credit positive, because it brings back the focus on the need for the timely resolution of such assets, and the build-up of loan loss provisioning against those assets.


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

3) Discuss the significance of early childhood care and education. To what extent has the draft National Education Policy 2019 addressed the concerns of early childhood care and education? (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is about early childhood care and education in India. The draft National Education Policy 2019 wants early childhood education to be overseen and regulated by the HRD Ministry as part of the school system, rather than the private preschools and anganwadis. Thus it is important from exam point of view to analyse the ECCE conditions in India.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to evaluate the current conditions of ECCE scenario in India, what needs to be done with a special focus on the draft national education policy.

Directive:

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:

Begin with brief introduction on what you understand by ECCE.

Body:

One can start by appreciating the key highlights of the draft education policy with focus on aspects of ECCE –

  • Right to Education Act to cover the three years of preschool before Class 1. Thus, all Indian children could soon enter the formal education system at the age of three.
  • Early childhood education should be overseen and regulated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) as part of the school system, rather than the private pre-schools and anganwadis that currently cater to the 3-to-6 years age group.
  • It suggests a new integrated curricular framework for 3 to 8-year olds with a flexible system based on play, activity and discovery, and beginning exposure to three languages from age 3 onwards.
  • A joint task force from Health, HRD and Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry will draft “a detailed plan outlining the operational and financial implications of the integration of early childhood education with the school education system”.

Suggest the importance of having a robust policy for ECCE.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

According to UNICEF, early childhood is defined as the period from conception through eight years of age. Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing. Target 4.2 of SDG 4 aims that by 2030, to ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.

Body:

Significance of ECCE:

  • Early childhood is a time of remarkable growth with brain development at its peak.
  • During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them.
  • These years lay the foundations for her/ his learning and holistic development.
  • Children will be better prepared for primary school and will reach better education outcomes.
  • Quality ECCE also helps reduce repetition and drop-out rates.
  • Positive outcomes are even more pronounced among children from vulnerable groups.
  • It helps promote human resource development, gender equality and social cohesion, and to reduce the costs for later remedial programmes.
  • An overview of 56 studies across 23 countries found impacts on health, education, cognitive ability, and emotional development

Draft NEP and ECCE:

  • The draft National Education Policy (NEP) developed by a committee chaired by K. Kasturirangan was shared for public comment.
  • The Policy projecting an expansion of the Right to Education Act to cover the three years of preschool before Class 1.
  • It suggests a new integrated curricular framework for 3 to 8-year olds with a flexible system based on play, activity and discovery, and beginning exposure to three languages from age 3 onwards.
  • The policy aims to provide High-quality early childhood care and education for all children between the ages of three and six by 2025.
  • This will be done within schools and anganwadis, which will take care of the overall well-being of the child.
  • These institutions will also provide similar support to families for children younger than three years of age—within their homes.
  • This policy will result in a massive positive multiplier effect on society.

Challenges:

  • One of the major issues of ECCE is the unavailability of trained teachers.
  • Anganwadis are currently quite deficient in supplies and infrastructure for education.
  • As a result, they tend to contain more children in the 2-4 year age range and fewer in the educationally critical 4-6 year age range.
  • Anganwadis also have few teachers trained in or specially dedicated to early childhood education.
  • Private pre-schools often consist of formal teaching and rote memorisation with limited play-based learning.
  • A 2017 study by the Ambedkar University showed that “a significant proportion of children in India who completed pre-primary education, public or private, did not have the needed school readiness competencies when they joined primary school.

Way forward:

  • ECCE teacher training should be added as a skill gap in the list of National Skill Development Corporation to ensure that easy investment is available to produce efficient ECCE teachers.
  • Universal access to quality early childhood education is perhaps the best investment that India can make for our children’s and our nation’s future.

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

4) “India’s workforce is masculinizing rapidly”, Critically analyse the statement in the light of recently released official data on Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR).(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

Representation of women in India’s workforce is at a historic low, and even those who work toil long hours for low pay, shows latest employment survey.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate in detail the recently released official employment survey of India.

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 bring out the highlights of the survey.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects –

  • What are the concerns posed by the gender gap scenario in the employment aspect of the country?
  • over three out of four women over the age of 15 in India are neither working nor seeking work. This would imply that they are most likely running the house and taking care of children.
  • Then move on to explain the factors responsible for such a fall in working rates of women.
  • Take cues from the article, suggest data across the sectors, women of all age groups etc.
  • Suggest what needs to be done to overcome such concerns and challenges.

Conclusion –

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The recently released periodic labour force survey (PLFS) data published by the NSSO shows that India’s female Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR)—the share of working-age women who report either being employed, or being available for work—has fallen to a historic low of 23.3% in 2017-18, meaning that over three out of four women over the age of 15 in India are neither working nor seeking work.

Body:

Highlights of the report:

  • Just nine countries around the world, including Syria and Iraq, now have a fewer proportion of working women than India, new official data confirms.
  • If Bihar were a country, it would have the lowest share of working women in the world. Bihar has by far the lowest rates of female workforce participation, while the southern and eastern states do better.
  • Among urban women who do work, domestic cleaning work is the second most common profession after textile-related jobs.
  • While the LFPR for women aged 15-29 fell by eight percentage points between 2011-12 and 2017-18 to 16.4%, the LFPR for women fell by at least seven percentage points for every age bracket between 30-50 as well.
  • Among women in the prime working ages of 30-50, more than two in three women are not in the workforce, with the majority of them reporting that they are “attending to domestic duties only”
  • Muslim women have the lowest LFPR while among Hindu women, forward caste women have the lowest LFPR, implying that social norms and religious conservatism might play a role in women being “allowed” to work.
  • rural women work overwhelmingly in agriculture, which could offer a clue to understanding the falling rates of rural workforce participation. It is likely that non-farm jobs are rare, especially for women.
  • 99% of (women workers described as directors and chief executives) were self-employed, of which around one-third worked as unpaid family workers

Factors responsible for such a fall in working rates of women:

  • Maternity: Many women who join the workforce are unable to re-join after having a child.
  • The landmark legislation Maternity Benefit Act, 2017, which entitles a woman to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, is becoming a big hurdle as start-ups and SMEs have become reluctant to hire them.
  • The increased cost for companies and this may discourage them from hiring women.
  • The share of women workers in the agriculture sector dropped from 42% in 2004 -05 to 35.5% in 2011-12. This decrease in FLPR in agriculture can be attributed to increased adoption of technology in agriculture.
  • The gender pay gap was 34 per cent in India, that is, women get 34 per cent less compared to men for performing the same job with same qualifications.
  • In the organised sector, women professionals even in the highest ranks of labour (legislators, senior officials, and managers) are also paid less compared to their male counterparts. However, these women constitute only one per cent of the total female work force and the gap is lowest as they are aware of their rights.
  • Concerns about safety and Harassment at work site, both explicit and implicit.
  • According to NSSO, urban males accounted for 16% of India’s population, but held 77% of all jobs in computer-related activities in 2011-12. This shows how gender has become a discriminatory factor for certain white-collared jobs.
  • Higher Education levels of women also allow them to pursue leisure and other non-work activities, all of which reduce female labour force participation.
  • Insufficient availability of the type of jobs that women say they would like to do, such as regular part-time jobs that provide steady income and allow women to reconcile household duties with work.
  • According to the reports, about 74 per cent in rural areas and about 70 per cent in urban areas preferred ‘part time’ work on a regular basis while 21 per cent in rural areas and 25 per cent in urban areas wanted regular ‘full-time’ work.
  • Marriage is a career stopper for the majority of Indian women and this cultural abhorrence towards women working is a not-so-subtle way of ensuring that the escape routes out of a marriage are minimised, if not entirely closed
  • Social norms about household work are against women’s mobility and participation in paid work. Childbirth and taking care of elderly parents or in-laws account for the subsequent points where women drop off the employment pipeline.
  • The cultural baggage about women working outside the home is so strong that in most traditional Indian families, quitting work is a necessary precondition to the wedding itself.
  • When increases in family incomes are there, due to the cultural factors, women leave the work to take care of the family and avoid the stigma of working outside.

Way forward:

  • Non-farm job creation for women: there is a need to generate education-based jobs in rural areas in the industrial and services sectors
  • The state governments should make policies for the participation of rural women in permanent salaried jobs.
  • The governments should also generate awareness to espouse a positive attitude towards women among the public since it is one of the most important impediments in women’s participation in economic activities.
  • Local bodies, with aid from state governments, should open more crèches in towns and cities so that women with children can step out and work. The crèches will open employment opportunities for women.
  • Supply side reforms to improve infrastructure and address other constraints to job creation could enable more women to enter the labour force.
  • Higher social spending, including in education, can lead to higher female labour force participation by boosting female stocks of human capital.
  • Skilling the women:
    • Initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, and new gender-based quotas from corporate boards to the police force can spur a positive change. But we need to invest in skill training and job support.
    • The private sector could also take active part in training women entrepreneurs. For example: Unilever’s Shakti program, which has trained more than 70,000 rural women in India as micro-entrepreneurs to sell personal-care products as a way of making its brands available in rural India
  • Equal pay: The principle of equal remuneration for work of equal value that is protected by Indian law must be put to actual practice. Improved wage-transparency and gender neutral job evaluation is required to achieve this end.
  • Assuring safe access to work: It is important to improve existing transport and communication networks and provide safe accommodation for women who travel to or has migrated for work.
  • A useful and easily implementable idea would be to give income tax benefits to women. It would be a bold and effective step to increasing India’s female workforce participation.
  • For political empowerment of women, their representation in Parliament and in decision making roles in public sphere is one of the key indicators of empowerment.
  • Gig Economy provides women flexible work options to pursue their career while not missing important milestones in their family lives.
  • Drawing more women into the labour force, supplemented by structural reforms that could help create more jobs would be a source of future growth for India. Only then would India be able to reap the benefits of “demographic dividend” from its large and youthful labour force.

Conclusion:

With more than 75% women not contributing to the economy, the nation is not only losing on the economic part but also the development of 50% of our population. The numeric consequences of reducing obstacles to women’s full economic participation far exceed the demographic advantages of having a larger pool of young workers. It is thus high time to talk of the gender dividend along with the demographic dividend.


Topic: The role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders, Agriculture

5) What do you understand by agricultural development? Discuss the role played by NGOs in supporting farmers across the states for agricultural development. (250 words)

The hindubuisnessline

Why this question:

The article discuses a specific case study of How an NGO named AHIMSA has been supporting farmer-producer groups across States

Key demand of the question:

The answer must first discuss the concept of agricultural development and  analyse the role played by NGOs in agricultural development of the country.

Directive:

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 lines define the concept of agricultural development.

Body:

The answer must discuss the following:

  • What do you understand by agricultural development?
  • What way can civil societies catalyze agriculture development in India?
  • Discuss the prevalent issues and challenges facing Indian agriculture.
  • One can discuss a case study (say the case study of NGO AHIMSA) and explain how along with efforts of the government on the policy front, such multi stakeholders’ approach is crucial to the development of agrarian scenario of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Agriculture development means providing assistance to the crop producers with the help of various agricultural resources. Providing protection, assisting in the research sphere, employing latest techniques, controlling pests and facilitating diversity all fall within the purview of agriculture development.

Body:

Agriculture development includes the following:

  • Irrigation Facilities: Crop productivity depends not only on the quality of input but also on the irrigation facilities. Therefore, canals, tube wells should be constructed to provide better irrigation facilities for the security of crops. Extensive flood control measures should be adopted to prevent the devastation caused by floods.
  • Institutional Credit: To save the farmers from the clutches of moneylenders, adequate credit facilities should be made available at reasonable cheap rates in rural areas.
  • Proper Marketing Facilities: Marketing infrastructure should be widened and strengthened to help the farmers to sell their products at better prices. There should be proper arrangements for unloading of the produce in the markets.
  • Supply of Quality Inputs: The farmer in the country should be supplied with quality inputs at proper times and at controlled prices. To protect the farmers’ exploitation, effective steps are needed to be taken to check the sale of adulterated fertilizers.
  • Transport Facilities: To facilitate the farmers to produce new farm inputs and enable them to sell their product in markets, villages should be linked with mandies. It would help to raise their income which in turn stimulates the farmer’s interest to adopt better farm technology with sufficient income.
  • Agricultural Education: In a bid to guide and advise the farmers regarding the adoption of new technology arrangements should be made for agricultural education and extension services. It would assist the farmers to take proper crop-care leading to increase in crop productivity.
  • Land Reforms: It is also suggested that efforts should be made to plug the loopholes in the existing land legislations so that the surplus land may be distributed among the small and marginal farmers.
  • Development of Cottage and Small Scale Industries: In rural areas, more emphasis should be made to set up cottage and small scale industries. This will raise the income of the peasants and keep them busy during the off season.
  • Co-operative Farming: To check the sub-division and fragmentation of holding, the movement of co-operative farming should be launched. Co-operative farming would result in the adoption of modern technology on so-called big farms.

Role of NGOs in agricultural development:

As economic reform and liberalization saw the Government vacating several areas to let private sector entrepreneurship flourish and contribute to the high growth rate of the economy in recent years, a similar paradigm shift is needed to transform NGOs from their dependence on aid and grants from within and outside for transforming the rural scenario in the country.

This is sought to be achieved for the NGOs through engaging them in micro-finance, micro insurance, and micro-entrepreneurship activities for the overall development of the rural areas and to promote the welfare of the people of rural India. Some of the important roles played by NGO are:

  • Livelihood Enhancement: Contribute to livelihoods by creatively marketing “value-added” cultivated and wild agricultural biodiversity.
  • Conservation: Conserve local seed diversity, promote an increased reliance on biodiversity-based ecological agriculture, and use these as foundations for endogenous growth and development of rural communities.
  • Sustainable production: Connect the natural elements—soil, water, air, sunlight, and seed—to ensure an abundance of nutritious food and other basic community needs.
  • Training farmers: Enhancing the Ability of Farmers to Perform Task by Providing Ample Knowledge about various tasks.
  • Create a gender-sensitive environment that enhances women’s leadership skills.
  • Skill development: Working On Skill Development to Empower Farmers With New Skills
  • Digital marketing of produce: To help farmers by Showing the Right Channel of Market and Contacting Digitally.
  • Creating awareness: Taking active role in Creating awareness On Different Government Schemes & Techniques for Helping Farmers
  • Continue to nurture community participation and assist in building robust community institutions like SHGs, FPOs, Co-operative societies etc.
  • NGOs have also developed innovative dissemination methods, relying on farmer-to-farmer contact, whether on a group or individual basis
  • NGOs’ rapport with farmers has allowed them to draw on local knowledge systems in the design of technology options and to strengthen such systems by ensuring that the technologies developed are reintegrated into them

A host of NGO’s across the globe are involved in the above tasks for agricultural development. In the Indian context, few of the notable NGOs are DHAN, NERD, MYRADA, National Agro Foundation, REPCO Foundation for Micro Credit, SEVA etc.

Some of the major initiatives taken up by the NGOs are Watershed development program, Vermi-composting, Bio-fertilizer production training, Micro-finances, Agricultural Co-operatives, Farm Produce Organizations, Extension services etc.

Conclusion:        

Agriculture development should be such that it brings about a revolution in the agriculture industry to give birth to an agriculture which is profit giving and at the same time eco friendly.


Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6)AI-driven technology will become counterproductive if a legal framework is not devised to regulate it. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail how AI-driven technology will become counterproductive if a legal framework is not devised to regulate it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss as to how if AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications. One has to explain the nuances of the law to regulate the use of AI.

Directive:

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 discuss the issues and concerns around using AI.

Body:

In brief discuss what are the possible challenges that could be posed by AI in the absence of proper regulations. Explain predicting and analyzing legal issues and their solutions, however, is not that simple.

Suggest what should be the way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what more needs to be done.

Introduction:

Artificial Intelligence is a way of making a computer or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think. AI is associated with superlative memory, calculative power, decision-making capacity, high speeds of action. AI is wholly based on data generated and gathered from various sources and has lot of chances to be in conflict with law. Our laws will eventually need to be amended or new laws for artificial intelligence technologies and processes will need to be adopted to fill up existing lacunae.

Body:

Recent AI developments in India:  the various instances below symbolise the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in everyday lives of human beings.

  • Kerala police inducted a robot for police work.
  • Around the same time, Chennai got its second robot-themed restaurant.
  • Here, robots not only serve as waiters but also interact with customers in English and Tamil.
  • In Ahmedabad, a cardiologist performed the world’s first in-human tele-robotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.

AI and Legal framework:

  • AI systems have the capability to learn from experience and to perform autonomously for humans.
  • This also makes AI the most disruptive and self-transformative technology of the 21st century.
  • So, if AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications.
  • g. the consequence if electricity supply suddenly stops while a robot is performing a surgery and access to a doctor is lost
  • These questions have already confronted courts in the U.S. and Germany.
  • No comprehensive legislation to regulate this growing industry has been formulated in India till date.
  • All countries, including India, need to be legally prepared to face such kind of disruptive technology.
  • AI is growing multi-fold and we still do not know all the advantages or pitfalls associated with it which is why it is of utmost importance to have a two-layered protection model: one, technological regulators; and two, laws to control AI actions as well as for accountability of errors.

Challenges to AI legal framework:

  • Predicting and analysing legal issues in regards with AI use and their solutions are not that simple.
  • g. an AI-based driverless car getting into an accident that causes harm to humans or damages property
  • In such cases, criminal law may face drastic challenges as the party to be held liable is disputable.
  • Legal personhood is inherently linked to individual autonomy but has not been granted exclusively to humans. No law currently in force recognises AI as a legal person.
  • Another concern is the ability of an AI to execute and be bound by contracts. While international laws have recognised self-enforcing contracts, there is a need for a comprehensive legislation on the subject.
  • Under Indian law only a “legal person” can be competent to enter a valid contract. The general rule thus far has been that an AI may not qualify as a legal person. Hence, a contract entered into by an AI of its own volition may not be regarded as a valid contract in India.
  • Another issue that arises is attributing liability to an AI. The general rule has been that since an AI cannot qualify as a legal person, it cannot be held liable in its own capacity.

Way Forward:

  • The first need is to have a legal definition of AI in place.
  • It is essential to establish the legal personality of AI which means AI will have a bundle of rights and obligations, in the context of India’s criminal law jurisprudence.
  • Since AI is considered to be inanimate, a liability scheme that holds the producer or manufacturer of the product liable for harm must be considered.
  • Moreover, since privacy is a fundamental right, certain rules to regulate the usage of data possessed by an AI entity should be framed.
  • This should be a part of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.

Conclusion:        

The present debate about AI is between human redundancy and evolution of technology. Either way, the reality is that AI has entered the market and, pros and cons aside, the need of the hour is to estimate the problems and have solutions to deal with them in advance.

Extra information:

Case study: Let’s take the example of AI in the form of personalised chatbots. Chatbots are chat-based interfaces which pop up on websites with which customers can interact. These chatbots can either follow a scripted text or through machine learning (ML) and increased interaction deviate from the standard questions to provide a more human-like interaction. In the course of communicating with the chatbot, if a person were to divulge sensitive personal information for any reason whatsoever, what happens to this data?

Disclosure of sensitive personal information in the digital space would fall with the purview of the IT (Reasonable Security Practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011.

So in the case of an ML chatbot which does not work as per a scripted text and has collected sensitive personal information, who is responsible if Rule 5(3) is breached? The most obvious answer would be the business unit/company because the rules in the 2011 Rules state that “The body corporate or any person who on behalf of the body corporate…” collects information. However, could the business possibly avoid liability by claiming that it was not aware that the chatbot, due to its AI ability of machine learning, had collected sensitive and personal information?

We do not have any clear provisions for advanced chatbots which do not work on a scripted text. With the lack of a clear provision in the law, accountability may take a hit. Additionally, what happens if an AI robot is given citizenship in India? Who is responsible for their actions? Or in case of autonomous car accidents, who is responsible for damage to property or harm caused or death of a person?


Topic:Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7) Do you think politics and ethics are interwoven into the science of moral duty and are inseparable? Give your opinion with suitable justifications.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question intends to discuss the concept of utilitarianism.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the interrelationship between politics and ethics.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines appreciate the dependence of politics and ethics on each other.

Body:

Utilitarianism is a philosophic conception of politics and ethics. For the Utilitarian, politics and ethics are interwoven into the science of moral duty; in other words, political philosophy and ethics are inseparable. A political action is valuable only insofar as it keeps in mind the ethical good of the people with which it is concerned; consequently, the welfare of the people in general was the supreme consideration of the Utilitarian philosopher.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of ethics.

Introduction:

Ethics is a dimension that is inseparable from the daily life of men and women. Ethics and politics are complex concepts, and there is a close relationship between them. Politics has become an integral part of our lives. With the majority of the nation’s turning into a democracy, the number of politicians has increased to a large extent, along with their influence in our daily lives

Body:

Utilitarianism is a philosophic conception of politics and ethics. For the Utilitarian, politics and ethics are interwoven into the science of moral duty; in other words, political philosophy and ethics are inseparable.

A political action is valuable only insofar as it keeps in mind the ethical good of the people with which it is concerned; consequently, the welfare of the people in general was the supreme consideration of the Utilitarian philosopher.

For Aristotle, and for most subsequent thinkers about politics, political thinking is grounded in ethical thinking. Our assumptions and beliefs about politics or individual policies are inseparable from our ethical principles, and political debate necessarily requires ethical debate.

When people have ethics, it means they have good morals and try to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. A person’s politics reflect their ethics, politician or not.

But the discussion of ethics is increasingly absent in contemporary political discourse. Politics is constructed as a sphere autonomous of ethics, and ethical concerns are often dismissed altogether. The dismissal of ethics takes many forms: from an emphasis on feasibility or practicality, to a narrow focus on supposedly value-neutral ends such as progress or security, to the belief that politics is ultimately about the winning and holding of power. 

Ethics have further been overlooked within nations themselves. Political leaders and governments have often used immoral methods as tools of power grabbing and establishing their dominance in the country. The military misadventures of Pakistan are a prime example of politicians throwing ethical standards into the drain. Entire generations have been also wiped out in the African nations.

Conclusion:        

To bring about this welfare, two courses of action must be pursued simultaneously: first, all hindrances to the betterment of the people must be removed; second, ideas and laws which will induce the betterment of the people must be promulgated. To accomplish these two outcomes there is needed, obviously, an adequate knowledge of human nature.