Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 NOVEMBER 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: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

1) Critically Analyse the effect that implementation of National Rural Livelihoods Mission would have on transforming lives of women in the country. (250 words)

Financial express

Why this question:

The article explains how National Rural Livelihoods Mission can help in transforming women’s lives.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the aspects of National Rural Livelihoods Mission in general and explain the impact that it can have on the lives of the women in the country.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by highlighting that the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), implemented by the ministry of rural development with financial support from the World Bank, promotes SHGs amongst poor rural women.

Body:

Explain the key features of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).

Highlight the issues and challenges associated with women livelihood in India.

Explain how the NRLM attempts to address these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the overall impact of the programme.

 

Introduction:

The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), implemented by the ministry of rural development with financial support from the World Bank, promotes SHGs amongst poor rural women.

 

NRLM Mission:

“To reduce poverty by enabling the poor households to access gainful self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities, resulting in appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis, through building strong grassroots institutions of the poor.”

 

NRLM – Guiding Principles

  • Poor have a strong desire to come out of poverty, and they have innate capabilities
  • Social mobilization and building strong institutions of the poor is critical for unleashing the innate capabilities of the poor.
  • An external dedicated and sensitive support structure is required to induce the social mobilization, institution building and empowerment process.
  • Facilitating knowledge dissemination, skill building, access to credit, access to marketing, and access to other livelihoods services underpins this upward mobility.

 

NRLM Values

The core values which guide all the activities under NRLM are as follows:

  • Inclusion of the poorest, and meaningful role to the poorest in all the processes
  • Transparency and accountability of all processes and institutions
  • Ownership and key role of the poor and their institutions in all stages – planning, implementation, and, monitoring
  • Community self-reliance and self-dependence.

 

Key Features:

  • Universal Social Mobilization – At least one-woman member from each identified rural poor household, is to be brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time bound manner. Special emphasis is particularly on vulnerable communities such as manual scavengers, victims of human trafficking, Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and bonded labour. NRLM has devised special strategies to reach out to these communities and help them graduate out of poverty.
  • Participatory Identification of Poor (PIP) – The inclusion of the target group under NRLM is determined by a well-defined, transparent and equitable process of participatory identification of poor, at the level of the community.
  • Community Funds as Resources in Perpetuity – NRLM provides Revolving Fund (RF) and Community Investment Fund (CIF) as resources in perpetuity to the institutions of the poor, to strengthen their institutional and financial management capacity and build their track record to attract mainstream bank finance.
  • Financial Inclusion – NRLM works on both demand and supply sides of financial inclusion. On the demand side, it promotes financial literacy among the poor and provides catalytic capital to the SHGs and their federations.
  • Livelihoods – NRLM focuses on stabilizing and promoting existing livelihood portfolio of the poor through its three pillars – ‘vulnerability reduction’ and ‘livelihoods enhancement’ through deepening/enhancing and expanding existing livelihoods options and tapping new opportunities in farm and non-farm sectors; ‘employment’ – building skills for the job market outside; and ‘enterprises’ – nurturing self-employed and entrepreneurs (for micro-enterprises).

 

 

Women livelihood in India:

  • Work-related wage discrimination is prevalent in agricultural and non-agricultural activities undertaken by men and women in rural India.
  • The data from Demographic and Health Surveys spanning the period 2005-06 to 2015-16 reveal improvements in women’s agency along some dimensions, India lags behind other countries at a similar level of development in indicators such as acceptance of wife beating, son preference, employment, and women’s control of their own earnings.
  • It is evident that economic growth hasn’t been matched by social progress that ensures the rights and liberties of at least half of its citizenry.
  • According to the latest census figures, workforce participation rate of rural women is only 30% compared to 53% for rural males.
  • Another fundamental feature of women in rural India is their low human capital.
  • On 58% of the rural women are literate compared to 77% of rural men.

 

How National Rural Livelihoods Mission can help in transforming women’s lives:

  • NRLM (National Rural Livelihoods Mission) is the biggest programme for women empowerment in India.
  • At present there are 3 crore women, who are members of Self Help Groups, SHGs and in the next 5 to 7 years, seven crore women households will be covered under it.
  • The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), implemented by the ministry of rural development with financial support from the World Bank, promotes SHGs amongst poor rural women.
  • These groups require women to save small amounts ranging from Rs 10-20 every week, supporting internal loans to group members.
  • However, small savings and loans can have only a limited impact on the extreme poverty of these women, many of who live in mud houses without access to running water, and on very low incomes.
  • Through support for a federated structure of community institutions, the NRLM attempts to address these seemingly insurmountable challenges.
  • NRLM also explicitly addresses the capabilities of rural women. In each village, “active women,” with higher levels of schooling and leadership potential, are identified and trained with the set of skills required to ensure the sustainability of SHGs—skills such as book-keeping, social and group management skills, business management, and financial literacy, that many of us take for granted.
  • This federated structure of institutions of the poor bridges caste and geographical divides, bringing together women to confront social conflicts.
  • The biggest change, one universally noted by women in villages across India, from Bihar to Rajasthan, is in attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and knowledge.
  • women who have previously never worked outside their homes, have never stepped outside their village without a male companion, and whose lives have been dictated and determined by decisions made by male relatives, take control of their lives.
  • The data from the ministry’s Management Information System (MIS) suggest that approximately half (63%) of target households (those meeting at least one of seven deprivation criteria as per the Socio-economic Caste Census of 2011) are members of SHGs supported by the Mission.
  • This relatively low percentage reflects variation across states in the year in which the programme was started. The percentage is significantly higher in states such as Bihar and Jharkhand (93% in both) where the programme started early, and lower in late-starting states such as Uttar Pradesh (15%)
  • SHGs in the country have been federated at the level of the village organization, 74% report having received basic training by members, and 79% adhere to a set of five principles, or “Panchsutras” (regular meetings, savings, internal lending, repayment and maintenance of books of account), that testify to their quality.

 

Conclusion:

Our ability to significantly redress age-old problems of discrimination against women, and enhance their welfare requires societal changes in norms and cultures; India’s experience shows that high rates of economic growth, by themselves, are insufficient to ensure such changes. It remains to be seen whether the visible improvements in civic society, engendered by the programme in some regions, translate to nation-wide changes. Our challenge is to ensure that they do.

 


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

2) With marketable surrogacy partaking much acceptance in India, it is obvious that, a ban would only push the industry underground. Critically analyse while discussing the issues associated with the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, has been referred to a select committee of the Upper House, after several MPs raised concerns over several provisions of the legislation, including making it mandatory for a surrogate to be a close relative.

Key demand of the question:

One must critically analyse the consequences of a blanket ban on the commercial surrogacy and the flaws that are witnessed in the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief define what surrogacy is and the context of commercial surrogacy in India.

Body:

First discuss the key features of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019.

Present a detailed analysis of the same; The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice in which a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention of handing over the child after birth to the intending couple. 

The Bill bans commercial surrogacy, but it does allow altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy does not involve monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the course of the pregnancy. Commercial surrogacy is surrogacy or such related procedures undertaken for a monetary reward or benefit (in cash or in kind) apart from the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage etc.

Discuss the associated concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the regulation tries to put an end to some of the problems related to surrogacy. However, concerns remain that due to these regulations a black market might be created of willing women who may not have received approval from any appropriate authority.

 

Introduction:

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, was referred to a select committee of the Upper House recently, after several MPs raised concerns over several provisions of the legislation, including making it mandatory for a surrogate to be a close relative.

 

The Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha in the previous session, was moved by Health Minister. Minister said in the absence of regulations, India had emerged as a hub of commercial surrogacy for couples from abroad. He had urged the House to pass the Bill, saying it had been sent to a Standing Committee.

 

Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.

 

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019:

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019. The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.

  • Regulation of surrogacy: The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.  Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
  • Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted: Surrogacy is permitted when it is: (i) for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility; (ii) altruistic; (iii) not for commercial purposes; (iv) not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation; and (v) for any condition or disease specified through regulations.
  • Eligibility criteria for intending couple: The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
  • Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother: To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be: (i) a close relative of the intending couple; (ii) a married woman having a child of her own; (iii) 25 to 35 years old; (iv) a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and (v) possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy. Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.
  • Appropriate authority: The central and state governments shall appoint one or more appropriate authorities within 90 days of the Bill becoming an Act. The functions of the appropriate authority include; (i) granting, suspending or cancelling registration of surrogacy clinics; (ii) enforcing standards for surrogacy clinics; (iii) investigating and taking action against breach of the provisions of the Bill; (iv) recommending modifications to the rules and regulations.
  • Registration of surrogacy clinics: Surrogacy clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority. Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.
  • National and State Surrogacy Boards: The central and the state governments shall constitute the National Surrogacy Board (NSB) and the State Surrogacy Boards (SSB), respectively. Functions of the NSB include, (i) advising the central government on policy matters relating to surrogacy; (ii) laying down the code of conduct of surrogacy clinics; and (iii) supervising the functioning of SSBs.
  • Parentage and abortion of surrogate child: A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple. An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorisation of the appropriate authority.  This authorisation must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.  Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.
  • Offences and penalties: The offences under the Bill include: (i) undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy; (ii) exploiting the surrogate mother; (iii) abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child; and (iv) selling or importing human embryo or gametes for surrogacy. The penalty for such offences is imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.  The Bill specifies a range of offences and penalties for other contraventions of the provisions of the Bill.

 

Missing Provisions:

  • The basic principle in any criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence – ‘Innocent until proven guilty’. Here, however, this has been reverted – ‘Guilty until proven innocent’.
  • There’s no provision for the financial support/insurance of the baby if the intending couple divorces, or one of them dies, during the process of surrogacy.
  • There’s also no provision for the right to privacy for the surrogate mother, even after it has been declared to be a fundamental one.
  • The Bill doesn’t have any provision for the prohibition of sex-selective surrogacy. No

 

Associated concerns:

The basic argument of this Bill in completely banning commercial surrogacy and only allowing altruistic surrogacy is wrong. It has a good intention, but is badly executed. Completely banning commercial surrogacy by the government will not work as it will:

  • Remove a stable income source for women who are engaged in commercial surrogacy.
  • Not reward the laborious process of reproduction.
  • Engage in and lead to the paternalistic thinking that almost all women do not know what is right for them.
  • Create a black market for commercial surrogacy, much like the one for human organs.
  • Drive women who want to be surrogates towards crimes such as prostitution or theft.
  • Go against the right to personal liberty as well as the right to make reproductive choices.

 

Way forward:

  • Banning of commercial surrogacy is based on preventing the exploitation of women. It’s a good motive – however, a lot of activities can be exploited even if they are heavily regulated. Still, the fear that it can be abused should not deter the government from regulating it.
  • They should also ensure that the women who genuinely help couples while also struggling for a livelihood are compensated fairly.
  • It should also be evaluated if they are using that money for good, perhaps, to start better lives.
  • Mandatory psychological counselling of surrogates was also mentioned. Just like the adoption procedures in developed countries, it would be administered by the state properly. This is perhaps a bit idealistic, but this is definitely geared towards regulation and will be better than the blanket ban this Bill intends to set up.

 

Conclusion:

Despite all this, if the government does not see a need to improve this Bill, especially in light of the scathing report of the Committee, then it will be a huge setback in curbing the exploitation of surrogate mothers or in easing the procedure of surrogacy for genuine couples. The government should start by examining the basic premise of the Bill, and remove the ban on commercial surrogacy. Instead, it should regulate it (as the title of the Bill mentions) and also compensate surrogate mothers. It must also issue clarifications on time frames and insert unambiguous provisions so that no flimsy interpretation or loophole can be used.


Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3) The legality and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and their clienteles, the microfinance outfits, need systematic assessment and scrutiny for the sustained success of the concept. Discuss.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the issues with SHGs and microfinance in the country and the need to reform the available mechanisms for their better performance.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the present status of the legality and accountability of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the country and the need for reforms in this sector.

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 short discuss the concept of self-help groups.

Body:

One must first discuss the significance that SHGs and micro finance units have in the country.

Explain the mechanisms that are currently regulating this sector.

Discuss the present issues with microfinance and SHGs.

Discuss the significance of legality and accountability required to refine the concept and its impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

A self-help group (SHG) is a village-based financial intermediary committee normally consist of 10–20 local women or men.  When the formal financial system fails to help the needy, then small groups volunteer to cater to the needs of the financially weak by collecting, saving and lending the money on a micro scale.  SHGs have gained wide recognition in most developing countries in Asia where their presence is quite pervasive.

 

SHG Movement in India:

  • The concept evolved over decades and was pioneered by Noble laureate Mohammad Yunus as Self Help Groups (SHGs) in 1970s.
  • SHG movement in India gained momentum after 1992, when NABARD realized its potential and started promoting it.
  • NABARD’s SHG-Bank Linkage Program (SBLP) connected group members to formal financial services.
  • Over the last two decades, the SBLP has proven to be a great medium for social and economic empowerment for rural women.
  • India has witnessed state-led promotion of SHGs through a three-tiered architecture of community institutions at group, village and cluster le
  • In 1999, Government of India, introduced Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarojgaar Yojana (SGSY) to promote self-employment in rural areas through formation and skilling of SHGs.
  • The programme evolved as a national movement in 2011 and became National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).

 

Microfinance through Self-Help Groups and Financial Inclusion:

  • Microfinance through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) has established itself as a reliable strategy for ensuring the outreach of a variety of benefits for the poor in the country, with a focus on poor women.
  • Different models of savings mobilization and credit delivery tried out in various regions are presented in this paper.
  • The present classification is in terms of SHG-Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP) model and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)-Bank Linkage (MFIBL) model.

 

Advantages of financing through SHGs:

  • An economically poor individual gains strength as part of a group.
  • Besides, financing through SHGs reduces transaction costs for both lenders and borrowers.
  • While lenders have to handle only a triple SHG account instead of a large number of small-sized individual accounts, borrowers as part of an SHG minimize expenses on travel (to and from the branch and other places) for completing paper work and on the loss of workdays in canvassing for loans.
  • Where successful, SHGs have significantly empowered poor people, especially women, in rural areas.
  • SHGs have helped immensely in reducing the influence of informal lenders in rural areas.
  • Many big corporate houses are also promoting SHGs at many places in India.
  • SHGs help borrowers overcome the problem of lack of collateral. Women can discuss their problem and find solutions for it.

 

Need for regulations:

  • A few studies conducted on federations indicate that federations create economies of scale, reduce promotional and transaction costs, enable provision of value added services and increase empowerment of the poor.
  • APMAS study (SHG federations in India 2007) also reveals that the SHG federation model could travel to a degree of extending credit services to promotion of sustainable livelihood initiatives with the help of donors, formal financial institutions and also by making use of their own funds.
  • Considering the level of sophistication required, federations could facilitate linkages with livelihood promotion organizations or promote new subsidiary organizations.
  • Promotion of livelihoods relies on institutionalization process with appropriate internal systems, standards, controlling mechanisms, legal entity to do business activities, internal governance and transparency.
  • To promote these aspects, federations require strong self-regulation and supervision system. Providing reliable information about the performance of the SHGs and SHG federations, facilitating proper management and reducing risk are main pillars of self-regulation.

 

Way forward:

The overall objective of self-regulation for SHGs and SHG federations is to ensure that SHG members set their own agenda and manage and control the processes, so that the SHG system successfully and sustainably works for the benefit of SHG members. The focus of the self-regulation is on building capacities of SHG members and their representatives at various levels in the following key aspects to achieve the self-regulation objectives. Those are:

  • Adequate norms and standards (external and internal)
  • Approved common bookkeeping and accounting
  • Effective internal control of management and risks
  • Sector-wide reporting, monitoring and rating (off-site sector control)
  • Compulsory cooperative audit
  • Follow-up activities
  • Institutional protection, deposit insurance
  • Linkage to the financial regulator for regulatory and supervisory duties.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

4) Although in India, Governor of the state is Constitutional head like President he may have more rights, do you agree? Give reasons. (250 words)

 Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is amidst the recent controversies around the government formation in the State of Maharashtra and the role played by the Governor.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss and provide for a critical analysis as to in what way role of the Governor outweighs the role of president who is the head of the state.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define the constitutional positions of the president and the Governor.

Body:

Explain with suitable examples in what way Governor of the state has more rights at times compared to the president.

Justify your stand with recent examples.

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

 

Introduction:

Recently President Ram Nath Kovind has approved a proclamation imposing President’s Rule in Maharashtra under Article 356(1) of the Constitution, following a recommendation from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

 

What’s the issue in Maharashtra?

In the recent elections to the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the BJP got 105 seats, the Shiv Sena got 56, NCP 54 and the Congress 44 seats. Although the BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the election as an alliance, after the results, the alliance fell apart on the issue of who will be the chief minister. No single party got a majority in the House, and no alliance could be formed claiming a majority. Hence the governor of the state recommended President’s Rule, which was imposed.

 

Discretional powers of Governor more than president: –

 

Duality of the powers: –

  • Governors enjoy more discretion than President because of duality of functions they have to perform. He is given higher discretionary powers, for proper functioning of the Constitution.
  • He has prima facie discretion in deciding whether a proposed law by a State is violative of the Constitution. He also has greater discretion with regard to dissolution of Legislative Assembly when it does not function according to the Constitution.

 

Constitution provision itself: –

  • Discretionary powers of Governor in state are much more extensive in comparison to the President in centre in India. For example, Article 163 of the constitution says that there shall be a Council of Ministers in the states with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in exercise his functions, except those which are required to be done by the Governor on his/ her discretion.
  • The constitution further mentions that if any question arises whether a matter falls within the Governor’s discretion or not, decision of the Governor shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion. Moreover, what advice was tendered by the Governor to the Ministry cannot be inquired into a court.

 

Some discretionary powers are as follows: –

  • Governor can dissolve the legislative assembly if the chief minister advices him to do following a vote of no confidence. Now, it is up to the Governor what he/ she would like to do.
  • Governor, on his/ her discretion can recommend the president about the failure of the constitutional machinery in the state.
  • On his/ her discretion, the Governor can reserve a bill passed by the state legislature for president’s assent.
  • If there is no political party with a clear cut majority in the assembly, Governor on his/ her discretion can appoint anybody as chief minister.
  • Governor determines the amount payable by the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to an autonomous Tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mineral exploration.
  • Governor can seek information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.
  • Governor has discretion to refuse to sign to an ordinary bill passed by the state legislature.
  • Thus, though the Governor is made the constitutional head of a state like president of India, yet there is a thin line as the Constitution empowers the Governor to act without the advice of the Chief Minister and his council and can use discretion on certain matters.

 

Similarities:-

  • Both the President and Governor have the status of Constitutional Heads.
  • All executive decisions are taken in their name but actual power is exercised by Council of Ministers
  • All ordinary / money bills passed must get their assent before they become an act.
  • Both of them have powers to promulgate ordinances.
  • All Money bills can be introduced with prior recommendation of President in the Lok Sabha and Governor in the state legislature.
  • Both have clemency powers.

 

Conclusion:

As envisaged in the Indian constitution in a federal constitutional division of power between centre and real power vests in council of ministers president and governor are only ceremonial heads of state. Real power lies with elected government headed by PM and CM.

 


 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.

5) The importance of Indigenous traditional knowledge can be applied to urban environments for sustainable ecosystem and future building structures. Elucidate.(250 words) 

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article brings out a recent research that has investigated the jing kieng jri or living root bridges structures and proposed to integrate them in modern architecture around the world, and potentially help make cities more environment-friendly.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the significance that Indigenous traditional knowledge holds in ensuring sustainable ecosystem and future building structures.

Directive:

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: 

In brief discuss the importance of traditional techniques, knowledge and practices.

Body:

Explain in detail with suitable examples across the country how traditional indigenous techniques can help and aid in forming a sustainable and viable ecosystem.

Take hints from the article and present the case of Meghalaya’s root bridges built by the local tribes and in what way they are an amusement of traditional knowledge and technique. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such knowledge.

 

Introduction:

Traditional knowledge (TK) refers to the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities around the world. Developed from experience gained over the centuries and adapted to the local culture and environment, traditional knowledge is transmitted orally from generation to generation. It tends to be collectively owned and takes the form of stories, songs, folklore, proverbs, cultural values, beliefs, rituals, community laws, local language, and agricultural practices, including the development of plant species and animal breeds.

 

The significance of traditional knowledge:

  • Traditional knowledge (TK) is integral to the identity of most local communities. It is a key constituent of a community’s social and physical environment and, as such, its preservation is of paramount importance.
  • Attempts to exploit TK for industrial or commercial benefit can lead to its misappropriation and can prejudice the interests of its rightful custodians.
  • In the face of such risks, there is a need to develop ways and means to protect and nurture TK for sustainable development in line with the interests of TK holders.
  • The preservation, protection and promotion of the TK-based innovations and practices of local communities are particularly important for developing countries.
  • Their rich endowment of TK and biodiversity plays a critical role in their health care, food security, culture, religion, identity, environment, trade and development. Yet, this valuable asset is under threat in many parts of the world.
  • There are concerns that this knowledge is being used and patented by third parties without the prior informed consent of TK holders and that few, if any, of the derived benefits are shared with the communities in which this knowledge originated and exists.
  • Such concerns have pushed TK to the forefront of the international agenda, triggering lively debate about ways to preserve, protect, further develop and sustainably use TK.
  • Documenting and digitizing TK-related information in the form of a TKDL is proving to be an effective means of preserving TK and of preventing its misappropriation by third parties. India is a pioneer in this field.

 

 

 

Examples for Indigenous traditional knowledge practices:

  • Traditional Water harvesting practices: There are many age-old-practices of harvesting water in the country, basically to collect rainwater, restore surface flow of water, ground water recharging, etc. These are based on simple technology and defined management principles
  • Traditional Housing – a reflection of STI: Usually these are called Vernacular Architecture, which is an architectural style and design based on local needs, availability of construction materials and reflecting local traditions. Originally, vernacular architecture relied on the design skills and tradition of local builders/ skilled labours
  • Traditional agricultural practices: In many areas of the country, traditional agricultural practices are still considered important. These practices are followed in selection of crop varieties, land selection, land preparation, soil fertility management, pest and disease management, irrigation, harvesting, post-harvest management, seed preservation, etc.
  • Weather Forecasting/ Prediction: There are many methods of weather prediction practiced by the farmers in different parts of the country. For example, farmers in Himachal Pradesh believe that if the honeybee flies toward northern hill there will be no rainfall, if they fly towards south there will be good rainfall.
  • Traditional practices in animal husbandry: Traditional knowledge regarding animal husbandry can be considered as old as domestication of various livestock species. But these practices are in vogue throughout rural India and those are documented little and hence, there are possibilities of eroding out of these knowledge systems. For example, traditional practice of the feeding includes crop residues like straw, stalks, stoves, tops and crop thrush like wheat, paddy straw, etc as well as crop by-products that includes Bran, Husk, straw of Wheat, Rice, Bajra and Maize.

Indigenous traditional knowledge holds in ensuring sustainable ecosystem and future building structures:

  • New research investigates the jing kieng jri or living root bridges structures and proposes to integrate them in modern architecture around the world, and potentially help make cities more environment-friendly.
  • Researchers from Germany investigated 77 bridges over three expeditions in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya during 2015, 2016 and 2017. Taking into account structural properties, history and maintenance, morphology and ecological significance, the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that the bridges can be considered a reference point for future botanical architecture projects in urban contexts.
  • The findings relating to the traditional techniques of the Khasi people can promote the further development of modern architecture
  • they are “not planning to create new living bridges for contemporary cities” right away, the researchers believe this extraordinary building technique can help facilitate “better adaptation to the impacts of climate change”.
  • We can see a great potential to use these techniques to develop new forms of urban green in dense cities,”
  • By understanding the growth history, we can learn how long the bridge has taken to grow to its current state and from there design future growth or repairs, or growth of other bridges,”
  • A root bridge uses traditional tribal knowledge to train roots of the Indian rubber tree, found in abundance in the area, to grow laterally across a stream bed, resulting in a living bridge of roots.
  • The process begins with placing of young pliable aerial roots growing from Ficus elastica (India rubber) trees in hollowed out Areca catechu or native bamboo trunks.
  • These provide essential nutrition and protection from the weather, and also perform as aerial root guidance systems.
  • Over time, as the aerial roots increase in strength and thickness, the Areca catechu or native bamboo trunks are no longer required.
  • What is crucial for a root bridge to survive is the development of an ecosystem around it. “Specifically the entire biology, the entire ecosystem, and the relationship between the people and the plants, which have, over the centuries, kept it going,”
  • Architectural structures made of Ficus elastica plants — is sound in urban environments. This is because of the robustness of the plant itself,”
  • Traditional knowledge systems are today being gradually replaced with modern lifestyle preferences and unsustainable development practices. For instance, traditional architecture is fast becoming extinct due to the emergence of concrete structures; hydraulic technologies are being replaced by a network of pipes and hand pumps; traditional medicinal systems have given way to allopathic treatment; and, traditional metallurgy has been wiped out by non-stick cookware.

 

Way forward:

  • To ensure that indigenous and local communities obtain a fair and equitable share of the benefits arising from the use and application of their traditional knowledge;
  • To ensure that private and public institutions interested in using such knowledge obtain the prior informed approval of indigenous and local communities;
  • To regulate how impact assessments are carried out regarding any proposed development on sacred sites or on land and waters occupied or used by indigenous and local communities; and
  • To assist Governments in the development of legislation or other mechanisms to ensure that traditional knowledge, and its wider applications, is respected, preserved, and maintained.

 


Topic:  Probity in governance

7) What do you understand by probity in governance? Do you think lack of probity in governance is the weakest link in our quest for prosperity and equity? Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of probity.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the concept of probity and present opinion about the statement and justify it with suitable examples.

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 brief discuss the meaning of probity in governance.

Body:

First explain that Probity is the act of strict adherence to highest principles and ideals (integrity, good character, honesty, decency). It stands for extreme adherence to honesty in fiduciary and legal matters. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals.

Explain your opinion about the statement and justify it with suitable examples.

Discuss the features of probity.

Conclusion:

Conclude with measures that can assure probity through policy making.

 

Introduction:

Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals

 

Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. The principles of probity, ethics and good governance operate on many levels – from, the individual, to the organization and on to the ‘watch-dog’.

 

 

Probity principles

There are several generally accepted probity concepts that serve to preserve the integrity of a system. These are:

  • Transparency: It is sizeable that the procedure is transparent to the most volume feasible so that each one stakeholder can have faith within the consequences. Transparent, open techniques additionally decline the possibility for, and the threat of, corruption, and fraud.
  • Accountability: It is the responsibility with a view to give an explanation for or account for the manner duties were achieved. The government has to have appropriate mechanisms in the area to expose that they may be liable for their practices and decisions.
  • Confidentiality: Being employed, all public servants or other employees under a general responsibility of confidentiality to their corporation. Accordingly, it is not vital for participants of the Government Project Team who are public servants to execute a confidentiality project in terms of the mission. Moreover, all Government advisors, servants, members and some other third party that is aware of commercially sensitive statistics ought to ensure a proper venture to Government that they’ll preserve this information confidential.
  • Conflict of interest: This is wherein the general public responsibility and private interests of a Board or staff member can be in conflict which results in their personal interest unreliably influencing their duties and needs. Stakeholders have the authority to count on that Board and staff contributors will best make selections in the best interest of the organization.
  • Impartiality: People and companies interacting with an employer are predicted to be independent at every level of the method. If they do no longer trust the process is accurate or fair or unbiased, it may harm the popularity of the enterprise.

 

The importance and relevance of probity:

 

Individual level:

  • For individuals, probity is about understanding the limits of their authority and powers and acting within those limits.
  • Public servants need to be conscious at all times of the need to uphold the highest standards of conduct in their dealings on the government’s behalf, which includes acting with integrity and avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • Having a conflict of interest is not morally wrong or unethical in itself. The challenge is in recognizing and managing them.
  • Public servants should also be aware of the need to avoid any perception of bias in their dealings. This requires an open mind in decision-making and acting fairly and impartially in good faith.

 

Organizational level:

  • For organizations, probity is about setting values at an organization level, and then implementing those values through policies and codes of practice.
  • It is then for managers to demonstrate those values through leadership, to positively reinforce the values and also to ensure compliance with, and enforcement of, the values.
  • Government agencies should establish an ethical culture. Then, they should set out to live that culture.
  • To ensure the equitable distribution of resources
  • To bring strong image of country around the globe
  • To cater to the needs of all sections of society. So that inclusive growth is achieved.

 

Watch-dogs:

  • At another level, there are the watch-dogs, being the public sector bodies charged with oversight and investigation of standards and behaviors.
  • To ensure compliance with processes.
  • To prevent unethical practices like misconduct, fraud and corruption in governance. It will bring the lost public trust back.